All You Need To Know About The Sales Force Enablement Clarity Model

Sales enablement is one of the single biggest emerging business trends. In fact, when CSO Insights started tracking its emergence in 2013, just 19.3 percent of sales organisations had a dedicated enablement function. Yet, as revealed in the recent 2017 Sales Enablement Optimization Study, this figure now stands at 59.2 percent.

However, one of the downsides of the discipline expanding so rapidly is that there is an overall lack of clarity regarding precisely what sales enablement is, what a sales enablement strategy entails and how businesses can achieve success. This is the precise reason why CSO Insights created the Sales Force Enablement Clarity Model.

Defining Sales Force Enablement

The Sales Force Enablement Clarity Model is a new addition to this year’s Sales Enablement Optimization Study, designed to more clearly define what sales enablement is and serve as a guide for when businesses implement their own enablement initiatives. For the model, CSO Insights also updated their definition to the following:

Sales Force Enablement – “A strategic, collaborative discipline designed to increase predictable sales results by providing consistent, scalable enablement services that allow customer-facing professionals and their managers to add value in every customer interaction.”

One of the big problems companies face when implementing sales force enablement initiatives is that they focus employee development efforts squarely on frontline salespeople. This new definition helps to clarify the fact that it is a broad strategy, which should focus on enabling all customer-facing professionals and their leadership teams.

This means that, for example, employee development efforts should focus on sales managers and those in sales consulting roles, rather than solely on salespeople. However, it is also important to understand that enablement means more than just training and development, and deals with content creation, technology and operations.

The Enablement Clarity Model

The model itself has been designed to be used as a guide by sales organisations looking to implement their own enablement strategies. The model consists of seven core facets of sales force enablement, placed on four levels, and this positioning shows the way the different components work together to create a successful model.

Level 1 – The Customer

Customers are placed at the very top of the model, reflecting their overall importance. Indeed, customers should be at the heart of every enablement service you create and alignment with the customer journey should be the key design point for your entire enablement strategy.

“The customer’s journey is the main frame of reference because your sales force has to become more successful in all phases of the customer’s journey,” says Tamara Schenk from CSO Insights. “Organizations with dynamic customer’s journey alignment achieve a quota attainment of 63.4%, compared to the average of 55.8%.”

Level 2 – Customer-Facing Professionals and Their Managers

The next level deals with the target audiences for your sales enablement initiatives and these audiences have been grouped together as customer-facing professionals and their managers. This is to highlight that sales force enablement goes beyond enabling salespeople alone.

Indeed, your enablement initiatives should also be aimed towards those people in sales development roles, sales consulting roles, and roles which deal with customers after a deal has been closed. Crucially, sales managers also need to be involved in the process, as they will be responsible for key elements like training and coaching.

Level 3 – Formalised Collaboration, Integrated Technology, Enablement Services and Operations

The third level deals with the various enablement services themselves and the reason they are all on the same level is because they are all equally important and all operate in conjunction with one another.

Successful enablement initiatives recognise that cross-departmental collaboration is essential and that technology is involved in almost every single enablement service. Enablement services refers to things like content, training and coaching, while operations refers to behind the scenes functions, like analysis.

Level 4 – Sponsorship, Strategy and Charter

Finally, the bottom level of the sales force enablement clarity model deals with executive sponsorship, strategy and the creation of a formal charter or manifesto. This is on the bottom level, because it is the foundation upon which successful initiatives are built and all three concepts are inter-linked.

Executive sponsorship is necessary, because it is what takes an enablement vision from a programme into a full-blown strategy. Strategic programmes require a plan and the establishment of an enablement charter fulfils this role, serving as a guide, while also helping to maintain clarity in the long-term.


One of the problems with rapidly expanding trends like sales force enablement is an overall lack of clarity, due to the absence of established definitions. The Sales Force Enablement Clarity Model, introduced into the CSO Insights 2017 Sales Enablement Optimization Study, aims to change this, providing a clear definition and a model for businesses to use as a guide when designing and implementing their own initiatives.


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