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Ep5 The Evolution of Sales Training & The USA School System
Episode 525th June 2019 • Inside: Sales Enablement • Scott Santucci, Brian Lambert, Erich Starrett
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Welcome to the Inside Sales Enablement Podcast, Episode 5

Everyone agrees sales training is important, so why the friction between Sales and L&D?

In this episode, Scott Santucci & Brian Lambert discuss the role of people. Sales Enablement is a people profession and sales enablement leaders are focused on human behavior and skills of sellers (or as CEOs often say "manufacture their reps.)"

The challenge for many "classically trained" L&D professionals lies in balancing the hyper-specialization and needs of the seller with the desired by executives to run as a shared service function. Sometimes the L&D function and people within it aren't often set up to support Sales.

This creates a fundamental question: Why is so much sales training outsourced? Why are sales processes off-limits to the training function? And when sales enablement equals training, why is it considered tactical delivery?

If training organizations aren't comfortable engaging strategically on developing talent, or aren't deemed "valuable" by executives that's a problem. Brian & Scott talks about his journey to tackle this gap and enable the trainers to close the gap to sales teams through research, processes, and outputs. Why terms like ADDIE and rigid L&D approaches don't resonate with other groups including the CEOs view of "training."

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.

Brian Lambert 00:35

Hey, and I'm Brian Lambert. And we're the sales enablement insiders. Our podcast is dedicated to asking the big questions that you may be wondering about sales enablement. Are you frustrated that maybe something's not quite right? Do you believe that sales enablement should be adding more value than it really is? In this podcast? We're going to talk about today, something that's very near and dear to my heart and that's training and learning. So, Scott, what do you have for us?

Scott Santucci 01:01

Thank you, Brian. And as always, we try to frame out the topic that we're discussing by bringing other examples to the table so that we have better insights and better perspective to discuss it. I have the great fortune, or if I were a 12-year-old, rewriting many, many, many reports over and over and over again, the misfortune of having an educator for a mother, and my mom has worked in developing curriculum and learning for many years and has all kinds of masters and in training, and she's an educator, through and through and through. Well, one of the things that's interesting is we all know, the curriculum for students, and the curriculum for adult learning has gone off into different different branches. And one thing that's being exposed to all of that information, you know, you hear a lot of things. And one of the things that I'm particularly attuned to, is this whole idea of the K through 12. state of educating our children. In the United States, we spend the most more than any other industrialized country in the entire world on spending per student. Yet if you look at Test Scores and results, we're down towards the bottom. So, the question is, what are we getting for all that money? And where is it going? And that tends to be a hot topic and a lot of different reformers and perspectives about how we improve education.

Brian Lambert 02:38

So, Scott, that's great, as usual, great facts. Great story. But, you know, in the corporate world, I don't have very many high schoolers that that work here. So, what does that have to do with sales enablement?

Scott Santucci 02:51

What is that? Right? So I love that question. And what does that have to do with anything? Why are we talking about that? Well, the reason that we're talking about that is often get the opportunity to have one on one conversations with CEOs. And the reason that I'm they're having that conversation is, of course, they're concerned with the productivity of their Salesforce. So, my first question is, well, how sure are you that it's the effectiveness or it's the quality of the reps? Have you looked at, say your products and services? CEO answer is always Well, we've done a lot of research into that. That's a good question. We've gotten Bain McKinsey or some external person to validate their their corporate strategy. We've got great feedback about our products and services. We feel we feel fantastic about it. It's not our products and services. like okay, well, maybe it's have you thought about that. It's your messaging and marketing. Well, we actually did a brand audit, the branding that we came out with is it brand new and we really like we really like where we are with our branding and positioning. Our marketing department is generating tremendous amount of leads and those leads aren't getting followed up by the Salesforce. And it's very frustrating. We've got a lot of metrics and indicators from our marketing department about what what kind of messaging is, is involved. So, we're pretty certain it's the Salesforce. So, then my next question is, okay, well, if it's the Salesforce, then Have you been hiring the right people? Maybe maybe what you've been doing is been hiring the wrong people all along. So, the answer is, well, of course we hire the right people. We always, were really good about hiring best in breed, we hire with competitive salaries, we've got a great hiring process in place. And then I asked for sort of a follow up question around that which is, are the people who are still involved there two years ago. So, in other words, all of the new recruits that you have that comprise them the bulk of your Salesforce, are they all the same people? Yes. They're the all, they're the same people. So basically, my summary of that Brian is, and I say this to CEOs as well, let me summarize what I've heard. Your products are great. Your branding and positioning is great. You're hiring all the right people, yet somehow you have the wrong Salesforce today. Is that correct? And the CEO says yes. And then my question back to him is, are you looking at what you're doing? Because it seems like you're manufacturing the wrong reps? And then I'd be quiet. And then when, when that happens, it's always Uh huh. I never really thought about that. And we have a completely different question. Rather than launching into what kind of sales training program Do we need to put in place or how do we hold salespeople accountable, etc.

Brian Lambert 05:59

Yeah, that makes sense. And it's an interesting way that you put it here. Are you manufacturing the right reps? So, I have a, I have a people background and that concept of manufacturing reps is is something that the traditional l&d folks might rail against, but what do you, what do you mean by that? And what, what kind of dialogue do you have about this concept of manufacturing reps?

Scott Santucci 06:25

Well, really what I mean by that is just like, there are people who are really looking at how do we improve the overall school system? Maybe the system that we have for sellers is is antiquated. And that's really the point. And what I don't mean to say, what I want to make sure is really clear to everybody listening. I'm not anti-sales training. I'm extremely pro sales training. I'm extremely pro skill development. I'm extremely pro seller. I think the question that I'm that I'm trying to ask is, is the sum of the parts Working, and what does it look like? And I think in order for us to really examine that question, I think nobody would be better to help us explore that, then then you Brian, if you don't know, Brian, one of the things that you may notice is when you look at his email it says Dr. Brian Lambert. So, what are you a doctor in and how do you go about getting a doctorate?

Brian Lambert 07:24

Well, to answer that, specifically, on the transcript, it says, PhD in organization and management. And when I started that, what that was was organizational design, organizational teaming, operating models, etc. But I was a practitioner at the time, and I looked for a degree program where I could study sales. So, I wanted the context to be sales. So, as I went through the entire five-year process, as you know, when I had my my ethics class, I did sales ethics. When I did marketing, I did marketing plus Sales when I did my management content, it was about sales management. So, I studied sales the whole time. And as you may know, Scott, there really are no PhDs and sales. So, I tend to think that I'm probably one of the few that's actually studied at the PhD level this thing called professional selling.

Scott Santucci 08:18

Excellent. And for those of you who don't know, what I want to do is also put this in context. I've had myself a tremendously huge learning curve on all of the sales, training and learning and development, vernacular and terminology. I myself have been a consumer of sales training courses, some of which I've hated, and some of which I've liked as a salesperson. I've been a purchaser of sales training, to sales training programs as the VP of Sales and Marketing, some of which I've liked, and some of which I've hated. And now I'm in the business of actually designing some sales, sales training programs of which I don't really follow the tradition. No playbook. But what's important is let's start to understand a lot of these terms and where do they come from these disciplines, how they're being applied today in this in this in this modern world. And I think a great setup for that is before Brian joined the team at Forrester. So past podcasts we've talked about that. Brian actually was in a role at at the time it was called, I think it's ASTD. And now it's ATD. What is ATD? What is that?

Brian Lambert 09:32

Yep. It's a great organization. It's the world's largest professional society for training development professionals. So, hundreds of thousands of people worldwide, they have an annual conference where they routinely get 10 to 15,000 people. It's the the Association for for trainers.

Scott Santucci 09:51

And that was started with like in the 40s. Right?

Brian Lambert 09:53

That's correct in the 40s. And as you know, Scott in the 40s, there was a lot of work to industrialize. Training and Development. And so, it is born out of that industrialization, standardized testing, etc., and moved in through a series of steps through, you know, skill development competencies testing, etc. and then into workforce planning, workforce development, workplace education, and now what they're calling talent development.

Scott Santucci 10:20

So, when you worked at ATD, what was your role? What did you do?

Brian Lambert 10:25

I had two primary roles. The first one was looking at the strategic direction of the organization, how could it better serve? What was becoming more of a segmented view of the quote unquote, trainer? So, what did that look like? What type of communities would be established etc.? And then with my background, I was a seller I've been in sales management, sales training, I stood up what is now the sales enablement community of practice, which was the first one of its kind in the organization,

Scott Santucci 10:57

So, I need to understand this a little bit more that's a that's a that seems like a lot of inside baseball for me at least. Maybe the rest of you who are listening can really understand it. So first you said as somebody who only really cares about sales training, I gather that there are other kinds of trainers in in ATD helped me understand that a little bit.

Brian Lambert 11:22

Right. So, this is this is a it's a great question. First, when you look at the umbrella of training, it's this idea of helping individuals get the right skills and knowledge to be successful. When you work, look at that. And juxtapose that against today's workplace. There are many different specialties and at the time, you know, this is 15-20 years ago, workforces and workplaces were becoming more and more specialized. So, what I was doing, in essence was looking at the different types of audiences that different types of quote unquote learners and looking at There's specialized needs from a, you know, job skill perspective. Traditionally, l&d people trainers tend to not engage sales teams. And in fact, one of the things that I had begun prior to that was this idea of I want to be the the trainer to the sales trainers. I don't want to necessarily be a sales trainer. I want to help those who do it because why is it that internal to most organizations, the sales training organization was outsourced to vendors. Why wasn't training supported by these folks called trainers that tend to work on leadership development, for example, or customer service, or soft skills or all these other things, but selling and that's, that's where I went to,

Scott Santucci 12:48

let me break this up a little bit, because I'm trying to track so for our audience members for myself, trying to learn about where all these different sales enablement functions report to sometimes they report him to l&d functions. Sometimes they don't, sometimes they're in competition, finally competition with the learning and development organization. So, part of the first thing that I want to understand is Brian, are you saying, am I understanding you correctly by saying that where the learning and development space started out sort of the legacy was there's a central learning and development function that provided adult learning to all functions like a, like a service, the shared service group, that the learning and development function would provide it to manufacturing, to marketing to sales or what have you? Is that correct?

Brian Lambert 13:42

Yeah, that's correct. And it's ebb and flowed and became a from a centralized to federated model and then back and forth. Sometimes it gets distributed into the operations. Sometimes there's a centralized leadership development function and organizations since the 1940s. have been trying to crack that code on how do they make their learning development teams more relevant to their-

Scott Santucci 14:04

The second thing that I heard you say, was as a representative for an entity that's focused on learning and development professionals, you were curious as to why so much of the sales, sales training was being outsourced and by being outsourced, I'm assuming you're meaning it's companies or contracting firms like Sandler or Miller, Heiman or Richardson, or whomever to come in and do the sales training for the Salesforce. Is that correct?

Brian Lambert 14:42

Yeah, that's correct. And because of that, they the the trainers that I was working with the l&d professionals seem to want to abdicate that responsibility to to these vendors. And I couldn't quite understand why that was.

Scott Santucci 14:56

Gotcha. So, at that point in time, what I understand that your your telling me is that what you did was started to say, Hey guys, let's start to build some competencies around what it would take to bring in house more of this sales training. So as a result of that you did a lot of surveys, you got a lot of research, you collected it because you wanted to be more or less the trainer of sales trainers. Is that correct?

Brian Lambert 15:24

That's right. And the fundamental problem I was trying to solve was to, to bring more relevance and impact of this this thing called Learning development slash training to the customer focused revenue generating employees of an organization. In other words, I had heard, and I believed in that, that trainers and l&d professionals could have a strategic seat at the table. But the only way to me that they would be able to do that would be to drive revenue and not be so much of a cost center but an investment in where the organization needs to go there by linking people, salespeople to the business strategy. And if we didn't go there as a profession, I don't know what we were doing.

Scott Santucci 16:09

But this is pretty insightful. For me. One of the things that I have been exposed to is prior to prior to join Forrester and some of the work that I've done in the past would be you know, working with a big company like Unisys, and Unisys having a university function of which underneath it had a dean of a sales University. And what they would do is offer ASTD. This was at the time ASTD certified people to work with us on training programs. And the difficulty was, they had very rigid approaches of how to go about building those training programs that didn't map to the business requirements that we were we were trying to do. That was my my personal experience. What experience? Where does that come from? What what's what's really the goal here? And where did these tools I think the I think one of the methods they were referring to is ADIE, what's ADIE? And why was why was that being discussed with me in the sales leaders at at Unisys.

Brian Lambert 17:19

So ADIE is an acronym for a traditional fundamental workflow, that corporate l&d professionals would go through to build custom training. So, it stands for basically, an analysis, you analyze the job and skills, you just find something, you develop something you implement, and you evaluate. So, it's kind of a, you know, continuous improvement model. And a lot of, you know, trainers are taught that there are also other versions of it, but the point is, is that there's a, basically a challenge that needs to be addressed and you would go through and build stuff to support it. So that's, that's ADIE. So, to add answer that question specifically, the the challenge is that ADIE and all of the models for l&d are kind of predicated on two fundamental principles of adults. One is that the jobs are clear. Right? So, if you have a clear job, you can go out and build skills to it. So that's the one fundamental thing. The second fundamental thing is that because the jobs are clear, the the scope of those jobs are well known to everybody else. So, you can build skills, and everybody knows what these people are supposed to be doing, whoever they are customer service, whatever. And so, what I was really perplexed by in my own work was, well, the sales role, it appears to be clearly defined, but boy, it's not the more you understand it. And also, we are going through a transition in business and in the broader landscape, that roles are...



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