Right now, growth is anyone's turf. Growth can be aligned to the sales department, the marketing department, business operations or the strategy team. Everyone "owns" the customer, and very few people have the answer when it comes to creating sustainable impact and success.
Today, only a few organizations have more strategic sales enablement capability aligned to the growth. The ones that do fold them into commercial operations or report directly to the CEO. While many Sales Enablement leaders aspire to become the Go-to-Market partner of the CEO, the reality on social media is quite different.
The key question: Why are you here? Why does Sales Enablement even Exist?
Looking at the blogs, content, and discussions, there is certainly a big gap between the aspiration of Sales Enablement and the reality faced by many in the role. Transformation is happening in many sales organizations, but sales enablement is often a tactical "get stuff done" aspect of tactical decision making.
In this episode, the guys as a great question: "Are You Providing Strategic Sales Enablement or Are You the Land of Misfit Toys?"
The answer to this question will determine your impact and success including:allocating resources to projects you believe are most important.defining who you report intobalancing the completion "fast tasks" with "strategic ongoing business impact"
That current state “island” of sales enablement is chaotic... it’s reactive. It’s where all the misfit initiatives are inherited by the VP of "broken things" end up.
In this podcast, you'll hear actionable approaches and real-world examples on how to balance the short-term with the long-term impact required to support transformations. Using examples such as onboarding and training, the guys talk about the strategies you need to help sellers get what they need to be successful.
They will also share the discomfort many people have in being strategic (hang in there when you're listening!). The reward: Throughout the podcast, you'll learn how to do WITH sales, and stop doing TO sales.
As Jack Welch once said; "Control your own destiny or someone else will."
Welcome to the Inside Sales Enablement Podcast, Episode 23
Sales enablement leaders work at the intersection of sales leadership, marketing, product, and operations to help engineer and elevate sales conversations. As Sales Enablement pros work across these stakeholder groups they often experience very high expectations, leading to challenges and friction if not handled well. For example, on one hand, sales leaders demand a high-level service and impact with their teams. And on the other hand, groups like training and product groups view sales enablement as the most critical function they need to partner with to get their content in front of sales teams. As sales enablement leaders work in more integrated ways to achieve sales results, they need buy-in and support from not only sales leaders, but also a wide variety of department leaders.
If you are a sales enablement professional, you know there are a lot of people to serve. You also know that they aren't all your customers, and you can't treat everyone who wants something the same. So, the question is, how do you parse people out? Who do you listen to?
These are critical questions requiring you to think through the business you're in, the function you roll up to, and the leadership team you're accountable to. At the same time, you must ensure sales and sales leadership has a voice into what you're doing (and what others say you need to do).
To help you think this through, Scott and Brian take an inventory of who sales enablement leaders serve, and who their customer is, depending on a variety of variables including:
- Where you report into
- What your charter is
- Who your customer is
They also provide an actionable checklist to help you document who your customer is, and who you serve, to increase clarity and traction in your role.
Thanks for listening! And as always, send us feedback and comments!
Welcome to the Inside Sales Enablement Podcast, Episode 22
What happens when you go through a major organizational change and need to redefine your sales enablement operating model, vision, mission? During times of frames, how do you frame out your sales enablement "moon shots" in order to engage strategically and tactically to overcome the internal complexity that bogs sellers down?
On this podcast, Brian and Scott talk to Sandra about her stakeholders within the business how she might re-frame the relationships she has in her company in order to get closer to the business while also elevating her role to a strategic function.
Topics on this podcast include:Sales Enablement operating modelStakeholder managementDefining your sales enablement domain / sandboxCommunicating with clarityBreaking through internal perceptionsFocusing on what matters to sellers and sales managers
Key questions the guys talk through with Sandra include:
- How do you evolve from a department of tactical projects to a strategic function?
- What relationships does she leverage to gain more influence?
- How might she define and clarify her sales enablement operating model
- How do you become a truly cross-functional role to support sales team conversations?
- How do you devote attention to building a team that propels sales effectiveness forward
Let us know what you think, and send us ideas for a future podcast at engage@insideSE.com
Welcome to the Inside Sales Enablement Podcast, Episode 21
If you are a sales enablement practitioner, you are likely pulled in a lot of different directions. You might:Be frustrated you are called a "training" function inside your company Struggle to get the right resources Have a hard time balancing your inbox (and your team's workload) Experience conflict with other departments
Why is that the case?
In this episode, the guys talk about how most sales enablement functions today pop up to address problems that are really symptoms of bigger issues and challenge Insider Nation to really focus on understanding "what is the problem sales enablement exists to solve".
Welcome to the Inside Sales Enablement Podcast, Episode 20
Since starting the podcast, the guys have gotten a lot of feedback from listeners who've built more advanced functions. These listeners have one thing in common... they all are using the "old Forrester sales enablement" definition Scott authored in 2008 and peer-reviewed by Brian and published for Forrester clients in 2010.
In 2017, acting as the President of the Sales Enablement Society, Scott sponsored work by enablement professionals to bring together: analysts, academics, practitioners, and vendors to create a common definition that was published and shared at the first annual sales enablement society conference.
Yet, here we are in 2019 and Forrester has not only a new definition of what sales enablement is - but also Sirius Decisions' definition to rationalize. Gartner is talking about "buyer enablement" and "sense-making" while CSO insights have narrowed the focus to be about enabling the sales force. Meanwhile, marketing has moved into their own versions of helping "sales" by advocating: content marketing, account-based marketing, and growth marketing.
The guys think this has gotten out of hand and have decided to become far more definitive. In this episode the guys:
1) Highlight the key enabler that propelled accounting into the finance department and the rise of the CFO
2) Contrast the similarities between finance and the sales enablement space
3) Outline the drivers that exist in the economy that point to a huge gap between strategy and execution
4) Discuss the purpose of sales enablement is to bridge that gap
5) Observe the only way to solve that problem is to do it cross-functionally
6) Review the basic pillars of what should be in the scope of a department tackling the strategy/execution gap
Welcome to the Inside Sales Enablement Podcast, Episode 19
The first Sales Enablement Summit (a new conference) was held in September 2019 and Inside Sales Enablement was there. Held in San Francisco, it attracted Sales Enablement leaders from the world’s largest companies and exciting startups to share success stories, experiences and challenges of the people actually doing the role.
Companies presenting included Yelp, Salesforce, Workfront, Oracle, Lyft, Sage, Progress Software, Pluralsight, and Zendesk.
Brian was one of those keynote presenters and blew away the audience with his talk that included: interactive exercises, findings from you - insider nation, some frameworks from Scott, mixed in with his own personal experiences.
In this episode, Scott unpacks the lessons learned and the overall experience so if you didn't get to go to the conference, you will be able to get something out of it.
Some observations the guys discuss
1) Three of the keynote presenters are still using the originial Forrester definition of sales enablement
2) Indivdual contributors, progam managers, or department builders: What type of sale enabler are you?
3) The state of sales enablement in 2019
Welcome to the Inside Sales Enablement Podcast, Episode 18
In this episode, a listener (Amy) calls into the show to discuss managing disparate workgroups globally. The great thing about Amy is she has a marketing operations background -- and considers herself a sales enablement practitioner. Because she has a marketing operations background, she has a broad, yet practical view of what sales enablement deployments look like.
Her biggest challenge? Managing up.
As someone who helps sales sell, the experiences Amy has experience in
• “Connecting dots” across a variety of stakeholders including business units, marketing ops, sales ops, sales enablement, and sales leadership
• The idea of “governance” and what it means to ensure the various stakeholders have a say and protect the brand
• The feedback loops using analytics and voice of sales data
• Participation in the governance conversation
• The idea of “taxonomy” and what it can mean to a variety of different stakeholders
• The regional/global view of enrolling others in country
Take a listen , and give us your feedback.
Welcome to the Inside Sales Enablement Podcast, Episode 17
In an earlier episode (#13), Brian and Scott discussed the incredibly important concept of Stakeholder Management. When we published that episode, we received a lot of feedback from the Insider Nation. One of those feedback items was a person asking us for a more in-depth discussion on stakeholder management moving beyond the Chicken Hawk concept and asking us to breathe life into the idea.
In this episode #17, Scott interviews Brian and his recent work internally at a large company. As a Sales Enablement leader, Brian shares his learning and experiences in managing across the organization and managing up the organization. The guys walk through this important concept and dive into the operational challenges. They also talk about expectation setting approaches, and they explore the importance of managing the message to multiple altitude levels.
Listen to the episode, and you'll hear what Brian and his team did to work up, down, and across the organization to:CommunicateManage the messageDeclare victories Handle push back and feedback from sales
Let us know what you think! Including the sound effects :)
Welcome to the Inside Sales Enablement Podcast, Episode 16
The more things change, the more they stay the same. For example, there was an old classification system the early Greeks came up with to classify the basic elements. In 1869, Dimitri Mendelev evolved that concept and began to classify the elements by their atomic mass. The idea of classification is critical to how you understand something. While sales managers have been critical to sales productivity for 100+ years, it's an often misunderstood role. The same applies here. Classification matters.
Let's face it. Buyers have evolved, marketers have evolved, IT teams have evolved, leaders have evolved. And that leads to an important question -- What about sales managers? How have they evolved? Companies expect a LOT out of their sales management team. How they view (categorize) their sales management team at the organization matters. Do they expect forecasts on time? That means managers have to spend time in spreadsheets and opportunity reviews.
What makes a sales manager today? As organizations modernize and evolve to close the gaps to customers, their role is evolving. How? In this episode, Scott and Brian explore the expectations of today's sales management team. They discuss the expectations placed on sales managers. And they offer a practical view of enablement that aligns not only to the challenges sales managers face, but also the productivity challenges in leading a team of customer-centered sellers.
Listening to this episode, you'll walk away with:A view of the challenges sales managers faceA practical way to get started with enablement initiatives designed to helpHelping managers tackle the pressures as they juggle execution with operating in a sales functionInsights into the relationship between managers and sellers today
As always, let us know what you think.
Welcome to the Inside Sales Enablement Podcast, Episode 15
There is a lot of talk about:The burden on SalespeopleCustomer buying journey and buyer enablementWhat sellers must do to sell more
In episode 15, Brian and Scott bring these issues to life, through the lens of a seller.
Scott shares real-life situations of his journey (very openly and honestly — you likely will not hear this kind of stuff from your sellers unless you have deep personal relationships with them). He talks about his journey from selling products to selling solutions to executives.
The story starts off with a lot of excitement and thrill about doing something new but, by doing what he was told and taught - Scott found himself on a PIP (performance improvement plan).
Uh oh.How did it happen?What happened next?
Tune into the story.
To make it relatable and actionable, the guys use the 5 selling objectives they introduced in episode 10: The NYC Police Department to help connect the dots and illuminate what could have been done organizationally to help Scott be more successful earlier.
Through this process - they highlight many common situations your company might be creating for your own sellers. In actuality, the work might make it difficult for your salespeople to execute.
For example, challenger, selling with curiosity, or any other selling method focuses on shifting focus away from products and more to value. The key question: Are your Salespeople ready?
In this episode you will hear:A story that will resonate with your sellers so you can empathize with them and design the right enablement solutions An easy to follow framework (5 sales objectives) to help align sales enablement activities and initiatives. Based on Episode 10 (The NYC Police Department & Selling Objectives) Ideas on how to bring marketing content and selling content together A way to talk about complexity with your sales leadership in ways that empower you to tackle it What progressions a seller is likely to go through as they move from a product focus to insight focused selling.
Welcome to the Inside Sales Enablement Podcast, Episode 14
One of our listeners, Rachel, shared her companies view about sales management and the difficulty managers have in transitioning from being a top-performing rep to sales management.
Joe Gibbs won Super Bowls 3 different quarterbacks. How? He coached to a system, encouraging people to be themselves, and focusing on outcomes. There are a lot of people talking about front-line sales managers and having them "go coach more." As much as that's been discussed, sales coaching hasn't really taken off.
The guys talk about:
- What is sales coaching
- What are the components of a successful coaching program?
- How do we get past talking about coaching and enabling managers to be successful
Sales managers have to live in two worlds, traditional "management skills" and also sales productivity contribution. Sales Enablement leaders looking to implement sales coaching need to be clear about their focus and intent. What can sales enablement leaders do to add value?
The guys discussThe difference between sales coaching activities and sales coaching programsUnleashing the value of coaching, by embracing the sales leadership perspectiveThe attributes of successful coaching programs
Welcome to the Inside Sales Enablement Podcast, Episode 13
Sales enablement is a cross-functional job.
You have to work positively with: salespeople, sales managers, sales leaders, sales operations, various HR functions, IT professionals, finance professionals, product marketers, field marketers, customer success professionals, sales engineers, product leaders, and manage expectations from the c-suite.
How do you do it?
It can be manageable when the breadth of your remit is focused solely on onboarding. However, if you don't have a framework and toolset - you can submarine yourself quickly without a stakeholder management strategy.
In this episode, Scott Santucci and Brian Lambert introduce the idea of a cartoon to introduce the simplicity of the core idea around stakeholder management and we connect it to a famous quote from Zig Ziglar "you can get anything you want in life if you help enough people get what they want"
Welcome to the Inside Sales Enablement Podcast, Episode 12
Sales Coaching the definition matters. Especially with regard to enablement and Sales Management
There is A LOT of noise in the market today about "sales coaching"
The question is, does it help sales managers become force multipliers, or is it a source of conflict?
In the episode, the guys use a role-play (Scott based on feedback he's heard from many different sales enablement leaders and Brain-based on research he's currently doing on front-line sales managers).
Key points:Understand what is on the plate of your sales managersBe very clear about what your sales coaching program will do Make sure you're building a program with an impact to help managers Find ways to measure the results
Welcome to the Inside Sales Enablement Podcast, Episode 11
Many sales enablement leaders are responsible for some (or all) of their company's sales kickoff. When it comes to adding the right value and ensuring a return on investment, it's important to view the kickoff from the lens of your customer -- the sales leadership team.
In this episode, Brian and Scott revisit some research Brian did while he was at Forrester, and shed color on what we've learned since then about the good, bad, and ugly of sales kickoffs and what executives are getting for their investment. The key finding of the research?
There are 3 reasons why sales kickoffs exist. Find out by listening to Inside Sales Enablement. To launch, improve rep skills, or evolve the sales team.
This podcast will help you rethink sales kickoffs. Make sure you listen to this episode learn
- does your company create an overall plan, or do you do most of the work in December or January?
- Can you quantify the economic value of the sales kickoff?
- Do you have a 30-60-90 plan post kickoff?
Welcome to the Inside Sales Enablement Podcast, Episode 10
Are you:overloaded by your inbox?concerned with the myriad of things being asked of the salesforce? Worried you might be contributing to the chaos?
How would you like to move from being highly reactive to how you are enabling revenue growth, to being more proactive?
In this episode, Brian Lambert & Scott Santucci discuss practical applications of using five (5) sales objectives to help diagnose root cause problems and then prescribe more integrated programs that move the needle.
Highlights in this podcast
1) How do you apply the 80/20 rule to sales enablement?
2) What are the five (5) universal sales objectives (and how are they NOT a sales methodology)
3) How companies who follow this disciplined approach have win rates as high as 70%
4) Understand then for yourself first, and then figure out how to socialize them internally
5) Good conversations about strategies on socializing the ideas inside your company.
If you want to have the biggest impact with your sales enablement efforts, you need a structure to help illuminate the real problems your sellers are encountering. Sales is actually a very simple process and profession. Executing it is incredibly difficult. If you want to add the most value to your sales force, imagine part of your job is being about to translate what you sellers are experiencing and the REAL help they need to all of the internal groups who are sure they know what sales require.
This universal sales objective framework provides the "rosetta stone" to help bring to light what sales require with a way to illuminate the "minimum viable product" solution and provide the foundation to actually measure those results.
Welcome to the Inside Sales Enablement Podcast, Episode 9
What can you do to help unclog the sales funnel?
Most companies focus either at the top of the funnel (leads and prospecting) or the bottom (negotiating) but the real opportunity is to break down the sales pipeline into five (5) customer-verifiable objectives and then focus on what can be done to make it easier for sellers to accomplish them.
In this episode, Brian Lambert & Scott Santucci zoom into challenges of losing to no decision. In their typical, tell it like it is style, unscripted style - the go from a scene in the movie Beaches, connect that to buyer research, and then go deep into tackling a big problem inside MOST companies - losing to no decision.
The more you understand the challenges, the better job you can do to take proactive steps to prevent it from happening.
Welcome to the Inside Sales Enablement Podcast, Episode 8
Are you tackling symptoms or "right cause" challenges?
Scott Santucci and Brian Lambert tackle decision-making in times of rapid change. Unintended consequences are a common variable when some humans make decisions where other humans are a big element in the success of that plan. In hindsight, its easy to say "why didn't they just...." but human nature prevents people from asking some of the right questions at the right time.
They guys use an interesting story about problems the builders of the Brooklyn Bridge encountered and how, by following their beliefs, make the problem worse and more drawn out. It took looking at the problem from a different perspective to finally come to a simple solution.
The parallels this story and the decisions B2B businesses are making to prescribe and track activity and tasks today is uncanny. "Doing stuff" and "pushing more activity" is actually creating a situation where sellers are LESS enabled. This is an extremely hard problem to see when you examine the problem through spreadsheets and classic linear thinking problem-solving models. However, sales is (and will always be) an act between two people and sales processes are predictably unpredictable.
In this podcast, the guys will talk about how changing a few variables in your productivity calculations can create an entirely new perspective for what enablement strategies should be for your company and how to go about doing it. How do you factor in the experiences of your sellers and buyers into your productivity equation? What implication does that have on training, messaging, or alignment with other programs?
Find out as the guys go deep into sales productivity on this edition of Inside Sales Enablement.
Welcome to the Inside Sales Enablement Podcast, Episode 7
Want to learn from others in the Sales Enablement Space?
One of our listeners, "Elizabeth" connected with Scott via LinkedIn. A few messages over LinkedIn later and we decided to do a special podcast to see to us (Scott and Brian) on the spot.
This is a live, unrehearsed conversation reviewing Elizabeth's situation and talking through some ideas for how to address it. We summarize action items, define next steps, and get Elizabeth's feedback.
Listen to the episode. Send us your questions and comments back to us at email@example.com.
Some of the topics discussed include:how Elizabeth got into sales enablement in the first place working with sales managers determining the difference between sales managers and sales enablement how to use the 'business within a business" framework to help bring clarity how to bring marketing into the conversations how to move from a reactive to a proactive state
Welcome to the Inside Sales Enablement Podcast, Episode 6
What's going on in the Sales Enablement space? Especially with companies pushing the envelope?
In this special edition, Brian Lambert catches up with Scott Santucci after a two-day Council Meeting of Sales Enablement Executives.
At the beginning of 2018, the Conference Board received requests from its members (large businesses) to form a council to explore the emerging role of sales enablement in order to establish the foundations for developing and running this new function.
Members include leaders from large companies representing diverse industries such as:financial services,high technology,business services,hospitality,and manufacturing.
The group is invitation-only and works to create insights based on the practical experiences of its members.
Scott Santucci serves as the program director of the group (on a contract basis). Through the process of norming, storming, and forming - the group is developing new ways to gain insights from different industries. When you look at the forest from the trees, new patterns begin to emerge. What we are learning is that for B2B sales, the sales execution problems that Intercontinental Hotels Group and Microsoft are far more similar than they are different. Regardless of your industry, the practice of B2B selling is similar.You need an overarching "one company" value proposition that is more detailed than your brand, but less specific than products Your company is organized into product-based silos, but you need to bring a different, integrated, and more consistent experience to customersYou have many different stakeholders involved in a sale - there are "buyers" who give you a hunting license and then "buyers" who drive usageThe challenges sellers have navigated the 'agreement networks' within large companies is easy to explain through experiences (in the readout to executives we performed a 10 min skit to illuminate the challenge) but hard to conceptualize is traditional management consulting readouts, metrics, and charts. The solutions to fix these problems are actually simple when you follow design thinking concepts, work collaboratively across organizational silos and focus on the actual experience of customers. However, explaining the approach sounds excessively complicated and far too risky based on managements comfort level with traditional projects. In addition, because the solution required cutting across so many different organizational functions, identifying an executive sponsor and gaining the funding to even start a pilot program can be challenging.
The council is still forming and deciding what concepts to share, how to test insights and ideas the group comes up with, and how to publish its findings. Here are things it's agreed to so far.The emerging role of sales enablement is a by-product of the digital transformation of our economyThe value of the function is unique compared to other functions - it creates value by eliminating things The council believes that for sales enablement roles to add value to their businesses, they must be organized as cross-functional groups The council has embraced a "business within a business" framework to provide the foundation for this new role The council has also developed a review process to develop insights and then methodically test those ideas within the member organizations
To this end, the membership as adopted the midwest mindset of "show me" when reviewing the various claims, reported data, and various "best practices" advanced by industry experts and management consultants. Our members have engaged virtually all of the management consulting firms, read reports from industry analysts, and are evaluating most of the technologies provided. The group has decided to focus on sharing its experiences with these groups and what results (or problems) they create.
The #1 thing our members have learned is they learn from each other through actual experiences (working on team exercises or case studies) and in the meeting June 17-18 in Atlanta, the council was hosted by Intercontentinal Hotels. In this meeting, IHG openly shared its business challenges (all council members are under NDA) and other council members broke into groups to provide a readout of findings and recommendations to IHG business leaders.
In this session the guys cover:How the Conference Board was founded 106 years ago during a changing economy and how that relates to today's digital economyWhat exactly IS a council - who is it comprised of, why, how does it work? How is the idea of 'sales enablement' forming and taking root in large enterprise organizations? How do you set up a working case study and what was the agenda and format of the meeting?What were some of the lessons learned
- The concept of "stratecution" - how important it is to blend strategy and execution
- Using a "letter to shareholders" format to sell the vision and promise of sales enablement internally
- Why creating b2b value propositions is so much more challenging than you think it is
- How do the concepts of customer loyalty and experience blend with a value proposition
- Why creating a new tool kit for how to drive programs is so important and what industries can learn from each other
- The importance of getting many groups together and why overcoming "English to English" translation is such a key to success
We realize this is a long episode, but it is jam-packed with the collective insights of companies who are driving sales transformation and innovations from within their companies. It will be a while before these ideas crystallize into 'best practices' or programs you can buy off the shelf so this will give you the opportunity to hear what's on the mind of other executives seeking more proactive ways to address the revenue generation challenges facing their businesses.
Welcome to the Inside Sales Enablement Podcast, Episode 5
Everyone Agrees Sales Training is Important- So why the friction between sales and L&D?
In this episode, Scott Santucci & Brian Lambert discuss the role of people. Sales Enablement is a people profession and sales enablement leaders are focused on human behavior and skills of sellers (or as CEOs often say "manufacture their reps." The challenge for many "classically trained" L&D professionals lies in balancing the hyper-specialization and needs of the seller with the desired by executives to run as a shared service function. Sometimes the L&D function and people within it aren't often set up to support Sales.
This creates a fundamental question: Why is so much sales training outsourced? Why are sales processes off-limits to the training function? And when sales enablement equals training, why is it considered tactical delivery?
If training organizations aren't comfortable engaging strategically on developing talent, or aren't deemed "valuable" by executives that's a problem. Brian & Scott talks about his journey to tackle this gap and enable the trainers to close the gap to sales teams through research, processes, and outputs. Why terms like ADDIE and rigid L&D approaches don't resonate with other groups including the CEOs view of "training."