5 Tips to Drive Value from Your Sales and Marketing Enablement Tools
The explosive growth in popularity and availability of productivity/enablement platforms has made companies like Salesforce and Hubspot household names. These tools provide well-documented benefits and many organizations are embedding them into their operational roadmaps at earlier growth stages. Before you purchase a tool, you should understand how your customers buy, how your own processes align, and how technology will accelerate this lifecycle. Here are five tips to help you build an enablement stack that will deliver continuous value to business.
1. Choose tools with standard functionality that best align with your established processes
ChiefMartech’s 2020 infographic has over 8,000 logos…and that’s just for marketing technology. With so many options available in the marketplace today, you can definitely find a solution with robust and practical standard functionality to suit your needs. During demos, ask to see the journey that a lead, opportunity, account, or anything you want to measure, takes from start to finish and pay close attention to the “handoffs” and other changes that occur throughout. Choose the tool whose core functions most closely resemble your own operational roadmaps and processes.
2. Treat heavy-handed customizations like a scarce water source
You will undoubtedly need to customize from time to time, but don’t buy a Honda to build a BMW…buy one or the other and fine-tune as needed. Heavily coded automation and custom processes can make magic happen, but they can also create ghosts in the machine by unintentionally affecting other areas of the system. Additionally, they place a burden on system performance and every technology stack can only tolerate so much pressure. If your core processes are well-established, whatever data you are missing can most likely be produced with a little bit of manipulation, all within the confines of standard functionality.
3. Give ownership of all enablement tools to one person/team
If your revenue-facing teams are the drivers that take you from quarter to quarter, a highly functional enablement tech stack is the car that gets you across the finish line. Making sure the machine can perform reliably is a full-time job; having an expert or the right crew in place can make a critical difference in your ability to actualize value. This becomes a must-have once you go down the path of customization.
4. Walk a tight line between user experience and usability
Expecting a sales rep or a CSM to enjoy using your CRM might be too much to ask; but your end users should be able to specify how these tools make their jobs easier. Think about the business outcomes you’re trying to impact (i.e., make the sales pipeline fully visible in real time between executive leadership and individual contributors) and let those outcomes guide your hand as you design, build, and expand your system’s functionality. It does not have to be pretty, but it cannot “just work” …it has to make sense.
5. Make data integrity everyone’s responsibility
It takes a village to raise good data. The biggest factor preventing companies from gaining value out of its enablement technology is lack of oversight and governance around data integrity. Good data is the lowest common denominator, it drives the reports and dashboards you use to measure efficacy and the responsibility of maintaining good data simply cannot be outsourced or automated. Set the bar for data integrity and make sure your team toes the line. Review and correct faulty data during your recurring team meetings.
A well-managed enablement stack can do wonders for your business, but doing it right takes careful planning and execution. Standing up a new system prematurely creates unnecessary friction in your workflow and the last thing you want is to create a bigger problem than the one you set out to solve.