This book from Wiley provides everything you need to get started with sales enablement.
Starting a position at a new company can be exciting and daunting at the same time.
For sales enablement leaders, there are high expectations when entering a new organization – it’s not a ‘keep the lights on’ type of position. Sometimes you’re inheriting legacy processes that need refreshing, and other times you’re given a clean slate to build out a new strategy. Whatever the situation, you can set yourself up for success from the start by going in with a plan.
With that in mind, here is what the first 100 days should look like for a new sales enablement leader.
First 30 Days
Within the first 30 days, learning is the main objective for new sales enablement leaders. While you may feel anxious and excited to start proving yourself and achieving results, none of that will happen without foundational learning that will allow you to get the lay of the land.
Sales enablement leaders should go through their own onboarding process to learn about the company, culture, products and industry and meet with key people across the organization. By meeting with members of senior leadership, the executive team and key stakeholders in sales and marketing, you’ll learn about roles and responsibilities, as well as the expectations for sales enablement and how you can collaborate.
While it may have been covered in the interview process, you’ll want to learn or reestablish what sales enablement means at your new organization. Since sales enablement as a formal function is still relatively new, and the role can vary from company to company, it’s important to figure out what sales enablement is responsible for and what it’s expected to deliver, as well as the role it plays in the broader organization. As part of this information gathering exercise, be sure to take inventory of the technologies that are used across the sales organization and start to learn about them and whether any infrastructure changes will be needed.
Another focus should be product knowledge. Since sales enablement is typically responsible for the education of the sales team, knowing the products inside and out is a must. You can learn about the products in a multitude of ways and if there is already a formal sales onboarding program in place, you can follow that too (while brainstorming how you’d like to improve future onboarding, of course).
Goal: Come away with a foundation of product knowledge and start relationships with key executives and colleagues. Get clarity on the expectations of the sales enablement role.
Think of this as phase two of sales enablement onboarding. But now that you have foundational knowledge about what you’ll be working on and who you’ll be working with, it’s time to take your learning to the next level.
Take this time to read up on competitors in your industry and where your company fits. Find out if your company puts together competitive intelligence reports and research your competitors’ key features, messaging and customers online.
Meet with key people again but this time, go beyond the introductory conversation and start to delve into the existing processes and strategies. This is a good opportunity to think about how you’d like to improve sales enablement; but don’t go ahead and develop a formal plan just yet. Use this learning phase to your advantage. Ask specific questions to thoroughly understand the challenges that you’ll need to solve for the sales team and start compiling ideas of how you’d tackle them.
A helpful exercise is to shadow key salespeople on calls. Not only will this help you form relationships with reps, but it will allow you to experience a ‘day in the life’ of your sales reps. You can also do this with subject matter experts that are creating content or collaborating with the sales team. In terms of sales technologies, you may also want to get acquainted with your internal and external contacts for each system.
Goal: To test your knowledge of the company and products, and try to articulate it as if you were talking to a friend at a party. If you can do that, you’re ready to move onto the next phase.
Leading up to the 100-day mark, you’ll want to kick things into high gear. Of course, you’ll keep learning (and you always will), but now you should start applying some of your learnings to real projects and strategies. This is the time to come up with a plan of which projects you want to prioritize in the next 6 to 12 months.
Since the objective of the sales enablement function is to improve the effectiveness of the sales team, as the new leader it’s your job to figure out how to make improvements. For example, get your arms around the onboarding program. Is there enough relevant content to support onboarding? Are reps ramping up quickly enough? If you observe any shortcomings, take note of those and map out some possible solutions. See if a new or existing technology solution can help you improve processes. Explore whether people in sales and/or marketing can help in new and different ways. Be sure to get buy-in from key senior leaders or executives about your initial thoughts and plans.
At this point, you shouldn’t be afraid to share what you’ve observed about the sales team thus far. That’s what you’re there for!
Goal: A detailed, yet fluid plan of the projects that sales enablement will focus on in the next 6 to 12 months. Be sure to determine measurements of success upfront which will allow you to gauge effectiveness later on. Get buy-in from key stakeholderson your initial plans.
By following a plan with key milestones in your first 100 days as a sales enablement leader, not only will you be set up for success, but you’ll save yourself a lot of headaches down the road since you’ve learned the right information and formed the right relationships from the start.
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