Sales enablement has reinvented itself time and time again. First emerging as a function focused primarily on sales training, it has evolved to encompass broadly enabling efficient and effective sales execution. And now, the increasing prevalence of multi-channel B2B buying journeys has prompted commercial organizations to revisit the remit of enablement once again. As customers interact with channels and roles owned by different functions, the risk of conflicting messaging and an inconsistent purchase experience increases, threatening revenue. In response, some progressive organizations have expanded their enablement across all client-facing, revenue generating roles. This transformation has a new name – revenue enablement.
What is Revenue Enablement?
Gartner defines revenue enablement as: bringing traditional, siloed enablement functions together to ensure all customer-facing roles have the technology, content and competencies needed to create a frictionless and consistent customer experience throughout the buying journey. This revenue enablement approach is prevalent. Based on Gartner’s 2022 Chief Officer Strategy Survey, 65% of surveyed heads of sales and senior sales leaders describe their sales enablement function as focusing primarily on impacting multiple client-facing, revenue-generating functions.
Revenue enablement allows enablement leaders to reduce internal friction and improve consistent messaging to customers. Buyers who encounter consistent information from supplier sources are 2.89 times more likely to complete a high-quality, low-regret deal. The logic of this approach is borne out by enhanced commercial performance among organizations that have focused on revenue enablement (see Figure 1).
Overcoming The Challenges of Revenue Enablement
Enabling the sales force can be difficult enough – scaling that enablement support to a range of customer-facing roles might seem insurmountable. This is especially true when you consider the variability in skills, learning needs and activities across all revenue roles. A one-size-fits all enablement approach leaves employees feeling like the support they receive is a poor match for their needs. So how can the enablement organization overcome this variability to deliver tailored support at scale?
Learning From VMware
When VMware, an IT company based in Palo Alto, transitioned to a revenue enablement model, the remit for the enablement function expanded from supporting traditional sales roles to upskilling employees across all revenue-generating roles. VMware needed to develop an approach that allowed the revenue enablement team to deliver tailored, role-specific content at the point of need, at scale.
To start the process, VMware generated heat maps of individuals’ knowledge and skills against their role profile, based on self-assessments validated by managers, to identify individual skill gaps and enablement needs. The finalized heatmaps help the enablement team understand an individual’s skill and knowledge gaps to determine the tailored enablement resources that should be pushed to the individual.
Next, VMware realized that it needed to provide enablement content at the time when an opportunity to apply the skill arises. To solve for timing, VMware integrated its LMS+LXP platform into its CRM to create a central Learning Hub for commercial roles. As an employee works on an opportunity in the integrated CRM, they see a curated list of suggested learning content based on three inputs: the specific activity they are in, the workflow process stage they are in and the skills they need to develop as shown by the heat map.
VMware had great success with their initiative, they delivered learning resources to more than 16,000 employees across all revenue roles. The platform has had high engagement – on average, 86% of VMware revenue-generating employees complete more than three trainings through Learning Hub within a quarter. Based on the offerings delivered through the Learning Hub, VMware also noted decreased time to close and fewer discount percentages connected to specific training content. Ultimately, VMware connects increased win rates to specific learning modules, tying their enablement efforts directly to revenue.
To learn more about VMware’s initiative, read here: Case Study: Tailored Sales and Revenue Enablement at Scale (gartner.com)
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