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Ep40 What Being HEROIC Looks Like with Hang Black
Episode 4021st May 2020 • Inside: Sales Enablement • Scott Santucci, Brian Lambert, Erich Starrett
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Welcome to the Inside Sales Enablement Podcast, Episode 40

In this episode, the guys interview Hang Black, Head of Global Sales Enablement at Juniper Networks and Insider Nation Member. Her mantra Earn It. Own It. Evolve It. As applied during COVID: Embrace the hard of this ....”

She talks about her application and use of the HEROIC Leadership Framework and her journey to establish her charter.

On this podcast you will learn how she is using the elements of HEROIC to blend her passion for engineering and sales to find her purpose with a modern approach to sales enablement. Her mantra: Embrace the hard of this. You are out on leading the edge. You must be relevant to sales. Learn what it means to be relentlessly relevant by applying the HEROIC leadership framework.

  • Holistic: The whole is greater than the sum of the parts
  • Engineered: How the parts best fit together
  • Reality: How the parts behave
  • Ongoing Operations: Continuous and sustained improvement
  • Impactive: How you message to your community of stakeholders to drive action
  • Collaborative: Process to factor in multiple perspectives required to drive cohesion.

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 to 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 00:32  

I'm Scott Santucci.

Brian Lambert 00:35  

I'm Brian Lambert and we are the sales enablement insiders. This podcast is focused on helping you be successful overcoming the complexities that you find in your own company, so that your salespeople can have more valuable and relevant sales conversations, and your company wins in the market. If you're an enablement, leader, looking to elevate your function, expand your sphere of influence, or increase your impact. You're in the right spot. And today on this episode, we've got a special guest, we've got Hank black, and this is in response to the heroic framework that we published in an earlier episode.

Scott Santucci 01:14  

Welcome to the show.

Hank 01:16  

Thanks so much for having me. I want you to know how much it means to me to have thought leaders like yourself, introducing me to frameworks and thought processes and I particularly resonated with your heroic framework.

Brian Lambert 01:29  

That's awesome. How did you guys meet?

Scott Santucci 01:32  

Geez, I think it was at a sales enablement society meeting in San Francisco, on a panel hang asked a tough question about metrics. I think, I think we've gotten along swimmingly ever since. And I think that's really how we got here. We got introduced and connected.

Hank 01:48  

Yes, I did ask you about metrics. Specifically, how much of a portion GMA did companies spend on sales enablement? I think I got a funny look from you.

Brian Lambert 01:56  

I bet. Scott, love that question.

Scott Santucci 01:59  

Oh, that was about a funny luck. The answer was 15.9%.

Hank 02:04  

I think it was more than you were surprised that somebody would pick up on that particular metric. Yes,

Scott Santucci 02:09  

exactly. That's the right question to ask. Anyway, so what we're going to do here is hang mentioned to being her own framework. So we introduce that as our part five of our COVID series, we had a follow on conversation with Brian applying it. And then what we want is to put more color on it, because it's a very impactful framework, just to remind everybody a little bit level set. It started out I think, maybe 1011 years ago, when we were at Forrester, we had a hero conference. We got experts, some Mitch Liddell represented the age. And we'll go through what these things mean, later, we, we had Ken Powell, representing the he, Carol Stella, the reality based, we had Oh, for operations, operation, ongoing operations by Daniel West, who's who's at Oracle now, all these different parts, and we added two other elements to it. So AI is impactive. And then C is collaboration. So that's our framework. Now, like every hero story, there's an origin story. So let's get to know a little bit about hey,

Brian Lambert 03:16  

yeah, I love that setup. so far. I'm wondering if she got bit by a spider or something in a secret lab or something?

Unknown Speaker 03:24  

Well, to start, I have to start from the beginning. I have a chemical engineering degree. And I had asked my parents if I could go into business. And they said, Absolutely not. You're Asian, pick one engineering lawyer or doctor, subject engineering, which I happen to love. I started work at 19. As an engineer, I did that for nine years. And then I went over to marketing for about 10 years, and then I went over to sales. So it is interesting how you will still gravitate towards what you love. I found that at some point in my career, I was very, very broad, because I was just exceptionally curious. And I wanted to learn everything there was about product marketing, I wanted to learn everything there was about product management. And so I went through product management, Product Marketing, and then over into central marketing and then over into sales. The interesting thing about each of those roles, engineering, marketing and sales is none of them has the deep respect for each of them that they should. And it wasn't until I landed into sales that I really understood how all three of those combined. It was sort of magical, having been in corporate, though at that point only for been in the business 15 years and I'd only been with two companies. I ventured on my own had my own company. I then consulted for about 30 different companies doing everything in sales and marketing consulting, sales, Ops, marketing, Ops, field marketing, sales enablement. And then I just learned that tilted towards enablement, because if you think of traditional enablement as training, there's the teacher side of you. And then if you look at where modern enablement is going, there's a revenue operation side.

So I like to think of sales enablement as business minded teaching. And it was magical. I got connected to the sales enablement society where we met Scott in San Francisco at Autodesk. And the questions that you were asking really connected me to the business within a business. And that began my journey. And I then focus my consulting company mostly on enablement. and ended up taking a job, I went back to technology, which is my love. And I stood up a program from scratch at a at a company called gigamon. And I got recruited out of there went to the larger company called eight by eight. And then that's where I had a global team that did everything sales, SC channels, and then I got recruited out into Juniper Networks where I am now where I've got sales and technical enablement for sales and services, which is collectively about 4000 people. And it's been the biggest challenge that I've had, but the most gratifying because it is extremely complex. So I always say I went into engineering because I like solving complex problems I and I like numbers. It turns out, I went into sales, because I liked numbers of dollar signs in front of them.

Scott Santucci 06:29  

Awesome. And now you're in sales enablement, fixing complex problems that impact a lot of people's dollar signs.

Unknown Speaker 06:36  

That's right. And it's not just sales anymore. It's above and beyond, which is an absolutely exciting time to be in enablement.

Scott Santucci 06:43  

Excellent. So that's the backstory, the origin story. So now what we're going to do a setting, so bring us up to where you are Juniper, right, but before COVID.

Unknown Speaker 06:52  

So we have been humming along. When I came in there, there are certain things about enablement, that is just critical in core, make sure you have a good onboarding program, make sure you have a good ongoing program, and then you build the excellence around it, which is industry best practices, learn what you can from the industry, from the analyst from your peers, and move forward. With COVID, what I found was any resistance that there was to change melted away, immediately, all the all the red tape, and all the all the I would call it speed bumps to evolution disappear because everyone had to pivot. And that's sort of my jam. That's what I love, which is change management in times of crises. So at this point in COVID, we're actually hiring more people in, we're innovating much more quickly, we're activating projects that have been on the back burner for months, we're taking this pause, and to do what I would say, Lindsay had mentioned it before, which was to evaluate, are we doing the right things? And are we doing the right things, right? My CRL has given me a lot of bandwidth to go after I tell him 25% of my job is running in front of chains and tell him to stop. So let's make sure that we're doing the right things effectively and doing less better.

Scott Santucci 08:23  

So that's pretty courageous to run out in front of a train. And that's one of the things that we're talking about a lot. With the being heroic framework. We like that model, because you have to be courageous, and it's a way to help help you think it through.

Brian Lambert 08:37  

Yeah, and this is Brian, I think it would be really great to hear how you're applying it that Jennifer thing?

Scott Santucci 08:46  

Well, first of all, being heroic, how does that resonate with you? as an individual? What does it mean? Because some people are telling us us kind of corny or cartoonish?

Unknown Speaker 08:55  

Well, it's both it is corny, and it is awesome. So they're not mutually exclusive. It's easy to remember, but it's very, it resonates very well. So, ah, as you said, was holistic. It's a sum of all parts. And I think you have to start with a mission. I think that was something that I learned very early on in enablement, especially through this society. And each of us can have a different mission that is developed within the context of the company that we're in. So my particular mission is we've heard it for years people processes and tools, but what are the enablement words that we build around that for myself, I developed an elite sales team to accelerate revenue growth by equipping sellers with relevant content, consistent process and effective technology. That's a little bit of a mouthful, but if content isn't relevant, then we're just throwing stuff out into the ether. If we add technology, it should be meant to accelerate revenue growth and not be additional time. So, so one of the things that I do is I'm a big fan of the medic framework as well. And I make sure that I have a champion in every single group, whether it's Product Marketing, Product Management, field marketing, in my organization, my sales organization in my services organization, I make sure I have a champion in each organization. And it's a continuous delivery and feedback loop so that I'm making sure that every person has a voice, and we're all collaborating together.

So one of the things that came up in the panel that we had of sales enablement, practitioners, which Yvonne dug, and imaging was this idea of learning from each other that that's, that's a key part. It's hard to be holistic, if you're just dictating to different groups, it sounds like that's something similar to what you're doing here is building relationships of representatives of different organizational functions that touch the sales organization. Truthfully, enablement is the can be kind of scary. When I came in to Juniper a little over 16 months ago, I was a powerful force of one person. And in order to bring people along, initially, you're inserting yourself and there's this fear of Oh, my gosh, she's gonna take over my job, who is she this brand new person. And the way I have positioned the conversation is, look, I'm here to help you do you better? Let me do what I do well, and we'll figure out how we can work collaboratively together. I don't actually need to own any or all of the process. But let's build the framework together. And what happens when you have that conversation is then you start peeling off a racy, you know, no one can do it all. So then you peel off a racf. You do this, you do that let's all specialize in the things that we do well individually, and put it together as a program.

Scott Santucci 11:59  

So how do you handle the the feedback? We've often heard pushback, as I certainly advocate exactly what you're talking about, when you talk about races? That takes too long, we have to go now, how do you how do you rationalize that with a holistic perspective?

Unknown Speaker 12:15  

Well, you can't do it without executive sponsorship. And I believe every single person that you've had on the show is that executive sponsorship. So when you have that backing, but then at least you can come in with voice. And again, it has taken me a long time to learn to speak in a way that I can resonate with the other organizations, I'm here with you, for you. And our goal is to help sales, everyone has the best intentions in place. But what is it that we can if we outline everything that needs to be done, when you look at it, I tell them, I don't need to own any or all of it. And then you look at the massive work that's in place. And then you say, but you know, I'm happy to help you take some of it on, people are happy to. And then at some point, when when there are people who are unwilling to move forward, what you'll find is 98% of the companies will willing to evolve, and there are 2% of antibodies. And what I found has worked well has been just make sure you build a great product. This is the formal train, if you want to do informal things on the side, fine. But if you can prove adoption of what is in the programmatic framework where everyone has a voice, everyone's building together, the adoption engine is 60%. To begin with 70%. And one of the metrics that I personally love is, over time I look at my programs that deliver six months later, they're increasing in adoption. So meaning the same content that I delivered six months ago, where it had 60% adoption in the first three weeks. I look at it six months later has 82% adoption. Why is that? It's because it's its content of value, it resonates and people go back to it and reference it when it becomes relevant in that moment of time in their sales cycle.

Scott Santucci 14:06  

Excellent. So then let's go into E engineers. So as you react to the E part of being Iraq,

Unknown Speaker 14:15  

so engineered, I love that with my background, and I know that you and Kunal have talked about being design thinkers, systems, thinkers, it's about how all the parts fit together. I love the Ford making enablement leaders take an approach to their craft. It's not about just taking orders and doing what other people say they need, but building with them. What do you need Shivani in your last podcast talked about being Mission Control, you're accepting flight plans, you're evaluating flight plans, and then you're accepting them. So those are those are programs that are in flight, you're also landing planes sunsetting programs that don't work and then taking off planes make designing and designing products and service. services that are going to be the evolution of enablement. So a very thoughtful process end to end, where you are adding strategic value with your stakeholders versus just creating what you think is good for people or even worse, taking what other people have dictated for sales and producing it.

Scott Santucci 15:18  

So how would you respond when somebody if somebody were say, he engineered? Oh, gosh, you're gonna over engineer this? or How would you react react to that?

Unknown Speaker 15:27  

Well, I think it flows very nicely into your reality base, there's only so much time to engineer. And you also have to be productive. So you've got to, you've got to build a plane while you're flying it and the plane actually never lands, you're you're designing for capacity, you're designing for rerouting. So you think of a plane that's always flying? Where's it going? It goes to where it needs to go at that moment of crisis of COVID is actually a wonderful time for for for enablement leaders, to flex their muscle to show their innovation and creativity, to show their ability to skate to where the puck is, as he like to mention with a Wayne Gretzky.

Scott Santucci 16:13  

Awesome. And so you you went right into the reality based, what does that mean to you?

Unknown Speaker 16:19  

So, reality mate base means you have to start with where you're from, you can't start with an ideal state, you can't start with Well, if these are the conditions that I have, if if only the rest of the world will tilt to me, this is the awesome product I can create. You have to start from where you are sellers know all the time that they have to start the conversation with where their customers are. So for us, our customers are our salespeople, our sales organization, the C suite, where are we today? And where do we need to go. And if you're impatient, like me, that's actually very, very hard to do. That is probably the worst, that's probably my Achilles heel is operating within the reality that I'm in because I think that I expect that everyone should be able to innovate and move at a at a pace that is probably not sustainable for a very large organization or for an organization is simply not ready for it. reality based is starting where your customers are. And for us, it's sales.

Scott Santucci 17:23  

So what's interesting about this, starting where you're at, where you talked about holistic and having a strategy, how do you morph those two together? It's interesting, a lot of people have difficulty that they think it's either one or the other. If they either start where you are today, or start with a with a big plan. It sounds like you're doing both. How do you rationalize those two?

Unknown Speaker 17:48  

So I can recall the last few jobs that I've interviewed for, and people would ask me, what's your 30 6090 day plan? And I would say, Well, I don't know. But here's what I would do. First of all, I need to lay the patient on the table. And I need to triage I need to fix what is absolutely, I need to remove the any cancers. And then I need to look at the patient and say, Okay, what do we need to triage? What do we need to fix? What do we need to replace what in what what has to stay in flight while we're...