Sales enablement is not about sales. “What? That doesn’t make sense,” you might think to yourself. I’ll go a little further. Sales enablement as a concept is flawed at its core. Bold words from someone who loves sales and makes a good living focused on sales enablement. Let me explain…
I worked with an outstanding leader who often said, “Nothing happens without an order.” Though frequently categorized as useful, but largely ignored—like feet, for example—sales organizations more resemble the heart both in purpose and importance. People can (and do) live without their feet. People cannot live without their hearts. Likewise, organizations cannot function without sales. Even small companies without a sales department per se, still have sales, because nothing happens without an order. Nothing.
The lifeblood of any company is revenue and profit. Clearly, revenue comes through sales. Let’s back up one more step though.
You can’t have sales without customers.
Let’s go back to the original thought, “Sales enablement is not about sales and is flawed at its core.” When a firm stands-up a sales enablement function with an internal focus on processes, metrics, etc., it misses the point. The whole organization needs to be about enabling sales, because in truth, sales enablement is not about sales; it’s about customers.
If your company has sales enablement or something similar, then you may need to examine whether your company focuses more internally than externally. For example, do you link your sales process to the customer buying process? Does a value focus permeate the activities driving your customer engagements or are you primarily focused on how to advance an opportunity?
Don’t misunderstand. Companies need sales enablement. Developing sales requires a distinct emphasis to improve the capability. Increasing sales, though, takes a combined effort of all organizational capabilities that aims at delighting your customers.
Numerous companies focus on capability development within “silo’d” functions and fail to think about cross-functional capability development–true organizational effectiveness. For example, Sirius Decisions research indicates that “fully 60 to 70 percent of content churned out by B2B marketing departments today sits unused.” How does your organization, as a whole, enable sales?
Here are a few questions you can use to evaluate your current state (at least partially):
- Does your organization take prescriptive steps to develop its sales capability? If yes, then continue. If no, we need to talk.
- Does your organization take prescriptive steps to synthesize the efforts of its commercial functions? If yes, then continue. If no…well, we still need to talk.
- Does your organization work seamlessly to deliver excellence to customers? If yes, then I want to learn more from you. If no…well, just remember nothing happens without an order. Maybe your company needs to reevaluate its commercial effectiveness. If so, then let’s talk.