Revenue Enablement: Aligning to the Customer Experience
By Cal Cavness / Strategy
In May 2021, top research and advisory firm Gartner made a striking prediction — 75% of the highest growth companies in the world will be moving away from sales enablement and toward a revenue enablement model by 2025.
This anticipated shift comes in response to fast-changing global buying and selling processes, trends, and consumer realities.
What Gartner and many top companies have recognized is that revenue enablement allows for organizational messaging, metrics, revenue allocation, and workflow processes to be maximally aligned across sales, marketing, technology, customer service, and other customer-facing departments. This cross-departmental design provides customers with a seamless, intelligent, and collaborative experience—making them much more likely to engage with your brand in the future.
To help get ahead of this shift and integrate revenue enablement into your organization, we’ve created an in-depth guide that includes:
- An overview of revenue enablement, its purpose, departments, and goals
- The revenue enablement model’s five key tenants
- Why companies should move from sales enablement to revenue enablement
Revenue Enablement Overview
Sales Enablement and Revenue Enablement Definitions
To start, what exactly is revenue enablement? And how does it differ from sales enablement?
Both are great questions. Sales enablement provides sales teams with the training, tools, technology, and content needed to successfully lead customers through the sales process.Because of its focus on sales teams, this model fails to support customers throughout the entirety of their journeys.
Revenue enablement, on the other hand, extends by aligning training, tools, technology, and content support to all customer-facing teams. It centers on the entire buyer’s journey and is, therefore, a much more holistic view of how a company is generating revenue. Support among departments and partners is integrated into key systems to form a kind of positive feedback loop that benefits both the customer and the organization as a whole. This is because the focus is on collaboration, which builds customer confidence and gives your organization a competitive edge.
Revenue enablement also simplifies the training, tools, technology, and content that sellers use—giving them more time to focus on increasing acquisition rates with customers.
In other words, sales enablement isn’t eliminated by revenue enablement — it’s actually enhanced by it.
Summary of Revenue Enablement
Revenue enablement strategies are established to satisfy customer demand and create a seamless experience for them across every touchpoint they encounter.
Why is this so important? Well, global B2B research and advisory firm SiriusDecisions found that this end-to-end alignment increases profitability by up to 15% and grows revenue by almost 20%!
What is the Purpose of Revenue Enablement?
Holistic, aligned, and collaborative customer care processes across an entire organization create an experience that keeps revenue growing—even when the sales team is not directly involved.
Zendesk, for example, found that 62% of its B2B survey participants purchased more after having a good customer service experience. On the flip side, 66% of this same group said they’d leave a supplier following a bad experience.
Revenue enablement creates a streamlined, end-to-end customer experience that has been statistically shown to help keep clients loyal and motivated to increase their purchases.
What Departments are Involved in Revenue Enablement?
Any department that is involved in client-facing (forward-facing) work could be involved in revenue enablement. Typically, this means not only the sales and account management teams, but also marketing, customer service/success, and product design. Digital commerce, IT help desks, website design, and even channel partners may also be involved.
What Should Revenue Enablement Accomplish?
Fully aligned end-to-end branding, workflow designs, tools, customer expectation messaging, key performance indicators, and metrics that accurately and seamlessly measure how well the company is serving the customer are the cornerstones of revenue enablement.
With these cornerstones in place, even if a customer never speaks directly to a member of the sales team (as is often the case in the growing digital and self-service world), they nevertheless have the same (or a similar) experience as if they had. Plus, when someone does enter the sales funnel, regardless of which department generated interest, the entire customer-facing organization has visibility into how and when a customer has engaged with your organization. This gives each member context of the customer’s knowledge and expectations of your business—thus providing a more cohesive experience.
Ultimately, revenue enablement is about increasing your organization’s bottom line by increasing customer confidence in your organization. HubSpot reports that aligning just the marketing and sales teams, for instance, increases revenue by over 200% — and misalignments between these two groups cause a whopping $1 trillion in losses annually.
To ensure that all your teams are aligned for optimal collaboration and customer care, let’s dive into the five key tenants of revenue enablement.
The Five Tenants of Revenue Enablement
With revenue enablement, the customer experience is considered multi-faceted. To capture it fully, begin by extending your customer mapping to include all forward-facing work as part of the customer journey. Next, fill in any gaps by role-playing customer experiences.
You’ll also need to analyze the data that’s currently available to you to identify:
- Any pain points for customers and teams
- The places on the map where revenue is growing and where losses are happening
- Customer retention hotspots and black holes
- How the positive discoveries you make can be replicated across your company
Finally, prioritize any changes you’d like to make by deciding which will be the most beneficial and allocate resources accordingly. To accomplish this, we recommend utilizing a dynamic and unified Customer Relationship Management (CRM) platform, as well as a Customer Data Platform (CDP) to track specific customer engagement behaviors. This enables you to provide both quantitative and qualitative data to help gain commitment from the C-suite team.
By identifying the processes in each department, any associated documentation can be analyzed, potential bottlenecks or errors can be fixed, and KPIs/metrics for each process can be put in place and measured. Finding out why a process is utilized helps you assess if it’s actually useful to your customers — or if it’s just the way it has always been done.
In order to best improve overall business outcomes, it’s best to always focus on the customer’s journey when evaluating processes and their outcomes.
According to CSO’s 5th Annual Sales Enablement Study, 76.5% of enablement team respondents said they collaborate with other teams in an informal or “ad hoc” fashion, and this lack of formal collaboration negatively impacts their sales metrics.
Revenue enablement requires a focus on formal, structured collaboration among all customer-facing departments. This includes helping each involved team see themselves as sellers of your products and services, providing adequate training, building programs with consistent messaging, creating collaborative opportunities, rewarding collaboration, and selling across the company.
An aligned enablement onboarding strategy is also key so that new hires can begin collaborating right out of the gate.
While you’ve likely already been measuring metrics, the key here is to determine which ones truly determine your organization’s success and implement them universally.
Sales teams may be tracking the price per sale, for example, when lower-priced subscription-based models are being employed at your company. In this case, you may choose to eliminate the aforementioned metric altogether and measure outcomes like customer lifetime value (CLV) and churn rate instead.
By employing the same metrics and key performance indicators (KPIs) across all customer-facing departments, it’s easier to track who is doing well, where improvements are needed, and what your future finances will look like.
Tracking the adoption rate of revenue enablement across departments is considered a key tenant because the overall goal is, obviously, increased revenue. Therefore, it’s considered vital to find out the ROI.
To increase adoption rates, organizations employ the previous four tenants when designing a revenue enablement model. By focusing on the customer journey, collaboration across teams, and adoption measurement metrics for each process, you help ensure ease of implementation.
Here, well-coordinated, centralized governance is key. Revenue enablement managers are moving toward hiring specialists in their field to ensure adoption consistency, efficiency, and alignment.
Why Should Companies Move from Sales Enablement to Revenue Enablement?
“Where it used to be just sales enablement or just technical enablement, we’re now enabling anyone who touches revenue. So it’s gotten fairly complex and involved and, quite frankly, a lot more interesting.” – Hang Black, Juniper Networks’ VP of Revenue Enablement
Supports Cross-functional Alignment
With sales enablement, teams work in a kind of vacuum. Processes and metrics tend to support the assumption that selling begins and ends with the sales team. This can cause customers to receive inconsistent messaging, leading to frustration and distrust.
Upselling and renewing in this environment can be difficult, and customers may even take their business elsewhere. This is particularly problematic as competition in your market increases, thus making it much harder to onboard a new client to make up for the loss in revenue from a customer leaving.
Let’s take a look at how revenue enablement solves these misalignment issues and helps improve business outcomes.
Drives Data into Strategy around the Customer Journey
Increase Engagement through Better Targeting
When different teams collaborate through formalized processes, customer buying information can be shared much more seamlessly and effectively. This leads to better targeting and increased customer engagement. For example, automation tools can be used by digital teams to provide targeted in-store ads to customers so they’re more likely to purchase from in-store sales teams.
Likewise, customer service teams are empowered to engage in well-targeted upselling when they have access to a shared customer data system that contains insights from the sales team.
Eliminate Ineffective Touchpoints
A recent Martech study found that the number of customer touch points is higher than ever before, with ad tech alone increasing over 200% between 2016 and 2017.
Revenue enablement facilitates an end-to-end analysis of important financial metrics, such as conversion rates at every touchpoint (rather than just micro-focusing that analysis on the sales team). In this way, it helps companies better understand which of the many touch points are ineffective and can be downsized or eliminated, and which are the company “superstars”.
Better Resource Allocation
Once it’s understood which customer touch points bring in the most revenue, resources can be more effectively allocated. What’s more, as market buying and selling shifts happen, the revenue enablement model has processes in place to analyze these changes. Any resource allocation adaptations can therefore be made much more seamlessly.
Focused on Business Outcomes as Part of the Entire Customer Experience
Buyer Journey (Acquisition) and Customer Journey (Retain & Grow)
Because revenue enablement is an extension of sales enablement, business outcomes aren’t just limited to the buyer journey or acquisition. They also include every interaction a customer makes with your business, allowing you to take advantage of many more opportunities to optimize retention rates and grow revenue.
LAER – Land, Adopt, Expand, Renew
With the fast-paced rise of Everything As-a-Service (XAAS) models, big, upfront purchases are no longer the norm. They’ve been replaced by subscription-based or self-service products, which means customers’ focus is on the overall value the purchase brings to them, rather than on specific features. Revenue enablement models are excelling in this environment.
To help businesses adapt, the Technology & Services Industry Association (TSIA) recently developed a “customer engagement” model of revenue enablement called LAER: Land, Adopt, Expand, and Renew.
The LAER model involves a multitude of teams, starting with pre-sales, sales, and marketing teams, who help Land a prospect and successfully turn them into a customer.
Increase in Retention Rates
Getting a customer to commit to renewing begins during the Adoption stage of LAER. A customer success or support team member works with them to ensure they understand how to use the product or service to meet their business outcomes.
With a successful adoption of the product, getting the customer to commit during the Renew stage is much easier.
Increase in Expansion (cross-sell/upsell)
Growth happens through cross-departmental upselling and cross-selling. Customer success, marketing, and sales teams all take part in this Expansion stage of the LAER model.
Increase in Customer Lifetime Value
By increasing retention and expansion rates, all these teams help tie your business outcomes to the customer journey to increase CLV — which translates into more revenue for your organization over the long run.
Revenue enablement centers the entire buyer’s journey by aligning sales training, tools, technology, and content support among all forward-facing customer teams. It includes five key tenants:
- Customer Experience
- Process Driven
- Metrics Oriented
- Adoption Focused
Revenue enablement teams typically are made up of a manager and specialists in their area. This strategy has several advantages over sales enablement, including:
- Increasing engagement through better targeting
- Eliminating ineffective touchpoints
- Increasing renewals
- Increasing upselling and cross-selling
- Improving resource allocation
- Improving overall customer experience
Models like TSIA’s LAER (Land, Adopt, Expand, Renew) can help you put an effective revenue enablement strategy into place. If you’re unsure where to go from there, our full-service agency will work with you to align your sales, marketing, customer service/success, and other customer-facing departments. We have over a decade of experience across multiple capabilities to ensure your transition from sales to revenue enablement goes smoothly!
Written by Cal Cavness / Strategy