Maturity Model for Sales Enablement

Sales Enablement is a trendy concept and it seems like most companies are taking it into account, one way or another. In 2019, Google searches for “Sales Enablement” increased 51,2 % year over year so what is it all about?

To put it simply, Sales Enablement aims to optimize your sales process and overall sales efficiency and effectiveness. This can be done by working on sales readiness, sales training/coaching, or sales content for example. However, it is key to note that progress in this matter is not achieved overnight and implies a long-term process. Companies will have different issues and follow different paths to build their Sales Enablement strategy. With this being said, different maturity levels can be identified in this type of journey.

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This first stage of Sales Enablement is very common in high-growth and fairly young companies. With rapid growth comes a struggle to provide their sales team with the material they need to achieve their goals efficiently. There is low to no alignment between Marketing and Sales and no clear content plan has been established. Sometimes random enablement actions are introduced but they are not a part of a clear and detailed strategy.

Impact

There is a great deal of wasted time and energy on the sales representatives’ side as they struggle to find the right content or end up creating it on their own. In the same way, the efforts put in by the marketing team are not leveraged as the content created is not easily accessible or does not serve a specific purpose.

Tools & Metrics

At this stage, there is not a Sales Enablement dedicated tool in place. Sales collateral, content, and training materials are often scattered across the web, sometimes in SharePoint or a series of emails.

Responsive

In this stage companies put in the effort but lack the organization and tools to yield the benefits. Many companies are stuck at this stage with lots of content available and some level of training and coaching available. However, content is still scattered and presents multiple gaps, and training is not necessarily structured nor tracked.

Impact

Poorly organized content impacts the final customers as they do not receive the latest and most accurate information when they need it. This leads to discontent, disengagement, and therefore loss in terms of deals closed. Moreover, sales representatives need to recreate or update content that marketing already created because they can not find it in time.

Tools & Metrics

In terms of tools, there might be several systems available to store and share content, often at the team level. Some companies even launch official portals to centralize content but end-users (sales representatives and marketers) do not necessarily adopt it and keep using backchannels such as SharePoint, emails, or group chats to share and store content.

Controlled

At this stage, companies manage the basics and have a set of dedicated Sales Enablement tools. There is a content management strategy in place, which is mapped on the buyer’s journey to facilitate accessibility for sales representatives. Moreover, there is an onboarding as well as a sales coaching process in place.

Impact

At this stage, sales and marketing alignment has improved due to the effort put into the content strategy. Sales representatives have the right collateral to engage prospects and therefore positively impact conversion rates. Moreover, sales have more free time which they can spend focusing on selling better.

Tools & Metrics

There is a Sales Enablement software present which serves as a hub for key content and is linked to the CRM system. It is enriched and updated by the marketing team while sales representatives easily access specific content.

If metrics are not yet optimal, the new solution implemented allows to track its adoption by end-users.

Data-driven

At this point, a clear strategy is in place and analytics for usage and performance are available across the sales cycle and organization. This drastically improves marketing and sales alignment as a closed-loop is created and managed. Information issued from statistics is used to adapt the content strategy and extract insights for sales representatives. They are also implicated in the content creation process as underperforming content is improved or deleted.

Impact

On the sales team side, a solid content strategy leads to higher engagement rates. This translates to faster sales cycles and better conversion rates. On the marketing side, time and effort are allocated more effectively as they are focused on performing content.

Tools & Metrics

There are solid tools implemented that issue reports regarding content performance and readiness and are linked to the CRM system. Moreover, solid sales onboarding and training platforms are available to give this process some agility.

At a data-driven stage, metrics are solid and serve as a direction for the overall Sales Enablement strategy. In terms of content, several aspects such as coverage, usage, or engagement are measured. Moreover, sales readiness or training effectiveness are also tracked.

Strategic

At this final stage, the Sales Enablement strategy in place is optimized. Content performance is tracked at every stage of the buyer’s journey. Marketing and Sales are in sync as insights from the field are used to better content. The business impact of the overall Sales Enablement strategy (in terms of content but also training) is key to guiding future investments and adjustments.

Impact

Sales effectiveness and efficiency are at their and for each type of deal and customer they face.

Tools & Metrics

There is an array of tools available and they are smoothly linked, with no overlaps. They provided detailed reports in terms of the business impact of the overall Sales Enablement strategy. Business impact metrics include for example revenue, conversion rates, and ROI.

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