Secret Sauce of Sales Enablement

The term “sales enablement,” is thrown around a lot and can mean different things to different sales professionals. We sat down with Paul Bickford, Denver Chapter President of the Sales Enablement Society, to discuss what sales enablement is, why it’s effective and how it can be leveraged as a resource.

What is Sales Enablement?

“Sales enablement” is an umbrella term that’s not always understood, or wanted to be understood. “We would be better off if people were saying, ‘what is sales enablement?’” Bickford said. “Instead, they’re saying ‘we don’t need to know, or we already know,’ and they don’t.”

A lot of people think sales enablement is just sales training. While sales enablement can help with training, it’s about more than that. Bickford says a good sales enablement practitioner can help align sales and marketing objectives. He views sales enablement as a kind of salesperson assembly factory.

Sales enablement will help an organization better understand how to bring in the right salespeople and sales managers, teach them to coach, assess them and measure success. “Develop your people, hit your number. That’s it,” Bickford said. “I’m just helping you do that quickly and more efficiently.”

Selling Sales Enablement

According to Bickford, the CFO is an important counsel to implementing sales enablement in an organization. They’re the ones that decide what the sales leaders budgets are, and defining revenue. “We have to take (sale enablement) to the CFO and help make a case so when they slice off a budget for sales, they give them a bigger piece,” Bickford said.

“We’re just supposed to help align and execute the things that you’re already being held accountable for, the things that you’re already measured by, the things that are already tethered to your compensation and we’re just here to make that easier.”

A Chair at the Table

Who is your sales enablement candidate? Are you putting the right person in sales enablement? These are questions organizations need to ask themselves. According to Bickford, it’s crucial that sales enablement practitioners sit in on the big meetings and learn how decisions are being made and go-to-market strategies are being constructed. This way sales leaders can see how departments are liaising and contributing to align at the highest levels within a company.

The next step is to understand how to contribute. “If you want to be strategic, don’t do what you’re asked, question what you’re being told,” Bickford said. It’s important to stay humble, but offer guidance and direction that can be tied to value.

Leveraging Sales Enablement

Bickford understands that there will always be hesitation from sales professionals when implementing sales enablement. That’s why it’s important for sales leaders to be open and convey the message that it works.

“It comes down to the sales enablement practitioner setting up these initiatives and guidance so that the salespeople see the value,” Bickford said.

This post is based on a podcast interview with Paul Bickford, Denver Chapter President of the Sales Enablement Society. To hear this episode, and many more like it, you can subscribe to the B2B Revenue Executive Experience.

If you don’t use iTunes, you can listen to every episode here.

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