As a fast-emerging field, filled with people possessing diverse skill sets, sales enablement is a highly competitive space to get into.
Whether you’re looking for an entry-level position or driving your career to new heights, there’s stiff competition for roles in enablement. This competition has undoubtedly increased as a result of the economic landscape and ensuing layoffs, particularly in the tech sector.
To create this article, we spoke with the sales enablers who make up hiring teams selecting for these in-demand enablement roles to find out:
- How to make your CV or résumé stand out
- How to get into enablement without sales experience
- What hiring teams look for in an enablement candidate during interviews
- Key sales enablement job interview questions you might get asked
Making your CV or résumé stand out
In this day and age, with many roles receiving hundreds of applications and organizations embracing artificial intelligence in all aspects, it can be hard to even have your CV read by a human being.
That means that your CV or résumé needs to be as effective and noteworthy as possible so that when it does get seen by someone in the hiring team, it has the best chance possible of impressing them.
Presenting experience when applying for entry-level positions
Nicola Jordan, Sales Enablement Manager at Iron Mountain says that when analyzing CVs for entry-level roles, she keeps a close eye on relevant, non-enablement experience.
“For me, when looking at CVs, I’d look for any sales experience. Retail actually translates over really well – it's probably something about dealing with the public and having to be resilient that prepares you for that sort of world.
“Also, if the CV did show experience in coaching, teaching people new things. They might not class it as coaching, but if they've helped support people who’ve just entered the business, or been a buddy to someone for example.
“On some great CVs, they wouldn't even classify themselves as sales enablement, but what they were doing was sales enablement.”
Understanding the role you’re applying for and the necessary skills
Gail Behun, Senior Director of Revenue Enablement at Juniper Square told us that what she looks for in a CV varies significantly based on the type of role being hired for.
“It depends on the specific type of role that we're hiring for. Let's say we're looking for a sales enablement generalist, I'm going to look for a combination of a couple of different things:
“First of all, have they done sales enablement in any way, whether it's sales or CX enablement? Or do they have an educational background or an interest in education?
“But that's not the only path to the job, and very often, it's not always even the most important.
“I also look to see what their exposure to sales is. Have they worked in a sales-forward role? Have they been a salesperson? Have they worked in a sales-adjacent role like marketing? That'll tell me if they really understand the process of selling – then we can teach them the enablement part.
“Whereas if we have somebody that maybe has an enablement background, but hasn't sold, we have to deal with the gap of really making sure they understand how to sell, because we're enabling people to do exactly that.”
"If we're hiring for someone who's going to be coaching salespeople, [sales experience] is almost a must-have because they need to be valid. Whereas if we're looking at a content creation role, it’s significantly less important.”
Conveying relevant information in your résumé
Speaking to Cheyenne Griffith, Senior Sales Enablement Manager at Insightly, told us about the importance of a visually strong résumé.
“I'm someone that loves a one-page, two-page maximum résumé – those are the ones that I spent my time with. I really appreciate those that use graphical representations, or anything like that, where it's less of a gigantic narrative, and more sectioned out instead.
“The résumés that stood out to me were the ones that were based on accomplishments, not just: ‘I was in charge of this’ or ‘I was responsible for that.’
“Write about what you actually accomplished when you were responsible for X, Y, and Z.
“I'm looking for things like, improved ramp time, or improved time to first deal, even improved satisfaction would be great. I’m definitely looking for specific improvements that you made or that lead to positive outcomes for your business.
“In sales enablement, we have to justify our existence, always, so someone I know will come on to our team and help with that by being able to immediately accomplish things is important to me.”
Highlighting expertise with tools and technology
Cheyenne continued into a second point on the importance of demonstrating your proficiency with specific sales enablement technology:
“Still high up in terms of importance for me would be their tech stack knowledge as well. I do want to see specific references to tools and tech stack pieces that they're familiar with and have used in the past.
“I certainly recommend a section for that. Rather than just putting that under each role, write out a selection of tools that you've utilized and your comfort level with them.”
Certifications and their place in a CV
Additional certifications and courses are popular ways to bolster both your sales enablement CV and your knowledge and skills.
In fact, our Sales Enablement Salary Survey 2023 found that respondents with enablement certifications earned $9,733 more than the average. Both Gail and Cheyenne are believers in certificates and the value they bring to a CV.
Gail told us that sales enablement certifications are “a great nice to have, and honestly, it also shows me that the person we're hiring is committed to being a lifelong learner.
“If they're continuing to get their own certifications and their own learning, they're going to be able to really foster that culture within our organization.”
Cheyenne added that “so many of the different tools that we use in our tech stacks, at this point, offer their own certifications. That gives someone even more of a leg up if they've actually been certified on a tool rather than just using it. Those are the things that stick out to me”.
Standing out without sales experience
Whether sales enablement professionals need sales experience is one of the more polarizing topics within the community.
Similarly, 38.9% viewed selling skills as one of the most important skills an enabler can possess – and we’ve already heard from the experienced Gail on the importance of sales skills depending on the role.
But what if you want to get started in enablement without sales experience? Cheyenne believes it’s possible if you show the right commitment.
“For me, it's not a deal breaker. When I entered sales enablement, it was from a customer success background. I was in charge of renewals, but didn't have that classic sales experience.
“So some sort of certification would be telling, or if the candidate can share books they've read, people they’re following that show that they’re engaged in the sales space.
“You don't have to be from a sales background, but I definitely want a candidate to share how they've engaged in the sales space, if they don't have that background.
“I do think that someone with a sales background will certainly look attractive from the get-go, though, especially when I think about getting buy-in from the sales team themselves. You don't have to have a sales background to impress me but if you go into a new organization, and you tell the account executives ‘Hey, I've been in this spot, I understand you, I'm here to help you,’ that can really provide a lot of leverage with the reps themselves.”
As well as the advice provided by Nicola, Gail, and Cheyenne above, there are some general rules of thumb that apply when creating a sales enablement CV, like with any other CV, including:
- Ensure your CV is well-written. Avoid typos, spelling mistakes, and formatting issues. If you’re not a strong writer, ask a friend or professional service to review your document.
- With digital applications, use a PDF format to save and send your CV to ensure the formatting remains consistent across devices.
- Prioritize the right information and make sure your most impressive and relevant accomplishments are highlighted first.
What hiring teams look for in an enablement candidate during interviews
If you’ve crafted a valuable CV, with some luck you’ll progress to the next stage of the hiring process and land an interview.
Sales enablement job interviews can be nerve-wracking, tricky affairs. The role of a sales enablement professional can vary dramatically from company to company, and sales enablers need to be proficient across a wide array of skills to be successful.
Presenting your talents to a hiring team while trying to land your dream enablement role is certainly tough. Here’s what members of our community – who take part in interviews – had to say.
The importance of a portfolio
Tom Cheryian, Director of Revenue Enablement & Operations at Rattle is a strong believer in the power of a portfolio, and actively showing your interviewers the achievements you’re most proud of.
“If you were a graphic designer, would you go to an interview without a portfolio? Absolutely not. People want to see what you've done, what you've created.
“Even if you're not officially in enablement, does that mean you can't take on enablement responsibilities at the company you’re at, whether you're a rep or a manager?
"That’s how I found myself doing it naturally because I’ve worked for companies that had BS enablement programs – I was having to onboard and teach the people I was responsible for about the product, the tools, the messaging, the positioning, etc.
“My advice there? As you're building content, as you're building programs, make sure you templatize that content because it’s what future employers and future CROs that you might be interviewing with want to see.
“Be proud of the work you're creating and leverage that work. Share your screen, share the stuff you’ve created, and be proud of your portfolio of work and the impact of your work – that's what interviewers want to see.”
Prepare to explain what enablement success means to you
As there are so many definitions of what enablement is, and what markers for success look like for sales enablement initiatives, Gail says the first thing she wants to know is just that – how a candidate defines success for sales enablement strategies.
“The first thing that I want to know is how do they know if their work is resonating? What markers do they look at individually, and why?
“There are people in enablement who are very driven by the metrics around the attainment of certifications, for example, versus people who look more at hard sales numbers.
“I'm looking at that and trying to get in their head to understand what's driving them as they create programs.”
Describe what enablement looked like in your previous roles
Following on from Gail’s point, Cheyenne mentioned the importance of understanding what enablement looked like in a candidate’s previous positions.
With different organizations holding varied views on what enablement is and does, she believes it’s important to understand what a candidate’s role and experience looked like in the past.
“Sales enablement is very different from business to business. Businesses have different ideas of what they want from their sales enablement teams, and they often sit under various functions (revenue, sales, product, etc.).
“To differentiate and ensure that the candidate is someone who would be able to work with our idea of sales enablement and our team, I would want to know what the sales enablement function looked like in their past roles.
What you enjoy about enablement matters too
Cheyenne continued by telling us that the type of activities a candidate enjoys and doesn’t enjoy are important too. With sales enablement often being responsible for so many varying types of projects across a business, she believes asking these questions helps determine a candidate’s fit.
“One question I ask everyone is: What projects energize or excite you? What projects have you worked on in your most recent role that made you happy to go to work?’
“I feel like that helps me to understand what the enablement function means to them, and specifically, what will make them happy to be a part of the team.
“Similarly, I always ask candidates something about: ‘What projects are kind of a slog?’ You do them and you'll make it work, but when you're assigned this you think ‘Oh, I wish I could be spending my time elsewhere.’
“Those questions illuminate a lot about how the person approaches enablement, what they value, and what they're looking for in their role.”
Display a positive, enthusiastic attitude
A common thread that came up across all of our conversations with enablers in hiring teams was the importance of having the right attitude and characteristics.
Nicola told us that especially when hiring for entry-level roles, possessing the right mentality and behavior for enablement was just as important, if not more important, than experience in the role.
“I would rather somebody have the right attitudes and behaviors rather than just experience. Sometimes I get a little bit frustrated when I see ‘X years of experience in a certain industry or line of business’ because sometimes that might not be possible, but actually, the candidate has got the behaviors and the attitudes to do well across the board.
“When I interview people, I look more for the characteristics and how they come across, rather than the credentials that they can talk about.
“If you're not exciting me when I'm interviewing you, I'm not interested in having you in front of new hires.”
Sales enablement job interview questions
That’s a lot of valuable information on sales enablement interviews, straight from experienced sales enablers who make up the hiring teams for the roles you want to land.
However, nothing prepares you for an interview like knowing what questions might be asked in that moment. Trafford Judd, Head of Global Revenue Enablement at Asana, was kind enough to share a list of questions he uses to assess candidates during the interview process.
- Tell me about an experience in which you analyzed sales performance data and evaluated results to choose the best solution to a problem.
- Tell me about a time you had to get buy-in from someone more senior than you. What was your approach? What was the result?
- In your current job, how do you balance short-term needs like facilitation with long-term needs like program optimization or data analysis? Please include details about how you plan your day and prioritize tasks.
- Could you give an example of a situation in which you feel you did not persist long enough? What did you learn, and what would you do differently next time?
- Tell me about a time when you came up with an innovative solution to a performance challenge your organization was facing. What was the challenge? What role did others play?
- Describe a time when you made your resources stretch beyond the point that you or others thought was realistic.
- Give me an example of a calculated risk that you have taken where speed was critical. What was the situation and how did you handle it? What steps did you take to mitigate the risk? What was the outcome?
With that list and countless insights from experienced sales enablers, hopefully you feel better prepared to create a standout CV and nail your next interview.
The next step in your preparation
You can never be too ready when it comes to sales enablement job interviews however, and that’s why we’ve built Sales Enablement Hired – your lifelong career companion.
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- A sneak peek at some of the types of tasks you may be asked to complete in SE interviews.
- Tips for how to transition into SE from other functions.
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