213 episodes

Sales enablement is a constantly evolving space, and we're here to help professionals stay up-to-date on the latest trends and best practices so they can be more effective in their jobs.

Sales Enablement PRO Podcast Sales Enablement PRO

    • Business
    • 4.8 • 21 Ratings

Sales enablement is a constantly evolving space, and we're here to help professionals stay up-to-date on the latest trends and best practices so they can be more effective in their jobs.

    Episode 213: Don Schmidt on Expanding the Role of the Enablement Team

    Episode 213: Don Schmidt on Expanding the Role of the Enablement Team

    Shawnna Sumaoang: Hi, and welcome to the Sales Enablement PRO podcast. I am Shawnna Sumaoang. Sales enablement is a constantly evolving space and we’re here to help professionals stay up to date on the latest trends and best practices so that they can be more effective in their jobs.

    Today, I’m excited to have Don Schmidt, who’s an enablement expert from a wide range of tech companies join us today on our podcast. Don, I would love for you to introduce yourself to our audience.

    Don Schmidt: Absolutely. Thanks for having me, Shawnna. I really appreciate it. My background has really been specialized in business-to-business and SaaS model industries and I’ve been within enablement and training for more than 15 years. I’ve built five startup enablement teams series A through D with up to about 30 employees in some of those cases and I’ve led enablement programs that have served and supported more than 700 fields and sales reps and then about 20,000 clients. So really the area of my startups are really three areas. One was Fintech, which was with human interest, which provides 401k plans for small businesses, then E-learning startups, Lynda.com, which eventually became LinkedIn learning, and then Green Flower, which is a cannabis-centric training company, and then third was the automotive industry where I worked for cars.com and Edmunds.com setting up their programs. My point would be for our listeners is that what it shows is that enablement kind of stretches us across our platforms so don’t feel like you have to stay in one lane for your entire career. Within enablement, training is training no matter if you’re selling automotive or cannabis or financial services. If you’re in the enablement industry, you have a lot of opportunities and career options that are coming forward, so I’m glad to be able to share any of my thoughts or experiences to help your listeners.

    SS: Thank you, Don. I’m excited to have you here and to the comment that you made around building a career in enablement, on LinkedIn you mentioned one of your passions as building enablement teams. I’d love to understand your opinion, what are some of the core pillars of an effective enablement team?

    DS: Yeah, that’s a good question because it really has expanded over the years. It started with training and then just became kind of a fancy word for training and so I would say that it isn’t training alone, although that is a large part. The way I’ve set up my teams is really in three verticals and the first is performance management. What I mean by that is really looking at the data and not necessarily just working with revenue or sales operations to get data from Salesforce. I mean creating skill assessment health cards aka scorecards sometimes people call them, but I don’t particularly like that word because it feels like as the seller, you’re going to tell them where they suck. Health cards are really where we can help you improve your efficiency and your effectiveness and along with that. Often I set up the tech stack. With enablement, I definitely recommend taking over all of the productivity tools and then either managing or being part of that sales and retention process creation, the sales methodology, because performance management as that first pillar dictates what your content is going to be and technically how you’re going to deliver it.

    That would be my second pillar — I create a content team and when I say team it could be one instructional designer, it could be a lot. My advice for people is not to just look at it as face-to-face learning and webinar-based content creation, there are two new areas in the industry that I’m really jazzed about. One is guided paths, there are great companies out there that lay on top of tools like Salesforce and guide people in a kinesthetic way. That should be part of your content creation and then also there are video coaching tools that are out there that are sometimes within

    • 25 min
    Episode 212: Simon Gilks on Breaking Down Silos and Driving Collaboration

    Episode 212: Simon Gilks on Breaking Down Silos and Driving Collaboration

    Shawnna Sumaoang: Hi, and welcome to the Sales Enablement PRO podcast. I am Shawnna Sumaoang. Sales enablement is a constantly evolving space and we’re here to help professionals stay up to date on the latest trends and best practices so that they can be more effective in their jobs.

    Today, I’m excited to have Simon Gilks from Ometria join us. Simon, I would love for you to introduce yourself, your role, and your organization to our audience.

    Simon Gilks: Thank you very much for having me today. As you said, my name is Simon Gilks and I work at Ometria. I come from a background in sales. I spent about 12 years in sales before doing a short stint in product marketing and then have spent the last best part of 10 years in that sort of sales, revenue operations, and enablement world. Currently, I lead our global revenue operations and enablement function. We support primarily sales marketing and our customer world, but in reality, I’m a service provider to the whole business. At Ometria we have a single mission. Our mission is to create marketing experiences that our customers love. We’re a customer data marketing platform and what we try to do is help retailers increase customer loyalty and CRM revenue by essentially sending personalized marketing messages throughout the entire customer journey.

    SS: Really excited to have you here. Now on LinkedIn, you mentioned that you act as a cross-functional conduit. How are you able to break down the silos between different departments to ensure strategy alignment?

    SG: With difficulty but essentially I see my role here to ensure that we have that accountability and sort of synchronicity around the goals and activities that each of the functions that are responsible for driving revenue. So like I said, we are a sales marketing and customer organization, I do this by really enforcing that sort of accountability, but probably more importantly the visibility to making sure that everyone’s goals are visible. All the activities that we’re doing are bringing that together in a single plan. No, it’s not always easy, but that’s what we need to do. I think the easiest way to make sure we are all aligned is actually bringing it back to the customer and standing in the customer’s shoes and understanding what they need, because if we all align behind what our customers doing what our customer needs, what they want from us, then hopefully that aligns us all behind that single goal, which makes my life significantly easier.

    As a business, we have an underlying sort of methodology that we use that comes from a book called the Four Disciplines of Execution and it’s about WIGs. So WIGs stand for Wildly Important Goals and as a business, we adopt this methodology. We have a single wildly important goal as a business and then every quarter, each function within that business has a wildly important goal and it must roll up to the overall company’s wildly important goal. My role is to make sure that we all have that visibility, we are all aligned, and we’re really thinking about it from a customer perspective, and then using this 4 step methodology really helps to make sure that the silos are brought down and that we are all aligned as departments.

    SS: Absolutely. Now, in your experience, Simon, what is the impact of having strong cross-functional alignment on project and program execution?

    SG: I think strong cross-functional alignment is essential. Without it, I believe that projects will either fail or their success will be severely limited. I think the world we’re operating in now, this post covid world, where we’re not necessarily in the office as much or we don’t have an office or we’re not seeing people face to face as much as meaning, that this is even more important. When we were in the office, you would bump into someone at the coffee machine, walk down the corridor, hold the door, and you’d have those Ad Hoc conversations, you would be talking about what you

    • 14 min
    Episode 211: Anthony Tripyear on Driving Alignment to Improve Customer Centricity

    Episode 211: Anthony Tripyear on Driving Alignment to Improve Customer Centricity

    Shawnna Sumaoang: Hi, and welcome to the Sales Enablement PRO podcast. I am Shawnna Sumaoang. Sales enablement is a constantly evolving space and we’re here to help professionals stay up to date on the latest trends and best practices so that they can be more effective in their jobs.

    Today I’m excited to have Anthony Tripyear from StarTech.com join us. Anthony, I would love for you to introduce yourself, your role, and your organization to our audience.

    Anthony Tripyear: Thank you. My name is Anthony, I’m 42 years old, I live in the UK with my wife and three-year-old daughter. I have worked in the IT industry pretty much my whole career but my background is actually modern languages. I did a degree in French and German and my first role was working as a translator basically for a large IT reseller in Germany. I used to translate their product catalog into English, did other translation work for them, and then from there I moved into a role in project management and procurement which started to take me internationally and I’ve really worked internationally ever since. I have worked in quite a few different countries for them and set up new offices for them in new markets. Back in 2010 I moved back to the UK, started working at Startech.com in 2014 as sales director and now I’m the director of sales operations and sales enablement. Basically, I’m accountable for our global channel marketing, and how we invest in business development across our network of distributors and channel partners and I manage a team of global sales professionals as well.

    Just briefly Startech.com is a Canadian manufacturer of hard-to-find connectivity products. We’ve been around for 35 years. We like to say that we’re the IT professionals trusted source for performance, connectivity, and accessories. Basically, we’re a B2B company, we make Products that connect one device to another, we make docking stations, and we make cables and adapters. We also make racks, we make a whole variety of stuff. We’ve got about 3000 products. About 80% of the Fortune 500 uses our products and one thing that we’re really proud of, we’re on the Deloitte 50 best-managed companies list this year, so we’re a platinum member, this is the 12th successive year that we’ve been on that list as well. That was announced fairly recently and we’re really, really proud of that.

    SS: That’s amazing. Well, thank you Anthony for sharing that. Now, in addition to the items that you mentioned just now on LinkedIn, you mentioned that you are also responsible for ensuring the alignment of sales and market development activities. In your opinion, what are some of the challenges of driving this alignment?

    AT: That’s a great question. For us specifically, we’re a global business, so we’re in over 20 countries, we’ve got over 3000 products, so we’ve got lots of moving parts. Some of the challenges as I see them are really being relevant to our local markets and developing programs that scale, but also being really where our customer needs us to be. One thing to highlight with us as well is that our sales model is quite different from the majority and that our models are a pull model. It’s very relationship-focused. We sell to a restricted number of distributors, they sell to a large number of resellers who then sell to our end users, and our job really is to enable sales at each stage of the value chain. For us, having really good customer understanding is at the heart of what we do. We’re a customer-centric business. We challenge ourselves to always understand our customers understand the markets in which we operate as well. I think sometimes we’re guilty of thinking we understand our customers, but do we really understand them, and to do that one thing that’s really integral is listening to our sales team. So creating that alignment, listening to our sales team, and getting that feedback from them and from our customers is really important

    • 25 min
    Episode 210: Andy Conduit-Turner on Gathering Competitive Insights for Sales Success

    Episode 210: Andy Conduit-Turner on Gathering Competitive Insights for Sales Success

    Shawnna Sumaoang: Hi, and welcome to the Sales Enablement PRO podcast. I am Shawnna Sumaoang. Sales enablement is a constantly evolving space and we’re here to help professionals stay up to date on the latest trends and best practices so that they can be more effective in their jobs.

    Today I’m excited to have Andy Conduit-Turner from Cartus join us. Andy, I would love for you to introduce yourself, your role, and your organization to our audience.

    Andy Conduit-Turner: Thank you very much for having me. As you said, my name is Andy Conduit-Turner, I work for Cartus, a global relocation company supporting corporate clients moving their employees and their families around the world. I work as Director of Sales and Technology Enablement. It is a little bit of a hybrid role. We work very closely with the sales team as part of the sales organization but we’re also linked to marketing. We work with our operational teams as well, and also our technology partners internally. It’s a very exciting hybrid role. It’s nice that you get to touch a lot of areas around the business. I’ve been with Cartus for what will be approaching 11 years this year.

    SS: Amazing. You caught my eye because on LinkedIn you mentioned that one of your core responsibilities is leveraging intelligence to drive sales success and you also recently got certified in competitive intelligence. In your experience, how does competitive intelligence play a role in sales success?

    AC: It’s so important for us really to direct the focus of the team and make sure we’re doing everything as strategically and as intelligently as we possibly can. It helps us make really deliberate choices as to how we would approach every single opportunity. Now, in our industry, RFP opportunities, the opportunity to partner with an organization, they’re not particularly frequent, they come around 3-5 years and so that building of a relationship and understanding of how we can best serve that potential customer or retain the customer we already have really comes down to understanding not only what their needs are, but how the market is functioning, so engaging with competitive intel, understanding what our competition’s main values are, the areas that they are really focused on and also the areas where we are able to best outperform those competitors is incredibly important. It is so important that we are making sure we give every response, every RFP that we respond to, and every conversation our salesperson has with that particular prospect or existing client is really geared towards touching on the topics that they’re going to be interested in. This gives us the best opportunity to win. It really helps us be very deliberate in making those choices.

    SS: Fantastic. Now how do you enable your teams with the intelligence and insights that they need to succeed against the competition?

    AC: The reality is that there’s so much information that is out there filtering that down, directing people’s attention to what is important and what is going to be meaningful to them. Giving them some coaching and some tools to understand how they can leverage it and how they can make comment on it as well is really important. I’d say the biggest point is the filtering aspect and the communication of it as well. Creating the right forums where we can have those discussions, making sure it’s being shared broadly, which I think is where a lot of competitive intelligence drives sometimes fall down. The collection of that information is possibly the easiest part of it, but then finding it in a way that makes it digestible, accessible and making sure the conversations are happening around that competitive intelligence, I think that’s where we invest a lot of time to make sure we get that right because put very bluntly having a great deal of information just in a big old digital pile that you then can’t use kind of makes it fairly worthless.

    SS: Now what are some of your best pract

    • 14 min
    Episode 209: Gerry Hurley on Learning Programs That Boost Productivity

    Episode 209: Gerry Hurley on Learning Programs That Boost Productivity

    Shawnna Sumaoang: Hi, and welcome to the Sales Enablement PRO podcast. I am Shawnna Sumaoang. Sales enablement is a constantly evolving space and we’re here to help professionals stay up to date on the latest trends and best practices so that they can be more effective in their jobs.

    Today I’m excited to have Gerry Hurley from Tripadvisor join us. Gerry, I’d love for you to introduce yourself, your role, and your organization to our audience.

    Gerry Hurley: Thank you, Shawnna, I’m delighted to be here with you today and to share my story. My name as you said is Gerry Hurley and I’m the Senior Director of Sales Enablement for Tripadvisor’s B2B business. So for those that are not familiar with Tripadvisor, we are the world’s largest travel platform, helping close to half a billion travelers each month plan, book, and share their experiences of their trips. I’m based in Ireland, just north of Dublin, and have worked in training, enablement, and sales roles for 20-plus years across education, insurance, telecoms, and hospitality industries.

    At Tripadvisor, I lead a team of amazing sales enablement professionals supporting the needs of roughly about 500 global sellers across our SMB, enterprise, media, and meta businesses.

    SS: I’m very excited to have you on our podcast today. You mentioned on LinkedIn that you built a robust new hire training program and you were able to correlate that to a reduction in time to productivity from seven months to three months. First off, that’s amazing, but I’d love to understand how you designed and structured these programs?

    GH: Sure, delighted to share a bit more. Let me start with a bit of context. We were all acutely aware of the impact Covid has had and continues to have on our lives. In particular, the hospitality industry has had a very challenging two years which in turn has had a dramatic impact on Tripadvisor. At our lowest point in the pandemic, we were down nearly as much as 86% in revenue. As you can imagine, this required us to go into triage mode and to look at ways to weather the storm, which resulted in unfortunately a reduction of force where we took close to 900 people had to leave trip advisor, furlough schemes for sales, a cost reduction program, a consolidation of our restaurants and hotels business and a shift in our sales motion from acquisition to support.

    Thankfully the hospitality industry is resilient and by the start of 2021, we were starting to see some really good green shoots of recovery. With a massive pent-up desire to travel and a global vaccination program that was accelerating the path to recovery. It was at this point that we felt it was the right time to start recruiting again and we set about the task of recruiting and onboarding over 130 new sellers across our global SMB business. As you can imagine with a high philosophy hiring plan, we needed a way to onboard reps that was firstly scalable, secondly, could fast track reps to productivity. We were aiming for three months from our traditional seven months that we see in pre-Covid and a processor plan that allowed us to identify people at risk and take action quickly. We built an onboarding program that spanned 12 weeks with the first two weeks focused on the sales academy equipping reps with the product, system, process, and sales skills required to be successful. The remaining 10 weeks were focused on sharpening these skills on the job where managers and team leaders could provide high levels of coaching and support to help build activity and deliver revenue. To successfully graduate from the onboarding reps must pass the number of formal control gates hitting or exceeding set KPIs. That in a nutshell, Shawnna, is how we went about designing the program.

    SS: I think that’s fantastic. What were some of the key levers you focused on in order to accelerate that time to productivity and how do you track progress to continue to optimize your programs?

    GH: Yeah, great question. I

    • 16 min
    Episode 208: Robert Bosch on Understanding Your Buyer to Improve Quality

    Episode 208: Robert Bosch on Understanding Your Buyer to Improve Quality

    Shawnna Sumaoang: Hi, and welcome to the Sales Enablement PRO podcast. I am Shawnna Sumaoang. Sales enablement is a constantly evolving space and we’re here to help professionals stay up to date on the latest trends and best practices so that they can be more effective in their jobs.

    Today I’m excited to have Robert Bosch from ExxE Energy join us. Robert, I would love for you to introduce yourself, your role, and your organization to our audience.

    Robert Bosch: Thanks for having me. To tell a bit about myself I was born in Central America, raised in West Africa, and now in Western Germany where I live my life with my family and my four kids. I have been in Munich and the sales industry for nearly 20 years, where I have been in different branches of the sales business. I have a load of experience with which I gathered in this time from different sectors.

    Today I’m in a new environment for me which is in the area of energy efficiency and renewable energies, virus and bacteria control systems, all these types of things. In our type of organization, we have different companies with different specifications in areas that they’re experts in, like building technologies, heating technologies, solar panel technologies, air purifying systems, and all these types of things. We deliver to our customers all from one hand depending on the needs of the customer.

    SS: That’s fantastic. Now Robert on LinkedIn you actually share a quote from Benjamin Franklin that says “The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of a low price is forgotten.” I think that is so relevant to sales. How can enablement help sales reps deliver high-quality experiences for their customers?

    RB: The quote from Benjamin Franklin is quite honest because in 20 years of sales I experienced a lot of types of customers from small, medium to large. If they only focus on saving money and on pricing it may start off as sweet, but they will probably forget this sweetness quickly because the bitterness of the low-price quality will remain. This quote tells you that the lowest price is not always the best thing to choose. Our organization stands for really high quality and high services. Some technology costs loads of cash, so you really need to explain to the customer what they are paying for. If you can convince the customer and really give them an outlook on what the future would look like if they choose this way or that way, every customer will choose the right way and will not choose based on price. They will choose quality and that’s why this quote matches with the ideology of our company and of all our staff who want to deliver top quality.

    SS: I love that. Now to talk a little bit more about the quality component, how do you see quality help to really drive customer loyalty?

    RB: That’s a good question because that’s implicating also on pricing. For example, most of the renewable tech nowadays comes from China and China offers really cheap prices. If you want to purchase the same type of technology with more care and more quality behind it, maybe buy renewable tech that was produced in Germany, Europe, or maybe the U.S. It will cost more, but the quality will be much higher. I believe there are loads of customers out there who need quality and are willing to pay if they are consulted by a true and honest salesperson.

    If you sell to a customer with this type of approach, the customer will see the value, will experience the quality results, and will tell others about it. They will be the one who is the storyteller for you and nowadays it’s all about storytelling. You need to help your customer, and in return, they will help you. You need to show your customer that you take their issues seriously and that you respect them and are thankful for their purchase because they could have chosen another organization. I have encountered this many times through an online selling job that I had some years ago. All of these customers ret

    • 13 min

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