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Sales Enablement: Love Your Reps

September 27, 2012 | By Jim Ninivaggi

A key finding of our recent study on the sales enablement function pointed out that the sales enablement function is still evolving and being defined, including who leads the function.

Fill in the blank: Our salespeople…

  • are lazy.
  • all suffer from ADD.
  • are completely coin-operated.
  • only go after the low-hanging fruit.
  • would all rather be on the golf course.
  • need lots of pictures to understand things.
  • would sell their mother for a deal.
  • are a necessary evil.

I’ve heard these and some even more disparaging comments made about salespeople over the last few years. Some are in jest, others less so. Ironically, the very people whose job it is to support and enable salespeople have made these jokes.

Sure, we’ve all known salespeople who fit one or more of the descriptions above. I’m sure there are some lazy salespeople out there. My guess is that they are probably not very successful. I’m sure there are some lazy accountants and engineers out there, too. Unfortunately, comments like these can, over time, create internal cultures where “rep bashing” becomes the norm.

A key finding of our recent study on the sales enablement function pointed out that the sales enablement function is still evolving and being defined, including who leads the function. I’d like to propose that those who lead it, whether they have a marketing, sales or finance background, should share one common trait: They need to love their salespeople. Enablement leaders need to understand that sales (like accounting, engineering or marketing) is a profession requiring skills, knowledge and behaviors, just like any other profession (indeed, there are now over 20 universities that offer programs and degrees in sales). Enablement leaders need to be internal advocates for their reps, and the profession of sales.

So, sales enablement leaders, unite! And the next time you hear someone putting down your reps – remind them that those are the very reps who play a vital role in keeping the lights on and the paychecks coming.

Jim Ninivaggi

Jim Ninivaggi is Service Director, Sales Enablement Strategies, at SiriusDecisions. Jim’s focus is on helping to deliver data, knowledge and insight that our clients need to improve sales performance and drive ROI. Follow Jim on Twitter @jninivaggi.

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