January 25, 2021

How to Define and Build Your Sales Enablement Charter

Your sales enablement program has stakeholders across several teams including marketing, product, sales and customer success. With so many teams involved, a clear charter outlining the scope and responsibilities of the sales enablement program is crucial. 

Whether you’ve already built out your enablement charter or have yet to begin, there are a handful of potential roadblocks you may run into. From getting the team on the same page and heading in the same direction to securing executive buy-in, building a strong charter takes careful planning.

Russell Wurth, Showpad’s Vice President of Worldwide Sales Enablement, teams up with Sales Hacker in a new webinar titled Defining and Refining Your 2021 Sales Enablement Charter. Russell keys us into the strategies he’s championed to create an efficient and streamlined charter that drives revenue. 

Discover the importance of building a charter, how to get executive buy-in, the four building blocks of a successful enablement program and the personas your charter should pay attention to.

What is a sales enablement charter? 

A formal sales enablement charter is a guiding document that acts as your blueprint, outlining your purpose, goals and how you’ll achieve them.

“It gives you the authorization and authority to go get things done.” 

Sounds simple, but it’s often overlooked and can be challenging to build out. Enablement challenges you to form a team across product, sales, marketing, etc. One of the most difficult parts of sales enablement is getting your charter defined and getting the team behind it rowing in the same direction. 

There are a few things to note about enablement: 

  • Enablement revolves around helping the company to more efficiently drive revenue.
  • With enablement, there is a lot of accountability but not a lot of authority.
  • Because of this, team orchestration is required to bring together talent from other areas including product, marketing, sales, operations and customer success.

“Think of enablement as a team sport. For enablement, you have to think about how you get the right team in place. It’s about coordinated effort. The overall goal is to help the revenue team perform.”

The four stages of enablement group development

When you think about your sales enablement team, it’s less about one person managing the team and more about who’s leading the team. Russell breaks down your team’s maturity levels into four stages: forming, storming, norming and performing. 

The forming stage: Your team acquaints and establishes ground rules. Formalities are preserved and members are treated as strangers. 

The storming stage: Members start to communicate their feelings but still view themselves as individuals rather than part of the team. They resist control by group leaders and show hostility. 

The norming stage: People feel part of the team and realize that they can achieve work if they accept other viewpoints.

The performing stage: People feel part of the team and realize that they can get the best out of the entire team and not just think of themselves as a piece to the puzzle. 

stages of enablement team development

Let’s take a look at these stages in more detail. 

Forming

As you gather your sales enablement team, members will still be warming up to each other. Everyone realizes there’s a goal to strive for but because management isn’t on the same page, the journey may be difficult. You may be getting mixed signals from management in regards to what the team needs to accomplish and team members realize they have a lot of work to do.

This is where a charter starts to become important.

Storming

This is where you start to push boundaries. During the storming phase, your team will be trying to establish where the biggest issues lie within the enablement team. This stage is all about discovering bad habits or unsuccessful strategies the team may have and working to correct them as a unit. 

Typically, your team will face some friction, whether it’s within the team or from executive leaders that may not understand the end goal. This is why the progress dips on the chart above. Storming is all about doing the dirty work to iron out the creases.

Norming

During the norming stage, you’ll have identified best practices that are repeatable and scalable. Within the enablement team, members have resolved their differences and now understand each other’s strengths. The team is unified and everyone understands the goal and purpose of the enablement charter. 

Constructive feedback is happening in the norming stage and because the team is on the same page, real progress is now being made. Processes and methodologies have been put into place and are proving to be successful. 

Performing

In the performing stage, your enablement team is performing to their fullest potential. The team understands the goals they want to achieve and has a set of structured processes it follows. You may also notice that roles within the team may change and shift. This is because every member is knowledgeable enough to perform any function. 

Building your charter

The main driver behind building a sales enablement charter is the license for action. Your charter will document and detail the goals your team establishes, the methods you’ll use to get there, the metrics you’ll track and the accountability you assume. A sales enablement charter doesn’t serve the enablement team; it serves the entire company. 

As you build your charter, reflect on what you’ll be doing as well as what you won’t be doing. Business needs change frequently, so aligning your charter to the cadence of sales is imperative. 

So what’s included in the charter?

Charter format

Russell takes us into the nitty gritty of building a charter. 

“We sometimes worry too much about the format of a charter. Do we want a Word template or Sheets or Slides? My recommendation is to pick one that works with your executive sponsors.”

Russell suggests that as you spend time with these sponsors, see how they communicate and what’s easiest for them. CROs may prefer Slides while CMOs may prefer Sheets or Docs. 

You can structure a charter in a variety of ways. One framework Russell highlights is the V2MOM. 

v2mom

V2MOM stands for vision, values, methods, obstacles and measures. This is just one example of a charter structure. There are dozens of ways to structure yours and there isn’t a one size fits all solution. Depending on your maturity, industry and your company mission, it’s important to choose a framework that will work well for you. This depends on what you want to achieve as an organization and what your company’s doing today.

Your charter sponsor

While building your charter, consider your executive sponsor. This could be the Head of Sales (CRO, VP), the Head of Marketing (CMO, VP), or the Head of Operations (Sales/Marketing Ops). When you know who your sponsor is, it’s important to keep in mind that the purpose of the charter is about where they want you to go for their benefit. 

Sales enablement isn’t always about helping employees complete goals or getting new hires through onboarding as fast as possible. It could be things like driving additional revenue through upsell, acquiring new customers, retaining customers, reducing sales team churn, proving effectiveness of the sales team, etc.  

“You’re aiming to get to that level of specificity that lets you break down that business goal for your executive sponsor and their buy-in.”

Personas

As you build your sales enablement framework, personas should be top of mind. You want to catch the attention of stakeholders across the company such as your COO, CMO, Head of Product Marketing, HR, Head of Sales, etc. The problems they may be facing could be solved with a solid sales enablement program in place. 

“For example, HR is often overlooked when it comes to an enablement program. They have challenges in talent retention and talent acquisition. It could be because of lack of tools or lack of impact on the sales team. So it’s important to incorporate some of their needs (as well as the needs of the other personas) as you build this framework.”

Russell suggests circulating a survey to these teams and asking about the key goals they have that can be achieved with sales enablement. This means recruiting members from these departments and demonstrating the value a sales enablement charter will bring them. 

Measuring success

As your charter is underway, you’ll need to be able to measure success and prove the impact sales enablement brings to the company. Russell refers to these measurements as the scorecards and the scoreboard.

Scorecards: Leading indicators of knowledge, skill and activity

Scoreboard: Pipeline, forecast and revenue

“The scoreboard is ultimately what the executives are looking at with pipeline, forecast and revenue. It’s good to talk in those terms but it’s always tough to get attributions for enablement activities and that’s where our scorecard is very helpful.”

Both of these measurement categories detail the leading indicators outlined in the charter that the sales enablement team is going to measure. Those indicators, along with your executive sponsor’s collaboration, will drive a better performance on the scoreboard.

The goal of a sales enablement program is to deliver great buyer experiences and scale sales results. Download The 7 Steps to Building a Winning Sales Enablement Program to get started.