A common question when building out your sales team is when the right time is to consider a dedicated sales enablement hire.
Have you reached a point where sharing tribal sales knowledge is no longer scalable for your growing team? Are reps struggling because they are spending too many hours trying to find information rather than selling. Or, maybe the sales knowledge your team is providing isn’t detailed or accurate enough (or both) for reps to effectively position in sales situations? If any of the above is a problem you are facing, you should be searching for a sales enablement hire…
But what qualities should you be looking for in a sales enablement candidate?
Growing your sales team is an exciting, yet critical time. That’s why it’s important to remember that finding the right person to fill the role of sales enablement will be a key component to your organization’s growth and will allow you to scale your sales reps to be as efficient and effective as possible.
You’re looking for a special type of person who will act as a liaison between your sales, marketing, and product teams.
So, when you’re ready to make a sales enablement hire, remember these 5 skills:
1. They Possess a Natural Ability to Communicate
The first thing you should notice about your hire is his or her communication skills. It’s essential for them to have the ability to clearly communicate with other employees. Since sales enablement is a cross functional activity, your hire will need to be comfortable talking to their sales team, as well as teams from other departments and customers. After all, selling your solution can often require knowing details from various departments; including product, services, support, and even engineering. Sales enablement needs to be able to effectively communicate and navigate these departments to ensure the right knowledge is put in front of the sales reps in any given sales situation.
Part of communicating is listening. In order for your sales team to be effective, they must be aligned with your sales, marketing and product teams (and any other team for that matter). The right sales enablement hire will understand the importance of receiving feedback and collaboration between departments.
2. They Have Or Understand The "Sales Mentality" Of Top Performers
The mentality of a high performing sales rep is different than most other employees. As you know from most sales people, they will be ‘achievement focused’ and they certainly won’t be easily discouraged...But most importantly, if they believe in your product, there’s no stopping them.
The Guru team has seen a wide variety of people of all ages, and they all have the same traits as listed in the Seven Personality Traits of Top Salespeople. For example, they don’t want to waste time and they need to have immediate access to verified accurate, usable, consumable content so they can continue to advance sales cycles with minimal delays. Delays searching for information = money lost.
3. They Know How To Make Content Consumable
Often times, the initial concern of a new sales enablement hire is usually writing content…You’re looking for a hire that knows how to make content more consumable for their top performers.
Thinking about how content will be used by reps is the first step. It helps paint a clear picture for producing content efficiently. This comes from having the ability to tap into that sales mentality, and understanding the problem they are trying to solve for.
Some tips on how to make content more consumable from the Guru Team:
Understand how Sales people are positioning things like: your competitor's, product features, and the response to your most popular questions or objections. If the content creator has no understanding of how the positioning is currently understood, they won’t be able to effectively communicate.
Listen to sales pitches, calls, emails to see how and what is articulated to prospects.
Think of food as a metaphor for how content is served.
4. They Know How to Make Content Useable
Your sales enablement team is responsible for things like creating case studies, competitive information digests, proposal templates, and prospect-facing informational material, and other collateral. They need to understand how to create the different types of content that can be immediately used and put into action for different needs.
That means creating highly customized content suited for your specific needs. It’s important when content is shared, it’s able to be put to use if it needs to be.
Content that’s inaccessible, poorly designed for the task, or does not solve the problem a rep has quickly, has no place in your sales organization. Your ideal hire should be able to solve these problems.
Boil down your existing sales interviews, calls, emails into easily consumable formats that a sales rep can use while answering prospect emails or on the phone.
5. They Store, Access & Deliver Content Effectively
Taking good care of your content is essential - if you want to be successful, that is. Your hire should equip your sales team with the right content and information, and consolidate their existing sales and marketing materials.
Teaching people how to use content is just as important as producing content at all. Getting people on the same page from a marketing and positioning standpoint is important. Salesforce made small laminated marketing cheat sheets for all customer-facing employees, and provided training for new employees on how to use it properly.
There is a ton of time wasted looking for content throughout organizations, because too much time is spent on producing content, and not as much on making it consumable, usable, and accessible.
For existing reps, putting knowledge and content directly in sales reps workflow is important. Your new hire can’t come in and derail the progress you already have, so disrupting what is working would be a disaster. Taking a sales rep out of their workflow will lead to very low adoption.
Make information accessible wherever they work; and salespeople are ‘selling’ everywhere these days; on the phone, over email and in person. Make sure your knowledge is accessible wherever they are doing their work.
What do you think about these tips on hiring a sales enablement role? Did we miss any?
Let us know on Twitter, or here in the comments!