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1. Remember that sales enablement is a change agent
“By definition, sales enablement is a change agent. You're going in there to change things, either to make them better or to put a new process in place.
“But, fundamentally, you're changing something. People don't always like change, and sometimes people lose out in that change too.
“So it's important that you explain the context of the decisions that are being made, why they're being made, how it’s ultimately going to help the business.
“That was a very steep learning curve for me, because you find yourself vehemently defending the company strategy, and you're not looking at it from the perspective of the person who you're asking to make the change.
“That's probably the biggest lesson I’ve learned, if you can get buy-in from people, and they understand why you're making change, they're more receptive and more open to change.”
- Aaron Evans, Co-Founder and Head of Training and Enablement at Flow State
2. ‘Self-serve’ learning brings great results
“My one big learning from the last few years is that when you shove learning down someone's throat and make it mandatory, in a situation everybody has to do it en masse, you can document and create measurable results.
“However, the learning that you create which is self-serve, which people absorb without any compulsion to do so, tends to actually garner a much better resultIt’s not as easy to track, and really tricky to measure, in fact, when people are just self-serving, YouTube style. However, if somebody wants to learn, they will.
“That's my big takeaway: providing self-serve, on-demand ways for people to consume. There is a limit to how much you can binge watch stuff, of course. But I’ve found that people really enjoy it and they'll find a way to make the time.”
- Tas Hirani, Global Director of Enablement at Aquant.io
3. Are you a solo enabler? Cross-functional collaboration is key
“I often find that enablement works best through collaboration.
“It is impossible to know everything, but leveraging subject matter experts (SMEs) and taking direction from leadership on what they're seeing in the field ensures you focus on what is needed.
“In order to get the perspective of what enablement is needed, you need to work closely with sales managers to identify those needs, as well as work with departments like Product Marketing to provide expertise on solving those needs.
“In some ways, when you're working independently, you act more like an air traffic control, directing the right people to the right place at the right time.”
- Michael Gugliotti, Global Head of Sales Enablement at Forter
4. Fun training sessions are engaging training sessions
“The best tip that I have for enablement practitioners who are creating or delivering training is to really focus on making it engaging and fun.
“Sellers and those in the revenue organization are typically very focused on their quota, and on bringing in revenue for the organization.
“Training doesn't always look like it helps in that particular endeavor. The more you can really show salespeople that training can assist them not only with their job, but can also be fun, that really helps make those types of programs successful.
"It makes them effective in helping salespeople take what they learned in theory and put it into practice.
“I've done some ridiculous things when it comes to making training fun, like wearing costumes, creating wacky videos that go along with it.
“Maybe it's just part of the creative process for me, but I think the more you can really grab attention within those training programs themselves, the better off they'll be for the team.”
- Christi Loucks, Head of Revenue Enablement and Operations at SecZetta Inc
5. Sales enablement’s success is tied to sales success
“Sales enablement success is sales success. The number one thing for us to measure is the overall quota attainment: our reps hitting where they're defined to be - again, we're not defining the quota, we're working towards it.
“Then, as well as the big number quotas, we have small numbers we're also looking at: the percentage of reps that are hitting quota attainment is one, but we also want to look at time to ramp time to first sale.
“Those are key metrics that tell us whether we're effectively onboarding our team. If we're bringing out new initiatives, those new initiatives need to have a measurable component, even if it's not necessarily a revenue component.
"So whether it's being able to comfortably sell a deal with these new parameters, that's a metric.
“It's not a metric that is going to have a huge dollar value attached to it, but it shows us that the training that we did became something that was measurable, and that we gave them success skills to make that happen.
“We have to measure everything but we also have to get context behind the measurement and really utilize what we're measuring in a way that makes it powerful, otherwise, it's just more fluff.”
- Gail Behun, Senior Manager of Sales Enablement, PandaDoc
6. Culture is the key to enablement innovation
“It really is culture that drives everything. How many times have we heard organizations boast that they’re not turning back from a new initiative, and then as soon as something goes wrong they turn back?
“I cannot stress enough how important it is to have strong leadership in that respect. In my organization's case, we started from nothing, and we’re always building. We know that anything we build is going to be better than what we had before.
“That innovation has everything to do with us wanting to grow. We’ve just acquired a company, and it’s put us into a brand new market space.
“We’ve had to effectively shift from this old business where we were the big fish in the small pond. Now we’re the small fish in a much larger pond, and we've got to all be on the same page.
“And how do you do that? Well, you innovate.
“But what we learned is that to drive change, you have to create an environment where someone can learn a new skill and then be able to teach it to someone else.
“That extra layer made a huge difference for us, and it continues to make a difference because what it does is it further solidifies this culture of learning where we can pass on knowledge to others more efficiently.”
- Jay Shepard, Head of Sales Enablement, Lookout
7. Considerations when making onboarding programs human-centered
“Don’t just think about the onboarding process. What does post-onboarding look like? What does reinforcement look like? If you're building programs from scratch, think about those things in advance.
“Also, have feedback mechanisms in place. What are you doing with your feedback? How is that providing continuous reinforcement for your organization? Are managers able to look at it and train the trainer in how they lead going forward?
“Another thing icebreakers are really just a great thing to incorporate into onboarding. It seems so silly, but everyone enjoys it, and it just does so much for the work culture.
"In my experience, they just make everyone feel so much more comfortable with each other and that really encourages people to ask those questions that allow them to get a job done."
- Raquel Ferrari, Revenue Enablement Manager at Spekit
8. Make new hires feel at home, and reap the rewards
“Meaningful human contact remains at the core of our emotional and psychological well-being.
“However, as remote living and working accelerates, more and more people find themselves isolated. This is the last thing that you want for a new hire within your organization to feel.
“The new hire put a lot of thought and consideration as they were speaking to recruiters and interview panels to get their foot in the door in your organization.
“It’s our role to keep making them feel like they made the right decision.”
- Joe Cardenas, Global Program Manager - Onboarding, Redis
9. Strategy elevates enablement beyond just a job title
“Sales enablement is an ecosystem that crosses all functional and hierarchical boundaries.
“Having a good strategy framework, and overall just being a good sales enablement leader is going to involve working directly with sales, but also directly with marketing and HR.
“You’re going to be working with your IT or technology department and with the customer success team too.
“So, here’s where we connect the dots. Let's say what HR does relates to new hiring and onboarding. Well, that absolutely impacts sales and customer success, marketing and tech.
“If we can get all of these different groups and functions talking together and building a more cohesive strategy, then we're absolutely doing our job within sales enablement.”
- Thomas Cheriyan, Senior Director of Learning and Development, OwnBackup
10. Your enablement goals should align with the wider organization’s goals
“One of the important things for enablement is to align enablement success metrics to the goals of the overall company.
“Enablement typically aligns really closely to the revenue target. So, how are we going to reach our revenue target?
“If we're adding more reps, how quickly can our reps be effective when they start? As a result, ramp-up time is a good way to look at the success of enablement.
“If we're expanding our product and services offering it's about the uptake of new products within the field. How quickly are we getting to our desired targets for those products and services?”
- Carly Lehner, Head of Revenue Enablement, Andela
11. Be bold and ask for a seat at the table
"Talk to your CRO and say, for example: “I noticed last quarter there were planning conversations I wasn't a part of because I snooped on your calendar - I want to be in those meetings. What do I need to do to show you I've earned a seat there?”
"At the executive level, where enablement adds real value is that they’re the voice of the seller. Enablement is there purely as the voice of the individual by sharing their perspective on everything the team has going on."
- Emily FitzPatrick, Global Director of Revenue Enablement at Culture Amp
12. When you start, establish a definition of enablement
"The first challenge with starting something from scratch is figuring out how people define enablement.
"Every leadership has a different idea in every company and within the company, each department has a different idea about what enablement is.
"Usually, the common problem is the differentiation between being a trainer vs. being an enablement professional.
"With training, you need to be the subject matter expert in the topic you're training for, whereas enablement will work with the subject matter experts within the programs that are built to do the training for the organization.
"However, enablement professionals could also be subject matter experts in methodology and skills, for instance."
- Petek Hawkins, Head of Enablement at Melio
13. At a start-up? Prepare to be adaptable
"The entire nature of a startup business is that you're having to pivot a lot.
"You're testing out ideas, you're changing things constantly. You're just emerging with a new product or a new idea, seeing if it works and you’re having to change a lot of things all the time.
"You have to really be good at thinking on your feet, while also having to be agile and adaptable.
"You have to be in the mode of solving problems all the time. It’s something that matched really well with my way of doing things. But sometimes I’d love to have a week where I just sit down and really think about our programs.
"When you’re working at a startup, you learn how to think deeply and analyze while you're flying the plane
- Adriana Romero, Senior Manager, Productivity at Salesforce
14. Understanding enablement's customer (the reps) is critical
"You can't excel in enablement, if you don't have a deep understanding of your business's customer but in this case I'm talking about enablement’s customer meaning reps.
"Understanding your customer means you have a constant flow of qualitative and quantitative insights from reps and their voice is well represented in your work.
Some ways that you can ensure that happens include consistent one on ones with directors, managers and reps, architecting councils of top performers across the business, facilitating weekly feedback sessions and surveys for pilot participants, and staying plugged in wherever you can to the insights you have available such as engagement surveys, exit surveys, and Glassdoor reviews - which can be hugely valuable to understanding the rep experience.
"This is important because when you are so closely connected to frontline reps, you can begin to see the future. That means you're hearing about emerging problems or challenges before they even flow through clearly in the numbers."
- Brittany Belt, Senior Director of GTM Enablement, Yelp
15. Don't be afraid to innovate to keep things fresh
"The truth is, old learning processes get pretty stale if we don’t stay agile and try new things. Let’s say, for example, you do what we did and introduce someone with a comedy background to try and inject some fun into your enablement function.
"Some people might say that sounds like a wasteful investment, but the truth is, there are always going to be people who say that. But if you can provide evidence – case studies, stats, etc– for why this might work, there’s no reason to not take that plunge.
"More importantly, we need it to drive innovative work practices."
- Christ Moot, Global Director of Sales Readiness at LinkedIn Marketing
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