The Why, What, and How of Sales Enablement via Maturity Model Assessment

We have assembled the sales enablement maturity model, checklists and assessment service to help organizations of every size and stage to identify their continuous improvement Next Practices


I strive to deliver value to our clients in every engagement. Working with hundreds of organizations over time has driven home the need to not only provide a How solution to What they wish to accomplish, but to center work on measurable outcomes with Why.

When the Why and sometimes the What questions are not clear at first, maturity models are an excellent way to start the conversations.

Working with hundreds of organizations has revealed a massive gap between sales and marketing.

Most companies know a gap exists, unfortunately they haven’t found the “secret sauce” or actionable solution to closing, or even substantially narrowing, that gap.

I have heard it all: we don’t have time, I don’t have the budget, we don’t have the resources and we don’t have a problem/gap.

While it seems like a daunting undertaking, closing the gap is needed to increase sales, employee engagement, efficiencies and effectiveness.

That becomes the elephant in the room.

Everyone sees it but tries to ignore it because they either don’t know how to move it, how to relate to it or even that it is an elephant.

The beast tamer, in the solutions world, is Sales Enablement. Three simple questions reveal much:

  1. Why your organization needs or can benefit from Sales Enablement… the internal disconnect?
  2. What needs to be accomplished–goals, objectives and key results?
  3. How to create and deliver measurable outcomes–the solution?

Organizations often can not pinpoint the problem/gap, because of the reality that the Why, What and How aren’t always clear at first.

The key to starting those conversations, saying hello to the elephant instead of ignoring it, is through a maturity model assessment.


Maturity Models are often mistaken as a collection of Best Practices.

Actually, they capture stages of the ability of an organization for continuous improvement in a particular discipline.

They can be used to: determine what practices and perceptions currently exist in an organization; provide continuous improvement for an organization to pursue.

Maturity models can take industry “Best Practices” and convert them into Next Practices… a set of tools that deliver actionable and measurable solutions, which are unique to every team and organization.

Sales Enablement, or SE, isn’t a new concept or practice, but it has been growing in definition and recognition.

In order to help organizations improve the effectiveness of their sales & marketing, I assembled, simplified and enhanced the SE practices that currently exist and developed a Sales Enablement Maturity Model and Assessment.

This model allows organizations to assess their current practices, compare themselves to others, determine how well internal perceptions are aligned and create a roadmap of actionable practice improvements.

To introduce the maturity model assessment I partnered with Meghan Richardson, President of Synapz Marketing, to published three Infographics.

Infographic 1 — the Why:

This first of a three-part series introduces the concept of Sales Enablement and the Why, its main benefit… Closing the Gap between Sales and Marketing.

A Google Search shows there are many definitions of Sales Enablement. To keep it simple, we define it as:

Sales enablement (noun) /sal/en’a’ble’ment
Processes, practices, tools and technologies that improve the performance and the productivity of a sales organization.
Enhancement of the ability of a sales team to increase revenue via sales.
Drives revenue by directly impacting a sales teams’ ability to close (WIN) more deals.

Defining outcomes is critical for success and this definition stresses typical strategic objectives of improving productivity, increasing sales revenue and closing more deals.

There are five behaviors, described as stages, in the SE Maturity Model that represent the current business capabilities of their people, processes, and technology to enable marketing supported sales teams.

  1. Ad Hoc
  2. Undefined
  3. Progressive
  4. Mature
  5. Optimizing

FACT: 75% of organizations that have an established SE function report a major/positive impact on revenue.

FACT: Fortune 500 companies report having a strong SE function are seeing 15.3% growth.

FACT: Of those companies that have an SE function, 90% want to maintain or increase funding in the next fiscal year.

Isn’t that evidence enough to investigate what an SE assessment can do for your company?


Infographic 2 — the What:

The second of three Infographics provides a brief introduction to What the maturity model consists of and some of the benefits from those using SE in the company.

Maturity models are often defined as 5 levels or stages of behaviors. The SE model is no exception.

The SE model names these stages as named maturity levels with descriptions of typical behaviors at each level:

By doing a quick comparison of your company’s behaviors, with those in each stage, you will gain an understanding of:

  1. What business capabilities are needed for Sales Enablement
  2. What level of marketing and sales function sophistication is present
  3. What can be done next to improve the sophistication and effectiveness of the function

The current maturity model organizes behaviors into 8 categories or dimensions.

Each of them is an important business capability to understand and measure.

Process

The ability to use repeatable consistent sales processes that replicate processes of high-performing reps and align to customers’ buying processes and preferences.

Automation

The ability to integrate CRM and Automation systems that improve personalized experiences across touchpoints and provide 360-degree customer views.

Analytics

The ability to use analytics to review and improve results from digital marketing, to optimize pricing, personalize marketing, quantify potential sales, and to target market more effectively.

Go-to-Market

The ability to have a GTM strategy aligned with measurable business objectives and to use digital marketing strategically for integrated customer communications and experiences.

Messaging

The ability to use a conversation roadmap for customer engagement messages and to identify and prioritize techniques to improve efficacy.

Campaigns

The ability to plan and execute campaigns to improve marketing effectiveness and to enable integrated content marketing activities.

Knowledge

The ability to gather competitive intelligence and product advantages in the marketplace and to utilize information and knowledge surrounding insights and experience.

Training

The ability to have disciplined processes for seller and sales support workforce onboarding, training, talent management, and succession planning.

Each capability dimension has dozens of behavior descriptions across the 5 stage levels.

The current model has almost 500 maturity behaviors. Don’t worry, I have condensed these into simpler sets of survey questions and checklists.

You can try out the 8 question sample survey at https://goo.gl/JzJzAu.

There are businesses of all sizes working to continuously improve their marketing and sales functions, including:

  • 38% of small business
  • 55% of medium-sized
  • 68% of large businesses

Why should you be interested in the full assessment process? Well, to become an organization with improved Sales Enablement!

To put it simply the purpose of the SE Maturity Survey is to:

  • Provide an evaluation tool for assessing the current capabilities of a sales organizations
  • Identify where the organization is relative to peers (comparable and aspirational)
  • Identify what are the next most imperative actions for improvement

The Next Practices based model leverages expert experiences to diagnose your current practice issues… and then recommend best practice lessons learned from others’ failures and successes.

Ultimately you will understand your opportunities to fill the gap between sales and marketing and be prescribed practices that deliver increased revenue generation.

Doesn’t everyone want or need that?


Infographic 3 — the How:

The third and final Infographic concentrates on How the assessment, results, diagnostic insights, and prescriptive next practices are delivered.

The first two help you understand what SE is and show you why most companies, and most likely yours, need it.

An SE Maturity Assessment is delivered in three steps:

(1) Administer Current State Assessment Surveys to contributors and leaders on topics such as:

  • Do all sales groups have and follow a consistent sales process?
  • Are there clear gates or decision points in the progression of the sales process?
  • Are customer experiences strategically aligned with measurable business objectives?
  • Are sellers measured by adherence to the sales process?

(2) Compile and Publish Current Practices & Perceptions and survey results including:

  • Assessment surveys/questions delivered and scores collected and compiled
  • Observe alignment, similarities, and differences across responses (72% of teams cite alignment is half the battle)
  • Review capability maturity scores, results, and perceptions with individuals and groups

(3) Deliver Analysis, Diagnostic Insights, and Prescriptions of Next Practices providing a basis for:

  • Insights & Recommendations — Provide insights of assessment results and deliver a recommendation for the next best practices to adopt
  • Filling the Gaps — Identify gaps and formulate initiatives to move from current state to desired future maturity levels
  • Initiative Roadmap — Roadmap initiatives and activities along with future state milestones and timelines

It’s that simple.

The package of maturity model, checklists and survey questions, and actionable insights services are quick and easy.

It provides an excellent first step in envisioning a transformation or continuous improvement initiative.

For more advanced, often larger organizations, the SE Maturity Assessment provides a gut check against best practice competitors.

It also provides a view on how well the team perspective as a whole is aligned and where alignment challenges exist.

For less advanced, or those with little in sales and marketing process role responsibility definition, the SE Maturity Model provides a starting place.

Some in the organization might not even be aware of what the big boys do, let alone how they do it.

Regardless of your current practice level, the idea of improving your marketing support sales function sounds like to a good idea, right? Do you want to improve productivity, revenue and to grow?

Contact Jeffrey Stewart (jstewart@asteriusmedia.com) and/or Meghan Richardson (meghan@synapzmarketing.com) and we will show you how three simple steps will put you on the path to Sales Enablement.