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 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 96: Tyler Zeman on the Intersection Between Sales Enablement and Marketing
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 Tyler join us from Pluralsight. Tyler, I would love for you to introduce yourself, your role, and your organization to our audience.
Tyler Zeman: I’m excited to be here with you guys. So yeah, how my role works at Pluralsight– great question. Product marketing is just so different at different companies, so many different ways to organize. So for us, we have three product marketing leaders.
Each is focused on three different domains: product, market, and sales, and I lead the sales focus team. I’ve been with Pluralsight for a little over three and a half years, and I was brought on to revamp the function from scratch and build the team. I was the second person of a new team and we started leadership first and have grown to be over a dozen strong now.
We started from scratch with new messaging, positioning, demo script, sales assets, you name it, all in an effort to help our enterprise sales motion, which was the big focus at the time. Along the way, I’ve helped create a strategy for our annual conference, Pluralsight live, and created our customer advisory board. I organized and ran our customer reference and testimonial program, and launched and administered our sales enablement platform. Through all that we re-accelerated B2B sales, which was the goal of me joining the team, so pat myself on the back there. We got that one done and successfully took the company public. We listed two years ago on NASDAQ and got to be involved in the roadshow and IPO efforts there. Certainly a thrill, and a proud moment of my career. It’s been a fun run.
SS: Well, Tyler, I’m really excited to have you here. Obviously it sounds like you’ve accomplished some amazing things at Pluralsight and given your extensive background in product marketing, I think for our audience in particular– which is made up of those that either have sales enablement directly in their title or do it as a part of their function, and oftentimes I think that does fall to product marketing within some organizations– I’d love to hear from your perspective, what does that intersection look like between sales enablement and product marketing and how do they complement each other?
TZ: Yeah, fantastic question. It’s a blurry line to a minimum, and I’ve been quoted as saying that sales enablement is actually the outcome of a healthy product marketing and sales training team.
For us at Pluralsight, we have a team that is actually called the sales enablement team, but in other companies they’d just be called the sales training team. Semantics aside, together we focus on delivering the intelligence and assets that reduce ramp time for new reps, increase deal size, and accelerate pipeline.
We’re just focused on what our global revenue org needs to know, say, and show to both prospects and customers. Sometimes that’s competitor battle cards that are internal only, or slides that are external facing, or a sales play that has a little bit of everything. Both teams stay super connected to sales leadership, and individual reps to keep that finger on the pulse of our revenue org.
It’s really important that we stay focused on the right work and that we’re plugged in in the right ways to know what that right work is. We’re careful not to be order takers or slide monkeys along the way. We have to strike that balance of ensuring that we’re actually listening and responding to their needs while not just creating whatever they ask for.
We really need to apply some of our logic and prioritization and focus on business objectives, not just
Episode 95: JP Mantey on Fostering Culture Through Sales Enablement
Shawnna Sumaoang: Hi, and welcome to the Sales Enablement PRO podcast. I’m 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 they can be more effective in their jobs. Today, I’m excited to have John Paul from Icertis join us. JP, I would love for you to introduce yourself, your role, and your organization to our audience.
John Paul Mantey: Sure, thank you for having me. My name’s John Paul Mantey. Most people like to shorten and say JP. I live in Southern California, originally from Philadelphia, and I head up sales enablement for Icertis, which is a SaaS, enterprise contract management company based out of Seattle. Our first customer was Microsoft, so the company is actually across the street from Microsoft. I’ve been there three years and we are an analyst-identified leader in the space of CLM or Contract Lifecycle Management, and really helping companies have the rubber meet the road in their digital transformation efforts around unlocking the data hiding in a lot of their most important documents in their entire company, which are their contracts.
If you think of every dollar in and out of any organization, it’s tied to a contract. What would be the power of unlocking all that data, to not only have it available, if and when you have tough questions, such as if a pandemic hits and you want to know who’s responsible for that event that you sponsored and was canceled and do you get your money back?
You need to go and find the force majeure clauses, which everybody’s been doing. Imagine if you could not only do that very quickly, but have the data in your contracts proactively tell you what key obligations or risks or entitlements or rights you had around all of your suppliers and all of your customers?
SS: Fantastic, and yes, I had to look for a few of those myself. Unfortunately, we had to move the Sales Enablement Soirée events out until next year, but I’m glad that you were able to join us, JP. I wanted to talk to you because I noticed your title in particular had the term culture in it, and I want you to explain to our audience how you perceive the responsibilities of your position as it relates to the culture aspect.
JM: Yeah, thank you. A bit of the interesting dynamic of how culture ended up in my title– earlier in my career, I worked for a private equity firm, I worked in industrial real estate. So, I’d travel around the country and analyze logistical markets and understanding, you know, ports and infrastructure. Ultimately, we were trying to buy the farm next to the highway for farm prices, get it rezoned for industrial and predict where a company like Amazon might want their next distribution center. There was a big gap or value that could be created when you bought land for farm prices and then sold it for industrial warehouse prices.
So that’s what I did, and I worked for this company that was very successful and had raised $850 million and had a lot of brilliant people and great people in the organization. One of the things I thought was that if you had a company that had a lot of resources and people there made money and, you know, had all their needs met, then that would by default be a great culture because why wouldn’t you have a great culture if you have a ton of resources? Working in that environment, I realized that my thinking was flawed, and I still started to get really curious about leadership and about culture and what is it that enables great leadership and great culture. That sent me on a journey, where even though I stayed in real estate for over a decade, I went back and got my masters in organization development and change leadership, to really study the science of how do you build healthy organizations, healthy teams and develop leaders.
Episode 94: Murt Hussain on Enabling the Business Development Engine
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 trends and best practices so they can be more effective in their jobs. Today, I’m excited to have Murt Hussain from Celonis join us. Murt, I’d love for you introduce yourself, your role, and your organization to our audience.
Murt Hussain: Yeah, thanks for having me Shawnna. So, my name is Murt. A lot of my friends and peers call me that, it’s up to you. I’ve been working at Celonis now for three years, and most recently as a sales enablement manager, training our North American sales organization with a concentration on our BDR/SDR team.
A little more about me, when I’m not at Celonis, I work as an artist selling paintings and creating murals internationally. It’s been pretty cool how each job has given me insights and tremendous help on the other job, so it’s been awesome. And just a little about the company, Celonis is a process mining software company that’s helping companies remove friction from their business processes and helping streamline customer experiences for everyone.
SS: Well, Murt, thank you so much for joining us. Before your career in sales enablement, you also did a lot of work in business development. Can you tell us about how your experience as a BDR guides your approach to sales enablement?
MH: Definitely, that’s a good question. I think it means a lot as an enablement manager, you know, teaching ramping, onboarding topics and discussions around something I’ve done for many years before I was a manager. So, I started off as one of the BDRs, one of the first BDRs in the company in 2017 and rose up to a senior role. From the senior role, I was tracking on bigger accounts, and during that time we were really scaling, and so I really enjoyed the training aspects of it when I was getting new reps coming on board and up to speed, being a coach, helping them exceed records and numbers and all that fun stuff. So, at that point, my boss at the time, Ryan Gold had crafted this hybrid player-coach position, where I was not only holding my own bag, but I was carrying and helping create a complex enablement program that had a foundation from what Ryan had built.
So it was my responsibility to make them more complex, scalable, have a way to track everything, make it fun, a unique experience for new hires and be a very continuous engine that is helping our North American region. And now, I have fully transitioned into the enablement role under Dick Dunkel, who, where I’m now trained, not only BDRs, but the sales North American team with a focus on the BDR/SDR function.
SS: Oh, fantastic. And that’s a ton of growth in such a short amount of time. I noticed you mentioned the notion of new hires, so you tend to focus heavily on onboarding and training. Can you share with us how your organization strives to implement successful onboarding programs?
MH: Yeah, definitely. I think there are two main principles that I personally really strive and implement when it comes to our onboarding and training. Number one is teaching the important topics in five different ways. So, I understand people learn different ways. My background is in art, so I’m a very visual learner, but there are people who might learn better in a classroom setting. They might learn through an LMS course. They might learn through a mentor, right? So I have ways to implement the “have-to-know” topics in five different ways. This can be through an LMS course, through a classroom style discussion.
I create podcast episodes internally, so maybe a podcast episode while they’re going for a run or working out. We do it through games, we do it through guest presenters, through BDR mentors, through guest speakers. With these top
Episode 93: Evan Carlton on What Good Sales Coaching Looks Like
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 they can be more effective in their jobs.
Today, I’m excited to have Evan Carlton from the Sales Development Coach join us. Evan, I would love for you to introduce yourself, your role, and your organization to our audience.
Evan Carlton: Yeah, thanks, Shawnna. I appreciate you having me on. So, I am the founder and principal consultant at the Sales Development Coach. I provide sales development advisory and coaching services to businesses requiring more strategic advisory services.
Perhaps their existing sales developing organization needs to improve its performance or efficiency, or perhaps they don’t have an internal sales development organization and they need to start generating more pipeline. I also provide tactical coaching services for sales development leaders, as well as SDRs and practitioners who are looking to, again, enhance the performance of their teams, perhaps improve their career growth, or just make a ton of money and smash quota next month.
SS: Fantastic. And you also come with a sales enablement background, which is fantastic because I think that you can speak to the importance of sales coaching from both perspectives, both on the sales enablement side, as well as on the front lines. So, I’d love to hear from your opinion, what makes a good sales coach?
EC: Well, there are so many factors that play into that, right? I think the biggest thing is often the same thing that makes someone an effective teacher, which is one, making sure that you really are keeping up to date on the best practices, advancements, et cetera, right? You can’t be just preaching best practices that worked when you were selling copiers in the nineties. You need to be keeping up to date with current events.
So, that’s probably the first thing, but then also understanding the way that each of your ‘mentees’, if you will, learn. So, taking the time to understand how they’re motivated, what their learning style is, how they respond to feedback and coaching.
Because the way that I might coach the same scenario with two different SDRs is going to depend on those factors. So for me personally, I respond to strong leadership. So, you know, if my manager gets in my face or is really pressing me, you can bet there’s going to be a change in my behavior off that. For other people, that can actually do more harm than good, right? So just knowing what style of coaching, the mentee is most receptive to is really important
SS: Now, in addition, because you have quite a vast background, you mentioned that you’ve been a sales rep in the past, both on the sales development side for new business, as well as actually closing a lot of those deals. How has that background influenced your approach to coaching and developing other sales reps?
EC: That’s a great question. I had an unusual trajectory of my career in that I actually ran my own business before I got into tech sales, where I had 20 employees. I was one of four co-founders and partners and so I got a lot of good management leadership experience from that. Also, another unusual part in my path was that I was a closer before I was an SDR, which is also unusual. I was an account manager doing 360 sales at Century Link before I went to NetApp where I was an SDR.
I think having appreciation for the full sales cycle really cannot be understated in the value that can have for an SDR or an SDR leader. Oftentimes I see SDRs rise through the ranks, smash quota, get promoted to SDR manager, but then they kind of hit this glass ceiling in the org because they don’t have closing experience. And so they can’t really advance past that SDR mana
Episode 92: Jo Stewart on Creating a Close Bond with Sales Operations
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 they can be more effective in their jobs.
Today, I’m excited to have Jo Stewart from Micro Focus join us. Jo, I would love for you to introduce yourself, your role, and your organization to our audience.
Jo Stewart: Thank you, Shawnna. So great to be here. My name’s Jo Stewart. I currently run enablement for the whole of Micro Focus. You’ve probably never heard of the Micro Focus, most people, when I say I work for Micro Focus, you get a ‘Micro-who?’ and you’re like, yeah, no, not them, the other micro. We are one of the world’s biggest, digital aggregators. We have a number of products and technologies that are purely software, and we look after lots and lots of the digital transformation of finance companies or healthcare and pharma companies around the world.
We’re also the custodians of a really very little-known product called COBOL, but little known because it’s quite secret. Most of the world’s mainframes run on COBOL, so we’re very proud of that heritage. We’ve been around about 40 years now.
SS: Well, Jo, I’m extremely excited to have you join us today. You have a very diverse background and it spans multiple business disciplines within sales, sales operations, and of course sales enablement. So how do you see those two departments in particular, operations and enablement, working together?
JS: That’s a great question. I actually started out my career as an engineer. I was from technology and that gave me a really unique insight into all of the different things that have to happen to make a customer successful. Two of those key departments really are operations and enablement.
Enablement’s quite new, really. I think enablement departments have grown out of learning and development, or training teams, et cetera, but now we’re really intrinsically connected to sales operations. I like to think that sales operations forms the strategy of things like the sales management operating system, and then enablement supports and helps them become the fulcrum to the success by bringing that alive, whether it be by making sure salespeople have the capability and skills to execute it, or indeed, the tools and the ways of working that they really need to make them successful. These two departments are so interlinked. I spend so much of my time working with our VP of sales operations. We probably talk at least twice a week, if not more.
SS: That’s fantastic. And I didn’t realize that you also had an engineering background, but let’s talk a little bit more about this career path that you went down. How did you make the transition between being a sales operations leader to becoming an enablement leader? What were some of the skills that you needed to hone to make that transition?
JS: That is a great question because actually, I have gone between operations and enablement twice in my career. So I, first of all, started out, as I said, as an engineer, and then I quickly moved into sales actually and ran presales for quite some time at Dell.
And, as part of that role, I started to become really interested in education and how we enable our customers, and customer success in particular. So, I took a number of roles, setting up practices around customer education and professional services, and then moved from there into operationalizing them in a global space.
That’s how I ended up in sales operations the first time around. The skills that I took with me were not really what you would expect for operations. I’m not a particularly analytical person, but I particularly like working with the dynamics and the ‘if I do this, what will happen to X?’
Episode 91: Amanda Daume on Building a Sales Enablement Function From the Ground Up
Shawnna Sumaoang: Hi, and welcome to the Sales Enablement PRO podcast. I’m 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 they can be more effective in their jobs. Today, I’m excited to have Amanda from Revenue River join us. Amanda, I would love for you to introduce yourself, your role, and your organization to our audience.
Amanda Daume: Great, thanks Shawnna. I’m Amanda Daume, I head up the sales enablement team here at Revenue River. As an agency, we partner with clients across all kinds of verticals and at various stages of maturity to help them compete and win in the digital space. That means we cover everything from digital marketing and websites to eCommerce stores and sales systems. My team in particular is focused on aligning our clients’ people, processes, and tools to their buyers’ journeys.
SS: Fantastic. Well, Amanda, as you and I were just talking about, I’m super excited to have you here, given all of your experience building a sales enablement function from the ground up. I’d love for you to give some advice to our audience on where they should start when looking to do the same within their organization.
AD: Of course. It can seem incredibly daunting at first, and I think there are a lot of folks that are already fulfilling some sort of sales enablement responsibility in a really informal capacity. I think finding those opportunities to dig in and help other team members in that capacity and sort of tracking or logging your experience along the way so that you can build that case down the road is a great place to start.
SS: Absolutely. Now you mentioned building the case. What were some of the key indicators that your organization needed in enablement function and what were some of the main problems that you wanted to set out to solve?
AD: Yeah, we observed several key indicators at first, some of them anecdotal in nature and some of them more data-based. In our earliest engagements, we were primarily focused on marketing, and as marketers, we felt like the leads that we were generating in our digital campaigns just landed in a black hole.
We never had any idea if they were good leads or bad leads, if they changed into customers at any point. We also realized that we were guessing at strategy. We didn’t really have hard data to lean into, to say definitively, ‘this type of lead that comes from this particular source is a better lead than something that converts on the ‘Contact Us’ form on the website’.
So, the missing closed loop and the lack of attribution were big-time signs to us that we needed a sales enablement function.
SS: And how did you– because obviously I think for any net new function you really need buy-in from your stakeholders– so how did you gain buy-in from your stakeholders for a sales enablement function and the approach that you wanted to take with it?
AD: Sure. Internally, like I mentioned, I had been doing sales enablement really informally for quite some time on a number of different clients. So, I took their positive reviews, maybe kind emails that they sent along with really positive messages and shared those internally, like I said before, to build the case for sales enablement.
We also built case studies, success stories around the engagements that were more successful when we had sales enablement responsibilities in action. At that point we had enough evidence that we could make a positive impact on the engagement and the relationship, both in terms of results and longevity, that it became a no brainer for my boss at that point and he was very much on board and allowed us to move forward.
SS: That’s fantastic. Now, obviously anytime you’re starting something net new, you will come across challenges, often unforeseen. What w