Our AMA (Ask Me Anything) series sees us put top sales enablement professionals on the spot to ask questions posed by YOU.
Brenda Basista, PayPal's SR Sales Enablement Manager for Global Inside Sales, answered questions about a current hot topic: inside sales.
Q. Hi Brenda - how does the structure of an inside sales team differ than for outside sales? Is there a big difference?
A. Typically, inside sales would be considered younger, less experienced sellers and those who only sell via the phone. From a structure perspective, it seems to vary by organization, as I've seen several different models for inside sales ranging from inside operating more like BDRs, to very experienced teams selling deals in the many $millions.
From an enablement perspective, I leave the structure of the inside sales team to the CRO. What I want to know is the goal of the inside sales team; is it to generate leads? Are they doing catch and release (i.e. inbound leads, qualifying and passing to another sales team)? How are they being compensated/measured? What's the average turnover (i.e. how many reps are you going to need to onboard each quarter/year)? And what is the average experience level of the team and their new hires? Answers to these questions will help you create a customized enablement plan for inside sales.
Q. What’s the relationship between product marketing and sales enablement at PayPal?
A. I've seen this relationship work very well and not so well.
Sales enablement and product marketing must have a good relationship for both to succeed! It's imperative that enablement has access to and works (very) closely with product marketing to provide consistent messaging, marketing campaign visibility and are active participants in all new product introduction processes.
Sometimes sales enablement reports into marketing/CMO to force this relationship, which may or may not work (relationships cannot be forced)! My advice is to create a RACI (or swim lanes) chart if there is tension and ensure you are working together to provide sales the tools reps need to be successful!
Q. What percentage of the sales team at PayPal is focused on inside sales? Has this shifted a lot over the past year because of the pandemic?
A. Everyone is 'inside' these days and selling virtually!
PayPal has a large inside sales team with groups focused on capturing inbound leads, outbound sellers and BDRs. Inside sales is one of the largest sales teams at PayPal.
Q. What challenges - and opportunities - do you foresee for SE over the next 12 months?
A. I think the challenges will be much the same as we were faced with earlier this year.
- How to engage sales and deliver engaging training, while doing it virtually.
- Sales reps typically have a very short attention span (sorry to any sellers reading!) so we need to look at training in bite-size pieces, something they can consume when/as needed.
- How will we shift again, when things start to look more normal? You will likely need to start thinking about hybrid training. What is best delivered F2F v. where will you continue to invest in virtual events?
- Show the value of sales enablement. KPIs & reporting should be part of any enablement plan. And no, surveys are not the answer. We need to show true value to the sales org, have we increased deal size? Reduced the sales cycle? etc.
- Tools! Leverage tools to create engaging training, track and report on KPIs and think about creating new ways of delivering training to reps, when and where they need it.
Q. How do you go about measuring the ROI of your sales enablement efforts?
A. You threw me a hard one! Measuring ROI is hard and, honestly, in my experience not many SE organizations do it well.
In a past life, I focused on tracking and reporting on increased deal size (with x-sell/up-sell training) and shorter sales cycles (with sales skills training). The hard part is can I attribute changes in those to enablement, or the 100 other things that may also have an impact?
These days I've started to always capture KPIs during the intake on a new project. This helps track consistently and report on a set of metrics AND it forces my stakeholders to think about what they really want/expect as a result of enablement. So, at the end of the project, we can align on what worked and what didn't, and we have an agreed-upon set of metrics to review.
Q. How have you pivoted sales enablement at PayPal this year? Looking back, would you have done anything differently?
A. I joined PayPal only about six months ago, so I can only comment on what I was forced to do earlier this year while working at another company.
I think everyone was forced to pivot in some way this year! From an enablement perspective things like sales kickoffs and training were forced to go from F2F to virtual - sometimes in a matter of just weeks! Collateral also shifted to accommodate what was happening across the globe, we had to develop/recreate content, making sure that sales had a relevant storyline. Sales also had to understand (and come to terms with) that they would need to consume content in a different way.
One thing we started to do at my previous company was host virtual happy hours. Not quite the same, but we were trying to build in the 'networking' part of a sales job, when no one could travel. Even our holiday party will be virtual this year!
Overall, I think what we were forced to do will benefit enablement in the long run. We will continue to develop virtual events and training that is more inclusive and engaging with different and potentially better ways of serving up content. All of this provides sales more time to sell!