How to rethink your enablement strategy for 2022

The idea that enablement is an exclusive function of sales enablement is outdated. Enablement has grown to become cross-functional, playing a vital role in the activities of sales, marketing, and customer success. 

As Seismic’s Executive Vice President of Global Operations, part of my responsibility is for the operations and enablement of our go-to-market (GTM) teams and report to our CEO. In our meetings together, I often need answers to a handful of questions: What’s the average ramp time for new sellers? What’s the average time to first deal? What’s our average deal cycle time? And, what’s our win rate?

I also meet frequently with our customers, and when I do I’m asked different questions. Our customers and prospects want to know how they can move from a responsive enablement model to a structure that proactively drives change. They often ask: Where should our enablement leadership report? How do I attract and retain the best talent? And, how do I measure enablement success?

There are a few different ways GTM teams can exercise enablement to great effect. I’ll discuss them in this post, as well as how your organization can attract and retain the best sales and enablement talent. 

Enablement should be considered a strategic priority

Traditionally, enablement teams have reported to sales or marketing leadership. By placing enablement within the wider GTM operations structure, enablement leadership has visibility into sales, marketing, and customer success’ business goals. 

When your enablement team knows the quota for bookings or the amount of pipeline marketing needs to generate, it can help fashion a strategy. Enablement leadership can work with sales and marketing leaders to benchmark how many calls need to be made or how many meetings need to be booked in order to reach key revenue targets. 

Enablement leadership should report to your c-suite

Connecting revenue operations to the c-suite elevates enablement as a strategic priority. When enablement is tied to broader GTM activities, it can provide key performance indicators directly to the c-suite.

Having enablement leadership with a broader remit and c-suite visibility also helps attract the best talent.

Strong enablement candidates are hard to come by. At companies that view enablement as a strategic initiative, the head of enablement often serves as a vice president. By elevating the head of enablement to a senior position, they can gain more visibility and have a greater impact on company-wide initiatives. 

Assemble tools for the best talent 

Hiring the best enablement leadership is only one piece of the puzzle. In order to execute an enablement strategy, organizations need to hire effective individual contributors within sales, marketing, and customer success. 

In most cases, the top candidates will gravitate to organizations where they feel they can be most successful. The companies that value, train, and give their employees the skills they need to do their best work will stand out to top talent. 

More often than not, candidates want to know how an organization enables success. In interviews with candidates, I’ve been asked how we train, what tools we provide our reps, and how those tools help our reps become more effective at their job. Good enablement helps retain talent because when reps feel like they can become an expert faster, they close deals faster and renew business faster. 

Measure enablement’s impact on business KPIs

Measuring success for enablement should be tied together with business objectives. Start with metrics that contribute to GTM productivity, such as ramp time, days to first deal, deal cycle times, and win rates. Each of these metrics is a deal-related KPI

For instance, following our acquisition of Lessonly, we needed metrics to understand that our sellers were effectively readied to sell the new solution. We developed metrics to assess whether our reps were effectively using new messaging. We used these metrics to understand what our field sellers were doing, as well as how to measure its impact on win rates and renewals. 

Enablement has evolved significantly in my time at Seismic. It went from being primarily sales-driven to a strategic business enabler. Growth is unlocked when enablement plays an instrumental role in GTM success and revenue operations. That starts with attracting the right talent and equipping them with the tools they need to achieve business goals. 

If you’d like to learn how you can achieve better outcomes with smarter enablement, check out our interactive Benchmark web page or download our 2021 Annual Sales Enablement Global Benchmark Report

Toby Carrington
Toby Carrington
Executive Vice President, Global Operations
Toby Carrington is the Executive Vice President of Global Operations at Seismic, where he focuses on making go-to-market teams more efficient and effective as the company rapidly scales. He is passionate about driving sustainable change, as well as developing and empowering others.