Many b-to-b organizations continue to struggle with how to define and execute the sales enablement function. But one thing is true across the board: Organizations keep asking sales enablement to take on more tasks, while the resources to execute them are limited. Driving sales productivity through enablement investments continues to be a primary strategy, but the results depend on the ability to prioritize resources effectively.
“With that kind of investment, it’s important to get it right,” said SiriusDecisions analyst Heather Cole during her session yesterday with fellow analyst Nancy Maluso at the Sales Leadership Exchange in Scottsdale. “Sales enablement must ensure that sales reps possess the right skills, knowledge, process expertise and access to assets to maximize every buyer interaction.”
According to recent SiriusIndex benchmark data, 74 percent of organizations with an enablement function plan to invest more in enablement in the coming year. “Pressure to do more with the same resources can compromise the effectiveness of enablement programs,” Heather cautioned, “unless sales leaders have a laser focus on productivity levers.”
Heather and Nancy then introduced the SiriusDecisions Sales Enablement Range of Responsibilities Model to help organizations prioritize necessary competencies and structure the enablement function. The model groups responsibilities into three categories.
The focus of talent management is finding and developing high-performing reps through the definition of role-based competencies. Responsibilities in this category fall into the following three goal areas:
Asset management centers on addressing findability and usability challenges through alignment of the sales cycle with the buyer’s journey. Responsibilities in this category work to fulfill the following goals:
Communications management aims to stop information overload and champion the voice of the field through the definition of a sales communications strategy. Responsibilities in this category fit into the following goal areas:
Sales operations can help sales enablement meet its goals by providing the analytics required to assess key performance indicators across the enablement function, and leveraging findings from sales activity assessments to identify pockets of inefficiency across the field force.
“Sales leadership should leverage sales enablement as a key partner to operationalize critical strategy elements,” advised Nancy. “But sales enablement leaders must be realistic and data-driven when aligning resources to functional priorities.”
Ellen Lind is an editor at SiriusDecisions. She has 15 years of broad editorial experience, primarily in educational, book and magazine publishing. Follow Ellen on Twitter at @Ellen_M_Lind or on LinkedIn.