Sales Enablement

Building an Effective Sales Enablement Team Structure

Building high-performing sales teams can be challenging. Even if you invest in the best people, they may not reach their full potential without support. That's where having a sales enablement team can help. 

They can be the backbone that gives your sales team the resources they need to succeed and close deals consistently.

However, you can't just put people together and hope for the best. Understanding the various sales enablement responsibilities is key to building a successful team.

To gain a better strategic understanding of sales enablement, we spoke with Abbie Dockerill, GTM Enablement Lead at Ultimate.

Head of Buyer Enablement
min read
Apr 19, 2024

Sales enablement team responsibilities

Many companies think sales enablement is just training or throwing content at their sales reps, hoping something will stick. To be truly effective, a sales enablement team has to be and do so much more. 

Here are the three key elements you'll need to look at:

Defining roles and responsibilities

A sales enablement team isn't a one-size-fits-all situation. Each member needs to have a clearly defined purpose. When people on a team know exactly what they're accountable for, this will cut down on confusion and allow the team to run more smoothly.

Setting expectations and goals

Having clear goals is vital if you want to know if your sales enablement team is working. They need to know what they're aiming for, whether that's increased conversion rates or faster deal closure times. And remember that these goals should be trackable.

Inter-team collaboration and beyond

We all know that silos are bad as they can really disrupt success and growth. Sales enablement teams don't operate in a bubble and need to work with other departments to be truly effective organization-wide. 

There needs to be an open line of communication between sales enablement, marketing, product, and customer success. When everyone is on the same page, and your sales reps are getting the full support needed, you're setting yourself up for success. 

Abbie emphasizes that your sales enablement team will be most effective when it addresses the different aspects of enablement. 

"A strong team will/should cover the different aspects of enablement: training, design, and sales processes. Over time, people can specialize in whatever they're most passionate about."

So, whether you're trying to figure out how to put your first sales enablement team together or revamp your existing team, there are a few considerations to make.

How to design your sales enablement organizational structure

Let's all be clear: aiming for perfection will slow your progress.

Abbie explains:

"There is no such thing as a perfect team. Each company has to create a team that fits their specific needs and growth stage."

What are some of the things you need to consider when trying to put the best team together for your business?

Understand your organizational needs

These factors will affect the size and makeup of your sales enablement team:

  1. How complex is your sales process?
  2. How big is your company?
  3. Is your sales cycle long with lots of decision-makers?

What your sales enablement structure could look like

Sales enablement org charts aren’t complex, but you need to make sure they’re mapped to align with your company's overall structure and size.

Example 1: Small/mid-sized company

In smaller companies, sales enablement might be managed by a single manager who is responsible for several things. The focus will be on core needs like onboarding training and relevant content creation.

Example 2: A growing company with specialized needs

As the company grows, the team becomes more specialized. The roles focused on extensive training, operations, and content will become more distinct.

Example 3: Large enterprise

Large organizations may have specialized teams dedicated to areas like product training, competitor analysis, or ongoing sales skills programs. A Chief Enablement Officer will be in place to oversee the whole enablement strategy.

💡 Keep in mind that these are simplified examples. Real-world team structures may include additional roles and vary in reporting structure.

Align structure with your sales goals

Your team's structure should support your sales goals. If lead generation is your key focus, for example, you may need someone dedicated to helping your sellers with sales prospecting tools and strategies. 

Abbie suggests structuring your team to align closely with your existing sales and customer success departments:

"The sales enablement team should mirror the sales and customer success structure to align enablement where they can make the most impact."

What kinds of roles can you expect to see in a sales enablement team?

Common sales enablement positions

As we mentioned before, roles will vary from business to business and you need to select what will support your sales enablement efforts most effectively. Here's a breakdown of the key roles you'll frequently find:

Chief Enablement Officer

They provide the strategic vision for executable programs and oversee the entire enablement function.

VP of Sales Enablement

They translate the strategic vision into executable programs and manage day-to-day operations.

Director of Sales Enablement

Oversees specific programs or initiatives, managing team members and resources.

Sales Enablement Manager

Designs and delivers enablement programs, often focusing on direct interaction with sellers.

Program Manager

May focus on specific enablement programs like a new hire's onboarding plan or a competitive analysis project.

Revenue enablement specialist

Focuses on data analysis and metrics to identify areas for sales process improvement.

Content Specialist

Develops sales-focused materials like presentations, case studies, and battle cards.

Instructional Designer

Designs effective training programs, focusing on learning engagement and knowledge retention.

Sales Coach

Provides targeted sales rep support to help them improve performance and overcome challenges.

Sales Enablement Coordinator

Provides operational and admin support to the team.

While you may have the resources to really ramp up your team, Abbie asks you to consider the following if you're just starting out:

"When a sales enablement function is new, flexibility and the ability to handle a variety of tasks are more valuable than narrow specializations. Adaptability is key…versatile people are better than aiming for a team of specialists." 

Leading and managing sales enablement teams into success

You might have individual rockstars in your sales enablement team, but that doesn't mean it will all just come together if you hope for the best. What you need is a well-managed team that drives results. 

Let's talk about what sales enablement leaders need to focus on.

Leadership strategies for success

A good sales enablement leader isn't there to just tell people what to do. They need to be your sales team's biggest advocate, and their role needs to encompass the overall sales enablement management across your organization. This means finding out reps' real pain points and building programs that address those issues. 

They need to be their voice in conversations with other departments. And, it means celebrating their wins, which helps build trust and buy-in for enablement initiatives.

Managing cross-functional collaboration

You need to concentrate on breaking down the silos between your sales team, marketing, and product. But that's very abstract. Here are some practical problems solved by better collaboration:

  • Example 1: Marketing Collaboration - Sales enablement knows what questions customers are asking. Working with marketing means creating content that actually answers those questions, helping sales close deals faster.
  • Example 2: Product Collaboration - Sales enablement can get feedback directly from the sales teams. This feedback, when shared with product teams, can directly influence feature development, giving sales reps an edge over the competition.

Measuring the impact of your sales enablement efforts

  • Don't just list metrics! Explain why you should track things like content usage, training completion rates, or time-to-productivity for new hires.
  • Show the connection: When sales enablement knows this data, it can make adjustments to programs, refine content, or identify where additional training is needed. This ties directly back to revenue growth.

What does Abbie have to say about success? Prioritize measurable outcomes to demonstrate the value of sales enablement:

"Focus on impact, i.e., measurable results. Prioritizing onboarding and having a data-driven mindset are critical to show value."

This data-driven approach lets you quantify the impact of your enablement efforts so you can justify ongoing investment. 

Tools like emlen for sales enablement managers can significantly streamline these sales processes and provide valuable insights.

How to transform your sales enablement team workflow with emlen

Many sales enablement teams face a common set of challenges that prevent them from performing at their best. Let's tackle some of the biggest frustrations:

Challenge 1: Wasted time searching for resources

Sales reps shouldn't spend their time digging for the right content. Disorganized materials across multiple platforms lead to frustration and eat up valuable selling time.

How emlen helps

emlen provides a centralized hub for all sales content. Its smart search function and organization system, enabling sales teams/sales reps to find what they need quickly and easily. Companies like Bookwire see significant time savings thanks to this streamlined approach.

Challenge 2: Misaligned teams sending out random content

When sales teams aren't working from the same source, messaging can become inconsistent. This issue can really hurt your brand reputation and confuse your buyers instead of you earning their respect and trust.

How emlen helps

emlen's version control ensures that everyone always has access to the latest content. It also offers customization features to easily tailor content based on the target audience, deal stage, or Candis had sales materials scattered everywhere from emails to their CRM. With emlen, Candis had a controlled but still flexible content management system.  

Challenge 3: Lack of insight into content performance

Do your sellers know which sales materials are actually helping to close deals? Are there assets that get totally overlooked? Without data, it's hard to optimize your sales enablement content strategy effectively.

How emlen helps

emlen's analytics dashboard provides detailed insights into how buyers interact with your content. It shows what content gets the most views, where prospects drop off, and which materials directly correlate with sales success. This data-driven approach has helped companies like Bookwire refine their content strategy for greater impact.

Challenge 4: Managing and updating (multilingual) content

For global companies, keeping sales materials accurate and consistent across languages can be a huge headache. This challenge often results in outdated materials being used, translation delays, or costly errors in localized content.

How emlen helps

emlen simplifies multilingual content management to ensure your global sales teams always have the most current information in their language. Babbel, in particular, saw success streamlining this process.  

With emlen, making changes to core content automatically updates all language versions, eliminating the need for multiple edits across documents.

We've discussed the challenges faced by sales enablement teams and how emlen can be a valuable sales enablement tool to streamline content management, improve sales and marketing teams' alignment, and gain valuable sales insights. However, an effective sales enablement strategy goes beyond just the right technology.

In the next section, we'll explore some key sales leadership and management practices that will empower your sales enablement team to make a real difference to your bottom line.

Measuring sales enablement team performance

You can't just invest in sales enablement and hope for the best. You need to also track its impact. Here are ways you can make sure your efforts are paying off.

Tip: Don't be wowed by vanity metrics! The number of content pieces created or training sessions held doesn't give you the full picture. You need metrics tied to sales success for it to matter.

4 key metrics to track:

  1. Content usage rates: Do your reps actually use the resources you give them?
  2. Sales cycle time: Does enablement help deals close faster?
  3. Conversion rates: Are enablement initiatives improving your leads-to-deals ratio?
  4. Win rates: Is there a positive correlation between enablement programs and the percentage of deals closed?

While not really a direct sales metric, rep satisfaction is also important because happy, well-equipped sellers are more likely to be successful.

Tip: What's most relevant will depend on your sales goals and the specific programs your team runs. That means it's essential to align measurement with your sales strategies.

The key to sales enablement success: Adaptability

With a combination of a well-defined structure, strong sales leaders, strategic use of technology like emlen, and a continuous focus on performance measurement, you can create a sales enablement team that's a true asset to your organization. 

Building a successful sales enablement team is an ongoing process. Sales trends change, buyer expectations evolve, and your organization's needs will shift over time. The key is to maintain an agile approach to your sales enablement strategy, continually refining it to provide your reps with the best possible support.

And what is Abbie's biggest takeaway for you?

"Start with the foundations, think about scalability and where you can leverage resources that already exist, then specialize based on skills and joy. Adaptability and willingness to be the Swiss Army knife-style human is preferred when starting out in enablement."

Are you ready to take the step into sales enablement that drives results? To see how emlen can support your team on its sales enablement journey, take a product tour or book a demo - no strings!

Subscribe to our blog!

Stay up-to-date with the latest and greatest on buyer enablement.
Subscribe illustration
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
Table of contents
Enjoying this article? Share it with the world!

Articles like this