Today, Forrester has officially transitioned our B2B research coverage, available via our new Forrester Decisions for B2B Sales service, of sales enablement to “revenue enablement.” Our customers’ entire viewpoint, from their digital experience to all content in this week’s B2B Summit, now reflects this change. Why did we make this decision?
For customers with access to The Future Of Sales Enablement Is Revenue Enablement, the detailed explanation is laid out. The TL;DR: The market has evolved to where siloed empowerment of different customer-facing staffers is a detriment to B2B success. If our organizations truly believe in an outside-in model where buyer needs determine everything that our aligned sales, marketing, product, and CX functions accomplish, enablement must be unified and lockstep across our enterprises.
But don’t just take our word for it. Your peers — and perhaps competitors — are in full agreement:
Chuck Marcoullier, VP of revenue enablement, FreightWaves: “Enablement is a constant — it focuses on skills, messaging, and processes for every customer-facing role, which is the only way to ensure a cohesive customer journey. Nothing breaks your buyer’s trust like a disjointed experience. Revenue enablement will only work in an organization committed to a customer-driven model.”
>> Chuck hits the right note about customer-driven org design. No one enjoys being handed off from field marketing to lead qualifiers to new business account executives to account managers and so on. A seamless customer lifecycle demands consistent, intuitive support from the provider.
Giles Giddings, former senior director of global enablement, Snowflake: “I’ve found that the ‘revenue enablement’ nomenclature refers to more evolved environments where the majority of an organization’s go-to-market (GTM) team is tuned into buyer personas and ‘what’s in it for me (WIIFM).’ This is a significant change from the siloed, handoff mentality we saw in the early days of sales-specific enablement.”
>> Giles comes from a software-as-a-service background, but the lessons of “more evolved environments” apply to any B2B organization. I was recently super impressed with how a transportation/logistics firm — a trucking company, in essence — was deeply engaged in a revenue enablement mindset. The firm thinks of two equal but distinct customer groups — external buyers and internal team members — that both need to be served with consistent support and empowerment.
Penny Springer, VP, revenue enablement, Planview: “We enable all roles involved in the customer journey, but at different altitudes. Everyone is supported consistently around value messaging and how our solutions support customer outcomes, but we don’t get as deeply into the tactics, tools, and processes for nonquota roles. This is how we optimize the customer experience but still allow our counterparts to handle more granular enablement details as they see fit.”
>> I love Penny’s explanation of how enablement can mean different things to different parts of a customer-obsessed growth engine. It’s the discipline of high-value enablement and high standards for its execution that remain consistent among Planview’s different functions, even when her team’s direct responsibilities vary widely across them.
Matt Cohen, senior enablement manager, Dotmatics: “The more we hold onto the ‘sales enablement’ term, the longer our horizons are seen as limited to focusing only on sales training. Enablement is about the entire buyer journey and supporting our GTM leaders to fill gaps in customer-facing people, processes, and technologies.”
>> Matt’s approach helps remind us of the optics that we all must address within our companies: championing what we do, not for our own benefit, but for those we serve. Enablement’s customer is the internal buyer-facing team, which in turn serves external customers … so the “revenue” terminology speaks far more accurately to optimizing the customer experience, compared with “We deliver sales training.”
The common theme among all these industry leaders’ perspectives is “customer.” We analysts often see onboarding plans or sales competency maps that neglect this all-important consideration and advise revisions accordingly. If your enablement team is focusing on just training for product launches, introducing new labor-saving software tools, or seeking adoption of a single methodology to cover all customer interactions … it may not be outside-in enough. And it’s likely not ready for the “revenue enablement” moniker. As for the rest of you: We look forward to elevating the conversation this week in Austin and beyond.