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ATD Blog

Sales Enablement: Gelling and Evolving

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Thu Oct 25 2018

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Earlier this month, various speakers at ATD's upcoming ATD SELL conference gathered virtually for a Twitter chat (#ATDSELLchat).

Here are the highlights from the conversation from sales enablement leaders and practitioners.

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1. How is Sales Enablement different as a profession than it was 5 years ago?

A1: #SalesEnablement is still gelling & also evolving at the same time. We’re gaining more clarity & alignment around what SE should be, where it should report, & how it should evolve. #ATDSELLChat

— Mike Kunkle (@Mike\_Kunkle) October 4, 2018

A1: It is no longer just about building and/or delivering content to meet corporate objectives. It's about garnering the audience’s attention & exceeding their expectations around value for personal growth & development beyond their current role #ATDSELLChat

— Adam H Michaels (@AHMICHAELS) October 4, 2018

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2. For those building a new Sales Enablement practice, what should they try to master first?

A2: When building a #SalesEnablement function, start with your charter. Get aligned. How will you define SE in your org? What will you do, for whom, with whom, by when, and how will you do it? #ATDSELLChat

— Mike Kunkle (@Mike\_Kunkle) October 4, 2018

A2: Focus on what drives performance metrics such as quota attainment, time to revenue. How do you find out what that is? The data will tell you! #ATDSELLChat https://t.co/5TGLpTAaSt

— Mark Crofton (@MarkCrofton) October 4, 2018

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A2: Curiosity! Seek to understand the needs of the sales team at STREET level-not the SUITE level. Too often the people writing the checks have lost touch with reality. Seek out passionate and thoughtfullyy disagreeable sales leaders #ATDSELLChat

— Adam H Michaels (@AHMICHAELS) October 4, 2018

3. For those elevating a mature Sales Enablement practice, how will they know when they’ve taken it “to the next level”?

A3: When elevating a mature SE function, I recommend evolving #SalesEnablement to #PerformanceConsulting. It’s not about initiatives, it’s about outcomes & moving the needle on the #sales metrics that matter. #ATDSELLChat

— Mike Kunkle (@Mike\_Kunkle) October 4, 2018

#ATDSELLChat You are at next-level when you bring meaningful insights to your sales partners, when you can show evidence that your interventions are impacting sales, when you can inspire sales to move. And when you are your sales leaders' speed dial/favorites list @wadeburgess

— amy borsetti (@amyborsetti) October 4, 2018

4. What is the most underutilized strategy or tool in Sales Enablement?

Field curated content. Make it easy for reps to share success stories, managers to mentor and coach. #ATDSELLChat

— Glen Lally (@glenlally) October 4, 2018

A4: Seller-generated resources! Sourcing content from reps, inviting high performers to teach or write training modules, and formalized peer coaching are all examples. @ATDSELLChat

— Jenna Cronin (@atdSalesEnable) October 4, 2018

5. What should Sales Enablement professionals be doing now to start 2019 off strong?

A5: To prep for 2019, we are using data to drive our focus areas of enablement. Which skills correlate to higher performance? Where are the gaps in those skills? Focus on how to address those. #ATDSELLChat https://t.co/x6oq3XbcjU

— Mark Crofton (@MarkCrofton) October 4, 2018

A5: That one is a lay up! Prospecting, prospecting, and more prospecting! Your success will not magically appear. Be the salesperson who you purport to be able to create. #ATDSELLChat

— Adam H Michaels (@AHMICHAELS) October 4, 2018

If you don't have 100% alignment with your sales leader on her strategic priorities and how your priorities will help drive her priorities forward (with clear metrics), you are already behind. So do that now. Start with the "Why", then the what/how. #ATDSELLChat https://t.co/zIiY8xcdiz

— amy borsetti (@amyborsetti) October 4, 2018

6. For organizations anticipating the future of work (for example, AI), what can Sales Enablement professionals do to support employees, managers, and organizations at large?

A6: Leverage digital assistant and Machine Learning Technology. Use it to in provide just-in-time enablement. Integrate enablement into the sales rep and mgr workflow. #ATDSELLChat #SalesChatBot

— Glen Lally (@glenlally) October 4, 2018

A6: IMO we are overestimating the displacement of sales professionals from AI. That said there will be a thinning of the herd #SalesDarwinism. SE pros will need to position themselves as the catlyst fordeveloping skills around leveraging data in the sales process. #ATDSELLChat

— Adam H Michaels (@AHMICHAELS) October 4, 2018

7. What is one teaching or takeaway about Sales Enablement you would want everyone to apply to their own work?

A7: Base your decisions and focus your efforts based on data and facts. Take some (maybe not all) of the intuition out. #ATDSELLChat https://t.co/uFtEMYupYy

— Mark Crofton (@MarkCrofton) October 4, 2018

A7: Have an awareness of how developed your #SalesEnablement function is on the spectrum of maturity, and know where you want to go. Identify thought leaders who are a step ahead and read, watch, absorb their content! #ATDSELLChat

— Jenna Cronin (@atdSalesEnable) October 4, 2018

A7: Stop saying yes to 10 things and be remembered for 1-2 great deliverables that created impact. Focus on meaningful impact that is aligned with the strategic direction of the organization, and solutions sales reps love! #ATDSELLChat #EngageSalesReps

— Glen Lally (@glenlally) October 4, 2018

A7: The days of “those that can’t....teach” are over! You must be a practitioner, not a pretender! #ATDSELLChat

— Adam H Michaels (@AHMICHAELS) October 4, 2018

A7: #SalesEnablement pros: If we can’t foster #BehaviorChange, drive adoption & deliver improved #performance, our role & our profession are at risk. The #sales profession is not evolving as fast as it must. We must be a catalyst for #change & #SalesGrowth. Step up! #ATDSELLChat

— Mike Kunkle (@Mike\_Kunkle) October 4, 2018

A7: We need to grow our #SalesEnablement profession with people who are students of organizational performance improvement methods & apply them to #sales. We have such a phenomenal opportunity in front of us. #ATDSELLChat

— Mike Kunkle (@Mike\_Kunkle) October 4, 2018

8. Why should folks in Sales Enablement/Leadership/Training join us for #ATDSELL?

A8: #SalesEnablement pros: attend #ATDSell for the key topics & presenters who are making things happen & who are #ResultsLeaders as much as Thought Leaders. It’s all SE, all the time, for 1.5 days. Come learn, share & grow with us! https://t.co/TUAjwIkZjG #ATDSELLChat #Evolve

— Mike Kunkle (@Mike\_Kunkle) October 4, 2018

A8: Our incredible #ATDSELL speakers sharing their craft - including @AHMICHAELS @mike\_kunkle @markcrofton @glenlally @amyborsetti 😊 Make connections w/ other practitioners & learn what they're doing to take their game to the next level! #ATDSELLChat https://t.co/HC0vSI9Kcd https://t.co/dE1Fx4vrTk

— Jenna Cronin (@atdSalesEnable) October 4, 2018

As a field, Sales Enablement is evolving so rapidly that the most searched phrase containing the term is: “What is Sales Enablement?” Practitioners from backgrounds as varied as talent development, sales, marketing, operations, and training are all trying to find the right strategies and initiatives that will catalyze Sales Enablement to have a true impact on the performance of the sales team. For these reasons, the best way to fuel the progress of the profession: keep discussing, debating, and dissecting what works and what’s changing.

Many thanks to all those who participated in the Twitter chat! For more information on our speakers and the ATD SELL conference, learn more.

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