Most companies practice Sales Enablement across the organization in a more or less organized way. However, to have a long-term impact on the organization, it is key to have a solid strategy. As you know, every great strategy requires a great leader and Sales Enablement is no exception.
On paper, a Sales Enablement leader must develop content, help teams, and ensure the current strategy is applied. In other words, they should help salespeople focus on what they do best: sell. Frankly, all of this is true, but it is also limited.
So, what makes someone a great Sales Enablement leader?
Here are the characteristics and qualities that, in our opinion, make a top-tier Sales Enablement leader.
The key Qualities
First of all, a great Sales Enablement leader needs a set of qualities to succeed in this multi-dimensional job. Soft skills are essential, particularly the ones related to communication. Below, the top qualities that will help a Sales Enablement leader excel :
- Commitment to management & collaboration: In many companies, marketing and sales teams work separately, and do not necessarily collaborate. Sales Enablement leaders must work towards narrowing the gap between both teams. It requires talent and tact to break silos and foster meaningful collaboration between both departments.
- Communication skills: Communication is inherent to the role of a Sales Enablement leader. Discussing with different teams, conveying strategies, and inspiring individuals to work towards a common goal. All of these daily tasks start with good and effective communication.
- Effectiveness oriented: Sales Enablement leaders focus on the sales cycle as a whole and are in charge of optimizing it. It takes a particular kind of agility to pinpoint what slows the cycle down and free up time for salespeople to focus on selling better.
- Inspiring & helpful: Sales Enablement leaders are supporters. They support the sales team and have different roles such as partner or trainer. To do this effectively, they must be passionate about working with others to help them be the best version of themselves.
The Must-Have Characteristics
To complete the great Sales Enablement leader package, certain characteristics are simply essential. When combined with the previously mentioned qualities, you get a great Sales Enablement leader: ready to disrupt the organization from within (in a good way, of course)!
Sales Enablement leaders have a tricky position: reporting to the CXO suite, working alongside both Sales and Marketing but are not actually. If both teams do not see the appointed leader as credible, they will not get the best out of them. The good news is that credibility can be pre-existing but can also be earned.
For example, if your leader has also worked in Sales, he “understands the struggle” and is off to a good start. For those new in the field, acquiring credibility happens in the field. Going out to learn everything about the needs of both buyers and sellers.
All in all, credibility comes from translating efforts and motivation into meaningful actions. Listen, learn, analyze and perform!
2. Scale-up change
Having a dedicated role for Sales Enablement within an organization is still a privilege nowadays. A great leader in the matter will make sure their efforts are long-lasting and serve as a true catalyst for change.
The idea is to operate as a change management consultant and be there every step of the way. They are conscious that lasting change is hard to achieve in an organization and it requires involvement from several stakeholders.
3. Think outside the box
A good Sales Enablement leader can analyze the situation and point out solutions. A great Sales Enablement leader will analyze, take a step back to view the bigger picture, create connections and drive business outcomes. Do you see the difference?
The key is understanding that each sales team is different and that there is no go-to recipient that will make any team more successful. Great leadership implies: Understanding the sales funnel, how each stage can be optimized and how both marketing and sales can contribute.
4. Measure and communicate results with metrics
Quantifying the results and the impact of a Sales Enablement strategy is one of the most important points.
There is no universal approach or a preset array of metrics, but great Sales Enablement leaders will focus on productivity. Combining creativity and precision will create relevant dashboards focusing on productivity metrics and lagging indicators.
Finally, it is essential to ensure that the dashboard speaks to sales, marketing, and the CXO suite. In other words, a great sales enablement leader will provide insightful metrics and know how to interpret them in a way that speaks to each stakeholder.