Do you want to get a job in Sales Enablement? Not sure how to get into it?
In this article, I’m going to go through some of the best ways to move into Sales Enablement, including some example Sales Enablement job posts and an overview of the common responsibilities and desirable experience being requested by organisations.
On LinkedIn (September 2021), around 206,000 people had “Sales Enablement” listed in their job description. Within that number, there were:
- ~ 4000 Sales Enablement Manager roles
- 2,400 Sales Enablement Specialist roles
- 1,700 Sales Enablement Lead roles
- 1,000 Sales Enablement Leader roles
- 805 Head of Sales Enablement roles
- 443 Sales Enablement Executive roles
Numbers of Sales Enablement job posts to be filled:
- There were 1,082 active job posts on LinkedIn where UK companies were looking to recruit for Sales Enablement roles.
- There were a whopping 13,065 US Sales Enablement roles being advertised on LinkedIn.
- 4,065 Sales Enablement roles were listed as “Remote” working.
Are you already working in Sales or Marketing?
It’s much easier to move into a Sales Enablement role if you’re already working in a Sales or Marketing type job. Some of the common job routes into Sales Enablement include:
- Sales / Account Management
- Sales Management
- Product Management
- Sales Trainer
- Marketing Manager
- Content Marketing
- Sales Operations
The reason why many people come from the above jobs into Sales Enablement is because their current role, in some way, will have elements of Sales Enablement.
In Product Management, you’re involved in giving input into Sales Playbooks for your product. In Sales Training, you’re training teams on how to sell. In Marketing, you’re creating sales content. It all comes back to Sales Enablement.
It is probably easier to get an entry level job in one of the above listed areas to gain some experience if you’re brand new to the world of Sales, than it will be to move straight into a Sales Enablement role.
Do you need real-life Sales experience to work in Sales Enablement?
I come from a ‘proper’ sales role, and it’s helped me immensely in understanding what Salespeople need in order to sell and what customers care about. But it doesn’t mean you have to have sales experience – but I do think your internal customers (salespeople and Sales Management) often take you more seriously if you have on-the-floor experience in front of customers.
A trap you can fall into if you don’t have sales experience (and I’ve seen it happen a few times), is that you’re good at creating dull, internal product-y content, but not good at the wider Sales Enablement role – and not good at getting to the nub of what salespeople and customers really care about.
Too often, people move from a purely internal role into Sales training or Sales Enablement jobs and focus too much on internal company processes, politics and content, rather than becoming completely customer-focused. It takes a lot to move them from having a company-centric view of the world to a customer-centric view. They’ve never had to sit in front of the customer and deliver a boring ‘on-message’ presentation…
I’d definitely say having a bit of experience in front of customers will be crucial for being an exceptional Sales Enablement lead.
How do I get Marketing experience if I work in Sales (and vice versa)?
Marrying Sales and Marketing is imperative for Sales Enablement job success – but in large companies, these two roles are often kept very separate. So how do you get experience of one or the other?
When I worked in Sales, I dedicated a lot of time to creating my own content for customers, across presentations, proposals and informal product overviews. I would tailor generic company content for my specific customers, or for a specific customer industry.
When I worked in Reseller Account Management, I would create mini playbooks for my resellers. In short, I went above and beyond what was expected of me from a marketing point of view in my sales role (I probably should have spent more time just focusing on sales!). But this stood me in good stead for when I started Contemsa and began creating sales playbooks for other companies.
Look for opportunities to brush up on marketing skills if you’re working in Sales, and if you’re in Marketing, offer to shadow sales teams on customer calls or in meetings.
At the very least, sit down with your sales and marketing counterparts and try to understand their drivers, challenges, needs and gaps – so that you have a well-rounded view of what goes into putting together Sales Enablement content.
What are actual job posts for Sales Enablement looking for?
We trawled the net looking for actual Sales Enablement job posts to see some of the responsibilities and desirable qualities that companies are looking for in Sales Enablement employees. Here is a collated list – as you can see, it’s very varied and some companies expect a Sales Enablement lead to do EVERYTHING sales related:
- Responsible for onboarding new salespeople
- Develop enablement plans
- Drive process improvements
- Create sales training programs
- Deliver sales training programs
- Train salespeople on sales tech platforms
- Work with the board/leadership team to measure sales performance
- Uncover insights to improve win-rates, call success etc.
- Work with marketing to create go-to-market strategies
- Build sales playbooks
- Create a sales coaching programme
- Create a learning strategy and program for the sales team
- Design and develop product training
- Analyse Salespeople skills and performance
- Work with marketing, product management and sales leadership to create ‘blended curriculums’ spanning different departments
- Keep informed of new training methods and tools
- Develop certification programs
- Optimise sales enablement technology tools
- Oversee all sales training, from new hire oboarding, to product training and national sales conference training
- Create Marketing materials
- Develop case study program
- Create pre-packaged ‘selling kits’
- Ensure CRM systems and databases are accurate and updated regularly
- Producing virtual enablement events and online training
- Establishing a set of sales enablement tools for the organisation to use
- Experience of coaching Sales Teams
- Understand and educate others on complex products
- Use data to improve sales performance
- Strong sales training experience – understanding of SPIN, Challenger, Value, Solution, Conceptual….
- Experience building training programmes from scratch
- Program management skills
- Complex sales process knowledge
- Cross Business Unit collaboration
- Ability to customise sales strategy and content to fit a specific customer or context
- Strong understanding of B2B sales cycles
- Communication and collaboration skills
Sales Enablement roles need experience
As you can see from the above job descriptions, Sales Enablement isn’t an entry level job. It does require previous understanding of the sales or marketing landscape in order to develop relationships across the different departments that feed into sales enablement.
If you’ve never worked in a sales or marketing related role for a corporate company, it would be very difficult to understand the complexities of the sales process – whether that’s understanding how to work on complex sales opportunities or the comprehensive infrastructure that sits behind salespeople to help them sell better (CRM systems, coaching, customer case studies, customer experience analysis – and the rest.
Sales Enablement job examples
Here are just a few examples of real sales enablement job posts from the net. As you can see, some see the Sales Enablement role as a strategic, program-creation-level job role, whereas others are expecting their Sales Enablement managers to be creating marketing content and delivering actual sales training.
Neither is wrong, it is just different for each company – but obviously each of those roles are completely different. Someone who is great at creating the overall Sales Enablement strategy for a company isn’t necessarily the right candidate for being on the sales floor delivering training to reps every week.
This Head of Sales Enablement job description from the Hut Group focuses strongly on onboarding and training program development
This Sales Enablement role focuses on training and sales playbook development – and talks about having a good understanding of common corporate sales training methods such as SPIN / Challenger selling.
This job focuses highly on cross business unit collaboration to deliver the sales enablement strategy – again, with a strong focus on sales training.
Sales Enablement is a highly collaborative job
Because Sales Enablement sits across Product Management, Sales, Marketing and Sales Operations – anyone working in the role must be prepared to constantly collaborate and work with all these different departments. Each department will have slightly different drivers and perspectives on how to carry out Sales Enablement, so it won’t always be straightforward.
Start creating mini-playbooks and sales plays
Why not offer to start creating small cheat-sheets or sales plays for your own company and sales teams? If you already have existing sales playbooks, then you could tailor them for different customer industries, or different customer challenges (i.e. how to reduce costs, reduce risks, increase revenues, drive governance).
This will help you to understand how to create great propositions and to see if you have an awareness of how to tailor a message to different issues and stakeholders – and for that content to have an impact on sales.
Educate yourself on the latest Sales Training trends
Working in Sales Enablement means you need to know what’s out there – what are the best companies doing for their sales training? Who are the market leaders in sales training? What are the hottest books in sales training currently?
You might never need to train anyone in your role as Sales Enablement lead but you need an understanding of the different types of sales training around, especially if you’re coming from a marketing background and haven’t gone through any formal sales training programs.
Understanding the structure of a sales training program that encompasses product training, business training and sales skill training will be really useful for when you are having to develop Sales Enablement programs in the future.
Get your head around Sales Enablement technology
Forget what you’re own company uses, figure out what’s out there in the wider market so you can benchmark your company’s current Sales Enablement tech stack against industry best practices.
Be aware of what HubSpot is up to in the marketing, understand who are the leading Sales Enablement tech providers, find out what best-in-class sales teams are using to manage their deals, and so on.
Figure out who would be your boss in your own company
Some organisations have the Sales Enablement Lead reporting to the board directly, while some report into Sales Management (which could create some interesting conflicts of interest and awkward conversations). Some (which I cannot understand why) have their SE Lead reporting to Marketing (?), and other companies keep Sales Enablement in Sales Operations.
Figure out where Sales Enablement sits within your own company and that should give you an idea of a good route into the role.
Don’t make the mistake of thinking Sales Enablement is Sales Training
Because it’s not. It’s a mix of Training, Technology and Content, all three of which come together to produce something greater than the sum of its parts. It can be difficult to get your head around what Sales Enablement is and isn’t, and everyone has their own idea of what Sales Enablement is.
If you want a more in-depth overview of what Sales Enablement actually is, then have a look at this overview we put together: “What is Sales Enablement?“.
What are we missing?
Is there anything else we need to add to the list about how to get started in Sales Enablement? What have we missed?