Must-have Qualities for Sales Enablement Leaders in Uncertain Times

One day the sales team was collaborating in the office and meeting buyers out in the field, the next they were working from home and trying to connect effectively with other team members and prospects over Zoom. As the global pandemic changed the way everyone works, it also put new pressure on sales enablement leaders to be creative and nimble in leading their teams and achieving their enablement goals.

It’s said that the only constant is change. While future uncertainties may not be as dramatic as the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s more important than ever that sales enablement leaders have the right qualities to succeed in their roles, no matter what changes come their way.  


Wide-Ranging Responsibilities

Of course, the qualities necessary for the job are framed by the scope of the sales enablement leader’s role in the organization. These pivotal players have wide-ranging responsibilities from overseeing strategy, orchestrating all relevant enablement activities to ensure consistency along the customer journey, and coaching individual team members to keeping the sales and marketing teams aligned. Here’s a quick overview of the sales enablement leader’s main tasks:

  • Support the sales team – The most important aspect of a sales enablement leader’s role is overseeing the sales team’s processes and performance at every stage of the sales cycle. Central to that responsibility is providing the ongoing training and coaching that expands the sales team’s knowledge and skills.
  • Manage onboarding – As the sales team grows, sales enablement leaders must help new team members ramp up quickly with training, coaching, and building familiarity with the organization’s sales tools, strategies, policies and sales content.  
  • Align with marketing – Keeping the sales and marketing teams aligned is crucial for executing effective sales enablement strategies and creating exceptional buying experiences. Sales enablement leaders represent the sales team as the two groups collaborate to drive sales. 
  • Manage content access – To accelerate the sales cycle and ensure all sales reps have the content they need to do their jobs effectively, sales enablement leaders help organize and disseminate content.

The ‘Must-Have’ Qualities

A sales enablement leader needs certain qualities to be successful in this multidimensional job.  Several of these attributes–particularly strong communication skills and a knack for collaboration–are even more important during challenging times when teams face additional stresses and hurdles to achieving their goals. 

  • Strong communication skills – Every aspect of a sales enablement leader’s job hinges on the ability to communicate effectively. Conveying strategies, building rapport, connecting teams, and inspiring individuals to push through difficult times to continue achieving company goals all start with effective communication. 
  • Commitment to collaboration and orchestration – In many companies, the sales and marketing teams operate in silos. Sales enablement leaders must have the talent and tact to connect the two groups or, better yet, break down the silos to create true collaboration. It’s more difficult these days with everyone working remotely and connecting via video, so it takes extra effort and creativity to foster important connections between these two teams. 
  • Focus on effectiveness – The sales cycle has many moving parts and stages. The most effective sales enablement leaders have a knack for pinpointing “speed bumps” that slow the system down, then finding ways to resolve them quickly so the sales team can focus on what they do best: sell. In these uncertain times, gaps and hurdles in proven processes can arise on a daily basis requiring sales enablement leaders to stay focused and agile. 
  • Passion for helping others –  Coach, partner, collaborator, trainer–the sales enablement leader supports the sales team in so many ways and must have a deep commitment to working with others to help them achieve their full potential. Coaching from afar can be especially challenging when teams are dispersed across time zones. 

With these qualities, a sales enablement leader has the skill set to succeed in these challenging times and when a “new normal” sets in.

Louis Jonckheere, headshot for sales enablement leaders article

Louis Jonckheere serves as the Co-Founder & President of Showpad. Louis started at Showpad in May of 2011 and currently resides in Chicago near the company’s North American Headquarters.

  • Originally published September 15, 2020