Sales enablement is becoming a hot topic. And the role of enablement has changed a lot over the last five years. Five years ago, enablement was essentially an extension of the HR department. But times have changed. And sophisticated companies are realizing that having enablement linked to HR doesn’t work for sales and marketing departments. There’s a new enablement department on the horizon, and it will change the landscape of sales and marketing to increase commercial outcomes exponentially. Here’s how.
The New Sales Enablement Leader
New sales enablement leaders are no longer an extension of HR. They’re now merging with the sales operations department. Their primary goal is to align people, process and technology to increase commercial outcomes. Sales enablement is the link between the VP of Sales, or CSO, and the VP of Marketing or CMO.
There are three must-haves for modern enablement leaders:
The best sales enablement teams are an extension of commercial leadership. They’re working hand-in-hand with the sales team and sales leaders, and have the respect of the RVP’s and sales directors in the organization. In other words, they’re bridging the gap. They’re seasoned sales professionals that also understand marketing. And they understand that they both share one funnel. The new sales enablement leader doesn’t just train sales people. They help them to think about the entire sales conversion funnel from beginning to end—from when a customer views the website to when they become a customer. For successful Social Selling, you can learn more about building one funnel with both sales and marketing in our latest ebook here.
2. Autonomy and control
The successful sales enablement leader has complete autonomy—not just to create and deploy training, but also the centralized budget that allows them to align people, process and technology.
Let’s break this down.
People: Sales enablement is a direct link during new hire training. They’re involved in the interview process, onboarding, and continuing education. They also realize that some seasoned sales professionals may be reluctant to evolve with new sales methodologies. So successful sales enablement leaders look at the long view—a 3, 5, or 10-year horizon, where the goal is to change the culture by aligning new hires to the new sales methods.
Process: It’s sales enablement’s job to create basic sales and marketing methodologies, but they are also introducing other modern tactics, such as Social Selling into the environment with training, workshops, and coaching. It’s important to note that they have the complete backing of the RVPs, and don’t need to fight for a rep’s time.
Technology: In other words, sales enablement is sourcing the Sales stack. It’s not up to the VP of sales or marketing to search for tools for sales professionals. Sales enablement leaders are the ones who are identifying tools and technology from the top of the funnel. These tools may include marketing automation or plug-ins that allow them to send along buyer information to sales development representatives (SDRs), so they can make social connections and create opportunities.
3. Agile evolution
This is the final element of a successful enablement leader. Autonomy will allow sales enablement to experiment with new tools and techniques that may push the boundaries of the sales professionals. You may hear complaints from sales reps about lack of time. This means that there are likely inefficiencies happening with the sales reps. And it’s enablement’s job to get rid of the inefficiencies and bring in new, modern ways of selling. Teams can’t be focused on product-based selling. Selling now has to be based on customer-interactions. This means providing content and insights that are going to shape the buyer’s journey and translate to success.