SEC's Sales Enablement Innovation podcast is the place to be when it comes to enablement knowledge-sharing. Every episode features an enablement expert sharing their stories so that you can learn from their experiences in the field.
Here, check out the highlights from our conversation with Whitney Perry, Manager for Global GTM Communications and at the time of recording the Strategic Communications Specialist in Zscaler’s Revenue Enablement and Velocity team.
Whitney talked us through why her role is important, why it should be adopted across enablement organizations, how it helps cross-functional collaboration, SKO, and much more.
While we've got the highlights right here, for the full episode simply click below and enjoy all the insights. 👇Listen to the full episode and more!
Q: How would you describe the role of strategic communications within your enablement team?
A: On my team (which is the revenue enablement and velocity team), I manage the global communication strategy for the entire go-to-market organization, which is more than 1,500 individuals at Zscaler.
In a nutshell, anytime someone internally needs to communicate with the GTM org, they run through me.
In practice, I produce multifaceted multimedia communication initiatives that get distributed through a variety of channels that I'm also the project manager for.
My work helps build strong teams and increase employee engagement, and I help to empower our GTM people with the tools and confidence they need to succeed.
Q: Why do you think your role is not as common as it should be?
A: In general, comms can be seen as something that's somewhat extracurricular. I was even told in school to not major in English and study business or engineering instead, but communicating is so fundamental.
Being a good writer and communicator is an asset that's going to get you places.
With enablement specifically, it's fairly natural for enablement teams to build their programs and all their systems and then reach a point where there's too much going on - which makes it difficult for the org to figure out what their teams need to be focusing on.
Then, you realize you needed a communication manager the whole time, who would help prioritize and organize information in digestible ways for the field.
Enablement comms starts at a very elementary place: is this written well, is the flier we're giving out after this training session readable and understandable?
Then, enablement comms matures into an incredibly strategic asset, since the comms team is on the pulse of many different things happening across the entire organization and way outside of what the enablement team is doing.
Almost every initiative that happens in a company needs to be communicated. The sales team needs to know very well and easily what's going on and what the product updates are.
Enablement comms might be considered a phase two project when you're building and perfecting your enablement team, but it has a huge value to add to the enablement team.
Q: How do you facilitate cross-functional communication in your role?
A: One of the first things I spun up when I stepped into this role was what we called a ‘Comms Task Force’.
Myself and a couple other folks from enablement met with people outside of the enablement org, so marketing, product marketing, product, people & culture, demand generation.
We were trying to get a pulse of what's coming in the field that our teams need to know about and if we are preparing the comms and all the training and programs we're running to align with that.
Since I've been here, our Zscaler enablement team has hired a team chartered with driving GTM strategy. The cross-functional collaboration work I was doing has been passed off to this new team and they work way closer than I ever could have managed with product and marketing.
If we continuously align everything we're doing to be in sync with everything product and marketing is doing and if we're able to successfully align those to get the entire org in sync, then it's very easy to prioritize, train people and drive the business objectives all of those respective teams have.
Q: How does having an enablement communications position like yours help when it comes to SKOs?
A: I love talking about SKOs because SKOs are a project I've really stepped into and I've taken on more of, both owning the comms strategy for SKOs and also an operation management role.
I'm planning my third SKO at Zscaler right now. The first two were virtual during the pandemic, the one we're prepping for is hybrid.
An event like SKO is so important for company culture. It’s also a huge training opportunity and a moment for storytelling thinking about what is the story we're trying to tell to our GTM organization, which is over 1500 people is a big moment in time.
The exact agenda is decided by tons of stakeholders and that alone is a super collaborative process.
There's so many tiny details in an event like SKO that comms need to cover for attendees, and you would only know they need to be communicated if you're deeply involved in the project. Taking on this operational management role has helped me develop a cohesive calm strategy for SKOs.
For example, the registration process we built for our upcoming SKO hybrid event was different depending on where you live in the world. Our attendees got to choose if they wanted to join us in person or virtually. That's a complex comms strategy because both of those parties need different information. Questions comms, which is trained to pay attention to detail, thinks about for events are:
- What's the flow of the site?
- How many emails is it going to take to remind people to register?
- Can we turn on an automatic system where it replies to non responsive people? But for the people who have registered, can we stop bothering their inbox?
- What information do we need to gather from them in the registration process?
- What are the FAQs everyone is going to have about the hybrid event?
The only way I would have gotten to that level of detail is by taking on this operational management role.
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