Diary of a Sales Enablement Associate

Estimated reading time
8 minutes
12th October 2022
Author: Lia Young
Posted in: Strategy & Planning

photo of Lia Young, Sales Enablement Associate at Turtl

Hi there! I’m Lia, and I’m the Sales Enablement Associate here at Turtl.

I remember when I first told my friends and family that I had a new job. One of their many questions was what my new role would be. I simply replied with my title; Sales Enablement Associate. I was met with similar responses each time; “wow, that sounds interesting”. But, there was always that questioning look on their faces (you know the one) and a slight pause in the conversation that invited further elaboration. 

Well, consider this me explaining to everyone what Sales Enablement really is.

This blog is a whistlestop tour of all things Sales Enablement; we’ll cover the ‘who’, ‘what’, ‘why’, and ‘how’. As for the ‘when’? Well, that’s not really for me to say. That’s entirely dependent on your business’ circumstances, priorities, and resources.

What is sales enablement?

According to HubSpot, the modern-day definition of sales enablement is the ‘iterative process of providing your business’ sales teams with the resources they need to close more deals’

By providing your Sales team with the right information, tools, and resources, you can help them to sell more effectively. This means equipping salespeople with everything they might need to educate buyers about your product, so these prospects are more likely to convert to happy customers.

What does a sales enablement role look like?

This can look different for each business depending on their immediate sales enablement needs, wants, and priorities. For me, it involves team upskilling, content planning, data analysis, collaboration building, tech stack management, and performance analysis. You could say sales enablement is a pretty diverse role.

It actually looks a LOT like a juggling act and requires the ability to balance the preferences, requirements, expectations, and developments of Marketing, Sales, Product, and customer demands. 

But, if we set aside the multifacetedness, my role is the string telephone (I really hope people get this analogy) between Sales and Marketing. In many ways, my biggest priority is to make sure we’re all on the same wavelength by acting as a medium through which the teams can better listen and be listened to. 

Establishing a clear line of communication between the Sales and Marketing teams is the entire premise of sales enablement and was a notion pioneered in the late 90s by John Aiello and Drew Larsen. Aiello and Larsen recognized that sellers were not focused on selling because they were often too busy tackling organizational bureaucracy. To this end, the duo sought to revamp the sales process by better aligning the Sales and Marketing teams.

The idea behind leveraging this intrinsic – often neglected – link was to build a mutually-beneficial relationship. 

Why should businesses invest in sales enablement? 

Historically, Marketing and Sales have worked in silos, but having well-aligned Sales and Marketing teams can make all the difference. 

In fact, it’s been found that businesses that have established a strong alliance between Sales and Marketing teams are 67% more effective at closing deals and 58% better at retaining customers.

If sales enablement is about providing salespeople with the resources they need to sell more effectively, then surely the most significant piece of that puzzle is content. Sales teams need to have the right knowledge and content at the right time so that they can seamlessly communicate the value of their product and influence the prospect’s decision at every stage of the buyer journey.

After all, a smoother selling process leads to happier buyers and, of course, more sales. 

Here’s an example of what the world would be like without us sales enablers:

A salesperson is on a call with a potential client in the automotive industry. The salesperson talks broadly about the advantages of the product across the technology industry. They are unable to draw on examples of its success, share any statistics, or send over product guides after the call. 

And here’s an example of what the business looks like with sales enablers:

A salesperson enters the call already prepared with automotive industry case studies, statistics, and customer testimonials. Once the meeting’s over, they send over a personalized guide specific to the client’s stage in the buyer’s journey.

How does sales enablement help businesses reach their goals? 

As I said earlier, every sales enablement strategy is going to look different. But, when I first started at Turtl, this was a new function, so it’s been a steep learning curve as I’ve been figuring out what that strategy might look like here.

To help out, I wanted to highlight the key elements that I would recommend focusing on:

1) Open dialogue between teams by scheduling semi-regular round tables

Whether it’s fortnightly, monthly, or quarterly, try to have a regular date in the diary where you bring together a “focus group” consisting of both Marketing and Sales team members. 

This provides a valuable opportunity for both teams to talk through any trends they’re noticing, the latest data findings, or perhaps to introduce upcoming content and how those pieces fit into buyer discussions.

An aerial shot of a marketing and sales team having a meeting

Facilitating knowledge sharing and two-way communication between Sales and Marketing can be one of the biggest assets to your business when considering the customer experience. 

For example, Sales could become better versed in customer-facing assets and value propositions – knowing when and how to use the content produced by the marketing team – to provide a more tailored buying experience. 

Similarly, Marketing can better understand the sellers’ markets and audiences to deliver relevant, cohesive messaging and a variety of content that demonstrates value at every touchpoint.

2) Clarify the sales process by mapping out the buyer journey

News sites like LinkedIn remind us every day that the buyer journey has changed dramatically; a shift that really accelerated over the past couple of years. 

There are new channels (social media, review sites, search engines, video ads, etc.) and so many more hurdles along the digital path to purchase. With so much information at the buyers’ fingertips, it’s harder than ever to cut through the noise and make an impact. That’s why mapping out your customer’s journey, from awareness through to conversion and advocacy, is essential to making sure you’re delivering the right message to the right audience.

graphic of the customer journey; attention, engagement, convert, growth, and advocacy

Creating a map, like the one above, as a shared resource could provide your Sales team with more clarity around the types of content they should be using and when. Not only does this make sure that your content remains relevant to the buyer, but it could also support the delivery of a more positive and engaging customer experience, leading to more closed deals.

3) Adopt shared goals to improve task efficiency  

We touched on earlier about the tendency for Sales and Marketing to exist in silos which means (unsurprisingly) these two teams tend to have different goals, right? 

For example, Marketing is often focused on long-term objectives, such as brand awareness, increasing brand engagement, and generating qualified leads. Comparatively, Sales are often dictated by more short-term targets, such as booking meetings, building the pipeline, and closing opportunities. 

Shot of a group of businesspeople sitting together in a meeting

Well, if we’re talking about aligning these two teams to drive more revenue, then it makes sense that there ought to be at least a few common goals. I’m not saying these teams can’t have individual objectives – they absolutely need to – but putting in place shared targets will help bring these two islands together and improve collaborative efforts.

Oftentimes, the best way to do this is by prioritizing higher business outcomes, such as the adoption rate for a new product launch or achieving an X% uplift in revenue.

4) Put it all together to create compelling content

When creating content for your Sales team to use, it needs to capture the attention of prospects but it also needs to speak to the salespeople. 

How can they confidently convey your brand message and the value of your offering to customers if they’re not engaged with the materials themselves? Maybe they’re not even using those resources, which definitely won’t be helping to move those customers through the funnel and towards a purchase. 

a professional writing sales enablement content on their laptop

There are a few ways to tackle these challenges: 

  • Measure the performance of your content; understand what resources your Sales team favor and find out why these pieces are successful. These insights could prove invaluable and inform the creation of future sales materials, as well as how existing content could evolve to better engage your target audience.
  • Organizing content in an intuitive platform helps salespeople quickly and easily locate the content they need (especially if they’re mid-conversation with an interested prospect!). Arranging your content with labels, tags, or categorized folders, for example, ensures materials are readily shareable. Have a strong repository of content? Schedule some time with your salespeople to talk them through how they can make better use of the assets that are available to them, and where/how to find these documents. 
  • Save your Sales team the time, resources, and hassle by creating templates or modular content they can easily reconfigure and personalize to deliver relevant, dynamic materials, without going off-brand.

Hold on, who is responsible for sales enablement?

Maybe you don’t have a Lia of your own, but even without a designated sales enablement associate or team, the responsibility of providing sales with resources and marketing with direction is one everyone should share. 

Marketing owns the production of content and sales-specific tools. This includes the production of case studies and videos to share throughout the buying process. Sales teams can draw on these resources for a particular meeting, or send them to clients between discussions to keep up contact throughout the process. 

In order to produce the right resources for a particular client or lead, however, marketing needs the input of sales. With the knowledge of exactly what their client needs to help them convert, sales representatives can feedback to marketing on their content and resource requirements at each stage of the buyer’s cycle. This means that between them, sales and marketing could create successful sales enablement, personalized to each industry, stage, and client.

The Turtl Takeaway: Elevate your business outcomes by enabling your enablers  

All of the above sound like a lot to achieve, but with the right tools, strategy, and content, you can better enable your enablers and empower your salespeople.

If you’re looking for a few focus areas that are immediately achievable for you and your team, you could explore Turt’s latest guide to Empowering your Sales Enablement

Turtl's guide to empowering sales enablement content

Turtl