To build a Revenue Enablement or Sales Enablement organization, you must have the right people and the right core processes, frameworks, and operating models.
In my work at Bigtincan, I have been fortunate to be a part of our Enablement function (leading and participating) and help hundreds of our customers; I have learned a lot. Through this project, I have spoken with hundreds more practitioners and leaders, it is a real honor, and I am forever grateful for the fantastic people I am meeting along the journey.
In this document, I wanted to capture the best practices around the organizational layout and the key processes, frameworks, and guiding principles, you will want to have in place.
Please note – As is true throughout this site, this document is a work in progress. I have not yet gathered all of my notes on building an Enablement organization best, nor have I yet gone back over every conversation I have had as a result of the podcast. If you see things you disagree with, let me know, and if you have thoughts on what should be added, please let me know that.
Enablement Organization Structure Based Upon the Number of Individuals Supporting
The typical Revenue or Sales Enablement organization has a ratio of one enablement person for every 50 customer-facing teammates they are supporting. Ratios heading towards 1 to 1 indicate inefficiencies, and those beyond 500 to 1 generally show a lack of buy-in for enablement.
From 0 to 50 customer facing teammates
At this size, the team focuses on one aspect of Enablement above all others. Perhaps you are primarily working with marketing on content creation, curation, and delivery. Maybe you are focused on onboarding and training. Process improvement is typically the realm of revenue or sales ops at this size, with minimal Enablement team involvement.
The Enablement Leader will be tactical with limited time for strategic initiatives. At this size, you still want to develop your Revenue or Sales Enablement Charter. Review the article I’ve linked to for more insight on how to do this.
People who have done it before
While many of us have built a new Revenue or Sales Enablement team, some have done it multiple times — these are the people we need to learn from. Give a listen to these episodes to hear how a sales enablement manager should build a new Revenue or Sales Enablement organization.
- Imogen McCourt joined us to explore her experiences starting an Enablement organization from scratch.
- Sara Dee has created the Enablement team from scratch multiple times now; listen to her talk about how she has built the organization more than three times.
From 50 to 500 customer facing teammates
At this size, teams need a leader who is still primarily tactical. However, the leader should be spending around half of their time on strategic efforts.
As you are adding teammates, consider:
- An adult learning specialist (if the leader is not skilled here).
- A project manager to formalize programs.
- An enablement pro focused on CS specific needs.
- An enablement pro focused on sales-specific needs.
- An enablement lead who works as a liaison for each vertical/product team to stay in touch with requirements in the field.
From 500 to 2000 customer facing teammates
At this size, the Enablement organization should be structured very similarly to the structure you see when supporting 50-500 customer-facing teammates. The primary difference is that the Enablement leader must now become entirely strategic but continue hiring in-line with recommended size.
- Adult learning specialists.
- Project managers to formalize programs.
- Enablement leader focused on Customer Success specific needs.
- Enablement leader focused on sales-specific needs.
- Enablement teammates are working as a liaison for each vertical/product team to stay in touch with conditions in the field.
More than 2000 customer-facing teammates
You must build your Enablement organization for scale at this point. Your Enablement Leader should be at a peer level with leaders of the customer-facing functions they support and interact with, often reporting to the Chief Revenue Officer (CRO) or equivalent.
In addition to what we suggested at the smaller size, add:
- A formal approach to change management.
- Co-creation and collaboration models for scaling coaching, content capture, and delivery, and more.
- A single center of excellence for Enablement with co-ownership across customer-facing teams.
As you look to scale your organization, you must move from a model of orchestration to one of collaboration where Enablement becomes a core component of the business and how it works.
Defining Strategic and Tactical Goals
Your Revenue or Sales Enablement strategy must evolve with your organization.
This topic will become its own section over time as there is a lot to consider here. However, I wanted to point to the conversation I had with Paul Butterfield on Strategy mapping and the balanced scorecard. It would be best if you considered these tools as you work through the big picture and down into the weeds of the tactics that you will use to achieve the goals you have set.
Preparing your Enablement Organization for the Future
One of the key goals for any organization is to grow the leaders of the future. Consider listening to this post for some initial thoughts.
In addition, if you are still using Sales Enablement instead of Revenue Enablement, you need to begin to understand and align your organization for the next stage of growth. Consider reading/listening/watching the following episodes as a starting point.