What Are the Criteria that Impact a Sales Enablement Leader’s Compensation?

Sales enablement comes in different forms, shapes and different maturity levels. It is slightly different in every single organization. This is true of compensation for sales enablement leaders as well. In 2016 we published, for the first time, data on the compensation of sales enablement leaders. Now, let’s see what the data says based on the findings of our 2017 Sales Enablement Optimization Study.

The chart shows the overall results of our global study, which now has more than 600 participants.

Enablement leaders’ target salary depends on the size of the organization and their geography

For large organizations with annual revenues beyond $1billion, almost one-quarter (23.8%) have a target salary of more than $200,000, 19.0% get between $150,000 and $200,000, and another 19.1% have a target salary between $100,000 and $150,000. That means that almost two-thirds of these large organizations (61.9%) pay more than $150,000. The rest is either unknown or smaller than $100K.

Now, let’s have a look at smaller organizations with annual revenues < $50 million. The results are very different, as is to be expected. Almost half of the organizations (46.3%) pay less than $100,000 for their sales enablement leaders. One-fifth pay between $100,000 and $150,000, and only 4.3% pay their enablement leaders more than $150,000. Also here, the number of “don’t know” answers is about a quarter.

Another criterion that’s worth looking at is the geography. Without any doubt, the best-paid sales enablement leaders are in North America: 46.3% are paid more than $150,000, compared to 27.9% overall. In EMEA, 11.8% of organizations pay their enablement leaders a target salary higher than $150,000. And in the APAC region, 17.6% of organizations pay their enablement leaders a target salary higher than $150,000.

What’s the impact of an organization’s approach to sales enablement?

Let’s quickly explain why we looked at this criterion: It’s still a reality that the majority of organizations approach sales enablement either in a one-off project manner or in an informal way. One-third (32.8%) set their priorities based on a formal vision, and 13.1% follow a formal approach that is captured in a formal enablement charter. The more formal and the more strategic the enablement approach, the bigger the platform for productivity that gets established. And that leads to a much better quota attainment. In the 2017 data, we have seen, again, a significant impact on quota attainment. Organizations with a formal or even a dynamic approach (with enablement charter) have significantly better quota attainment results compared to the study’s average of 57.7%. In fact, a formal approach plus charter leads to 27.6% better quota attainment.

The question becomes, do these organizations pay their enablement leaders differently, since they need different skills sets compared to a project manager in a one-off project manner mode?

The formality of an organization’s sales enablement approach significantly impacts their compensation

We looked at those organizations with a formal approach to sales enablement combined with an enablement charter. Almost half of these organizations (48.6%) pay their enablement leaders a target salary higher than $150,000. Of these, 29.7% pay them more than $200,000.

What about organizations that follow a random, ad-hoc, one-off project approach? Only 16.7% of these organizations pay their enablement leaders a target salary higher than $150,000. But 47.3% pay them less than $100,000.

For ambitious sales enablement leaders: Choose a large organization or a medium-sized organization, ideally in North America, that follows at least a formal approach to sales enablement with a clear sales enablement vision. One of the reasons to be hired could be to lead the organization to a formal enablement charter that clearly defines the organization’s specific enablement priorities, approved by all impacted senior executive stakeholders. As mentioned above, such an approach is related to a two-digit improvement of quota attainment.

Questions for you:

  • How does your organization approach compensation for sales force enablement leaders?
  • How is sales enablement success measured?
  • How is sales enablement success reflected in the enablement leader’s compensation?


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