Enablement Career Pathing to Enhance Value
319 Views | 9 Min Read
The career path toward enablement isn’t always linear, but it is promising. From impacting sales readiness to helping connect the dots between strategy and execution in the field, enablement professionals drive strategic change and empower revenue teams to succeed.
The past few years revealed the need for organizations to sell differently. Through navigating economic uncertainty and turbulent times, many organizations had to rip up the old playbook they once knew to prepare their go-to-market teams and pivot. With a sharpened focus on reaching buyers in a changing environment, the demand to onboard and ultimately prepare reps effectively became an even more critical component to the overall sales strategy of revenue-facing teams.
“People are coming to enablement earlier than ever before because they know it’s important,” said Dave Lichtman, founder and CEO of Enablematch. “There’s all this momentum because all of these CROs realize that we [enablement practitioners] are the key to success.”
Charting a successful path in enablement is not a rarity. In fact, as the Compensation, Career Pathing, and DE&I in Enablement report found, 62% of enablement professionals believe that there is a clear career path for enablement at their organizations. To ensure that enablement can chart a clear path toward establishing a seat at the executive table, it is important that professionals know how to gain executive buy-in, demonstrate enablement’s impact through metrics, and lead confidently when collaborating cross-functionally.
Below, learn more about carving an enablement career trajectory that will open doors for opportunity and the ability to achieve career goals for years to come.
Gain Executive Buy-In Early and Communicate the Metrics that Matter
It can be daunting to know where to start when it comes to investing in one’s career path. To ensure an enablement function within an organization is set up for success, there must be a budget to develop a team and empower the programs that help revenue teams succeed. However, 33% of respondents stated that they are dissatisfied with their enablement budget to achieve their goals.
One of the critical ways to ensure an organization appropriately invests in enablement is to gain executive buy-in early and often. It can be helpful to proactively communicate to leadership the impact enablement initiatives have made on the business.
Understanding how enablement affects critical lines of business and sets up revenue teams for success can help gain the sponsorship needed to see programs and initiatives come to fruition. By focusing on how enablement directly impacts an organization’s larger vision and strategy, practitioners can solidify their seat at the table and gain more active involvement from leadership on initiatives enablement can achieve.
“The question is, will [executives] put the weight of their role behind your enablement initiatives?” said Lichtman. “People don’t want the theoretical; they want the practical and the actual. The gold is in the specificity.”
When given the proper tools and resources to do their jobs effectively, practitioners are three times more likely to be satisfied in their roles. By improving the ability to communicate the value they bring to the overall business, enablement professionals can set themselves up for success in future programs and even take on more responsibility to drive lasting impact.
“You get executive buy-in when you actually understand the strategy of the ecosystem around you and how you play a part in that,” said Rehmat Kharal, global vice president of GTM strategic enablement at Harness. “Otherwise, every component on its own is not so strong, but when you take all the ecosystem components, and you work together, you have a much bigger impact on each of you individually, and you can take that to the executive. That’s how you get that executive buy-in, and that’s how you get people to listen to how you can contribute and make a difference.”
Metrics are the language of enablement and its impact. If practitioners can prove how enablement directly influences business success with hard numbers and effectively communicate their direct role in making those programs successful, it can make a significant difference. Metrics like decreased ramp time for new hires, increased quota attainment, decrease in length of the sales cycle, and more can all signal that enablement’s efforts are making a sizeable impact on improving sales teams’ performance.
“Some of the ways that enablement leaders can use data to position the enablement team as a strategic lever for the business is really to show problems that might not initially be apparent,” said Kevin Morrell, senior manager of global sales enablement at R3. “Enablement roles are a combination of data, which is the more quantitative side, but also the qualitative side, which is you’re representing the sales team in many ways, and you understand the context of the numbers being put in place.”
Kharal says that even if a practitioner is new to the world of enablement or operating as a team of one, being an effective listener and advocating to be invited to the conversations happening among leadership can help inform an enablement strategy that is well-aligned to the organization’s overall strategy.
“Rather than just grounding your programs in metrics, what the best folks do is they use metrics to talk about those programs,” said Lichtman. “Both internally with their companies and also when they’re interviewing.”
Lead with Confidence to Collaborate Cross-Functionally
When charting a career path in enablement, leading with confidence can be the key to unlocking enablement’s potential throughout the organization and across teams. According to Morrell, defining the career path of enablement can be broken down into three key principles:
- Know where the enablement team sits within the organization. Whether it’s an existing team or something new to the entire revenue-facing organization, it’s critical to understand the needs and priorities of that specific team as it relates to supporting company-wide initiatives and other teams.
- Learn everything and anything about enablement. Practitioners in enablement are leading an exciting and emerging field that is tailored specifically to the different needs or objectives of a business. It can be beneficial to pay close attention to where the enablement field is headed and how that relates specifically to one’s current role to help lead with deeper expertise for the future.
- Identify where there can be impact. For any enablement practitioner, understanding the initiative or program that makes the biggest impact across the organization can help show the value of enablement across the business. For example, if coming from a revenue operations perspective, understanding what type of sales-specific process knowledge can be used within the role of enablement can help position the program tailored to a specific set of skills or expertise.
“Really know what you’re interested in and become the master of that,” said Kharal. “Don’t spread yourself so thin that you only understand the basics of the different components of enablement, dig in. Dig in deep and say, ‘You know what, I’m actually really good in front of customers, I’m really good in front of people, maybe field enablement is what I should be doing,’ and then grow your career in field enablement and prove yourself out.”
As enablement professionals chart their own career path, building confidence and gaining expertise along the way can help professionals execute their goals and also help them grow professionally.
“Keeping promises to ourselves helps to build confidence in ourselves,” said Hatchell. “It’s not necessarily achieving the big hairy, audacious goals, but the small daily things that we’re doing that lead to the ultimate goals that start to build confidence.”
As organizations continue to grow and evolve with changing buyer needs, enablement has proven itself to be a powerful career. By becoming acutely aware of enablement’s impact across the organization and within the context of executive leadership priorities, enablement professionals can carve out a path toward a long and rewarding career that sets revenue teams up for success.