Sales enablement and sales management are two sides of the same coin. Sales enablement provides the process to improve sales execution, and every sales manager would love for their team to execute on the sales process more effectively and efficiently. When working well, sales enablement enhances sales productivity.
So, if sales enablement and sales management are ultimately striving for the same goal, why is there not more support and collaboration between sales enablement and sales management? To understand why these two sides don’t always get along, you need to acknowledge that many sales training programs fail to have a positive impact on the sales metrics the organization looks for. Although lower-than-expected impact on sales may have caused this adversarial relationship, that doesn’t mean there aren’t ways to bridge the divide—and improve sales results.
For starters, ensure sales managers know that training will positively move their metrics by making examples of sales enablement success. Sales managers’ incentives are tied to achieving metrics. So if training moves any metrics in a positive direction, sales enablement is helping sales managers achieve their incentives.
In addition, you could deploy the world’s best sales training, but if participants can’t easily implement it, then it’s all for nothing. Sales managers don’t need aspirational training. If the goal is to have sales managers reinforce training with sales reps, then sales enablement should fit what’s ideal into what’s practical and can be executed daily.
You would never expect the salesforce to change their behavior without the sales managers’ reinforcement, so why is the expectation any different for sales managers? Don’t just include salespeople in training, include whoever manages them. This creates real sustainability and real adoption because training no longer just addresses what is happening at the frontlinel. When sales leaders are included in the training they provide the necessary reinforcement and coaching with the sales managers.
No doubt, many opportunities exist to build support and collaboration between the sales enablement team and the sales management team. At the end of the day, the goal of these two groups is to provide as much value to the organization through improved sales execution. By simply aligning metrics and outcomes, providing training that fits into the sales managers’ real world, and including sales leadership in the programs to ensure reinforcement, these two sides of the coin can become a cohesive force—rather than adversaries.
Want to learn the details of these strategies and other tips to overcome the adversarial relationship between sales enablement and sales management? Join me at ATD 2017 International Conference & Exposition for the session: Dear Sales Enablement, Here’s How to Gain My Support and Collaboration. Sincerely, Sales Management.