Even the experts view sales enablement a little differently. We’ve collected a few of these definitions in our Sales Enablement Plan Methodology, a resource that may help if you’re trying to figure out what to do about sales enablement.
Demand Metric is currently conducting a study, sponsored by Qvidian, to learn how sales enablement is defined and understood, as well as what kind of results it is delivering. We’ll present the findings of this study at DemandCon Boston in a few weeks, but we’re already seeing some interesting things in the data.
The study confirms that there are indeed many different views of sales enablement. The most agreed upon definition emerging from the data so far is that sales enablement develops strategy to help improve the sales process. This isn’t all that sales enablement is or does, but it is, so far, the most important ingredient of the potpourri that is sales enablement. If we go no further in our discussion, we can probably agree that sales enablement is a strategic function. Strategic, at least, in the nature of what it does, if not strategic in its importance to the organization.
Given that the data is telling us that the work of sales enablement is to develop strategy, it stands to reason that when we look at the focus of its work or output, we expect to see a strong strategic focus orientation. This, at least, is the logical conclusion. However, the data from our sales enablement study tells us something different. Specifically, our study survey asked participants to describe their sales enablement function in terms of how strategic or operational it is. Just 12 percent of respondents reported that in their organizations, sales enablement was primarily or very strategic in its orientation. This operations-centric view doesn’t match the most popular definition of sales enablement. And if you’re confused, you’re apparently in good company.
The paradox in this data is representative of the world of sales enablement. There’s certainly much more to the sales enablement story than the glimpse we’ve shared here. We look forward to pulling back the curtain on sales enablement at DemandCon Boston 2013 to reveal the results of this study.
Jerry Rackley joined Demand Metric in October 2011 as Vice President of Marketing & Product Development. He began his 28-year marketing career at IBM, and his work record includes experience in the technology and financial services sectors. During his career, he has worked with companies ranging in size from startups to members of the global 1000, performing marketing, marketing communication, public relations and product management work. A graduate of Oklahoma State University, he is an adjunct Marketing faculty member in the Spears School of Business. He resides in Stillwater, Oklahoma with his wife and family.
Join Jerry and Demand Metric’s Jesse Hopps for a closer look at sales enablement during DemandCon Boston, including what it means, how to create a sales enablement process and successful case studies during “Sales Enablement in 2013: Benchmarks, Insights and Best Practices.” Hope to see you there!