Shawnna Sumaoang: Hi, and welcome to the Sales Enablement PRO podcast. Sales enablement is a constantly evolving space, and we are here to help professionals stay up to date on the latest trends and best practices so they can be more effective in their jobs.
Today, we’re thrilled to bring you our 100th episode. Over the past year and a half, we’ve had the pleasure of learning from sales enablement leaders across the globe as they’ve shared expert insights for our listeners to put into action. To mark the occasion, we’re going to take a look back at where sales enablement has been, where it is today, and what the future holds with highlights from some of our experts.
Let’s start at the beginning, with observations about the early days of sales enablement as a formal discipline.
Paul Butterfield: If you go back to the early days of sales enablement, or maybe even pre-sales enablement, in my experience and having led sales teams for some time, it was really on the managers to figure it out. And I think that as sales enablement came on and got better and grew and people understood what it was, I’ve seen that there’s been almost a shift too much in that direction where frontline management now is stepping away and being too hands-off, and counting on the sales enablement teams to ramp up and develop their reps. I think that that pendulum is coming back in the middle. At least in my own personal experience, it’s now coming back to center a bit where frontline management realizes they ultimately have to own this. They own the number, right? We can’t do that for them. And we’re able to have more balanced partnerships.
Vanessa Metcalf: At the time I had stepped into the role where it was, you know, maybe six months old, the function, so there was a lot of work to be done. At the time I would say a lot of my stakeholders, which is often frontline leaders, saw a lot of enablement programs as kind of periphery, like enablement was this nice to have thing, but when it came down to actually doing the work, sometimes that was the tough part because it could end up taking a ton of time. You kind of think about it as like the athletic trainer that makes people do things that they might not want to do, but are good for them. For me, I was pretty sold and passionate about enablement as a field and bringing that to Top Hat. I knew it was going to help us grow and succeed as an organization and lead to better retention and win rates and all that good stuff. But I needed to make sure that everyone else felt that way, too.
Christopher Kingman: I think enablement hasn’t fully emerged with its own voice, its own stance. It draws upon so many sales-related disciplines that I think people are gravitating towards it. I think there’s a general feeling of knowing they need this thing but not necessarily knowing how or what aspect they need. But I think the necessity and the visibility is only going to increase.
Pam Dake: Sales enablement is becoming more and more ever-present, and more and more you hear companies establishing formal sales enablement programs. Honestly, the reason behind that is because sales enablement has started to get traction. Companies are able to prove via a lot of the ways that we had talked about a little bit earlier in our time together, with how you measure what you’re doing from a sales enablement function. And the challenges that really exist when companies bring on a new team – or one person even as you get started to focus on sales enablement – is first and foremost defining what truly is and isn’t sales enablement.
Jen Spencer: It used to be that a lot of information was secret and hidden from customers, then sales would reveal it. That’s just not the case anymore. So, now what are we doing to allow sales reps to meet the customer where he or she is and then actually help move them f