Sales enablement is a process and not a series of events. We all know this intuitively, but all too often and, despite the best intentions, we fall short. Events act differently in isolation than when part of a system. When connected in a process, they interact with other parts of the enablement system, such as system controls and feedback. Despite this obvious need, there seems to be no sales enablement process out there. Even Hubspot, who defines sales enablement as an iterative process, appears to fall short of defining that process in a consumable and communicable way. When we Google the phrase, we find pillars, frameworks, plans, lists, benefits, and platforms, but a sales enablement process is conspicuous by its absence. Conspicuous because the sales process guardians lack a recognized and systematic process of their own, a sales enablement process. To help solve this, I wanted to share the sales enablement process we developed at Simu.ly to help bring systems thinking into the sales enablement functions we support.

CADENCE

The process is called CADENCE because we wanted a process that created an operating rhythm, or a Cadence, which moves the thinking away from isolated event thinking and practice. Divided into six steps, the first part of the CADENCE process is Capture.

Capture tribal sales knowledge

Tribal knowledge is what salespeople learn from each other, outside of the formal sales enablement channels. Akin to ‘Gossip,’ this type of social learning spreads like wildfire through sales organizations. There are two forms of tribal knowledge, intrinsic and extrinsic. Intrinsic tribal knowledge can be found in closed-won/loss deals. It comes from customer interactions and from executing the sales process. Companies today need to have mechanisms to capture this tribal knowledge like win/loss reviews, conversational AI, and deal simulations. Extrinsic tribal knowledge comes from other practitioners in sales enablement who capture tribal knowledge in their organizations. A way to share such tribal knowledge is like this blog article where we’re sharing our experiences. 

Align and Validate

Some sales knowledge is valuable and needs to be shared, but some is not valuable. There needs to be a control in place to align the knowledge with the sales playbook and validate that it’s something the sales leadership want to share. It’s surprising how many sales enablement functions have no steering committee to enable this, which leaves them exposed politically. Ensure you have a steering committee and contract to make sure it functions in a way that does not slow the process down but adds value and insight. 

Design at Speed

It takes time to design raw materials into sales enablement assets, and the more time it takes, the slower the sales teams will react, which reduces competitive advantage. There’s a couple of things you can do to help here. The Simu.ly Design Practice developed and use a design process called VALUE, which takes the pieces of traditional training design we need, adds elements that are particular to sales enablement, and leaves some of the well-meaning but moot elements of learning and development behind. It focuses on delivering in-field, creating value, and using conversational AI and video to capture and reduce the time to build enablement assets. 

Enable in Field and in Deals

Salespeople live and work in the field and in deals, so sales enablement needs to operate here too. We’ve become accustomed to delivering infield over video in lock-down. Still, the ability to work in deals and not in abstract terms in the classroom is a skill that many enablement functions need to develop. The Simu.ly Deal Hack program is an example of an enablement program purely based on working inside deals. 

Coach and Evaluate

Sales managers spend one-third of their time in meetings, one-third reporting and responding to queries, and one third in deals with their team. With little available time, they need to coach with maximum impact in a minimum amount of time. To help with this problem, we developed IMPACT sales coaching, a sales coaching framework that ensures sales leaders coach their teams, and scale sales success by creating a maximum IMPACT on revenue. Traditional sales coaching frameworks focus on developing the individual first and foremost. This can create friction because the sales environment is so heavily focused on generating revenue. The IMPACT sales coaching framework does not fight this revenue focus but works with it. IMPACT prioritizes revenue first, and from revenue successes, builds skills and behaviors that scale further sales successes.

The coaching framework has an easy measurement framework used in our coaching app. This feedback loop completes the system, ensuring that the knowledge that was captured, aligned, designed, and enabled is working as it should. 

CADENCE

CADENCE is a process for sales enablement functions. As guardians of the sales process, it seems a little awkward if we have no process or our own! And beyond that, we’re not maximizing our resources if we do not bring them together in a sales enablement system or process. Please let us know in the comments what sales enablement process you use, or if you’d like to have a virtual coffee and learn more.