Strategies to Drive Sales Enablement Success for Adoption & Impact

In this masterclass, enablement leaders from Databricks, Teamwork, and Slack discuss how to assess whether your enablement investments are effectively bridging the gap between strategy and execution.

Over $70B is spent annually up-leveling revenue teams. This begs the question: How much of this investment translates into tangible improvements for how account executives and customer success managers engage with prospects and customers? 

In this masterclass, enablement leaders from Databricks, Teamwork, and Slack discuss how to assess whether your enablement investments are effectively bridging the gap between strategy and execution. They cover: 

  • How to adopt & enforce winning methodologies with rigor
  • Rolling out new sales & cs processes that actually impact customer interactions
  • Strategies to guarantee org-wide adoption of your proven best practices

Watch the full masterclass and get their advice below!

What is sales enablement?

Sales enablement refers to the strategic tools, resources, and competitive intelligence you provide your sales team with to close more deals. The goal is twofold: to achieve scalable productivity and extract maximum efficiency from every rep. 

“I explain to our new sellers that our job as enablement is to be the snow plow in front of you that keeps the road clear. You focus on doing what you do best — selling. We don’t want you getting caught up in internal processes and chasing things down. Our goal is to make the road as clear as possible for you,” says Robby Halford, Head of GTM Enablement at Teamwork. 

Sales enablement strategies are designed to capture the attention of qualified prospects, establish rapport, identify pain points, address objections effectively, and position your product as the solution to their challenges. 

Adopting & enforcing winning methodologies

Research by McKinsey indicates that a staggering 70% of large-scale transformation initiatives fail. When considering how to scale and measure the adoption of successful methodologies, take a top-down approach.  

It isn’t enough to just launch a strategic initiative; without in-depth executive and manager training, widespread adoption and enforcement are unlikely. “I’m only as good as my leaders. When we launch a new initiative, we train the executives first and then the managers,” says Nate Vogel, VP of Global Sales and Partner Enablement at Databricks. “Once the managers are on board, we train the reps. The hardest part of enablement is adoption and changing behavior, so we focus on how you take what we share and immediately implement it.” 

To ensure that managers are well-equipped to embrace new enablement initiatives, here are four questions to ask: 

  • What constitutes effective leadership within our organization?
  • What are the guiding principles?
  • What factors contribute to exceptional performance?
  • How do we contextualize outstanding performance and management within a sales environment?

Ultimately, the successful adoption and enforcement of strategic initiatives boils down to cultural alignment and executive team engagement. What doesn’t get reinforced from the top down isn’t going to make its way to impacting reps. 

Rolling out new sales & CS processes that impact enablement

To effectively implement new sales and CS processes that drive enablement impact, collaboration with executives and managers is key. 

Behavior change is the heart of enablement, but this is easier said than done. Especially when there are so many chefs in the kitchen — from sales leaders to the marketing and CS leaders. In order to get people to perform better, you need to ask: What behavior do you want to change? 

“When I was working at a previous company, the CRO asked me: What’s our number one problem? I said, discounting. We’re giving too much away. He said, ‘Go fix that problem.’ So that was the behavior I focused on,” says Robby. 

Enablement is a team sport, and you’re working with multiple cross-functional teams and sales programs. So when you’re thinking about what behavior you want to change or initiative to roll out, you need to have a plan in place. It should outline: 

  • What the initiative is and why it’s a company priority 
  • How success will be measured
  • What training will look like 
  • What will be required from each team member
  • What the roll out will look like this quarter, next quarter, and over the next 12 months

“You need to give your organization a framework,” says Ashton Williams, Director of Strategic Programs at Slack. “I align my leaders with the framework because everyone at the company needs to be clear on what the growth levers are, what we’re going after, who we’re trying to reach, and what success looks like.” 

Strategies that guarantee org-wide adoption of best practices

When determining where to focus the majority of your energy, there are two important pillars to consider: onboarding and change agility. 

Onboarding isn’t just a two week program. Within the first 90 days, your reps need to know your product inside and out, including your customer personas. If your reps don’t ramp and start to make the business money within the time allotted, it creates an unsustainable financial strain for your business. A solid onboarding program will show your scalable processes and line up with how customers buy. Reps need to leave this training knowing exactly how to do their job successfully. Getting this right is crucial because it means as your business changes, you create a safe haven for yourself and limit the amount of change management you might have to do in the future. 

The second pillar is how to make change agility part of your company’s fabric. This is important because market fluctuations, pricing changes, and shifting customer preferences are inevitable. You need to help your reps see the entire picture and know how to put the puzzle together. “When I take a puzzle piece out and put a new one in, everyone knows the picture. So that puzzle piece change shouldn’t be disruptive,” says Ashton. “In order to create that, that’s your methodology — it’s how you line up your systems and processes and make sure you’re measuring the right metrics.” 

Both onboarding and change agility are indispensable. Properly training your reps and providing them with the adaptability required to navigate market shifts is essential for ongoing success. 

Closing thoughts

Effective sales enablement hinges on the strategic adoption and enforcement of winning methodologies. This requires taking a top-down approach to training, to ensure org-wide buy-in and adoption. Additionally, it’s important to align strategic initiatives with company-wide priorities and build a culture of change agility. Doing this will empower teams to navigate changing market conditions with ease while maintaining a competitive edge and driving sustainable growth.