Sales enablement is essential for companies competing in a modern business environment. I talked to Jive Software’s Senior Enterprise Community Manager, Kosheno Moore, about the importance of onboarding, the key people and ingredients needed to set up an internal Sales Enablement Community, and the significance of content and design.


Q: Why is sales enablement so important today?

A: Enabling a company’s sales organization is critical to the bottom line. The faster new sales employees can get onboarded to a company, the better.

Q: What are the main goals of an internal Sales Enablement Community?

A: The first goal of this use case is to streamline and simplify the communication and onboarding experience for new sales reps, along with giving them easy access to continued education. Next, there needs to be a clear guide to selling the company’s products. Finally, it should result in an improved user experience and make it easy for sales to find what they’re looking for. Bottom line, the experience should be so awesome that sales employees are becoming passionate storytellers of your company’s product and value propositions to your prospects.

Q: Who should be a part of this project?

A: At the head of that table is an Executive Sponsor. He or she is responsible for strategic alignment and weekly engagement. When there are major resource constraints, timeline changes or scope changes, it’s important to have this sponsor have the last say.

Next are the Implementation Sponsors. They’re responsible for process, tools alignment, strategic alignment and weekly engagement. They make sure that the Executive Sponsor’s goals are implemented correctly for their organization’s processes and charters.

The Project Manager makes sure there is tight coordination and keeps the entire team engaged and productive. This person is critical for ensuring that the team is meeting the timelines and deliverable expectations.

The Sales Enablement Managers are responsible for ownership of the Sales Onboarding Program and content creation. Program ownership and content creation subject matter experts are E.S.S.E.N.T.I.A.L!

You should also have a Strategist who is in charge of strategic solutions based on requirements and best-practices. It is so easy for us to want to jump into designing how an experience should be or how a page should look—the Strategist’s role is critical in ensuring that Executive Sponsor’s goals are effectively implemented.

Finally, an Enterprise Community Manager should be engaged to correctly and effectively implement the design outlined by the strategist. A Community Manager could also execute on visual format design and the operations manual for Sales Enablement Managers onto a technical platform.

If you don't have an executive sponsor, don't start a department wide/company-wide use case within your internal community. Pitch the use case and get them on board first; it is absolutely key to success.

Q: Can you discuss the importance of process to a Sales Enablement Community?

A: We can’t implement a community solution without clear processes and ownership that can support the overall goals. Well-defined processes are going to be the blueprint for how we solve the use case within a community. Process engineering is not necessarily the role of a strategist or a community manager. Certainly, they can help to define the processes but, at the end of the day, there needs to be a clear owner who can own and maintain the processes. So, it is critical for the Enablement Manager to come to the table with an approved (which means, he or she has done the due-diligence of getting the feedback from the right stakeholders and executive sponsors). This is so very important because without an approved plan, its very difficult to implement a solution. It’s like putting the cart before the horse.

Q: What are the steps involved in designing a community solution?

A: With a clear process, a strategist can come in and start to design a solution by:

  1. translating executive sponsor’s goals into solution concept
  2. mapping them to relevant components of the processes and operational strategy
  3. defining an information architecture, and
  4. creating a best-practice wireframe.

By the time the wireframes are created, the enablement team had clear understanding on how they needed to maintain this use case on ongoing basis to keep it successful.

If possible, engage a strategist. They've seen hundreds of examples of various use cases and can provide valuable insights into a solution.

Q: How important is content?

A: Content is King and Queen. This is probably the most time consuming step but it is so very important. It was imperative for us to create high production value assets to increase engagement and interactions with our content.

Q: How do you deal with existing content?

A: It is very easy to create a checklist of existing content within a community. However, it was very important for the Enablement team to provide all Sales new hires with a “wrapper” content—almost 150 pages of them—where role relevant context to the linked materials are clearly articulated. In this example, the Enablement Managers tirelessly created all of the wrapper contents in a matter of couple of weeks. What’s going to keep this program successful is their team’s commitment to keep these content up-to-date and relevant. No content, no quality use case. Be prepared to create new content you are ready to maintain—and archive old content. This is the time to get super-creative about fun ideas to get your use case audience excited!

Q: What about data management?

A: If this use case is an improvement to an existing one, it is likely that there is a lot of irrelevant content. It is important to do some house cleaning before launching the new community. If you have thousands of pages of old content, you may need to put a stake in the ground (with your sponsor’s approval) and say, “We are only going to keep content that was created in the last x-months and everything else will be marked outdated, moved out of the place, etc.

Any final tips for implementing a Sales Enablement Community?

A: Spend some time making sure the user experience is excellent by using simple but visually striking assets.

(New department portal for sales is a one stop shop for all sales communication)

(Sales Jiversity—an example of a content hub for sales skills, onboarding and continual education)

Want to make your space awesome? If your use case impacts large audience (i.e. department-wide/company-wide), make sure to nail down the fundamentals before focusing on design to avoid process, information architecture and program ownership challenges. Once they are addressed, you can have a beautiful and purposeful experience for your organization.

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