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 Petek Hawkins, Head of Enablement at Melio.

Petek talked us through her experiences in building enablement from scratch, the challenges she's faced in enabling a wide audience, and her thoughts on the future of enablement

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: What are the challenges you faced building enablement up from scratch?

A: 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.

The second challenge is getting the budget.

Most companies hire an enablement leader and they don't plan for a tool stack or whatever they might need to be successful.

As a result, when you tell them: “I need Highspot, which is $35 per headcount”, they have a heart attack. Getting the budget and having buy-in for the budget you need is a challenge, but it’s essential.

The third challenge is - because there are no established processes for enablement - you have to build relationships and trust with partners like product, product marketing, finance and HR.

Those challenges are possible to overcome, as long as you're clear about your messaging, the outcomes you're driving for and how you will deliver value to each of these organizations in a way that they see the benefit.

Q: How do you enable such a wide scope of people in the organization?

A: There are a lot of lessons that I’ve learned doing that, obviously - I didn't start and everything was rainbows and kittens!

First and foremost, what tripped me up at the beginning was thinking that engineering vs. sales was going to be a completely different experience.

What I've learned through experience is that actually the programs you run are very similar. The core programs my enablement teams usually focus on are: onboarding, role excellence for those who are ramped up, and leadership enablement.

Those cornerstones always remain the same.

Then, you have to bring in the right person who has the domain knowledge under their belt.

I come from sales and marketing, which makes it easy for me to know if we’re on the right path on certain programs or if there are some red flags.

With engineering, it’s not as easy because I'm not a born engineer. My challenge was to find a person who comes from an engineering background, who's done a lot of training, who has done leadership and who wants to move to enablement.

Once you have that person, the path to success is:

Be clear about how your process works in enablement, the programs you run, and then have them be the owner of the programs for the domain they're going to be leading.

The other part of the challenge is how to tie all these programs ran for different organizations, to spit out the data that tells the holistic story - because that's how we get budget.

You need to get alignment on the KPIs and metrics, and then all those metrics somehow need to tie to company goals, and then the enablement goals need to tie to those company goals as well and then spit out the right data that tells the right story.

Q: Will 'sales' enablement eventually enable the whole organization?

A: It solely depends on the maturity of the organization the enablement professional is working for. Going from focusing on sales enablement to, as they get more mature, more of enablement overseeing the entire customer journey.

Let's take a step back and talk about the customer journey.

Most companies believe we need sales enablement because they need to make sure that the customer-facing sales reps have the right knowledge and content behaviors to drive the customers’ behaviors to gain more traction, grow the account and create stickier customers.

If companies just focus on sales enablement, they stop holding the hand of the customer a third of the way through their journey with the company.

Whereas if you think about the customer's journey holistically, we need to hold the customer's hand through end-to-end.

With end-to-end, hopefully the other end is just more growth and more wallet share. That being said, it makes more sense for companies to start considering, at the least, sales and customer success.

Q: What’s your advice for someone in enablement who’s struggling to break down silos?

A: I have this conversation with my team on a quarterly basis, if not monthly. Enablement is only as strong as the partnerships we build. Those partnerships can also be with HR, or finance, which are not as obvious as partnerships with marketing or product.

In order to get a buy-in from these functions, you have to show value at every single interaction.

It's similar to sales, in how we teach that when you’re in front of a prospect you have to deliver value or else they're not going to do business with you.

With enablement, we have to give them a reason to work with us.

For example, if you go in front of them and say “I have a new process I'm going to implement” without listening to them, understanding their pain points and trying to tailor your solution to them beforehand, then you're gonna get shut down and these people are going to not want to work with you.

Back to basics, listen to your partners.

Understand their pain and make the solution about solving their pain not about sales organization, not about what you're doing for your program, make it about them.

Once a quarter, do a QBR. Hopefully people are going to be live, if they cannot be live, send a video or a recap. These are the ways you can show value. If you can go show them all the things you've accomplished, these are the things you can drive with your QBR and how we deliver value as well.

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