Welcome to the Inside Sales Enablement Podcast, Episode 42
In this episode, we’re joined by Erich Starrett, President of the Atlanta Chapter of the Sales Enablement Society.
We engage in a lively, candid discussion introducing “the five flavors” of Enablement #Orchestrator: Talent Enablement, Message Enablement, Pipeline Enablement, Organizational Enablement, and Commercial Enablement.
We also discuss the differences between generating data and creating insights. These factors have massive implications for Sales Enablement Leaders looking to Orchestrate across functional groups.
- Gathering multiple perspectives by “shaking and sorting” each person’s perspective into patterns that others can agree on is absolutely critical to orchestrating.
- Confirming those patterns while gaining commitment to act, and factoring in the current “mental maps” of others and how they see the challenge is required to enrolling others.
- Unifying action through clarifying where people “Get to yes” and then synthesizing the information into 2-3 executable insights are required to gain traction with important initiatives.
Scott and Brian followed this process for the State of Sales Enablement Research. That’s why listening to this episode is an important ingredient to your future success. Data just doesn’t provide this level of current state reality — Data is simply too far in the rear-view mirror.
To view the research method, visit https://www.OrchestrateSales.com/research/
Join us at https://www.OrchestrateSales.com/podcast/ to collaborate with peers, join Insider Nation, participate in the conversation and be part of the continued elevation of the profession.
Welcome to the inside sales enablement podcast. Where has the profession been? Where is it now? And where is it heading? What does it mean to you, your company, other functions? The market? Find out here. Join the founding father of the sales enablement profession Scott Santucci and Trailblazer Brian Lambert, as they take you behind the scenes of the birth of an industry, the inside sales enablement podcast starts now.Scott Santucci:
I'm Scott Santucci.Brian Lambert:
I'm Brian Lambert and we are the sales enablement insiders. This podcast is focused on helping you be more successful overcoming the sales complexity inside your company so that your salespeople can be more effective in the market. If you're an enablement, leader, looking to elevate your function, expand your sphere of influence, and increase your impact with customers. You're in the right spot. And as you guys know, we usually start with a framing story. And I'm going to do at this time, Scott. Do you know Filippo Brunaleschi?Scott Santucci:
Yeah, I shouldn't ask I shouldn't get Italian. All right. So 15th century what what do you know about him?Scott Santucci:
Well, this is your your frame his story, but he's the build the Duomo, the dome and forends in Florence.Brian Lambert:
That's right.Scott Santucci:
And it was the first major dome built since the decline of the Roman Empire.Brian Lambert:
That's right. He also rediscovered the laws of perspective. And that helped him build the dome. Those those laws has actually been lost for hundreds of years. But he figured out a mathematical approach to prove out forms and spaces actually shrink over time. So that's probably another reason why you know, because I know you like math,Scott Santucci:
huh? MathBrian Lambert:
is Work is work led to this guy Alberdi discovering the first theory of linear perspective. But that led alberty led to Da Vinci and Da Vinci equals Mona Lisa. So those those aspects of perspective are important.Scott Santucci:
So I'm resisting the urge to geek out about Renaissance, Italian history. Really, really, really resisting the urge. But I think the real point is, what the hell does that have anything to do with sales enablement?Brian Lambert:
Good question. Well, in my view, especially since that time, everybody's there's been a lot of actually advances in using different mechanisms, math, etc, to aid in the recording of reality of moving a three dimensional world into a two dimensional space. Some use math, some use machines, some thought that they were artists, others were scientific. But that simple concept of you know, translating reality of what you see onto a flat picture plane is challenging. And I often feel like that was sales, sales is multi dimensional. And sometimes it gets into a two dimensional space, and we can lose perspective and we can lose what reality is. And that's why that's important to sales enablement. Because you and I Scott actually just went through what I would consider to be the most comprehensive and expansive research project on a sales enablement space. If you look at it, we gathered inputs from hundreds of people through the open ended survey, you interviewed 40 people, I interviewed 10 or so 15 or so we conducted six panel, dive deep dive panels with 18 experts. And we talked to many CEOs. And we're here on the dawn of the webinar that's coming up where you're going to share the perspective of all that, and what you've learned what the key executable insights are. So when you look at how that went through, I thought it'd be good to take a pause here and talk about the approach that we took and also bring on somebody to help us do that. So I actually have a special guest with us here. Erich Starrett. Hey there.Erich Starrett:
Hey guys, Dr. Lambert, Santucci, how you doing honored and humbled to be here with you as an insider. tell you this man, this series has been amazing groundbreaking, and it's spun me in circles I didn't see coming. Thank you so much for investing the time to do this.Scott Santucci:
For those of you don't know Erich is the only person that's ever worn my lab coatErich Starrett:
I thought that was between you and I ScottScott Santucci:
there are some pictures.Erich Starrett:
Oh my goodness.Scott Santucci:
That's that's a San Antonio sales enablement society conference stories. So for those of you who are in the sales enablement society, ask him and also I'm very grateful for you to be on here. You're a chapter leader for Atlanta, right?Erich Starrett:
Yes, proud to be so Thank you, sir.Scott Santucci:
What we're doing here is, is talking about our panel. And I'm very curious, Erich about what it is that you found so intriguing about it?Erich Starrett:
Well, I'll tell you what, it's from the organic get go, the sheer fact that you were bold enough to put together a survey, that wasn't a circle the number. First of all, I had to actually stop what I was doing during the day when I received it. And think, and I love when something challenges me to stop and think. And in fact, it's been me so hard on some of them. I was like, hey, Scott, I'm gonna need some more time on some of this stuff. Because sales enablement is so important to me. And you know, my backstory. And we'll probably get to that in a little bit about how my identity and sales enablement have merged. But what you all are doing in this series of throwing out crazy, dangerous, really open ended questions that could open up to anything the current state of sales enablement, and then the way that you've actually synthesize the responses into something that can be consumed, which, by the way, is a big whale to eat. But I love how you've done the little things like you've created a landing page that breaks down how all of this evolved from the first series about think it was five different podcasts, where kind of these questions started coming up at the beginning of COVID. When you did the COVID. panel, and you started to go, Well, hey, there's something here, let's go ahead and put a stake in the ground and look at the state of sales enablement, then you throw out a survey with wide open questions. And so the way that you approach that is a turn around with a series of panels of like minded folks looking at it from six different angles so far. And I hope and pray that there are more different angles to come from, because every new panel is sharing more insights and new synthesis that I didn't see coming, especially from something that wasn't ranked. And when there's not a metric associated with it, I was a little wondering how you were gonna bring this all together, and I can't wait to hear what you guys do on a 19th By the way,Brian Lambert:
so um, insider nation, Erich, Starrett, he's a he's a connector. And as you guys can tell from his energy, he creates a spark anywhere he goes. So I met him, actually about a year ago. We're almost at our one year anniversary of the Sir Yes. And, and also meeting you, because the podcast just come out. You ping me on LinkedIn. And you're like, hey, this podcast is cool. And I'm in Atlanta. And I said, Hey, I'm actually going to be there next week, I had a sales call. And I was coming down. So you and I connected and you have you had a Top Golf membership. And so we hung out at Top Golf. And I think we wax poetic about sales enablement for like four hours or something. Yeah, we have today. It was awesome.
So fast forward eight months, you're now as Scott said, the Atlanta chapter leader. And also you're here, I invited you on because you kept pinging me. And it sounds like you're talking to Scott as well through LinkedIn. And when it first started about this process for following, and I thought it would just be great to get you on and unpack what we did. So that we can we can document it to hear what it meant to you. But also three, make improvements going forward. One of the things that we did to try to help with that, because we knew volume wise from from the end, in the beginning, we were just following the process. It's not like we knew exactly how many people would volunteer to help us things like that though, as we were going through this, we started documenting what was going on and through their website, right. So when you go to inside se.com that we put the we put the method up there, and we were actually updating that almost daily.Erich Starrett:
So that's a call to action to everyone listening to this. Start with the results on the site, the methodology, the approach, I love, as you all do on an ongoing basis in your podcasts. You do such a good job of not just posting a podcast, but providing a little bit of a backstory. And as well some additional follow up on what happened some some notes on what happened during the individual podcast, but y'all took it up a notch on this one. In fact, that's part of the reason I love being on this call is when you go to the research, I think it's inside se forwards.org or.com forward slash research that in fact, you find the entire backstory, which was fascinating to me, including words like I ethnographic research and phenomenological which were not in my vocabularyScott Santucci:
find eitherErich Starrett:
Yeah. And I heard that on the on the call, I loved it. I'm like, oh, my goodness, thank goodness that I'm not alone in the phenomenological, and ethnographic not being part of a vocabulary. But the fact is that between the two of you, you've both leveraged your gifts to invest in not only an amazing approach, but you've documented every single piece of it, and the background of it. And the fact that it's not funded by any one organization, these are real people showing up, taking time out of their day, hitting pause, like I didn't go in holy crap, this is some really thought provoking stuff. And that is what creates a synthesize thoughtful state of sales enablement result. And again, I can't wait to hear what y'all come up with. And I love how you've documented it all. And I suggest anyone again, sorry, guys, but it is like eating a whale, the amazing amount of content that you've been able to produce. But the fact of the matter is you thought about that, and you thought about your, your customer, you thought about me, you thought about insider nation, and those that are just showing up for the first time. And you documented all of that so well on the website to anyone listening. If this happens to be your first podcast in the series, please go look at that site. And I guarantee you hours and hours of thoughtful conversation, great questions, great interactions, from six to 12 different angles. And I believe there are more to come.Brian Lambert:
questions from you, Erich. And this, this shows really, I want you to fire away You said you had some questions. And I thought that would be one of the best ways to really pull it out of our heads. Right? We're pretty close to it. The webinars coming up in a couple days. What questions do you have?Erich Starrett:
Well, for me, I'd start with I'd love a deeper peek behind the curtain, guys. I mean, I've read the website. But how did you come up with this thing? Like, I understand it came organically out of that first series on COVID. But it seems like such a great amount of thought was put into the survey. The different I think you've had six different panels at this point that have kind of chimed in. I'd love to get that inside the inside or nation behind the curtain. Look at how you pulled this off. What's going on? How's the sausage being made? What do you find it without giving away the stuff on the 19th? But tell me how this all came together? For me and my peers? Please?Brian Lambert:
What do you think Scott? Should we maybe? I mean, we can take kind of a series, you know, date driven house approach, but I think it's probably better to start with the outcomes or the goals around it. Or maybe even well,Scott Santucci:
start with the start with the survey itself.Brian Lambert:
Yeah, okay.Scott Santucci:
Erich out started is in the COVID series. And if you go back and people can go back and listen to that. You guys know what episode number is part two. But in our in our COVID series, which actually was Dr. Howard Dover's idea. I was talking I'm trying to figure out what was going on. I said, Well, let's he said, somebody should be talking about this. And so well, let's have a panel. So we were able to get Kunal from TCV, and executive from TCP. Lindsay is a salesperson from from Microsoft. And frankly, I think it's funny that we had her on to keep us honest. But you know, that's a joke only I appreciate, I think, and and Dr. Dover, and we were talking about, here are the facts of what we know today, based on what we know, how can we use that to predict or anticipate what actions were? What actions would be taken, because of course, my biggest concern was, what's COVID going to do to the state of the sales enablement profession? And canol made a comment. So I'm pretty familiar with how private equity thanks, made a comment that was disconcerting. And really the comment had, I wish I had the quotes, I think, Brian, maybe we should pull out that exact moment in time. But the quotes were how they expect to see a sales enablement role stitch together resources across the organization, so that they that they concurrent and converted a value and they don't see any of their companies doing that. And to me, that's a big red flag about what I think sales enablement is and what what a, the advantage of being strategic about it. So that was really the motivation of Why I wanted to create a create a survey. Is that helpful? Is this the kind of stuff that you're looking for Erich are at because I can go through point by point by point. But it's,Erich Starrett:
it's super helpful. And it's to get to an end. So I have some questions on why you didn't do what you didn't do. So as a for instance, I didn't hear really, I'd love to hear the chief marketing officers view, I think it was Bohr or the fourth or fifth panel where someone called out well, pretty much tell him what's going to get gobbled up by the Chief Marketing Officer. Right. And I thought that was a pretty good point, that there was not yet a panel on that. It sounds like you might have it in the works, but maybe a little bit of a peek behind the curtain on some of the folks you haven't yet talked to. And soScott Santucci:
there's a there's talk to and then there's panels. So I think we got to go back to the the methodology and sorry to be pretty methodical here, but I'm a methodical of it kind of guy. I'm asking the question, Scott. Thank you. So the first thing was, so what was the inspiration? So then the next thing is, before you do a search, at least, how I've learned, before you do a survey, figure out what's the question you're asking. Okay, and I'm a big fan of having the least amount of questions possible. And not designing a survey. That's, that's, that's too much.
So when I was putting that together, my first draft was, well, this is all stuff that I want to know. And if I ask these questions, then I'm assuming my definition is by definitions are correct. If there's one thing I know for sure is, no one's got the same definition of anything in the space. So that drew me more to open into questions. So I said, All right. I know from experience, it's really hard to get people to respond to open ended questions. So I said, if we get 25 responses, that would be great. Let's design this that in a way that would be most insightful. So we use the idea of business within a business as a construct. Why is that a construct? Because if you're running sales enablement, strategically, you're orchestrating resources across the board. And that's really what a business is designed to do, is to convert shareholder shareholder money, do good stuff to it, make value for customers, and then everybody's happy. That's theoretically what a business should be. So organized the survey that way. So the goal was to get 25 responses. And then we got the responses back, and in one week, we got 70. And I don't know. So because you completed the survey, you got to get the responses. It was an overwhelming amount of information was and Erich,Erich Starrett:
it was and that's part of the reason. I love that I'm the insider, y'all chose to get to come and ask some of these questions. And it's really helping.Scott Santucci:
So in that, in that, in that survey, when you're getting them back, and you're reading them, I'm like, Oh, my God, we've got 20. We've got 15, we got so many part of the there were two things that were going on in my head, right? Thing number one was, this is a lot of analysis to do. And the second thing is if I do it myself, I'm just putting my own bias onto it. So what I did is I drafted up a program that I called a guest analyst program. So one of the things that I know I'm a this isn't pro Trump or not pro Trump, that I'm not making that delineation. But one thing I agree with him on is fake news. I think we have a lot of fake news. And I think we have a tremendous amount of fake news and sales enablement, and sales, regardless.
So one of the things that I learned at Forrester are that we have forcers, we do our own analysis, as Forrester analysts, and I said, you know, this is an opportunity to break the mold on that. What if we deputize? You know, for lack of a better word, a whole bunch of experts out there? And what if instead of having our viewpoint confined by the politics that exist within my company, at Forest or the politics that exists within Gardner, because there's a lot of politics and those that actually do shape what the research is, we are free from any politics. So let's embrace that. And I'm thinking, What if I were able to get 20 people that I know from all angles of sales in a month so the design point of the survey was to get what sales enablement people think then the idea of the the guest analyst program is to get people aren't sales enablement. People think of this of this study. So I drafted I think it's to two or three pages Brian helped me, helped me draft it and outlined what our program I was going to be the guest analyst program.
So how do you give people context about what they're participating in? What's the ask of them? How you're actually going to schedule? How do you schedule 20 interviews? For example, when everybody's so busy? We set the idea of we're going to have panels, and we're going to do this all in a six week period of time. How do you schedule that? How do you get it going? So we gave representatives also, how do you describe what a panel is before we actually do one? So we wrote all those things up. And we said, our goal is to do three of them. Because it's, it's pretty aggressive to try to do these. And I said, here's a list of types of panels that we'd want to do. So I think my list of representatives had 12 that we'd love to do. I'd love to do a CFO only panel, we got pretty close to getting a CEO panel of the vendors in the space. Imagine how cool that'd be, maybe we can stall? I'd love it.Erich Starrett:
Don't give up. Don't give up fight for that one. Do all those. Yeah.Scott Santucci:
But just sort of the timeline. Because you have to have time to do that, do the podcasts, you got to do the interviews for everybody. So the whole process was there was a there was a step between the survey and the panels. And what that step was, was interviews. So I interviewed. So what the interview process was, I sent that note out, I only got three to four declines. Two of them were VCs who don't cover the space anymore. One of them was Marvin Spears, who's a who runs sales enablement, strategy and operations at Wells Fargo. So you can probably imagine that they were a little busy. And then somebody else. So I was really delighted that that, you know, people took me up on the offer. And instead of having 20, guest analysts, I did 43 interviews. And what I had to do for each one is write an outline, you know, an outline of what we're going to cover, I sent them the sample, the same set of data that you looked at, I sent them that we scheduled the time to talk, I asked them beforehand to read the information. I did did those interviews, I asked them all the same set of questions. I didn't share much what I thought, just ask them what they thought and wrote down all the notes. So that was the interview process.Brian Lambert:
So can I just recap real quick what I heard just to make sure our listeners are in the same and they're tracking, right? Because there's, there's a whole piece of this that we're outlining, which I think helps provide a frame of reference, like a scaffold. And then Erich's asking questions, it seemed, perhaps into each area. So first thing you did, Scott was, you know, what's the catalyst for this? It's the COVID part two, and it's at 16 minutes in on that. So that's the time hack of when that that kunaal comment was made? Is it 16 minutes of Part Two? So that was a you know, spider senses went off, because you understand how VCs think. And he and it was that, that kick in the pants, so to speak around? Oh my gosh. Or like, holy cow. Like what was that? What was that? He didn't explain it. You just said he knew how that they think. So that that's where it will come back to is that moment and why that was so important to maybe do the further research. But from there you you said look, I've got a I'm going to do some research and sales enablement. We're going to we're going to talk about sales enablement, we're going to come up with research questions and you went through the process of it's not going to be a quantitative is my translation to that you know, you're not going to circle on a one to five you're gonna use open ended, you're gonna put the the survey out and try to get 25 people we ended up with 70, and eventually hundred. then based on that open ended data that was collected, you did interviews, 43 interviews, and we did six panel, we're calling them panel podcasts, which everybody can listen to. And then from the panel podcast, we had some reports that we wrote up some LinkedIn blogs, and then Tuesday, that's all coming together into one one hour session. So all those touch points come into one thing called the webinar Tuesday.
So that's the that's the flow of this right? So that's the mechanics of it. Right? So going back now that we've 3d printed that so to speak, we've run through end to end on the procedure. Let's go back to part one. Why was it so important? What what is it that Kunal said that made made it you you take that holy cow, I got it, we got to do some research in the state of sales enablement because of that.Scott Santucci:
Well, I think what it comes down to is, geez when we founded the sales enablement society And you can go read the letter to members that I wrote in 2017. I think one of the goals is how do we elevate the profession, and there's literally a description about what that role should be. And that role should be to be the be a resource to help drive overall sales productivity. When kunaal described what they were looking for stitching together things for better results, as like, that's literally exactly what the society was chartered to go do. And the fact that they had no example of anybody doing it is kind of a big red flag. To me. There's a clear definition of what it is if you just remember it and stay focused on it. And the gap, the delta of what the business problem is, and they're highlighting their their investors are frustrated with all of the portfolio companies because they're not doing this thing. Couldn't be more of a proof positive of what the Bennett business benefit of sales enablement is. So I'm wondering what the heck are we doing? as a profession if we have that business opportunity, super clear. I just snapped like, Oh, my gosh, it Yeah, eyes are screaming for somebody to step up and play the role that we highlight it out. Why aren't people stepping up and doing it?Erich Starrett:
So hey, Scott, if you don't mind, I'd love to jump in and get inside your head for a second. Hmm. So I think what I'm really asking is why like, as you're thinking through this process, and you, you and Brian have come together, and you're like, we're gonna do this thing. We've got this catalyst that came out of this COVID series. For instance, why did you choose those six panels that I've listened to over the last month or so?Scott Santucci:
Well, so those, I think, what's important here is this evolved? I think the question you should ask is, what did I Why did I? Did I wait and have all this planned out? Before I started? No, did not wait. I came up with a vision. And I did. And I did. And then I reevaluated each step, each step along the way, and added more things to it to make it more clear. So the six panels that we had, we're not, we're not designed specifically, they were a byproduct of following a process.Erich Starrett:
And, and again, my apologies, because I'm so far from being good at doing this sort of thing. And that's part of the reason I'm so amazed. When you say following a process, that framework is one of those two big fancy words being phenomenological. AndScott Santucci:
I honestly, I don't know those. I didn't know those words.Erich Starrett:
Okay. Fair enough. But Brian Lambert was involved so I bet he does.Scott Santucci:
the process, right. So I think that the issue here is this. If, if we were to make it really simple and research to be accessible for everybody, in my opinion, the art of research is asking a good question. And spending the time to get a good question. And I think anybody in sales enablement, they spend time can ask a good question, then the next step is, how do I make sure it's not my opinion? That's the answer. Because no one cares about my opinion. No one cares about your opinion, what they care about is what's the right answer? Not what you think the right answer is. So if you go step number one, ask a question. Then step number two is, what is a process that I could follow it at? A I wouldn't this is the problem with the word process. What phases Can I go through to make sure that I challenge my bias? Rather than step one, I do this and I follow these tasks. Step two, I do that it's always checking. Am I asking the right question? And then, am I eliminating bias?
So the first thing is, ask a question, do a survey to get other people's feedback. And I did it in open ended format so that I would get more data points. I think that's really what I know. We want to talk about the panels because you got to hear them. But there's many, many things that happened before the panels to begin with.Erich Starrett:
Okay. Okay, so Ma, is so let me go high level, and I'm no PMP. I'll preempt it with that. But let me be super simple. Did you have a project plan?Scott Santucci:
Interesting. So to me that's really interesting, because again, the websites so phenomenal. It looks as if you followed a methodology and you're saying you just went ready, fireScott Santucci:
aim. Let's do it, though. I didn't. I didn't say that either. Okay, I did methodology. didn't fall PMP I think PMP gets you in two boxes. If you were to followErich Starrett:
that project plan, I said, I'm no PMP. I'm not trying toScott Santucci:
Okay, or a project project plan if there's too rigid. Um, there is a process. It's a process more like making a movie than it isn't process, like, I'm going to follow a business process. So, when you make a movie, you say, Alright, do we have a script to have a general idea what we're doing? They start filming before they have all the script written? Hmm. So you love to take action in a in a state of mind like that. So the first thing is do the work to figure out step one, what's my first thing? Then say what my goals are? And everything that I do every stage I do I have measurable goals for I freak a lot of people out about it, because I always raise them. But so I said, Okay, I'm going to do a good a surf survey. I wrote it. I wrote a few versions of it. And then I said, I want 25 answers. I want 25 responses. Then, by Tuesday, I said no, I want 50. Now, and then, you know, by the end of the week, in one week, we got 70 responses. If you know anyoneBrian Lambert:
who's trackingScott Santucci:
losses, it's a huge turnaround. And it's expensive to you know, get that kind of resume, but I just filled it on LinkedIn. And then the other thing that I learned was a Yeah, how you engage people to get curious to take it. So it was how I metErich Starrett:
love that word.Brian Lambert:
Yeah, meanwhile, he's tracking all this. So he's like, hey, Brian, we need more people. Because he's goal focused, right? Because right. And I was like, what's that? We already had enough? No, we raised it again. I'm like, okay, I can I can see that this would be valuable to our insider nation to have more respondents, I'm down for that. Right, instead of we've achieved some sort of goal. It. So we would have conversations about like, yeah, that might be a little bit more work for us. But what's valuable to our listeners? Yeah. Second thing is to the question around, like, Where did the website come from? It's one of those things where like, Scott's like, I'm getting a bunch of questions around what we're doing. And I'm like, Well, I don't know, maybe we send emails to people. And he's like, yeah, it's not very user friendly. Maybe we can build a website. And that was it. That was basically it. That was that's where it was like line 12 on the project plan, build a website, you know, there was no project plan. But my point is, that's the genesis of this. And I'm like, well, what's the goal of it? Instead of saying, what should it look like? What's the goal of it? He's like, transparency. Okay. That's, that's where it came from.Erich Starrett:
So what I'm hearing is, I'm watching a plane land on the 19th, that when it took off was maybe a bucket with four wheels and a couple flaps. So you literally built this plane in the air.Scott Santucci:
We didn't even with a goal, I would say that we had a vehicle, I wouldn't even know whether it was a plane or a car, I love it, or whatever. And we built it, and we kept changing the destination. And how many passengers are involved in it, etc. Totally, we're still building the findings presentation, right now, two days before,Brian Lambert:
and this is this is going to help us, you know, is an idea to around this around. Because the communications need to be tight. And we need to be simple. A lot of what we do is try to get, you know, practice in the leverage. So instead of us having a meeting, like let's do a podcast, that's what this is. So this is this is helping Scott with his messaging around, what's the methodology? It's helping our listeners understand, I think, oh, what we're doing, and then it's helping you, Erich, close the switch. So that's Yeah, leverage.Scott Santucci:
And and I want to give you more context, I still want to answer your questions about the panels. Hmm. But we have to go into. So this was the goal with the survey. This was the design. I think it's interesting when you get when you expect 25 responses, and you get 70 in a week. The quality of the people responded, were also high caliber. And you can tell if you look at the responses, people put a lot of time and effort into it. So I'm like, wow, we got a much higher turnout of our responses from open ended survey than I thought. The second thing is people put time into it. So I appreciate that. I don't know what that means yet. I'm not really interested in evaluating that at this moment. Have to go back and do that evaluate it later. But the second thing is, how are we going to evaluate it? So we got way more almost three 300% over quota of what we think We were going to do is like we need to expand what we're doing here, instead of just making this a podcast, let's do something bigger. So that was the idea of the executive of the analyst program. The webinar only came out after we done two or three panels. There was never an idea for it. But I said, you know, if I don't set a date for a forcing function to do something, this will go on forever. I need a date. So I set the date. I don't know maybe. I don't know.Brian Lambert:
Three or four weeks ago. Yeah. Yeah. And he didn't he just threw it out there and said, we're doing it there wasn't even an agenda on the website. We got Nope, 30 people that RSVP?Scott Santucci:
Yeah. So we just said, this is what we're to do. We're put the stake in the ground. May 19 11 o'clock am Tuesday, I just decided to do it. And I scheduled that. And so that was the end state. And now that now the question is, so how many podcasts are we going to do before then? And then also, we're still sort of scheduling interviews. So the other point is, you're saying who we didn't get input in? I want to say that we did get input I have interviewed for the CEOs of the four biggest sales enablement, comp, vendors, seismic show pad, mine tickle, and to say show Pat already sales head. No, highspot. Yeah. Okay. I interviewed authors. So, Eli's, Eli's really great and really helpful. For us. It's just hard to categorize him. Is he a CEO? Is he an author? Is he? Is he a former practitioner? He's all Yes.
So I think he like gets his own distinction and in the story, but he's always been very helpful for me. So, you know, he's somebody that we interviewed. I interviewed some practitioners, I interviewed some sales people, I interviewed a lot of marketers, I think that, in my observation, the sales enablement community, at least the one that I'm most associated with in the sales and society has not been as inclusive of marketers as it could be. So I've reached out to marketers to get their perspectives. I've obviously we interviewed professors, I interviewed business consultants. So big call out SBI. I think it's remarkable that SBI because I reached out to several, a few consultants, but for SBI, to, you know, participate and spend some research and tell me what they're seeing too, is really, it's really a big deal. We had soar consulting on and actually, that went so well, he took over our show. So we interviewed a lot of people, 43 is a lot. And I'll tell you some of the things that you learn about is you have to be open minded in these things, and not so laser focused, because I was I had six interviews one day, I can't remember exactly what that day was. And I had this weird feeling in my stomach.
My my question that I was focused on is were sales in a one heading? I think that's the wrong question. Hmm. And where I got there was I just got this feeling after interviewing people. Everybody's viewpoint is all over the place. There's no real consensus about what it is. There's just a lot of disagreement. We can talk about definitions we could talk about whether it's whether it's clear, and I woke up one morning and I just had this feeling of it's a platypus.
Sales Enablement is a platypus. Is it? Erich? Is it a profession?Erich Starrett:
You know, I love the platypus thing. It is a noun. It's a thing. It's a thing. Or it might be a business within a business. Scott Santucci.Scott Santucci:
Yeah, maybe we'll see. But what is it? Is this? Is this aBrian Lambert:
Is it a market? Right? Is it an idea? Is it just hype? What is this thing?Erich Starrett:
And I didn't realize it is a necessity. I know that much. You guys keep reinvigorating that fact.Scott Santucci:
Well, well, what is a necessity though, is doing stuff randomly to help sales. A thing the that's not a function,Erich Starrett:
if I may the function of someone who has the skill set to have a cross functional view and the seat at the table of credibility in order to get everyone together with a client in mind, through sales, which drives the business is an absolute necessity. It may be called sales enablement, but there is a role that needs to break down those silos and y'all are championing it.Scott Santucci:
So we'll see, like, we'll see how that goes. I'm trying to give you the insight on the interview. So this is you, you adjust. What I try to do with the interviews is be very diligent. So what I would do is I'd send out the survey data schedule a time, I give them the backstory. So if you were the interviewer, I'd say, Erich, you know, what do you know about the backstory? Well, you know about, so give it give the same backstory. And I said, Okay, you're ready, because I'm going to ask you a bunch of open ended questions. And then you'd say, yeah, I'm ready. And then I'd say, Okay, so what did you think? But what kind of context as like, you get no context, I literally just want to know what you think, based on the data that you saw, what patterns did you say? And what I learned by that, Erich is, I learned that, well, when I didn't learn this, I know this. And we all know this, every person sees the world differently. What I learned is that there's clear patterns of how we're all seeing this differently. And what I just basically try to do is make a map of people's maps.
So that's really what what, what I ended up focusing on. And then that's why we wanted to do panels, is let's get people who are like minded together. And instead of being a community, that only folk that focuses so much on where we disagree, let's get people on record where they agree. And that takes a tremendous amount of energy. And it takes a lot of work to create that kind of environment. But so long as we're interviewing people. We're saying, look, here's what we're going to do, I'm going to invite you to a panel. So our first panel, you know, Josie, you sound very similar to, you know, what Mike's saying? And what Tamra saying, Would you guys be willing to have a panel, here's the catch, I'm going to ask you these three questions. They're open ended, I'm not going to, you know, moderate you guys or whatever, I'm going to focus on getting you to agree. That's what I'm going to focus in on. And that's how we set it up.
So the goal of the panels were to get like minded people together. Here the richness of their different perspectives, because even like minded people, Josie, Mike, and Tamra are all different. We have different backgrounds, they have different x experiences. And I like to focus on where people's strengths are. And say, Josie, talk more about that, because I think that's a strength. Josie has Mike, talk more about this, because I think that's a strength. Mike has Tamra talk more about this, because that's a strength Tamra has. And I like to concentrate on people's strengths, and then say, based on those strengths, let's figure out where we agree.Erich Starrett:
I love it. And well, that that's the peek behind the curtain. I was looking for Scott, we got there, which is you were looking for? How do I listen to these three like minded folks find the cohesion that's synthesis and what's being said, and reframe it up and get everyone to kind of nod their heads that builds towards a state of agreement?Scott Santucci:
Yes, and I'll add to this, what I've learned through all of this is those of us who are in business, you know, yourself, Brian, etc, we are really conditioned to give if you give default feedback, catch yourself, the default feedback that you're giving is constructive. Maybe. But it's critical. Because that's what we learned to do. Even if you wanted to give positive feedback, you probably wouldn't, because you you don't have the vocabulary for it. How do you give positive feedback, and the whole everything is skewed against it. And it makes it difficult. So it pushes us into a more pessimistic view of things simply because of our own language. And I think if you do the work to say, here's what the positive thing is, here's where people do a great, yes, the conditions that we have are subpar. But that doesn't mean innovation isn't happening. Here's what's happening over here in these pockets. These people just don't have the vocabulary to talk about it. I think that's really an important skill, that sales enablement people need to develop. And I think it's important because your top reps are doing really well. They can't describe what it is that they're doing. If the wholesaler force is going to improve, we need to be able to skill sets to be able to translate, you know, top rep speak, and or translate it to your point earlier on Erich, to be able to translate between finance speak, and product speak, or product speak and marketing speak or marketing speak and sales speak. We're separated by lots of different tongues or like a tower of Babel inside corporations. And I don't think we're doing enough job of trying to listen to each other.Brian Lambert:
One of the things that you and I talked about Scott was an Erich just to relay this, it has to do with this is very easy to get into, okay, it's this step, it's this step, it's this step. But because we, you can probably hear, it's casting a net into the environment to capture reality. So the the first it was like a series of shakes to shake out these perspectives. So for example, the discussion that Scott shared around coming up with the survey instrument, so obviously, there has to be scoped. And he had a mental model for that he is the business with a business. But those open ended questions that became the first shake of reality was people's responses to that survey, then the second shake of reality came in the interviews that Scott did. And then the third shake of reality, distillation, if you will, or getting to agreement or Yes, was in the panel discussions. And then the final shake is the actual webinar, where that's all going to come into one place. What are we what are we shaking there? It's not where people disagree. It's not where the gaps are, and all, you know, uh, you know, we're not shitting on people, we should do this, we shouldn't do that everybody's, you know, needs to get their act together. It's where do people agree? Where do people have agreement can go in two ways, what the gaps are, and also what the possibilities are. And I guess I'll add a third, what's working.
So when you look at what the gaps are, what the possibilities are, and what's working, and you shake that through these these sibs? If you will, you start seeing very clear patterns. But if we had gone in planning all this out, we would have missed them is that is the big takeaway on this idea of kind of shaking this out. Literally, we're shaking down reality, shaking out reality, following where reality goes. And then it's all going to come into one webinar for an hour, all of this, how many hundreds of hours went into it's coming into one hour? Right? So that's now you know, for everybody to make a decision? Do I go to the one hour? And is it good? Do I need to have the panel? Great, it's available for you go listen to that shake? Do I need to go take the survey? Go do that shake, that's fine. But all of these are specific outputs that each person builds with each other. Scott, do you have anything you want to add to that?Scott Santucci:
I want to add in the interest of, you know, full disclosure, disclosure about the interview process this morning. So we're recording this on Sunday. This morning, I wrote a thank you post out to LinkedIn. And I want to highlight why I'm thanking, you know, the guest analysts. I asked super hard questions. And incredibly direct. So in the spirit of shaking, one of the questions was, so, Erich, we can roleplay this out. Okay.Brian Lambert:
No, you ready?Erich Starrett:
Yeah. Bring it.Brian Lambert:
All right.Erich Starrett:
Bring it. I love it. I love it.Scott Santucci:
I'll read the survey results. We've already had a few quick few questions. So Erich, I want you to imagine a pasture. A nice pasture. Can you picture that in your head?Erich Starrett:
I can see what's out the window. Bring it.Scott Santucci:
Okay, perfect. So in that pasture, what I want you to do is imagine there's 100 cows in it. Okay. Okay. Just nice little cows and this pasture is, it's neither a great pasture, or a poor pasture. It's just sort of an average pasture. Now, what I want you to do is based on the survey results and everything, I want you to imagine each cow as a sales enablement leader. Okay. Can you get the picture that you're in your head? Yes, sir. Okay. Now, given COVID how many of those cows are going to the slaughterhouse?Erich Starrett:
Well, listen to every minute of what you've done so far, and I believe that's 12% of them. So 12 of them, sir.Scott Santucci:
Well, so you have facts, but the point is, you didn't have those at the time. So fair enough. You know, get people thinking. Yeah. And the what was interesting about that is it caught people off guard, and I agree ended up more dramatically earlier, and then reason is I like to lean in to the pessimism. See whether or not people are really pessimistic or really optimistic.Erich Starrett:
Okay, can I step in there? Yeah. So you can probably see me coming. But I'm a little bit of an optimist. And I'd like to say that the 12% of those cows that were sent out the past year in Octave, McDonald's may not have been the epitome of what sales enablement, the definition of what good looks like is, which we're all trying to figure out, which is part of what I love about this process. Is that's part of what keeps me up at night. Still, even though I found my identity is, what is sales enablement? What does good look like but the fact is, there is good sales enablement out there. And the fact of the matter is that out of those other cows, even they can be lifted up, fattened up, and can crush it even better. So there might be a benefit. There's definitely a benefit to what you all are doing. But the folks who are excelling in this role, I think the opportunity that you guys are putting a huge spotlight on is there's something good going on here. What is it? Let's I hate to say the word quantify, because I love where we're going with all these open ended questions. But there is a what good looks like and my suggestion is that out of that field of the remaining, whatever that is 78 cows, there are at least five different flavors of meat, all of which are phenomenal for the right company at the right time.Scott Santucci:
So what's interesting about that, that process so let's let's quit role playing ourselves and just sort of imagine having had that conversation with say 40 people. Okay, how varied those that that? That would be, I had to amend it, because some people are vegans, and they didn't like the slaughterhouse metaphor.Erich Starrett:
Fair enough, right? But think about soybean field.Scott Santucci:
Soylent Green, right? If you'reErich Starrett:
Oh, my goodness, I love you, man. Yeah, you got some good cinnamon? Yeah, you got some good cinnamon? Yeah,Scott Santucci:
yep. But anyway, if you think about like, what that does, first of all, I don't want to tap into what people think that they think that they should say or think that I want to hear, I want to know what they really think. And in order to do that, you have to be able to design the right kinds of questions. And now we're talking about cows, but then we're merging it back into, you know, what people really believe in. So what's interesting is in a herd, so you get back to sort of the herd mentality human beings. People are wondering, who are their cliques within sales enablement? community that I want not individuals, but types of sales enablement, people that I should be, where's my bird of a feather? Is sales enablement, too broad? Or are their maturity stages? Or are some people really fixated on doing things? And some people are too strategic? Is there a balance between those things? And what happens is these new patterns emerge by not having that kind of structure. And by by having lots of conversations, guess what these patterns that were all already there in nature reveal themselves? So that's, that's sort of an interesting, interesting byproduct. We're gonna Yes, we make a call of what these things look like.Erich Starrett:
So Scott, I'm about to ask you, I'm about to ask you possibly the most important question of my life and sales enablement. Mm hmm. We started off by sharing the I've had the amazing opportunity to step in to Kristy West's shoes, as the President of the sales enablement Society of Atlanta. And I'll share that my first chapter meeting was all about identity. Who were the people in this room? What is the definition of sales enablement to you? Which leads to Who are you? How did you get here, which leads to Who are we as a sales enablement Society of Atlanta, you just hit on the two things that are driving me right now not only as a sales enablement Society of Atlanta leader, but I have the opportunity right now to be on the horn with the two guys, the two of the core core guys who founded the entire global sales enablement society and wrote the definition. So exactly what you just said, Scott, is what drives me two things. What are those five flavors? What are those three ish levels? How do we define that? And this is where I'm going. What is the entity that brings it all together. And I'm gonna answer the question on my own, which is, the society you founded is at the core, where that will ultimately reside. And what you and Brian are doing in the inside sales enablement. podcast is driving towards what you all birthed to begin with.Scott Santucci:
Okay, well, that sounds like a declaration, I would say that there would have to be a lot a lot of change, and how the society works for that to happen. And I think that, so let's let's go to what I can answer. Here's what I can answer for you. I think step number one, that anybody in sales enablement needs to ask themselves is this one simple question. You ready?Erich Starrett:
Scott, you know, I'm always ready.Scott Santucci:
Okay. Well, one simple question. Is enablement about making reps better? Or is enablement about fixing the system? Behind the Salesforce? To choice you have? Yes, no, it's not. Yes, you have to make a choice. Hmm, one or the other?Erich Starrett:
You'll have to unpack that for me, because I think by doing one or the other comes withScott Santucci:
the reason that that's, that's a, that's a focal point is what's your what's your primary focus? You if, if, for example, you think my primary focus is to fix or make salespeople better, then your focus will not be on the system. And therefore, you will be concentrating and the scope of sales enablement becomes relatively narrow compared to what other people would do it.Erich Starrett:
Um, can I be counterpoint?Scott Santucci:
You can, you can? Sure.Erich Starrett:
I mean, with my eyes, again, I've only got me as a source of authority. And my career has been wrapped around the day in the life of a rep, I wake up, think about what can optimize every minute every second, by the tools by the ecosystem, beginning with the client in mind. And ultimately, if I'm focused on that, everything else falls into line in my mind, if that's where my center is. So maybe that answers your question, but I'm not clear how it does.Scott Santucci:
Well, are you focusing on making on improving the salesperson? Or are you focused on improving the system that the salesperson works within?Erich Starrett:
I'm focusing on improving the sales person by improving the ecosystem that surrounds them, and enabling them to thrive.Scott Santucci:
So is it your responsibility to focus on the salesperson? Or is that the sales managers responsibility?Erich Starrett:
I am in partnership with the sales manager, Scott.Scott Santucci:
So what are you focusing on? It's either it's one or the other. It's the amalgam of I'm focused on everything doesn't work. That's why we don't get measurable results.Brian Lambert:
And in that depth, those two definitions focusing on reps are focusing on a system. Both of those help reps perform better. So what's the goal? Or what's the, what's the perp? What's the focus, Erich, fix the raps work with the reps to train the reps, or fix the system? So the reps get better? You can only pick one. That's what Scott say?Erich Starrett:
Which would you right, and I'm leaning towards? Fair enough, I'm leaning towards the environment and the systems around them, enables them to be better in partnership with a sales managers whose responsibility it is to take that and execute.Scott Santucci:
Okay, great. So I'm not that's not a right or wrong answer. So now, the second question then is, what is the scope that you're going to address? So what we find, and I'll help out here, more or less of a declarative. So I would say that by focusing on the system, the best word to describe you is an orchestrator?Erich Starrett:
I'll take that.Scott Santucci:
So as an orchestrator. That means what you're enabling is basically your value proposition, is company, give me money. In return for money, I'll give you less. As a result, we'll get more results. We'll get moreUnknown Speaker:
Yes, because I don't know if you've heard this. But sales is simple, simple is hard, Scott.Scott Santucci:
Yes, yes, that's a great quote.Erich Starrett:
I heard it somewhere. But it's real, it is true is the investment in making things simpler is worth the freaking investment. And it helps the day in the life of a sales rep and therefore a sales manager they can focus on.
So Erich, this is where we're like my big illumination of doing this project of where I have not been helping the sales enablement community. As much as I could talk about definitions, all we want to we talk a lot about how to do things. We don't talk about why they matter.
Mmm. Amen.Scott Santucci:
And really, the issue here is the big hairy problem we've got to confront is that we have organizations that are really comfortable prescribing activities for sales to go do. And a lot of us enable that. And again, I'm using the word interchangeably enable that by doing things and measuring sales people. And what that does is it lets us push out more activity and measure reps to more activity, but it doesn't lead to results. What leads to results is less what leads to results is the environment what leads to results or architectures. And it those are hard conversations to have. Because so much of the company is so hyper focused on activity, it's a part of what we have to really really work on is how do we have those conversations. So what we found is, one way to do it is the only way that you can orchestrate is by finding gaps between the sales organization and another organization. So what we found is, if you try to pick on too many things at once, like I'm trying to deal with finance, I'm trying to deal with it, I'm trying to deal with human resources, you're going to be stretched so thin, you're not going to be able to add value. So having a really clear scope around something is important.
So what we see emerging, and again, all of this is under the umbrella of sales enablement. But one flavor, or one flavor of beef, if you will, Erich is Talent Enablement. And Talent Enablement is about alignment between or driving that Orchestration, collaboration cohesiveness between the sales organization and the human resources, organization and finance and involves the hiring, process onboarding, coaching, development, and evaluation. That's the box doing that, well, in an architected way, what do you get as a company, you get lower churn, you get higher skills, you get people to hit performance levels faster. And that's how you measure it. You don't get involved in pipeline stuff you don't get involved in, you know, CRM discussions and things like that that's outside of your scope that's outside of your box. So that's one flavor. Then there's another flavor or another type called Message Enablement. And that's working between marketing product and sales, to stop having such product heavy information and being more organized, maybe manage or orchestrate the capabilities in such a way that customers can see value more. So that would be Message Enablement. The third enablement would be Pipeline Enablement. Let's stop having SDRs bdrs demand Gen finance managers, everybody inspecting deals and qualified leads and whether people falling in on it. What about the daggone, middle of the funnel? There's a whole bunch of things that can be done to smooth the whole pipeline process. But it's just not happening because there's a lot of cooks in the kitchen and it's not being orchestrated. And then the fourth, the fourth area that we're seeing that we're seeing emerge is organizational alignment.
So think about this is there's a lot of tax on sales people pun intended, they're taxed with their time by having to do too much administrative burdens. Too many systems to interface with clergy, clergy interfaces between one thing or the other thing, constant problems with with Commission's getting, they're getting their quotas on February, you know, at the beginning of the year, there's so many different kinds of things because these various departments who have administrative type activities, don't think through the sales reality. So that would be alignment across alignment and orchestration and collaboration between the IT department legal department, sales, operations, finance, anybody having some sort of system type thing, and then the fifth floor that we see, or the fifth type is commercial enablement. And commercial enablement is really doing combinations of these things, reporting up into the, into the COO coos office. And we have patterns of examples of each of those. So that's sort of the, the taxonomy, if you will of of sales enablement, where we are heading into the future.Erich Starrett:
Scott, come on. Yeah, that was okay. If you aren't a doctor by now you just officially I think you were knighted on the fifth episode. You got to go back and listen to it. If you haven't listenedScott Santucci:
to it. I want I didn't want one person voting. Yeah. It wasn't voting. Only Robert Peterson said I was a PhD. And IErich Starrett:
did too. I did, too. But I have no business. I have no credit. So you got two votes. How about that?Scott Santucci:
But the point, the point is this, I'm gonna call you out a little bit. I'm guessing that at least some of what you just said. so brilliantly eloquently, which, by the way, laid out into five, which I think is what my cows were. Okay. Yep. I love you, man. But I'm guessing that came from some of the research that y'all did on the state of sales enablement, and that that's somehow tied together.Scott Santucci:
Oh, who knows? Who knows. And I don't mind sharing this. This is one of the slides in our, in our findings meeting and this is going to be published. This is recorded before the 519. One, but yes, this will be published after.Erich Starrett:
Well, I love it. Because somehow, Scott, just My take is the stars are aligning, what I just heard was a brilliant answer that is backed by research that has real people involved that took real time. That's real money, as we all know, that stopped and said, Hey, I want to do simple. I want to focus and I'm willing to make this investment in this profession, business within a business, whatever anyone wants to call it. And again, I thank you guys for this investment. And just those last 20 minutes were phenomenal. And we're an answer to so much. Thank you.Scott Santucci:
You're welcome. The road to doing that as hard. Just Yeah, clear though.Brian Lambert:
Yeah. And doing it with Scott. Santucci just makes it so easy. Right, Scott?Erich Starrett:
Says Trailblazer Brian Lambert. Love it.Brian Lambert:
I love That's right. I'm trailblazing. And so together the Wonder TwinsErich Starrett:
I love it. Well, Brian, you usually do some takeaways. I got a few of my own. But I don't want to try to steal any thunder, come into the spotlight.Scott Santucci:
It's better if you know Erich, the way we look at it. It's better if the host or the guests steals it. So what are your takeaways? outstanding you on the spot?Erich Starrett:
Well,I love being on the spot if you can't tell. And thank you for putting me in the spot, by the way. And that's really kind of my first one is thank you not only for having me here and being crazy, courageous, courageous enough to do that. And curious enough, by the way. But for boldly goin there, guys. I mean, again, you were in a room back in the day penning an original definition. You started this society that's now global. And that, by the way, the annual meeting is going to be right here in Atlanta. So super excited to have you guys come visit. I'm still bullish that we're going to do it COVID be gone. Right. So just thank you for going there and asking, taking an approach that was open ended, and not being afraid of doing that and what it might mean.Brian Lambert:
Erich, thanks so much for jumping in on this and helping unpack this, it was really good to hit the pause button and look back at what we did. This is going to help us move forward. Give us the feedback. Let us know what you think. Also, make sure you check out the website inside etsy.com. Make sure you go back and relist into some of those panels and share your insights with us. Take care of it.Outro:
Thanks for joining us. To Become an insider and amplify your journey. Make sure you've subscribed to our show. If you have an idea for what Scott and Brian can cover in a future podcast or have a story to share, please email them at engage at inside s e.com. You can also connect with them online by going to inside se.com following them on Twitter or sending them a LinkedIn request.