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ATD Blog

UMU and ATD Collaborate on Sales Enablement


Thu Nov 02 2023

UMU and ATD Collaborate on Sales Enablement

The Association for Talent Development (ATD) and UMU recently examined the trends, best practices, and unique challenges of sales enablement globally.

While discussing findings from a new ATD research report, Tapping the Potential of Sales Enablement, UMU Founder and CEO Dongshuo Li and ATD Vice President Jennifer Homer examined the data surrounding the sales enablement function in organizations and the solutions and tools available to maximize its success.


Sales enablement, according to ATD, is “the activities related to onboarding, sales training, coaching, content creation, and process improvement. It is the effort to increase the productivity of revenue-generating teams by providing development, tools, and resources to help sales teams convert more opportunities into wins.”

“One of the reasons we did this report was to understand how organizations and companies globally are utilizing their sales enablement functions and tools,” Homer said. “How are they collaborating across their organizations, and do they have a sales enablement function? And, if so, how are they using that function for maximum success?”

According to the global survey of 262 talent development professionals, 90 percent of respondents said sales enablement was somewhat or very important to their organizations and 65 percent had an established sales enablement department.

For those organizations that did not have a designated sales enablement department, a sales leader was most likely to assume the responsibility for leading the function, followed by the marketing team, training team, and product manager. At 11 percent of the organizations, the talent development team led the department.

“The top answer is sales leader, which is an individual,” Homer explained. “Talent development professionals really need to support sales leaders with the skills and knowledge they need to be successful in that role. The leader’s success and the team’s success hinge on the knowledge and skills that they have.”


Li agreed, adding, “We cannot simply say, ‘The sales leader will handle it.’ We need to think about the mechanism of sales in the moment in the organization by leveraging tools, the process, and cross-functional collaboration so that you can build a scalable business and a sustainable team.”

More than 80 percent of respondents used sales enablement tools, whether developed within their organization or purchased from a third-party vendor. Two thirds rated them as good or very good. These tools were used for sales content, sales coaching, sales training, sales intelligence, presentation, and sales analytics.

Nearly 70 percent of respondents said their sales coaching tools were effective, and 71 percent were happy with the effectiveness of their sales training tools. “Sales training encompasses not just knowledge transfer, but also the acquiring of sales skills and changing of behaviors,” Li added. “Sales training and coaching also are key because they are how salespeople transfer their knowledge to actual behavior.”

More than 90 percent of respondents measured the success of their sales enablement initiatives; the most common method of doing so was via sales success statistics, such as wins and conversion rates (53 percent) and sales revenue (42 percent). Along with limited resources to train staff and a more competitive external sales environment, survey respondents acknowledged that a lack of metrics to track sales success affected the function negatively.

“The most commonly mentioned metrics were sales success statistics such as the number of acquisition conversion rates and achievement followed by usage rate of sales toward salesforce turnover and shortening the sales cycle,” Li added. “These metrics are directly linked to business results such as sales revenue, sales wins, and sales conversions. You also need to look at the working environment because sales in the moment not only drive the sales success and revenue, but also the working environment.”


Action Plan

The ATD report makes three important recommendations to help organizations strengthen their sales enablement function: hire an expert, develop a strategic sales enablement plan, and use available sales enablement resources. Here is additional detail for each recommendation:

1. Hire an expert. Data showed that 35 percent of organizations did not have a sales enablement function. When an organization is ready to start one, it should hire an expert, not just promote a salesperson into that role. To find success, an organization needs to identify the impact it wants this function to make and develop a strategic sales enablement plan.

2. Develop a strategic sales enablement plan. The plan should outline what the team does, who they support, and the goals they want to achieve. This plan should be a “roadmap to understand their objectives and accomplish their goals.”

3. Use available sales enablement resources. This can help organizations achieve their sales goals. If an organization does not have the budget to create a sales enablement department, it should explore tools and resources from third-party providers to help sales professionals gain the knowledge and skills to find success.

More information about ATD’s sales enablement resources can be found here.

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