Building A Career In Sales Enablement

By Elay Cohen
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Download enablement plan

This blog is based on an interview conducted on April 28th, 2020.

SalesHood Award 2018 - Sheevaun Thatcher


Head of Sales & Growth Enablement

Sheevaun Thatcher’s track record of building teams and programs and delivering revenue outcomes is remarkable. Here’s a recap from an interview we conducted at our MULTIPLIERS live-virtual conference on April 28th, 2020 on the topic of building a successful career in enablement. The full replay is available in our MULTIPLIERS Community. You can request access here.

Get Early Commitment From Senior Leaders

Sheevaun is very fortunate. She gets to pick the company and team to work with given her experience and track record. When asked how did she choose RingCentral here is what she said:

I looked at a lot of startups [and] some other ones and then RingCentral became the right one for me because I was able to secure the commitment from senior revenue leadership during the interview process.

Sheevaun was asked to stand and deliver a sales enablement vision and strategy presentation to the senior leadership. She made sure to get agreement and alignment with all the folks in the room before she accepted the position.

Build a Partnership with Sales Leadership

Engagement and adoption of sales enablement programs are key to having an impact. A successful sales enablement leader will need to have very strong relationships with sales leadership starting at the top and going all the way down to every front-line manager.

You can have the best investment in the world. You can have the best team in the world (which I have). You can have the best products in the world and support. But without the partnership with sales leadership it’s just not going to work. Unless you have the buy-in, ownership, accountability and support at the highest levels and down to every front-line manager, it can fall apart like a deck of cards.

Don’t Be The Stick

Enablement professionals are there to support and develop teams. Enablement professionals need to be all carrot and no stick. Sheevaun said: “The moment you become a stick, you lose it and your sales enablement programs become a chore versus something they want to do for personal and professional development. You do not want to be the police.”

It’s important to lean on sales leadership to be the stick to reinforce the programs and priorities on behalf of Sales Enablement.

Run Sales Enablement Like A Business

It’s important that sales enablement understands they have investors. The investors are the CEOs, CROs, CFOs, CMOs, and COOs. Make sure you understand who your investors are and that you’re putting the right plans and asks together to get more investment in programs, tools and resources. Your programs need to move the revenue needle and they need to impact business outcomes.

Be Empathetic To The Teams You’re Enabling

You have to put on different hats when you’re working with salespeople and sales leaders. Put yourself in their shoes before you roll-out programs and ask how they do things. Understand their current selling situation and empathize with them. Know what your salespeople and sales leaders care about right now.

“Sales leaders care about 2 things: Is productivity going up and is attrition coming down?”

When you talk to sales leaders and salespeople speak to them in the language they understand.

Develop Skills and Competencies For Enablement

Here is a list of skills required to build a career in sales enablement. The list is taken from Enablement Mastery. Sheevaun says to look for people who have at least sixty percent of these skills.

  1. Have great communications skills
  2. Training facilitation mastery
  3. Culture building abilities
  4. Excellent storytelling abilities
  5. Great content creation skills
  6. Cross departmental skills
  7. Listening skills
  8. Confidence
  9. Ability to hire enablement professionals

Develop Executive Gravitas

In the sales world, gravitas means you’re someone to be taken seriously. When your customers (sales leaders) take you seriously, they’re more likely to take your advice, and invest and support your ideas. That’s why gravitas is a key quality of a Sales Enablement leader.

People with gravitas command respect because they’ve taken the time to think about what they’re going to say and communicate their thoughts in a measured, calm and logical way. They project: Self-awareness, Expertise, Authenticity, Presence, Connection and Action.

Be Strategic

It’s important that we as sales enablement professionals have a handle on strategic questions like:

  • How was the current go-to-market strategy created?
  • What are the expectations for growth and scale?
  • How were those goals established?
  • Are they achievable?
  • How is marketing aligned with sales in practice and where are the gaps?
  • Is the content sales focused?
  • How is cooperation with release strategies?
  • What do customers (sales) value about our Sales Enablement Solutions? Does this align with our GTM strategy?
  • How’s the training reinforced and socialized?
  • What’s repeatable?
  • How effective is the feedback loop?

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