This Q&A was conducted at the October 2022 Sales Enablement Festival with Carolynn Bae (Director, Enablement Programs, Revenue Enablement, PayPal) and Mariana Gastaldello (Head of Business Training and Development, GBS METAP, TikTok). Find more content like this in the membership dashboard.
I'm Carolynn Bae, and I've been in enablement for about seven years at PayPal. We've been through a great (and sometimes interesting!) journey of scaling revenue enablement across the globe.
I’m Mariana Gastaldello. I’m based in Dubai, from Brazil, and I've been working in sales enablement for almost 12 years - so I’ve spent a long time in this field!
In this article we’ll dive into the topic of scaling sales enablement, drawing on our experience in the industry.
- Defining enablement
- What it actually means to scale your enablement function
- How to leverage technology to drive scale
- Defining and measuring competencies
- Advice for enablers looking to scale in their own organizations
Let’s get to it. 👇
Q: How do you define enablement within your organization?
I worked for IBM for almost 15 years and then moved to TikTok last year. For me, sales enablement means enabling salespeople to be the best versions of themselves in front of the client.
What does it mean exactly? I think it depends on the company, the salesperson, the maturity level of the company, and on the market that the salesperson works for.
Back when I started my sales enablement journey at IBM, enabling a salesperson meant just providing good communication about a new product. If we succeeded in providing that information, we would be a great enablement team.
Nowadays, working for TikTok, sales enablement is completely different. The companies are different.
I think enabling people internally to be the best version of themselves, from a people perspective, is very important.
Especially after COVID, companies are more focused on enabling people to be themselves and bringing business, people, and culture to the same table. So for me, it’s evolved a lot over time.
I think Mariana does a good job of explaining how different it can be in different organizations, but essentially we're all here trying to help our sellers to be more successful.
We've been through a number of iterations of what sales enablement and revenue enablement is. At the beginning of my career, we started off thinking a lot about onboarding, communication, sales culture, and sales training.
I think a lot of it is to do with trying to understand and take a step back.
If sales need to be focused on meeting their quota on a quarterly basis, what other things do they need in order to be successful?
A lot of those take more resources, more time, and different types of skill sets to think through - how do you onboard effectively?
We have a presence in most countries and our product shows up differently in each market. So how do we collectively try to make our sellers more effective from day zero through their PayPal career?
And that takes that particular issue out of the sales leaders’ focus so that they can focus on driving towards their quota.
We've been on a few different journeys, and we've now come to a definition that includes everything from onboarding, to sales training, through to product launch enablement.
We also now differentiate between central enablement and field enablement.
Q: What does it mean to scale your enablement function?
I always think about scale with impact, because the more you scale, the less impactful things become.
The more you try and do things that are common and look for commonalities, the more you also lose the nuance.
So when you're launching a product, understanding the market that they're launching and selling it to is unique in every single case.
When we think about scaling, you're trying to create frameworks that allow you to have standardization and excellence, but you’re not stifling the ability for people to be nuanced in the way they need to sell and do their role.
I think for me, scaling something means moving something from A to B. But it's very important to understand what A means and what B means.
So practically speaking, scaling enablement is making sure that we have a standard framework across the globe that provides information and resources that allow sellers to go to the market well.
However, I do think that personalization by country, region, and industry is very important.
There’s an important component of scalability here where, yes, we need to make sure that things grow fast, but we also need to understand what’s really needed by each region and group.
Otherwise, it's just a fluffy framework.
It becomes challenging to manage over time if you don't have this core, well-defined, well-aligned framework for the region.
If you work for a startup company with 10 employees, scalability means perhaps moving from zero to a good onboarding program.
Now, how do we make sure that our salespeople understand the product and go out to the market? How do we make sure that that salesperson is fully accountable and empowered to really understand the buyer's needs?
Then it's a different skill set that you need to work on. For example, more alignment to sales training than product training.
When you join a company as a sales enablement professional, the first questions are:
- What’s the momentum from a business perspective?
- What’s the maturity level of that company?
- What do people really need?
Sometimes we come with lots of experience and we want to scale on a global level with a really interesting sales enablement framework and program.
But internally, people don't work well with each other.
So perhaps scalability in that scenario means bringing people together and working in a framework that creates a positive environment and aligns the culture so we can go back to the market stronger.