How to gain buy-in for a Sales Enablement strategy?

In an ever-evolving and highly competitive market, change is something all businesses have had their fair share of. Companies that are reactive rather than proactive about it often find themselves behind the curve, missing out on valuable opportunities. If this might seem like common sense for some, the reality in companies is often far from that.

Our 5 tips to successfully launch a Sales Enablement strategy

    1. Assess your company’s needs
    2. Do your research
    3. Identify your key stakeholders
    4.Gain support from your managers
    5. Start small, expand later

How many times have you heard an innovative project was put aside because “things are fine the way they are” or “it’s always been done this way”? There can be several reasons behind resistance to change: tradition, fear of failure, rejection of new projects that are not strictly necessary: you name it! Anyhow, the result remains the same, and companies still -too- often blind themselves when faced with the possibility of change. Indeed, proactivity is key in business and it is not because a matter is not in a “critical” state that it should not be worked on. Processes can always be improved, software can always be enhanced, teams can always learn something new, and so on.

Proactivity today can save businesses from falling behind or having to deal with a critical issue in the future.

In this context, and with Sales Enablement being a relatively new concept, it is not always easy to convince your “C-Suite” to go in that direction. Let us say you have been looking into Sales Enablement and you think it would be a great idea to set some goals and that your company could benefit from starting to build a Sales Enablement strategy. Unfortunately, just because you see the value in Sales Enablement since you’ve been reading all about it, it doesn’t necessarily mean this will directly translate to your executive team. Their support is however required as they are the ones calling the shots regarding what goes and what doesn’t inside the company and its strategy.

To gain their buy-in, you will need to build a convincing Sales Enablement case applied to your company, but where to start? Don’t panic, we have compiled a few pointers that should help you out:

1. Assess your company’s needs

The first step of convincing your executives to try something new is to show them precisely why it is needed. To do so, you should try to define what issues could be solved and what could be improved through Sales Enablement. You might want to focus your great ideas on a clear set of tangible and measurable goals that will speak to somebody who hasn’t particularly looked into this subject before.

Our tip: For each goal, you can show a concrete example of “AS IS/ TO BE” so nobody loses track of why this goal needs to be set for your organization.

2. Get your research on

Once you have outlined your organization’s issues and set the according gos you can start focusing on how to achieve them. Detail your plan in writing clearly defining ownership, investments, staffing and metrics to supervise the whole operation and its success. To do so, do not hesitate to use the internet as one of your resources to not only find reliable and reputed sources to back up your sayings (Gartner or Forrester reports for example) but also to look into what other companies similar to yours have been working on lately. You can also look into data from within your company through your CRM, existing platforms or even interviews of people impacted by the issues you pinpointed.

Our tip : A chart speaks a thousand words, and so does ROI. Executives are result-oriented and expect a quick return on investment. If you can simulate a quick ROI, you will improve your odds of gaining buy-in!

3. Identify your key stakeholders

Once you have solid research to back up your ideas, you need to identify the key stakeholders within your organization. Indeed, several individuals will have a say when it comes to making the final decision so you should be addressing them. To gain their support, you should identify their individual pain points and how Sales Enablement would address them. It is key that you adapt your pitch to the person you’re addressing: communicate your initiative in a clear way and tie them to their business goals. For example, when addressing the CFO you should focus on ROI whereas when addressing the CMO you want to emphasize the positive impact on branding.

Our tip : Always think cross-functionally when identifying stakeholders. The broader and deeper connections you establish when it comes to your Sales Enablement’s program the better your chances are to convince the CEO of an overall gain across the organization.

4. Gain support from your managers

If identifying the key stakeholder in your organization’s executive committee is a must they might not always be easy to address, especially when it comes to new proposals. Change management requires broad support, and the best place to start looking for it is around you. Before approaching the “C-Suite”, convince your close management of the program’s potential. On one hand, this will allow you to prepare your pitch even better as your management might have a better vision of what the executives are concerned about at the moment and what could be a good incentive to rally them to the Sales Enablement cause. On the other hand, if your proposal already has backing from your close management when presented to your key stakeholders it will gain credibility.

Our tip : Try establishing a concrete use case for your own department along with your close management : having them be a part of this project and its potential benefits will make it gain momentum.

5. Start small, expand later

In most organizations buy-in for new initiatives is progressive and a project won’t be directly launched across the whole company at once. Do not worry, this too shall pass. Instead of thinking big right away, identify that one leader that seems especially enthusiastic about the program and find the specific pain point that your Sales Enablement program could help them with. Once this has been identified you can start working on achieving the preset goals for that perimeter and gain credibility through results. Most initiatives can fulfill its purpose and create organizational change, even if they did not have full support in the beginning. By starting small and demonstrating concrete results over time, you can gradually earn stakeholder’s trust and expand the program across the organization.

Our tip : As you move forward, always keep in mind each key stakeholder’s business goals to adapt your speech. The concerns of today might not be the same as those of tomorrow and keeping your momentum is key.

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