Why you shouldn't hire a sales enablement manager (yet)

by Nick Persico
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If you’re looking to hire a sales enablement manager, take a step back and consider your options. The truth is, you (and your team) can handle this on your own.

A couple months ago, Rebecca and Kate wrapped up a project that completely revamped the Close.io free trial experience for first-time users.

When prospects signed up for a 14-day free trial, they were sometimes confused by what they saw in the app. The content we designed to guide first-time users through the platform was actually creating more questions: “What are those leads? What’s that data right there?”

As a salesperson, Rebecca had to repeatedly address these questions on sales calls (“Oh, that’s just sample data, don’t worry about that”), and the confusion made it more difficult to close deals. On the support side, Kate was having similar issues; she frequently saw the same questions in tickets.

So they took it upon themselves to spec out a revamped version of the first-time user experience. They drafted a process for making changes, created a task list, reached out to the engineering team for implementation recommendations, and delivered a plan to our executive team. Not long after, they got the green light and, with the help of others in the company, they improved the experience for prospects and themselves.

As a result of this process, they created sales enablement content without hiring someone else to do it for us. They solved the problem from within.

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Why is sales enablement important?

If you’re a startup founder, there’s a good chance that most sales responsibilities belong to you—which means you’re the keeper of your company’s sales knowledge. You’re the sales enablement resource.

But as you grow, you’ll eventually hand the reins over to someone else. As new salespeople join the team, and as roles change within the company, it’s important to set up a repository for all the information you’ve accumulated over the years. Without a clear and purposeful transfer of knowledge, your sales team won’t have the tools necessary to succeed.

How most SaaS startups typically handle prospect questions

Sales reps usually jump on a call, or they get on a screen share, to walk prospects through their questions. Unfortunately, this burns a ton of time, especially if your reps have to address the same questions ten times a day.

It’s your job to make things as efficient as possible for your sales team, but this method is terribly inefficient. Instead, you need to find quick, simple, and repeatable ways to address common prospect questions and roadblocks.

Here’s a simple framework to handle any sales enablement process:

1. Detect the issue

The first step is to identify the most time-intensive and repetitive tasks that your team regularly encounters. It’s usually pretty obvious what those tasks are, but if you don’t know, ask them.

It’s easy: “Hey, Nick. What tasks eat up most of your week?”

Start by making a list. Whether you have a small sales team, or you’re selling on your own, it’s important to document this process. Maybe your prospects are confused about a specific step in the onboarding process. Or they don’t understand how to import data. At this point, it doesn’t matter whether the issue is big or small. Just write it down.

2. Create a plan

Once you’ve identified two or three problems, put together a list of all the steps necessary to create a sales enablement process or resource. If you’re creating a video, write down every step along the way—scripting, recording, editing, etc.—not just “create video.” It also helps to include the inspiration for the resource, the problems the resource will solve, and a timeline for completion.

3. Delegate tasks

After you’ve created a plan, delegate specific tasks to people on your sales team. You don’t have to do this all yourself.

Your sales team is most affected by these roadblocks, so they’re going to be the most passionate about finding quick solutions. Many times, they end up creating something that’s better than any resource you could’ve created anyway.

Delegating these tasks does a number of things for your sales team:

  1. Diversifies their workload
  2. Helps develop new skills
  3. Prepares them for future roles
  4. Creates value for prospects and the company

Why is this framework effective?

It creates a culture of self-motivation and self-empowerment. Your team has the power to remove roadblocks. They don’t need you to do it for them. They can take an issue and run with it.

Sales enablement is a perfect use-case for instilling this kind of culture at your startup.


Wrapping things up

As you start this process, just remember to:

  • Detect 2-3 things currently blocking your reps
  • Create a step-by-step plan to develop a document, tool, or resource
  • Delegate specific tasks to the people most affected by these blocks

Trust me, your team will find an efficient and elegant way to solve any problem.

And, if you follow this framework, you’ll foster a culture of self-motivation and self-empowerment, improve sales productivity, and create a valuable resource for your team, prospects, and customers.

When you’re a small startup, don’t rush to hire a sales enablement manager. You already have a great sales team—let them step up and enable themselves.

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