Rob joined us to talk about all things sales enablement as a guest on our Ask Me Anything spot. Here are the questions posed to him by our community and what he had to say for himself...

Q. Hi Rob,  I'm thinking some, less ‘techy’ organizations will have been finding the transition to virtual/remote training trickier than others, but I imagine that’s been less of an issue for you guys at Google! What tips can you share please?

A. "Correct - the transition was quite seamless for us in terms of technology, since everything was already in place. All our Google meeting rooms in the office are equipped with video conferencing equipment (hardware) that is fully built for, and integrated with, Google Meet. So we have always been able to join meetings using a fully fledged video conferencing room, laptop or mobile phone. Working from home enabled us to continue business as usual, with the added benefit of never having to deal with meeting room availability/capacity etc.

"However, this has not been without challenges:

  • The line is blurred between what is home vs work. It’s super easy to just keep doing meetings earlier and later than you would in the office. Personally I have struggled with that.
  • Many people have had to deal with the reality of caring for family/kids etc. and the new school year has not made that any easier.
  • COVID has created many opportunities for Google Cloud to better serve our customers. That means a quick shift in needing to enable sales teams around those unexpected things, that we were not planning to do at the beginning of the year. That has presented prioritization challenges for my team since we did not get to drop the existing programs.

"It has also created opportunities to double down on how remote learning is delivered. Also thinking about our Sales Kick Off for 2021 which will be 100% virtual, this has forced us to really think about how we can use this as an opportunity to be creative in our approach to that (especially in tools & experience). It's about taking it beyond trying to have a 1:1 matching of in-person:virtual but rather embracing virtual for things you can only do online and not in person."

Q. How do you go about measuring the ROI of your sales enablement efforts?

A. "At a high level, we aim to map enablement outcomes to business results. That sounds very nice but is not that easy in practice.

  • Enablement & Learning outcomes could be completions, confidence increase, assessment scores, engagement, and most importantly actions that reps take (eg they built an account plan after attending the account planning session)
  • But all of that is not yet a business result, so then how do we tie that to pipeline / revenue etc.
  • Mostly we need to do that in salesforce, by tagging activities, opportunities etc. which in theory works well but you are dependent on the seller doing something.
  • At best we can make some correlations, but not directly attribute training/enablement as the main contributor to a sale being made.
  • On the other hand if we have training in place with the purpose of correcting or driving some sort of behavior, those things are much more solid correlations."

Q. What’s the relationship between product marketing and sales enablement at Google?

A. "On a base level, PM works on external messaging, collateral and materials such as the pitch decks, and my team makes those available to sellers and enables them on how to use them (eg, how to pitch the new solution offerings etc.). Also for product launches we work closely on aligning timelines, messaging etc. and the enablement team focuses on how to take that message to customers

"One thing I will add, is that on our internal site (we call it Cloudhub) I've set it up with delegated control, so that my team builds the initial pages, and then we allow product marketing full access to their product page, and they are responsible for keeping it up to date."

Q. How's sales enablement structured at Google Cloud? And what does your team look like in terms of numbers and roles? I'm just in the process of scaling out our sales enablement function (currently it's just me) and would love to hear any best practices to hopefully get this right from the get-go.

A. "It seems a little bit different everywhere I look. My team consists of:

- Learning Architecture (Skills taxonomy / competency model etc.)

- Platforms & Tools

- Content (instructional design, copywriting, graphics, video etc.)

"Then there are teams I work with that if I were in your shoes I would include in my team:

- Onboarding (for new starters)

- Sales Skills

- Regional Enablement Leads (they represent each sales leader, which at Google is regional)

- Product & Solutions Enablement

- Partner Enablement"

Q. Would love to know what sort of KPIs you're measured against at Google? Plus how often you report back on these?

A. "I will answer this from the perspective of sales enablement and not Google as a whole. I run a team called “Learner Experience” and I own Learning Architecture, Instructional Design / Content and Platforms. Our KPIs vary across these pillars.

  • Confidence (before and after)
  • Skills improvement. We have built a Skills Tool that easily allows us to capture skills, align learning content to that, and measuring the uplift in skills.
  • Also tagging in salesforce allows us to correlate, the big debate is in how much do you attribute to training & enablement vs everything else that contributes

"Those are KPIs for individual things like a platform or learning experience. On a more macro level these will be rolled up eg "100% of sellers accredited to sell XYZ solutions by the end of 2020."

Q. How do you enable the technical field on market differentiation with competitors such as AWS and Azure?

A. "In general, our #1 focus is on Google and not the competitors. Of course differentiation comes into it, but it more around why Google is the #1 choice for solving a particular customer problem. Most of our customers adopt a multi-cloud strategy so we focus on helping them to do that.

"For the technical field, that often means showing how Google would help the customer solve a problem in a multi cloud world. Strong focus on building reference architectures, whiteboarding the art of the possible etc. with that future state in mind. And in many cases, setting up a working real world POC of the magic that we can bring."

Thanks Rob!

Wanna pose a question to a top sales enablement professional? See who we've got coming up in our AMA (Ask Me Anything) series and ask away...

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