Artwork for podcast Inside: Sales Enablement
Ep3 Setting Up a Strategic Sales Enablement Function & Charles Dickens
Episode 316th June 2019 • Inside: Sales Enablement • Scott Santucci, Brian Lambert, Erich Starrett
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Welcome to the Inside Sales Enablement Podcast, Episode 3

Do you believe Sales Enablement is a function and profession? In this episode, Scott Santucci & Brian Lambert discuss the challenges they've encountered in living and driving transformations. In today's evolving business landscape, Sales Enablement leaders are often asked to transform from within. Whether it's new programs, new tactics, or even new organizational structures, Sales Enablement leaders and their teams are often "first through the wall." Being in that position, means you're trusted. The strategy is entrusted to you. People and resources are entrusted to you. Your credibility matters.

We talk about the evolution of bookkeeper to CFO and what that meant to finance -- and its implication to sales enablement leaders. While many believe that sales enablement is a task or technology, we know that sales enablement is a function that translates strategy to execution. To tackle strategic and tactical at the same time, you have to be purposeful. To be purposeful, you have to be thoughtful. Listen to Scott's story about how he got into Sales Enablement and how structures and outcomes are critical to success with the C-Suite. 

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 00:03

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 Sam Tucci 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

Hi, this is Scott Santucci.

Brian Lambert 00:35

Hey everybody, Brian Lambert here and we are the sales enablement insiders. Our podcast is dedicated to asking the big questions you should be asking if you want to be successful with sales enablement. And in this podcast, we're going to talk about trying something new and more importantly about being transformative. You know, sales enablement is a transformative role and a lot of us get hired to Do transformational work. And there are a lot of people talking about the transformative benefits of sales enablement. But what is transformation really mean? What does it mean to be a leader in these transformations? And to me, it all boils down to Are you a person that executives can trust to take the company or take the department or take the vision and make it a reality. And we talk about doing something new like that, you've got to be credible in how you go about it. In other words, people have to put their futures, their direction, their ideas, their processes, even their products in your hands. And to me that credibility has to be earned. And not just given because you have a title. And Scott, that's what I want to talk about today is this idea of credibility, and where that comes from in this role.

Scott Santucci 01:50

So as always, we'd like to frame things out with with a story. I'm going to tell I'm going to leverage a little bit a little bit of the ideas from Charles Dickens. Charles Dickens, as you probably know, is an author at the turn of the century, really talking about issues dealing with the cutover from an agricultural to an industrial revolution. There's really two ideas that he's, he's famous for. Everybody knows the tale of two cities, and specifically that wonderful quote, it was the best of times. It was the worst of times. It was an age of wisdom. It was an age of foolishness. So, we have that have that one. The second thing that I want to bring up and we'll promise we'll tie these these ideas together is Charles Dickens also wrote A Christmas Carol. And if you remember A Christmas Carol, and you remember Tiny Tim, tiny Tim's dad is the job of tiny Tim's dad was a bookkeeper. And that bookkeeper was the one that Ebenezer Scrooge treated so so roughly. And I think that the big idea here is could you imagine today a CEO treating their equivalent of their bookkeeper, their CFO, the same way they treated tiny Tim's Dad? And the answer is, of course not. So, what's changed since then? That's really sort of the framing the framing key idea.

Brian Lambert 03:21

Yeah, and I like that because certainly if you look at the CFO view, there's they're deemed as credible. But then that took some time right to go from tiny Tim's dad, bookkeeper to CFO, but there's there was a journey there that unfolded as that role evolved. And I think there are absolute correlations here to the sales enablement function. Sure, it might take some time, but the role can be elevated it can be seen as a strategic partner to the to the C suite, and it can drive you know, a more professional relationship with a lot of various groups inside the organization. And, and with customers. And Scott, one of the things that I know, we've talked a lot about, and, you know, we go way back is this idea of sales enablement, you know, and what it means. And no, we're not going to define it here. But what we're going to do is I want to outline this idea of, you know, sales enablement can be a process, it can be a platform, it can be technology, it could be jobs, etc. And one of the things that I know you have a visceral reaction to is, you know, your approach when you talk about this as a system, and its interrelated parts, it's holistic, there are a lot of moving parts, and people call you academic. So, why why why does that bother you so much? To be called academic.

Scott Santucci 04:49

Well, I didn't know I was going on the couch. But if

Brian Lambert 04:55

If we're going to go on a TinyTim journey to, you know, can't just wave our magic wand and I'll be strategic

Scott Santucci 05:01

Right.The process of getting there is actually way quicker. But I think the reason that the I react so strongly to people call me theoretical or academic, is really the story about how I got into sales enable in the first place. And this isn't a pretty story, by any way straight way, shape or form. But it's a real story. And it started out when I was a sales rep at a company called Mehta group that's now part of Gartner group. And that way, even way back then our biggest competitor at the time was Gartner. And as a sales force

Brian Lambert 05:40

This is in the 90s. Right?

Scott Santucci 05:42

Late 90s, early 2000s. Right, so I was a sales rep in the late 90s. And, you know, really what we would have to do is we literally competed for the Gartner budget. And that's no winning proposition if you're competing for the Gartner budget against Gartner. That's a tough, tough, that's a tough sell. So what we learned, the more successful reps and at the time I was the top, the top rep in the company. We learned that you didn't talk about Gartner, you didn't talk about syndicated Research Services or anything like that you position yourself as differently. And one of the one of the ways that we worked on that was to develop a concentrated on building really value added relationships with with CIOs. And the idea really was I was selling you insurance, decision making advice, and you're gonna make a lot of decisions. And I have access to a lot of people who have lots of different conversations to help you hedge that hedge those bets. And as simple as that sounds, that's a lot easier than talking about all your deliverables. So, in order to sell this, you actually have to have conversations with the right right folks. And I was brainstorming with the one of the CIOs that I had a relationship at Johnson and Johnson Pretty big company. And I had he and I had to come up with an idea. Wouldn't it be great to hear what's on the mind of other CIOs in the area? So, I said, well tell you what I'll do. I will invite a lot of a lot of CIOs get a nucleus of folks here. And we'll have an event I'll bring in some of our analysts, we won't charge anything for for it. What I need you to do is host it and help me out because I don't have any budget. Just the Mirror, mirror salesperson. I don't have any budget. They said, hey, that's great. We actually have this amazing conference centers probably could imagine what a conference center Johnson Johnson look like. And I've got a good relationship with the marketing department. Let's get them to help help create flyers. So, who wouldn't want Johnson and Johnson's marketing department to work on your on your own flyer? So, I talked to

Brian Lambert 07:55

Your sales rep at the time you're like, this is gonna be awesome.

Scott Santucci 07:58

Yeah, exactly. That Johnson and Johnson work on my marketing materials. So, I was excited. And I'm thinking what a great prospecting event this is going to be, I'm going to be able to invite my prospective customers that weren't giving me the time of day to a exclusive Johnson and Johnson event that's powered by, you know, my company. And the only thing that I needed to do was get a high rez copy of our logo. So, I called up our VP of Marketing at the time, she answered, and I said, Hey, this is what I'm looking for. This is what I'd like. And she said, Well, I'm not going to send it to you. And I said, What? I laughed because I thought she was kidding. She said, No, I need to know what the what the material is because I need to decide whether or not our brand should be associated with it or not. I said it's a Johnson and Johnson event. How do we not want our brand associated with Johnson and Johnson? See, I don't know what the subjact matter is. And it was just such a pain in the butt. All I needed was the logo. So, I said, keep in mind I was in my late 20s. At the time, I probably said some things that my older self was embarrassed by, so we'll edit those out here in this story, but it was a bunch of not nice things. And I hung up on her. I said, as I was hanging up on her said, I'm gonna make sure you get fired. So, it was sort of

Brian Lambert 09:25

Also not recommended

Scott Santucci 09:28

sort of pettiness of how how I got into

Brian Lambert 09:31

This is a a young young Scot Sam Tucci in the 90s. Everybody,

Scott Santucci 09:34

right, thank you for reminding that but it'll help it'll help say how unpragmatic OR, or NOT pragmatic, how unacademic getting into this was.

Brian Lambert 09:48

That's good point. Yeah.There you have it all started with a logo

Scott Santucci 09:54

And a friction with marketing and we ended up having this event. And the event was incredibly successful as part of my master plan to get the VP of Marketing fired. I made sure to invite some of our some of the leaders who were on our executive committee to attend this event.

Brian Lambert 10:15

So, when you say successful, what do you mean the event was successful?

Scott Santucci 10:19

Well, because first and foremost, number one, my CIO client at Johnson Johnson was elated, because we were able to bring 120 different executives, VP and sea level from throughout New Jersey, there and he was expecting maybe 10. So, to get that diversity to build that, build that footprint, he was just blown away. And then as far as how it was successful for for me personally, I wrote the equivalent of my entire quota for the year there on the spot during little breaks in here and there because people are just so blown away by the connections and the value I was able to create as as a salesperson. So, fast forward, the executive committee members were all talking about it and how come more or more the reps don't do this. So, I used that buzz, and you're, you know the way that you have as a as a top rep, you don't really realize it until you try to start using it. So, I called Bernard up and Bernard was our CFO. And I said, Bernard, I've got some time as at what 300% of my quota. I've got some time. I think we're wasting a lot of money in our marketing budget. And I'd like you to help find it out. And of course, he took me up on that, because most CFOs think that they're wasting money on marketing or sales and marketing in general. So, we spent a day whiteboarding out, whiteboarding that out and he said, I want you to present this today. The Executive Committee next month.

Brian Lambert 12:01

So, before you go there, now I'm going to I wasn't there, but I'm going to project here, you can correct me if I'm wrong. But for you to take that action, I don't think because I've known you for a while. I don't think you were you were you were being vindictive, so to speak. I think there's a piece of you being competitive here. But you know, I think I want to explore the flip side of this is, you probably saw a huge market opportunity. And you probably also knowing you kind of put the whole event on your back and did a lot of the work yourself. And all you asked for was a little bit of help, and you didn't get it. And so that really probably pissed you off. So so are those two things true here? Or, you know, what was the what was the impetus for wanting to take the marketing actions that you did?

Scott Santucci 12:49

Well, I I took the actions with the CFO, and I'd be I'd be lying if I didn't say I was mostly vindictive. So angry that I just asked for a little bit of help. And my feeling was he just

Brian Lambert 13:07

You just asked for a logo, right?

Scott Santucci 13:08

Right. I just asked for a logo well, yeah, I just asked for a logo. And it just was the straw that broke my back of all the sales prevention that I felt we were running into a you know, there's there's other stories too, like having a having some of having policies created because I sold went over list too much. It so one of the services that I sold our average deal size or average subscription price was 17,000. I started selling these things for $30,000. And I was told by it. Yeah, and then you put together 120 person conference as a sales call. Right. So, the you know, I just wanted a little bit of help, right and just constant self-prevention drug. Not so I think I think if I were really honest, it was mostly vindictiveness. Was it all? at that one individual, the VP of marketing? No, unfortunately, as the leader of, of all of that stuff, it's a it's a figurehead. And the meeting with the CFO was really how do I create a business case? To get the executive committee to look into this stuff?

Brian Lambert 14:30


Scott Santucci 14:33

However, hindsight being 2020 and having a lot of space behind that, it was, I think a little bit of it was the CFO taking some advantage of me because I made he had an axe to grind with the marketing department too. You know, it's it's sort of like a political slash business case. The CFO has a great way of Just talking about the numbers. So, when I presented to the executive committee, we presented all these numbers about, you know, the cost and productivity, you know, problems and like, and after presenting it, he verified all the numbers for me,

Brian Lambert 15:15

Was it basically saying that there was a lot of money being spent without a lot of, you know, impact or what was the big sound?

Scott Santucci 15:23

Yeah, I think we can get to get into more about metrics later. I mean, a moment was part of our plan will be to go through some of the reports and one of the reports we'll cover is the hidden cost of sales enablement. But it really was, look, we're spending a tremendous amount of money that has literally no utility to sales, literally none. And it's, it's not an issue of budgets. And, you know, we spent this amount of money on events or this amount of money on collateral, etc. It just has no utility whatsoever. And on top of that, because it has no utility, and it's the information out there, it actually detracts from my ability to do my job. So, for example, I shut off in my in my CRM system, access to the corporate marketing department to my key accounts because I didn't want the information they were sending out to get to him. Because all of it all that did was compare us to Gartner. And going back to the original story, I didn't want to be compared to the Gartner budget, because once somebody says that, then you get delegated to the lower-level minions and my access to the CIOs who had all the money was squashed. So those were those were the cases that were made at the executive committee. in that meeting, they asked me to leave. And 10/15 minutes later, they asked me to come back and I was looking forward to hearing what they had to say and they said, You've got a new role. Here, your job now is the VP of product marketing and management, and you're going to, you're going to fix all these things that you brought up to us. Go Go figure that out. So it's like, oh, geez

Brian Lambert 17:11

So, is that what you? Was that what you were expecting?

Scott Santucci 17:13

No, no, no, no, at all. It wasn't what I was expecting or what I what I was looking for. It was, um, I just wanted. I just wanted action to be taken so that this could be fixed for me.

Brian Lambert 17:29


Scott Santucci 17:31

So that's what I was told I was I was doing the first thing that I did. I said, I, Bernard, you know, let's, I need to build a baseline. And then the, so we built a baseline first and I built the relationship that said, moving forward, you're going to present out all of my metrics moving forward, just so they're credible. So, this is the help that I need. And I think this is really where I learned to build great relationships with the finance department they want to help, actually a lot. And so that that was helpful. But the first thing that I did was for the first three months, all I did was collect information. So, there's a lot of pressure, go do this, go do this, go to this, go to that. And I said, I'm not going to do any of that until I have a strategy. And you guys all see the magnitude of the problem that we're dealing with. So, I interviewed that we had six different sales regions. Each of the sales regions had their own view of what's and their own sales processes. We had 17 different business units, all of who said, selling is easy, you only need to know these five things, you know, multiply that by 17, and it gets over gets overwhelming. We had a massive amount of collateral there was a belief by our CEO that any monkey could sell this stuff. So, you know, because the product was so good. that those were the things that we're dealing with. And I presented that as a readout. And

Brian Lambert 19:06

How long was that process, by the way?

Scott Santucci 19:08

just doing that analysis, I'd say about three months. Okay. And it was really...



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