Revenue Enablement: Keeping Your B2B Customers at the Forefront

Marc Grewenig
December 1, 2023

There’s a noticeable shift happening in the B2B landscape. Traditionally, we talk a lot about pipelines and funnels, but how are we actually making the buyers’ journey more customer-centric? A successful sale shouldn’t be the end goal but rather a starting point in seeing what your teams did to get there. This is where revenue enablement comes in.

Revenue enablement is a holistic approach to drive real revenue growth. It doesn’t just require the breakdown of silos between sales and marketing, but all other customer-facing teams like customer success, as well. But that’s just scratching the surface.

We’ll be helping you discover why your organization should adopt revenue enablement and how to execute it. 

What is revenue enablement?

It seems like every 2-3 years, a new B2B buzzword makes its way onto the scene, capturing the attention of all the organizations that don’t want to miss jumping on the bandwagon. But revenue enablement isn’t just a new buzzword. It’s a concept that has always existed in some form, but until recently, no one has explored what it can bring in terms of growth.

Over the last few years, B2B companies have felt the buyer landscape shift. Prospects and customers are no longer willing just to be pitched to and sold a solution. They’re looking for a complete customer experience.

The revenue enablement definition covers: 

  • an integrative, company-wide revenue operations strategy
  • alignment between all revenue-generating channels and customer-facing roles
  • sales, marketing, customer service, and other functions affecting revenue
  • a cohesive and integrated approach to generate business value

So what are the benefits of taking on this strategy?

Why You Need a Revenue Enablement Strategy

Revenue enablement started gaining traction when buyer and customer behavior started to shift. Businesses noticed that they needed to start enhancing every customer touchpoint lead by all customer facing teams. To make sure you don’t get left behind, your business needs to be able to shift with the changing environment. 

Here’s what you’d be missing out on if you don’t implement a revenue enablement strategy:

Stronger and more sustainable customer relationships

Has your business been putting its customers and prospects front and center? If not, you’ll need to start. Use a revenue enablement strategy to prioritize understanding your buyer’s journey. Then, expand on that understanding to guide your sales, marketing, and customer success teams. If you’re not doing it, you can be sure your competition is taking advantage of that.

Improved cross-functional alignment

Ah, yes, the classic team silos. If you’ve been in B2B for a while, you know how challenging it can be to get all teams rowing in the same direction. The result of these silos is miscommunication and ineffective strategies and motions. Revenue enablement gives you a framework to foster collaboration, producing teams aligned and moving towards a singular goal: growth.

Increased sales productivity

Are all your customer-facing teams working towards revenue generation? Give your teams access to ongoing training, content, resources, and the right tools. Through revenue enablement, every customer touch point can be leveraged to drive sales and productivity across the board.

More clarity and focus

Don’t just wander around in the dark. Use revenue enablement strategies to comb through your data and use that information to drive your decisions. You’ll end up with better-targeted marketing campaigns, sales strategies that are more effective, and improved customer service, which will lead to, you guessed it, more revenue. Using data to dictate your decisions also gives you the chance to take stock, see what is or isn’t working, and then adjust for continuous improvement!

Even though those benefits are enough to convince anyone they need to implement revenue enablement strategies for their business, I can hear you asking, ‘But we already have buyer enablement or sales enablement strategies deployed. Why do I need revenue enablement?’

The only thing the three strategies really have in common is the word enablement. At their core, each of these strategies fulfills different roles in your teams, for the customer, and for your overall business. So how are the three different?

Revenue Enablement vs. Sales Enablement vs. Buyer Enablement

To get some deeper insights we talked to, Jan-Niklas Frantz, Head of Buyer Enablement here at emlen.io, to share his take on how the three strategies are different but also interconnected:

Revenue enablement is a system that consists of processes, structures, people, data, and technology targeted towards maximizing revenue for an organization. Think of cross-functional collaboration and smooth operations or company-wide strategy.
Buyer enablement could be considered a subset or revenue enablement, depending on your industry. It definitely plays a large role because, at the end of every process, there’s a customer towards whom every activity is targeted towards customer satisfaction. Making the process easy, positive, and seamless for people automatically leads to higher revenue.”

Then there’s sales enablement, which Jan-Niklas also sees as a subset of revenue enablement. However, with sales enablement (as the name suggests), you’re enabling sales teams to maximize revenue by giving them the tools to do a better job with their buyers. In a way, you could even consider sales enablement to be a subset of buyer enablement. Why? Through sales enablement strategies, you’re giving your sales team ways to create a buyer or customer-centric approach. 

So, revenue enablement is the overarching strategy, buyer enablement is a narrower tactic that supports that overall goal, and sales enablement empowers sales teams to fulfill buyer enablement.

That covers the differences in strategy, but what are the tools that you can use to make sure each facet is running smoothly to achieve all your goals?

The Ultimate Tool Stack For Efficiency and Alignment

Tools are there to support our daily work, and not having the right ones can create serious blockers for progress. However, too many tools create chaos, especially if each team isn’t aligned on how to use them. Here are our tips for tools you should have when planning for a revenue enablement strategy: 

  1. A robust Customer Relationship Management system (CRM) like Salesforce can help your teams manage interactions with your current or potential customers. It can also help you track leads throughout your sales funnel. With the ability to store essential customer information, it can make it easier to provide personalized experiences more effectively.

2. For the highest efficiency for marketing, you’ll also need a Marketing Automation Platform (MAP) like Hubspot Marketing Hub. Not only can marketing teams streamline their efforts, but they can use the tool to nurture leads and gain insights into the success of their campaigns and efforts. 

3. Data analysis tools like Tableau, an interactive dashboard, can help your teams make data-driven decisions. They offer insights into vital revenue metrics and customer segmentation. 

4. You also can’t leave out Communication Platforms designed to help your teams make collaborative work easier. A tool like Slack can help cross-team project communication be more aligned.

5. Of course, we can’t forget Digital Sales Rooms here at emlen.io. These are digital spaces where salespeople can engage customers remotely. They can provide personalized content and experiences to help them along their B2B buyer’s journey.

These are just some of the kinds of tools that you could equip your tech toolbox with. Curate carefully to find the combination that works best for your entire organization. 

Now you know which tools are available, let’s go into how to take actual steps to execute revenue enablement.

How to Execute Revenue Enablement in Your Organization

Incorporating a revenue enablement strategy needs a firm commitment to a customer-first approach. We’ve broken down the process into five manageable steps:

Step 1: Define clear objectives 

Your first step should be to clearly identify what you hope to accomplish with your revenue enablement strategy. Match these objectives up with key performance indicators (KPIs) to track progress and measure success.

Step 2: Break down organizational silos

 For revenue enablement to work, your sales, marketing, and customer success teams need to work together seamlessly. Foster collaboration across teams and ensure everyone understands their roles in the bigger picture.

Step 3: Invest in the right revenue enablement platform and tools

As we talked about previously, the right technology stack can really make or break any true growth, regardless of method. There are many revenue enablement platforms and tools so use the right combination to gather and analyze data, manage customer relationships, and streamline workflows.

Step 4: Focus on the customer

Put your customer’s needs, pain points, and buying journey above all else. Also, understand your customer’s needs and pain points, being sure to map your strategies to every point of their buying journey.

Step 5: Never stop learning and growing

Dynamic B2B environments are always coming up with new industry trends. Having a training plan in place can help your teams adapt faster with less friction, allowing them to serve your customers before the competition knows what’s happening!

Having these steps is definitely a move in the right direction, but you may also face challenges when transitioning toward revenue enablement:

  • Lack of alignment: Teams used to operating in silos might resist the shift towards a more collaborative work environment.
  • Insufficient technological capabilities: Not having the right tools or failing to integrate them properly may hinder the successful execution of revenue enablement strategies.
  • Inadequate customer insights: Without a deep understanding of the entire customer journey, businesses may struggle to create effective enablement strategies.
  • Resistance to change: As with any organizational shift, resistance to change can be a significant barrier to implementing effective revenue enablement efforts.

Understanding Your Revenue Enablement Success: The Metrics That Truly Matter

Tracking the success of your revenue enablement strategy can sometimes feel like you're lost in a sea of metrics and KPIs, but don't worry! Let's make it simple and focus on key indicators that tell you if your strategy is hitting the mark or missing the spot.

Revenue Growth

Think of this as your beacon. The end goal of any revenue enablement strategy is, well, to boost revenue! So, if you're seeing your overall sales revenue climb, you're on the right track.

Sales Cycle Length

Do you remember how we talked about how to enable revenue to help streamline your sales process? Well, you'll know it's working if your sales cycles become shorter. Like a neat, time-saving shortcut!

Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC)

Thanks to efficiencies gathered from aligning sales, marketing, and customer success teams, you might start to see a dip in costs for acquiring new customers. Think of it as getting more bang for your buck!

Customer Lifetime Value (CLTV)

With an integrated revenue enablement strategy, you're not just aiming for once-off success. It's more about courting customers to stick around and make bigger, more frequent purchases. That's how you up the total revenue they generate over the customer lifecycle.

Customer Retention Rate

Speaking of sticking around, a well-cooked revenue enablement plan can definitely make your business more appealing to customers, making them more likely to stay for the long run.

Sales Productivity

By equipping your sales reps with the right tools and resources (like giving archers the best bows and arrows), you're priming them to bring in more revenue per rep.

Quota Attainment

Here's a biggie - with a robust revenue enablement strategy, you should see more and more sales reps meeting or even exceeding their sales quotas.

Cross-functional Alignment

It's like a well-oiled machine with cogs working in perfect harmony. By measuring alignment between sales, marketing, and customer success teams, we glean insights into our revenue outcomes. The better the alignment, the sweeter the music.

Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT)

A focus on crafting a smooth customer journey and top-notch experiences often sees your customer satisfaction scores take flight. It's like happiness converted into numbers!

Net Promoter Score (NPS)

Lastly, a thriving revenue enablement strategy can give your NPS a healthy boost, meaning more of your customers are likely to recommend your business to others. It's like having your own cheer squad!

In short, keep an eye on these indicators, use them to tweak and perfect your strategies, and you'll be a champion of revenue enablement in no time. But don’t just sit back and relax just yet! In order to keep a well-oiled machine running, you have to maintain it. Training and development for your teams is vital to do just that.

The Secret Ingredient to Revenue Enablement: Training and Development

You want to make sure your teams and strategies stay sharp regardless of how the B2B landscape changes. Your team has great strategies, the perfect tool stack, and a way to use data-driven insights to enable them to execute customer-first journeys. How can you keep your teams running smoothly and in top condition?

With ongoing training…

A Toolkit for Powerful Training Programs and Initiatives

If your revenue enablement strategy was a ship, then it's only as good as its crew and their map. Here's how you can equip your team for the journey:

Integrated coaching: Think of this as supercharging on-the-job training. By blending everyday activities with coaching, learning becomes less of a chore and more part of the fabric of daily work—fostering a deeper understanding across roles and nurturing a well-rounded, team-player mentality.

Role-specific training: It's almost like personal training but for your job. It's crucial that the training you provide caters to each role's unique needs. After all, a one-size-fits-all approach hardly works when the hats are so diverse!

Leverage technology: Make technology your ally. Employ learning management systems like a trusty sidekick to dish out educational material, keep tabs on progress, and offer flexible learning options. We can't all be night owls or early birds!

Data-driven training: Here's where your figurative magnifying glass comes into play. By using data to unearth gaps in skills or understanding, you can customize training initiatives to fill those chasms perfectly.

In a nutshell, giving training and development its due place in the sun is key to successful revenue enablement. By pouring resources into enhancing your teams' skills and knowledge, you're crafting a fertile ground where robust revenue enablement practices can flourish.

Boost Your Organization's Success Through Revenue Enablement

Today’s B2B business environment is super competitive, so having a comprehensive revenue enablement platform and strategy is essential for organizations aiming to set themselves apart and tap into their full revenue potential. By taking apart those pesky silos, honing in on customer journeys, and ensuring that all customer-facing roles work harmoniously together, you can supercharge your team's effectiveness, enrich customer experiences, and propel lasting growth.

If you're yet to jump on the revenue enablement bandwagon, now's the perfect time to explore how it could amplify your organization's success. 

By taking the initiative today, you'll be better equipped to tackle upcoming challenges and grab hold of new opportunities. Your organization's future success is squarely in your hands—embrace a customer-focused and revenue-driven approach to business and watch it take off!

Marc Grewenig

at
emlen