With so much falling under the “umbrella” of sales enablement, many company leaders wonder: “How should we structure our sales enablement team? How many different roles should we incorporate into the sales enablement process?”
There are so many elements in a robust sales enablement program that need careful management. For instance, the sales enablement process typically encompasses several areas of operation, including:
Onboarding and certification
Sales asset management
Adoption of sales tools
Coaching and training
There are no “cookie-cutter” answers to those questions. So let’s talk about 3 key elements to consider when structuring your sales enablement team, and several roles that you may want to fill.
3 Major Factors to Keep in Mind in Structuring a Sales Enablement Team
As its name indicates, sales enablement is primarily focused on enabling sales reps to become awesome sellers. This is to generate awareness and interest, nurture leads, as well as close deals. For that reason, you want to structure your sales enablement team to meet 3 key objectives:
To optimize each sales interaction.
Whether it’s through the use of powerful, user-friendly sales tools, or well-defined guidelines for lead scoring (or both), you want each interaction your reps have with a customer to yield the highest possible value.
To facilitate access to sales content.
This isn’t just about the creation of new content. Reps need to know where to access the content, and how it can help them move a prospect through the pipeline.
To train reps on buyer needs and desired outcomes.
A rep may have an immense storehouse of technical knowledge. But it could all be for nothing if the prospect’s needs are not addressed. Your sales team needs to know which pain points are most common for their buyers. And how your company’s product or service can resolve those concerns.
Common Sales Enablement Roles
1. Chief Enablement Officer
Okay, in fairness this role is not exactly “common” — at least, not yet. However, having a company executive oversee all aspects of sales enablement can provide a huge boost in terms of adopting sales enablement programs from the top down. The trickiest aspect of this role may be deciding which acronym to use. (CENO? CEBO? Yeah, it’s tough.)
2. Vice President of Sales Enablement
The role of VP of Sales Enablement is one alternative to that of Chief Enablement Officer. The Enablement VP can help craft and refine the company’s overall sales enablement strategy. This is while other team members focus on the “nuts and bolts” of bringing that vision to life. The roles of VP of Sales Enablement and Chief Enablement Officer are both especially suitable for large organizations, where it may be more difficult to achieve executive alignment compared to smaller businesses.
3. Director of Sales Enablement
No matter how large or small your business is, the Director of Sales Enablement is responsible for managing your sales enablement program. He makes sure it operates across multiple departments, and within budget. The director also often serves as the “champion” of sales enablement as he or she establishes cross-departmental relationships that promote the ultimate success of the strategy.
4. Sales Enablement Manager
This role is crucial. Your Sales Enablement Manager will be in direct contact with sales reps and help them to navigate new enablement initiatives in the most effective and engaging way possible. The manager may also be tasked with measuring the results of such initiatives and then reporting back to executive leadership.
5. Instructional Designer
Sales training is a huge part of sales enablement. This means that instructional design is a very important piece of the sales enablement puzzle. Creating learning and development modules for sales reps is part science and part art, and requires a specialized skill set. It also requires an in-depth knowledge of company culture, values, as well as goals.
Your instructional designer’s efforts to develop a relevant, engaging, and memorable curriculum for your sales team will determine, to a large extent, how successful your training program is — and how many of your reps end up meeting their quota.
6. Content Specialist
Sales enablement content plays a huge role in moving prospects from one stage of their buyer’s journey to the next. Of course, the marketing department is traditionally the main source of content generation for the sales team. However, in many organizations, there is a “disconnect” between sales and marketing. This often means that the content created by the marketing team doesn’t align with the actual needs of customer-facing sales reps.
This is where the content specialist comes into the picture. In some ways, the content specialist can serve as a liaison between your sales and marketing teams. The specialist can bring constructive feedback from sales reps to the attention of the marketing team, and work with marketing to ensure that sales materials stay relevant and “on-brand.”
7. Sales Coach
In order for sales reps to reach their full potential as professionals, coaching is essential. While the establishment of an ongoing, formalized training program is certainly helpful in this regard, many companies employ a dedicated sales coach within their enablement team — someone who can personalize training for each individual rep as well as help them take their selling game to the next level.
Besides their one-on-one work with sales reps, coaches can also help identify troubling trends on the company’s “ground level,” and provide helpful advice to managers on dealing with issues that arise. Having a dedicated sales coach role within the enablement team can also help to ensure that training remains at a consistently high level for all reps across the organization.
In summary, there are virtually limitless ways to structure your sales enablement team — and we’ve only scratched the surface in this article! However, your main objectives in structuring your team should be to optimize each sales interaction, facilitate access to (and proper use of) enablement content, as well as provide effective training on how to meet buyer needs.
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