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Person 1: “Hi, I’m <insert name here>, and I’m a Sales Enablement Manager.”
Person 2: “Sales Enablement? Um, what is that exactly?”

Rinse and repeat.

This questioning happens almost every time I meet someone new in a professional capacity. I’d like to solve the mystery for you today of exactly what the heck ‘sales enablement’ is!

The “Sales” Part

At the end of the day, we’re all wearing a ‘sales’ hat within our own job role. We’re all on the lookout for new opportunities, garnering introductions to people in our industry, or keeping tabs on what our competition is doing. In sales enablement, we’re encouraging that link between sales and everyone else at the company. This link is especially important when it comes to sales and marketing. Depending on your organization and the type of marketing you conduct, your lead funnel may look slightly different, but in our organization it looks like this:

Sales Process Funnel


  1. Marketing (after careful planning with the technical and c-level teams) drives the branding and awareness of our messaging.
  2. Then the sales team, with the support of sales enablement, begins outreach in support of that marketing message. Of course, the sales team needs to have a deep understanding of why marketing created their content in the way that they did. That communication is part of sales enablement.
  3. As certain leads evaluate our message and offerings through discussion with the sales team, sales enablement needs to support that evaluation with content and collateral so that the sales team can guide the lead into purchasing.
  4. Contracts are then transitioned from sales into project management prior to work kicking off.

The “Enablement” Part

I think of enablement in two ways. First is enabling the sales staff to execute their outreach in the most efficient manner and provide them with the support they need to gain meetings. Things like outreach and follow-up schedules, or a dedicated informational sheet for putting together messaging. Second is providing the sales staff with buyer enablement tools. Things such as article links, content one-pagers, infographics or educational research to share with prospects. Zirous believes that enabling our buyers to make an informed decision puts us in a competitive position and allows us to add value to our prospects even before a contract is signed. This belief is rooted in the Challenger Sale approach.

According to the Challenger Sale Model, high performing sales reps:

  • teach,
  • tailor, and
  • take control.

Within sales enablement, our focus is on the teaching aspect of the model. You build a loyal customer base when you’re pushing yourself to always bring value to the table. This is where the Commercial Teaching aspect of the Challenger Sale Model comes into play. Commercial teaching does a few things:

  • establishes that you understand what the customer is going through.
  • prompts sales reps to reframe their problem and propose another way to solve it than they originally thought of.
  • tells you to almost overwhelm them with the problems they will face if they ignore this problem – this is called rational drowning.
  • finally, it prompts you to show them the path to success using your solution.

Done correctly, this leads to a prospect who appreciates the value and new perspective you’ve brought to their pain point, setting the stage for a faster route to the purchasing decision.

The reality is, all of us are wearing sales hats at one point or another in our job roles. Whether sales is your primary duty, or you’re looking out for a potential project at the next networking event you attend, utilizing this challenger selling model could push your prospect, customer, or networking colleague into purchasing from your company.

What sales enablement processes does your company have in place? If you’re a sales professional and want to know more about the challenger selling approach, I recommend reading the Challenger Sale by Matthew Dixon and Brent Adamson to get you set on the right path.

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