Sales Enablement and Empowerment: Conversations That Matter

Last verified May 21, 2021

When it comes to sales enablement, at Guru we empower our reps to lead with conversations, not content. I recently participated in a webinar hosted by Instructure called Sales Empowerment: Conversations That Matter that focused on how to empower sales reps to have better conversations with prospects.

The webinar was hosted by Edward Armentor, manager of sales enablement and PD at Instructure, and featured industry thought leaders Kyle Bastien, director of sales enablement at Drift, and Emily Foote, general manager and co-founder of Practice by Bridge at Instructure.


We chatted about the value of sales empowerment over sales enablement, coaching over training, and conversations over content. Successful sales enablement programs focus on empowering reps with ongoing coaching to have better conversations with prospects.

Searching for more thought-leadership content on sales enablement? Check out Guru's new Sales Enablement Guide:  

Here are some key takeaways from the webinar:

  • Kyle suggests that the ideal ratio of time spent coaching reps and time spent in the classroom training reps should be 4:1. The best sales reps don't deliver scripts; enablement has changed from a collection of resources to a centralized discipline that is focused on coaching and empowering quality conversations.

  • Teaching is the new selling. At Drift, Kyle counsels sellers that if they can educate a prospect on the market landscape or on a new way of thinking, it's a great way to differentiate yourself in the sales cycle. 

  • Sales enablement tools that focus solely on assets and content were built for a bygone era of the sales enablement landscape. That content is not effective unless it is reinforcing a conversation.

  • Roles are blending. Many enablement programs today take ownership of multiple teams beyond just sales. Support and success reps are also asked tough questions from customers and need access to that same coaching and knowledge to answer them in context.

  • Teams like CS and support are not cost centers; the experiences they provide have direct correlations on things like retention and revenue. If you can't deliver quality support, you're going to lose revenue.

  • As Emily shared, sales reps forget around 42% of what they've learned within 20 minutes of learning it, and after 30 days they lose about 80% of it. Episodic learning that only occurs once or twice doesn't solve for that learning curve. Instead, reps need continuous coaching and access to knowledge on the job that doesn't interrupt the flow of their work. 

  • When it comes down to enabling vs. empowering, we need to flip the mindset and empower people to have better conversations and be the best versions of themselves on an ongoing basis.