Tips to Polish Your Sales Enablement Resume
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As the saying goes, you only have one shot to make a good first impression. Oftentimes during the hiring process, that first impression opportunity comes in the form of your resume. A well-crafted resume can be the key to help you stand out among a competitive pool of applicants – while a mediocre one can cause your application to slip to the bottom of the stack.
But in a function evolving as fast as sales enablement, writing a resume that effectively showcases your qualifications and meets the expectations of the hiring manager isn’t as straightforward as it may be for other functions.
In the last five years, the number of people with sales enablement in their job title has more than tripled. Alongside this rapid growth, the function itself can often cover various responsibilities from company to company. This means that hiring criteria is often not as clear-cut as your college major or years of experience in the field.
“It’s just not as simple as posting, ‘we’re looking for someone with three to five years of sales enablement experience in this particular space,’” said Sharon Little, senior director of GTM enablement at Amplitude. “You’re not filling a sales enablement role the same way that you would a sales ops role, for example.”
Rather, it requires a deeper analysis of how one’s skills and achievements might translate to success in sales enablement, regardless of professional background. Here are tips to optimize your sales enablement resume by emphasizing your qualifications across three key areas: expertise, skills, and achievements.
Sales enablement is often responsible for enhancing the proficiency, productivity, and performance of the sales organization. As such, there are a few key areas where practitioners must have deep expertise to be successful: sales empathy, adult learning, and change management.
Sales is a notoriously tough job that requires grit and perseverance. Not only are sellers responsible for meeting ambitious quotas month over month, but they also have to do so while navigating fast-changing market trends and buyer needs.
“The job doesn’t happen to you, you have to keep making it happen,” said Little. “No matter how awesome you were last quarter, you have to start all over again and make it happen this quarter. And very few jobs out there in the world are like this.”
In sales enablement, it’s critically important to not only understand sales, but also demonstrate real respect and empathy for the profession. If you were a salesperson in the past, be sure to detail what it is that you’ve learned and can carry forward into a sales enablement role based on your deep understanding of the sales profession. If you do not have specific sales experience, highlight your empathy for sales from the lens of an observer or partner.
The way that adults best absorb and retain knowledge is fundamentally different than how children do. For example, Malcolm Knowles’s theory of andragogy says that children require more guidance and structure whereas adults desire more autonomy. In order to design sales readiness initiatives that will stick, sales enablement practitioners need expertise in how adults best learn new information.
On your resume, be sure to highlight instances where you have helped to teach adults new information, whether it be through formal training or onboarding programs or even through presentations and other forms of media such as writing articles on trending topics. When possible, tie this expertise to key results achieved.
Sales enablement practitioners are often the primary drivers of key change initiatives across the organization. Understanding how to motivate, communicate, and activate new behaviors and processes is a vital component of sales enablement expertise.
Call out specific examples of times that you have helped drive forward change, whether it be on a small scale such as implementing a new process among your team, or large scale such as rolling out a sales methodology to a global sales team.
Beyond subject matter expertise, there are also skills that sales enablement practitioners must be highly competent in to impact business goals. While the following is not a complete list of all of the skills needed for success in sales enablement, it provides a foundation of critical competencies that all practitioners should strive to demonstrate on their resume.
No matter the size or scope of an enablement function, all practitioners will rely on resources from across the company to execute on a variety of initiatives. This means practitioners must be excellent collaborators in order to enlist support across departments.
“You have to love working with salespeople and you have to equally love working with marketing people, and you have to know how to get people across the entire organization to pull together and work together to enable the sales team,” said Patrick Merritt, director of worldwide field enablement at Sumo Logic. “You can’t do it by yourself.”
Many sales enablement initiatives are comprised of complex moving parts that depend on multiple stakeholders whose priorities can sometimes be conflicting. This means that having the ability to successfully manage a project from start to finish is an essential part of any sales enablement job.
“The demands on sales enablement are significant, and you are driven sometimes to deadlines that are not flexible in any way, so an ability to get things done and get them done excellently according to a deadline is really important,” said Little.
Sales enablement practitioners are also in a unique position in that they often serve as a liaison between the sales teams and the many other audiences within an organization that are vying for their attention. At the same time, they are also often the spokespeople for major initiatives, such as leading training programs or running global sales kickoffs. Therefore, practitioners not only need to be able to communicate information out to a variety of audiences across the business, but they also need skills to communicate in a variety of forums, from public speaking to compelling written word.
“The ability to work with all types of people, to work across teams and do it in a very effective way, having a warmth and a charm and a graciousness comes in handy for a lot of these folks that are going to be in front of a room at some point, commanding that room, facilitating the conversation, giving a presentation,” said Little.
Sales enablement practitioners need to be data-driven in how they approach problems, design solutions, and present results. Practitioners must make a habit of demonstrating achievements with the data to back those results, and ensure those insights are clearly showcased on their resume.
Part of the challenge here is uncovering data that carries value and truly shows the impact that your efforts had on a specific result. For example, simply stating the overall revenue targets your company hit doesn’t tell the story of how your work helped impact that. Your resume is all about what you specifically bring to the table – how can you use data to your advantage to correlate your efforts with a larger achievement?
“There’s data everywhere, but you have to really find it and track it,” said Kristen McCrae, enablement and performance at Intuit. “When it comes to that data-driven mindset, we have to find a way to quantify our impact – especially if one-third of our audience is feeling like they haven’t seen our impact yet. So, my challenge to every sales enablement practitioner is starting to think about what are you working on, how are you prioritizing it, and how are you measuring success.”
To do this, it’s okay to expand your horizons and think outside of the scope of sales enablement. The achievements you highlight in your resume might draw upon past experience in a different career, such as sales or marketing. Or, it might highlight volunteer work, academic success, or personal projects. The source of the data doesn’t matter – what does matter is your ability to tell the story of your achievements using data-backed insights.
“I like to hire folks who have some background of achievement against a goal,” said Little. “It doesn’t necessarily have to be a sales goal…but just looking for someone with that kind of orientation, they are naturally more inclined to understand what sales enablement needs to bring to the table.”
To land the right role for you in sales enablement today, you need a resume that showcases more than just your work history. Rather, it requires careful storytelling with a resume that’s crafted through the lens of the expertise and skills that are most essential for sales enablement practitioners to master and using data to illustrate impact.
By digging deeper into your self-assessment of your past experiences to uncover tangible examples of the value you can bring to the role, you can help ensure your resume stands out from the competition.