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Ep22 Clarify the Operating Model: Elevating the Strategic Impact of Sales Enablement
Episode 2216th October 2019 • Inside: Sales Enablement • Scott Santucci, Brian Lambert
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Welcome to the Inside Sales Enablement Podcast, Episode 22

What happens when you go through a major organizational change and need to redefine your sales enablement operating model, vision, mission? During times of change, how do you frame out your sales enablement "moon shots" in order to engage strategically and tactically to overcome the internal complexity that bogs sellers down?

On this podcast, Brian and Scott talk to Sandra about her stakeholders within the business how she might re-frame the relationships she has in her company in order to get closer to the business while also elevating her role to a strategic function. 

Topics on this podcast include:

  • Sales Enablement operating model
  • Stakeholder management
  • Defining your sales enablement domain / sandbox
  • Communicating with clarity
  • Breaking through internal perceptions
  • Focusing on what matters to sellers and sales managers 

Key questions the guys talk through with Sandra include:

- How do you evolve from a department of tactical projects to a strategic function?

- What relationships does she leverage to gain more influence?

- How might she define and clarify her sales enablement operating model

- How do you become a truly cross-functional role to support sales team conversations?

- How do you devote attention to building a team that propels sales effectiveness forward

Join us at https://www.OrchestrateSales.com/podcast/ 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

I'm Scott Santucci.

Brian Lambert 00:35

Brian Lambert and we are the sales enablement insiders. Our podcast is for sales enablement, leaders looking to elevate their function, expand their sphere of influence, and increase the span of control within their companies.

Scott Santucci 00:48

Together, Brian and I have worked on over 100 different kinds of sales enablement, issues as analysts, consultants, or practitioners. We've learned the hard way what works and maybe most importantly, what doesn't.

Brian Lambert 00:59

That's right. Our podcast is a bit different. We use a conversational format to help share the experiences that only people who've been there and done that can provide, as we've been pushing the envelope in the profession for over a decade. And today, Scott, we've got a very special guest. We've got Sandra, from a large company, who's joining us in response to our podcasts. And as you know, we talked about in Episode 20, that conversation on the Securities Exchange Exchange Act and how CEOs look at sales enablement, and we outlined the strategic definition of sales enablement that we published in 2010. And in response to that, podcast, Sandra reached out and wanted to talk to us about some of the things that we were sharing. And so here she is, she's gonna put us on the spot.

Scott Santucci 01:47

That's excellent. And I'm really looking forward to that. I'm Look, I love as you know, I love getting challenged. And I also think that that's the best way for us to advance advance the role by challenging each other and and pushing ourselves but I love. I love the distinction about making making insiders. So good job on putting that together Brian.

Brian Lambert 02:08

Yeah, absolutely. And by the time she's done here, she'll be an official member of insider nation. So that'll be awesome. I did want to say also, um, you know, welcome Sandra to the show, appreciate you joining.

Sandra 02:23

Thank You.

Brian Lambert 02:24

Absolutely, and uhm when you and I were talking you brought up a lot of great points in our conversation and you shared a personal story in relation to understanding sales enablement, how to define the roll, and also you know when you're engaging inside your company sometimes it's hard to pivot to be something else to be more strategic. Can you share a little bit more about that and what you liked about episode 20?

Sandra 02:49

Absolutely, and thanks for having me on. I'm definitely getting a lot out of these podcasts and I hope others are as well. It sounds like oh, in order to become an official inside I have to explain what I liked about an episode.

Brian Lambert 03:02

That's right.

Sandra 03:04

So here goes, here's what I liked about Episode 20. And it did really resonate with me. You know, it's focused on grounding, any sales enablement function and a solid and consistent definition. And clarity helps everyone, and I love clarity. So that really resonated with me. And I like this idea of strategically consulting business problems. That really resonated with me as well. Instead of becoming tactical in nature, you want to solve the big problem and be more strategic. So, when I listened to that I reached out to brand because I started out that way. When I joined my company two years ago, you know, I started out very strategic, you know, I solve some big enablement problems that had been plaguing this company for years. It was very exciting, a lot of good change, and it created some consistency and clarity across the entire network. I did some things that actually changed the culture of the bank, but over time, i got caught up in being a door and a go to person for activities and less around strategy. And I wish I had stuck with that definition or had a definition that I could have stuck with that may have helped me get out of sort of this tactical space that I'm finding myself in. That said, I'm thinking about moving into another role at a different company, because it may be too late for me to get back into sort of that strategic space. So really, the main goal of me joining today is, you know, I want to find a way to engage with my company differently and redefine my role get back to that strategic space. Even though the ship may have sailed on that, you know, I'm a fighter, I want to go down swinging before I move on, and that way I've know I've tried everything before I move to another company. And in this conversation today, I think I can learn a lot from you on how to engage differently so that can help me in any future role.

Brian Lambert 04:58

Well, that's awesome. So, we've changed your name. So, you're not really Sandra. But that's the name we're using. And there's a lot of transparency there, right, you're in a bit of a change in position flux there. And I really, really appreciate you put yourself out there on the podcast to not only learn but to help others. I love that, that comment you made about helping others. And I know from my own background, that there are other people in this position that you're in. And it's really cool to see that you've come on. So, Scott, you know, we're in another one of our reality podcasts. So, you know, I'd love for you to jump in and share a little bit how this will work. And then you guys can get off and running. And I'll take, I'll take some notes.

Scott Santucci 05:43

Excellent. So, the way that this works is it's sort of like speed day consulting. What we're going to do is we're going to lead with some, some principles. So, let's talk about where Sandra and almost said the real name there. Where Sandra's situation is actually very, very common. So first of all, it's very, very common for somebody to run into the situation of where they thought they were being strategic, and now their environment not being strategic and wondering how is it them or what what's happening? So, on that point, what I like to share is in 1969, is what 50 years ago, right 5050 years ago this year, we actually put human beings put other human beings on the moon, and then we brought them back again. I mean, by all accounts is the most amazing achievement, right? What I think we don't recognize is that in 1972, we stopped doing it because Americans got bored. We got bored with putting people on the moon.

Brian Lambert 06:56

Yeah, we're done with that let's try something else.

Scott Santucci 06:59

Yeah. What are the Yankees gonna do this week? So, it's just really remarkable that when we go and do something amazing, and then we, you know, we have a culture of taking it for granted. So, the first thing is just because you've gotten to that point, Sandra doesn't necessarily mean that it's, it's with you. It's, it's, it's the fact that we have to resell that next, that next lunar mission. The other thing that I think is very common is if Brian and I have sort of a shorthand to think about the evolution of the role, we tend to believe that people go overboard on maturity models and make them too specific. We just want to provide some trajectory. So, what we see is that the evolution of the role if you can get in your mind's eye if you're driving to work right now, and and kind of can picture that evolution chart that I think we've all seen, that starts with monkeys and then then we get the caveman. And then we get the modern man that sort of picture. And think about evolution, one, sales enablement, people start out by being tapped on the shoulder to fix broken things, those broken things might be a fix our onboarding program or fix our fix our training program or whatever. Then what happens is the one of the departments that evolve actually start taking on many of those things. So, we'll take on the, you know, maybe be responsible for the sales training, the sales kickoff, and then maybe some frontline sales coaching or different things like that. And it becomes it becomes a department. And by getting coordination among those three parts, you get economies of scale. And then the third level of evolution is, hey, we need to start doing these things outside functions like we need to be coordinating between finance and sales. It'd be coordinating between human resources and sales and marketing and sales, and at that stage that, you know that highest level of evolution, the function is is very different. And each one of those three areas, it's very different. The reason I share that as a frame of reference, just hearing Sandra talk it, it really triggered those two things. So one is, I'd want to remind her and then we're going to talk a little bit about creating more fanfare and getting buy in and what it takes to do a lunar lunar type approach. And then the second thing would be, how can we use the maturity models as a way to think about what are other areas to tackle. So those are the things that if you're listening along what we're going to be following on and these are very, very common situations. And I'll say this last point. Before we get into the speed date part, the last point is, most people who've elevated their roles, leave their organizations, and go pursue a different company. And I'm going to talk about pros and cons with doing that on this call as well. So as that as a transition point, Sandra, how do you react to sort of the high-level observations I shared? And then I'm going to ask you a bunch of questions about where you are right now.

Sandra 10:23

Scott, it resonated really well. And I think what you said about space before, I mean, that's where I'm stuck in stage two, I want to find a way to get to stage three at my current company without having to leave and go somewhere else. You know, I built some strong connections where I am now, I'd really like to leverage all that I build to get into that stage three, without having to make a leap. But if that's what I need to do, given your advice today, then then that's what I'll do.

Scott Santucci 10:56

Well, no pressure on me on that one, huh? Right. Right. So, um, so let's talk about, uh, you know, stage to describe for me, what was the situation you inherited inside your existing company. And then you know what you've built up right now as sort of give me a from what to where you are right now.

Sandra 11:19

So, when I joined the company, there wasn't really a sales enablement function. So, I was brought in to create a sales enablement function. So before I built out a team, what I did is I met with all the stakeholders to identify what priorities they had, like what they thought we needed to do to best enable sales, I did a survey and we level set on four priorities because one of the things I realized is everybody had a different perspective on what success would look like and I was gonna make nobody happy without aligning to these, you know, sort of four common things that we needed to do and it was really around sales process, sales coaching, tools and resources and sort of this connection into the CRM. So, I set those priorities forward and then I i aligned with and I built a team of research trainers and I partnered with an outside vendor around the the enabling the coaching and the process. And then we did some real heavy communications. And we built sort of this cross functional team that also sort of started to manage, you know, the intake and triage of things that were coming into the organization because that was another challenge they had, which was they needed an air traffic controller person, because so much was hitting the front line and there was distraction there and we needed to focus on a consistent process. So, all of that was built out and we branded it internally and it's just part of the culture now in terms of process and how we have conversations, how we coach and our sales management practices. So that's sort of out there now and there's not sort of this next, ask around what the strategic priorities are. So, I'm left sort of executing on those things while I get requests for, you know, sales, kickoffs, and meetings and, you know, meeting cadence. So, there's just, yeah, it's just that the next big thing is coming my way. So how do I sort of get to that level three and and sort of get the next big assignment?

Scott Santucci 13:29

Right. Tell me more about this, the stakeholders that you currently worked with, and what their points of view where and the reason I'm asking this is twofold. One is, I'm trying to determine what departments are the stakeholders are who is it that you're working with? Maybe what wallets so sources? What budgets are you working with? Who might your internal customers be? And then also, I'm doing that because we Brian, and I've been really harping on a lot on the importance of stakeholder management. Who who are those stakeholders? Like what what are their roles?

Sandra 14:05

So, you know, the primary one is the head of the business. And you know, I have a really strong relationship with that individual. I've worked with him at a previous company. So, you know, fully engaged with him, also work very closely with our HR team. And you know, because they're the sort of the people, folks and there was some training involved in this. So, I really feel like I was at a solid level from an HR perspective, not so much the head of HR, but the business partner for that executive. You know, I worked with the head of marketing, I worked with the head of customer experience, because customer experience feeds what we train our folks on. And then, interestingly, somehow, I ended up with a really good relationship with a head of finance and in any role I've ever been in, you need the head of HR and the head of finance, right? You need those two things. If you're going to enable a sales team, and and nobody believed I could get the funding I got for the project. You know, I came in with a zero budget and was able to navigate, you know, a significant budget of people and expense in order to partner with an external vendor to bring in the right level of training. And somehow, I got the finance guy to trust me and and I don't know if it was my background or engaged the right stakeholders, but I was able to get a significant budget to execute on what I just talked about.

Scott Santucci 15:38

Perfect.

Brian Lambert 15:39

Can I chime in real quick? So, one of the things Sandra that you had shared and there's a timing thing around this that has to do it's a bit of an organizational shift. These these stakeholder relationships, were these when you first initially started and then you either went through a merger in order to change and did those those relationships stay intact?

Sandra 16:03

So, the head of the business has stayed intact, which is great for me, there's been some shift on the HR side, the finance side is unknown. The person I built the relationship with is still there, but we're still sort of navigating org structures. So, to your point, there's quite a bit of uncertainty across the organization right now and and we all know that, you know, those stakeholder relationships are really important. You go through a merger, nobody knows what's going on. So, you know, you're on rocky ground for a while until there's some clarity.

Scott Santucci 16:39

So, I'm glad you shared that. I'm a strong advocate. I repeat, I'm a broken record about you have a friend and finance so the difficulty is very few people in our in our profession, Sandra, actually build those relationships with the head of Finance. Describe for me the situation to where you're in now. You mentioned earlier on that you're spending most of your time caring feeding the things that you've already built. Is that right?

Sandra 17:08

Right. That's exactly it. And with the mer, and part of it is this merger, because there's not an appetite for new and exciting, there's an appetite for alignment, right? So, there's going to be system conversions. And we're going to have to enable team members as we convert systems. So that's really just sort of core system training, right? There's nothing new or transformational in that although it will transform the organization from a sales enablement perspective. It's really seen as you know, the the system's conversions are becoming our businesses usual stuff, and there's really not an opportunity to expand so I'm sort of stagnant right now. And I don't know what the other end of this if I'll sort of stay in this place and how I can get into that strategic space.

Scott Santucci 17:57

Got it. So, I think that we have two areas to talk about. So, area number one would be what are the new moonshots, you could think about tackling. Mm hmm. And then area number two, how do you build an operating model so that you can have you can hire other people to do a lot of the caring feeding. So, I think I think they go hand in hand, and this is where maturity levels really kick in. And this is where what what separates folks like you who are strategic, involve lots of stakeholders, creative problem solvers, things like that. can run can...