A Strategic Imperative: Sales Enablement is no Longer an Activity, it’s a Profession

By Scott Santucci and Elay Cohen

Amazing innovations are being developed and introduced every day in so many areas of our lives. Of course, business drives these developments – as we seek to do more with less, simplify processes, and break down barriers prohibiting growth.

As our new economy drives fresh thinking and innovation, traditional organizational models are transforming. Take sales enablement, for instance. Commonly known as an activity or activities supporting sales, the role of sales enablement is widely varied, with many different meanings and in many different places.

This quiet revolution draws its strength from the power of shared purpose and through active connection and engagement. Sales enablement is actively transforming from a series of random acts that are centrally controlled, to a strategic, professional role that sits in the C suite.

At the heart of this revolution is the Sales Enablement Society (SESociety), a volunteer organization of like-minded professionals from across the globe and from all walks of the sales enablement channel. The SESociety is working toward defining and shaping the role to meet the demands of a new economy by disrupting old processes and thinking. Former sales enablement activities and structures are under scrutiny. Replacement of non-performing operations with an elevated, professional role that has strategic influence is ongoing. Sales enablement elevated to the corporate strategy level – coupled with the release of an old command-and-control management structure – is a proven driver to organizational success in our new economy.

The Revolutionaries
The Sales Enablement Society began in 2015, with just five founding members who saw a need to change the way business thinks about sales enablement. In just three short years, the ranks of professionals in the channel seeking to transform sales enablement has grown to more than 2,700 members, with more than 45 SESociety chapters across the globe. As the SESociety continues to expand and grow, the members come from organizations large and small, with a wide range of industries represented.

The SESociety’s continued unchained growth shows the impact of harnessing the power of a shared purpose – in this case, fixing the broken random acts of sales enablement occurring in organizations everywhere. “Current siloed organizational models are mechanical – optimized to manage risks, distribute tasks, and provide controls to help execute corporate strategies created through central planning,” says SES founder, president, and chairman of the board Scott Santucci. “This approach results in a variety of siloed decisions that create an overwhelming amount of bureaucracy, risk aversion, noise, and inflexibility that paralyzes customer-facing employees from responding to the rapidly changing needs of the market and, thus, creating massive barriers for growth.”

The SESociety is championing the innovative idea that a new organizational role (sales enablement) – one that operates as a business within a business – can work as an “execution fabric” to help companies strategically adjust to the rapidly changing business environment.

The Power of Connection, Engagement
The SESociety is vastly different from other professional organizations. There is a laser focus on member experience and the value of unlocking the power of ideas through active connections and member engagement in everything the society touches. As the organization grows, so does the member-driven management of activities – all focused on the member experience. The SESociety, through member dialogue and the exchange of ideas, released the “Seven E’s” to communicate the shared mission, vision, and values of the members:

  • Mission to ELEVATE the profession
  • ENLIGHTEN members how to lead
  • Organizational change – EVOLVE
  • EDUCATE on how to do it
  • Positive and challenging ENVIRONMENT
  • Forum to EXCHANGE ideas
  • Help to get new and better jobs – EMPLOY

The Seven E’s are at the center of the membership – surrounded by three areas of engagement. SESociety headquarters primarily supports member-run chapters and workgroups, defines market and media outreach, and manages events, programs, and sponsors. The SESociety chapters lead local meetings, position voting, and member engagement at the chapter level, while the SESociety workgroups connect members virtually, investigate and research group-sourced topics relevant to the industry, and operate with a small company start-up mindset. Check us out or join (membership is free) at sesociety.org.

Additionally, members convene annually for the SESociety Annual Conference, where members and others gather for a member experience-driven event unlike any other industry conference. Members choose their conference paths from a wide variety of interactive and member-focused topics from all areas of the industry. Registration is underway for our next not-to-be-missed out-of-the-box conference in Denver, CO, from September 16-19. Get more information and register here.

Disrupting the Obvious Connection for Deep, Strategic Alliances
The SESociety strives to connect thought leaders, people, and organizations that typically would never meet or exchange ideas and perspectives. Facilitating unlikely connections disrupts the traditional thinking – elevating the ideas and dialogue. Relationships between universities, corporations, and thought leaders have led to an endowment to study sales enablement at the University of Texas, Dallas, under a program run by Dean Howard Dover. Relationships with the University of Houston, TX; Florida International University; and others have also emerged. Connections between Selling Power magazine, Sales 3.0, Elay Cohen (CEO of SalesHood), and the SESociety have become powerful alliances in support of elevating the sales enablement profession. Many of these relationships currently exist – with many more to develop.

Scott Santucci is the Founder, President, and Chairman of the Board of the Sales Enablement Society. Elay Cohen is the CEO of SalesHood.