Akarin Weatherford, Head of Revenue Enablement at Visier Inc, is an entrepreneurial, forward-thinking, and influential enterprise sales professional with extensive technical sales leadership and sales enablement experience.
At SEC’s Sales Enablement Summit in San Francisco, Akarin attended alongside his team, and in this case study, he discusses:
- How he found out about the event and why he chose to attend
- Why attending was worthwhile
- Actionable takeaways from the event
- What he’d say to someone who was on the fence about attending
How Akarin first heard about the event and why he decided to attend
“I started a new role at my company, Vizier, and one of the reasons I was brought in was to level up the sales enablement team - take it to the next level. We're going through a period of tremendous growth and we wanted to make sure we were ready, and that's one of the reasons I was brought in.
“We started researching and looking around saying: “Where can we find best practices within the industry?”. Of course that leads you through Google searches here and there, and then we asked: “Who's actually putting together shows and that sort of thing?”.
“Then we started looking at the breadth of the speakers that SEC has, we started looking at the different locations where SEC hosts these Summits, and it seemed like it was a very flexible and very easy way for us to get our team together (based upon our crazy schedules!) and get them the exposure that they need to understand what the industry looks like.
“We picked San Francisco specifically, just because of location. We have some people in Vancouver, some people on the East Coast, and we decided to converge into that location. We enjoyed every single minute of it, it was great.”
Akarin’s experience at the event
Building team confidence
“There's one thing that goes back to me coming into this new organization - their sales enablement team had people from all over the enterprise. There was a learning and development person, there's someone that actually was in sales, there was someone that was maybe doing non-sales things but became part of the group.
“So when I came in, I started to explain to them about the industry and the trends within the industry and I feel like one of the biggest benefits I had by bringing the team together to SEC’s event was that it gave validation to a lot of the things I said.
“In general, sales enablement is pretty new, and it's gaining a lot of traction. I think it really helped my organization to actually see what the industry is doing.
“They felt like they were left alone, set adrift at sea in a boat by themselves, doing these things they thought were sales enablement without proper guidance - but they actually were doing a lot of things right!
“It really gave them a lot of confidence to see other professionals and peers within the sales enablement profession, to hear and see what their peers are doing and how they're executing and getting those ideas and moving forward with them.”
“The second major benefit was networking - the networking opportunities are just amazing, we met so many other people.
“You always think that your problems are unique, but when you go and you meet these people, they say: “We have the same problem! The salespeople never listen to us” or “we can't motivate them to do this”.
“The problems are the same. I hate to say “you're not special”, but I mean that in a good way in this case because we have other people in a support group that have the same issues.
“We were able to find issues that we had during networking and potential solutions to that. And conversely, we were able to offer solutions to issues that we had already solved to other people facing similar problems.
“That was another amazing part.”
“The third amazing thing was bringing the vendors together in one spot. Sales enablement is really fragmented in general. You might go to one website or another website, things are maybe biased around a product that they're promoting.
“But when you start seeing multiple sales enablement platforms like Seismic, Highspot, and Showpad, all these vendors are there and it saves a lot of time on research.
“Being able to talk to people when they're in the same space and finding out about new tools, new ways to do things. Overall I think that that vendor piece was just amazing.”
“I would have to say we all took back a lot of actionable takeaways. We actually had almost too many, there were so many good ideas!
“So the hardest part isn’t taking away items that are actionable, it's really prioritizing which ones are going to make the most impact.
“There's no shortage of ideas that you can receive by going to SEC events, your biggest problem is going to be figuring out how to organize and implement all these great ideas you have, because there's so many to take.”
What Akarin would say to someone on the fence about attending
“If you’re on the fence and don’t want to go, maybe you’re thinking about holding off for a year - I’d urge you to reconsider.
“There’s so much accelerated knowledge that you’ll learn from your peers and it’s just-in-time too, so by the time you’ve missed out on a year - you might as well be two years behind.
“You’ll get to meet real people in the sales enablement industry, making a real impact. It’s a new industry and it’s constantly changing, so one year of missing out is way too much to miss out on.
“So come now, that’s my pitch!”