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Ep7 Establish & Startup a Sales Enablement Function with a Listener
Episode 730th June 2019 • Inside: Sales Enablement • Scott Santucci, Brian Lambert, Erich Starrett
00:00:00 00:50:45

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Welcome to the Inside Sales Enablement Podcast, Episode 7

Want to learn from others in the Sales Enablement Space? 

One of our listeners, "Elizabeth" connected with Scott via LinkedIn. A few messages over LinkedIn later and we decided to do a special podcast to see to us (Scott and Brian) on the spot.  

This is a live, unrehearsed conversation reviewing Elizabeth's situation and talking through some ideas for how to address it.  We summarize action items, define the next steps, and get Elizabeth's feedback.  

Some of the topics discussed include: 

  • How Elizabeth got into sales enablement in the first place 
  • working with sales managers 
  • determining the difference between sales managers and sales enablement 
  • how to use the 'business within a business" framework to help bring clarity 
  • how to bring marketing into the conversations 
  • how to move from a reactive to a proactive state 

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


Nick Merinkers 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

Hello, I'm Scott Santucci.

Elizabeth Connor 00:35

Hey, I'm Elizabeth Connor.

Brian Lambert 00:37

And I'm Brian Lambert. And we are the sales enablement insiders. Our podcast is dedicated to helping leaders ask the big questions they should consider in order to be successful with sales enablement. In this podcast, we're going to rethink, reframe, and revisit the sales enablement function and role to clarify so you can take action, lead others and ensure success. And today, we actually have a special format. We're calling it tackling reality. And I'm super excited about it. Scott, why don't you frame it out for us?

Scott Santucci 01:07

Sure thing, Brian. Remember the episode that we had when we were doing the debrief of the Conference Board meeting? When I was in Atlanta?

Brian Lambert 01:17

Yeah, Yes, I do. And I remember I called you and you didn't answer.

Scott Santucci 01:21

Yes. I didn't answer not because I was ignoring you're being a jerk. I think that you implied a little bit in the last. I didn't answer because I actually was engaged in a LinkedIn discussion, a God's honest truth, who links a LinkedIn back and forth with Elizabeth at the time, and I just didn't pick up because I was really engrossed by it. So, Elizabeth, who's joining us today, had reached out and connected to me on LinkedIn and said, Hey, listen to your podcast, I wanted to connect. I shot back. Thanks. You know, what do you like about it? Baba, bah, we got to talking. And the idea came up, why don't we confront reality, and address her issues live on the show? So, we've changed her name, her name isn't really Elizabeth. Her company will, you know will change we're going to protect the innocent. So, she's going to be able to talk to us and we've never met before. So, we're doing this live for the first time. Isn't that right, Elizabeth?

Elizabeth Connor 02:17

Absolutely. Yeah.

Scott Santucci 02:19

So why don't you tell us a little bit about how you came to our podcast, and you know, what you liked about it? What was the impetus to to reach out and then share was this why the heck are you here? Why are you doing this? This seems kind of crazy.

Elizabeth Connor 02:34

Well, what I actually loved about your podcast is there was nothing that sugar coated, any of the experiences that anyone goes through. So, what I've come across a lot is that a lot of the sales enablement, blogs and things like that are just the old positives, but there's nothing about the real day to day, and the challenges that you do face when starting in this role.

Scott Santucci 02:58

Excellent. And then what made you decide, like, who actually decides to do this? I mean, just if you're listening, this is a total stranger who's agreed to get on a podcast to talk about the challenges that you run into. So, I want to know a little bit about like, you like, why are you doing this?

Elizabeth Connor 03:16

So, I mean, I've been in sales for a long time, more more years than I care to admit. I absolutely love just speaking to people and shaving those experiences. And moving into the enablement away from the actual sales rep role. That is a very big main shift. And you're not speaking to as many people you don't have the same support around you as a team of 10 sales reps to be on one sales enablement. So, I'm sitting going you know someone speak to me.

Scott Santucci 03:50

Great, well, well, well, we'll talk and basically your voice is going to be heard, and maybe there's somebody else or hopefully, there's more people out there that are just like you. So, what we're going to do now is we're going to do the way that we set this up in our in our email is, what we're going to do right now is what we're calling speed date consulting. So, we're gonna go through rapid fire. We're going to learn a little bit about Elizabeth world, what some of her challenges are, and some of the reality issues. I'll I'll interject with questions. We'll go back and forth really quickly. And Brian will wrap us up.

Brian Lambert 04:23

Yeah. Just one quick thing, Scott, if I could add Elizabeth to, I would say, we want you to challenge us. And you know, you're not in the spotlight. Here we are. Right. So, if you know through the course of this, you want to push back, you want to ask why we're asking it. Or if you you know want to redirect that's that's your prerogative, right. So, Scott and I are the ones here that are on the witness stand, if you will, or working through this, not you this is a safe place for you. And let's just you know, have a real conversation like you said.

Elizabeth Connor 04:57

Cool, absolutely.

Scott Santucci 04:59

So, with that Elizabeth, tell us a little bit about yourself. Where are you from? What kind of company you've got, just give us the basics, please. So

Elizabeth Connor 05:08

So, since I went into sales of kinda, sold most things, and including what they were classes, the difficult ones, advertising, office supplies, and then into it and no working in the SAS market. So, I've kind of done face to face on the phone, demos, I've done all the sales jobs. And I had experience doing training, I thought, no, that's great, I want to go. And in establishing that training enroll, we actually discovered it was more of a full-on enablement role we needed within the company.

Scott Santucci 05:43

Gotcha. So, tell me a little bit about the business problem that you thought you were addressing with the training role.

Elizabeth Connor 05:48

So, we grew very, very quickly. And I know that's a positive challenge that a lot of companies face. But what happened was, we grew so quickly that we had all these people in place, and nothing to actually onboard them or train them in our products to do ongoing coaching. We had no one working on marketing on collateral. We had no sales training, collateral nothing. And it became over cutting issue with the rep saying we need training, we need training, we need training.

Scott Santucci 06:21

Got it? And then when you say it became a full-on enablement role. I wouldn't, I wouldn't necessarily say there's a huge consensus about exactly what the scope of enablement is. And where does it start and stop? From your viewpoint? What does that full enablement role look like? And when you say, Wait, who's wait.

Elizabeth Connor 06:40

And so, when I say we was the whole sales team, because I'm still a rep at the time, but for me, there's the whole there's the process, there's a documentation, there's, as you're communicating that properly to the team, there's tracking that the content we're giving is actually working. And it's not just going out there to float about in the ether. It's actually good customers, it's helping with the conversations, it's helping with a value proposition. And we had none of that we were everybody battling against the sales team. And by moving into a training capacity, I started going, whoa, we actually need that. I mean, he thought from marketing when he thought from support, we need that from our success team. And that's how we ended up more of an enablement role, because it was agreed you can speak to everybody in other departments. Here you go.

Scott Santucci 07:35

Gotcha. So, to put words in your mouth, spit out what doesn't fit. What you start out training, because the belief is, our reps really don't know what they're doing. I'm oversimplifying. So, we go in and get them to look at what we're doing. And oh, by the way, we need information from product, we need information from marketing, we need information from customer success, and we don't need it the way that you're giving it us. We needed it in a different kind of way.

Elizabeth Connor 08:03

Exactly, we discovered it was a much bigger challenge than we thought it was when we started drilling down, and I was trying to find the content and find the collateral to train the team in. So that was kind of grew from there.

Scott Santucci 08:17

Gotcha. So, I think most people in a SAS environment can relate to that. So, tell me where you are today. And in our speed day consulting, what what can you challenge us with to see whether we can help you or not?

Elizabeth Connor 08:29

So, here's the biggest challenge we've had. So, we've got all the sales team hoppy, they've got their quarterly training plans, they've got me they can come to for collateral requests, and they know all that's going to be done for campaigns and stuff. The issue I have is not with them. It's actually with the management of those teams. So, the they're, they're younger, they're less experienced in the work environment. And they keep trying to take parts of my job. And you start feeling quite territorial, and it becomes quite a conflict. And then as the more experienced one, I keep thinking, I've got to take a step back and go, No, we can deal with this. And it actually ends up making me more wind up. So, the whole dealing with the managers who I'm in the same team meetings with is the real challenge.

Scott Santucci 09:29

So let me speculate a little bit here to see if this is if this is common. I have run into situations where managers might say, look, the reps that work for me are my responsibility. I'm in charge of developing them. You are not. And you're and I'm kind of very, very much paraphrasing what you're doing is getting in the turf in space that I'm responsible for. And I wouldn't do it the way that you're doing it. I want him to do it this way. Is that about right?

Elizabeth Connor 10:09

Yeah. So, they'll sit there and go, you need to train my reps. Okay, great. What training? Do you feel your reps need to put training or coaching? And do your reps want? I don't know. You just have to shame them. Yeah. All right. Okay, well, we'll come up with a plan, great, then it comes to onboarding. And you've got manager going, I'm having nothing to do with onboarding. And then the manager comes in and says, No, I want to do the onboarding. Mm. You know, you've got that you've got another manager, if he's going ahead and schedule in training, away from what you've planned, then your reps going to spend a lot of times in training here. And it's not me, but I'm the one that gets the negative feedback.

Scott Santucci 10:56

Right.Gotcha. Okay, so too, you know, in the speed day consulting, boom, I've clicked in on a couple things. So, number one, let's talk about expectation management, in a role like yours, and I go back to the first time that I created a crater role. Managing everybody's expectation is really difficult. When I first started, I actually had four different sales regions, one of the sales VPS of the sales region hated me. It's like, Okay, well, I just won't do anything. I want delivery services for him. Step number one is, let's think about our, our function as a business within a business, right? You're the president of that business, and you can choose who to service or not service, you just have to make sure that the people, your investors that people were paying for your salary, and your and your department are happy with the overall results. So, let's start there. Let's talk about what overall results to whom do you report to? And what is their expectation?

Elizabeth Connor 12:02

So, I report to our sales director, nine, he's very much of the opinion, he has said to me so many times, your role was critical. You need to push back on the managers. But then, and the other word that on the other side of that he'll see, you know, but you do have to accept you do have more experience than them. And you're sitting kind of going, I don't know what to do here. Yeah. Because obviously, he's gonna look after all of us. We're all his direct reports. But you're sitting looking at monitors and can let me do my job, and you won't have to do my job.

Scott Santucci 12:43

Yes. So, I think the first thing is, if we go level up to managing expectations, we need to we need to something clear that says, here’s where sales enablement starts and stops. And here's where frontline sales management starts and stops. And I think so for example, if our frontline sales manager, I might be really high on development. And I'm going to call the things that I'm doing developmental training or training, because what the hell is just the word, right, we all use the word. But it might be different, like you might be providing performance or capability training. So, I think if we could get really clear and say, all right, let's, let's delineate roles and responsibilities. The scope of what we're doing for sales enablement is to equip it is to raise the aggregate ability of all the individual reps, so that they are conversant to talk to the customers that we're that we're dealing with. They're able to speak at the right altitude level, they're able to position our capabilities in a business, business-oriented way. And they're able to navigate all the internal stakeholders required and be able to work with the internal resources that they need to like, that's my job. And where I started where I stopped. The individual sales manager is responsible for the actual performance of the team. I'm sales enablement is evaluated on the aggregate like the overall salesforce, not anyone in particular individual. And that way you make it clear that the sales the sales manager is responsible for the individual seller, but you are responsible for the overall environment of which selling operates in that might be one way to make it to make it clear. That's that's step one in terms of scope. Does that make sense?

Elizabeth Connor 14:41

It does but once you've set those expectations, if there is then someone who does go ahead and schedule something that should be in an in the enablement space. Do you let that go on and send the message to the team of oh, well, it's okay? We can go to our managers or do you actually say to that manager? No, you need to counsel that and that has to come through me.

Scott Santucci 15:04

I think the way that I prefer to handle that is if you click on the business within a business service, you escalate that to the sales director, and and ask and then that way they can ask, is the quality of the service that you're providing to that manager? Who does that? Is the quality of the service that's being provided? Not to your standard? Is that why you're duplicating this effort?

Elizabeth Connor 15:31

Makes sense.

Scott Santucci 15:32

And then that way, you're not in the position of yes or no, it's, if you're providing a service, and that sales manager doesn't think that they're getting the right service, they should have the they should have the ability, because they're responsible for performance, also, they should be able to go around that. And then that way, you have a more or less, it's like a contract, just like you would want with your with your customers to be able to have a good get, it's the same thing. And that way, you can escalate in a positive way. And it shows that you are an assert your your service oriented. So, if if the thing that I'm providing isn't adding value, and that's great. What that's probably going to do is put more of the burden on the sales manager to ask, hmm, am I really duplicating effort, because this is time out of calling, this is time out of the field. And the other thing is, maybe you quantify a thing that I'm a big fan of doing that is to or Elizabeth, I need to sound European that way, is quantifying time, it is using time as a metric. In other words, we have our reps, each seller generates X number of dollars of bookings per hour. And that you will use that as a metric for meetings, we use that as a metric for anything that's timeout, if it's $500 per hour, is this is taking them at an hour out worth $500 or can we solve this problem somewhat something different, use that as your form of currency, because then you can or dollars, sorry, pounds, pounds, euros, whatever to form a currency. But you use that and that way you can work the other way too, if the sales manager is is requesting those resources, well, that's timeout, and that those resources, you know, also belong to the sales director, they're not only the responsibility of the sales manager, they belong to everybody. So, if they're making a decision to take people out of the field to duplicate time and material, and there are five other managers who aren't doing it, then that manager is going to get the level of scrutiny and just ask the question, why. And if they have a good reason, then great, you should incorporate their feedback and make your your training program better. If not, then they're going to they're not going to be able to defend their action.

Elizabeth Connor 17:55

And from the training point of view, that makes complete sense. What happens more on the whole working with the other teams, though? Where, you, you're working on some thought you're working on certain collateral for one of the teams. And you know,...