Blog: It’s time to talk about revenue enablement, not sales enablement

By Iain Masson, RVP, UK & Nordics, at Showpad

The sales enablement industry has grown exponentially in the past five years, 343% to be precise. The impact of the pandemic, and the call for businesses to accelerate their digital transformation projects, has only further propelled that growth. Now, whole departments dedicated to sales enablement are a common feature for any business and there are increasingly more job openings for sales enablement roles. Yet, at the very time when sales enablement has become mainstream, the industry is already shifting and organisations need to now be looking to take the next step.

These next few months will likely prove critical for many businesses looking to rebuild and grow, ensuring that they are making the most of all opportunities. Welcome to the age of revenue enablement.

Shifting the focus

Sales enablement helps marketing teams to produce the best, relevant content to draw in customers and push them along the sales journey, as well as equipping sales teams with the tools and support to then close a sale. It is all about sealing the deal, but it does not fully consider what may happen next.

A further consequence of the pandemic is that pushing people through to close that sale has become even harder. Recent Showpad research shows that this is due to buyers placing buying decisions on hold or changing decision criteria. It’s well known that acquiring new customers takes much more time and money than upselling or cross-selling to existing customers. With many businesses striving to hold on to their customers during these turbulent months, existing customers have become the key priority – but they also offer a wealth of new business opportunities and potential new revenue streams. However, the flip side of this is that their expectations are now also higher than ever before, and it’s great customer experience that will help to set a business apart. Revenue enablement is about ensuring every single interaction with your customer is consistent and a good experience – even long after that initial sale.

Aligning more teams

This is of course easier than done. A positive fallout of the pandemic is that UK organisations have reported improved collaboration between sales and marketing teams – something which was previously a major challenge for many. However, now this alignment needs to spread a lot further. Revenue enablement is about bringing together whole revenue teams to build a modern selling organisation and culture. It requires alignment between sales, marketing, customer success and account teams, the channel and even the likes of operations. Afterall, there’s no point selling beautifully to a prospect and converting them to a customer if your support then keeps them on hold for an hour the first time they have a problem – they won’t be repeating their business, and may even cut ties then and there. Revenue enablement involves all those teams helping to generate income – which, essentially, could span across the whole business.

To enable this greater cross-departmental alignment, there needs to be far greater transparency to ensure everyone involved has a full and complete picture of customers. This is where, as for sales enablement, utilising tools and technology to keep everyone fully up-to-date, sharing the same messages and working towards the same goal is key. This also means that it is far easier to frictionlessly pull in different departments or people with different expertise to answer different demands or questions from customers. All helping to fuel into that all-important great customer experience – and more importantly, to flag potential upselling or cross-selling opportunities to others within the organisation, perhaps even completely different business units or business subsidies. For example, depending on the size of the business, a B2B customer buying a product may also be in need of certain associated services, which business subsidiaries sell.

Becoming truly customer centric

The other key requisite for revenue enablement is to fully place the customer at the centre, once and for all. While ‘customer-centric’ has become a popular phrase bandied about by many organisations, there are few actually adhering to and following this principle. In the same way that sales enablement ensures marketing teams have relevant content for prospects, this still needs to hold true for existing customers – and may be even more important. Through collaborating with other departments, utilising all the available analytics and data, the likes of marketers still need to be creating the content that existing customers want to consume and delivering it through their preferred channels. With more information available on existing customers, this should be easier to decipher and customise to offer a personalised customer experience. Ultimately, customers still want their questions answered, challenges addressed and if possible, their future needs to in fact be anticipated.

Revenue enablement is about truly thinking from a ‘human-first’ perspective and to achieve that continuous great customer experience, taking us to a future where ‘being sold to’ is not only efficient and effective, but also a positive experience for everyone involved. After the scrabble to simply hold on to customers or to pull in any low-hanging business opportunities, it is revenue enablement that will help organisations to now start to really grow.

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