Show me a great sales organization, and I’ll show you a sales organization that likely has an exceptional sales enablement leader at the helm.
Sales enablement leaders are charged with equipping the sales team with the tools and training they need to win.
Great sales leaders possess the rare combination of left and right brain thinking. They are data-driven math nerds who love mapping out processes, building systems, and testing new technology.
At the same time, the best sales enablement leaders are also excellent communicators, collaborators, and diplomats who can provide cross-department support to the various revenue-facing organizations.
Sales enablement leaders come in all forms. And in this article, we’re exploring the 10 archetypes of sales enablement leaders (using celebrity comparisons, because, why the heck not).
The 10 Types of Sales Enablement Leaders
In this article, we’re breaking down the 10 types of sales enablement leaders.
These types can range from elite badasses to organization-destroying trash. Hopefully, you’ll find yourself in a sales organization with the former versus the latter. Alright, let’s get to the archetypes.
Type #1. John Nash in A Beautiful Mind
A common type of sales enablement leader. Brilliant but prone to galaxy-braining overly complex solutions to simple problems. Can be ill tempered and easily frustrated by reps. An excellent ally when trying to figure out a super difficult problem though (like cleansing thousands of duplicate leads from Salesforce).
Type #2. Tony Stark in Iron Man
Found at sales organizations blessed with massive enablement budgets. Able to fix the team with the latest and greatest tools.
Blends the sales stack together using massive intellect and experience. Cons: Arrogant AF and off-putting to some of your reps. Don’t you dare question his or her decision-making.
Type #3. Leslie Knope in Parks and Recreation
Pure of intent and an expert at getting various machinations within your revenue organization to put their heads together and get things done. A Leslie Knope sales enablement leader is strong on soft skills, project management, work ethic, and self-awareness.
The cons? Their hard skills may be a little lacking but that’s where the Ron Swanson on your team comes in handy, right?
Type #4. Elon Musk IRL
A brainiac who loves to flex on social media (mostly LinkedIn) about how they are improving your sales organization in every aspect of the game. Massive ego is a little off-putting but the results are undeniable. Your sales organization has become a rocket ship thanks to the processes and platforms this person has implemented.
Type #5. Billy McFarland IRL
A self-proclaimed brainiac who loves to flex on social media (mostly LinkedIn) about how they’re improving your sales organization but in reality, they’re total blowhards who have zero clue what they are doing. This person has never even heard of Zapier, most likely, and has tried to replicate the exact sales stack from his or her last company (a DTC mattress brand vs your company, a B2B enterprise software company) without avail, thank goodness. Your entire sales organization has a Slack channel devoted to sharing their LinkedIn posts and chuckling derisively about what a clown this person is. You were promised elite tools and training, but all you got was the enablement equivalent of a ham and cheese sandwich on white bread.
Type #6. Peter Brand in Moneyball
The right hand of your VP of Sales. This person has zero swagger and a degree from a very prestigious school. They are at your company for the equity opportunity and probably make more money than you.
Their grasp of your sales performance data, your funnel metrics, and your ideal buyer persona is elite, however, which means great things for your sales reps, as they create crystal clear pictures of performance, improve your coaching abilities, and help you understand exactly who buys your products and why.
Type #7. Sam in The Lord of the Rings
The right hand of your VP of Sales. Not the smartest person in the room but a dogged loyalist who gets earfuls from your reps all the time and manages to pull through with fixes to their needs, even if it means working late nights and weekends.
What this Sales Enablement Leader lacks in knowledge and experience, he or she makes up for in work ethic and congeniality. This person is a pleasure to work with as you know they will go all out to fulfill your requests and help your company reach Valhalla.
Type #8. Norman Osborn in Spider Man
Pray that you never work with a Norman Osborn of sales enablement. This person, once brilliant, went full villain mode at some point and set your company up with the worst possible platforms and processes on the planet.
Jordan Belfort in his prime couldn’t hit quota with the systems this person has put into place. You spend 30% of your time selling, and the rest performing B.S. administrative tasks your sales enablement leader has convinced your VP are absolutely necessary but are 100% non-essential. Flee any sales organization with a Green Goblin at the helm.
Type #9. Katniss Everdeen in The Hunger Games
Able to do a lot with a little, Katniss Everdeen sales enablement leaders specialize in helping sales organizations on a smaller budget outwit their competition with savvy sales stacks.
Katniss is probably an expert in Zapier and has hooked the team up on the most cost-effective yet essential tools on the market. She is also a motivational force for the team, and a huge asset for the culture.
Type #10. The RZA
Perhaps the greatest of all sales enablement leaders. Has a total grasp of the customer journey and a flawless understanding of your sales organization’s position in the marketplace, strengths and weaknesses, and performance throughout the funnel.
Knows how to architect the workflows that lead to multi-platinum records (aka multi-million dollar deals) and build a culture that reinforces success via coaching, recognition, and meritocracy. Helps your sales team protect its neck in a thousand different ways.
Which Type of Sales Enablement Leader Are You?
Alright, now that you know the 10 types of sales enablement leaders, it’s time to find out which one you are! Share this article with your reps if you dare and see which one they think defines you.