“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
I recently spoke with a Sales Enablement professional about her content creation efforts. The Sales team loves the content being produced and find it valuable. However, when we talked about the ROI of her efforts, she wasn’t sure. The feels-good, must-be-good, approach was the only data point she could reference. She is not alone.
Are you struggling to achieve measurable results with your Enablement efforts?
Maybe you are doing incredible work in terms of training the sales team, or maybe not.
Have you created all the content the team needs?
Yes, you may even be delivering incredible value as measured subjectively (e.g., your sales team is happy and telling management).
Why then, are you still struggling to deliver results that you can hang on your refrigerator right next to the First Place ribbon you won in 2nd grade for the Spelling Bee?
Let’s come to that in a moment. By the way, great job spelling “Sophophobia”, your parents were as wowed as your teachers.
As you may have gathered, I am incredibly passionate about Sales Enablement, however, I’ve recently realized there’s something better.
Sales Enablement remains a cornerstone to my thinking, it is not yet fully matured, and much work remains. However, I believe Revenue Enablement, will be the thing we are all doing in two years from now. Check out our guide if you do not remember what is Sales Enablement?
One of the areas that has been most detrimental to Sales Enablement is that the definition of Sales Enablement remains an area of contention.
That and the fact that most of the definitions continue to point towards implementation versus outcomes has not helped.
That’s what led me to write a succinct definition for Sales Enablement:
“Sales Enablement is the process of helping sales efficiently move prospects to the point where they can make a favorable buying decision.” –John Moore, The Collaborator
While SiriusDecisions has come up with definitions for Revenue Enablement, I once again am seeking to clarify and remain focused on outcomes.
That is why I am providing a straight-forward definition of Revenue Enablement and sharing the principal tenants that will 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.” –John Moore, The Collaborator
Simple, right? What company doesn’t want to maximize their revenue?
The processes are the critical components of my definition; the tools and methodologies are only supporting pieces.
Before we move on, stay with me to briefly review the most critical revenue-related stages of a customers journey.
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.
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.
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.
Now, let’s return back to building our understanding of Revenue Enablement by reviewing the three primary tenants:
- Collaboration and alignment between all revenue-generating functions which transforms the experience for these staff members and customers alike.
- A focus on the adoption of processes through governance, iteration, and a focus on ease of implementation
- A focus on actions that lead to measurable outcomes. As the great Peter Drucker once said, “If you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it.”
Revenue Enablement is a parallel function to Revenue Operations, and both typically report into the Chief Revenue Officer (CRO). Revenue Enablement covers Marketing, Sales, and Customer Care. Therefore, Sales Enablement is a part of Revenue Enablement.
Mostly, yes. If you have studied organizational management in any way you are likely already familiar with Process-Based Management.
This 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 we need to achieve the tenants we have laid out.
Why do Companies need Revenue Enablement?
Let’s step back for a moment and look at a few of the benefits of Process-Based Management as Revenue Enablement, done well, will achieve these.
- It fosters the continuous improvement of processes. Inefficiencies, organizational weaknesses, bottlenecks, and errors are identified quickly and methodically, thereby reducing risks.
- Since processes are transversal and affect different organizational units, the interrelationships between people are improved.
- Each process is assigned individual(s) who are responsible for it. Everyone in the organization understands their role in each process and knows how to help reach the organization’s objectives.
- The work is not performed in an isolated manner and only focusing on having one part of the organization benefit. Instead, the goal is to work towards the common good.
- It allows optimizing the use of resources, thereby lowering and optimizing management and operating costs.
- Processes are measured, and objectives and indicators are established for each one.
Sales Enablement has provided us with 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.
These are great steps and are leading us in the right direction towards overall Revenue Enablement.
Collaboration and alignment between all revenue-generating functions
Unfortunately, most Revenue organizations fail to collaborate in any formal manner around any specific outcome. As CSO Insights Analyst, Tamara Schenk, shared in a recent blog post titled 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 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. You want to ensure that you are focused on delivering content that moves the needle in a measurable manner and that training/coaching is leading to more productive sellers.
A focus on the adoption of processes through governance, iteration, and a focus on ease of implementation
Have you ever deployed the perfect process, product, or solution only to have no one use it?
As we noted above, 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, you are throwing money out of the window. Can you afford to waste money?
The process-based management approach that drives Revenue Enablement measures adoption as a key component of all efforts. While you will rarely achieve 100% adoption of anything, this allows you to set targets and measure how you are doing against those targets.
A focus on actions that lead to measurable outcomes.
We have touched upon this as we reviewed each of the Revenue Enablement tenants above. 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.
In many ways, the tenants 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; its a guide for the Revenue Enablement leader. It outlines their mission, vision, and value to the organization. I recommend that you include items like:
- 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.
Process Improvement Focus
At this point, you have your charter in place, and your business is excited to see you make progress. 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
- Review the lessons you have learned:
- 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.
As we reviewed the critical Tenants of Revenue Enablement, we highlighted the fact that adoption is an essential component. Unused processes add no value.
It is crucial to think about your other metrics in three tiers.
Revenue Enablement is process-based. Your 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.
Do you want to learn more about Revenue Enablement?
“If you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.
As we take this journey together, I will share what I know, what I believe, and what I observe. I am the Collaborator, and, as such, I look forward to partnering with you to capture and share the best practices so that as many of us as possible are successful.
If you need a walking stick, just let me know, as I have one I can share with you right here.