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Ep4 Inside the Boston Sales Enablement Soiree
Episode 420th June 2019 • Inside: Sales Enablement • Scott Santucci, Brian Lambert, Erich Starrett
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Welcome to the Inside Sales Enablement Podcast, Episode 4

SPECIAL EDITION: Inside the Sales Enablement Soiree Boston June 2019

The Sales Enablement Soiree is a series of events, hosted by Shawnna Sumaoang and the team as The first event, which premiered in 2015, was held alongside Dreamforce and brought together 200 attendees. The next year, the number grew to 600. By 2018, attendance soared to 1,200, highlighting the booming appetite for advice, expertise, and collaborative ideation on the topic of sales enablement. This year, the event came to the east coast as well, and 250+ attendees attended the inaugural east coast event in Boston.

Didn't make it? Don't worry! Brian attended to gather insights, learn from, and engage with practitioners, thought leaders, consultants, and solution providers in the space. He was able to gather information and conduct a special assignment to collect key insights to share with our podcast listeners. Listen now to hear Brian's debrief with Scott as he shares his takeaways and insights from this very special event. 

Join us at to collaborate with peers, join Insider Nation, participate in the conversation and be part of the continued elevation of the profession.



Scott Santucci, Brian Lambert

Intro 00:02

Welcome to the Inside Sales Enablement podcast. Where has the profession been? Where is it now? And where is it heading? What does it mean to you, your company, other functions? The market? Find out here. Join the founding father of the sales enablement profession Scott Sam Tucci and Trailblazer Brian Lambert as they take you behind the scenes of the birth of an industry, the inside sales enablement podcast starts now.

Scott Santucci 00:34

Hello, I'm Scott.

Brian Lambert 00:35

And I'm Brian Lambert. And we're the sales enablement insiders. Our podcast is dedicated to asking the big questions that you should be asking if you want to be successful with sales enablement. On this podcast, we rethink, reframe and revisit sales enablement topics. And in this podcast, it's a special edition.

Scott Santucci 00:54

So what is this special edition and how do we frame it out? So, this is the part where we normally frame things and the idea We had is, as Brian and I go to events, what would be wonderful is for the people who weren't at the event to have a deeper, so we're going to do a debrief. And last week actually yesterday, Brian was at the sales enablement saw Ray in Boston. And one of the things that Brian did is participate in a panel. So, my first question is, Brian, what was your panel? What was the topic and what was who else was on it? And what was the discussion?

Brian Lambert 01:26

Yeah, so great event. Picture 250 or so people in a room in Boston, at the Ritz Carlton. What we what we covered Scott was the idea of a charter and why is a charter important on the panel, but myself with the sales enablement society kind of moderating is, you know, non-biased etc. And then, with the folks on the stage, there were six of us. One was a sales enablement director from Mike Keeley was his name. We had Jill Guardia from the director of sales enablement from tri net.

Scott Santucci 02:06

We had Joe.

Brian Lambert 02:08

Yeah, Joe. She was great. Everybody was great. It's a super awesome. I think from from a flow perspective, we really built off each other and it was great. We had Susan Seminoff from monster. She's a VP of global sales enablement. Alex McKenzie. He was great because he's a sales director. So, he's a recipient of the charter and you know, somebody who would benefit from it. So, he brought that, that sales leader perspective. And then from lucid chart we had Brandon is the Director of Sales operations from one of the vendors there. It's a great mix.

Scott Santucci 02:41

Excellent. So, what did you guys talk about and what were some of the, some of the takeaways?

Brian Lambert 02:46

So, the topic of a charter is interesting, because if you search on Google, everybody's got a, you know, uptake on a charter and actually, Scott, you and I are the first ones to say you know, 2010 or so that having a charter is important. So, for Eight or nine years, this idea of a charter has been floating around in the sales enablement space. And it's interesting because there's no, you know, one structured format or specific template. And I think I get asked that a lot, you know, what's the template for this? And what we did on the panel was not necessarily focused on the contents of said, charter, but the the results that you would drive with a charter, so why charter? What's the purpose of it? What are the things, some of the things you do with it, etc. And the key takeaways from the discussion that we had was, you have to have a charter, no matter the size of your remit, you either need to have a specific set of tasks, activities or specific scope, or a specific set of outcomes to drive. So that was the first finding the second finding Scott was it. Everybody's at a different stage in their evolution of gaming.

Scott Santucci 03:55

Can I interrupt you real quick?

Brian Lambert 03:57

Yeah, sure.

Scott Santucci 03:58

 Let's go back to the issue. About the charter. So, I'm trying to imagine, imagine our listeners and knowing full well that boy have been a pretty big advocate about talking about charter. It is a boring topic for most people. How in tuned was the audience to talk about a charter?

Brian Lambert 04:22

Well, lucky for us, we were in a great time slot, which was the first panel of the day. But what we did was we framed out across the six of us, the lifecycle of a charter. So, picture, six, six people that have either benefited from or built charters. And, you know, the idea of going from, hey, you know, what should we put in it all the way through to adoption that unfolded in front of the eyes of the people in the audience. So, we had very specific questions that basically build a charter in front of the audience and the key that's one of the first comments from the audience. It was, wow, this sounds like this sounds like professional selling, you know, you guys identified an outcome, you identified a need, you had a point of view, as this, you know, unfolded across the stage, then you had to get buy in, there's multiple stakeholders and you had to sell the sizzle, etc. Right. So, it's, you know, it was really striking to the first audience member that the having a charter is much like, you know, being a salesperson and selling the value of your function. Mm hmm.

Scott Santucci 05:25

The reason that I'm going to advocate here, so I've tried to play a little bit of devil's advocate and going, Oh, god, what do we want to talk about a charter, but in the maybe the fourth or fifth sales enablement society meeting that was actually before was the sales enablement society meeting was just the local Washington DC meetup group way back in 2016. We actually had a meeting around a charter. Remember that?

Brian Lambert 05:53

Oh, yeah, absolutely.

Scott Santucci 05:54

And basically, for those of you who weren't there, they are audience broke into two different camps. Some were saying, why are we doing this is ridiculous. I'm just gonna follow the form and template that's given to my company, what a waste of time. And the other half are saying, Are you ridiculous? The charter is the most important thing to be there. And Brian Murphy, remember what Brian Murphy did, he took the computer away from me. And he got on Google. And he searched, he pulled up the Magna Carta. And he said, Guys, this is what a charter is. Nothing could be more important. And he, you know, being a historic historical buff, it was a way to delineate the power away from the king, to, to the servants, and it was the foundation of actually the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence and all these other wonderful things. So that is somebody who had a very strong, passionate plea. And did you hearken any of that any of that story on the group?

Brian Lambert 06:57

Well, we didn't because when we only had 30 minute It's and there are six of us. And the goal that, you know, from the design and experience was to go through the process and the importance of it. But you know, people had a choice to make around. It's important, certainly through that discussion. And I think it definitely landed in the space of, it's critical. And there are critical components that need to be covered such as delineation of power, such as you know, who were the kings, and who are the, who are the constituents, such as, you know, what's our specific set of activities and actions, what do we stand for? And then the idea of who do we socialize it to when how and build it? You know, one of the things that did come out at the end of it was this idea of kind of the coalition of the willing folks to actually enable or activate the charter.

Scott Santucci 07:51

So, what's one reason somebody who's living should build a charter?

Brian Lambert 07:56

Well, I started the group off with anybody, anybody a boy scout out there. And I know that puts a, you know, 40% of our audience in that group or so, because a lot of sales enablement are women. But when you look at the idea of the lifesaving merit badge, if you go with me for a second, in the life saving merit badge, they teach you something counterintuitive. And that is when you're going out to a drowning person, and you're swimming out there, you don't go anywhere near them. And the reason for that is in a state of panic, they will grab onto you and he'll both go to the bottom. Mm hmm. So, there was this aspect of certainly, you know, tongue in cheek a bit of survival. But more importantly, it was this idea of sometimes he right in his sales enablement. And as you coined a long time ago, Scott become the VP of broken things and he goes straight to the bottom. And so, you need to be able to delineate what are the critical items, what are the must have actions, and where are you going to draw the line based on your Current resources etc. So that was highly, you know, visceral to people they empathize with that. Certainly, the audience members that I talked to, on the break, some couple of them have been, you know, overwhelmed with the amount of assets and expectations that they have from various stakeholder groups.

Scott Santucci 09:19

Gotcha. So, let's do some rapid fire here. So, give me three things. I'd love to know three takeaways that you got from all the other sessions. So, we got a good wrap up or a good understanding about the panel that you were on and what you were talking about with a charter. So, you know, you were there. What were some, what three, three, Brian, thoughts that you got from that?

Brian Lambert 09:45

Well, I'll give you one that that is maybe not as super positive, but it's this idea of, we're still a bit in redefining, unfortunately instead of moving forward and also So, because of that, there's a lot of, I think, this idea of declaring things on people. So, you know, from the stage or from the groups, you know, saying things that are certainly maybe levied with an expectation that everybody understands. And like, for an example, we're going to, we're going to talk about, you know, scaling, readiness. somebody in the audience said, what do you guys mean by scaling? And what do you mean by right readiness? You know, and I high fived him because that's a great question. So, you know, instead of declaring, here's what scaling is, and here's a readiness is being being more curious. So, this idea of let's not, you know, declare things on people let's let's be curious and make sure we're talking the same thing was a big, big theme for me as I walk through. The second is this idea of everybody's working on something and that sound might sound You know, Brian your genius. But when you look at all the somethings, and you put them all out there is it is overwhelming when you have 250 people are working on something different, yet they're all interrelated. And boy, there are a lot of choices that you can be making. So, the sheer volume of stuff being worked on is is incredible to me. So that was the second. The third one was, you know, I just I just love sales enablement people were down to earth, we tell it like it is we walk up to each other like we've been lifelong friends. We didn't even know each other in the past. I met Evelyn, you know, through one of the people that sat at the table with me and she's like, Oh, I bumped into Evelyn and she brought her over and Evelyn, I both live in Charlotte. And we actually ended up on the same plane home. So, you know, this the connections that are built through putting yourself out there? A lot. I'm curious, tell me about you. I have a question for you. Yeah, it was awesome.

Scott Santucci 12:03

Excellent. So those were some three, three great takeaways. Let me tell you what I inferred from it. So that you can correct me if I didn't get a different got a different understanding. So, your first point about we're still redefining what I what I talk about that is, we still don't have enough of a clarity that people feel like they've got, you know, keep redefining and keep redefining and keep redefining the definition isn't good enough. Right. Do I understand that correctly?

Brian Lambert 12:36

Right. And Forrester actually eat me might not know this guy, but Forrester actually got up and said, you know, here's our, here's our new and updated definition of sales enablement. Little did she know that person in the audience was sitting there, they put out the definition, you know, 10 or 11 years ago with you set out for us to redefine it. 10 years apart was a bit surreal, but yeah, so that's exactly what I'm saying.

Scott Santucci 12:59

Jeez, that's interesting. Well, we can have a whole different thing about talking about that definition. I really wasn't prepared for that. The second topic that you brought up is people doing stuff. Um, is when you talk to folks and all the different activities that they're doing, are they clustering in any pockets or anything that you can see any prioritization? Because I think, at least from my perspective, it's very difficult to, for profession to move forward. If every tactic everything out there is sales enablement, we don't put any kind of categories how do we how do we how do we how do we as a profession share information with each other?

Brian Lambert 13:45

Right. So, I didn't see any of that. I think if you took everybody individually, they they probably have some sort of individual prioritization and bucketization. There there, there are likely to be some defaults there. For example, this is what my sales VP wants me to work on, right? So, kind of that level of prioritization. The other the other piece of it is that there is an assumption that everybody's working on the same thing, like one of our sessions was playbooks. So, with no real setup or context of what playbooks are it launched into, here's how you do them, etc. And I guess thinking back on it, same thing with a charter. You know, I spent a lot of time explaining why we should at least explore that, though, when it came to playbooks it was, you know, we should we should all be doing this. And here's why. And I think there's an interesting juxtaposition there of what must haves versus nice to haves, and then who's determining the path forward? And I think there's it resonates with individuals, leaders, sales enablement, leaders, that they're kind of in control of their own their own destiny in that regard.

Scott Santucci 14:57

Interesting. So, in Then the third, the third topic was sales enable people. And, boy, we don't really need to talk about that if you are listening to us passively, and you don't go to your local chapter meetings and in sales enablement or you don't engage with folks online, you're really missing out, because one of the best things to do is to talk to folks, you might not agree a lot. But when you actually talk to another human being, and try to understand where they're coming from, you're going to learn a lot more than trying to peruse the web and look at definitions and all of the people's outcries of specificity. So, I think that that point is great. And I think it's fantastic that it's my understanding Brian, that's at the event, the soiree that's a free event right and it's spot it's sponsored by vendors is that's that's correct?

Brian Lambert 15:55

That's right. And you know, a hearty thanks to them. It's it was free. And the food was good. They were they were, there was food at the breakouts. And I know the story is happening after dreamforce this year and, and they talking about having 1000 people or more at that event. So yeah, yeah, great, great job by the vendors that supported that and appreciated talking to them as well.

Scott Santucci 16:20

That's another thing as a sales enablement professional, it's definitely be grateful for the resources that people are paying Sure. The vendors that are providing that, that information definitely would like you to think of them. But they don't need to do it the way that they're doing it. They could just be pounding you through LinkedIn bombardment, like every other supplier. So, keep that in mind for the vendors that are engaging you the right way, and be thankful for it. So now we have this one last section. It's a special assignment. So, one of the things that Brian and I did was before going to the set session, we try to come up with a set up a little bit of fun thing, a special assignment, let me frame out the special assignment. So, the question that that we came up with was, how do we get clarity around sales enablement? So, it is a guess a little bit related to defining it. But it's, it's this way, if, if sales enablement, when you put those two words together, they mean a lot of things to a lot of different people. So one way to think about that is when somebody says sales, what do they mean? Do they mean an individual sales transaction transaction, sales managers, the Salesforce revenue? So how you answer that question is one area just scoped? And the second question is, enable sales to do what based on your definition of that? So, it's always interesting question that I get, because I find people are all over the place. I'm really curious. So, we had we sent Brian out there to Boston asked that same question. How many people did you get a chance to talk to you and what did you learn by asking that question?

Brian Lambert 18:00

Asked 10 people, what do you think of sales? What What comes to mind? And what does enablement mean? So on the question of what do you think of...