Ep45 Blending Strategy & Tactics with Doug Clower

Ep45 Blending Strategy & Tactics with Doug Clower

Welcome to the Inside: Sales Enablement Podcast Episode 45

A Sales Enablement Orchestrator and Sales Enablement Insider joins our show to talk about blending strategy and tactics. Doug Clower is a 20 year Sales Enablement veteran with orchestration experience in companies like MicroFocus.

Doug joins the podcast to talk about the changing sales landscape and how Orchestrating success with sales, marketing, and operations leaders requires bridging the gap between their company’s business strategy, and the way customers need to buy.

This creates space:

  • Between your company and your customers
  • Between your growth plans and activities to drive quarterly results
  • Between accomplishing goals and driving daily priorities
  • Between the sophistication of know-how and the simplicity of action
  • Between managing individual contribution and customer experiences
  • Among specialized functional departments

Companies are structured in hierarchical functional silos making them unable to react quickly to the business landscape.

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.


Intro 00:02  

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 Sam Tucci and Trailblazer Brian Lambert as they take you behind the scenes of the birth of an industry, the inside sales enablement podcast starts now.

Brian Lambert 00:33  

I’m Scott cantucci, Brian Lambert and we are the sales enablement insiders. Our podcast is for sales enablement, leaders looking to elevate their function, expand their sphere of influence, and increase the span of control within their companies.

Scott Santucci 00:49  

Together, Brian and I have worked on over 100 different kinds of sales and a one end initiatives as analysts, consultants or practitioners. We’ve learned the hard way What works? And maybe what’s more important, what doesn’t?

Unknown Speaker 01:04  

That’s great. I guess it’s been really hard lately.

Brian Lambert 01:08  

That’s got to take us up with a centering story. We’re bringing back our centering story, a couple of podcasts and panel discussions and our listeners are clamoring for a story, Scott, I think it’s time to go back in history. I can feel it. What do you got for us?

Scott Santucci 01:24  

Well, this time, we’re gonna have to go way back the Wayback Machine. And I’d like us to imagine what the year 1271 was like.

Brian Lambert 01:35  

Wow, yeah.

Scott Santucci 01:37  

Good times, right. This is pre pleg. Europe, by the way. So good, you know, good stuff. In 1271, a 17 year old left Venice, with his father to go off to China. And who was that person? Well, that’s what people today know as Marco Polo, and Marco Polo is not famous for that pool game. Follow. That’s, that’s not what he’s about. That’s not what he’s famous for. He’s actually famous for his time spent in China. So we remind ourselves that in Europe during 12, you know, 1271 right when when our when our story is that the largest cities in Europe had about 20,000 to 40,000 people that was considered a huge city and European standards. And the big thing that was emerging here was the mercantile system. So trade, and the Venetians were probably the biggest innovators of that. So they, if you know about Venice, it’s this little island. They have great shipbuilding. So they sail all over to establish trade routes. And one of the things of course, you want to always stop washes trade with China because China has has silk between 1271 and 1295. He spent a lot of time in China and what makes him particularly important is that he caught the attention of kubla Khan and Quba Khan was basically the Emperor of China at that time. And Koopa Khan somehow got impressed by young Marco Polo. so impressed he was impressed by he was he thought he was witty. He was impressed by his humility and his curiosity.

And what’s so fascinating about this is Quba Khan basically gave Marco Polo this Emperor’s pass into all at all China, he could go anywhere. And with a with a military support bond, I mean, he could do what ever he wanted. guba Khan was so impressed by Marco Polo Khan and he represented China. As an ambassador to India, and Burma, so what? because of who he was because of his intellect. And because of his curiosity, he captured a lot of stories. When he got back in 1295, he got back to eventually got back to Venice. And Venice was at a war with Genoa. So we’ve got to keep in mind during this period of time, these were city states, right? So, Genoa is where Christopher Columbus is from, by the way, is a city just, you know, on the other side of the peninsula of Italy, and they were at war. And within a year of coming back home after being gone for 25 years, he gets captured by the Geneses. And so while he was in prison, he wrote about his his stories. And his stories were so impactful. Because they tell they told they told stories about an accounts of how Chinese cities were had running water and sanitation. They had over a million people in many, many of the cities, which was incomprehensible for anybody in, in western civilization to understand but the accuracy and the depictions made people become curious. They’re the economy that China had they were the first people to go to a paper currency or a fiat currency is that kind of economics called it and a lot of those principles. The event the mediation use behind their form of currency, which is the Duckett, which became the standard for many many years before was replaced for the foreign. And another interesting thing about that is Marco Polo influences. A lot of us associate pasta with Italian cuisine, but they actually got that from the Chinese. So that’s, that’s my, that’s my centering story is a go off to foreign lands, get some, get some different information, put things together, come back, and if you You’re really curious and positioning a different way. You can start laying the seeds for, say, maybe a resin Renaissance.

Brian Lambert 06:10  

Nice. So this is very exciting. Not only have I learned where pasta really came from, we’re also going to get to use our new sound effect that we recorded with our panel, Scott and that’s the So what does this have to do with sales enablement?

Scott Santucci 06:26  

Well, that’s a good question Brian’s and taking a big step back, we can focus in sales enablement, professionals on the daily tactics and what we do and what our jobs are. Or we can take a step back and look at the overall patterns and one of the overall patterns is we’re responsible for change. We’re responsible for finding new ways of doing things we’re responsible for getting a lot of other people together we’re responsible for orchestrating a lot of people in the reason I like the story is it highlights how big some of the gaps are between different worlds. So let me elaborate on that a little bit. So we talked a little bit about Cuba Khan. And I don’t expect everybody to know, middle age Chinese history, but could what’s how you might recognize that name guba Khan. He’s the grandson of somebody called jingis Khan. And Ganga is Khan just two generations ahead, lead a massive slaughterhouse. So one of the most ruthless and effective leaders of of all time, and he threatened much of Europe as a matter of fact, he threatened a lot of elements of the of the Roman Empire, the Byzantine side and it created a lot a lot a lot of problems.

So you have this overall fear or belief that these Mongols all all in Western Europe, have a shared view that the Mongols are this horde is barbaric horde of people ride on horseback without, you know, holding their meat together between their legs to and that that and they ate that raw meat, but they were seasoning it so repulsive. And that’s what the Western culture thought. Here Marco comes back, Marco Polo comes back, and he’s telling all these stories about Cuba Khan, who everybody knows is the grandson of Genghis Khan, and this massive civilization that he’s got going on in this thriving economy. So it’s, it’s this huge shift of it, you know, not only is the idea of a million of a city with a population of a million people, hard to understand, or paying things with paper, just completely hard to understand.

Brian Lambert 08:47  

So this was he saw people actually people actually knew that Asia existed, or they’ve heard of him,

Scott Santucci 08:55  

but they like maybe earth was round two, right?

Brian Lambert 09:01  

They just said never been there. So when he starts bringing back details, that’s the

Scott Santucci 09:06  

well Pete they knew a lot, right? So they knew about, you know, the riches, the spices, the silk, they knew all of those things. What happened is during Quba Khan’s reign, he modernized a lot of things so he built a whole new dynasty. And it’s the modernization of all of these things and the thrive you know, the the period of Thrive ness and prosperity that was happening in China is just really hard to comprehend. Not only are the results card to comprehend but the fact that this is the grandson of of Guinness Khan remember in Europe at that time you were born in and your last name was Miller because that’s what you did. You were a Miller or Hooper, you you made. You made barrels. Your name was what you did and what you did was who You are. And here you’ve got what was the name con means conquer. Right? So you think he’s a conquer and it just you can’t imagine something different. So it’s this this, this creating the space to be able to comprehend it. It was so the resistance to Marco Polo story were so hard. You can even go into Venice today. And they have a section I don’t know the exact Italian, but they called him a bragger. And the priest at the time, when he was on his deathbed, they were still trying to get him to confess. Come on, Marco. Good minute, you were making stuff up to be famous. And he wouldn’t admit he’s like it frankly. I left half the stories of the things I saw out of here because I didn’t think you

Brian Lambert 10:46  

would believe them. You guys are making up words. Yeah, making up words man making up concepts. So

Scott Santucci 10:52  

why does this matter? Why is framing this matter so much? Well, it matters because where we are today in our business is we’re going through a similar revolution. We want to, we want to apply digital. And we think we know what digital means just like the western civilization thought they knew who kangaskhan was. But digital is much more like kubla Khan, it’s it’s a completely different viewpoint than what we think it is. And all of this stuff creates so much friction, how how our businesses are changing. So create space, just like there was massive distance. There’s geographic distance between Western Europe and China. There was cultural space. There’s philosophical space, there’s all standing pace cultural space. So let’s look at where we are today. We have a growing space between your company and your customers. We have space between the the growth plans coming from management, and all of the activities that people know for sure of what needs to be done to drive quarter results. We have space between accomp people who think about accomplishing goals. And then people who think about driving daily activities and doing tasks and getting stuff done.

So we even have space between how how we actually go about working, we have space between the sophistication of know how subject matter experts, and then space between other people say, Hey, we have to simplify this for action, and take a little bit of all of these different parts and string them together. We can’t even agree on that. We have space between managing individual contribution and saying, Hey, I as an employee, and then valued because of these earned by contributions, yet at the other end, customers don’t really care about individual contributions. They care about their experience, and what does that look like? So we have space between that and then we have space among all of the specialized functional departments. So that’s how we tie it all together. And because The way that we’re structured, just like the way Western civilization was structured in terms of their thinking, their culture, etc, made it very difficult for, for Europe to buy in, it took really a plague to get people in a more coachable moment. We’re in a very, very similar spot today. So that’s that’s why that story is relevant.

Brian Lambert 13:21  

Yeah, it’s amazing. And it’s interesting, because the more you dwell in the space there, the more the space becomes real. And so Marco Polo dwelled in the space and he came back with stories and people thought he was crazy. And he was bragging. And the space though actually has definition people occupy space activities that occupy space thinking, structures, processes, there’s a lot of stuff in the space. So it’s a paradox between, there’s nothing there, nothing to see here. Move on. And boy, there’s a lot of things happening there. And I love this concept for the podcast. Cast today, let’s let’s dwell on the space, right? And to help with that I’m bringing in and we’re bringing in Doug clower, who’s one of our orchestrator, friends. And he’s also been a listener of the inside sales enablement podcast. So he’s a, he’s a member of the insider nation. I, Doug, how you doing?

Unknown Speaker 14:20  

I’m doing well. Thanks, Brian. And Thanks, Scott. Thanks for having me on today.

Brian Lambert 14:25  

Absolutely. And what do you think? I’d love to hear your reaction to the Marco Polo framing story, and then how that relates to your thinking and then just tell us a little bit about yourself?

Unknown Speaker 14:41  

Well, you know, right, right up front, the Marco Polo story is so compelling because it talks about us living in a world that we perceive, but then looking at a different role and seeing it’s so much different and understanding what the the differences are Between the two sides, it’s just wow, the exploration that he went through the the mind blowing experience that he had to have had at the time, it was certainly eye opening and something he was able to bring back to the Western civilization, even though, as you described Scott, they didn’t believe it. And he didn’t tell him everything because he didn’t think they would. So it’s important for us to remember that we sometimes have to put ourselves in the other person’s shoes, think about what they see, etc. So it’s kind of an important thing. These webcasts, these have been so helpful for me in terms of evolving some of the things I think about helping me put my feet in the other person’s shoes, putting my my feet in the shoes of say, the canals of the world who, from a private equity standpoint, what do they see? What are they looking for, thinking about other things that have been happening? So it’s really important. My background is is in a consulting type of side of the house, I started off as an architect, which is sort of a consultative selling kind of thing. I transitioned in it and was managing the sales of products for small business small partner, and then evolved over the time into an enablement role, which was so exciting because it was a new territory, a new venture. And so my background is really in, in sales excellence. And that’s really what I’m passionate about. I, I sort of tag myself these days as an enablement guru. I have now started tagging myself as an orchestrator. And I continue to expect to do that. So

Brian Lambert 16:50  

awesome. Yeah. And this idea of orchestrator let’s let’s talk about with Scott and it’s really have a conversation here. In The space that orchestrator comes from. So this space that that exists, I’d love to explore it a little bit. And let’s have a conversation. Doug, I’ll start with you. When you went through, as you alluded to the webinars, and I know you’ve listened to the show, let’s let’s go back a little bit into the first webinar, our second webinar that Scott did, which was the state of sales enablement. And in that that webinar was the landscape of sales enablement and how it’s evolving. And it was really grounded in the research that was happening in that in that time. It was about, I guess, two months ago now and what what can you share with regard to, you know, your story and how its unfolded over the last couple of months, and let’s use that, that webinars and also these other touch points that you’ve had as a way to get our listeners up to speed on what’s been happening.

Unknown Speaker 17:58  

You know what, I’ll tell you what Most enlightening about this and another example of me putting my shoes and somebody else’s my feet in somebody else’s shoes. I don’t want to put my shoes on, I wouldn’t like them. Anyway, the important thing is when I first went through the research and started looking at things I, I think my my visceral reaction initially was that our sales enablement resources, the people that were responding are way too tactically oriented. And I just, in my mind, I felt like sales enablement as a practice needed to be more strategic, etc. So I, I immediately just sort of pulled back from that. But as I started to think through that and started listening to things and being challenged by different stories and different points of view about this, I started recognizing how strategy and tactics have to be married in a way You know, I always said that tactics. Yeah, we have to do that. There’s no doubt about it. But oftentimes, just like a recent book that I’m not a recent book, but a book that I’ve recently been reviewing or re reading, it really talks about the fact that there’s got to be marriage, there’s got to be an execution toward the strategy can’t just say I’ve got a strategy and make it happen. So this concept of stratification, which is a term that first came up back then was so important and especially how it applies to thinking about enablement as a practice and evolving and moving forward toward the business within a business concept that Scott and you have have all begun to share with the rest of us. So it’s really insightful and helpful. It’s helped me transition to think you know, I have to think of it in total, I can’t I can’t break the two apart. Dismiss one side or the other.

Brian Lambert 20:02  

Yeah, that’s great. So let’s use our Marco Polo analogy here. Let’s say you’re in the year in Europe, and Scott’s Marco Polo, and he’s went out, he went over there. And he, he, he taught he went through Asia. And he’s bringing back all these stories about, in this case, in the modern era, the digital transformation, the impact of digital the impact of COVID the gaps that exists between customers and companies even though you know, people may agree or disagree, but he’s seen it and he’s seen the alignment of product or not, he’s seen the the company’s executives wrestling with things like commercial ratio and talking about it and making decisions about who stays and who goes he’s seen these conversations unfold with venture capitalists as we’ve been talking about. For the last two months on our on the webinars in the podcast. He’s seen the gaps that exist between people’s perspectives. Whether they’re Product Marketing, training, etc. And this concept of challenge of actually having the same words have different meanings, he’s seen these things. And he comes back and says on the webinar, there’s this gap between strategy and tactics that exists. And, you know, you’re saying that that made a lot of sense. Marco Polo, right? Is that what you’re saying?

Unknown Speaker 21:24  

Yeah, in fact, I could have taken one of two approaches, I could have either been somebody that was looking for the opportunity to learn about all that he had heard, or it could be a priest and say, Oh, you’re lying. Those stories could not be truthful, though. No chance. And I think Scott, you’ve experienced a lot of pushback on some of the information you’ve shared at different times. But I gotta tell you, I think the most important thing is Scott has has done research. He’s been there he’s visit and we can learn from that and we can learn from each other. So it’s, it’s important For us to keep an open mind and continue to, to learn.

Brian Lambert 22:04  

Yeah, so let’s, you’ve got a lot of experience. I think, Doug and well I know in your background, what, why is this concept to use worth learning about or exploring further? Do you have any examples of, of where you’ve had to exist in this space between strategy and tactics? Or how do we breathe life into this right now? It could be to our listeners, you know, stratification hahaha that’s a made up word. Now you’re saying Marco Polo is bringing Scott’s bringing some stuff back here. And it’s making you think and it’s also illuminating some things that you might have been doing? How do we make this more concrete for our listeners?

Unknown Speaker 22:42  

Well, I probably the best one that best example of of a real life circumstances and in my most recent organization, we had acquired a rather large software company and in the process, we will bring it online. have new salespeople. And there was some challenge or concern because there was no formalized onboarding that integrated the entire side of, you know, everything. So in the process of the churn that was happening as a result of that merger, the CEO basically said, I need people to get up to quota, our sales resources to get up to quota faster. And I need some idea about how to do that. And as a result, a team of us began to investigate and understand what was missing, what the gaps were things that needed to be discussed, pulled from all of the enabling resources, what were the recommendations, we put together a plan to execute against that strategy. And we built an onboarding program. And the onboarding program went from a salesperson Mike come on board and not really understand what they’re doing for six months pre the onboarding program, all the way to the by, by the time we were had implemented and, and adjusted modified as we were going along. But as we’ve implemented that program, it was we were actually setting people up to quota targets within a 45 day to 90 day window, and people coming out with great deals.

So the idea here is that we had a strategy that had been articulated by senior leadership and the tactics that we needed to do to accomplish that were very specific. And we learned even as we were rolling it out how to modify it, but the middle ground was the objective was I want people to quota faster. I want them to be more successful. And we have I’m going to call an anecdotal but we have quotes from numerous people that have been through the program how much more comfortable they felt, being able to have conversations with customers and solving their problems after the fact, that’s a real life. Example of strategy.

Brian Lambert 25:08  

Yeah. And so what I’m hearing here is this understanding of what the outcome is or the goal. And, you know, you stated that as driving in decreasing time to productivity, yes. And so when you drop the goal on the table, as I say, let’s, you know, executives have this reason, and out, you know, there’s discussions that happen that somebody says, we need to drive, you know, in decreased our time to productivity. So there’s this idea of where did this outcome come from? And then there’s discussions around how to how do we figure that out? And and I think our industry is pretty wired to Will you said onboarding. So therefore here’s the answer, and I I’ve done that, too. So I don’t, I don’t want to minimize all the work that happens in the tactics piece. But I want to push that off the table for a second because I think our folks and you know, the people that I’ve talked to have a lot of ideas on how to execute tactically. But But what I’d like to do is Scott, toss it to you or talk to you a little bit about what Doug’s saying here because, to me, what I’ve seen in my own experience is that we don’t have a lot of patients to talk through what the strategic aspects or pillars might be, where the outcome or the the Ask has actually come from, how that relates to the bigger picture. And then the appetite to actually talk these things through in order to guide the tactics and tie those tactics together. We don’t seem to have a lot of patience for that in our current European view of the world. And I just wonder, you know, with your Marco Polo lens, how does that play out? Do you see that and is that An example here of, of this gap between strategy and tactics, or do we need to get more specific? So let’s

Scott Santucci 27:06  

use Doug’s example, as a simple, simple case, thinking strategy, hey, we’re a big company, and we’re going to go acquire another big company. And, you know, based on that strategy, it looks pretty good because we’re going to be able to cross sell and all those other things. That’s all strategic so you don’t think about tactical execution. So then when it doesn’t work, what happens is now the the CEO is involved and saying, hey, how come you guys didn’t think through the execution? And he wants the onboarding program, you know, to bring these two groups together. This is an onboarding program, a new hires, this is a merger and acquisition onboarding program is very different than how other people might be thinking about it. And now he’s involved in in, in prescribing tactics and I gotta tell you, knowing Knowing I don’t know this CEO really that well, but I know other CEOs that tell me they’re so frustrated with having to prescribe tactics. They don’t like it. It’s they don’t think it’s their expertise. But how come somebody didn’t anticipate that we’re going to need to merge these two groups together? So the gap between stratification, left it to where nobody inside the company in Doug’s company before, really concentrated on doing it, and then you’re in a reactive state of building an onboarding program. That’s why people don’t think that they have any time to be strategic. But you should be able to anticipate this, how in the world is it not likely that you’re not going to get a sales organization or sales organizations from multiple groups together and not realize that you’re going to have challenges executing? How is that not a noble thing?

Brian Lambert 28:53  

And let’s let’s, let’s pattern these out. So if for example, if you if you’re saying that how is that not a normal thing? You know, I would say things like, okay, fine, I’ll play your game. We’re going to have content challenges, we’re going to have definitional challenges. We’re gonna have process challenges, we’re going to have product description, messaging, content challenges, we’re gonna have management philosophy gaps, right? Is that the stuff you’re talking about when you say you don’t anticipate the challenges, or is it something else?

Scott Santucci 29:26  

It’s all of those things, right? It’s, it’s working backwards from how are we going to hit the numbers? And what stands in the way? It’s really that simple.

Brian Lambert 29:37  

Huh? What I’ve done is

Scott Santucci 29:38  

the simple questions we don’t ask. So that’s really that. Yeah, that’s really the gap between stratification. what’s frustrating, I think, is that other departments, you know, other functions have learned how to do this. I’ll give you an example. An example is Citibank there for a while was doing lots and lots of acquisitions. The IT organization that Citibank knows how to incorporate a data center. So what they do is that, you know, once there’s an acquisition, what do they do? First, they wall off the data center of the old one and just map out their processes. And then they replace them. They have to do it because the IT department is a pure cost center. And because it’s in the GA category, it gets a lot of focus. So they concentrate on squeezing those things out, but they can’t afford any disruption to business service. Because if you can imagine, ATMs not working, what a horrifying activity that would be. So why is it that so what happens is if a CIO can talk about that and manage all these complex technologies? Why in the world can’t my commercial organization do that? And that creates just so much annoyance among the executive leadership? And what does that look like? We’re not anticipating these real life things which To a CEO have to be way easier than the technical architecture. How come you’re not thinking that way?

Brian Lambert 31:07  

Yeah, so does so Doug, I’ve got this picture in my head of the CEO going through during this merger acquisition and here’s here’s the it roadmap, the it plan, here’s all the details in our process, and our procedures, we’re gonna run here’s how structure we are. Okay, commercial organization, you know, what are they going to be talking about? Do they even have a plan? Or is it just tactics? Right? Is it? Is it structured and easy for the executive team to digest? Or is it organic, and a little bit more seat of your pants compared to the IP conversation? We’ll never know. But this concept here is important, I think to dive into even further. And, Doug, I’d love your take on what Scott’s saying, you know, how did this play out to these Does this make sense from let’s look at the outcome and ask this very simple question. And then from there, how do you bring needs together and strategies and tactics.

Unknown Speaker 32:02  

It feels like deja vu all over again, as Yogi Berra would say, it’s like, the most interesting thing about this is that

Unknown Speaker 32:13  

the gaps were so wide

Unknown Speaker 32:18  

that it was amazing to see all the breaks down. Well, it was down to the point where a new hire might come on board. But because of the disconnect between our equipment Acquisition Program and and approved platforms, they might not see a notebook for three weeks, they might not have a working environment, they might not even get a phone to be able to call somebody if they’re a remote resource for whatever so they were on their own. That’s just one example. They couldn’t fulfill their benefits thing. It was more systemic than it was just on the commercial side. So you start looking At the businesses within a business kind of approach, and you think commercial enablement, you know, how do we do that? But it was organizational it was, it was talent, it was all of the things that are out there, that you This is why somebody’s thinking big picture is so important. Exactly what he described, some things are predictable, some are not and somebody has to be thinking, bigger picture than that. It’s just yeah,

Brian Lambert 33:29  

it’s just reminds me of a story of, you know, we’re going to onboard. And we’re going to have people in, in when you say, onboarding reps, oftentimes people think about it, they’re just gonna end up in the classroom. But if you look at all the steps, like you’re talking about, and actually if we use the data center example, say what’s our processes for onboarding in the data center example is they isolate it and they map out all those processes. It’s, it’s, it’s assumed that there are processes. It’s a known fact But when you say what are the processes for onboarding in this in the commercial space, the sales and marketing space? It becomes a What do you mean? What do you mean we? Well? Who’s doing what with the talent acquisition? Who’s doing what with Rex? What’s the role of business planning? What’s the role of the hiring manager? What’s the role of the approver? manager? What’s the role of the candidate himself in the hiring process? And then oh, by the way, on day one, what happens? And then when does onboarding start, and where does it end? These conversations that we’re starting to allude to here are the these feel like they’re in the gap of this stratification discussion? would you would you agree, Scott, and

Scott Santucci 34:44  

we’ve used onboarding a lot. I want to talk about some other examples just so that you know more people absolutely love it. Here’s an example. Hey, we’re going to implement challenger. And we’re going to do challenger because we want to hear from We want to sell more of our portfolio higher in the organization.

Brian Lambert 35:05  

Great. Let’s go do that.

Scott Santucci 35:06  

Yeah. So what happens? You spend an inordinate amount of money on Challenger and I, you know, whether it’s good or bad is is sort of irrelevant. But you do go and deliver a commercial ratio, or a commercial commercial ratio of commercial insight. And now what? What happens after that? Have you equip the salesperson to help guide the champion internally to do the evaluation? Nope. Have the other people that they need to bring in been brought in brought to bear? Nope. Have the messages been organized that way? Nope. So it’s just so these are the kinds of things that people don’t think through, they think suddenly that we’re going to wave a wand or sprinkle pixie dust on the sales organization and suddenly we’re going to be blooming, you know, account. You know, big account deals, and we believe it because we spent a lot of money on something, none of these things work. It’s like It’s like potions or magic. So it’s all out there.

Brian Lambert 36:06  

How does this relate to Marco Polo? Then let’s tie it back to that,

Scott Santucci 36:10  

to tying it back to Marco Polo. If you think about, hey, let’s implement sanitation. So there wasn’t even words for sanitation. Right. So how do you say, look, this filth that we have in our streets that are causing lots of people to have disease and die is bad. What’s the answer in Markopolos? Well, that’s why we have the planks that we walk on. That’s why we were boots with high heels. What are you talking about?

Brian Lambert 36:41  

Right, but we’re gonna have systemic sanitation to remove the waste,

Scott Santucci 36:45  

right? What are you really talking about? So we got or, or just even the acceptance of any of those ideas. So, you know, fortunately or not, fortunately for Western civilization, Western culture, we had the planet Wipe out a lot of people, which created a lot of doubt in the preaching to the church in the 1300s. And it created some space for openness and new ideas. And a lot of people trace back the origins of the Renaissance to the plague, and just the massive death that caused people to look at things differently. And we’re not really a people that like and can accept new ways of thinking

Brian Lambert 37:31  

and or tackle what really would be considered systemic challenges. So I’ve had a lot of conversations with folks say, look, I gotta focus on my circle of concern, and my circle of influence, or I can only control what I can control. And it’s not my job basically. But both of these examples here, whether it’s onboarding or data center, so it’s two third one is sanitation. Fourth one challenger. these are these are broader ecos some challenges that need to be addressed and

Scott Santucci 38:02  

well let’s let’s talk about sphere of influence or Sir, you know, that’s not my job, you know, that sort of thing. sales enablement is a new role. And think about what human nature is, human nature is, somebody’s going to get blamed for a problem. And if you’re not actually out fighting the root cause problem, you’re going to get blamed. I have seen so many people in a sales enablement role, get their head cut off, so to speak, you know, go back to, you know, Western civilization but in in the Middle Ages, but even now, blame for failures, how many sales leaders or sales enablement leaders who’s going to get fired? If we don’t get the traction that we did when we hire Challenger and the sales enablement leader, the sales training group that implemented? Who’s going to get fired? Is it going to be the head of sales or the CMO? Or is it going to be the sales enablement person that rolled out the You know, the seismic or high spot or show pad system that they spent millions of dollars and that didn’t work? Who’s gonna get fired? When it doesn’t work?

Unknown Speaker 39:10  

Oh, yeah, well, you know, it’s gonna be whoever the sales enablement resource was that was responsible for executing and implementing the program.

Scott Santucci 39:19  

That’s right. So to say that it’s not my job is putting yourself already backed in a corner, because there’s other variables that go into the execution. And if the other people don’t realize that they’re contributing to say the filth in this in the streets or something like that, they’re going to blame you. So if you’re the if you’re the sanitation, the new sanitation person dug in, Dennis, and you say it’s not my job to raise awareness that people can’t just dump their filth into the street. What are you going to do? You’re just going to keep putting planks up but people are still complaining. Did we hire Doug to clean up this filth and this this mess in this smell. And he’s telling us to wear more bigger high heeled shoes and walk on the plank. So would not let’s run them out on the town, you might get burned at the stake. You know? Luckily, we don’t do that anymore, but it’s still the same kind of pressure that you feel. So it is, you know, Brian, it is definitely smart to pick an area in your field of control to have influence, it is not smart to say that’s not my job. Because ultimately, his results are your job. And if you don’t get results, you’re gonna get run out on a rail.

Brian Lambert 40:38  

Yeah, and that’s the key here is the more it’s another paradox, right? The the world of outcome and results is the language of sales and marketing. So in the European stance, it would be like yeah, we do that already. But then you go over to, you know, Asia and East Asia, their definition of an outcome and result and how they organize themselves to pursue it can become pletely different. And I think that’s what an example of what we’re seeing here and what you’re saying, companies in your beginning intro you said companies are not structured to do this. And I see that all the time too. And it to me it comes down to since we’re talking strategy, it was, you know, picture inside or nation picture in your head two circles. And they overlap. One of those is circles is strategy. And the other circle is tactics, where those things overlap. We’re calling stratification on the on the strategy side, it’s about, you know, let’s do let’s do the right things here, the right things to pursue the outcome, the right things for the business, the right things to actually drive us forward and be more relevant to customers. And these are more complicated and complex today in a digital post COVID world the things we have to do, right, but then on the flip side of that on the on the tactic circle, it’s okay fine. We’re going to do those things as well. We got to do them well. And what does it mean to do them? Well, is it get it done? And check the box? Or is it something else maybe quality, or impact, etc? It seems to me, Scott that that is a good litmus test here where we can draw some comparisons and contrast the contrast between the existing world of doing things well and doing the right things and, and then the post COVID Digital transformed world. What does these things mean to be in that in those Venn diagram view? What’s your take on that? And any examples you can share about stratification before and stratification after that to help our listeners?

Scott Santucci 42:39  

Well, I want it so the litmus test that you share is fine. What I want to do is want to address the Hey, that sounds all great in theory, but you don’t know my company. Hmm. Let me address that point real quickly. here’s, here’s what I know is I know human nature, human nature applies to all companies. So yeah, Some companies might be more mature or less mature, something like that will get, you know, sort of dug to comment on this. But really what comes down to it is this way, part of your resistance is what can’t go when I’ve tried to be strategic and say, Well, have you thought about this and thought about that? The executives get really angry with me because they think I’m hoping I’m slowing progress down. So I’ve gotten my head bit off by asking why at the wrong time. And that’s what’s happening there is that you’re, you’re not, you’re not listening, that you, you need to get involved earlier on and be more proactive. Because the cycle time it is hard to do strategy work. A lot of tactical people don’t have empathy with how hard doing the strategy work is. By the time you get the end of the strategy work. Even the strategist want to just go do something So for you to start inserting at the end of that cycle, here’s a whole bunch of other things that you need to do now and wait, like wait for the strategy to be done. And then now say, here’s my checklist for tactics, you’re obviously going to be met with a lot of resistance. I mean, think about it, you’re completely out of alignment with those folks. You need to do have been involved earlier on. But when when most sales enablement, people participate, they wait and they don’t engage in the envisioning process like, Hey, we can do it this way. And then that will help us execute downstream scholars. That’s an example of stratification there of finding a way to get more involved without being the Oh, here’s Doug again. Here’s the say no people, let’s work around them.

Unknown Speaker 44:55  

biscuit you you mentioned something about as enablement leaders, we need to be involve earlier in the envisioning part of this. I know that over the years, I’ve been involved in a number of mergers, acquisitions. And I continue to tell you know, senior leadership, you need to invite us in early even if it means you need to put me under NDA so that I can help think about the things we need to consider beforehand. And yet, I run into the problem or I have run into the problem where I don’t get invited to the table early. So I do generally get that hey, we just made the announcement we’re making x billion dollar investment in such and such company and we will be integrated in one year and I go holy, ah, whatever. How am I going to get that done?

Unknown Speaker 45:44  

So, let’s, how do you get there?

Scott Santucci 45:47  

Let’s flip it around. That’s knowable. Every every company who works in a big any person who works in a big company, you should be able to read the annual report and not So that acquisition, like the company that you were in doesn’t mean you should know, that’s all it does is acquire businesses. So you should have a built out methodical way to say to wrap it integration. It should be, it should be a business procedure that you have, you should assume that they’re not the reason that they can’t include you is the due diligence process. And the a lot of these deals are very opportunistic. So one company, you know, falls on dead times you do it, they have to move very, very rapidly to make that acquisition because that deals getting shocked. They can’t really be in a position to think through all of that, but you should know that’s going to happen. And you should know that you should, you should know that there’s going to be a big acquisition. You should know what your debt debt ratio is and how much outstanding stock as because that’ll be tell you whether or not your company can do a big acquisition that year or little ones? And then what’s your playbook for big acquisitions? And what’s your playbook for little ones.

And if you can stand up that way, at least when it happens, you can be proactive and in charge of that. But it’s it’s, it’s a lot of it is how you sell it, instead of being passive and say, I need to be a part of, well, they don’t know why you need to be a part of and they say, so what, and also, you’re gonna slow us down. We can’t really focus on that because we have to get this deal done quickly. I don’t think a lot of people realize how competitive acquisitions are, for example, and how fast they need to move. And then how much of it is a financial acquisition and how much they have to work with the board to justify and sort of do the pro forma income statement stuff. They can’t really afford the luxury or have the luxury of thinking about execution. And then the other part is most CEOs when they think about it, execution are. Mainly This is a tale for another centering story, Brian is like the emperor has no clothes. They don’t understand how poorly they’re set up to execute. They just don’t think about it when they’re trying to drive shareholder value. So part of the reason that you do acquisitions is because your company isn’t executing on a growth strategy. So you’re gonna acquire revenue. And they move so fast. It is amazing how fast they move.

Unknown Speaker 48:34  

And I see that point. It’s just that this is this is why I would argue in favor of enablement, being as high up in an organization as possible. Not you know, I don’t disagree that the the idea of having an execution plan in fact, I think this last execute, acquisition we went through, we were talking about it sort of as it’s we think something’s coming. How are we going to do this but the It landed in it, you know it’s different. So yes, in a matter of speaking, it’s small playbook, big playbook, a lot of different things. And I think that’s really great guidance to everybody who’s in the enablement industry, especially, as you say, if they’re not in a company that is in a growth segment, if they’re in a, maybe a maturing or mature segment, that they’re going to buy revenue. So that’s a good point.

Brian Lambert 49:25  

And I wonder, I wonder if the Let me try this on and see what you guys think. So what I’ve run into, and also what’s happening here a little bit is there’s this this thing, this bubble of strategy and its bubble of tactics. And even in this discussion, its strategy happens here. It happens upstream, and then there’s a there’s a gate or there’s a handoff and people go execute. And so we’ve talked a little bit about this. And so what, what I’m interested in from New World perspective and what’s happening In Asia versus Europe is what if what if strategy happens way upstream like Scott’s talking about and you can you can understand patterns based on Ana reports and findings What if you could do that? And one I would submit that you can into Marco Polo seen it happen, right? So fine, put it over there. But there’s a other piece of this of how do you execute the strategy and how to execute the tactics that we’re talking about. There is no straight jump to tactics. And this this space so back to the beginning of the web, this podcast, this space that exists between we’re going to pull the trigger on at acquiring a company versus now let’s go to the tactics oftentimes gets framed out as well. We need to see to the table we need to be brought in earlier we need to understand more, we need to envision together I need to have more resources I need to and these are the and I could keep going but this this gets executives anxious because all we need to go we need to do and so what I love to be able to do is say

There’s three states there’s, there’s the strategy that’s going to happen above your paygrade. But you can pattern out, but there is this execute the strategy and execute the tactics that we’re talking about with stratification, not just a straight jump to tactics. Right. And I that’s what this conversation has been about to me is how I would repeat this back or, or synthesize this, what do you think about that? as a, as a concept of, Okay, fine. We’re going to seed the strategic conversations for the strategy, and the CEO and the CFO and asking a CEO to get us in earlier to have conversations on a merger or acquisition that might be a little far fetched. But what can we do to execute the strategy and what’s the, what’s the disciplines there? And what are some of the concepts there versus go straight to tactics and instead of strategy versus tactics, maybe it’s strategy, strategy, tactics or something like that. I don’t you think

Unknown Speaker 51:55  

that’s exactly how it has to happen. And I’ll tell you that I don’t want to say that it’s never happened. I know early on when Novell acquired Susa, I was deeply involved in the the merger that was taking place. So we were able to put together plans, we even built gap plans in terms of how we were going to equip our seller. So, but the thing is, it’s about bridging between tactically, I’ve got to get to this or strategically, here’s what we’re going to do. It’s the execution in the middle or the strategy session, which is the most important part of this. And And therein lies how an organization gets to a growth opportunity that they start impacting the commercial ratio, and that’s where the sales enablement practice profession needs to strive toward the idea of helping push away the roadblocks. Somebody goes well, I didn’t think about that, but we did. We thought about it, and here’s what we think you should do about it. So that’s that’s a really good point. In terms of being prepared and planned for that,

Brian Lambert 53:06  

Scott, your take on that, to me it feels like this intermediate state that we’re calling stratification is critical and not well understood. And I think we’re starting to scratch the surface here. But is there anything else we can do to make this concept more concrete? I know we’ve given some examples, but other characteristics of how do I know

Scott Santucci 53:27  

I want to bring more pragmatism into this? And what I’d like to do is challenge everybody. Because what’s fascinating is when we go into companies, how few of the employees of a company really understand how their company makes money. And understanding how your company makes money is paramount to bridging the gap between strategy execution. And I’ll give you a case study one of one of our listeners, I don’t know, maybe we’ll get him to share this real world story. When he was when he took on his sales enablement, sales operations and sales strategy wrote a very large fortune 500 company. He had about 500 or so people reporting to him. One of the things that he wanted to do is ask his all his employees like, well, let’s work backwards and follow the money. And let’s figure out opportunities where there’s friction and how we make money and let’s eliminate that and that’ll be what our value is. And he was horrified at how little his direct his direct reports his team understood how this business made money. So he got the instead of him being the messenger delivering that news. He asked somebody on He talked to the CFO had one of the financial analysts come together and put together this most basic, simple brief about how this company makes money. And he told our hero, how shocked he was and how much he had to dumb it down. And he delivered that the people all in his department liked it so much. And here’s the key point. The key point is that presentation that he did, was so well received for about a year. That’s all he did, because he went from department to department to department to give. It wasn’t even a one on one. It was like a kindergarten version of how this business makes money.

So the reason I tell this story is you’re probably way too caught up and way too many tactics and you’ve lost sight of why your business exists in the first place. You’re in the business of making money. You make money by adding value to customers. You Make your salespeople convince customers that you have good products and services focus there, instead of what’s the next tactics and trying to find how smart you can be concentrate on, are we making money or not? And that’s the kind of conversation that resonates with executives, because executives like to think that about things is simple. They just have to have complexity, because there’s so many different parts of the business that need to operate. They have so many regulations that they have to deal with. They have so many financial rules that they have to comply with. They have investors that all look at the look at different metrics. But at the end of the day, good executives really concentrate on moving the needle or one or two things, or a few things, the 8020 rule. So my suggestion is in order to figure out how to learn to do strategy fusion, spend less time trying to learn about all the fancy tech tactics out there and spend a lot more time trying to figure out how they roll up to the one or two things that really To move the needle, and that’s why the commercial ratio is such a powerful concept.

Unknown Speaker 57:06  

And it has been extremely illuminating to me to dig into some of those numbers with different organizations that I’m familiar with. And and to see exactly where they set in that space, it’s it’s very eye opening and then you start Can you can start drilling into their 10 Ks and get more details and understand where they stand on in revenue or our assets or cash on hand, whatever it happens to be that that might in indicate where they stand.

Brian Lambert 57:44  

Yeah, absolutely. And I know I’ve had some conversations around the commercial ratio too, and you can find out about that at commercial ratio calm, so just so you avoid some inside baseball here but go to commercial ratio COMM And you’ll see the the glossary of terms so Scott hear comments about how companies make money. I think it was his genius to put up there on that site, what some of the terms are related to that particular challenge of understanding how businesses work, to I’ll even say, I’ve seen this firsthand with the gaps in understanding and there’s a desire for people to have seats at the table. And there’s a desire for folks to want to elevate their role. And even, you know, get more of a charter or remit and it’s, it’s a bit of a struggle for them because they don’t have the language. So that that commercial ratio comm site will help you elevate your thinking, but more importantly, what we’ve been talking about here, this gap in this space, that commercial ratio, in my opinion actually illuminates that space. And that gap that exists between a company wanting to grow and the investments it’s making in that growth and the return on that or the impact that sales and marketing work.

So definitely Check out commercial ratio calm. And then I’ll say, also, when you look at the focus here of bringing together so many different perspectives, and also slowing it down and hitting a bit of a discussion on what happens in this space, I’ll frame out stratification in the areas of look, somebody has to translate the business strategy into something that others can execute that strategy work of saying, Look, I’m going to skate to the puck, I’m going to understand how this company makes money, and I’m going to help our company get there, I’m going to be proactive. I’m not going to just wait for somebody to tell me what to do. And give me the answer. By that time that that happens. I’m not in the stratification space, I’m in the tactic space. So for me to occupy the space of stratification. I need to make some assumptions around that. I need to understand how this place works and I need to understand what my value prop is for my My role, and then the other pieces, I need to think about how this gets done with others. So, I push that off the table in this podcast to say, Let’s not talk about tactics. What I will say though, is in order to pull off this, this outcome, or these outcomes or these challenges or help the company grow, you have to do that with others. And we’ll cover this more in other podcasts, but to be an orchestrator in that space, and fill the void of the space between your company and your customers. The space between your individual remit and goals that you’re trying to achieve the day to day activities that need to happen. The idea of what’s what are the growth plans and how do you accomplish those results? The the, what Scott talked about at the beginning with the sophistication of know how and how deeply technical everybody is versus the simplicity of taking action, managing the individual contribution of people to drive customers experiences and then doing that in a way that’s among very specialized functional departments, the hyper specialization that exists in marketing, the hyper specialization that exists in technology, that everybody has a very specific puzzle piece. Somebody needs to orchestrate that. And that’s the value of orchestration. And that’s what this podcast is about is helping you embrace the the space between strategy and tactics to be among others, and to have this conversation in a way that says one this is real Asia does exist to Marco Polo, isn’t bragging and he’s probably not crazy. This stuff is real. And if in three for us to compete, we should start competing and understanding what that means to our company and our people. So with that, I’d like to thank you for the conversation and really, really pushing us to get our head around and get more clear on what stratification is. We also provided for five examples, but we’d love to hear from you. What examples of stratification do you have? What challenges do you see in the space between strategy and tactics and, and more importantly, how are you going about it as an orchestrator? So check out inside SC comm also send us an email at engage at insight magazine calm, and we’ll see you on the next podcast. Thanks so much for your time.

Outro 1:02:24  

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 sp.com. You can also connect with them online by going to inside se.com following them on Twitter or sending them a LinkedIn request.

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