Why You Should Be Thinking More about Revenue Enablement (and Less about Sales Enablement)

Remodeling, construction, and in-home services companies face increased market pressures, accelerated competition, and the customer experience demands of sophisticated buyers.

Sales enablement practices and tools helped get them this far, but threaten to limit customer growth and retention. A shift to revenue enablement is critical. What does that change look like?

The takeaway

Revenue Enablement aims to maximize the revenue generated throughout the entire customer experience instead of just the selling process.

Falling back on a football cliché, revenue enablement is about playing all phases of the game under a unifying strategy; every department pulls in the same direction to create a seamless whole.

Revenue Enablement

Revenue Enablement over Sales Enablement

Understanding why focus should shift to revenue enablement requires understanding how it’s different from sales enablement. The best way to do this is to look at the basic definition of each.

Sales Enablement focuses on providing the sales team with the needed coaching, training, and content to help customers with their purchasing decision while improving the likelihood that the company‘s product or service is the best solution for the customer’s problem. These efforts are targeted specifically towards the sales and marketing teams since they are geared towards driving sales. 

The reality is that sales and marketing are just a small piece of the puzzle. To truly make the most of the customer relationship, all of the teams involved in the customer journey need to be considered. This is where revenue enablement comes into play, helping organizations improve their efficiency in obtaining and maintaining customers while also maximizing the revenue generated at each stage of the customer journey. Revenue enablement is a more recent practice and integrates the numerous teams and departments throughout the organization that influence the customer experience. 

Revenue Enablement aims to maximize the revenue generated throughout the entire customer experience instead of just the selling process. Businesses are constantly faced with the challenge of continuous growth. The customer-centric focus on revenue enablement will be crucial in reaching business goals moving forward. 

Revenue enablement is also  premised on a convergence of in-house information sharing that wasn’t really possible before 3D visualization, cloud computing, big data, and artificial intelligence.

The Revenue Enablement Institute clarifies: “One immediate area we see this happening is the rapid convergence of sales enablement (sales guidance), sales readiness (sales training), and sales engagement (aka data-driven selling for lack of a better description). A big underlying reason the sales enablement, readiness and engagement categories are converging is because they fundamentally support the same selling workflow and run on the same content and data.”

Falling back on a football cliché, revenue enablement is about playing all phases of the game under a unifying strategy; every department pulls in the same direction to create a seamless whole.

Revenue Enablement and Your Customer Experience

It’s no secret that the customer experience is critical to the overall success of your business, whether you sell B2B, through channels, or to customers directly. The customer-centric nature of revenue enablement means that every team involved in the customer journey, including sales, marketing, customer service, and product development, is provided the necessary training, coaching, technology, data, and content to help them facilitate a positive customer experience.   There are four  key areas to address as a foundation to move towards Revenue Enablement: 

I. Improve Organizational Processes

One of the challenges with sales enablement is getting all of the various levels to adopt processes needed to make it successful. Those processes can seem sales and marketing centric, and blind to the challenges in other departments. Because revenue enablement considers the entire organization, the holistic approach is easier for all levels, from the board to the customer-facing employees, to accept the changes and resources needed to maximize success. 

By looking at the customer journey as a whole, bottlenecks and other problematic processes can be identified and improved. Comprehensively looking at the customer journey can also facilitate more collaboration. This means better sharing of customer and product information across departments to help the customer experience go as smoothly as possible and improve cross-selling of products and services.  

II. Understanding The Investment

The issue with sales enablement is that few metrics can measure the plan’s actual return or effectiveness. By focusing on revenue enablement, high impact metrics can measure the outcome of the organization’s efforts and use of resources.

Those KPIs (key performance indicators) deal directly with the cost, value, and adoption of new processes to enhance the customer experience. Other metrics include the average customer value, how quickly deals are closed, revenue from new customers, the cost of customer acquisition, and revenues lost from customer churn.

The implementation of revenue enablement enables an organization to make measurable changes to improve the efficiency of customer acquisition and maintenance. These adjustments to organizational processes are also intended to improve the revenue generated at each stage of the customer journey. 

III. Maximizing Revenues Through the Customer Journey

The overlap between sales enablement and revenue enablement comes in maximizing revenue during the initial consideration and purchase stages of the customer journey. During this part of the journey, the sales and marketing team are hard at work to build brand awareness and acquire new customers and sell to existing customers. However, the initial sale or purchase is not the only time revenue can be generated throughout the customer’s journey. 

Revenue enablement gives the necessary departments the tools needed to generate revenues during the renewal and upsell stages of the customer journey as well. Giving teams the resources they need to stay in touch with customers can help identify issues regarding decreased usage, needed product changes, ineffective solutions, etc.  This enables the organization to proactively create solutions, minimizing customer loss and maximizing market opportunities. This also empowers the sales team to know what solutions aren’t  working or what other solutions might  be a better fit. 

IV. What Transformation Looks Like

The  Revenue Enablement Institute’s report Revenue Operations in the 21st Century Commercial Model, outlined  six “specific operational components” of a successful revenue enablement model:

  • Leadership endorses and carries out an organizational transformation that prioritizes the revenue enablement model. This is informed by  good, solid research undertaken and driven by management buy-in.
  • Operations reconfigures the management structure to make the revenue enablement model functional within the organization.
  • Technology and architecture is implemented that supports the speed, data collection, and internal communication that a revenue enablement scheme demands.
  • Insights are gathered from customer engagement, with data that can be used by sales staff when making real-time decisions.
  • Effectiveness is built with traditional customer service operations and, in tandem with the above inputs, the capabilities of the whole organization are better focused on servicing customers and finding opportunities to monetize interactions with them.
  • Asset Management is developed to properly use all these  inputs — data, tech, content, and IP assets — to maximize the revenue enablement model.

A successful, systematic revenue enablement program means an organization-wide approach to sales and customer service. The key realization is that having a customer who already wants to do business with you — thanks not only to adept customer service but also detailed tracking of that customer’s experiences with your company—is a very efficient way to move the ball down the field. 

Revenue Enablement is The Future

While sales enablement can help your organization build brand awareness and sell products and services, it fails to take the holistic approach needed to grow revenue. Unlike sales enablement, all levels of the organization support the data-driven and measurable integration of revenue enablement. 

By implementing revenue enablement and evolving a customer-centric mindset, your products and services anticipate customers’ needs and enable the organization to exceed its business and revenue objectives.