Sales Enablement Manager, Yelp
How do you define enablement?
To me, sales enablement means arming sales executives and managers with the tools, knowledge, and confidence to sell effectively. I often see myself as a “communications coach” because sales enablement is about:
Educating sales teams on how to intently listen to clients and their goals
Informing them on how to speak to different products as solutions
Providing direction on client positioning to cater to the end-customer
Teaching sales teams the art of concise communication
Describe your current role.
I lead the sales enablement strategy for two of Yelp’s advertising sales teams. Together with my two direct reports, I support more than 100 sales executives whose job is to sell Yelp advertising to digital agencies and medium-sized businesses (SMBs). My job is to understand senior leadership’s expectations of their teams and evaluate the sales reps/managers skill sets; I then build curricula, presentation content, messaging, tools, and processes that meet those needs - both internally and externally. In tandem, I consistently communicate cross-functionally with other departments - from Product to Revenue Operations to Marketing - to ensure sales reps stay informed about the latest features, launches and resources.
The ultimate goal is for sales executives to bring their clients more customers through digital advertising - from plumbers to restaurants to attorneys - and it’s my job to make sales more efficient and effective.
Briefly walk through your journey to get where you are today.
I come from a family of teachers, so being a professional communicator is in my blood. Whether working at a big tech company, a start-up or an agency, I’ve always been focused on taking comprehensive and complex information and boiling it down in a way that resonates with an audience, and gets them to take action.
In short, my journey has been about communicating to stakeholders via bullet points, so let’s go:
Agency Life: While working at a PR agency, my job was to garner media attention on behalf of my clients - from eBay and Microsoft Stores to Planters and Barilla. I spent hours crafting key message documents, Q&As, and press releases. That led me to become...
A Media Trainer: I guided my clients’ spokespeople on how to succinctly and confidently deliver their brands’ key messages to the press. That led me to become...
A Facilitator: I started to run trainings for my agency colleagues on presentation skills and how to create a campaign budget. That led me to transition to...
A Tech Start-up: I advised an influencer marketing team on how to engage clients and tell the story of a live-streaming app. That led me to become…
A Sales Enablement Manager: I’ve facilitated trainings for Google Advertising Partners and Yelp sales executives on how to effectively sell the benefits of ad products to businesses.
Keeping people’s attention - whether in written or spoken word - can certainly be a challenge, and it’s one that I seek out. Over time, I’ve gleaned that people learn differently, so you have to adapt and be creative to engage an audience. Otherwise, it’s boring.
What’s your proudest accomplishment?
After ten years of working at agencies, I wanted to pivot my career to a trainer/communication coach, but I didn’t know how to get there. Then someone told me about sales enablement.
I sorted through my LinkedIn connections every day for months and messaged people who had any type of position in the Learning & Development and/or Sales Enablement space. (I literally filtered the contacts in alphabetical order and scanned the names one by one; there are so many Jessicas and Jennifers!)
I scheduled countless phone and coffee dates - sometimes three to five in a single day - and I don’t even drink coffee….One person told me that I didn’t have enough experience. That feedback prompted me to update my narrative. If I was going to pivot, my elevator pitch had to.
I highlighted my experience as a client relationship manager, media trainer, and public speaker through a different lens by expressing “I have been selling my entire career.” Eventually, someone in my network introduced me to a Partner Enablement Manager at Google (she is currently saved in my phone as “fairy godmother”), and landed a position on her team. I was able to pivot into the exact type of role I was looking for - despite the naysayers.
Asking for help can sometimes feel vulnerable. But, just like my grandmother said: “If you don’t ask, they can’t say no.”
What’s your advice to someone getting started in enablement?
If you’re thinking about pursuing the field of sales enablement, consider these three tips:
Network: Talk to sales enablement professionals to understand the nuts and bolts of their type of role.
Ease into the Pivot: See if you can find opportunities in your current company to start (e.g., lead a training for interns or craft the messaging around a specific product). You may have to step back in order to move forward.
Update your Narrative: Even though you may not have direct experience, adapt your resume, LinkedIn profile, and elevator pitch to demonstrate how your career has set you up for an enablement type of role.
What are you doing to develop yourself?
I’m a non-fiction reader who gravitates toward how-to books that focus on career growth,
audience engagement and productivity (ironically, all of these books have very long titles):
Connect with Beth on LinkedIn!