Sales Enablement is swiftly gaining recognition as a vital business function. But how do you hire the right people for your team? In this article you’ll learn the signs that indicate the right attitude and aptitude for sales enablement. You’ll get tips on how to evaluate candidates, and how to make sure they thrive once you hire them. If you want to bring sales enablement best practices into your organization, this is the right time to do it.
1. Look Beyond Selling Skills
We’ve all heard the stories. A sales rep consistently exceeds quota, but when they’re promoted to a role in sales management, they flounder. That’s because the two roles only share a few of the same characteristics.
The same goes for sales enablement. As you start hiring for your new sales enablement team, look for individuals with these qualities:
- Holistic Awareness. Great sales enablement managers know that sales can be taught, and that everyone can improve with the right training. They don’t lean too much on the actions of top performers. Rather, they seek to grow the strengths of everyone on their team.
- The Bridge Builder The best sales enablement managers are ready to improve sales and marketing alignment. They understand that neither team can succeed without the other, and they stay focused on long-term goals.
- Focused On Root Cause Your ideal candidate isn’t afraid to ask, “Why?” No matter what your company looks like when you begin your sales enablement journey, they’ll do whatever it takes to optimize your approach. In a word, they’re curious, and they let nothing stand in their way.
It takes a special kind of person to possess all three of these qualities. You can increase your chances of success by recruiting among marketing leaders as well as sales experts. We’ll touch on this dynamic a bit later, but there’s another factor that’s even more important. Your ideal candidate needs the right understanding of technology.
2. The Technology Sweet Spot
The best candidates for sales enablement positions are eager to learn. What’s more, they’re always looking for ways to be both more efficient and more effective.
- Centralize Your Content, Automatically. No matter how you organize your sales collateral, the best candidates want to know how they can make it even better. They’re interested in finding the best sales enablement platform that can serve as your single source of truth. They know all the latest statistics about how much time reps waste looking for content link, and they’re determined to do something about it.
- Automate Content Delivery And Recommendation. Centralizing content is a great start… but if that’s where they stop, they’re not a good fit. They want sales enablement software that can deliver the right content to your reps at exactly the right time, within their CRM. And if that technology uses machine learning or AI to get better over time, then that’s even better.
- Accelerate Sales And Marketing Alignment. Your best candidates are analytical and detail-oriented. They geek out over sales enablement platforms that promise extensive reporting on content engagement. They want tools that can measure content engagement from both reps and prospects. Why? Because they want more ways to justify marketing spend and optimize your sales pipeline stages.
Bottom line: your best candidates know they can’t do it all in Excel. But they’re also very discerning when it comes to bells and whistles. And above all, they know that the software is meaningless without executive buy-in. And this brings us to one of the final factors you need to consider. Where will they fit in your organization?
3. Give Them Every Opportunity To Thrive
If you want your new sales enablement hire to be successful in their new role, you need to answer three questions:
- How do they work right now?
- What are their long-term goals?
- How do both of these mesh with your company’s goals?
You want to make sure the right candidate feels rooted in their new responsibilities, while at the same time giving them a chance to grow. In their State of Sales Enablement Report for 2017, SiriusDecisions found that 40% of sales enablement professionals report to sales leadership, while only 10% report to marketing. But if this is your first sales enablement hire, you get to decide where they’ll have the greatest impact.
While building a great culture is important, the common practice of hiring for cultural fit is not all it’s cracked up to be. What matters most is making sure the goals of sales enablement fit in with your culture right now, and then hiring someone who can turn those goals into reality.
It’s possible your marketing directors or sales managers understand your business so well, you’ve considered promoting them to lead your new sales enablement program. However, their tribal knowledge might not be enough. Be open to sales enablement leaders who come from different backgrounds and different industries. Their fresh perspective might not be what you’re looking for. But it might be just what you need.