The demand for sales enablement is growing rapidly.
According to Korn Ferry, the practice of sales enablement in sales organizations has practically doubled since 2017.
So, it’s not surprising that Gartner expects sales enablement budgets to increase by 50% over the next five years.
This growth is being driven by consistently shifting buyer preferences that require sellers to continually adapt and change the way they sell. Otherwise, companies risk falling behind the competition as the buyers’ journey becomes increasingly self-service with less sales involvement.
Enablement arms reps with the right tools, training, coaching, and content to effectively engage with buyers earlier in the sales process and influence buying decisions.
But this is just the tip of the iceberg.
Let’s take a closer look at the practice of sales enablement and the role of sales enablement manager.
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What is sales enablement?
Korn Ferry’s sales enablement definition is “a strategic, collaborative discipline. It’s designed to improve sales results by providing consistent information, training, and tools that allow sellers and their managers to add value to every customer interaction.”
Establishing a sales enablement practice benefits sales teams by increasing sales revenue, improving client acquisition for the sales team, and creating more selling time for sales reps.
According to the State of Sales Enablement Report, organizations with sales enablement processes or practices in place for two-plus years report a 7% improvement in win rates and up to 14% better quota attainment. These organizations are also 48% more likely to experience high buyer engagement and 10% more likely to have greater rep engagement which reduces sales rep turnover.
Implementing a sales enablement practice involves providing reps with:
- Strategic sales content: Content intentionally created for different buyer roles and scenarios making it easier for reps to stand out in the competitive landscape and grab buyers’ attention.
- Tailored sales plays: Structured guidance on how to approach various selling situations based on the specific buyer and their needs.
- Optimized cross-functional communications: Better communication across customer-facing teams creates a seamless buying experience while unifying internal teams.
- Continuous training and coaching: To optimize sales rep performance and knowledge.
- An effective tech stack: To streamline sales processes and increase efficiency.
That’s what sales enablement is. Now, let’s look at the person who executes this practice.
What is a sales enablement manager?
A sales enablement manager is one of the core members of any effective enablement team. This person is responsible for implementing programs and initiatives that allow customer-facing teams to successfully execute key elements of their roles, especially in terms of sales and revenue.
The responsibilities of a sales enablement manager typically include :
- Initiating the creation and implementation of relevant training, content, sales messaging, processes, materials, and tools to support the sales or revenue team.
- Supporting product launches by preparing and empowering sales reps to understand and sell your products or services.
- Handling foundational and continuous learning programs for sales. This includes aspects like training content creation, scheduling, delivery, and deployment.
- Tracking and analysis of sales enablement content, courseware, and platforms.
- Supporting the buying and selling processes throughout the buying journey from lead generation through its conclusion.
- Supporting the sales leadership team and frontline sales managers in performing management and coaching activities.
- Managing and coordinating sales enablement projects and activities.
Sales enablement managers commonly possess characteristics like:
Data-driven to gauge initiative results
Tech stack tool mastery to easily select the best tools for their team
Project management to facilitate handling multiple projects and initiatives concurrently
Keen knowledge and understanding of the Buyer’s journey to easily recognize changes and keep selling processes and motions aligned
Excellent communicator for easy cross-function collaboration and developing trust and behavioral change
Astute trailblazer to facilitate adapting sales to the evolving marketplace and buyers
Effective collaborator since they work across multiple revenue teams
Efficiently organized so they maximize their resources and make the most of their time.
Sales enablement managers are essential for developing support and momentum for initiatives that drive sales rep behaviors and outcomes.
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Sales enablement manager salary
How much do sales enablement managers make? Great question. The average total earnings for sales enablement managers in 2023 vary depending on the information source, the geographic location, and the individual’s experience level.
According to ZipRecruiter, sales enablement managers earn an average of $110,915 a year.
Glassdoor pinned the salary a bit higher. Their data showed that a sales enablement manager’s average total annual earnings are $114,015 a year. This is based on an average sales enablement manager salary of $96,568 per year plus additional pay of $17,448 in the form of a cash bonus, commission, and profit sharing.
Meanwhile, salary.com’s aggregated data put a sales enablement manager salary at $105,047.
Lastly, the Sales Enablement Collective’s (SEC) Sales Enablement Salary Report 2023 showed that the average base pay for sales enablement managers responding to their survey earned $114,908 per year plus bonuses or commissions.
How has this salary changed over the years? The SEC’s 2022 report found that sales enablement professional salaries increased by 10.9% from 2021 to 2022. Plus, 75% of the 2022 respondents indicated they received some sort of bonus or commission in addition to their base salaries.
Sales enablement manager comp plans
If you’re curious how to approach a sales enablement manager compensation package, the SEC’s 2022 report included the most common breakdowns:
- Base/OTE dispersion of almost 75:25
- 25% variable, with a ratio of 50% personal and 50% business performance
- Bonus split 50/50 between quarterly revenue targets and personal objective-based incentives (MBOs), payable quarterly
- An employee stock plan
- 10% guaranteed restricted stock units (RSU)
- 10% of base salary paid quarterly if objectives are achieved
- An 8% bonus every year
- 20% of total comp is variable pay
- Uncapped commission if reps hit quota
Geographical differences in sales enablement manager salary
Sales enablement managers’ salaries vary based on geography. For example, sales enablement professionals are paid more in North America than elsewhere in the world, according to both SEC salary reports.
What’s more, according to ZipRecruiter, the top 10 highest paying cities for sales enablement manager jobs included Berkeley, CA topping the list, followed closely by Daly City, CA, and San Mateo, CA. The top three beat the national average by 22.7 – 27.9%. Plus, there was a variance of 12% in sales enablement managers’ salaries between Berkeley and the 10th city on the list, San Diego, CA.
Sales enablement manager jobs and experience
To get a better understanding of the available job market for this role, we sourced the same platforms above. Our search revealed that ZipRecruiter currently has 756 sales enablement manager job postings, the most among the platforms we queried.
Skills and experience commonly required include:
- 4-5 years of sales or sales enablement experience: Gives you a deep understanding of sales processes and their relationship to the buyers’ journey.
- Experience with training content development and delivery: Facilitating effective sales training.
- A strong understanding of go-to-market motions and how enablement fits in: To be able to actively participate in the creation and implementation of GTM strategies and know your role in the process.
- Excellent written and oral communication skills: to be able to effectively communicate with team members across the organization.
- Expertise in using and learning a range of software, including Salesforce and LMS platforms: To efficiently use software, effectively build and maintain the best tech stack for the sales team, and teach the sales team how to use it.
- Proven success in time management and meeting deadlines: To juggle the many demands placed on a sales enablement manager.
- The ability to learn complex and technical subjects very quickly: To easily keep pace with the ever-changing technologies involved.
- Strong collaborative and interpersonal skills: To work well with a large number of cross-functional stakeholders.
How to become a sales enablement manager
Considering a job as a sales enablement manager? To secure a position in this role it’s best if you have a bachelor’s degree and several years of sales or marketing experience.
You don’t need a specific type of degree, but one in business or marketing can boost your chances.
Sales enablement managers often start out in a sales rep role and ascend to a supervisory role. Others transition into a marketing role, or a sales training or operations position.
Additional skills that will increase your odds of attaining a sales enablement manager position include:
- Excellent organizational skills
- Effective communicator
- Being self-motivated
- The ability to multi-task
- Familiar with a variety of software and technologies
- Experience creating content
If you’re missing some of these additional skills, don’t let that stop you from pursuing the role. Connect with enablement managers in your network and learn how they got into their roles. Plus, if you’re a rep right now, see if you can collaborate on enablement projects to start building out your experience and enablement portfolio.
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Boost sales rep performance with sales enablement
A sales enablement manager is one of the core members of any effective enablement team. They are critical for creating support and momentum for programs that drive sales rep behaviors and outcomes.
The average sales enablement manager’s salary is between $96,568 and $114,908 plus a bonus or commission. You only need a bachelor’s degree and several years of sales or marketing experience, plus some key skills to become a sales enablement manager. There are no role-specific degrees or training requirements to get started. Although, you could earn certification from this HubSpot Academy Sales Enablement Training Course.
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