What is Revenue Enablement?
Revenue Enablement supports prospects and customers along their journey by arming all customer-facing roles to deliver consistently great information and experiences to ensure these groups identify and overcome their business challenges positively and measurably. -John Moore, The Collaborator, Founder of Trust Enablement
Revenue Enablement often arises from recognizing that existing Sales Enablement efforts must evolve to support all customer-facing teams, not just sales reps, sales managers, sales leaders, and the partner channel. This form of Enablement is focused on helping all of your revenue teams.
This article is written primarily for Revenue Leaders looking to understand the importance of this capability in their organization – but your Sales Enablement Team will benefit from the thinking contained within.
In this article, you will learn more about the following topics:
- Revenue Enablement vs. Revenue Operations
- Revenue Enablement vs. Sales Enablement
- Where does Revenue Enablement fit in your organization
- The key pillars of Revenue Enablement
- The Basic Revenue Enablement Execution Model
- Steps to migrate from Sales Enablement to Revenue Enablement
Revenue Enablement vs. Revenue Operations
As defined on our page about Revenue Operations:
Revenue Operations represents the realization that companies must support the buyer and customer journey via data and technology and, like Revenue Enablement, puts the customer at the center, not the sales process. -John Moore, The Collaborator, Founder of Trust Enablement
Revenue Operations and Revenue Enablement are peer-level functions, combining data, process expertise, and effective use of your tech stack, with training, content development, and related capabilities. Given the common focus of each team, I expect the two roles will merge in most organizations and report into the Chief Revenue Officer.
Revenue Enablement vs Sales Enablement
I first wrote an article for Vengreso explaining why businesses needed to move past Sales Enablement unto Revenue Enablement at the beginning of 2020.
While a few argued the point then, almost no one sees this as a point of discussion now; Revenue Enablement is real and many Enablement programs have already made the shift.
- Supports all customer-facing teams, individual contributors of all levels, and management from front-line through executive. — not just your sales organization
- Both strategic and tactical and must be data-oriented to identify focal areas and to demonstrate business impact
- Providing insights and delivering measurable outcomes is a must.
- Uses tactics such as content creation and curation, training, coaching, communications, and process improvement
The term Sales Enablement has two significant flaws:
- Sales Enablement implies you are focused entirely on supporting the sales team.
- Enablement is a terrible word that means everything and nothing, causing confusion, misinterpretation, and inconsistent results.
In many cases, Sales Enablement teams focus on sales and the relationship, processes, and alignment between sales and marketing.
While this focus on sales is essential, it is only one piece of business growth.
Ultimately I would like to replace both words with something more descriptive of the function. However, let’s start with Revenue vs. Sales.
- Revenue Enablement was the term SiriusDecisions put forth and, instead of further muddying the waters, I jumped on board with it.
- Revenue, in part, is a nod to the fact that we must support the entire revenue team, including sales, customer success, marketing, presales, partners, etcetera
- Revenue, in part, recognizes that we must focus not just on new sales but upsell/cross-sell and retention. To accomplish this, we must support far more than the sales teams. We must explore the entire growth engine, and we must put the customer experience front and center.
Ultimately, we must streamline the business front to back, back to front, vertically and horizontally.
My long-term vision is The Collaborative Business, one in which the entire business (i., sales, marketing, customer care, content, and so forth) shares a standard set of objectives and KPIs.
Revenue Enablement is the appropriate next step in the Enablement journey. It broadens Enablement across the entire buyer and customer journey, maximizing the value to customers and the business.
The Pillars of Revenue Enablement
I initially wrote about the Pillars of Revenue Enablement for Bigtincan on their Revenue Enablement page.
In this article, I am providing a summary.
The customer is our focus
Deliver great experience and provide value at every single touchpoint with or business.
One of the methods used to drive better customer and employee experiences is to focus on process optimization. Give a listen to this show for an example of this optimization in action.
Formalized Change Management
Enablement, whether we discuss Sales Enablement or Revenue Enablement, is a form of change management. You must have a change strategy supported by executive leadership, with the adoption of change being a focus.
Collaboration and alignment across front and back of business
Collaboration is one of the critical methods for aligning groups, reducing surprises, and duplication of efforts.
Metrics-Oriented vs. Data-Driven
Metrics must guide your efforts but so must user feedback. Use both.
The Basic Revenue Enablement Execution Model
We are not building a rocket ship to the moon.
We are not performing brain surgery.
We seek to use the best practices that other organizations have used before us to successfully deliver positive and measurable change for our businesses.
What is the process?
Analyze business needs
What problems do you need to solve?
Collaborate and communicate to build alignment
Collaboration is vital, as we already noted. Pull groups together to align on the challenges you need to solve and find solutions that all can embrace. The goal, as always, is to improve life for your end customer and employees while driving increased revenue and business growth.
Prioritize based upon business impact
Focus and execute on the work that will have the most significant impact.
Execute to meet strategic and tactical needs
While focused on the critical strategic projects, you must still make time for your Enablement group to deal with one-off requests.
Facilitate cross-team efforts
As work progresses, continue to bring groups together.
Any change not fully adopted will have a reduced impact. Drive adoption of changes across sales, marketing, customer success, and all other organizations.
Measure Business Impact
Are your changes creating the desired outcomes?
Refine approaches based upon data and user feedback
Learn from the data, the end-user feedback, and adjust your strategy and tactics as required.
How do you balance your Enablement work?
The Revenue Enablement Execution Model is straightforward and should provide a guide for your Revenue Enablement teams.
However, Revenue Enablement is complex, and focus is critical.
The good news ?
As you consider your approach, keep in mind the following types of work impacting your Revenue Enablement team and the importance of maintaining the right balance across these three.
Strategic Revenue Enablement Work
- With your leadership team, define one or more strategic projects to complete each quarter
- Define the leading and lagging indicators
- Schedule an hour or more each day to move these projects forward consistently
- Be selfish, do not give up this time for other projects
Tactical Revenue Enablement Work
- Publicly commit to moving specific tactical requests forward each week
- Prioritize this work using a standard scoring model, a rubric, so people are clear WHY you are choosing particular tasks
- Define the leading and lagging indicators these will impact.
- Put time on your calendar every day to move these efforts forward
Unplanned Revenue Enablement Work
- These requests will come in regularly
- Prioritize these against impact to the business, understand the WHY it is needed, WHO it will help, and HOW this will align with business goals
- Schedule an hour or two each day for unplanned work
- If you don’t use all of this time each day, use the time for tactical or strategic projects.
How do you prioritize your Enablement work?
In the section above, I spoke about the need to prioritize requests.
You are probably wondering, however, how do I prioritize requests from the team?
Standardize how you are taking in requests for Enablement work
Whether you are a team of one or one hundred, create a process for receiving requests and standardize the inputs you want to receive.
The input process could be as simple as filling out a paper-based form, a Google Doc, or another form-based mechanism in a more sophisticated tool.
Standardize the information you gather
This form is not simply a tool to determine what your teams want to be done but also to help you prioritize.
What questions should you ask?
Here are a few questions for you to consider using.
- What you are requesting
- What business goal will this help you achieve?
- How will we measure the success of this request?
- When is this change needed?
Steps to migrate from Sales Enablement to Revenue Enablement
If you already have a Sales Enablement organization in place, migrating to Revenue Enablement at roughly the same level of maturity is straightforward.
Note: I will share the Revenue Enablement Maturity Model to update this article soon.
While each business is different, the high-level process for migrating from Sales Enablement to Revenue Enablement is this.
The Revenue Enablement Migration
Identify where your business is struggling most. None of the questions and scenarios below are fleshed out entirely but are enough for you to determine, for your business, how to apply the generic approach to your business.
Does moving lead to opportunities/deals happen at the percentage?
Sit down with the marketing and inside sales teams to determine:
- Are quality leads coming into the inside sales team from marketing?
- Are the cadences being used by the inside sales team solid?
- Do you have sales training in place to support the inside sales teams?
Are your current Deal Velocity, Value, and Win Rates where they need to be?
If you are seeing these issues in your sales cycles, sit own with your inside sales team, outside sales team, and marketing teams.
- Are the right leads being converted into opportunities?
- Do your sales teams know how to have value-based conversations?
- Can your sales team run effective discovery?
- Do the sales teams have the proper training and content support from Enablement?
- Is marketing providing the correct air cover for other buying committee members for deals in the funnel?
Are existing customers buying more? Are they renewing at industry levels?
Sit down with customer success teams, sales, and marketing.
- Are the hand-offs from sales to customer success solid?
- Are your customers using the product in the way expected when they bought it?
- Have champions changed?
- Is adoption of the solution at an acceptable level?
- Are you running QBRs?
- Is marketing providing targeted marketing for additional solutions to those involved in the account?
As you review these top-level metrics, it will become apparent where your current biggest obstacles exist. Once your most significant challenges are clear, apply the execution model against those challenges to deliver the right processes, content, training, coaching, and communications to overcome the issue. Then repeat.
Remember that Revenue Enablement is a team sport, one that will lead to a breakdown of existing functional silos as company focuses on sustainable growth.
It is not simply a tactical team focused on delivering the right content at the right time.
It is not just a method for bringing subject matter experts into your sales onboarding to ramp up new team members.
Be strategic, data-oriented, and bring all revenue leaders together to maximize the benefits. In this way, everyone will win.
Ready to get started with your Enablement program, read this article on getting started next.
Living Enablement as a practitioner and as a leader. I’ve seen the confusion and frustration that many practitioners live. From working in other areas of the business, I’ve also seen the genuine need for the capabilities that enablement provides.