We sales enablers love talking about playbooks, don't we? While there's no playbook or how-to guide to be successful in sales enablement, the wisdom of Thomas Cheriyan, Director of Sales Enablement at OwnBackup, comes pretty darned close.

At 2021's spring Sales Enablement Festival, he shared what he looks for in enablement hires, how he empowers reps for long-term success, and how OwnBackup makes the customer's voice heard throughout all their enablement programs.

Q. How do you put together a superstar revenue enablement team?

A. The first thing that I look for in a future enablement hire is sales experience. The person could have years of sales enablement experience, but if you haven’t picked up the phone and spoken with a prospect, closed a deal, owned a quota... I just don’t see how you can be a credible enablement leader in a function you’ve never actually done yourself.

It’s like having a college professor teach (aka 'enable') you on a subject that they have not studied or have any credible experience on.

Q. What are your strategies at OwnBackup for engaging with your sales teams, for both short-term and long-term success?

A. I have a top-down, bottom up, side-to-side strategy for engaging with sales teams since an effective strategy needs to encompass multiple approaches. As it relates to both short and long-term success, it involves building an enablement program that allows learners, whether reps or managers, to consume that enablement content on-demand via an LMS or Sales Readiness platform.

It needs to support live/virtual with instruction and guidance directly from subject matter experts and, most importantly, always incorporate elements of feedback loops so that users understand and are mindful of their current state of mastery - and what they need to do to improve.

Q. How do you enable reps to put the customer at the forefront of any sales conversation? What are the challenges in mapping the customer journey to the sales process?

A. At OwnBackup, we incorporate our customers' voices throughout all of the enablement programs we’ve built. For example, during our Bootcamp experience, we have live customers presenting and engaging with our reps directly about their value, in their words, about their partnership and engagement with OwnBackup.

When you are that in-tune with your customers, I’ve found that the challenge of mapping the customer's journey is quite intuitive to do.

Q. Do you work closely with other customer-facing teams, such as marketing and customer success? How do you facilitate communication and align on objectives?

A. Yes! Sales enablement is, holistically, a cross-functional team where we collaborate with every other function within OwnBackup.

In order to facilitate cross-functional collaboration, sales enablement needs to be very clear about the what, the why, and the how...
  • What are the future goals and objectives we expect to achieve?
  • What is the problem we are trying to solve?
  • Why is this important?

By communicating these statements out loud and in written form to the appropriate stakeholders and subject matter experts, it makes communication, alignment, and collaboration that much easier to achieve.

Q. What are the key benefits that you feel people will get out of the Festival? What would you say to someone who asked you why they should attend?

A. Sales enablement is still a very new function that everyone is guilty of still trying to master. I would tell others “You don’t know what you don’t know” and, as such, there is an opportunity to learn from the mistakes and successes of others...

... so that you can be empowered, confident, and authoritative when it comes to the future decisions you will be making as a sales enablement leader.

That alone is a compelling reason to come to the Festival and hear from peers globally about all things sales enablement!

We couldn't have put it better ourselves, Tom!

Watch Tom's presentation in full, and get 100s of hours of other presentations from our sales enablement events, with SEC membership!