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The State of Sales Enablement

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Dave Lichtman

B2B Sales

The Great Resignation has been a trending topic for six months - how does a B2B SaaS company prepare for  the impact?  Sales Enablement is one strategic function that will be a key component to combat attrition and ramp new sales hires to productivity...quickly Dave Lichtman has been a sales trainer, a sales professional at Salesforce and a sales leader at Sales Enablement platform vendor, SalesHood. We first discussed how Sales Enablement evolved during the pandemic.  First, most sales playbooks had to be thrown out the door, and companies had to re-train and enable a new "virtual sales process" and Sales Enablement was front and center to that new reality. Dave has seen compensation packages rise dramatically due to the increased need, and many Sales Enablement professionals are seeing total comp packages in the range of a Senior Director or VP Sales. When to first deploy a Sales Enablement function?  First, ensuring Product Market Fit and having an initial repeatable sales process need to be established.  Once that happens, it is good to invest in Sales Enablement to scale sales....revenue level is secondary to ensuring these two factors are solid. How has the delivery model changed for Sales Enablement?  The common foundation was ensuring you could train new sales hires virtually,  thus requiring a more robust technology, including a sales enablement platform.  Another key trend due to the current levels of sales personnel attrition is ingesting larger groups of new hires simultaneously, which requires a more compressed time to productivity. Sales Enablement today is aggressively using a hybrid of virtual, instructor led + digital self-directed learning.  So what is the "profile" most in demand for Sales Enablement resources today?  Dave shared the top "attributes and experiences" including:  1) Direct sale experience is a plus but not a must...what is a must is being a student of sales. 2) Typically, the first hire is a "team of one" and having previous Sales Enablement experience in standing up the first Sales Enablement team is a critical, must have skill set.  Being a Sales Enablement employee is a larger organization is not applicable to standing up a Sales Enablement function. 3) Curiosity is probably the most important personal attribute, while being a "pleaser" who thrives on helping people WHILE also having the ability to gently push back on leadership when a requested direction may be sub optimal.  This can lead to taking on too many responsibilities ultimately leading to failure. Sales Enablement is a team sport, and as such being able to build strong relationships across functions is critical to sustained success.  Has Sales Enablement evolved beyond sales, and expanding to functions such as Sales Development, Customer Success and Account Management?  A minority of companies have started to expand Sales Enablement to include post sales resources, though the C-Suite has started to view Sales Enablement as a strategic function, and broadening the purview of Sales Enablement. Dave sees Sales Enablement primarily living under and reporting directly to the Chief Revenue Officer.  This will enhance alignment of Sales Enablement to the strategic priorities of the CRO - in Dave's team closer to the sun is an important key to Sales Enablement success. How to measure the ROI of Sales Enablement?  Measure both leading and lagging indicators.  Start with the purpose of each program and align to leading indicators such as close rate, competitive win rate, discount rates, ACV, etc, If you are a Sales Enablement professional, thinking about investing in Sales Enablement for the first time or simply looking on best practices to increase Sales Enablement impact on revenue,  the discussion with Dave Lichtman is highly instructive.

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