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2021 forrester report sales enablement
November 10, 2021

Forrester Report Asks: Is Your Sales Enablement Ready To Level Up?

2021 forrester report sales enablement

Sales teams are facing unprecedented change and sales enablement must adapt to help organizations succeed is the main message of Forrester’s recent report, Is Your Sales Enablement Ready To Level Up?

In the report, authors Peter Ostrow, Jennifer Bullock, and Eric Zines describe the business pressures impacting sales enablement, how enablement can respond to these pressures, and the expected outcomes of effective sales enablement.

The report’s introduction states: “Sales enablement has evolved from its roots in isolated initiatives such as content distribution, new rep onboarding, and product launch training. Modern enablement leaders grasp the need and opportunity to demonstrably contribute to enterprise-wide success with a wider, more connected internal remit driven exclusively by external customer needs and internal revenue plan attainment.”

Here is a high-level overview of the report’s key topics. You can download a complete copy here: Is Your Sales Enablement Ready To Level Up?

What Business Pressures Impact Sales Enablement?

According to Forrester, four key market drivers impact B2B sales enablement teams.

1. Buyers are demanding more open, connected, intuitive, and immediate interactions.

Sales enablement leaders must understand evolving market dynamics and changes in buyers’ needs and align with other buyer-facing functions to ensure that sellers are enabled with the skills and tools they need to adapt.

2. Unanticipated macroeconomic disruptions can force adaptation.

Sales enablement leaders must conduct risk assessments and forecast which changes will be permanent (e.g., more virtual meetings) and define how other changes will look (e.g., the “next normal” for virtual vs. in-person interactions).

3. Increased internal seller pressures to know more, sell more, and retain more.

Sales enablement leaders must assess sellers’ cognitive load and work with their peers in product, portfolio marketing,  sales operations, and sales leadership to offset that load.

4. Increased employee expectations include seller empowerment and lifetime rep value.

Sales enablement must take the lifetime contribution of a salesperson into account and take the lead on defining and managing the lifecycle of each team member through the lens of sales competency management.

What Is The High-Altitude Remit For Sales Enablement?

According to author Peter Ostrow, “To meet these business drivers and support sales efforts to grow and retain revenue, the sales enablement charter for B2B organizations is clear: All customer-facing professionals must have the competence, confidence, and content to optimize their ongoing impact and maximize every buyer interaction.”

This mission statement, broken into its components, identifies important drivers for sales enablement leaders:

  • “All customer-facing professionals.” B2B sales enablement teams are increasingly responsible for enabling roles in addition to sales (e.g., solution engineers, customer success teams, channel partners, field marketers).
  • “Competence, confidence, and content.” B2B sellers and other customer-facing professionals should be attracted, onboarded, and optimized through a set of role-specific competencies that produce confidence using external and internal content.
  • “Optimize their ongoing impact.” Sales enablement must play the long game to transform the success of a single quarter or year into long-term value to the organization.
  • “Maximize every buyer interaction.” Sales enablement has a role in optimizing every interaction between buyers/customers and the individuals they enable.

What is The Sales Enablement Success Pathway?

Forrester also introduces The Sales Enablement Success Pathway. The Pathway illustrates how sales enablement’s core responsibilities contribute to revenue growth. Forrester defines these as managing sales talent, sales assets, sales methodology, and sales communications.

“Fulfilling these responsibilities is the most concrete way to inspire the competence, confidence, and content sellers need to generate extraordinary buyer interactions and bring lifetime value to the organization. These two outcomes converge to form a single goal for sales leaders and enablement teams: revenue growth.”

When Sales Enablement Is Executed Flawlessly, What Are The Expected Outcomes?

The report also defines the expected results from a well-executed sales enablement effort. According to Forrester, “Effective sales enablement enhances the buyer/customer experience. Sales enablement leaders strive to produce sellers who are competent enough to guide their deal or relationship, confident enough to think quickly when advocating for their customers’ best interests, and equipped with the most appropriate content to add color to their interactions. In a customer-obsessed sales environment, enablement must continuously drive toward this goal, but also measure its contributions.”

What Does “Good, Better, Best” Look Like For Sales Enablement?

Since sales enablement excellence means different things to different organizations, the authors of the Forrester report urge leaders—whether new to the role, standing up a function for the first time, or dealing with change management scenarios—to conduct a sales enablement self assessment to answer the questions “What should I be working on?” and “How can I get it all done?” The answers will position leaders to define their focus and determine what accomplishments they should aspire to achieve.

Learn More

Download your copy of the Forrester research report: Is Your Sales Enablement Ready To Level Up? today.

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