I had an interesting conversation recently with a Sales Enablement Manager at a large global technology company, where he made me reflect on the profession.
He said something along the lines of:
“Sales Enablement is a made up profession to fix a gap between sales and marketing. If everyone did their jobs properly, then maybe enablement wouldn’t need to exist.”
We had an animated back-and-forth around this topic for at least a half an hour, with decent arguments being made on both sides.
In the end, I don’t think I agree with him.
Think of a sales organization like a symphony orchestra. You have different musicians playing different notes, melodies, and instruments. They all follow the sheet music. But they also have an eye on the conductor.
The conductor, to me, is sales enablement; making sure that everyone’s timing is perfect. Making sure that certain sections play louder at times. That the harmonies are in sync. And the song plays beautifully.
The conductor has a very important role in the orchestra. The symphony really wouldn’t work without them.
But, from the conversations I’ve had with sales enablers and leaders, it’s clear that reps are given too much information, too quickly, when they first start a new role or a new job.
Often, we don’t do a good enough job conducting the orchestra as enablers.
The sales rep needs to be buyer-centric. They’re being asked for information every day from prospects and customers, some which often conflicts with the information your company is teaching them.
Then, you have the different departments that are jumping to share as much information as they can about how things work:
Sales reps operate on a need-to-know-basis. As sales enablers, your objective is to determine what the rep needs to know, and when, so they can deliver the best possible experience to the customer
If enablement is the filter between all the interested departments and the new sales rep, then why do we still have so many challenges with ramping new sales hires?
When it comes time to sales onboarding programs, companies are surprised when an information-intense one-week bootcamp doesn’t produce quota-crushing reps.
The Bridge Group, in their SaaS AE 2017 Metrics and Compensation Research Report, identified top challenges in sales:
Digging further into the research, the same study found 41% of respondents say their average ramp time is over five months. Which means the sales bootcamp, on its own, doesn’t work!
When we dissect some of the best onboarding programs we’ve seen, they have three commonalities:
Yet, research shows that most companies ignore the above best practices for onboarding:
We can do better than this.
Reps don’t need to know every single detail about closing a deal on the first day. Not even the first week.
By being better conductors, we can prioritize the information flow and timing over the entire ramp period of a new sales hire to make sure they get the right results.
By doing so, we might even be able to ramp them faster?
If you want to learn more about onboarding programs and ramp time, you should download our ebook “How to Design a Sales Onboarding Program for Faster Ramp.”
Hey, I'm Daniel. I'm the Marketing Manager here at LevelJump. I've been helping B2B SaaS companies with creating marketing strategies that drive pipeline and revenue for 5+ years. Ask me any questions about marketing, lead generation, marketing & sales alignment, and sales enablement. If I wasn't a marketer, I'd be a chef!