How to Build a Sales Enablement Team Structure

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Sales enablement is one of the fastest growing trends in business today. Its global market will continue to grow with a 17.4% annual compound growth rate for the next several years because businesses are beginning to realize that to effectively turn leads into sales, you need a dedicated sales enablement team in place. 

Sales enablement, in short, is when your sales team is provided the necessary resources (content, tools, information) to sell your company’s services to customers. 

A good start to improve sales is by implementing productivity tools. One of the growing methods companies are using is building a strong sales enablement team. Why? Because sales employees are spending only 35.2% of their time selling with only 53% of sales reps reaching their quota.

If you already have a sales team and a marketing team, the next question to ask is: How do you build the proper sales enablement team into your company?

Sales Enablement Strategies

Every company is different, therefore finding the right strategy to build your sales enablement team depends on many factors. The first requirement is in defining the goals of your company in relation to its sales structure, including how the sales and marketing teams function, then formalizing the process of building that team.

Set Realistic and Achievable Goals

The most important aspect of any strategy is to define goals that you want to achieve:

  • Are you looking to convert more leads?
  • Are you trying to restructure or improve the sales team’s resources?
  • Is a sales enablement team necessary in terms of the existing structure within your company?
  • What team size is necessary?
  • How will a new team be incorporated into your company’s broader S.M.A.R.T. goals?

The process of answering these questions will take weeks of company-wide discussions and planning to find the necessary building blocks on which the sales enablement team is created. Failing to define the set of goals will surely lead to a failure to launch a new team within your company, so make sure to really take your time.

Pay especially close attention to the possible integration of the sales enablement team with both the existing marketing and sales team. 

Enablement strategies work similarly to marketing’s content strategies while also working as the backbone to the sales team. Therefore, you should ask yourself: If you make changes to the marketing and sales team, do you need a sales enablement team? 

Here’s a great way to answer that question:

“Just as there is no one-size-fits-all definition of sales enablement, there is no one-size-fits-all team structure that will work at every company. The key to determining the ideal team roles for your function is to understand your mission and vision and your capacity to execute against that with your current team.”

-Liz Pulice, VP Global GTM Strategy, Operations, Enablement at Sauce Labs.

Formalizing the Sales Enablement Process

According to a sales enablement report from 2019, businesses with a plan had an average sales win rate of 49%, which was 12% more than those without a formal plan. 

A sales enablement plan (or charter) is the mission statement of the team, answering what they do, who they support, and how they measure success. Although it might seem easier to apply your own quick fixes to various existing positions with sales enablement in mind, adopting a formal structure yields a higher sales rate and ensures a higher level of organization between your business divisions.

It’s greatly beneficial to adopt a formalized framework for your sales enablement charter because without one, the team you set up could feel messy and work against the efficiency it was made to improve. Also, in other teams at the company, communication could come to a halt. 

In particular, the priority is making sure sales enablement fits within your marketing and sales goals. That means you should talk with those teams to ensure the team is constantly communicating.

But keep in mind that a sales enablement charter doesn’t require you to stick with the plan. Flexibility is important for your company to function over time, which includes how your company responds to changes in sales over time. It’s all about finding the right balance.

Building a sales enablement team is the first step towards a stronger sales team

Building Your Sales Enablement Team

So what are the positions necessary when building the team? Again, the size and goals for your company will determine the makeup of this group. 

For example, a company with tens of thousands of employees might need to create C-suite as well as Vice President level positions, depending on the importance of sales enablement.

1. Director of Sales Enablement

For every team of your company, a director is responsible for coordinating the department’s actions and communications with each of the other teams. For sales enablement, that is no different. 

Also, your director acts as the cheerleader of sales enablement across the company, which is important when creating a new team within the company. Employees like stability. So having the right director should provide the smoothest entrance possible.

A director’s responsibilities includes: managing resources and employees, organizing cross-division partnerships, and implementing initiatives to help the sales enablement strategy grow and thrive.

2. Sales Enablement Manager

While the director is busy with the other departments and broader functions of the team, your sales enablement manager will directly oversee goal completions. 

They should also focus on communicating directly with sales representatives. While a smaller company may not require a director for sales enablement, the manager is essential for whatever size company you have.

Depending on the number of programs the manager is responsible for overseeing, you might also consider a program manager position or two to help ease that burden.

3. Sales Enablement Coordinators

While the manager(s) are busy monitoring your goals, your coordinators should take on the smaller-detail actions for the team to function. 

This position, which often requires more than one employee, is the grease to keep all things rolling, especially as your company grows and takes on new challenges.

Also, the position is great for employees who are interested in advancing within your company. Therefore, it’s a great incentive for top performing employees in both sales and marketing.

4. Content Specialists

Content is almost entirely in the domain of your marketing team. However, once your sales enablement strategies start, the content needed for those can strain resources of the existing marketing team. Without content specialists for sales enablement, it can cause problems for the coordinators to complete projects.

The content specialist position is good for both small and large companies: it can make up for the loss of a dedicated content marketing position in smaller companies and make up for the massive amount of content needed for larger companies.

Sales enablement means consistent training and evaluation of progress

Keeping Up with Sales Enablement

As they say, showing up is only half the battle. Once your strategies and goals are in order with a solid team in place, maintaining sales enablement will allow all your best practices to come into place to help deliver more sales for your company.

Sales and Marketing Tools

Keeping up with proper CRM software is a valuable, and affordable, tool that can help your team automate and streamline tasks that will improve your sales and marketing effectiveness. 

You’ll need an all-in-one service that manages content, distributes resources, and allows cross-collaboration. Remember that sales enablement is all about empowering the sales team, which in turn requires an efficient enablement team.

Sales Enablement Training

A good way to engage your employees is by constant training. It’s both cost-efficient and maintains your company’s sales goals by keeping them central to each employee’s work. In larger companies, a sales training officer is a valuable part of the sales enablement team.

Monitoring and Analysis

Once you begin using your newly built sales enablement team, you’ll need to monitor the progress in both sales and marketing. Start by analyzing the impact each change has on lead conversions and your lead acquisitions. 

Make sure you keep in mind your company’s KPIs, which will allow you to compare the changes over time. Also, monitoring how the enablement team interacts with other teams is crucial towards establishing office harmony.

Building a sales enablement team doesn’t have to be difficult. Remember to set your goals, formalize your plan, and hire the right team members to carry out your company’s strategy of selling services to customers. Doing so properly will make a large difference.

By Alex Vetter

Project Manager at DYL