Sales enablement has now reached a point in its development that some organizations are starting to build departments strictly geared towards sales enablement, as well as hire people with titles related to sales enablement. However, many organizations are still in the beginning phases of sales enablement, and there’s one question that is hugely influential on their entire strategy: who owns sales enablement?
It may seem like an easy question at the outset—something that can be quickly decided before moving on to more pressing needs—but in reality, the decision of who owns sales enablement shapes the way your strategy will coalesce and operate.
There are infinite ways to organize a sales enablement strategy within an organization, and every situation will be unique. Depending on available resources, headcount, overall goals, and priorities each configuration will be slightly different. That being said, for all intents and purposes there are 3 main ways to look at answering the question of who owns sales enablement.
Who Owns Sales Enablement – Marketing
Making sales enablement the responsibility of Marketing is the classic approach to this question. Because while sales enablement ultimately results in closing more deals in a more efficient manner, a lot of the work is done in improving Marketing’s overall efficiency.
By embarking on a sales enablement journey a marketing team is committing to revamping their entire relationship with content. They acknowledge that their content needs to be easier to find, speak more directly to buyer’s needs, enable Sales to create their own approved, personalized content, and must prove its ROI.
Those kinds of concerns are what marketers literally spend their entire careers thinking about. Thus, it stands to reason that sales enablement would fall under the purview of Marketing. Marketing can handle integrating a solution into the tech stack, present an easy-to-understand overview to Sales, and measure the success of the overall effort. Allowing Marketing to own a sales enablement initiative is best suited for organizations that are looking to unlock new efficiency with their entire content process, as well as improve sales and marketing alignment.
Who Owns Sales Enablement – Sales
If sales enablement is ultimately about helping boost seller’s productivity and ability to close deals, doesn’t it stand to reason that Sales should own this initiative? Sales enablement after all is called sales enablement for a reason.
Letting sales own the overall initiative provides the added benefit of making the department feel more responsible for ensuring success. Rather than running the risk of Sales feeling like it’s just another marketing fad, they can truly be the architects of their own success.
In a sales-owned configuration, Marketing is still going to be responsible for content creation and management, Sales will set the overall tone for strategy when it comes to the way the Sales and Marketing collaborate moving forward.
A sales-owned approach is best for organizations who want to improve on things like sales communication, sales readiness, and collaboration.
Who Owns Sales Enablement – Sales Enablement
As mentioned previously, many organizations nowadays are building sales enablement departments from the ground up. Not every organization will have the resources to build this function, but if sales enablement is a long-term strategic play, starting with a new function can set you up for future success.
If you read through the above sections about marketing-owned and sales-owned sales enablement strategies, you most likely noticed that each of those solutions comes with its own implicit biases. Of course Marketing will focus heavily on their efforts if they own sales enablement, as will Sales.
Creating a standalone sales enablement department (or this could just be a single person’s role, depending on organization size) acts as almost creating a neutral third-party. If you’re going this route, you’re effectively creating Switzerland within your organization. Congrats! Enjoy the chocolate and financial stability.
A sales enablement role, or department, can set expectations, own the project completely, and ultimately make Marketing and Sales’ lives easier. This approach is best for organizations who are already running with sales enablement and want to continue to grow, organizations that are ready to invest in sales enablement and see it as a long-term investment, and organizations that want a neutral party to help foster sales and marketing alignment.
So, in the end, who owns sales enablement? You do. This is a flexible, agile strategy that empowers your organization to reach previously unseen heights. Everyone is going to have their own unique setup, and there is no single correct answer. The best thing you can do to set yourself up for future success is to enter the process eager, informed, and ready to learn.