Scaling Your Enablement Team
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As organizations scale, ideally, the sales enablement team scales alongside it. Growing out the enablement team and ensuring it is resourced appropriately to support a business as it scales is critical to long-term success.
In order to drive this growth, sales enablement leaders must effectively align with stakeholders to advocate for the right resources, structure their team for scale, and prove ongoing value amid change.
“Spending this extra time up front will save you a lot of pain and time in the long run,” said Rachel Chambers, head of enablement at Marketplacer. “It will help build better relationships, greater adoption of your change, and essentially get you better results.”
Identifying areas for improvement and resource allocation will help enablement leaders gain buy-in, funding, and support in their efforts to scale their enablement teams. Whether a team is in the midst of scaling or planning ahead for the future, these three tips can help leaders better equip their enablement teams for success from the start as they prepare for scale.
Align Stakeholders With a Sales Enablement Charter
Creating an enablement team strategy and sharing it with the leadership of an organization can be helpful in achieving a comprehensive understanding of what enablement means to the organization and how scaling that team can drive success. One way to define and communicate this strategy is in the form of an enablement charter.
“It’s an overview, it’s not the detailed actions on what you’ll deliver,” said Chambers. “I have a template or a draft on our best practice enablement methodology and share it with the sponsor or stakeholder who has brought me into the business.”
Sales enablement leaders can develop this charter and tailor it to the organization based on the specific business goals that stakeholders prioritize. Personalizing the charter to the organization and enablement’s core stakeholders can aid in securing buy-in, as it demonstrates how enablement plans to influence success against key business objectives. In turn, this can create more support and willingness from leaders to grow the enablement team, especially if they can see how growing the team can move the needle even further for the initiatives they care about most. This charter can also be shared with partners across the organization to enhance collaboration between teams and increase scalable success.
“A big part of alignment is understanding both what does that person or that team need to get accomplished,” said Caroline Holt, EVP of revenue enablement at EVERFI. “I think if you understand the needs of your internal stakeholders, and they understand what’s in it for them to work together, it’s a lot easier to build something in a collaborative zone.”
Build and Structure the Team for Scale
Sales enablement leaders can plan to build and structure their team for growth well before the hiring process even begins. By assessing the current health of the enablement team, understanding the available resources, refining roles based on future needs, and finding the right talent for the right roles, enablement leaders can strategically prepare for the future of enablement in their organization.
1. Take Inventory
Sales enablement professionals can better build for scale when they thoroughly know the inputs and outputs of the teams they support and how enablement is currently structured to support them. By making note of where resources are being allocated and where they are lacking, enablement can dig into any correlations with performance outcomes to prove the necessity of resources in certain areas.
“That will demonstrate that there is a desire from our sales team or our customers which we’re not meeting; that there is a requirement to help and support them, to lift capability or help them have better conversations and we need more resources to fill that,” said Chambers. “Keep linking it back to the business strategy as that is the quickest way to get the resources approved.”
2. Refine Roles and Responsibilities
After overviewing the resources available to an enablement team, enablement leaders can find where the gaps are in their teams or strategies more clearly. Identifying gaps in the team can help enablement leaders to see how they could ideally structure their team for success. Determining the proper structure for an enablement team in an organization shows where roles can be improved through refinement of responsibilities or hiring to fill gaps.
“I think every organization is different,” said Jasmine Jackson-Irwin, director of revenue enablement at Airbase. “To me, it’s really crucial to align your criteria to the expectations of your stakeholders, your executive team, and of course yourself as the hiring manager.”
3. Determine a Hiring Plan
With a clear map of the necessary roles and responsibilities for enablement to maximize success, sales enablement leaders can begin to advocate for the headcount they need to scale impact. In building and structuring an enablement team for scale, it is essential to curate a diverse, balanced team. Consider where resources could be reallocated across the company, and prioritize a wishlist of the most critical roles that will add differentiated value to the function and its goals as outlined in the charter.
“Enablement’s a really high visibility team and a driver of so much communication and collaboration,” said Hannah Ensler-Rivel, director of revenue enablement at Red Canary. “Having those really diverse, interesting teams I think is an important part of the puzzle of scaling – getting those right people in those roles.”
Secure Enablement Team Resources with Key Metrics
When seeking to scale an enablement team, it is important to be armed with clear data to demonstrate how the team will scale successfully alongside the organization and position the business for improved success. Sales enablement leaders can collect and analyze this data by measuring key metrics that apply to what the organization finds to be most valuable to demonstrate a return on investment.
The metrics enablement leaders prioritize will vary depending on the leadership, company, and industry, but this data should show at a foundational level the current resources given and where they are allocated by the enablement team. These metrics could include sales performance trends over time, influenced revenue from enablement programs, and more. Overall, these metrics should show why enablement resources are important and how greater resource investment could improve any gaps or generate more revenue for the organization.
“Sales enablement should pay for itself in the long run,” said Chambers. “There are a ton of things that you can report on because at the end of the day, metrics matter. Whatever you’re going to do to get more resources, you need to prove ROI on roles.”
Utilizing some of these steps in planning and pursuing enablement team growth can help sales enablement leaders scale their teams more effectively and efficiently. By developing an enablement charter, prepping a team for scalability, and advocating for essential resources, sales enablement leaders can create successful team growth within their organization. In doing so, sales enablement leaders can also be better prepared to make strategic growth decisions as new business needs arise.
“What I like to do is start building the team of tomorrow today,” said Chambers.