Many of our clients are building named account or strategic customer programs in order to drive more revenue from their existing customers.   Unfortunately, few are even close to realizing their expected results. Understanding the challenges associated with cross-selling within large account structures is one of the track sessions at our upcoming Sales Enablement Forum

Joining me in my track will be Tamara Schenk, VP of sales enablement at T-Systems. Tamara has definitely followed the path of the manager of “broken things” to evolving sales enablement as a more strategic function within her company.  Here are some of her thoughts:

1. How has the role of sales enablement changed inside your company?

The role of sales enablement changed fundamentally inside T-Systems. We started with sales enablement three years ago after the consolidation of many different portfolio views to ONE portfolio. Consequently, we also consolidated the variety of different sales portals by implementing one cross-functional multidimensional sales enablement platform called SPOT ON. The hard work behind SPOT ON was to analyze existing sales content, to be brave enough to throw away thousands of documents and to define everything else in terms of target groups, content, purpose, mapping to sales outcomes, RACI matrix for each content type, content generation and content publishing activities including a content localization process.

Based on this foundation where we covered knowledge management and sales content management, we built a holistic and strategic big picture of sales enablement based on the SIMPLE framework. It was not always easy and I'm really proud of the team's staying power – finally, we got buy-in from senior executives in sales. So, we moved the function to Sales, Global Business Operations and continued the cross-functional way of working across all SIMPLE framework topics. Now, we are addressing major topics regarding our strategic accounts, account tiering and strategic account planning based on a common core principle to reinforce customer-centricity – MODEL MAP MATCH. It helps us to start the journey, to drive the change we need in our business – change the way of thinking from inside-out to outside-in.

2. What are the three most critical things that led to this evolution?

  • Passion, creativity and staying power – Never give up if you know you are on the right journey!
  • The right story at the right time prepared with the right mentor and delivered to the right stakeholders to get senior executive buy-in.
  • Deep understanding of the SIMPLE framework, especially their leadership disciplines, how to use them and how to evolve them over time.

3. What do you see as the short and longer term future of sales enablement in your company?

Our sales enablement's mission is “bridging the gap between strategy and execution – connecting the dots between Go-To-Market models and Go-To-Customer frameworks.”

It's about changing the mindset from “I have to sell an offering or a service” to “I love to solve customer problems!”

Therefore, we brought all our initiatives in a logical sequence: The short term topics are the ongoing implementation of a new account tiering processes to get more focused and to optimize resource allocation in favor of our strategic accounts. Then, it's the implementation of the core principle MODEL MAP MATCH to be used for a systematic and structured value communication across the customer's agreement network and across the internal supply chain. Mapping of our offerings to the newly implemented buyer reference roles is a follow-up activity. In parallel we are currently initiating cross-functional councils on sales content and sales trainings to increase efficiency and measurable impact. Win loss analysis give as an ongoing guidance regarding sales execution and our major sales challenges.


The long-term future is the true change towards outside-in in people's mind, hearts and souls – and a proven track record regarding profitable growth!



NOTE:  SIMPLE Framework, Go-to-Customer, and Model-Map-Match are three Forrester concepts shared in the links to related research below.