The Necessary Skills of Modern Sales Enablement Leaders
February 3, 2021
By Jackie Light
Guest author Jackie Light is a Content Marketing Specialist for Sales Enablement PRO.
If sales enablement is a ship, then a sales enablement leader is the captain who manages the crew, oversees efficient operations, and ensures the vessel stays on course to get where it needs to go. Although there are many types of sales enablement leaders, they should all possess a general toolkit of skills, knowledge, and capabilities that are essential to the success of the sales org and the company’s bottom line.
Whether the role is VP of sales enablement or a sales enablement manager, here are the necessary skills of modern sales enablement leaders.
Deep Knowledge of Sales Processes and Methodologies
Enablement leaders, whether building a sales enablement strategy at their org or walking into an existing one, must have expertise into the inner workings of the sales process and how it contributes to an efficient, organized, and effective sales cycle. A sales process is not static from organization to organization, so it’s critical that leaders are familiar with how different processes complement a particular industry, sales team, and target market.
Within that scope is the necessity to understand how various sales methodologies support the execution of the sales process, and which framework is the most suitable for your organization and its needs. Having experience with the various key models and frameworks is essential, because sales enablement is responsible for assessing and developing the appropriate skills of sales reps who adhere to the methodology in the field.
Highly Collaborative and Unifying Mindset
As a whole, sales enablement requires the partnership of multiple departments in order to be the most efficient and effective in its initiatives. Some of the critical entities who are involved in sales enablement’s delivery of programs are the executive sponsor, sales operations, marketing, sales leaders, and of course, frontline sales reps.
Getting strategic alignment and support from these units is no easy task. It requires a deeply collaborative leader who is able to align to the business priorities and vision of these units, while also addressing their strengths and weaknesses as they develop new and existing programs.
Keen Technological Acumen, Especially as It Relates to the Tech Stack
For many organizations, there has been an accelerated need to undergo a comprehensive digital transformation that aligns with the buying behaviors of highly digital and informed customers. As a result, having technology and solutions that support this evolving landscape is critical for sales enablement, and it’s up to the enablement leader to uncover what the unique needs are for the sales organization they serve.
Leaders are responsible for the following, when it comes to the tech stack:
- Continuously auditing current solutions and their impact
- Being knowledgeable about the functionality and integration of many tools on the market
- Keeping abreast of emerging technologies that could improve one’s competitive advantage
Business Mindset with a Metrics-Driven Approach
A distinct challenge for many sales enablement functions is in demonstrating the business impact of their efforts. That’s why it’s important for sales enablement leaders to have a data-driven approach to their methods.
Not only does a data-driven approach help in improving future iterations of programs by assessing what works well and what doesn’t, but it’s also essential for being a highly respected unit of the organization. Gaining this type of respect helps sales enablement receive the support and resources they need to deploy their initiatives, while also being seen as a strategic partner to deliver on the revenue goals of the entire organization.
The business mindset of competent sales enablement leaders also applies to their continual assessment of the competitive landscape. Leaders should always be aware of trends within their industry or vertical, and they should be regularly producing win/loss analyses to understand how to close more deals and refine their overall enablement approach.
Organized and Adaptable Communication Abilities
It may seem like a general requirement for most professional roles, but being a highly adept communicator is especially key for a sales enablement leader, and for many different purposes. As mentioned above, sales enablement leaders are facilitators of information between the multitude of departments within (and outside of) the organization. Therefore, it’s critical that they’re able to convey both strategic and tactical ideas with clarity.
Being able to adapt their communication style to suit the preferences of various stakeholders is a must, because enablement leaders are often working alongside practitioners, sales managers, and executives. Additionally, they should be organized and systematic in their communication cadence, because they understand how important it is to conduct regular meetings to establish trust and maintain visibility for their initiatives.
As the sales enablement landscape continues to evolve and mature for many organizations, the imperative for a highly competent and talented leader that drives its strategy is all the more apparent. With the right balance of sales knowledge, collaboration, tech-savviness, business sense, and communication, the modern enablement leader will be well positioned to contribute meaningful growth toward the revenue goals of the entire organization.
About the author
Jackie Light is a Content Marketing Specialist for Sales Enablement PRO, the industry-leading sales enablement community that provides expertise, analytics, and events to enablement professionals all over the world. Read more articles by Jackie Light.