How to Build a Sales Enablement Strategy that Drives Results

Estimated reading time: 7 minutes

Has your CRO recently asked you what your Sales Enablement Strategy is, and how do you know it will deliver results? This article will share how to build a sales enablement strategy you can take to the bank — with or without a Sales Enablement Strategist guiding the way.

Far too many organizations run their Enablement programs without a solid Sales Enablement strategy. It’s the reason why far too many organizations fail with Enablement.

Why do you care?

Effective Enablement strategies can help you increase revenue predictably and measurably, improve your sales forecasting, and ultimately lead to a scalable business.

In this article, we will cover:

  • Why you need Sales Enablement, built strategically.
  • The role of the Sales Enablement Strategist in this success
  • How to create your Sales Enablement Strategy.

Let’s start at the beginning.

Why do we need Sales Enablement?

Why do you need a Sales Enablement strategy?

Effective Enablement strategies can help you increase revenue predictably and measurably, improve your sales forecasting, and ultimately lead to a scalable business.

How does Strategic Sales Enablement help you increase revenue?

Strategic Sales Enablement focuses on the ROI of each activity undertaken by the team across the buyer, customer, and employee journeys. The potential impact is placed front and center through this lens, progress is measured, and tactics are adjusted to ensure the planned improvements are delivered.

Strategic Sales Enablement can help you increase revenueBefore we move onto the role of the Sales Enablement Strategist, let’s align on the areas where strategic Sales Enablement can help us increase revenue.

  • Improved forecast accuracy
  • Decreased customer and employee churn
  • Lowered deal discounting
  • Improved win rates
  • Better sales efficiency and productivity
  • Cross-sell and upset improvements
  • Increased deal sizes
  • Faster deal velocity

The critical point is that you will improve the areas you focus on by taking a strategic approach. Enablement is not a silver bullet to magically enhance all aspects of your go-to-market efforts. 

However, when done strategically, it can be a compelling impact on your team’s ability to increase revenue predictably and measurably.

Note:  At Trust Enablement, we are strong proponents for diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging across companies, especially in Enablement and all customer-facing roles that Enablement teams support.  

Your Enablement team can play a critical role, partnering with HR and all levels of leadership:

  • To build better hiring practices
  • More inclusive onboarding and training programs
  • Ensuring no one is left behind because they have a different background.

The role of the Sales Enablement strategist

John Moore - The Collaborator, is a globally recognized Sales Enablement Strategist.  Your Sales Enablement manager/leader may be a capable and qualified strategist — and they may not be.

They may be great people leaders, project managers, savvy sales tech users, and strategists, but often they are not all of those things.

You have choices:

  • Get training and coaching to become a strategist — we can help.
  • Hire a strategist and coach them to close the other skill gaps.
  • Hire a sales enablement strategist to support them in building the strategy, deploying it, and providing regular checkups — we can help.
  • Do the best you can without the help of a Sales Enablement strategist.

If you go without, you will fail to deliver positive and measurable increases to business revenue.

How to Build a Sales Enablement Strategy

Here is a summary of the process, with much more detail following.

Time needed: 30 days.

Summary: How do I build a Sales Enablement Strategy?

  1. Review and set clear goals

    What are you trying to accomplish and why are you using Enablement?

  2. Baseline Current Efforts

    Where are you currently in relation to the goals you have set?

  3. Document, Review, Propose Next Steps

    Based upon the current goals and desired outcomes for Enablement, begin aligning all feedback against the goals they impact, your initial thoughts on perceived ROI (total effort vs. business impact), and priorities.

  4. Review with Stakeholders and Gain Alignment

    Ensure key stakeholders and executive leaders understand goals and are onboard with plans.

  5. Build Your Strategy, and Execute

    Pull it all together — and then execute on the plan.

Creating a sales enablement strategy is straightforward to explain but can be challenging for anyone unfamiliar or inexperienced in strategy development and change management.

Here is an overview of the process that any Sales Enablement Strategist can follow.

Review and Set Goals Goals

Ah.

You saw the old start with why coming, didn’t you?

This question is always the most important to work out.

Why are you implementing Enablement and, based upon that answer, you begin creating a sales enablement strategy to achieve these business outcomes.

You do not have to begin with by defining a complete set of leading and lagging indicators; you need to ask yourself, initially, are you trying to drive one or more of these outcomes:

  • Revenue Growth
  • Time/Dollars Savings
  • Risk Reduction

Baseline Current Efforts

Based upon the answer to that question, you can begin your journey by first baselining where you are right now with regards to the following:

  • Executive Alignment
  • Understanding of current target business metrics
  • Examine the buying, sales, and customer journeys
  • Identify content, training, process, people, and technology gaps
  • Use of quantitative and qualitative data to guide the process

The most effective approach is first to bring all stakeholders together and walk through these items in detail as a group.

Then, pull each significant subgroup and key stakeholder aside for smaller group conversations walking through these areas again.

Painful? 

Redundant?

Yes, and yes.

But also critically important.

You will learn different information from each audience.

Document, Review, Propose Next Steps

You have now spent a day or two or three having fantastic conversations and receiving more feedback than you ever expected.

The hard work is now beginning.

Based upon the current goals and desired outcomes for Enablement, begin aligning all feedback against the goals they impact, your initial thoughts on perceived ROI (total effort vs. business impact), and priorities.

I prefer to use a spreadsheet for this activity, but some prefer documents.

And hey, if you are doing this yourself, you choose.

When you finish, you will have a set of prioritized recommendations to bring back to the stakeholder group.

Create an executive summary of recommended changes based upon this work.

Review with Stakeholders and Gain Alignment

You have done all the hard work and now need to bring it back to all the stakeholders; it’s easy, right?

Sometimes.

More often than not, however, each of the stakeholder groups will have their own opinions about priorities, and your executive sponsor will need to take ownership of keeping everyone focused on the business goals.

Once have alignment, document your priorities publicly.

Build Your Strategy, and Execute

Finally, we can now build our sales enablement strategy!

First, recognize that we do not need to build a long and complex document.

This document is a living thing that you should review and update quarterly. Keep it simple and call out:

  • What are the business growth levers you are impacting? Revenue Growth? Time/Dollars Savings? Risk Reduction?
  • What leading and lagging KPIs will you use to monitor progress?
  • What teams will you focus on serving and using what mix of Enablement capabilities?

I know this sounds similar to your sales enablement charter.

A charter is an excellent place for many organizations to document their sales enablement strategy. If you add an executive summary to the beginning of the charter, you have done enough on this front.

Some enablement experts believe you need something more complicated than I have laid out here.

They are correct, and they are wrong. Your charter is sufficient if you are at an early stage of maturity with your program.

Remain agile and create the documentation you need to focus your efforts and build alignment, but going further than this is truly a waste of time and effort.

As you mature your function, your sales enablement strategy’s core elements will evolve. Review your strategy quarterly and consider separating your charter and strategy, adding these elements to your strategy document.

What are the elements of a mature sales enablement strategy?

  • Program goals
  • KPIs and metrics
  • Onboarding plan
  • Ongoing training, reinforcement, and in-context training
  • Sales Manager and Leadership program
  • Sales process and methodology
  • Coaching model
  • Sales and Enablement technologies to be used.

Now, execute your Sales Enablement Strategy!

Note: Check out the common reasons Enablement programs fail.

Need help creating a sales enablement strategy?

Book a Free Sales Enablement Consultation with Trust Enablement Today!

Note:  If you are a team of one Enablement professional and simply looking for some support, have your company pay for our basic support package, we’ve got your back.