There has been a lot of talk as to what sales enablement team structure is these days. Some companies say there are different meanings based on industry. Others break the definition down into multiple parts. But to save time and simplify this subject matter, the concept of sales enablement is quite simple. It’s using analytics to help sales team members sell more effectively to prospects and convert these prospects into long-time customers.
And although this concept is not new, coining the term sales enablement and building a team structure around it…is. Companies like yours may be considering adding a sales enablement team. But you may wonder if it’s worth the time and expense.
Why sales enablement?
Do you really need a sales enablement structure? Is it really beneficial or just another industry buzzword? These statistics may convince you why you need a sales enablement team in place:
- SiriusDecisions stated: “B2B organizations with tightly aligned sales and marketing operations achieved 24 percent faster three-year revenue growth and 27 percent faster three-year profit growth.”
- The American Society of Training and Development said: “Continuous training as part of the enablement process yielded 50 percent higher net sales for each employee.”
So it’s really a win-win for companies as well as their sales team members. Now, let’s turn our attention to creating a successful sales enablement team. The first step is coming up with a rollout plan or strategy.
Building a sales enablement strategy
In order for your roll out to work, you first need to put a strategy in place. Here are some key questions to ask yourself when creating this plan.
1. How will I collect and analyze the sales team data?
Since the core of sales enablement is analyzing data to better support your sales team, you first need to find a way to collect this information. Using your Customer Relationship Manager tool (CRM) or your Business Intelligence system (BI) to store these details is a great way to accomplish this. Since you want to compare apples to apples, each customer interaction result whether closed/lost or closed/won should be recorded. Setting up a system to record these successes and failures, will lead to patterns that can then be analyzed for better sales success rates.
2. What marketing vehicles do I have in place?
What marketing vehicles are used by your sales team to bring in and close new leads? Do you use traditional marketing materials like brochures or more online based like your website or your social media pages? Identify what these vehicles are, write them in your plan, and make sure you are recording how well each one works in regards to gaining new customers. This will tell you what methods are working better than others. Plus, you may realize you are missing a key vehicle.
3. How will I train my team in sales enablement?
The reason you want a sales enablement strategy in place is to convert more prospects into sales. A major part of your sales enablement team structure should center around training to accomplish this. Train your employees on your marketing materials. Which ones work best for which target markets? You may even consider adding a “cheat sheet” post-training. This could be a one-pager of all your marketing materials available and which audiences to use them with. Add these training details into your rollout plan.
4. Who will analyze this data?
Finally, who on your team will be in charge of comparing this data and suggesting changes? It’s great to record results and give team members tools to sell, but most important is making adjustments to sell more and gain new customers. If you don’t have a dedicated team member for this process, add this in as a key objective for your plan.
Building a sales enablement team
Once you have a plan or strategy created, the next step is creating a sales enablement team structure to bring your plan to life. You may be able to pull existing team members into this new team or you may need to hire employees. Let’s first discuss the ideal sales enablement team structure.
Ideal sales enablement team members
While every company has budget constraints, in an ideal world, a sales enablement team would consist of a team member dedicated to each of these roles:
Sales systems and data manager:
This person would be responsible for maintaining the CRM or BI database. This would include inputting closed/won and closed/lost sales.
Sales process excellence and sales coach:
A sales coach offers one-on-one assistant to the sales team just like a coach of a football team would. They help manage behavior and offer suggestions on how to improve selling style. Think of this person as a dedicated mentor to each sales team member.
Sales training and talent manager:
Training is key to any organization. But training sales staff is different than other forms of training. Having a dedicated person in charge of sales training ensures continued growth, staying ahead of the competition, and a streamlined selling approach across all sales team members.
Sales report design and analytics manager:
This team member will bridge the gap between sales and marketing to support and implement high-quality, data-driven decisions. They will also ensure data is accurate and consistent by designing and creating the processes for analysis. Plus, this person will help in copy direction for sales and marketing material making sure it supports the data gathered.
Sales knowledge manager:
This team member is responsible for knowing all sales and marketing materials available for the sales team to utilize. A sales knowledge manager will know what tools are available for selling and will be able to direct the sales team on which vehicle is best. They will also be able to see opportunities for different vehicles based on customer feedback and competitor research.
Sales process and operations deployment manager:
We may have listed this role last, but the sales process and operations deployment manager is vital. This person oversees the entire sales department. When there is a bottleneck or a major glitch in operation, this person is in charge of solving it. They will also create objectives and sales goals for the team each quarter. This person acts as the umbrella for the entire department.
If you are a smaller organization or just starting a sales enablement team, one person could cover more than one of these areas.
Hiring key team members
After you’ve established your sales enablement team structure, it’s time to figure out who you need to hire. If your budget allows, hire the team members we mentioned above. However, if you have budget constraints, consider hiring one additional team member. The other roles above could be handled by this single person or shared within your existing team members.
Who is a sales enablement manager?
A sales enablement manager is a team member who is the bridge between the marketing and sales teams. Although they have several job responsibilities, the main one is to ensure that the sales staff has what they need to sell successfully. This includes marketing materials like brochures, videos, social media, and other product or service content. The other part of the sales enablement manager’s job is to properly train the sales team on these marketing pieces. This ensures customers are informed on what they are buying and helps create long-term customers.
How do you draft a sales enablement manager job description?
If you have never hired a sales enablement manager before, you may wonder how to write a comprehensive job description. You want this individual to oversee your sales enablement team so they need to have both soft and hard skills. Plus, you want to make sure all of the above sales enablement team functions are being handled. If some of these responsibilities will fall on existing team members, make sure these team members are aware of their new responsibilities. That way nothing will fall through the cracks.
Next, it’s time to draft a job description for your sales enablement manager. Here are the skills to include:
- Training knowledge – Since a key responsibility is training the sales team members, this candidate needs training experience. Specifically, they need to know how to create effective training objectives and implement these successfully. Training should be on skills/processes like sales methodologies, negotiations, proposal writing, and marketing collateral. Also, this person should help direct what is taught within these training sessions.
- Onboarding knowledge – You want your sales team up and running quickly. This includes when you hire new candidates. Onboarding is super important for new sales team members and a key skill when hiring a sales enablement manager.
- Sales content and collateral knowledge – Since this manager is responsible for bridging marketing and sales, they need to know about content creation. Specifically, what tools the sales team needs to sell and what copy should be included in each piece.
- Analytics knowledge – Another important skill is analytics. You want this person to cut out any areas within the sales life cycle that are not working. Bottlenecks can cause lost sales and fewer sales. Analyzing how the sales team sells, what tools they use like a CRM, and why sales may be lost is crucial.
- Productivity knowledge – Finally, the sales enablement manager needs to maximize productivity. Examples may be how to allocate resources like the budget or which sales team members take which territories.
Equally important are soft skills for a sales enablement manager candidate.
- Empathetic – This person needs to envision what it is like to be a sales team member. Basically, put themselves “in the shoes of a sales team member.” If they can do this easily than they will be more successful in their role.
- Communicator – Since the sales enablement manager works with both marketing and sales, they need to have great communication skills. Every time there is a shift in product direction, this person needs to explain this to the sales team. They also need to let marketing know which sales materials are needed and which ones are not working.
- Influential – The sales enablement manager needs to appear as more of a mentor versus a boss to the sales team. You want a person who can assert authority in an indirect way. For example, the sales team may not be receptive to the necessary training. The sales enablement manager needs to explain why the training is needed and how it will benefit the sales team success.
- Creative – The sales enablement manager brings solutions to the table. A lot of times they must think “outside the box” and look at processes in a new way. This is crucial to increasing overall sales.
- Prioritization – This person wears several hats and many times all “to do items” are priorities. It’s important that your sales enablement manager knows how to prioritize tasks at hand. It may include sudden shirts in those priorities at any given time.
Where do I find a sales enablement manager?
Once your job description is crafted, you’ll want to find the right person for the job. If you do not have an in-house HR department who hires employees, consider a few other sources. According to Smartrecruiters.com, there are 10 job boards you should post to in order to find your sales enablement manager:
Time to build your sales enablement team structure
Sales enablement is an important function to start implementing within your organization. We’ve talked about sales enablement strategy and how to begin building a team. Now is a great time to look at your business and decide how you will create and introduce a sales enablement plan.
If you are thinking about adding a dedicated sales enablement team, we’d love to hear your thoughts. Please comment below and let us know your rollout plan will be and who you will be hiring.
Click here to read the second part of our Sales Enablement Series