This week, I speak to Dave Kurlan from Kurlan & Associates, a full service integrated sales consulting and training firm and 3-time member of the Inc.5000.

Please can you tell us a little bit about how you came to work in the world of sales enablement, and what makes sales enablement such a special sector to work in?

It was not an accident – I chose this field when I was 18 years old and set a goal of being in this business by the time I was 30, or 1985.

How do you think sales enablement (and industry approaches to sales enablement, training and techniques) has changed over the past twenty years?  

For one, sales enablement wasn’t even a term twenty years ago, and there were very few tools available with which a sales force could actually be enabled. Today, there is an abundance of tools, and it is quite simple to identify trainers, their methodologies, processes, and content, that most closely align with the given company’s strategy. In addition, at least in larger companies, sales enablement is a mainstream position, no longer a role that is rare to find.

With so many apps and software tools being created to aid sales people in their selling efforts, what real impact do you think these tools and apps will have on how sales people sell?  

To me it’s all about efficiency, helping salespeople reach more people in less time, and spend more time selling and less time getting ready to sell, documenting activities and performing administrative tasks.

Many industry analysts are talking about the ‘decline of the salesperson’.  What role do you think sales people will have in the future, in order to stay relevant?

Salespeople will always be necessary for companies that have a story to tell, or are the underdogs: those who more expensive, new companies, new technologies, products and services that cost a lot of money, have long sales cycles, or are disruptive. Clearly, we won’t need salespeople to perform transactional sales.

What key piece of advice would you give to sales managers who are looking to improve their team’s sales results or set up a sales enablement program.  Where should they start?  

The starting point is to determine whether they have the right salespeople in the right roles, whether under achievers can be saved, the potential of the team, and what, exactly, is required in order for them to reach their potential. A sales force evaluation will accomplish those things and more.

About Dave Kurlan

Dave Kurlan is a top-rated speaker, best selling author, radio show host, successful entrepreneur and sales development industry pioneer.  He was a 2011 and 2013 finalist for Top Sales & Marketing Thought Leader, and was inducted into the Sales & Marketing Hall of Fame in 2012.

Dave is the founder and CEO of Kurlan & Associates, a full service integrated sales consulting and training firm and 3-time member of the Inc.5000.  Dave has been a top rated speaker at Inc. Magazine’s Conference on Growing the Company, the Sales & Marketing Management Conference, the Sales 2.0 Conference, Inbound 2014, the Gazelles/Fortune Sales & Marketing Summit and hundreds of industry specific conferences and events.