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Ep27 Part 1: COVID-19 Response Series: Making Sense of What is Happening
Episode 2721st March 2020 • Inside: Sales Enablement • Scott Santucci, Brian Lambert, Erich Starrett
00:00:00 00:39:01

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Welcome to the Inside Sales Enablement Podcast, Episode 27

This is part 1 of 5 in response to the global COVID-19 pandemic, specifically tailored to sales enablement.

We're bringing together a diverse set of perspectives to provide you actionable insights in response to the COVID-19 Virus gripping the global economy.

Scott Santucci and Brian Lambert are joined by a group of leading experts to provide you with clarity about what's going on in a rapidly changing landscape. 

Joining us are:

  • Dr. Howard Dover, Professor from UT- Dallas 
  • Kunal Metha, Operations Principal at TCV private equity 
  • Lindsey Gore, Consumption Sales Executive, Microsoft 

Our agenda for this podcast series in response to the global pandemic has five parts:

  • Part 1 (Ep27): What is really happening in the market?
  • Part 2: (Ep28): How are companies likely going to respond?
  • Part 3 (Ep29): What can Sales Enablement leaders do?
  • Part 4 (Ep30): What are your peers thinking and doing?
  • Part 5 (Ep31): How do we lead our teams, our companies, and our initiatives to help sellers be successful?

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 00:34

I'm Scott Santucci.

Brian Lambert 00:36

I'm Brian Lambert and together were the sales enablement insiders. Today, we're going to do a special edition to help our audience be the most equipped and prepared to navigate these trying times, insider nation, we're going to focus this episode on helping make sense out of what's going on explaining what you should expect to happen, providing you with actionable insights, you can take on and in order to help your business improve. And I'm going to hand it over to Scott in a minute but before I do, I want to orient you to the flow of this call. What we're going to do on this episode is run a panel of amazing experts, whom we will introduce this conversation is going to be pretty strategic in nature to provide you with a lot of context and clear ideas.

Scott Santucci 01:23

That's right, Brian, as part of our panel, what we're trying to do is create a format. There's so many different variables going on, we want to be able to give you lots of perspectives, the opportunity to synthesize it, and the perspective in the voice of sales might react to it.

Brian Lambert 01:39

Yeah, that's great. I love that and we've got quite a quite a diverse group today and as part of insider nation, you know that Scott and I are encouraged to wear this, this bifocal lens, you know, balancing strategy with tactics. And at the end of each section, I'm going to summarize this pretty strategic conversation into something that I believe you should take Way, and what it really means to you as a sales enablement leader, Scott while you introduce folks to the to our listeners.

Scott Santucci 02:07

Okay, so let's get started. So, we're going to introduce our panel, and I'm super excited that we have friends, friends of the show. And when you get to introduce these, these folks are going to be really impressed as well. So first up is Dr. Howard Dover. And actually, it was Howard's idea for us to do something like this in the first place. So, if it goes well, he gets all the credit and if it goes poorly, it's clearly Brian and I's poor execution. That's right. Oh, that's, that's that's the way things that the way things roll. But I first met Howard at the founding meeting of the sales enablement society, at the breakers in Palm Beach in November 2016. And if you know anything about that there were 100 people, they're all trying to figure out what is the sales enablement thing should we form a volunteer organization to share information. And there were two economists sitting at a table together. Of course, they didn't go and mingle.

Brian Lambert 03:08

I was there too, and I'm not sure you're not including Howard in that are you? Was he an economist or professor?

Scott Santucci 03:15

Did I say economist? I meant, so there we go, I meantt academics, right.

Brian Lambert 03:22

That's all right. I got you. I got you. He's gonna you're gonna have to buy him a drink. Now, though.

Scott Santucci 03:26

He's a he's a classically trained economist, turned sales and marketing professor. And one of the things that's amazing about him is he's the director. His official title is the director of the Center of sales and sales coaching, working out of the University of Texas, Dallas. Now this group and what he does, he's done some amazing innovative things which we're going to get to hear about he's he's involved in many programs of studying sales and the impact of it, just incredibly honored that he's joining us.

Howard Dover 03:59

Thanks, Scott. That was very kind. As, as Brian knows, we know a lot of people in our sales industry, so there's a lot of really amazing people. And you know, I remember the experience, I had to go to the breakers, a good friend of mine that I do research with Rob Peterson, and I were studying sales enablement. And when we saw that conference, I got on the phone with Rob and I said, Hey, we need we need to go and he said, are you kidding me? We don't have expense accounts, we can't go to the breakers. And I said, just just go figure out I'm going to be there you need to go and the two of us showed up. And I remember Scott was saying, you know, something many of you know Scott, so Scott was talking, and he was trying to get the group to discuss and, and he was sitting kind of right next to me. And and I just looked at him I finally said, we were acting like this whole thing's gonna stay the way it is. So, it's we UT Dallas we obviously right to have we were part of hosting your first conference here in Dallas to allow the first sales enablement society event and so that's enough about me I'm sure we'll get into other details in a little bit.

Scott Santucci 05:12

Yeah. So let me add a little bit of color to that. That moment what was actually happening as Scott wasn't talking, Scott was facilitating a lot of dialogue with a lot of people. Mr. Dover degraded a doctor there on that on that point, but really what what happened is, we gotten to this point of a lot of people are talking about things the existing way. And Howard asked the question, Well, why are we assuming we're going to be organized the same way that we've always been organized? And that's a great question. And to me, that's the value of having lots of perspectives. Nobody in a corporate world would think to ask that question. And having the courage to put it out there allows us to think and this is the kind of value of having multiple perspective There's and bringing it together. So, the next panelist I'd like to introduce is Kunaal, Kunaal Metha and Kunaal and I've worked together consistently since 2008. He's helped many sales enablement and operational roles and companies like HP, VMware, Informatica and implement infoblox. He was actually a regular attendee of the thing before the sales enablement society. The official title was the local area, the DC local area sales and marketing networking group, which of course, our members turned to the sales enablement society, which is way better, but he was very much participative and knows he's a systems thinker, and a design thinking advocate. He's actually been to a lot of that training. It's very interesting to hear him talk about design thinking and me being in the role to actually translate from translate and say, well, I can speak Kunaal, he means this. Today he works for TCP, which is a leading private equity firm. That's that if you don't know TCP, they are the money behind Netflix and Airbnb is a business that really, really knows what they're doing. In his role he works with CEO Sales and Marketing Leaders. So, his focus is on the commercial process. And he sits on boards of directors, board meetings, and is constantly working with portfolio companies around sales and marketing. So welcome Kunall would you give us a little color about about your background?

Kunaal 07:34

Thank you, Scott. Thank you for that really wonderful introduction. I remember when we met it was it was around my birthday, actually, my daughter had just given me a pen which wrote underwater and and I remember thinking like, man, if I'm underwater, I got bigger problems than thinking about what I'm going to write. But I felt that way about My onboarding program at HP and I remember being past your presentation that you had just given, and I was like, wow, somebody gets me and gets my problems. And I got to meet Scott and we we arranged for an analyst day with you in, in your in your office in in McLean.

Scott Santucci 08:18

That's right.

Kunaal 08:20

It's it's, we've been continuing to work with each other since then.

Scott Santucci 08:24

That's right. Excellent. I want to tell a lot of other stories. We've got a lot of war stories to share, but we got a, you know, we have a bigger agenda here. So finally, I want to share Lindsey Gore. So first of all, Lindsay's role in this isn't necessarily a panelist, but she's here to keep us honest. So, I want to make sure that we're very, very clear Lindsay's role in this podcast, but I actually met Lindsay during a client engagement I've been when I was working at Forrester, I've been hired by NetApp to run a sales boot camp. I don't I don't want to say teach, but to help introduce concepts to help the Salesforce sell to cloud. And I always run in so I'm a huge, huge fan of a reps. And you can tell them immediately, because they're the ones that ask you the hard questions. And Lindsay was one of those people during the breakout sessions like, What's this for? Will this really work? And ever since then we became good friends. We've, what we do is over over that period of time, she's been enrolled at nimble, and now she's at Microsoft. And we've had a lot of opportunities to talk about what's really going on in the trenches. And one of the things that we're really focused on is really trying to raise awareness and grow understanding around this English English translation problem, which I'm hopeful she'll join us for a podcast exclusively than that. But I want to just frame out what our perspective is because ultimately, if dots don't connected, none of these ideas work. He's one of the top reps at Microsoft earlier this year, or actually, at the end of last year, he was one of the keynote speakers at their global kickoff for some of the innovative strategies she's executing to sell cloud based and consumption, consumption products for Microsoft. Thank you so much for joining us. Lindsay. Could you tell us a little bit of background on yourself?

Lindsey Gore 10:22

Yeah, thanks so much, Scott. I appreciate the introduction. I I will say that, you know, our relationship over the years has started at net up and I've been at EMC, nimble and Microsoft since then, it's been incredibly helpful to be to try to understand, you know, a lot of times my customers are saying things to me, but but my commercial process internally, and it doesn't necessarily align with what my customers are asking for across multiple different companies that I've worked at. So really trying to figure out you know, how to align the messaging, why is so much of that translation sitting with me in the field and how to think about that stuff. So, you you've been incredibly helpful in terms of just sort of understanding that there's a much bigger picture context. So really excited to hear this panel today and and think about what you guys are talking about seeing from a broader level than just my view from the field.

Scott Santucci 11:15

Excellent. So, with that, what does this have to do with responding to the events around, so we've assembled this session, and what we're doing is we're tackling what's going on. And what should sales enablement do about it. So, before we do that, we typically in our show frame things out, and after the collapse of the Soviet Union, there was a memo in 1990, written in the Pentagon, that has become what we now know is vuca. And really, what it was is a prediction of goodness, we were all focused all of our attention on one thing, one big bad thing, the Soviet Union. Now we have lots and lots and lots and lots, and lots and lots and lots of unpredictable factors that we have to be aware of. So vuca stands for volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity. And the difficulty that we run into is none of us really have a strategy for handling it. And what happens when human beings in general, get overloaded or have to deal with unknown, we have one of three responses, we fight it, we run from it, or we freeze. And neither of those are good strategies in a downturn. So, what we're going to do is we're going to apply some, some thoughtfulness here to provide some some structure. And the way that we're going to go tackle this is we're going to say, first, let's talk about what's really going on. So, with volatility, instead of always reacting to events. Let's just pause, slow down to go fast. with uncertainty. It's to factor in you know what, maybe we don't know for sure exactly what's going to happen. But you know, we could probably figure out common patterns that have happened in the past and predict what's likely to occur. With complexity, it's really two variables, the number of interconnected parts and today, human beings are so interconnected with each other, we have to factor that in. And then also how many moving parts there are. And then finally, with ambiguity, this is one of the things that Lindsay and I talk a lot about, is that human to human connection, there are so many different people involved, all of us look at it through a different lens. How do you make things clear? And in order to do that, that's what the valuable about having different insights. So, the first thing that we're going to tackle is what's really going on. So, let's timestamp this as of March 19. Here's where we are. The stock market has lost all gains during the Trump entire administration. So basically, we're back to where we were four years ago, in terms of stock market, $4 trillion in market capital has been eliminated. Another thing that's that that's going on is the Fed. So, if you know what the Fed does, the Fed is one of the drivers of the economy and they they have a lot to do with banking. The fed on Sunday dropped the basis points or dropped the lending rate 100 basis points. So, what does that mean? It's just a measure of of significance, let's put it into context. At no point in time during the last recession, did the did the Fed drop basis points that much. Another thing that that the Fed has done is that they have authorized the printing of $1 trillion of of money to give you frame of reference during the last great recession. They only printed $2 trillion over that period of time. So, the point is the Fed is taking very aggressive stances to what's happening. Now the question is what is happening? We have two events happening at the same time. So, Dr. Dover called me out on one of the LinkedIn post trying to share, you know, some of these facts was, hey, you only highlighted responses to COVID. We also have this gas crisis or, or looming gas uncertainty. And markets hate uncertainty. They hate it more than anything which we're going to hear which we're going to hear from canola. So, as a lot of the attention happens to what to do with COVID, how to wash your hands, how to beat treat people with empathy. What we want to do is figure out what's going to happen with business and what what responses we should be taking, so that we are more productive or proactive and what what actions we take so that we find the tactics that work. The last key fact to share is if you look at analysis across Wall Street, they are producing acting as an 8% decline in GDP this quarter, many people think that's a conservative estimate about what's happening. We have completed the SMB space is pretty much shut down. There is a whole bunch of things going on and we're pushing work into into virtual experiences of which a lot of people don't really know how to do. So, we have a lot of uncertainty and factors there. So, these are the facts. What I'd like to do is ask Dr. Dover to share his perspective and then also get from from his perspective about what what they're seeing in each of their perspective, lenses. So, Kunaal, you are in the best position to comment on these things you work for more or less a micro economy, if you will. You guys are the lead investor and a group of 60 or 70 Companies tell us what your point of view is and what's happening within your company.

Kunaal 17:06

Well, Scott, certainly, you know, surreal, scary panic are all things that I think that are going on right now. You know, we, I certainly echo any company in the comments around staying safe and sound as we go through this. I'll start with a quick story. And then we'll kind of rotate it to, you know, the three areas where we see most of our conversations, but I actually live on a horse farm. And my favorite horse ever was was this midnight loop around the spectacular race in 2007. And he started dead last, but he ended up smoking the field and they were going to originally scratch him because of bad, bad weather conditions. And I think it's a good analogy because we start work, we our response overall, has been slow that you see Like a stronger and stronger sense of response and more organized, a more organized response. And I think we'll come out much stronger out of it. The three areas of focus where most of our conversations are one, you know, the health and safety of folks and making sure when they're comfortable working and can get to work from home and in an efficient way. There's, if you look at just the basic, there's actually no monitors left to order. If you go and try to order one, some of these basics just don't exist. There's a lot of questions around how do you how do we get transparency? How do we ensure effectiveness? How do we ensure teams are motivated? One really interesting fact that we're seeing from kind of a shared sales development perspective is that connect rates on calls have never been higher, they're like orders of magnitude higher. So, so people are answering the phones right then and uhm ou do see people taking calls and scheduling meetings. So those things are still working. But But you know, that's just health and safety and getting people to work remotely are...



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