Whether you're searching for your first enablement role, or looking for areas to level up in your current enablement career, understanding which skills are highly desirable in the industry is key.
To gain some insight, one can look to the SEC's Sales Enablement Landscape Report 2023, in which enablers identified the most sought-after skills when hiring for enablement roles.
Communication is key
In the report, communication was one of the top skills looked for when hiring across both junior (43.24%) and senior (35.81%) enablement roles.
This likely comes as no surprise, since a core job responsibility for enablement professionals is distilling and sharing information with others.
Whether it be written communication via sales content, or delivering a compelling training, the need to communicate shows up constantly throughout one’s daily enablement activities.
Additionally, strong communication helps establish trust and build rapport with Go-to-Market (GTM) teams.
It is essential for any enablement professional to be able to convey information to GTM teams and facilitate collaboration between various departments, while remaining clear and concise.
The types of communication and audiences may differ from junior to senior enablement roles, but the need for the skill remains present at all levels.
Project management matters
The report also identified project management as a key skill across both junior (35.81%) and senior (21.62%) enablement roles.
Project management matters, no matter your level in enablement, because you need to be able deliver strong, comprehensive programs, on time.
Enablement programs often have many dependencies and risks that need to be proactively addressed and having strong project management skills can help one more readily identify potential obstacles that might impact the success of a program.
Strong project management also equips enablement teams to define key performance indicators and gauge the impact of their programs on the teams they support and overall company goals.
Emotional intelligence is consistently important
While slightly lower on the list, emotional intelligence was also considered consistently important across both junior (15.54%) and senior (19.59%) levels of enablement roles.
A large part of enablement involves building programs to support and empower GTM teams to enhance their effectiveness.
Emotional intelligence can help one build programs and deliver information more effectively to GTM teams because of a heightened ability to understand these team’s challenges and needs.
These programs are also more effective when built via strong cross-functional collaboration and to do this effectively, one must leverage their emotional intelligence to build interpersonal relationships and align efforts across teams.
The need for strong emotional intelligence is especially important in senior roles as it aids in effective leadership.
Sales enablement leaders with high emotional intelligence lead by example, demonstrate empathy, self-awareness, and strong interpersonal skills that can positively influence their entire team, as well as their broader organization.
Senior enablers need to think strategically
The report also highlighted a need for strategic thinking skills to level up in enablement, with a 39.19% increase in prioritization of these skills between senior (52.7%) and junior levels roles (13.51%).
Having strong strategic thinking abilities as a senior in the enablement field is critical to the success and longevity of any enablement team.
Senior enablement professionals must first understand the overarching goals and objectives of an organization, and then align their enablement initiatives with the broader strategic direction of the company.
They must be adept at anticipating challenges and opportunities to proactively plan for enablement programs and adapt to ever-changing market dynamics and business strategies.
Strategic thinking also helps senior enablers to optimize their resources (e.g. budget, time, and personnel) to have the greatest impact on sales effectiveness and alignment with organizational priorities.
Don't discount adaptability
Finally, one skill that merits much more attention in the survey was adaptability, a top 3 skill for 9.46% of senior roles and 18.92% for junior roles.
Both senior and junior enablement professionals need to remain adaptable because the only constant in enablement is change.
Enablement teams are heavily impacted by changes in market trends, customer and internal preferences, as well as organizational structures and processes.
The introduction of widespread remote work forced enablement teams to figure out how to maximize their own effectiveness remotely, while also maximizing the effectiveness of the GTM teams they support.
Similarly, the economic downturn led many organizations to make cutbacks in enablement, which resulted in teams having to ruthlessly prioritize and meet expectations with fewer resources, while still ensuring their GTM teams were set up to be successful with less.
Being adaptable to change is necessary in enablement to meet changes and challenges with resilience, maintain a positive attitude, and also lean in to help GTM teams navigate transitions.
Not only are markets, customers, and company needs constantly evolving, but technology is also always changing.
Enablement professionals not only need to adapt to new technology and tools required for their own roles, they also have to understand what their GTM teams use in order to effectively enable them.
This means the best enablement professionals can seamlessly adapt to a wide range of technology and tools, even beyond their own roles.
Assessing your own ability and where to improve
As we move into 2024, the above skills (in addition to the others highlighted in the report) can serve as a guide for building your career development plan in enablement.
If you're wondering how to get started, it can be as simple as listing out the top skills you took away from the report and scoring yourself on a scale of 1 to 5 for each skill.
For the skills where you had a lower score, consider looking for ways to develop these skills through your projects this year and/or investing your furthering education hours in formal training.
It is never too early, or too late, to get started.
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