I love sales enablement – it’s a huge passion here at Myles Associates – so when I hear it getting a raw deal, I get a bit narked.
I recently heard of a sales enablement team whose raison d’etre was sending out tracked email campaigns internally so they could, together with online training scores, measure the effectiveness of sales enablement.
Now, I know it’s important to measure – the digital world has certainly enabled marketing to demonstrate its value more easily. And I know this sales enablement team will have developed content and collateral to support their campaign.
The dictionary says enablement is: ‘the art of making it possible for…’. sales enablement would be: ‘the art of making it possible for sales (to sell effectively)’.
So exactly when did opening an email, or the score from an online course, signify that the person reading the email, clicking the link or taking the course translated into a salesperson being engaged, absorbing and using the content or skill they had just accessed?
In short, how did that deliver an enabled sales team?
Malcolm Gladwell in “Outliers, The Story of Success” devoted a whole chapter to the 10,000-hour rule – “Ten thousand hours of practice is required to achieve the level of world mastery associated with being a world-class expert – in anything”
But before you stop reading, thinking how absurd that I suggest salespeople practise their sales skills for 10,000 hours and become a world-class expert, the key word here is practice.
Sales enablement has become lost in the doing, the delivery and the measuring of stuff – content, collateral and tools – in the pursuit of finding those golden selling nuggets.
How often does the success of one piece of collateral see it followed by multiple different versions of that same piece of collateral?
And how often does the lack of an impact on sales performance result in a different version of a sales training course being commissioned or more collateral being created?
We run Sales Improv workshops and one of the tools people relearn or maybe even learn is the word PAUSE.
Did anyone pause in sales enablement when the content mill is churning and think about what is missing, and what do we need to do differently?
Content tools and collateral are important and have their place in support sales conversations. But while you can smother your sales teams with the best content and tools in the world, if you don’t activate it through practice, it won’t stick.
That means providing time and space for sales to get better at their craft. Sales and sales leaders need to be supported with content and activities so they can practise in their team meetings, role-playing and 1-1 coaching.
At Myles Associates, we call out practice separately as sales activation.
It’s our way of ensuring that it’s not just seen as internal comms, and starting to create the understanding that sales need time and support to bring together learning and development with sales content to practise their sales conversations.
Sales. Activation. The clue is in the name; it’s where action, collateral and enablement come together – and where sales magic can genuinely start to happen.