The mission of sales enablement can be summed up in one sentence:

To help the sales team sell better from the time each rep is brought on board, to the time they decide to leave the company.

That mission is best measured in maximizing revenue per rep.

Although we can summarize sales enablement in one concise sentence, there is still a lot to be unpacked.

After spending time in sales enablement, and after interviewing 26 different sales enablement managers to better understand their roles, I feel I have a strong grasp on the specific tasks, activities, and roles that make up the sales enablement manager.

Here’s what I’ve learned, summed up in “three pillars of sales enablement.”

Pillar One of Sales Enablement: Effectiveness

Sales effectiveness is pillar one for a reason: it’s the most common, and most important pillar of sales enablement.

It has to do with helping your reps sell better (as opposed to faster or more efficiently).

“Sales effectiveness” in itself can be unpacked into multiple tasks, activities, and roles.

Training

This sub-role is best described as coaching and training the sales team on how to have more effective sales conversations, sales methodologies, and other sales skills such as negotiation and even proposal writing.

Some sales enablement teams don’t include training in their roles. That’s a mistake. The purpose of sales enablement is to introduce leverage to the sales team.

Sales training is one of the highest leverage sales activities that exists (when done right).

Sales Onboarding

Look again at the mission of sales enablement:

To help the sales team sell better from the time each rep is brought on board, to the time they decide to leave the company.

Notice part of that definition is helping sales sell better starting with the time you bring them onboard.

Getting new hires up to speed and reducing velocity to quota is perhaps one of the most commonly shared responsibilities of sales enablement teams.

Sales Content and Collateral Creation

This could be both content for sales training sessions, as well as collateral that sales reps use during their sales cycles to move deals across the finish line.

It could also be non-market-facing sales tools and cheat sheets, such as competitive battle cards.

Sales conversations between the rep and the prospect are what have the biggest impact in moving prospects through the buyer’s journey. But it’s still a very difficult task to do without sales collateral. Content and collateral act as the “fuel” for the sales process.

Sales collateral and content manifests itself in many ways. Here are some examples:

  • Case studies
  • Product data sheets
  • Competitive comparisons
  • Battlecards
  • 1st call sales decks

And much more.

The best way sales enablement managers can become better at sales effectiveness is by getting on as many sales calls as they can to understand how content and collateral is being used, common questions buyers have, and how well messaging is resonating.

Pillar Two of Sales Enablement: Efficiency

Helping the sales team sell better “from the time you bring them on board to the time they decide to leave the company” goes beyond making them more effective (though that’s where most of the leverage lies).

The next pillar lies in making sales more efficient.

Sales enablement should work toward cutting away any overhead or waste that keeps the sales team away from high leverage sales activities.

This could be introducing sales tools and technologies, making the CRM more efficient, reducing meetings, simplifying expense reporting, etc.

Sales enablement managers should analyze their sales team’s activities and processes, ruthlessly cutting away waste and low leverage tasks.

Making the sales team more effective is worthless if they aren’t spending enough time selling in the first place. That’s where sales efficiency comes in.

Pillar Three of Sales Enablement: Planning and Sales Strategy

The third major pillar of maximizing productivity per rep is planning, strategizing, and decision making as it relates to the sales team.

This could be resource allocation (such as sales budgets and territory planning), deciding where to deploy reps, partnering with product marketing on messaging, helping sales understand “when to fight and when to run,” and other strategic activities like competitive analysis.

To Do Sales Enablement Well, You Must First Understand It

Before you can learn to do a job well, you first have to understand what a job entails. This point of this post wasn’t to teach you how to do the job well, but to bring you a higher degree of role clarity.

If there’s anything I missed that you think sales enablement should be responsible for, please do tell me in the comments below.

 

Sales enablement CTA

Spread the love

Chris Orlob

Chris Orlob is Senior Director of Product Marketing at Gong.io

  • davebrock

    Good article Chris Orlob. However, I’m concerned by the complete absence of any mention of the role of the Front Line Sales Manager. They are directly accountable for maximizing the performance of every person on their team.

    The fact they are not mentioned or that enabling the front line sales manager is absent from this discussion is a huge missed opportunity in driving performance.

    I suspect it’s implicit in the discussion, but I think that’s part of the problem. We must make the front line sales manager an explicit part of all our sales enablement strategies. We must focus on enabling our managers so they can maximize their people’s performance. We must enable sales people with and through the front line sales manager.

    • @davebrock:disqus you have a VERY strong point. Thank for you sharing. I’d love to hear some expanded thoughts from you about how sales enablement should approach enabling frontline sales managers.

      • davebrock

        Thanks Chris, I’ve actually written a lot about it. Here’s a link to some of the articles: http://partnersinexcellenceblog.com/?s=sales+manager+enablement. Also watch my blog Monday for a more general discussion about Sales Enablement.

        I actually think we approach much of sales enablement incorrectly. I think we need to focus first on enabling the managers, then on the sales people. When we do that, we provide a platform for the managers to have bought in and constantly be coaching and reinforcing everything we do. Afterall, it’s the managers that have the direct day to day responsibility for managing the performance of the team.

        Glad to talk more offline. Thanks for the great discussion. Regards, Dave

Watch a Live Demo

Watch a short demo and see the magic for yourself!

WATCH LIVE DEMO