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The four stages of sales enablement maturity are these: none, random, formal, and adaptive.

If you haven’t made it to the formal stage yet, you won’t be able to reach an adaptive level of sales enablement maturity.

In this episode, I interview Mike Kunkle, VP, Sales Effectiveness Services at SPARXiQ, about the principles in his book, The Building Blocks of Sales Enablement, as well as actionable tactics for moving toward the formal level and beyond.

Join us as we discuss:

  • Taking on a holistic approach to enablement
  • What a mature model really means
  • The steps in the gap analysis prioritization approach
  • Why buyer acumen should underlie your entire strategy
  • A sales process methodology aligned with the buyer journey


A Holistic Approach to Sales Enablement

The real world of enablement today is a bell curve. 

On the far right, there’s a percentage of people who are hitting the ball out of the park. Just crushing it. They’re doing great work, and delivering huge results. 

On the far left side of the curve, there are the people who don’t really have clear methods or systems. They’re struggling to produce results. They’re operating on the “random acts of enablement” mindset. 

But in the middle of the curve, you have the majority of people. They’re seeing some success, but they’re not where they want to be. They’re not “killing it,” but they’re not “struggling” either. 


In the middle

Mike’s book provides a framework for those in the middle of the curve. 

It’s different from the traditional approach to enablement, where most companies operate today. It provides that framework and roadmap for how to get to a point where you’re truly impacting results for the sales leaders in your org. 


It’s All About Buyer Acumen

We’ve all heard the term “business acumen,” but Mike and his team advocate for a strong and solid “buyer acumen.” 

What is buyer acumen? 

Buyer acumen is all about understanding your buyers. There’s often a massive gap between what we know that we should do and what we actually do. 

If you don’t have a solid grasp on buyer acumen, you’re allowing a huge gap to set up shop in your organization. 

A lot of organizations fall into this trap. They don’t have the knowledge, or an intimate understanding of their buyers, and so all of their downstream operations like messaging or methodology suffers as a result.


Align with the Buyer Journey

If you’re a sales leader who has inherited a sales org, you may be asking yourself, “How do I get started on this shift to being buyer-focused? Where do I start? How do I prioritize my time?”

The answer, at least according to Mike, may frustrate some of our listeners. 

It depends. 

If you asked someone how to get to the Empire State Building, the first question they’d need to know is where you are now. Because the answer will differ if you’re already in New York versus if you’re in Seattle. 

But the bottom line is that you have to start with the buyers in your market first. 


The Sales Process Stages

As you focus on aligning your sales process methodology to the buyer journey, it’s important to recognize the different stages that the sales process goes through. 


First stage

The first stage is alignment with your buyer acumen. Getting everybody on the same page in understanding deeply what your customers are wanting and expecting from you. 


Next stages

Then every stage of a process has objectives, or what you’re hoping to accomplish in that stage. The tasks to be done. The things that need to be checked off in order to move forward and accomplish your objectives. 


Last stage

And finally, you’ve got exit criteria. 

What does each decision maker need to see, hear, or feel in order to feel confident in moving forward to the next stage with you? 

If you get the right processes that’s aligned to your buyer’s journey, and you get the methodology that’s buyer centric, it will help your customer to achieve the things that matter to them, and you will execute well. 

You’ll blow the doors off of the whole thing. 

And that’s how you radically improve sales effectiveness. 

Want to hear more from Mike? Make sure you listen to the whole episode. 

For more engaging sales conversations, subscribe to The Sales Engagement Podcast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or our website.

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