Sales Enablement Options for SMBs Compared

by Felix Krueger

Are you planning on increasing the effectiveness of your sales team by introducing Sales Enablement to your business? In this analysis, we compare 5 Sales Enablement options for SMBs to help you make the right investment decision for your business.

Sales Enablement Options

Even though we offer outsourced Sales Enablement services our goal is for you to make the right decision for your business. Part of how we achieve this is by providing information on all options for SMBs:

Sales Enablement Vendor

Sales Enablement vendors such as Krueger Marketing providing outsourced Sales Enablement services.

Sales Enablement Director

This is a senior resource who can collaborate with the senior leaders in your business to approach Sales Enablement in a strategic way. Junior Sales Enablement resources are not a recommended option if you are just starting out with Sales Enablement as their remit often remains limited to sales support and not the development and implementation of strategic initiatives. As this article is for organisations who haven't embarked on their Sales Enablement journey yet we assume that this is a new resource.

Marketing Director with Sales Enablement skills

A Marketing Director with Sales Enablement Skills understands what it takes to align sales and marketing departments. She uses her capabilities for the benefit of the sales team. Again, we assume that this is a new resource.

Sales Director with Sales Enablement skills

This is senior sales leader who in addition to the management of staff and sales activity will also be tasked with driving strategic Sales Enablement initiatives. For the purpose of this analysis we assume again that this person is a new hire.

Sales Rep with Sales Enablement responsibilities

The bottom-up approach utilises existing Sales reps who are given special Sales Enablement responsibilities by their sales director in addition to their day-to-day responsibilities. 

Desired Qualities of SMB Sales Enablement Options

In this article, we analyse the pathways to Sales Enablement based on desirable traits across the five options.

Capabilities The variety and/or access to Sales Enablement related skill sets such as market research, strategic thinking, process design, analytics, technology sourcing, system integration, content creation, coaching, and more.

Capacity The hours in the day that can be spent developing and implementing a Sales Enablement strategy.

Business InsightDeep and ongoing business intelligence through day-to-day interaction that leads to familiarity with departments across the business and customers.

Sales Enablement ExperienceThe experience in developing and implementing Sales Enablement programs and insight into best practices across industries and organisation types.

CostsThe monetary commitment required to launch Sales Enablement.

Time to benefit How much time needs to be allocated until Sales Enablement benefits are realised

Sales Enablement Options for SMBs Compared

Capabilities

The variety and/or access to Sales Enablement related skill sets such as market research, strategic thinking, process design, analytics, technology sourcing, system integration, content creation, coaching, and more.

Sales Enablement Vendor

Sales Enablement capabilities can vary wildly across vendors. Many offer point solutions (e.g. Sales Training) that are incorrectly described as Sales Enablement. For the purpose of this analysis, we only consider Sales Enablement vendors who cover the entire spectrum of Sales Enablement capabilities, including the development of a Sales Enablement strategy, sales process design, sourcing and integration of sales tech tools, content creation, and coaching. 

Score: 3/3

Sales Enablement Director

A senior Sales Enablement leader should have a diverse skill set and the ability to align departments across the business to implement Sales Enablement initiatives. If this leader is missing skills, she is able to mobilise other departments across the business to contribute. The full spectrum of capabilities to maximise sales effectiveness is covered.

Score: 3/3

Marketing Director

A senior marketing leader would be able to cover some of the capabilities required to enable sales. These are often related to market research, management of tech tools, and content creation. Where this resource falls short is in sales process design, sales coaching, and therefore the ability to develop a truly holistic Sales Enablement strategy.

Score: 2/3

Sales Director

A senior sales leader is expected to have the skills required to successfully enable their sales team. Most Sales Directors develop their Sales Enablement skills over time by identifying the needs of their team. Where they often fall short is the proactive development of capabilities based on Sales Enablement best practice. Their areas of responsibility are diverse and time for the proactive development of strategic Sales Enablement skills is scarce.

Score: 2/3

Sales Reps

The capabilities of Sales Reps are often focused on what they do best: selling to the customer. Sales Reps that are nominated by their managers to tackle Sales Enablement challenges are likely to bring isolated specialist skills relevant to Sales Enablement to the table due to their professional background.

Score: 1/3

Conclusion - Capabilities

To strategically benefit from Sales Enablement, organisations need a broad range of specialist capabilities. Sales Enablement vendors or Sales Enablement Directors are the go-to options to ensure a holistic approach to increasing sales effectiveness.

Winner: Tie between the Sales Enablement vendor and Sales Enablement Director

Capacity

The hours in the day that can be spent developing and implementing a Sales Enablement strategy.

Sales Enablement Vendor

A Sales Enablement vendor's sole focus is the work with its clients utilising a variety of specialist resources. The hours in the day that can be spent working on client projects is multiplied by the number of employees working on a given project. A reputable vendor would not accept new clients or projects unless the capacity is there to deliver.

Score: 3/3

Sales Enablement Director

A Sales Enablement Director's sole focus is Sales Enablement. Unfortunately, this role operates alone unless there is a budget available to hire an entire Sales Enablement team. The Sales Enablement Director is therefore reliant on other departments across the business to heavily contribute to making Sales Enablement initiatives happen.

Score: 2/3

Marketing Director

A marketing director's core focus is the development and implementation of marketing strategies. Even in organisations where marketing is incentivised to collaborate with sales based on revenue KPIs, the attention of the marketing director will never be fully focused on Sales Enablement.

Score: 1/3

Sales Director

Sales leaders have a range of responsibilities that stop them from being fully focused on Sales Enablement. Key distractors include involvement in large sales opportunities, staff management, and administrative tasks.

Score: 1/3

Sales Reps

The core focus of Sale Reps is in each case sales activity. Sales Enablement projects will always be deprioritised unless they are star performers who hit their quota consistently early. However, even in this scenario Sales Enablement isn't their full-time job.

Score: 1/3

Conclusion - Capacity

A Sales Enablement vendor with multiple specialist resources has the greatest capacity to formulise a Sales Enablement strategy and implement Sales Enablement projects.

Winner: Sales Enablement Vendor

Business Insight

Deep and ongoing business intelligence through day-to-day interaction that leads to familiarity with departments across the business and customers.

Sales Enablement Vendor

Since Sales Enablement vendors are by design not part of the client's organisation, they are heavily reliant on being granted access to information that help them understand the client business. They have a limited understanding of the dynamics between departments and don't gain ad-hoc insights employees would typically have access to sitting in the office with the rest of the team or communicating with colleagues on a day-to-day basis.

Score: 1/3

RELATED: Things to consider when hiring a Sales Enablement vendor. 

Sales Enablement Director

Sales Enablement Directors typically build strong relationships across a variety of departments on a senior level with a deep understanding of what makes them tick, what their challenges are, and what defines their agenda. These relationships are utilised for the benefit of Sales Enablement initiatives.

Score: 2/3

Marketing Director

Marketing Directors have strong relationships on a senior level across departments. Sales enablement is unlikely to be consistently high on the agenda in conversations with department leaders considering other marketing priorities.

Score: 1/3

Sales Director

Sales Directors also build strong relationships across departments. Due to their diverse areas of responsibility, Sales Enablement is unlikely to be a consistent focus when interacting with other senior leaders.

Score: 1/3

Sales Reps

Sales Reps are operational resources and unlikely to entertain a variety of relationships on a senior level across the organisation. Their insight into the strategic priorities of other departments and customers beyond their own patch is very limited and often reliant on intelligence shared by their manager.

Score: 1/3

Conclusion - Business Insight

The Sales Enablement Director is likely to be able to build the strongest relationships and generate the most valuable Sales Enablement insights across a business.

Winner: Sales Enablement Director

Sales Enablement Experience

The experience in developing and implementing Sales Enablement programs, insight into best practices across industries and organisation types.

Sales Enablement Vendor

In addition to the experience brought to the table by staff, Sales Enablement Vendors are incentivised to consistently learn about the latest and greatest in Sales Enablement to improve their service and gain a competitive advantage. They gain experience through client work, sales conversations with prospect organisations, their industry network, Sales Enablement communities, Sales Enablement industry events, and consumption of research.

Score: 3/3

Sales Enablement Director

Just like vendors, Sales Enablement Directors continuously learn and work on mastering the Sales Enablement discipline. While they might not have worked with as many organisations as a Sales Enablement vendor, their hands-on real-world experience is extremely valuable in making Sales Enablement a success.

Score: 3/3

Marketing Director

While an increasing number of marketing leaders understand how to effectively support sales, their experience in strategic Sales Enablement is likely to be limited.

Score: 2/3

Sales Director

Experienced sales leaders intuitively do anything in their power to set their sales team up for success. While ad-hoc sales support can be part of the Sales Enablement function, most Sales Directors haven't had the opportunity to gain hands-on experience in driving Sales Enablement strategically.

Score: 2/3

Sales Reps

Sales Reps tasked with working on initiatives enabling the rest of the sales team might have experience relevant to the project, but they are very unlikely to have experience in strategic Sales Enablement.

Score: 1/3

Conclusion - Sales Enablement Experience

Both, a Sales Enablement vendor and a Sales Enablement Director will be able to introduce a vast amount of Sales Enablement experience into a business.

Winner: Tie between the Sales Enablement vendor and Sales Enablement Director

Costs

The experience in developing and implementing Sales Enablement programs, insight into best practices across industries and organisation types.

Sales Enablement Vendor

One of the key advantages of working with a Sales Enablement vendor is the flexibility in managing costs. If your Sales Enablement vendor offers support on a project basis, you are able to develop a Sales Enablement strategy and implement initiatives without the fixed costs that come with hiring internal resources.

When it comes to the development of a Sales Enablement Strategy, engaging a vendor is by far the cheapest option (e.g. strategy projects with Krueger Marketing start at $12,000 excl. GST).

However, if you want to increase sales effectiveness significantly by implementing multiple projects at once, costs may add up.

Score: 2/3

Sales Enablement Director

According to the Sales Enablement Collective survey 2021, senior Sales Enablement leaders come with a price tag of around $150,000 AUD. This salary doesn't consider commission, bonuses or recruitment fees (about 15% of annual salary).

Score: 1/3

Marketing Director

According to the Hays Salary Survey 2021, a Marketing Director earns around $200,000 AUD. This salary doesn't consider bonuses or recruitment fees (about 15% of annual salary).

Score: 1/3

Sales Director

According to the Hays Salary Survey 2021, a Sales Director earns around $225,000 AUD. This salary benchmark doesn't consider a premium on Sales Enablement skills, commission, bonuses or recruitment fees (about 15% of annual salary). Additionally, there is an opportunity cost of a Sales Director spending time working on Sales Enablement initiatives and not supporting the sales team in closing major deals.

Score: 1/3

Sales Reps

Since your business most likely already has sales reps, you will most likely not have additional costs for a Sales Enablement approach driven by sales reps. The only cost to consider is the opportunity cost of a sales rep not being out in market selling.

Score: 3/3

Conclusion - Costs 

It is a big financial commitment to hire new senior resources with Sales Enablement skills. That's why the most cost-effective options to launch Sales Enablement is either the engagement of a Sales Enablement vendor or existing sales staff working on Sales Enablement side-projects.

Winner: Tie between the Sales Enablement vendor and Sales Reps

Time to Benefit

How long it will take until Sales Enablement benefits are realised.

Sales Enablement Vendor

A Sales Enablement vendor should have tried and tested processes in place to formulate a Sales Enablement strategy and realise initiatives as fast as possible. Especially if they bill on a per-project basis, it is in their best interest to deliver as fast as possible. The turnaround to realise the most common Sales Enablement initiatives is also often streamlined with standardised processes.

Score: 3/3

Sales Enablement Director | Marketing Director | Sales Director

In this category, we combine the three senior leadership options since the hiring process is likely to be similar in each case.

According to Human Resources Director Magazine, it takes Australian businesses an average of 37 days to complete a recruitment process. Additional time needs to be allocated for notice periods, background checks and potential quarantine requirements for overseas talent due to Covid-19.

Once the new senior resource starts in her new role, additional time might need to be allocated for an induction.

The entire process from the start of the recruitment process to an impact on sales effectiveness has the potential to take several months. Additionally, Marketing Directors and Sales Directors might have competing priorities which can cause further delays.

Score: 1/3

Sales Reps

Sales enablement driven through Sales Reps commonly utilise resources that are already available. In this case, the time to benefit is determined by how much time can be spent by the sales rep to work on Sales Enablement initiatives outside of core responsibilities.

Score: 2/3

Conclusion - Time to Benefit

The time required for the recruitment process as well as potential competing priorities of internal resources make the Sales Enablement vendor come out on top in this category. 

Winner: Sales Enablement vendor

The Verdict

Considering all factors that play into the decision which Sales Enablement approach to go for, working with a Sales Enablement vendor is a fast and cost-effective way to strategically increase sales effectiveness as long as all the information necessary is shared to make the collaboration a success.

If there is no urgency in launching the Sales Enablement function and budget is not an issue, hiring a Sales Enablement Director should be the go-to approach amongst internal resourcing options.

Other internal Sales Enablement options don't offer the same value as specialised resources and should only be considered as temporary solutions as long as the downsides are closely managed. 

Sales Enablement Options for SMBs Compared
Connect with Felix Krueger on social media:

Tags

resourcing, strategy


You may also like

{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}
>