Well, there are a million ways to screw up sales enablement, it seems (more on that below). Thankfully, coming to one of our events can help stop you making one.

The open Q&As at the end of each session allow you to interact with our expert guest speakers and really pick their brains. As these Q&A examples from the Sales Enablement Festival May 2021 show, being successful in sales enablement is all about networking, learning from peers, and picking up best practices from thought leaders.

We couldn’t have said it better ourselves.

The expert panel providing all the answers in the panel session ‘Deploying a Sales Strategy that Works’ included:

  • Thomas Cheriyan, Director of Sales Enablement, OwnBackup
  • Steve Hamilton, Director of Sales Enablement, Sage
  • Rachel Ha'o, Global Sales Enablement, Iterable

Here are the questions you put to them:

Q. What KPIs do you have for your sales enablement role?

Q. What tips do you have for someone who is new to enablement and going into a sales enablement role?

Psst, if you're an SEC member, you can catch the replay of this panel discussion in the OnDemand section of your dashboard.

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Q. What KPIs do you have for your sales enablement role?

Steve: They're tied back to the goals and the targets of the sales teams from a revenue standpoint. I know, it's not a direct correlation because my team's not out selling, but it's also a shared goal. Over [this panel session] we've talked about shared goals with cross-functional groups and teams that mean everybody's mobilizing in the same direction, towards that same target and towards the success measurement.

So for me, for my team, it's a couple of things: the revenue generation for the sales teams, and the ENPS (Employee Net Promoter Score) on all of the sales training content that we deliver. We get feedback from all of our learners, all of our sellers, who go through that journey with us, in terms of how we're doing and if they're getting the content and digesting it and being able to actually use it. Those are the two biggest ones.

The others are inherently in terms of professional and personal development. One of our goals is that we spend six days throughout the course of the year on this, and that is also very critical.

Certification: I just sent my team through a high performance learning journey certification over the course of four months, so they are now certified to construct these learning journeys versus a training event. It's an investment and that ties back into the professional and personal development days. So those are just those are three examples spanning different types of KPIs my team uses.

Rachel: I would say everything that Steve's measuring is awesome, because I hadn't thought of measuring those things, so I'm definitely going to take the ENPS score.

The team participation-to-quota is the number one metric that I concern myself with [increasing the number of people on the team that are able to hit their quota versus just re-empowering the people that were doing this anyway].

The second is the engagement score of the content, and then the thoroughness of completion of any training that I've delivered. So, if there's a five-module guide in our learning management system, are people getting to the third module and logging off because it’s boring, or are people completing it in a timely manner, then leaving great feedback?

Something that I'm still kind of working through is more around management engagement: how often people are running the manager exercises that I've created in their team meetings, or in their one-on-ones. It's evident by just speaking with the managers that there's no great way to create a dashboard around this, I just have to trust them or attend their team meetings when they invite me.

Then, training for onboarding programs is a great litmus test for whether or not the content that I've produced is usable, or whether it's actionable, and that helps me as well.

Q. What tips do you have for someone who is new to enablement and going into a sales enablement role?

Steve: My advice is to read, research, and get up to speed on industry best practices. Try to accelerate your knowledge or become a thought leader. A lot of people think that, “oh, you have to be in the industry for 20 years to be a thought leader”. No, you don't. It's more about what you can offer and what you provide in terms of your knowledge, as it relates to the sales enablement function.

Reach out to people who have been in the field for a period of time and learn from them too; get connecting and networking with those in the field.

Pick up some big key learnings from listening into panels like this - it’s super important because not only do you hear from panelists, but you see the questions that are being asked, so you get an insight as to what's on other people's mind as it relates to sales enablement.

That generates really productive conversations, too. So networking, reading, research, and staying connected within the industry, and just getting yourself to the point where you, as I said, become a thought leader in the space.

Rachel: Let's see, beyond enabling yourself, I think not skipping relationships. So as you start in enablement, and then as you continue to work in enablement at your company, or future companies, don't skip out on getting to know the people on the front line, and don't skip out on getting to know their managers. Because you'll only get so much organic feedback from your LMS, or from the surveys that you send out.

But you can be proactive about avoiding any pitfalls or any ‘oops moments’ and providing the most relevant, interesting content by just really knowing the people that you're working with, what pain points they're having, and then going back to those dashboards and measure against what you're seeing with data to what you're hearing from the people that you're enabling.

Being close to your team is something that I think is just so important.

Tom: Do what you need to do to enable yourself. So pick up a book and read it, pick up several books, and Google is awesome. One thing that has helped me out greatly is actually entertaining vendor calls that sell to sales enablement leaders and functions.

Even if I'm not necessarily interested in the product, or the category that they're in, it is useful to learn from them, “Why are my peers buying this type of technology or software? What problems are they trying to solve? Or what value are they getting by partnering with them?”

I always operate on the premise like you don't know what you don't know, myself included. I don't know everything, and that's okay. But I want to do what I need to do, especially when it comes to networking with peers, networking with vendors, networking with other thought leaders.

I think one of the best advisors I've had was the VP of Enablement at Brainshark, in terms of helping me to think critically about things like, “What are we trying to solve?” What are the problems we're looking to overcome and the value we're trying to bring?” For example, Salesforce is one of those platforms where if you architect right, it adds a lot of value. But there's actually a million ways to screw up Salesforce. And it's the same with any type of technology platform. And it's the same with sales enablement.

There's maybe a handful of ways to do sales enablement the right way, but there's a million ways to screw up sales enablement, and actually add negative value, right?

So, my perspective has always been to network with peers, and understand what those best practices are. But then also add in this element of critical thinking. Why is this sales leader coming to me with this particular issue? Is this an issue experienced by other leaders? Is there a deeper issue that we need to actually solve for that we're not seeing yet?

Asking ‘why?’ a million times until we actually uncover that root issue. And, again, from personal perspectives, these have been the biggest factors in my success. So I hope that type of advice is helpful to everyone else here.

Pretty useful stuff, right? SEC members have got access to tons more actionable content like this - why not sign up and level up? Here’s what you could be missing...

(… and make sure you catch up with part 1 and part 2 of our selection of the best Q&As from SEFest May 2021).