sales enablement vs sales managers

Sales enablement is a growing necessity for sales organizations that need to give their results a boost, but before implementing this role, it’s important to understand how it works with your current sales managers. Since both leaders are focused on improving sales performance, each role should be clearly defined to avoid overlapping responsibilities.

Role of Sales Managers

Sales managers are responsible for leading their teams on a daily basis, developing talent, and are the driving force for continued sales improvement and growth. They focus on their sales reps and think about the following:

  • Maximizing individual sales rep performance
  • Setting behavior and quota expectations
  • Addressing good and poor performance
  • Helping sales reps overcome client challenges and win difficult accounts
  • Providing professional development through regular sales coaching

Role of Sales Enablement

Sales enablement leaders are in charge of providing information, content, and tools that improve sales efficiency and success. They focus on buyers and think about the following:

  • How sales reps can engage more efficiently with prospective buyers
  • Tools to help reps move buyers along the sales funnel faster
  • Helpful resources for buyers

Even with distinct differences in the roles, there is enough overlap to create confusion.

Clarity Between Sales Managers and Sales Enablement

Many executives mistake sales enablement roles for sales training or coaching. If sales enablement leaders are supposed to improve sales efficiencies, it’s easy to assume they will work with individual reps. But if sales enablement is coaching your sales reps, what are your sales managers doing?

Sales enablement leaders should be partnering with sales managers to help launch initiatives. They need sales manager buy-in to disseminate new information, and get reps engaged in new tools and strategies. If they can enable sales managers to train and coach their sales reps more effectively, they will improve performance by improving existing challenges.

Even though it seems like a clear plan, some organizations are struggling because of the following challenges:

  • Misunderstanding. Sales enablement leaders need clear directives on how and who they should be working with to enable your sales team. They need to understand that the benefits they’re providing should be directed and funneled through sales managers, who can provide support and champion new initiatives.
  • Lack of leadership. Without clear leadership from the executive team it’s likely that your sales enablement leader and sales manager will butt heads. You should set the tone for smart collaboration and engagement between the two roles, and show them why each one needs the other to be successful.

A successful sales enablement initiative starts with open communication within your organization. Make sure everyone understands the difference in roles, their distinct goals, and how they will work together.

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