Why Effective Enablement Strategies Follow A Two-Step-Approach

Effective enablement strategies are built on a two-step-approach, tackling the selling challenges through the lens of the customer journey. A bold statement? Let me walk you through the concept.

What’s your focus when designing and creating sales enablement services? What are the sales enablement frameworks you work with? And what do they look like? I’m constantly amazed at how often the customers are not even mentioned, nor included in sales enablement frameworks and approaches that are applied. With a two-step-approach, you begin with the customer journey and align your enablement services to it.

“But sales enablement is about sales!” I hear you. However, to be successful in the age of the customer, salespeople must adapt their strategies, their messaging, their skills, and techniques to the way their buyers want to buy. So, sales enablement should always have the customers at the core of its efforts. “But how do I address salespeople’s challenges?” Things will fall into place if you give me a few minutes to explore the matter.

In the digital age of the customer, it’s essential to addressing selling challenges through the lens of the customer with a two-step-approach

In the age of the customer, salespeople must deal with well-informed, over-informed, and misinformed prospects and customers. Any information overload – and we are all in this situation – makes it challenging to determine what’s well-thought-through, based on research, expertise and experience, and what’s just quickly put out there, primarily to create clicks. Also, the specifics of the business challenges their customers are dealing with, matter as well. Is the business challenge new to the buying team, or is it well known? And how risky is the challenge for their organization and their careers? Extraordinarily successful sales professionals know how to create value at each stage of the customer’s path for all involved buyer roles, based on their specific business challenges.

Creating value means different things at different stages of the customer’s path, but it’s always centred around being relevant, valuable and differentiating to help prospects and customers move forward with their decision-making process:

  • Creating value in the awareness phase is about creating clarity regarding the actual business impact of a challenge, and it’s about providing perspectives as to how prospects and customers can achieve their desired results. In this phase, all efforts are focused on helping prospects and customers to decide to tackle the issue or not.
  • In the buying phase, creating value means providing detailed information about how the customer’s desired results can be achieved with your solutions. It also means providing all the required financial data to be integrated into the customer’s business case. Yes, into the customer’s business case, because cost savings as such are only the door-opener to business impact.
  • In the implementation and adoption phase, creating value could mean providing implementation assistance and tips for successful usage, tailored to the customer’s steps. It also means ensuring that all initial executive buyers know about the value that has been created. That allows you to establish a foundation for additional business.

These examples show exactly why all enablement services must be aligned with the customer’s path. This applies to not only the content salespeople use but also the training services around skills, methodologies, processes, and product. Even if certain skills are the same (such as value messaging), they must be applied differently in the different phases.

The two-step-approach: Successful sales force enablement leaders align their enablement services first to the customer’s path and then to the sales force’s specific challenges

Working with an enablement framework that is based on the customer journey is the foundation of sustainable enablement success. If you design your enablement frameworks around your products or your internal challenges only, you lose the necessary focus on the customers. Your ultimate design point should be your customers and how they approach their challenges, how they want to buy, and how they prefer to use/implement/adopt your products, services, and solutions. The customer journey is not your only design point, but your first one. Consider your customers and their customer journey as your “true north.” And as the first step of the two-step approach.

Study results show: Dynamic alignment of sales processes to the customer’s path drives double-digit improvement in win rates and quota attainment

The data from the recent CSO Insights’ Fifth Annual Sales Enablement Study* showed an increasing impact on quota attainment and win rate improvements for those organizations that implemented such a two-step-approach, based on a dynamic alignment of their internal processes to the customer journey. In this study from 2019, one-fifth or organizations got this right whereas the majority of organizations missed out on that opportunity to drive sales performance.

Aligning the sales processes and all enablement services to the customer journey is key to success. Value messages that are in every single piece of content must be tailored to the different phases of the customer journey. What works in the awareness phase is misplaced in the buying phase and the other way around. Once this is done, your sales force’s specific challenges determine how you shape the related content and training services, and the coaching services for the sales managers.

*Source: © 2019 Sales Enablement Study Report, CSO Insights, Miller Heiman Group, part of Korn Ferry 

Check out our services.