The Role of Sales in Sales Enablement (2019)

Posted on June 25, 2019 10:44 AM | Updated on Jun 25, 2019 10:59 AM

When I was young, I read every book I could get my hands on. 

From the Hardy Boys Adventures in first grade to War and Peace in middle school, I was and still am, a book enthusiast.

However, with a regular commute time that consumes a couple of hours each day, I have shifted my focus to podcasts and audiobooks. One of my favorite podcasts is the Inside Sales Enablement series by Scott Santucci and Brian Lambert.

In their last episode, they spent time reviewing their thoughts and insights from the Sales Enablement Soiree that recently took place in Boston.

They spoke to the fact that there is a great deal of confusion and misalignment amongst practitioners, in part because of uncertainty about where sales enablement begins and ends.

Some of this confusion stems from:

  • A lack of agreement on the basic definition of sales enablement.
  • Misalignment between organizations and leadership about which teams are responsible for each area.
  • A mismatch in views towards sales, and there are many other reasons of course.

The Value of Sales Enablement Charters

The definition of sales enablement is simply:

"Sales enablement is the process of making sales teams able to efficiently move customers through the sales process to the point where the customer can make a buying decision."

Sales enablement charters are a key to aligning expectations vertically and horizontally across an organization.

A sales enablement charter defines the boundaries within which the sales enablement team will function, how they will interact and partner with other groups, and the overarching goals and objectives of the organization.

Tamara Schenk wrote an excellent article last year on the importance of the sales enablement charter and noted:

"With a formal approach to sales enablement with charter, win rates could be improved by 19.2%."

We will spend more time discussing charters in later articles, but for now, it is only necessary to acknowledge their importance.


How Does the Role of Sales Impact How You View Sales Enablement?

In their podcast, Santucci astutely raised the question about how people view sales, and Lambert weighed in with what he heard from the many participants at the event.

The differences in viewpoints primarily came down to whether you take a macro-level view of your sales organization or a more atomic view of individual salespeople.

These viewpoints can lead to differences in understanding as to how sales enablement should be focused, implemented, and measured.

It is a common area for confusion and misalignment, so let's spend a few moments exploring.

The Macro-Level

My definition of sales enablement (above) reflects a macro-view, looking at how we more quickly move prospects to the buying decision.

The Atomic-Level

The atomic view centers around seller activities.

How do we resolve these differences to achieve sales enablement nirvana?

The macro-level view should be used to define your goals and objectives and to inform your overall vision of sales enablement in your organization.

It is this view that will guide you in creating your sales enablement charter, in speaking to senior leadership and in defining your primary metrics.

The atomic-level view is where you will find the tactics you must implement to achieve success.

Most often, sales enablement efforts start by identifying one or two quick wins.

Conduct interviews with sales managers and individual sellers to identify and fix the low hanging fruit.

These wins will give the sellers confidence in your ability to improve their lives and provide executives with feedback as to the value of their support for your efforts.



Our friends at Smart Selling Tools have a survey underway, The 2019 Sales Technology Benchmark Survey. If you have a moment, please stop by and respond.

Everyone that participates will receive a copy of the results.