In many fields, it’s not just about the work you are putting in, but who knows about it. Enablement is no exception here. The way you talk about the work you do in Enablement is just as important as the work itself, if not more.
Many Enablement practitioners learn this lesson the hard way. They spend their days heads-down, actioning the request, creating the content, facilitating the training. These efforts often meet the mark at the moment but aren’t set up for long-term success.
What is it essential to tell compelling Enablement stories?
If our Enablement efforts have no strategy behind the way we communicate them, it jeopardizes the reputation of the Enablement function entirely. Every Enablement team wants to be thought of as a strategic trusted advisor, an extension of a Revenue leadership team, a reliable go-to that knows how to adequately equip customer-facing individuals with the right resources, training, coaching, and tools. When we do not tell our stories, we should not expect that the Revenue organization perceives Enablement in this way.
There are three distinct challenges in Enablement that make storytelling critical:
- Enablement effort is not casual to a business outcome; it is only correlated. In other words; A sales rep closing a deal is the event that triggers dollars coming into the business (causal) but, that sales rep nailing the value articulation, leveraging tools and systems, and delivering an excellent customer experience during the closing stages are the things that enabled them to close that deal (correlation).
- Much of Enablement’s work is behind the scenes. If we do not communicate our successes, failures, roadblocks, ideas, and vision for the future – how would anyone come to know and understand them?
- Enablement does not have as deep roots as other well-established teams (e.g., Sales, Customer Success, Marketing) within a Revenue organization. As a result, it is incumbent upon us as practitioners to educate our stakeholders. Part of this education is telling our stories.
What are some signs that we are NOT telling compelling Enablement stories?
- There isn’t a follow-up to Sr leadership recapping the Enablement service or initiative that was just rolled out
- There isn’t a success metric that is identified and then tracked to know whether the Enablement output achieved desired objectives
- When communicating an idea or result of an Enablement output to stakeholders, the Enablement practitioner is starting with the details of a program before sharing the business problem they are trying to solve for
- The Revenue organization as a whole is not clear on Enablement project/ status updates, wins, and the Enablement roadmap
How do we overcome this challenge?
The best way starts by taking an honest inventory.
If you feel you or your Enablement team falls into any of the buckets above, it is time to make a change.
That change may start by making a formal Enablement charter which is co-authored by your Sr leadership team and other cross-functional partners (NOTE: According to CSO Insights, “51% of organization with a formal vision or Enablement charter report feeling that Enablement efforts met or exceeded expectations vs. just 35% of organizations with a one-off or informal approach used to structure Sales Enablement.”)
The change could be deciding upon a regular cadence to meet with your stakeholders to communicate the state of your strategic initiatives.
The change may be both of those things. Regardless of what you decide, it is important that you are communicating. In terms of making that communication effective, remember three things:
- Do not start with the details of the initiative. Start with the business problem you are addressing and why it is worthy of Enablement attention
- Pick a trackable success metric (ideally a performance KPI that you know the business cares about) and ensure you can draw connections between your Enablement output and how that metric is impacted
- Follow up with the result. Make sure you are singing from the rooftops when you have a win. All of Revenue should know what role Enablement played in helping achieve the targeted KPI
- Document these great stories and publish them, so they are easy for sales leaders, the sales team, and others to easily find. These examples are testimonials of your team’s efforts; use them similarly to how great sales reps use customer testimonials and case studies during the sales process.
- Educate your teams about these stories and help them learn how to tell them as well. You cannot be in every conversation; ensure they can explain your team’s value.
Vanessa is the Global Director of Revenue Enablement for the market leading Learning Management System, Docebo. She loves everything about the Enablement field and the people in it who at their core, care deeply about helping others win. She currently resides in Toronto, ON.