To avoid confusion with sales enablement or business enablement, Enablement expert, founder of Trust Enablement, and Bigtincan veteran John Moore has provided a straight-forward definition of revenue enablement and shared the principal tenets that differentiate it from sales enablement.

“Revenue Enablement is the process by which you most efficiently acquire and maintain customers, maximizing revenue gained through each stage of a customer’s journey with your business by focusing on the delivery of great customer experiences.“

The processes are the critical components of the definition; the tools and methodologies are only supporting pieces.

Let’s briefly review the five primary tenets of Revenue Enablement: 

  1. Customer Experience
  2. Process Driven
  3. Collaboration and Alignment
  4. Metrics-Oriented
  5. Adoption-Focused

Revenue Enablement is a parallel function to Revenue Operations, and both typically report to the Chief Revenue Officer (CRO). Revenue Enablement covers Marketing, Sales, and Customer Care. Sales Enablement is an area that exists within Revenue Enablement.

“Our research proves it over and over – organizations that maintain a focus on alignment achieve up to 19% faster revenue growth and up to 15% higher profitability.”

Sirius Decisions/Forrester Research

Sales Enablement teams are focused on creating content and training for their sellers. Often, the only measurement of success comes in the form of kudos from the sellers. The feels-good, must-be-good, approach is far too often the only data point teams are using. Yes, you may be delivering incredible value as measured subjectively (e.g., your sales team is happy and telling management). It is not enough.

Are you struggling to achieve measurable results with your Sales Enablement efforts? Are you struggling to deliver results that you are proud to share with the CFO?

While Sales Enablement remains a critical function, something with a broader scope is going to be needed. Revenue Enablement will be where many organizations focus their investment dollars in a couple more years.

sales enablement and revenue enablement defined by gartner

Graphic from The 2022 Gartner® Market Guide for Revenue Enablement Platforms

Unfortunately, most Revenue organizations fail to collaborate in any formal manner around any specific outcome.  As CSO Insights Analyst Tamara Schenk shared in an article focusing on collaboration in Sales Enablement, most collaboration is ad hoc.  Based upon her research, 61.2% of Enablement teams currently collaborate in an ad hoc or informal way.

Revenue Enabled organizations are process-based organisms.  The team identifies each of the key processes in the Revenue Engine and:

  • Define who owns the process, in its entirety, from beginning to end.
  • Defines the current process, step by step, across functional team boundaries.
  • Defines all stakeholders across all functional boundaries.
  • Defines the cost of the process in both time and dollars.
  • Defines the value created by the process in terms of revenue achieved, churn reduction, or cost savings to the business across teams.
  • Defines adoption levels (see tenant number two below).

From here, a working group is formed of the key stakeholders, led by the process owner, to identify if there are inefficiencies in the process and the impact of those items to either the value created or the cost of the process.

Each process is evaluated and process improvements are prioritized based upon either the increased value or reduced costs created.

It is important to note that traditional Sales Enablement areas are included in this analysis.  Teams must remain focused on delivering content and training that moves the revenue needle in a measurable manner and that results in more productive sellers.

A focus on the adoption of processes through governance, iteration, and a focus on ease of implementation

Too often, processes are developed in a vacuum.  No collaboration during process design leads to no adoption of the new process.

The adoption rate of all processes, and the tools that support them, are factored into Revenue Enablement.  If a Revenue-related process has clearly defined outcomes (cost, value), but is not fully adopted, money and time are being wasted.  No business can afford to waste either.

The process-based management approach that drives Revenue Enablement measures adoption as a key component of all efforts.  While it is rare to achieve 100% adoption of anything, must measure against this target to maximize your outcomes.

A focus on actions that lead to measurable outcomes.

All processes are measured for cost versus value returned. Process optimization, driven by real data, data that includes a focus on adoption, leads to real success.

Mostly, yes. Process-Based Management does not require a change to organization hierarchies but does require a shift in mindset for many organizations.  It allows businesses to focus on the processes, measure their impact, and cut through organizational barriers.

It is exactly what is needed support the tenets of Revenue Enablement.

Let’s review the benefits of Process-Based Management as Revenue Enablement, done well, will achieve these.

See also: Why investing in revenue enablement could be your most profitable move as CFO

Revenue Enablement fosters continuous improvement of processes

A focus on process identification, documentation, analysis, and measurement ensures everyone in the organization understands what processes are in use and why.  It exposes these processes for review to ensure mistakes and bottlenecks are quickly identified and fixed.

Revenue Enablement supports cross-functional alignment

All customer-facing teams, all members of the Revenue Engine, must be part of the process improvement process.  This reinforces alignment, partnership, and collaboration.

Revenue Enablement focuses on business outcomes

While individual processes are being improved, they are always improved as part of the overall customer journey, not in isolation.  This maintains a focus on business outcomes, not the tactics used to achieve these outcomes.

Sales Enablement has provided an excellent starting point. While it has primarily focused on content, training, and coaching, it has been evolving to look at marketing and sales alignment and process improvement.

It is leading towards overall Revenue Enablement.

In many ways, the tenets of Revenue Enablement provide us with the path to follow.

However, as with Sales Enablement, first, build your Revenue Enablement Charter.

Your Revenue Enablement Charter is a blueprint; it’s a guide for the Revenue Enablement leader. It outlines their mission, vision, and value to the organization. For it to be of value, include items such as:

  • What are the teams being supported by Revenue Enablement?
  • Who are the key stakeholders from all teams that provide input to, our receive the outputs of, your efforts?
  • How will the team be funded?
  • How will Enablement efforts be measured? Revenue Enablement requires defined methods for measuring outcomes and adoption.
  • What are the risk factors to successful Enablement?

Remember, a charter is just a blueprint. It helps you ask and answer critical questions to understand your scope, audience, mission, risks, and key to success. It doesn’t have to be big and daunting. It can be simple and easy.

Revenue Enablement focuses on process improvement

At this point, you have your charter in place, how do you get started?

  • Identify all the products and services your business sells.
  • Sit down with each member of the Revenue leadership team (i.e., Marketing, Sales, Customer Care, Finance, Product, etcetera) individually.
  • Ask each member of this team:
    • What does your organization do whenever a new product or service is released?
    • What does your team do whenever a product or service is updated?
    • What are the most significant pain points for their team during these processes?
    • How do you measure the cost/value of these activities on their teams?
    • Are there things that they feel they should not be doing?
    • Are there things they feel they should be doing?
  • Pull all of your notes together to create an inventory spreadsheet for all processes you identify.
  • Create a workflow diagram showing all activities from product release/update through the lifetime of the customer. Include buyer awareness activities, procurement, onboarding, and offboarding. You want to capture the entire revenue engine flow.
  • Review with your leadership team; have you have missed anything.  Review the lessons you have learned:
    • Key processes
    • process improvement opportunities
    • Current costs
    • Current adoption of methods and tools
    • The current value of all of these efforts
    • Recommendations on the priority order of improvement for existing processes
  • Get the team’s sign-off on the initial process improvement areas.

Revenue Enablement is focused on measurement and ensuring that your efforts deliver positive outcomes for your business.

Adoption of processes and tools are critical as unused processes add no value.

It is crucial to think about the other metrics in three tiers.

Direct measures

Revenue Enablement is process-based. The direct measurements are easy to identify:

  • Process Cost
  • Process Value
  • Process Adoption Rate

The second level of metrics are those impacted by improving first-level metrics. These include:

  • Deal Velocity
  • Win Rate
  • Average Customer Value

The top-level metrics focus on Revenue. These are the metrics that you will share with Executives to demonstrate the value of investing in Enablement. Consider these:

  • Revenue from new customers, year to date
  • Cost to acquire new customers, year to date
  • Revenue from new customers, year to date
  • Cost to acquire new customers, year to date
  • Revenue lost due to customer churn, year to date

By turning the gears of revenue engine, via Revenue Enablement, you make discrete and measurable changes. These adjustments lead to efficiencies in acquiring and maintaining customers and maximize the Revenue you achieve through each stage of a customer’s journey with your business.

Get the deep dive in The Definitive Guide to the Most Important Sales Enablement Metrics

Revenue Enablement during the initial purchase

From the time the buyer recognizes a business problem, preferably before, your marketing team is working to grow awareness. Every touchpoint that interacts with these potential customers, regardless of channel and source, must be optimized. Each touchpoint must provide consistent messaging, great experiences, and move them closer to buying your solutions.

When your sellers finally interact with the prospect, they do so with clarity about earlier buying signals. The salespeople are prepared to take the buyer on the next step of the journey, not back to square one.

See also: The best sales touchpoints to improve your buyer’s journey

Revenue Enablement during the renewal

Long before a customer is due to renew, your business should know their intentions. Are they using your solutions? Has usage decreased? Are you helping them solve the business problems they had when they bought the solution? If their business problems have changed, have you kept up with this change and continued to help them?

All of this information, from solution usage, through NPS scores, through direct feedback from your Customer Care teams, must be captured. You need this data available to analyze and determine how you continue to deliver value to your customers. 

Renewals conversations should not include surprises.

Revenue Enablement during the upsell

As discussed above, you need to know how your current customer experience is going. You also need to continue to monitor intent signals. Ensure your sellers and customer care teams recognize new or changing business problems directly or indirectly through these signals.

Never miss an opportunity to help your customers solve additional business problems.