Three crucial, rising trends are shaping the current and future state of commercial enablement. These trends move beyond just “aligning” sales and marketing, to a state where both are integrated to drive growth.
What are these trends?
- First, a changing workforce made up of digitally savvy workers who have a lot of technology and trends at their fingertips.
- Second, a focus on customer experience and what it means to communicate value to buyers.
- And third, rising demand for sales and marketing teams to change how they execute and work to help sellers compete.
These three trends are driving new, modernized sales and marketing approaches built on collaboration, collective purpose, and focus on what works for customers and the sales team.
Sales enablement orchestrators who want to elevate their role and accelerate go-to-market strategies will continue to focus on increasing their team’s value contribution, and not just responding to trends. They’ll work with teams in marketing, field marketing, sales training, knowledge management, process, customer experience, and quality because all have a role to play in helping create the right content, skills, and tools for sales conversation impact and success.
To get there, and to effectively team with relevant groups, sales enablement orchestrators are blending strategy and tactics. Here are some approaches they are taking.
DEVELOP A WORKFLOW STRATEGY
New products, services, and solutions require sales enablement orchestrators to think more strategically about their digitization and work management strategies to add value to sales. If they don’t do that, they’re “enabling customer conversations” in theory, but not in practice.
If sales enablement orchestrators don’t have a digital transformation strategy that factors in an operational workflow, they risk losing visibility into the value they’re creating for sales. And if that happens, they won’t manage cross-functional work, and they won’t be able to quantify the impact of what the teams produce for sales and customer impact.
They will also struggle to co-create value with other teams (i.e., sales, marketing, product, and operations). They will find they launch initiatives that are ‘dead on arrival’ instead of embraced by sales and sales leadership. And they will quickly discover that they lose the transparency required to optimize their teams and leverage insights to close the gap. When that happens, the content, skills, and tools they produce have already lost value and impact on sales. Meaning the gap between their team and the sales team will continue to widen, and the difference between sales and customers will continue to expand.
LEAD INTEGRATED TEAMS TO OUTCOMES
As corporate strategies continue to accelerate in the age of the customer and digital disruption picks up pace, sales enablement orchestrators are dealing with challenges at a more human-level. Sometimes it’s easy to forget we’re in a knowledge working business. What that means to many is providing outputs and services to others internally, and eventually to end-user customers. Much of the value people create is intangible value, based on experiences, skills, and processes merging to create something of value.
Additionally, it’s easy to forget we’re in the 4th industrial revolution. During this time, new capabilities such as artificial intelligence, genome editing, augmented reality, and robotics, rapidly change how humans create, exchange, and distribute value. Each revolution has created a tectonic shift in how people work and how people create value. (https://www.britannica.com/topic/The-Fourth-Industrial-Revolution-2119734)
This shift is coming from simple digitization (the Third Industrial Revolution) to innovation based on combinations of technologies (the Fourth Industrial Revolution). As a result, it is forcing companies to re-examine the way they do business. The bottom line, however, is the same: sales enablement leaders need to understand their changing environment, challenge the assumptions of their operating teams, and relentlessly innovate.
Sales enablement orchestrators will do well to study and learn from other professions about how they prioritize work, resource work, and create together. Other jobs, such as software developers, have developed a much better ability to team based on initiatives and drive collective vision than their peers in marketing and sales.
MAKE TIME FOR CLARIFYING CONVERSATIONS
The vast majority of sales and marketing leaders value the time their teams spend on innovation and creativity. They want to maximize that time. They want their teams to spend less time on administrative tasks like email, manual data entry, and other manual tasks. While these are important distinctions, there is a third group of work emerging that sales and marketing leaders must make time to address. And, that’s the time for talking about and reaching clarity. Clarity is the often-overlooked barrier to creativity. While it may be easy to assume that “everyone knows what value means” or “everyone knows what we’re selling,” the situation couldn’t be further from the truth.
Creating clarity across functional groups (like delivery and sales and marketing) is extremely challenging. Many sales and marketing leaders struggle to find time to clarify the expected outcome of their work. They don’t have the time to define their processes and how those processes add value to other functions — or the customer. Some may consider this “conceptual work.” However, sales and marketing leaders recognize that the conference calls, meetings, and “whiteboarding sessions” aren’t achieving the desired impact in today’s work environment. There is too much friction.
To make space and create dialogue that leads to clarity, sales enablement orchestrators are asking questions like:
- Who is the specific audience for what we’re building?
- How will reps use it with customers, and how do we get visibility into that?
- Who has the “Veto power” on saying our content is valuable or “good.”
- What do we mean by _________________ (insert strategic buzzword or solution capability here)? How do our customers and sellers define it?
- What is the economic value of the work we’re doing for and with each other? What value are we creating that others leverage to close the gap to customers?
- Who signs off on what? Who provides us what?
- What do we do, and how do we accommodate feedback and “anomalies” we weren’t expecting (from sales, from customers, from services?)
To thrive in today’s sales and marketing environment, sales enablement must steer their teams toward the right content, skills, and tools for sales conversation impact and success. Developing a workflow strategy, understanding the current change in the environment, and creating clarity across groups will support this desired effect.