If you’ve spent any amount of time chatting to people in the sales enablement community, or tuned into sales enablement events and webinars, the odds are you’ve heard talk about charters.

But what is a sales enablement charter, why is it important, and how do you even build one? That’s exactly what we’re going to dive into in this article.

What is a sales enablement charter?

One of the biggest challenges that enablement departments face (especially new teams or markets where the discipline is less mature) is that the rest of the organization doesn’t know what sales enablement is.

And if they do have an understanding of it, it’s not a clear one. Sales, marketing, product marketing, and other functions in your organization might not understand how to collaborate with your sales enablement team.

Another challenge is that the enablement team is treated as a fire-fighting department, fixing problems as they arise and not having a true, long-term sales enablement strategy.

An enablement charter is a solution to both of these challenges.

Your charter is a document that provides direction and focus to your enablement team, while also acting as a “holy grail” which you can direct any other department towards when they have questions about what you actually do.

According to our Sales Enablement Landscape Report 2022, 45% of sales enablement professionals have a charter, which leaves a significant percentage without one.

Building a charter can help you align your enablement objectives with the rest of the business’ in the short- and long-term.

Why is a sales enablement charter important?

As we mentioned above, building a formal enablement charter helps address two of the biggest enablement pain points:

  • Other teams not understanding your role
  • Not having a strategic influence on the organization

How does building a charter help with this?

Firstly, it focuses your sales enablement efforts. Your charter will include the strategic, measurable initiatives you plan to undertake over the course of a year.

Your charter should clearly outline your sales enablement program’s objectives - this means that you’re not just taking work as it comes in a disorganized fashion. Everything you want to achieve as an enablement organization should be outlined within the charter.

How you plan to measure success and whether you actually achieved your stated objectives should also be included here.

Secondly, it helps you align key stakeholder groups. Creating your charter should be a collaborative process, and you should make an effort to take feedback from any functions you’ll be working with.

This ensures that anyone you’ll be working with knows what your sales enablement does and why it’s important to the success of the overall organization.

While your primary responsibility will be to support and enable the sales team to achieve success, you have to interact with other teams to do that and that’s where using a charter to gain organizational alignment is so important.

How do you build a sales enablement charter?

Creating a sales enablement charter isn’t an overnight task. It’s a process that takes time, and it’s never truly over.

Your charter should be built to be flexible and adaptable, as business needs are constantly changing and your enablement team needs to be prepared for that.

For a comprehensive view of how to build an enablement charter from scratch, including a template you can use, you can download our free playbook right here.

Here’s the rundown:

  • Start with a brief, aspirational vision statement
  • Create a clear and direct mission statement outlining how you help the company
  • Decide on what your enablement team’s priorities (or pillars) are and list them
  • Speak to your key stakeholders and collaborators to get their input
  • Build your core: map out the most relevant details of each priority you listed earlier
  • Include your team’s roles and responsibilities so stakeholders know who does what
  • Outline your review process, including how often you’ll revisit the charter to update it
  • Circulate the charter to everyone who needs to see it!

That’s your whistle-stop tour on how to build your very own formal enablement charter.

While you’ll find more information in our playbook, let’s look at what key details you should consider including for each priority or pillar of your charter.

What should you include in your charter’s pillars?

Regardless of which enablement pillar you’re focusing on as you construct your charter, there are certain elements which you need to include in order to ensure consistency in the direction of your enablement department.

1. Overall objective

Here, leave a summary of your overall objective for this pillar. Where do you want to be with this pillar in 12 months’ time?

2. Quarterly objectives

Follow up your overall objective by breaking it down quarter-by-quarter.

Not only will it seem more achievable if it’s broken down into micro-objectives or milestones, but it will also give you a reason to think about how you’ll achieve your overall objective.

3. Key metrics and KPIs

This is important because you need to know how you’ll measure your results and what you’re looking to achieve results-wise before you start.

Have set targets and metrics that align with the business’ overarching goals from the start and you’ll know exactly what to look for as you analyze your results.

4. Known risks and potential issues

Your charter can be an opportunity to highlight anything you know may go wrong in advance, as well as a chance to think about how to address those issues before they happen.

Maybe you’ve tried something in the past and it hasn’t worked and if so, what did you learn?

5. Cross-functional support

This is where your alignment is extremely important - list (and talk to!) the departments you’ll need to collaborate on this pillar with.

If you’re going to collaborate with product marketing on content creation, for example, how will that happen? If you’re working on your onboarding pillar, how will HR be involved?

6. Resources needed

Here’s a chance to call out what you’ll need resource-wise in order to actually achieve your goals. Do you need a new team member to run content as a content specialist, or budget for a new LMS to help with onboarding and coaching?

As this document will be circulated to all relevant stakeholders, it’s an opportunity to make your requests heard.

Of course, there’s no set way to build a charter!

Be flexible and adapt it to your organization’s unique needs. These are guidelines to consider as you’re building out your document.

Wrapping up

To sum up, a sales enablement charter is a document that:

  • Provides direction and focus to your team
  • Aligns key stakeholders and gets them on the same page as you
  • Is an opportunity to move from short-term, tactical activities to strategic, long-term planning

With a charter, you have a chance to change enablement’s perception in your organization from fire-fighters that have problems thrown at them as they appear, to a strategic powerhouse with real, long-term impact on the organization’s success.

If you’re still hungry for more information, as well as your own free sales enablement charter template, then don’t forget to download our playbook.

It’s packed with expert insights to help you kickstart your enablement charter journey. 👇