This article comes from Chiara Gianola’s talk, ‘Thriving alone in sales enablement: 3 key learnings to become a strategic business partner’, at our 2023 Amsterdam Sales Enablement Summit, check out her full talk here

Embarking on a career in sales enablement? Allow me to guide you through the fascinating yet complex world of this strategic business role.

Here I’d like to share some of the pivotal lessons I learned along the way, from:

  • How to navigate the intricacies of sales dynamics within an organization
  • The proactive approach that helped me define my role
  • And the importance of building a wide network of relationships across departments
In a nutshell, my journey has three key takeaways for you: sales enablement requires a strategic approach, the power of relationships can amplify your impact, and continuous personal development is critical to your success. 

So, get ready to embark on a journey towards becoming a strategic business partner in sales enablement. It's not just about thriving alone; it's about being a part of a larger team and making a real impact. Let's begin!

  1. From task-driven to vision-driven
  2. Where does enablement sit in your organization?
  3. Investing in yourself

From task-driven to vision-driven

When I first stepped into the world of sales enablement in a company I knew little about, I had to grapple with a critical question: how do you evolve from a task-driven position to a vision-driven one? 

As I navigated my way, I anchored my journey around three essential cornerstones: understanding the big picture, taking proactive initiatives, and building cross-departmental relationships.

Understanding the big picture

To get a grip on the big picture, I dived into understanding the sales dynamics within the organization. From understanding the account executives' roles to discerning whether the company was sales or product-driven, every bit of information became a jigsaw piece fitting into a larger vision 🧩. 

Discovering my niche, my unique spot within this complex structure, empowered me to play a strategic role within the company.

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Have you been wondering what a sales enablement charter is? Or how to build a formal enablement charter in your org? This article highlights what you need to know.

Be proactive and take initiative

Next, being proactive and taking initiatives became my second driving force, particularly as I was faced (as I’m sure many of you also have) with instances when people didn't quite grasp what my role entailed. For instance, a CEO once mistook my role as being in events management simply because I had recently organized an SKO. 

However, by connecting my initiatives to the core responsibilities of my role, I found it easier to advocate for my position, which I’ve found is especially critical in recent years where the need to prove yourself is ever-present.

Building relationships

Building relationships came third but was no less important. I extended my sphere of influence by interacting with various departments – not just sales, but also legal, finance, procurement, among others. 

Aligning my goals with theirs and speaking their language, I established a resonance that made it easier to explain my role and objectives.

By understanding these three cornerstones I was able to build a strategic plan with sales enablement at its center. I split the plan based on the goals and interests of three main stakeholders: sales leaders, sales supporters (like product marketing, marketing, and revenue operations), and sales reps.

  • Sales leaders, for instance, resonated with go-to-market strategies, revenue growth, and sales operations. 
  • Sales supporters were focused on optimizing processes and ensuring consistent messaging.
  • Lastly, sales reps cared about hitting targets, possessing in-depth product knowledge, and progressing in their careers.