Inside Sales Enablement

Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer and Moving from Reactive Actions to Proactive Sales Enablement (Ep #24)

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 into
  • balancing 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."

Lessons From the Ford Edsel Failure & Who’s the Customer of Sales Enablement? (Ep#23)

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!

 

Clarifying the Sales Enablement Operating Model to Elevate Strategic Impact (Ep#22)

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 model
  • Stakeholder management
  • Defining your sales enablement domain / sandbox
  • Communicating with clarity
  • Breaking through internal perceptions
  • Focusing 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

 

 

The Scouts Scene in Moneyball & Figuring out Focus for Sales Enablement (Ep#21)

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".

 

 

The Securities Act & A Foundation to Elevate the Profession (Ep#20)

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 

 

The Professionalization of the Role & Inside the 1st Sales Enablement Summit (Ep#19)

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

Managing Up & Deploying Technology World-Wide (Ep#18)

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.

Setting & Managing Expectations: A Case Study in Stakeholder Management (EP #17)

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: 

  • Communicate
  • Manage the message
  • Declare victories 
  • Handle push back and feedback from sales

Let us know what you think!  Including the sound effects :)

 

Dimitri Mendelev & the Evolution Sales Management (Ep #16)

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 face
  • A practical way to get started with enablement initiatives designed to help
  • Helping managers tackle the pressures as they juggle execution with operating in a sales function
  • Insights into the relationship between managers and sellers today

 

As always, let us know what you think.

From PIP to Perform & Sales Simplification Strategies (Ep# 15)

Welcome to the Inside Sales Enablement Podcast, Episode 15

There is a lot of talk about:

  • The burden on Salespeople
  • Customer buying journey and buyer enablement
  • What 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:

  1. A story that will resonate with your sellers so you can empathize with them and design the right enablement solutions 
  2. 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) 
  3. Ideas on how to bring marketing content and selling content together 
  4. A way to talk about complexity with your sales leadership in ways that  empower you to tackle it 
  5. What progressions a seller is likely to go through as they move from a product focus to insight focused selling.