What if sales enablement stopped being perceived as a cost center? What if, instead of thinking of it as training, or onboarding, or the resting place for an organization’s broken things, we thought of sales enablement as a strategic investment—a proactive function that actually enables sales to sell more, sell higher and sell faster? According to Roderick Jefferson, we may already be there.
“Enablement is no longer about putting butts in seats or how many folks we accredit or certify. We are really here to help drive incremental revenue,” Roderick explained.
As the Head of Global Enablement at Oracle Marketing Cloud, Roderick has had ample experience building enablement programs and actually driving revenue through enablement initiatives, through a number of mergers and acquisitions to boot. His team was even recognized as SiriusDecisions’ Onboarding Program of the Year in 2015, which as Roderick explains, “was like winning an Emmy for sales success.” On the newest episode of the Sales Enablement Shift podcast, Roderick shares what it takes to drive incremental revenue through sales enablement, which as you can imagine doesn’t stop once budget is secured.
“Enablement is really an end-to-end process that spokes out to every other part of the organization,” Roderick shared. Sales enablement should act as a hub that interacts with all parts of the organization, including but not limited to sales, marketing, product marketing, HR, training, and marketing. But some of the most important individuals that enablement must work with and align to are the first line sales managers. At the end of the day, these are the people who will ensure enablement practices, processes, collateral and tools are used by client-facing reps. “I’m sitting in on forecast calls and running needs assessments to really see what’s happening out in the real world and figure out where we can bring the most value” as an enablement team, Roderick explained. “We set ourselves up for failure if we don’t meet the needs of our first line managers.”
And there is no better way to align with these individuals than through metrics. If sales enablement is able to tie its metrics to sales success, it becomes a revenue generator, not a cost center. Roderick cites three major groups of metrics that each enablement team should track:
- Deal size and productivity: These metrics include time to productivity or first close, average deal size (which can and should be broken down by region, team, product, and even individual rep.
- Downstream inside sales activities: These metrics should include all of the activities that lead to qualified leads. This lets you maximize the activities that result in the generation of qualified leads.
- Collateral usage and frequency: These content-focused metrics should include the number of content downloads and views per rep, when reps are using certain content with prospect (by stage in the sales cycle or buyer’s journey). This should allow you to compare low and high performers’ usage of collateral to emulate high performance at lower levels.
At the end of the day, if we are thinking of enablement as a “fixer,” we’re setting ourselves up for failure. Sales is not broken, but it can always be better. Running enablement as a revenue generator and not a cost center starts with shifting the mindset away from training and onboarding, and succeeds by working closely with first line managers and aligning enablement metrics to sales success. You can learn more about Roderick’s award-winning enablement team and tactics in this episode of the Sales Enablement Shift podcast. You can also connect with him on LinkedIn or Twitter.