As today is Halloween, it seems fitting to say that:
- Good sales strategy keeps salespeople out of the House of Horrors.
- Bad strategy is long on trick and short on treats.
- Good strategy is like getting the giant candy bar.
- Bad strategy is like getting that mealy apple.
Many strategy elements represent potential “candy” for you, including:
- Demand generation and lead management: Fills your funnel without your efforts.
- Social prospecting: Amplifies your ability to penetrate prospect accounts.
- Sales support: Offloads low-value non-selling activity.
- Systems (e.g., CPQ): Reduce sales process overhead.
Today let’s take a deeper look at Sales Enablement.
A common sign of bad strategy is diffusion of enablement functions across a company. Multiple enablement groups:
- Produce conflicting messages, sowing confusion and conflict.
- Waste sales time and budget.
- Create noise that raises sellers’ resistance
So salespeople, let’s redefine Sales Enablement. Then we’ll ask leaders to get their act together.
- Collateral, tools, training and live-fire engagement mentoring may be enablement.
- But only if it helps us get over a specific sales milestone hurdle.
How should good leaders judge the value of what enablers provide? Let you be the judge. If “enablement” doesn’t help you sell more, leaders should change it or dump it.
Why does bad enablement proliferate? Here are two recurring themes:
- When activity masquerades as value. During my tenure in a large enterprise, a Marketing Director asked me to help ensure that her “play” would work. She knew our sellers had plenty of options where to invest their time. So I outlined the minimum seller execution needs she needed to fulfill. Otherwise, she’d be relying on miracles and hoping for heroics. Gasp! They didn’t have the budget for that!
You know how this story ends. They should have kept their powder dry. But instead they spent $30,000 on fluff. Why? Because she and her team had an MBO bonus pegged to launching (any) programs. The program was completely ignored, as it deserved to be.
- Knocking on the wrong doors. SBI’s research indicates that a hallmark of bad sales strategy is glossing over segmentation. Returning to the Halloween theme, segmentation:
- Tells you which houses to visit because they have the best treats.
- Helps you find the doorbell and to know how to ring it.
- Informs the most effective way to say “trick or treat.”
Lacking segmentation, inevitably you knock on some doors where no one’s home. Or where they have no candy. Or where they give you one measly piece or that lousy apple.
Isn’t it time that Sales Enablement aspires to Sales acceleration?