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Ep36 State of SE Panel 4: Sales Enablement L&D Training
Episode 368th May 2020 • Inside: Sales Enablement • Scott Santucci, Brian Lambert, Erich Starrett
00:00:00 01:18:44

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Welcome to the Inside Sales Enablement Podcast, Episode 36

We here at inside sales enablement are dedicated to making sure listeners are successful overcoming the complexities in their own companies so that they can keep more effective in the market.  there are many names used to describe what that, and we've been calling it sales enablement for the last 12 years

As a continuation of our State of Sales Enablement panel series, we created a “guest analyst” program. These panelists are super engaged. They are really spending time on the data, and they're here to share their thoughts on the data.

In this episode, our guest panelists include:

  • Barry Shields, Director, Customer Experience Training & Enablement, Avalara
  • Garth McKinney, L&D Sales Consultant Red Hat
  • David Somers, Director Field Enablement GitLab

To view the research method, visit

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


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 Santucci 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 00:33  

I'm Scott Santucci 

Brian Lambert 00:35  

I'm Brian Lambert and we are the sales enablement insiders.

Scott Santucci 00:39  

Hello insider nation Welcome to the only destination that is designed specifically for veteran sales enablement practitioners. Brian and I are doing our part to combat all of the fake news and Saikal snake oil peddlers and the deafening hype noise out there in the marketplace. We're excited to share with you yet another special edition episode as part of our state of enablement study. Before turning it over to Brian to introduce our great panelists. Let's review how we got here so far.

In mid-March, we had an amazing COVID-19 response panel. That included that included Dr. Howard Dover from the University of Texas, Dallas, Kunaal metho, an executive at private equity firm TCV and Lindsey Gore, who is a rep salesperson at Microsoft, in the strategic accounts area. And her job was really to keep us all honest. I love that. Any rate, if you'd like to listen to what motivated to our state of sales enablement study, go into our archives and listen to episode number 28. And pay particular attention, particular attention to the part where kunaal is talking about the need for sales enablement leaders to stitch together programs, how it's not happening in pretty much any company. And what kind of friction it creates, from the point of view of investors, you're going to hear what inspired this whole study the state of sales enablement. So how do we get here, what we get is coming off of that insight, we decided, boy, we really need to investigate what's going on here. So we crafted a survey. And the survey was really designed to capture the voice of sales enablement, leaders. We had a 12 question surveys, and most of them were open into questions.

So if you know anything about building surveys, it's generally really, really, really, really, really, I could go on but I think you get the point hard to get people to respond to open-ended questions, let alone a survey that's mostly subjective to start off with. So when we when we feel that this and we feel it through my LinkedIn network, and Brian's LinkedIn, Brian's awesome, LinkedIn network, we thought this would be success if we got 25 responses. So of course, in typical sales manager fashion, I decided, I'm going to double the quota on myself and said, We need to get 50 responses out in a week. So that first the end of March, the first the first few days of April, we fielded this study, so we wanted to get 25. I set the goal at 50. How many responses to this? Did we get? What did you insider nation do? Did we get the 25? That are that was our target? Did we get 35? Like, you know, wow, that was good. We exceeded our target. Did we get the whole 50 that our goal is no none of those, you insider nation gave us 70 responses within a week. Think about that. That's amazing. And it's all open ended feedback, subjective feedback. Today, we've got 99 responses. Yes, some of us are the fashionably late crowd to parties. So that creates a high quality problem. How do you analyze 70 responses when you were planning on 25? Is it almost a 300% volume increase? How do you analyze all that? So we recruited or deputized, however you want to think of it, a guest analyst program. And what we're after and interested in are people who are veterans in the space, or practitioners from all different walks of life or angles. So we've got CEOs from companies like highspot, seismic, and show pad looking at looking at these responses and giving us input. We've got authors like Tamar shank, and Eli Cohen who are giving us their perspective. We've interviewed so far as of this recording. I've personally interviewed over 20 leaders, including executives who run incredibly large departments and major multinational company which which we'll hear about. Then what we wanted to do is, boy, these interviews are so rich, and the perspectives are so great. We wanted to create a model to synthesize that information.

So we created this idea of these panelists is these panels. So we get a group of, you know, basically you've heard that saying of birds of a feather flock together. So wanted to get people who are like-minded together and find areas where they agree. So the reason that we do these panels is one, we want to be transparent with our research process, too. We want to get information out to you inside our nation as quickly as possible so you can follow along with with the information as we get it. And three, we want to tease out common themes across the entire community of sales a day went so that when we're prepared, we have a really effective findings presentation on May 19.

Please mark your calendars may 19, 11 o'clock am Eastern time, please visit www dot inside se comm to register. You won't want to miss this event. I'm not as of today, I'm not planning on sharing my slides or making a recording available, so please make sure you attend that. Okay, so what have we done so far in the terms of panels? So far, we've already published out our enablement experts panel with Tamra shank, Mike Kunkel and Josie mashburn. We've also published our sales experts panel of skip Miller, Bob Apollo and Steve crepeau. We will be publishing so by the time this goes out, we will also have published our practitioners, practitioners panel with Shivam fetcher imaging McCourt and Doug Kleiner clower. One of the themes that's been emerging that's very fascinating is that sales enablement has a different texture, flavor perspective based on your background. So what was interesting is the last panel, not a single one of them had a learning development or any kind of formal training experience expertise whatsoever. And that tracks to my background, I have no l&d or professional training background whatsoever yet, I was pulled into the sales, sales enablement arena. So what's interesting is we want to provide the lens, the perspective of people who do have a strong lnd perspective. And with that, we asked Brian who has much more of an l&d credentials in l&d than than I do, to pull together this panel that we've got. So to give you guys all introduction about Brian. There's a reason I call him Dr. Brian Lambert. And the reason that I call him Dr. Brian Lambert is he's earned a PhD. I haven't most of you haven't. And what is this PhD is it's an organizational Buffett behavior. He's written three books on sales process and actually ran the, at the time it was called astd. Most of us now know it is a TD sales training practice. Those are the things that he did before we before he joined our team at Forrester. And the rest is, as you know, I guess history. So Brian's pulled together a great, fantastic panel of people definitely have an l&d background. Brian, could you introduce the people that you pulled together for our experts for this panel, please?

Brian Lambert 08:29  

Yeah, sure. Thanks, Scott. I'm really excited about our panel today. I've known these guys for quite a long time. And they're all interestingly enough, based out of Raleigh, North Carolina, and I'm in Charlotte. So I guess we have the North Carolina crowd today, which was a bit of an interesting piece of trivia for us. They're also members of and participating in the sales enablement society. So that's, that's cool to me as well. The first person I'm going to introduce is Barry shields. I've known Barry since 2006. Actually, when I was with at the senior staff, when I launched that community of practice, which is now the sales enablement practice, I was doing global research for a sales competency framework. And one of the folks that I reached out to was Barry, and since that time, he's been great to really have discussions around everything from brain science to how people learn and also when I was actually new in my my new gig and a fortune 50 company, actually brought Barry in to run the the experience team on my team. So Barry, Barry shields, can you introduce yourself, please? 

Barry Shields 09:39  

Hey there, Brian. Thanks for having me. I'm Barry shields. I'm now with avalara avalara is a company that computes sales tax in the cloud for retailers both online and brick some mortar and so I currently lead the the Indian learning function, three things a few things I haven't led before Both the learning architecture and design and development, but also this time around leading the delivery side of the house also. But I do that for our go live team or implementation consultants, if you will, for account managers, folks who manage the account after the initial sale, and also for our customer support organization. 

Brian Lambert 10:21  

Thanks Barry. The next person is David summers. And David and I have known each other for a couple years now, I actually reached out to him as part of my, my networking when I moved to North Carolina. And he was actually just starting his global enablement role at GitHub. And GitHub had made an investment and they brought in David to stand up sales enablement from scratch. So that was a really cool position for him. And he's done a lot of work since then. And we've stayed in touch, especially around building out sales enablement, building out a team, new hire, training, etc. So, David, so glad you're on the panel today. Can you introduce yourself?

David Summers 11:00  

Yeah. Thanks, Brian. I just quick clarification. I'm with Git lab. And when we get it, we get GitHub all the time. And it's funny, because that's actually part of our sales onboarding program of yeah, helping the sales team. How do they respond when somebody you know, mistaken that they're from GitHub, which was purchased from by Microsoft, and the tune of 6 billion plus a little while ago. So Git lab is a private company looking to go public later this year, or we'll see what the market conditions allow. But yeah, I lead our global field enablement team, which includes looking at how we help our pre sales and post sales field roles, be more productive faster, and accelerate their time to productivity and help reach the desired outcomes from the sales organization. So that includes both from lead gen reps to the sales team, to solution architects, and to our technical account managers as well.

Brian Lambert 11:57  

Thanks, David, I appreciate that. And I guess I need to go through new hire training.

Scott Santucci 12:01  

I think you just did.

Brian Lambert 12:02  

I think. Thanks so much for that. Sorry about that. The next next awesome person is is Garth McKinney, and Garth is at Red Hat. And we met through my company. We actually had some folks on his sales team go through our sales management development program, interestingly enough in South Africa. So one of those attendees introduced us to Garth here in the headquarters at Red Hat and him and I have done some great whiteboarding sessions around the sales manager role, how to partner with sales, the performance and expectations that are, you know, coming in, and also they're going through the IBM merger. So that's been great to get to know Garth and Garth, can you share a little bit about your background? And welcome to the panel?

Garth McKinney 12:49  

Yeah, thanks, Brian. I do work at Red Hat. We're an enterprise open source software company. And we were recently acquired by IBM. And so that's been really interesting, as we've been trying to, you know, integrating in but staying separate, right, because we are keeping our roots as an open source company, while also working with IBM that has a lot of proprietary software. So it's this, it's been an interesting connection, as we try to drive our culture forward and try to drive what made us famous, while we're merging with this larger company, and that's really my role is a sales and services learning consultant for Red Hat. So I work with the sales leadership, to kind of understand what can we do from a behavior and from a skills learning and kind of mindset perspective in order to drive the performance of their teams. And this is at the leadership level for their teams, as well as down to the sales teams, and everywhere in between. So that's what I do.

Brian Lambert 13:54  

Thanks so much, Garth. Appreciate it. And thanks. Thanks, everybody, for joining. So my role on this is I'll, I'll be synthesizing at the end. I'm going to turn this over to Scott and Scott. There you go all from the tech industry, members of scfs of the l&d background, and they're all in the space of developing their sales teams.

Scott Santucci 14:13  

That's fantastic. And I can't help but resist the vibe that I'm hearing. It sounds like the Raleigh chapter is calling out everybody else to say get, you know, get in gear and in terms of sales enablement society to get in gear, get active, get engaged. So maybe that's what's going on. But that's fantastic. I love competition. What we're going to do right now, is each of our responses have been or each of our panelists have been given the responses. So the 70, spreadsheet organized of of the information, and we're going to ask each of them very open ended questions. So the first question so that we're gonna break this down into segments, and then each respondent or each panelist is going to get a chance to cancel To talk, and I'm going to do it in order. So the first question is to you, Barry. And then we'll get Dave's feedback and then Garth feedback. And then we'll allow you guys to respond to each other. But I'm interested in just sharing your perspective of this question. Having looked at the survey findings, what are a few things that stood out for you?

Barry Shields 15:21  

Yeah, I think one of the big things that stands out as folks are saying, you know, what kind of business should sales enablement be? And a lot of the responses are saying that it's either a consulting, business, it's a service business, or it's a coaching business. One of the things that weighs on my mind is I look even avalara and a lot of other companies have been part of is that it seems like the manager that isn't showing up, right, the sales manager is focused on reports that sales managers may be selling themself, or they're focused on things and not focused on outcomes. I think the sales enablement survey that you put together especially aligned to the question, What business would sales enablement P is the sales enablement team saying they're finding themselves doing a lot of coaching? When I came in, I didn't know that I was actually going to own a lot of the sales enablement piece, at least for account managers. But there's a counterpart who owns building things for the the sellers, the folks who make the initial sale. And he's a single point of failure. It is a small company, but I asked him about what he was doing. And what I what I realized was he was a person without llmd background. But but but a person who was a top performer who knew this the complexity of sales tax, and it is really, really confusing and complex. And so he was spending all his time coaching, he has office hours, he he has sessions that are meant on specific topics or products every Thursday and Friday. But beyond the office hours, he teaches those products, but then, and then the people show up and he finds himself really more coaching in terms of how to sell or how to overcome depression, if you're not meeting your quota, or how to have a conversation with your leader, all of the things that we would have expected, the sellers manager to have been doing. And so when you look at these results, it seems like that's what people are saying sales enablement should be consulting and services. It should be coaching, it should be, you know, like a design firm and an agency etc. So, you know, I'm thankful to be in the enablement space folks allow me to play there because of my learning and development background. But it seems like we're we're saying, maybe the issue is not with the sellers. But it's really with the managers and how they might enable their team. Wouldn't it be true that these teams could do a lot more sell a lot more if the manager stepped up for what we need them to step up to?

Scott Santucci 18:11  

Gotcha. Thank you, Barry. David, how about you? What was your having? What are the studies? What was your reaction? What stood out to you?

David Summers 18:20  

One of the things that even with, you know, the macroeconomic context with everything happening with COVID-19. You know, I still, I left feeling really good about the percentage of the respondents that said, for example, is about 90% of the audience said that he would you know, if sales enablement were a stock, would you they would either buy or hold things over half would buy, over a third would hold. So I wondered, going into it. My hypothesis was perhaps there would be more cynicism. And there were some comments that talked about that have a first thing to go when you're looking to cut and trim on given environments like this, then it is potentially perceived as redundant, right or unnecessary. But I was I felt reassured that others see it the same way I do it if no, this is a strategic importance to the organization. And it talked about I think over half of the respondents did consider sales enablement to be really a linchpin to help execute transformational efforts in the sales organization. So I the cynic in me went to some of the information about well, who were the folks that were saying that you know, that it's not that. And...