Sales Enablement is the process that supports sellers with training and content to help them guide buyers through the sales funnel. – A sales enablement definition from The Collaborator
There are dozens of sales enablement definitions.
Different organizations and different practitioners all have their unique perspectives.
Many people confuse it with sales training programs or sales-readiness.
Others think it is simply the marketing team throwing content over the wall to the sales reps.
Still, others view it as nothing more than another name for sales operations, focused on business tools, sales methodologies, and overall performance management.
And, as if this isn’t enough confusion. For organizations at a high level of maturity, the evolution to Revenue Enablement is underway, broadening the scope and the potential positive impact the team can have on the business.
A sales enablement definition
Sales Enablement is the process that supports sellers with training and content to help them guide buyers through the sales funnel.
The Sales Enablement process
While there are many examples of ad hoc programs, aka random acts of enablement, we all agree that this is the wrong way to run your program. Your sales enablement team, and those they are trying to support, will typically fail when you are at this level.
While the exact process will vary from business to business, from sales enablement team to team, the sales enablement strategy and process must incorporate these elements to be successful:
- Enablement must align its’ goals and its efforts with business KPIs.
- An executive-level leader must champion the Enablement program.
- Cross-functional collaboration and communication across teams are central to success.
- Metrics, both qualitative and quantitative, guide our programs
Give a listen to Bob Britton’s conversation where he shared his four step enablement process.
Sales Enablement Charter
The sales enablement charter is an agreement between the team and the rest of the business.
This includes end customers like sales, customer success, and partners like marketing and finance. Each party in this relationship must be clear about the services provided, the people supported, and how success will be measured.
The charter helps define the various initiatives your organization will support, activities such as:
- Providing relevant content
- Creating training materials
- Delivering the right tools
- Sales Processes and Methodologies
Sales Enablement Services
As briefly discussed above, the standard solutions and services provided by the team include.
The sales enablement definition above likely makes it clear that content is an essential deliverable for our teams.
While teams often create new collateral, they are also responsible for collaborating with other organizations to collect, curate, and translate the content from the sales teams’ sources of information.
As an example, engineering and product teams may write content focused on products and features. Sellers, however, need this translated into business value, positioning, discovery questions, pricing, and so forth.
As another example, marketing content is often focused on describing solutions in general terms. You must translate it into sales enablement content that speaks to the value proposition in a way that sellers can use to have meaningful conversations with their target audience.
Sales content can be expensive to create; take time to learn a bit more about content repurposing as a potential ongoing process to reduce costs and streamline your sales content efforts.
Again, the sales enablement definition above should help people see the importance of sales training to our efforts.
Sales training focused on educating the sales teams on topics ranging from sales skills to messaging to technologies and beyond is a standard deliverable for most teams.
Senior leaders sometimes refer to sales training as sales-readiness.
The best way to convert sales training into positive sales interactions is to ensure you have a great sales coaching program.
We have covered sales coaching in more detail elsewhere on the site. However, think about sales coaching as sales training personalized and customized to the scenario the seller is entering into with a prospect, customer, reseller, or another role.
Line managers, often the frontline sales managers (and sometimes higher-level sales leaders or sales coaches), are generally responsible for delivering the coaching.
The key is to ensure that all sales professionals on the team are getting the proper feedback and support at the right time. While not the only way, it is the best way for the entire organization to deliver better results.
The Sales Enablement Organizational Structure
There are massive differences between the number of sales enablement professionals involved within a small organization and an Enterprise business.
While this is true, the roles that commonly exist in these organizations are typical.
Note that you can also find a lot of example job descriptions on our templates page. However, for this overview, here are a few of the standard sales enablement roles and responsibilities.
Sales Enablement Specialist
Specialists are often junior-level employees who act as a generalist for their sales enablement team.
The specialist role is most often involved in the following activities:
- Administration of most sales enablement tools
- Content creation and curation
- Development and delivery of training content.
- Reporting on sales results
Sales Enablement Manager/Director/VP
Leaders guide the teams to deliver on business results. You can learn more about Sales Enablement Managers’ roles by reading our page dedicated to the position.
At a high-level, the manager (and higher leadership levels) has multiple responsibilities, including:
- Educating the business on the importance of enablement.
- Ensuring the use of best practice strategies and techniques
- Selection, or significant input into, the technology used by the business
- Providing the hiring and care of their team members
- Collaborating across the company, including with the sales team, marketing teams, human resources, customer success, and the leadership team.
Sales Enablement Architect
The Sales Enablement Architect aligns technology and processes across the business.
This role is generally only seen in large companies. In smaller organizations, managers will often cover these areas of responsibility.
- Partnering with sales operations on the sales process
- Defining and validating sales enablement software choices
- Analyzing data and key metrics to ensure sales success results from enablement activities
- Mapping of the buyer journey and the customer journey
Sales Enablement Program Manager
Generally seen in larger Enablement organizations. The Program Manager partners with the Sales Enablement Leader to run individual Enablement programs as a part of the entire Enablement initiative.
This roll acts in the same manner as program and project managers in other disciplines, including:
- Ensuring the right resources are available for their program
- Ensuring the sales enablement function is delivering on strategic projects
- Providing regular updates on the current state of programs to all stakeholders
- Setting schedules and determining how much time is required to deliver on programs
- To manage risk – to identify and communicate major changes to plans or deliverables as early as possible
A few final thoughts
Sales organizations create the revenue required for your business to succeed.
Your enablement efforts must support their activities.
Whether we are talking about delivering the right content at the right time, supporting selling on social media, providing sales enablement platforms, or any of the countless other Enablement teams offer, the common goal is to support the sales team.
To do this well, you will need to spend as much time listening to sales conversations. And observe how they use the sales collateral they have available. How do they uncover pain points in discovery and every other aspect of their lives working with potential buyers?
Are you ready to get started?
If you need help understanding this topic, these are the experts that we have hand-selected for you. Each of them is willing to support you, and our profession overall, by collaborating with you.
Living Enablement as a practitioner and as a leader. I’ve seen the confusion and frustration that many practitioners live. From working in other areas of the business, I’ve also seen the genuine need for the capabilities that enablement provides.