What I learned Interviewing 84 Marketing and Sales Enablement Leaders

 In All Things Productivity, Blog

I’m working on an article for one of the largest business magazines focused on how leading companies are using marketing and sales enablement to drive growth and achieve outsized sales performance.

As background research I’ve met with 84 marketing and sales enablement leaders from Fortune 500 companies and fast growth venture capital backed high-tech companies. My research focuses on:

  • Mission
  • Aligning for growth
  • Best practices
  • Metrics
  • The Long View

I thought it would be interesting to share some of the quotes and perspectives which I’ve organized into the key topics and themes I’ve heard during my interviews.



“The three pillars of sales performance are: Knowledge Skills Behavior.”

  • VP Sales Enablement, F500 Software Company


“Get reps to stop talking and get them to start asking questions.”

  • Commercial Leader, F100 Manufacturing and Digital Company


“Reps need relevant knowledge at their fingertips from across the company – not just what’s in the approved sales library.”

  • CRO, Venture Capital backed fast growing software company


“When I look at possible initiatives I choose those that can be deployed quickly and have a big impact on sales performance.”

  • Director Sales Enablement, F100 Telecom Company


“Enablement is the liaison between corporate and the field.”

  • Global Sales Enablement & Effectiveness Leader, Publicly traded software company


“Often times there’s a gap between the MD’s idea and what the advisor faces.  Enablement needs to act as translator to understand and fix these gaps.”

  • Director Sales Enablement & Effectiveness Leader, F100 Finance Company



“Often times it’s your undercover sales people, a.k.a. client facing people who don’t have a quota, who have the biggest influence on revenue.”

  • VP Sales Performance, Publicly traded software company


“60-80% of reps don’t sell in a process driven provable way, so the world just gets by on mediocre salespeople.”

  • SVP Sales Performance, fast growing venture capital backed software company


“We drive growth in two fundamental ways. We “warm up” cold accounts to increase the likelihood that they respond when a salesperson calls them, and we engage decision-makers on open opportunities to improve win rates and shorten sales cycles.”

  • CMO, fast growing venture capital backed software company


“Very few companies can be “marketing purists.” An inbound-only or account-based-only strategy is professional suicide for marketing leaders at the vast majority of companies. Thoughtfully blending the elements of both schools of marketing has the highest impact for us.”

  • CMO, F100 Finance Company



“If I make it easy for reps to find marketing approved content they will use it and have a result they have a better conversation and win rates improve.”

  • SVP Sales Enablement, F500 Financial Services Company


“The number 1 reason why enablement doesn’t succeed and most advisors never hit quota is that companies try to solve their sales problems with more boot camps.  Throwing more info at an advisor never helps them ramp faster.”  

  • EVP Sales Enablement, F100 Finance Company


“Marketing is cyclical. Spam will shift from the email box to the mail box as direct mail returns to fashion, then suddenly digital will feel “retro” all over again.”

  • CMO, fast growing venture capital backed software company



“The more you think about training as the most important aspect of sales performance the weaker it gets.”

  • VP Sales Enablement, F500 Enterprise Information Management Services Company


“When we deliver training we judge people on reaction, but that’s just level 1.  Level 2 is when they learn things and apply skills. Level 3 is when their behaviors in front of customers are natural and on point. Level 4 is where the money shows up!”

  • VP Sales Enablement, F500 Software Company


“Enablement always has a hard time proving their value.  If we don’t hit the number the VP of sales says we need more training.  If we win a big deal, training or enablement is never given credit!”

  • Senior Director, Global Enablement, Venture Capital backed Software Company


“Knowledge Skills & Behavior are key to successful reps. Most VPs of sales only focus on knowledge, very few do well in training behaviors. But it’s behaviors that drive the habits that drive success.”  

  • VP Global Sales Enablement,  F500 Software Company


“It’s an oxymoron taking your best advisors and making them managers. Most of the time companies haven’t set up these people for success, and they end up being lousy sales managers.”    

  • EVP Sales Enablement, F100 Finance Company
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