How to Build a Sales Process & Enablement Program, in 1 Page
This is one of the most important posts I’ll write on this blog.
Because it represents a massive shift in how sales teams view their jobs, and how they go to market. It’s the entire point of view guiding what we’re building at Fluint, too.
To start, most people believe that:
- Building a business case is an activity.
- That activity is one part of the sales process:
But that’s wrong. And this way of thinking and operating leaves an incredible amount of revenue on the table.
Instead, here’s the right way to think about it:
- Building a business case is the sales process.
- Every other activity rolls up into the business case.
Your Sales Process = Building Business Cases
The entire point of a sales process is this:
Influencing the buying process.
That's what creates revenue. Sure, there are other benefits (forecasting, repeatability, etc…), but they're all secondary goals to generating revenue.
That's right. Your buyers — more specifically, your champions — are selling too. In fact, over 90% of that internal selling happens without sales reps in the room.
Which is where the idea of your business-case-as-the-sales-process comes in:
Since your writing can be "in the room" when you can’t be, building a business case is the process of building influence in the buying process.
Which is the whole point of selling.
So business cases aren't just one activity to check off. It's an ongoing process, that every other activity is guided by, strengthened by, and rolls up into.
In fact, sales leaders are now creating specific deals stages in their CRM to test for this:
Do we have the written evidence that this deal ties to an exec-level priority, with customer-validated metrics, and direct input/changes from multiple contacts in the buying team? If not, is this really a deal I want to put in my forecast?
An Entire Sales Process, in a Page
We could redraw the sales cycle up above, to look something more like this:
Which means that a single page of content — the business case — both guides and captures the sum total of every single selling and buying activity in a deal. Including:
- Finding and framing a high-cost, high-priority problem.
- Creating champions and building commitment to the deal.
- Securing early, executive sponsorship for a new project.
- Multithreaded validation, from different points of view.
- Aligning the entire buying committee on your approach.
- Confirming a scope of work, to deliver a specific outcome.
- Planning out mutual steps to go-live by a compelling event.
- Sharing context that maintains urgency with IT/procurement/etc.
All of this flow from, and rolls up into, the business case.
For example, here's Fluint guiding a seller on how to shape their deal, with recommendations for deeper discovery alongside the champion. To test for their commitment (will they create together?"), and develop an executive-level message together.
Building a Business Case is Your Enablement Program, Too
Business cases are like an entire enablement program, compressed into one document. Ask your reps to write a business case, you’ll see exactly which skills are strong — or not so strong.
- Deep discovery to find risk and fill gaps.
- Multithreading with a wider group of contacts.
- Testing/building champions.
- The full list above.
It's the most practical, hands-on way to measure both skills gaps and deal risks. Because a sales leader can pick up a business case document and see:
- (Discovery) Are we finding a compelling reason to change? How much data vs. fluff is on the page? Did we get beyond workflow and process, to priorities and strategic initiatives?
- (Demos) Do we know which outcomes matter to the team? What their required capabilities are? Which features we’ll spend more/less time on accordingly?
- (Internal Alignment) Does our own executive have enough context before joining a call? What should CS / implementation expect to deliver? When are we going live?
- (Multithreading) How many people do we have input from? Does this represent one or multiple points of view? Who contributed what content? And do we have “evidence” of their engagement?
- (Forecasting) Does finance, procurement and legal, etc… have the strategic context to push this through on time? While keeping deal value intact as we negotiate commercials?
- (Champion Building) Did key contacts with influence help write this? Do they feel a sense of ownership? Did they change our draft to make sure it’ll land?
We could go on. But you get the idea (hopefully).
Now, here's the other nuance:
Since champions are the real definition of “inside sales reps,” they need to be enabled.
The content that goes into co-creating a business case with them is your buyer enablement program. Shifting the role of an individual seller, into an enabler:
For the sake of clarity: stacking up a bunch of marketing-built decks, demo recordings and case studies onto a landing page (vs. email attachments), is not “buyer enablement.”
It’s old-school sales enablement dressed up as buyer enablement. Saying “we're giving buyers the information they need to make decisions!” is very different from the process of creating a business case.
Why & How to Rollout Your Sales Process 2.0
It’s a rare sales team who’s saying they’re ahead on their pipeline goals right now.
Instead, driving more “revenue-per-rep” with higher close rates is the #1 focus.
The Business-Case-as-Sales-Process shift makes this happen.
For example, Fluint user Daniel Burke at Sprout Social jumped from 40% (already much higher than your average) to 70% win rates by building business cases.
So, some practical steps to make this shift.
1/ Start drafting business cases on the first call.
This is how you’ll show your first contacts you heard them, and have a point of view.
It’s also how you’ll start to drive more executive buy-in far earlier in the deal (creating more momentum and shorter cycles).
→ Fluint can also write this draft for you.
2/ Start and end conversations with content.
There are a couple benefits to bringing content into your live conversations.
First, we can’t help but correct something that’s inaccurate or incomplete when we see it in writing. Words feel too permanent to let stand uncorrected.
(That’s why Cunningham's Law, named after the wiki inventor, says the best way to get the right answer isn’t to ask a question — it's to write down the wrong answer.)
So don’t just say a problem statement. Show it in writing.
Second, you’re creating context to quickly get new buyers up to speed.
While guiding your champions, when they take on the work of aligning others at the start, or to confirming next steps at the end, of a conversation.
3/ Anchor every step and stage in the case.
- Doing a demo? Use it to design the game plan.
- Meeting an exec? Share it as a pre-read.
- Negotiating? Use it to maintain deal value.
- Multithreading? Have champions forward it.
There’s a use case at each step of the way.
4/ Build accountability checks into the process.
Teams who embrace their Sales Process 2.0:
- Pressure test the case during deal reviews and forecasting.
- Create scorecards to measure how strong the case is (not).
- Create 1:1’s and coaching agendas based on gaps it reveals.
- Require the content to be built to progress deals in the CRM.
In other words, it becomes the cornerstone of the sales culture.
Which means the sales culture is slowly formed into one that’s rooted in deep customer empathy, and putting the buyer’s problems and outcomes first.
5/ Rollout Fluint.
Of course. You can see how it works here:
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