Ep57 Friars, Peas, and Best Practices: Embracing Message Enablement in a COVID Impacted Business Landscape

Ep57 Friars, Peas, and Best Practices: Embracing Message Enablement in a COVID Impacted Business Landscape

Are you embracing real-world reality? What is the impact of change on your customer’s conversations right now?

Think about it: Are best practices really going to help you move forward when those practices were built and defined before COVID? Who really KNOWS the customer today and what are you going to do about it?

Join Louis Jonckheere – President and Co-Founder of Showpad, a leading sales enablement messaging platform – as he talks about the ingredients of successful message enablement initiatives, the buy-in required to get results, and what it takes to gain a broader perspective – to elevate and improve messaging. He also talks about what it means to be customer-centric in a COVID-impacted world.

Topics include:

  • Why perspective matters
  • The evolution of the sales enablement market
  • Using technology to improve the quality of sales conversations
  • Being a leader with the courage to act and engage
  • The impact of COVID on “Best practice”
  • What it means to be customer-centric

Additional Resources:

EPISODE TRANSCRIPT

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 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 00:34  

I’m Scott Santucci,

Brian Lambert 00:36  

I’m Brian Lambert, we’re 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 00:48  

Together, Brian and I’ve worked on over 100 different kinds of sales enablement, issues as analysts, consultants or practitioners. We’ve learned the hard way, what works and maybe what’s more important, what doesn’t

Brian Lambert 01:00  

Right now our focus is on you as a sales enablement leader and orchestrator who operates in the in the gap between strategy and tactics and was blend those together to drive outcomes. Our goal is to help you clarify what works and also clarify the measures of success so you can engage up down and across your organization. As always, we start with a centering story, Scott, what do you have for us?

Scott Santucci 01:24  

Okay, well, here’s our centering story. Have you ever heard of Gregor Johann Mendel?

Brian Lambert 01:31  

No.

Scott Santucci 01:33  

Well, if you were in the genetics business, you would definitely would know who this is. Gregor Johann Mendel was actually a friar, a church friar,

Brian Lambert 01:45  

Like Robin Hood,

Scott Santucci 01:47  

from the Augustinian sect. And between 1856 and 1863. He did a lot of experiments with pea plants, pea plants and what he would do is he would observe these pea plants, I guess when you’re, I guess when you’re a friar, you have to do a lot of soul searching and maybe you’re not allowed to talk. So you occupy yourself with making good observations and the like. But what he would do is he would watch his pea plants grow, and he would chart make lots of very detailed observations on plant height, their shape and their color, the shape of the seed and the color of the seeds, their flowering positions in color. And I bet an 1856 a lot of people thought this guy was crazy what the heck are you doing, that’s a lot of data to be collecting about stuff that’s growing. But the major, the major aha that happened here was towards the end, he made this observation that when he would pair or mate, bring together pea plants that had yellow seeds, versus ones that had green seeds 100% of the time. The ones with the Yellow seeds would be the ones that were dominant. So they would produce more and more yellow seeded pea plants.

So that was pretty interesting. He came up with this idea of recessive and dominant traits of based of an observation. And that work didn’t get picked up for 30 years later. And then what happened then is that became the boom of what we now know is genetics. And today that’s gone so far is that a pharmaceutical company can take can extract an enzyme from you, Brian, and they own the intellectual property of that because they’ve done the extraction even though you’re you biologically produced it. That’s how far we’ve come with genetics in a relatively short, short timespan. And we have this guy, Gregor Johann Mendel, who made lots and lots and lots of observations to help us through that.

Brian Lambert 03:52  

There you go. That’s awesome. And I think friars are also the ones that came up with beer but I’m not sure maybe they came through the same process of Lots and lots and lots of trial and error. But I got to ask you, so what?

Unknown Speaker 04:06  

So what!?!!

Brian Lambert 04:09  

So what does that have to do with sales enablement?

Scott Santucci 04:12  

So so why would that has to do with today’s theme and today’s Today’s topic is really where is sales enablement heading. And we have this belief inside businesses to follow best practices, and we rarely question where those best practices come from. So we have a tendency to repeat the same things over and over and over again and there’s a quote that I love from Mark Twain. It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you in trouble. It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so. So with that, what we want to highlight and I’m interested, I’m really excited to share with our special guest is, as most of our listeners know, we’ve taken on the biggest amount and the most in depth post COVID research about where sales where sales enablment is going, as you know, we did over 100 surveys, we interviewed 43 people. We’ve done six panel conversations, all of which you can go back and listen to today and watch those observations from the plants and how things are growing. And we’ve done four high quality webinars. And what I’m what I had the luxury to do is I got the chance to interview several of the CEOs of the leading technology companies and joining us is Louie, I’m not even going to try to pronounce your last your last name you can do it for us who’s the president and founder of Showpad, Louis, would you care to introduce yourself?

Louis Jonckheere 05:36  

Absolutely, Scott and thanks for inviting me for this podcast so it’s Louis Jonckheere, but it’s it’s I mean, it’s impossible to pronounce in English. It’s “john care” is fine. But But yeah, I mean, I have a running joke in the company with our with our team in the US that if they pronounce my name correctly, they get access to president’s Club by default and so far, that never happened. So, but great to be here. So Founder and President of Showpad started the company a bit over nine years ago. I mean, we’ve been in the market have seen sales enablement evolve from very small tactical program in a sales or marketing organization to becoming a real platform for change in revenue and the market today so super excited to be here.

Scott Santucci 06:20  

I’m excited to

Brian Lambert 06:21  

have Sorry to interrupt but I got it as is so as Louis is he a pea plant or what is he on this analogy that you’ve brought in?

Scott Santucci 06:29  

He’s a fellow friar,

Brian Lambert 06:31  

He’s a fellow friar. Okay, awesome.

Scott Santucci 06:34  

I’d never call a guest but as a fellow friar, what we wanted to connect the dots to is having been a participant in that research. What was really great about Louis is just how engaged he got in the process, and how fun our conversations have been and it’s so rare for any, any market to get the perspective Have a seat have a executive leader, president of a company. And what we have to keep in mind is think of the things that that Louie has to keep in mind. He’s got investors, he’s has to make happy, which of course want more money from you. He’s got customers that he needs to make happy. And he needs to think about what what the products and services, the combinations of products and services are that are needed. And we really connected a lot in terms of the research process and really identified that there’s a really fantastic opportunity for a sales enablement to lead some some big transformations. And that’s that’s really the conversation or the connection point that that I wanted to share. So with that, as a segue, we have a few talking points to get into. Louis. So what did you think of the post COVID research that we did? Why were you so engaged with it?

Louis Jonckheere 07:56  

Yeah, I mean, because I think there’s some first of all I like I think any any industry needs solid research to understand what’s happening and where trends are going. So So research is super important. I think, given the current times anything, there’s like two big events that are coming together. I think on the one hand, you obviously have the pandemic, who really changed drastically how businesses think about engaging their customers about how they go to market about their value proposition. So I think on the one hand that is really shaking up the world and businesses as we know it, so it’s a perfect timing, to understand or to research, what what changes is triggering and because there’s definitely change out there in the market, but like, what is it exactly, and I think measuring that researching that is super important. And then secondly, I think specifically to sales enablement. Like we already we’re at the point where like sales enablement is undergoing a drastic transformation and I think what a COVID definitely showed is our strengths, the weaknesses and the opportunities For sales enablement as we know, and so taking that perspective, your research is extremely important for discovery.

Scott Santucci 09:07  

So one of the things then is to put some context around that. Do you think that COVID was in upon itself, an event to respond to, or did this highlight and exasperate fundamental changes that were already occurring and it just exposed them?

Louis Jonckheere 09:26  

It exposed, for example, it exposed how badly organized revenue organizations are in companies and exposed how board messaging is of many companies out there it exposed how bore alignment there is between sales and marketing service and customer success organization. So I think it highlighted what many of us already were seeing. And I think it’s overall a really good thing for this industry. But yes, it exposed what sales enablement is trying to or will eventually change.

Scott Santucci 09:57  

So I think that’s really important because What Louis has the luxury of being able to do is to look at a market in its, in its totality, like in a wholeism standpoint. And most of our listeners work inside companies. So we work in individual departments. So we see maybe different colored glass of the stained glass window, and Louis has the opportunity to see the entire stained glass window. And he’s got, you know, individual customers to highlight to. So if if the sales enablement market is going through a shape shake up or transformation, or whatever you want to call it, what do you see? Let’s give some descriptors to that. Let’s make it more tangible.

Louis Jonckheere 10:42  

Absolutely. I mean, if you look at sales enablement, in the last I would say like, like 10 years, I think that about 10 years ago, that’s when the term sales enablement practice started to become a thing. I would say like like to just simplify it either started from a marketing team or Content team saying like, Hey, we need to have a better way to deliver content to a sales team to make them more productive. Or it came from a training department that said, like, Look, we need to make our sales training much more tailored. It’s much more micro much more effective. And, and lots of companies out there if you ask them what sales enablement is, and most of the scenarios, you will either hear a golden story, or you will hear a training story. And that is, how it how it evolved, or how it started studying. And in the last 10 years, I think we’re now seeing a change happening. And I think like that is exactly what COVID highlights.

I mean, for a customer, there’s no sales per customer. There’s no marketing team. There’s no services team. There’s the company they’re doing business with. And I think we’re going to see with sales enablement that it is not going to start from “hey, I want to solve a content problem” or “I want to solve a training problem.” No, it’s about making sure that you can have as many qualitative engagements orchestrated with your customer as possible that really drive growth that drive success and I think the big change we’re going to see is that sales enablement will start from the customer. And I have a strong belief that that sales enablement platform that sales enablement technology should start with listen to what the customer is saying. And a lot of the engagement we have today is virtual and virtual meetings, email, virtual collaboration. And I think if marketing, if sales enabled the screening messaging, if they’re creating content, that it all starts with building that message, building that content based on real customer conversations, I think there’s a lot of opportunity for organizations to start to craft their value propositions, their messaging their content, in a very strong way on what they hear from customers. And then in the past, I mean, this has been a huge challenge and a lot of companies talked about this right. Like you asked me the question in one of our first conversations, like, who really knows the customer? Yeah, yeah, very little executives out there own the customer and like not many companies truly understand what their customers is saying. So, remember that was a great discussion we had Scott.

Scott Santucci 13:03  

Yeah, I and I wish that this were a video so that we could show the whiteboarding that we definitely get into but let me help paint a picture a mental picture if you’re listening. Yes. So I love let’s, let’s start start with the origin. So 10 years ago, so the origin story of our hero’s journey, right? A sales enablement, professional starts off as, hey, you’ve been tapped on the back to go fix something broken. These are my words. This is the way that I describe it. It’s very similar to the way Louis depicted it, which is, Hey, I’m tapping on the shoulder, something’s broken. And we’re going to fix a misalignment between say sales and human resources that typically deals around with training, probably onboarding, or learning how to sell the value, something like that. Another top on the shoulder is it’s in marketing, and, boy, we’re really frustrated that no salespeople aren’t using our wonderful content, let’s create a mechanism, sort of a cable set box, if you will, for programming to distribute all that content.

So it evolved in a very tactical way. Now we fast forward to 2020. And COVID has exposed a lot of synapse problems that we’ve been glossing over, because our organizations are so siloed. And our customers that we’re selling to, particularly with b2b and broad product portfolios, don’t really care about our silos. They don’t care about marketing, they don’t care about sales, they don’t care about they want results. And they want Wait, they want you to combine the various capabilities that you’ve got into something that’s more valuable. So that’s, that’s something that we see. And I think we really, we really bonded a lot on that. So that’s sort of the history part.

Are we on the same page there I want to get to the next part, which is, what is customer centric centered, really mean? 

Louis Jonckheere 15:00  

I mean, we’re definitely on the same page. And I mean, I think good customer centricity for me means that I think, first of all, I starting to understand like, like high level how the customer has changed, right? Like in general, what are their expectations when they’re engaging with the company. And I think one of the the keywords that I mean, we’ve been talking about, which show that over the last eight, nine years, like customers are looking for convenience, it needs to be easy to do business with you, it needs to be valuable to engage you need to learn something, I think, and that’s interesting when it didn’t, and we’re going to highlight this in our transform customer conference, in October is empathy is going to be something customers are also increasingly going to demand from the companies they engage with. And I think like that is definitely something that COVID that definitely surfaced, so convenience, value, empathy, and you need to enable your commercial organization to deliver that at scale. And that’s really where where sales enablement Revenue enablement growth enablement, wherever you want to call it as well.

Scott Santucci 16:03  

So this is where I want us to start walking really slow together. So I agree with everything that that Louis shared. I think the difficulty that we have is step number one, and this is what Louis is going to do a great job of focusing on for us is, let’s make sure that we have the right technical platform that can pull many of these content assets together, that can be mass configured based on the need that the salesperson identifies to match with a scenario of a customer. Right, that’s sort of like a technical design that somebody needs to have instead of just buying piecemeal, individual parts. Is that fair, Louis? Because I want to get into some of the other parts, but I’ll just make sure that I’m speaking for you correctly.

Louis Jonckheere 16:50  

Yeah, I mean, absolutely. I would say like one of the key pillars of sales enablement is really that as an organization, you have the technology that allows sellers to access extremely easily find the stuff they need to engage with the customer gives them the tools to personalize and ultimately deliver value to the customer. So like that is one of the firmaments of sales enablement. Absolutely.

Scott Santucci 17:12  

Yeah. So one of the things that we’ve got to be able to do is we have to recognize that there are, you know, depending on what definition of sales enablement you use, there are between 100 and 600 suppliers out there that quote unquote, help you enable sales. Do you want to be in the business of trying to stitch together a lot of those things? Or do you want to have one platform and that’s becomes part of the value add or the role that Showpad needs to play for us? Or companies like Showpad. The second thing then is, okay, well, there’s people involved. So we’ve that we’ve talked about the technology, then there’s the people involved, and this is where things become challenging. This is one of the things that we’ve identified in terms of our our research is that there needs to be a new role, we call an orchestrator Maybe it says the next evolution of sales enablement from the VP of broken things to an Orchestrator and an Orchestrator conducts and they’ve got a lot of groups to connect, because it’s unlikely. In order to be customer centered, it’s unlikely because no one department has a monopoly on what the voice of the customer is. So how are you going to stitch together all of those different perspectives because the consulting department has one view of customers. training has one view of customers sales has one view of customers. Marketing has one view of customers customer success has one view of customers, and they’re all right. But also they need to be stitched together because unfortunately, customers and are human beings, I like the empathy part. And we need to be able to factor in that, how that all comes together.

So that’s sort of the next part that we want to highlight is you have the need For a, there’s a definite need to have a more integrated technology approach, which is what Showpad’s working on. But what I want to transition to is what are we finding in terms of the role? There’s a lot of flavors of sales enablement out there, in terms of going back to sort of the observation about what’s the dominant and what’s the recessive gene? What are you seeing in terms of the type of role that’s the most effective bringing to life the full benefits of your platform inside your customer base?

Louis Jonckheere 19:32  

Yeah, the really interesting question so I mean, every year and our conferences and all of our events like we do a role check like like, which departments are like what’s the role, like the audiences and right and it will be sees that like one trend, increasingly we have sales enablement, professionals in the audience. So for example, last year 50% of our Transform audience were sales enablement, around 28-29 marketing. And the rest of us all over the place. And if you ask me the question I like, in which departments are the most effective, then?

I mean, the my answer would be, I would say the companies where sales enablement has true executive coverage, because if sales enablement is run from the marketing organization, but if it has not enough buying or another not executive coverage in the other departments, it will remain a content focused product right or content focused rollout where Yes, you’ll have a much better tool to deliver content. But that doesn’t always deliver the results you ultimately want to achieve. Because for me, sales enablement is about making sure that your customer facing employees can have much more valuable engaging discussions with their customers. Content helps but they need much more than than content to do that. Companies that truly have executive buy in at the CEO level where the CEO stands behind the project and enables their or at their leaders to truly like drive. change throughout the different departments, those are the ones where I truly see amazing results. Because those are the customers that understand that sales enablement doesn’t start from a content perspective from a training perspective, but it starts from the customer. And it starts from all of the programs that you should evolve through really enable a commercial organization to be successful. And it’s about content. It’s about training. It’s about coaching. And coaching is one of the most underestimated elements of sales enablement that we like Scott, you were just talking about people like you’re ultimately talking about enabling people to do something to do a job better. And I mean, coaching is still one of the most effective tactics we have yet so underdeveloped in many organizations we work with about I mean, to answer your question, we see no correlation when it’s in marketing. It’s better when it’s a sales enablement. That’s better like nope, and sea level supports it and really drives it down. There’s real change that happens.

Scott Santucci 21:56  

So you’re you’re really triggering a thought here and this might be a good Deep Thought but there’s a real interesting lens on this. So having been in this space for for quite some time, I’ve heard more or less two reactions to the word enablement. The overwhelming majority of reaction I get as an association with enabling an alcoholic, right you’re, it’s a very negative connotation. And it’s more associated with, I’m here to do the job for you because you can’t do your job. That’s one lens of enablement. However, I also talked to people get energized by the word enablement. And it’s more like, say, a city planner or a network architect or business architect or somebody like that, who says we’re going to design the right system so that people can thrive. So what I’m asking you, I guess is do you see that sort of dichotomy and Wouldn’t that map to why you need to get CEO level buy-in that says, This isn’t about fixing our reps? This is about a company wide initiative to change the system. So it’s easier to do business

Louis Jonckheere 23:13  

totally. I mean I think that 

Sales Enablement is a wonderful profession. It is a wonderful category. I think it doesn’t have the right name. But I mean, we could probably spend a few hours just talking about that, right? I like that. There’s definitely a connotation to enablement that limits the scope, the potential I mean, the impact of what what about sales enablement, as we define it has, I mean, absolutely asserting there’s definitely an opportunity in the market to to make a big change here.

Scott Santucci 23:45  

So help help some of our listeners. So I think most people have heard Hey, go get executive sponsorship. Well, for your most successful customers, like keep keep have in mind some of your most success successful customers that people are getting breakthrough results from leveraging your platform. Yeah. Describe for me what that executive sponsor actually really looks like. And how do they see to their mind’s eye what sales enablement actually is?

Louis Jonckheere 24:15  

I mean, so this is, let me show you some some real life examples, right. And typically what we what we see so let’s start to talk about some some some customers who have a high level of digital maturity. Let’s say for example, customers in the medical device industry, like around a third of our revenue comes from that industry. So like, we have a lot of Face Time with executives there. I mean, they’ve invested a tremendous amount of resources in making sure that that all of their digital initiatives, their websites, their campaigns their marketing, automation, their CRM, like all run smoothly, very sophisticated, very integrated, and, and in the end, like those companies are able to deliver a very strong, like unified orchestrated digital experience. And I would say to the The executives that really get it like them, I would say comparison with with with their sales team I like with a sales version of sometimes done thousands of people every day absolutely control the message and with their website, their campaigns with their emails, like they actually realize that they have very little control over what salespeople are doing. And and a lot of the outside insights and in how important sales enablement this starts with that is the fact that you have a huge channel out there, your your sales organization, your service organization, and then you have no control or even like and even more important, no idea, what they’re doing. And I think the executives like which we have the best results with the best engagements, like truly got that they truly understand that the moment that you start to really see and understand what a seller is doing, how they’re communicating with the customer. And then you can use that data to optimize your whole go to market approach. Like that’s when magic happens. So I like that transformation can be triggered. So that I mean, that’s one example.

Scott Santucci 26:04  

Yeah, that’s a great example. So what do you what do you think is your responsibility as show pad to help make those light bulbs go off? Or do you wait? Or is it your responsibility to wait for your clients to arrive at that aha moment of this is what they need to do.

Louis Jonckheere 26:19  

I mean, I mean, it’s definitely our responsibility to do that right and think like, ultimately, we’ll all figure it out for it but i think it’s it’s definitely our role as as a vendor, as a technology company as a thought leader to to to train at the markets on how I like learn the market, how I can mother and go to market Orchestration should look like how you should enable the commercial organization in an A modern real, how you should leverage data coming from your customer conversations and translate that into messaging, content, training, coaching, whatever it may be. So yeah, like, I think we have a big responsibility to do that. Absolutely.

Scott Santucci 27:00  

Yeah. So my last question here and sort of the main body before we get to our closing comments, and our wrap up is, where do you, you know, or do you want to speak for Showpad as a whole, see sales enablement heading, and I’m going to add some caveats to this. I’m going to add some caveats to where do you see it heading if you were talking to me as an investor? So a big strong forward lean, or where would you tell me that where it’s heading if you were talking to somebody that hasn’t made the leap yet and made it strategic?

Louis Jonckheere 27:30  

Yeah, yeah. It’s so so I think, first of all, the future of sales enablement is not sales enablement. I think I would start with but seeing that I believe sales enablement is first of all moving to that broader concept of enabling a whole commercial organization that basically every customer facing employee needs to be helped and needs to be orchestrated and knowing at what they say to a customer and what they personalized for your customer. How Engage a customer when they engage a customer all at the purpose of optimizing that that conversation. I think sales enablement for me is not about how many meetings you have, where a lot of the technology we’ve seen in the last 10 year has focused on, like, efficiency, like efficiency metrics, so many meetings, so many goals, so many touch points. Like, for me, that doesn’t matter.

For me, it’s like the quality of those conversations. For me, sales enablement, directly contributes and should be measured, based upon how it improves the quality of those conversations. And I mean, at the end, what is more important for a business than their conversations with customers like it is the essence it is the lifeblood of every company out there. And I think the big plus the big bonus you will get with sales enablement or and again, the name doesn’t really matter is when you have technology that becomes the system of engagement and the place where like your people engage with a customer where they have conversations, then you also become the system of Intelligence and and back to the first point of our first discussion we ever had like customer intelligence for me. 

Scott Santucci 29:06  

Yeah. 

Louis Jonckheere 29:06  

Like it will be in a huge tree be driven by that engagement software and presentations you do the Indian person meetings, you have to collaborate, you have by email by analyzing that. Finally, for the first time we’ll have a centralized source, or customer intelligence can go to be used by marketing, service trading, whatever it is. And I think I mean, that’s where the future of enablement really lives. Because when you have the intelligence and today we have technology to then build extremely smart capabilities through AI and machine learning that can start to coach organizations and automatically based on Yeah, on smart one smart algorithms. And I think like if I would be talking to an investor, that’s the story that I would tell.

Scott Santucci 29:51  

let me parse that out a little bit. So there is a there was a lot there. So one thing is, if you’re a listener, you can download Watch the Sales Enablement At A Crossroads, the very first webinar that we did on the research, and we outlined sort of a migration path, if you will. The first thing is, stop being the VP of broken things, if you will, and start becoming an orchestrator, move from a doer to Orchestrator. That’s Goal number one, and that’s a big shift and to begin with, the second thing is move to be more focused. So we broke down sales enablement into concentrations. One is Talent Enablement. One is Message Enablement. One is Pipeline Enablement. One is Organizational Enablement to get to the ultimate goal, which we refer to as Commercial Enablement. Now, picking that up on that to piggyback where Louis is heading in terms of describing it to investors, we actually worked with TCV so we’ve got a podcast with kunaal that you can lesson two to talk about this concept of Commercial Ratio. But the investors that are investing in your company are frustrated with the waste that’s in sales and marketing. And the reason that that waste exists is exactly like Louis mentioned, it’s a lack of Orchestration.

So in order to get that orchestration, more clear, we’ve co created a metric that we call Commercial Ratio that’s been deployed in 58 companies now. And what I’m highlighting is, these are two ways of arriving at the same concept. Louis talked about it in terms of how we work and that we need technologies to make how we work better. TCV is looking at it more from an economic standpoint, or an income statement standpoint, but really, they’re the same thing. So I want to just highlight those two points is how they’re how they’re interrelated. Now, I think the next question then, Louise, how do you Where are people today the flavors of sales enablement exists so often are all over the place. Now, how do you talk to say that doer and get them to be the orchestrator? What’s their opportunity for themselves?

Louis Jonckheere 32:11  

No. I mean, I think first of all, like meeting, you need to identify the executive who cares? Yeah, like, who is the executive who cares about this problem? But like, yes, the CMO in a way, but like they will always look at the world through their marketing lens, you have to do the head of sales. So find the executive that cares and is engaged are motivated to solve that problem. And in some, some organizations are lucky to have a chief revenue officer. Some organizations are lucky to have VP sales enablement that reports to the CEO, but with the lack of a chief revenue officer or it could be sales enablement, then, I mean, often it’s a CEO, honestly, who cares about it, so like he or she needs to be engaged. And I think the moment you have executive coverage for depth and I mean, for example, it sure like we do generates Thought Leadership for our customers for for our prospects in the market to help them do that because like that is definitely one of the big challenges today. And again, I do believe it’s COVID that a lot of CEOs have now been exposed to that to that weakness and will in an accelerated fashion go towards more integrated more orchestrated go to market organizations and so I think that is definitely a great trend and I mean what once you have executive coverage then, it’s a matter of creating a sales enablement charter identifying what it means for you as an organization and in a real smart we start to execute around above the executive coverage, you see that our customers It is really hard to truly transform revenue organizations to the place where they have to be

Scott Santucci 33:49  

awesome. So this is a great conversation as as always, we cover a lot of ground really, really fast. I hope you can tell. Louie’s enthusiasm is is boundless and you can also tell we can talk for probably three hours straight, but no one will listen to us. So what I want to do here is just get at the, you know, we had a, we had a conversation, what were some of the things that you What were some of the highlights that you took away from our conversation? And what what should people do with it, and then we’ll turn it over to Brian, to wrap up for if you’re an Orchestrator fall on the chatbox of what you can do about it. 

So I’ll go first, you know, to to model out what to do for you here. here’s here’s sort of what’s the image that’s painting in my in my head, Louis is, I think we need to create a blueprint or a guidebook or something like that, that breaks down into into components that says, here’s the tech not here’s your desired technology end state because I don’t think there are many IT organizations are doing a good job of laying out the requirements. And we look at many businesses today. It’s just this spaghetti of lots of technologies bolted on top of on things and just having clarity there would be valuable. That’d be one thing I think we could do a better job of is that as a community? 

The second thing, and I’ll let you react to all this stuff later, the second thing would be, what about the people? It’s going to be everybody’s going to throw their hands up and say, I can’t fight this, if we’re looking at it through the organizational silo lens, what our operating models are new ways that we can create coordination across multiple departments? I’ve seen time and time and time again, that the creation of committees that aren’t say no, they’re actually designed to create consensus across multiple departments, because it’s unrealistic to think any one departments going to have the complete view of the customer, or the complete view of all the metrics. How do we take the best of all those departments, so it’s a people part. 

A third part was Be information. There’s so much data that we collect about content, or tracking sales behaviors, etc. But Are we rolling it up to be meaningful? Or is it just noise? So how are we organizing and making sure that there’s a coordination across that so we have the right kinds of dashboards at the right levels of the organization. 

And then finally, process, if we’re going to be talking about coordinating a commercial system, we’ve got to be able to learn to talk about a business process is something that, you know, we little you get to get to work with a lot of different industries. I’ve been amazed at the life sciences in the manufacturing businesses, how easy it is for them to talk about concepts like value stream analysis, or, you know, more coordinated, coordinated ways of working together. And you bring some of those concepts into other industries. They want to, you know, run you out with a pitchfork. So how do we create more more space to talk about business process that’s more integrated, rather than processes to hold people individually accountable. So that was really what was on my mind. As I was hearing a talk on man, it would be really cool if we could create a layered blueprint, if you will, that highlighted those four parts. Those were my my takeaways

Louis Jonckheere 37:18  

No and and and i mean to develop it. I think like having such a guidebook could be like tremendously valuable for I think, for your listeners for I mean, basically anybody who’s figuring out this, this big challenge, right? I mean, the one thing that I would add another like something where we as shoppers want to contribute to the community is, I mean, with the companies out there on a stage who are doing it successfully. And I think there’s definitely some out there including winter, like we’re on our own platform, some of our existing customers, and like we want to give them a stage we want to we want to make sure that they can inspire other companies on how to do it. Showpad definitely plays a big role in providing that Technology and sharing a lot of our knowledge and thought leadership. But in the end, like we need to hear the customer stories, we need to see the successes we need to see a customer’s coming out with key studies where they radically change the way how they measure commercial success, right. And I think like your Commercial Ratio is, I think, one really good, good example in that perspective. So see how many mean that that’s the thing that I would add, like, let’s have those customers speak, let’s have our champions on a stage share their story and inspire others to do the same thing

Scott Santucci 38:29  

I hear you I want to, I think will be valuable, is what I’ve observed is that a lot of people put out their their customers as reference points, but they’re not really examples of where things are heading to. They’re just examples of how well somebody used their platform to do onboarding or something like that. So I think it would be cool if we could complement that was some sort of maturity stage to say, here’s your progression towards say commercial enablement. Whatever you want to call it, and then plot out the course, so that way people would know. Okay, well, I’m not ready to go all into what Louis and Scott are talking about right now. But let me get it get a baby step. So that way we frame out that we’re not saying, you know, company x is the be with all in with all but here’s how they got started moving away from doing the orchestration under the talent box, something like that. But I think I think we need to create more more of a standard if I don’t mean standards, but more of a like, what would be a Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval of what commercial enablement looks like? Because I noticed from my experience, advocating the sales enablement role, it it really didn’t go that direction with a North Star that I that I thought it would be a lot of people globbed on to the term and it became very, very murky. Yeah. So how about you what, what insights Did you get from our conversation and then I’ll piggyback on what your reactions were.

Louis Jonckheere 40:00  

I mean, I mean, the like, definitely learned a ton from our conversations. Right? I think that, like, definitely, I think one of the pieces you shared with me is I like that the whole topic around customer intelligence, right is like, like, who actually really gets it, like who owns it. And, and for me as I like that reconfirmed a lot of the thinking we have that that I mean, it all starts with customer intelligence. If you do not fix that problem, like forget about sales enablement, forget about everything. And so I think that’s definitely one. One thing that yeah, that I really liked about our conversation. I think I mean, looking at your research that that you’ve done, I think, again, it’s comes at a really good time and we’re asking the hard questions, and I think we need people in this industry who asked the tough questions who are not afraid to, to question stuff. And I think sales enablement is definitely at that point where tough questions need to be asked because Like an unfortunate reality is that a lot of sales enablement, leaders don’t see the success they they hoped. And that has nothing to do with the technology they use or how hard they work. But it has to do again with that executive coverage, looking at the problem from the customer’s perspective versus the pure golden perspective in a siloed perspective. So I think that’s, again, it reconfirmed a lot of the thinking we had. So great, great insights in great conversations from that side.

Scott Santucci 41:27  

One of the things that I’d love to do more of is I the concept that you shared about, let’s be let’s create the record of information about conversations. The thing that sparked there to me is the whole value of NASDAQ or the New York Stock Exchange, is because all that exchange is happening within that umbrella. The data that the market has about what’s actually happening informs all that to occur. To me, it’s sort of the same thing in a microcosm, right? Let’s take the ecosystem that we’ve got, let’s put a lot more focus on where the exchange of value happens and figure out what are, you know, for lack of a better word or exchange rates, what messages resonate with whom, and what people are valuing. And then we have that information. Sort of like a, you know, sort of stock exchange, but a conversation exchange or a value exchange. That’s that concept really resonates a lot with me, Louis, and I’d love to work with you to help make it more concrete.

Louis Jonckheere 42:33  

Let’s do that.

Scott Santucci 42:35  

Okay, so we’re at that at the wrap up part. One of the things that I’m excited about is Louis has invited me to participate in their Transform Conference. So what I’m going to be doing is something I’ve never done before. So I’m very excited, very excited to do this. I love to be challenged, even though it’s going to be 10,000 people there. I’m sure it’ll be great. So what I’m telling myself my positive affirmations, And I’m going to take the content and the research that we’ve done all post COVID. And then challenge myself to apply it to the technical platform that we’ve got to try to do as best as I can in 30 minutes or less to stitch together some of those ideas that we shared in that blueprint. So I’m really excited that he’s willing to take that risk and do something different on it. But like I said, I hope it’ll be fine. But why don’t you tell us a little bit more about the whole Transform program?

Louis Jonckheere 43:29  

Sure. Thank you. It’s, it’s our yearly customer conference that we started Transform, I think, the second year after founding the company so I think like I think customer conferences are one of the most important things you should do as a company like bring your customers together, share those leadership, have them share their stories, and anything like that same concept where we bring together again Showpad thought leaders, industry leaders like use cups, all of our customers. Some inspiring keynote speakers. We’re bringing them together for two days, we’ve been doing that in person for the last seven years like now for the first time, it’s virtual. It’s free. And I mean, it’s a place for anybody interested in sales and marketing transformation to learn. And we have some really exciting speakers, lots of our global customers who are going to share their stories. So yeah, it will be fun. It’s an opportunity for people to learn and to get insights from the industry’s best minds. Very excited for that.

Scott Santucci 44:32  

Excellent one. Looking forward to being part of it. I’m hopeful that Insider Nation, will take you guys up on that offer and participate. So hopefully, we’ll see many of our listeners there. So Brian, we’re at the point now to wrap this up to make to connect the dots with orchestrators Louis. As you may know, we’ve defined six criteria of what makes an orchestrator Brian’s gonna walk through those and connect the dots for our listeners about what they should take away from this podcast. Brian, you’re up.

Brian Lambert 45:03  

Thanks, Scott. And thanks, Louis. And there’s a lot of entry points, you guys covered a lot of ground. But one that kept popping up, I guess you could call it the, the the dominant gene here back to our pea story. So listening to the friars, you guys observe the peas. And I think the one that I’m going to call out here is the dominant gene is this idea of executive buy in. So from an investor and Commercial Ratio perspective, Scott talked about how investors view sales and marketing and how 58 companies have deployed the Commercial Ratio to look for systemic waste in their sales and marketing or commercial engines. And Louis kept talking about the most successful sales enablement functions are those that have executive involvement, not where they sit in the org chart, if it’s marketing or sales, that and so when you look at that, how do you get there? 

Well, using our six Six criteria of an orchestrator. First you have to guide the narrative by confronting reality. Louis shared that the importance here is around this customer intelligence view. It depends on how you define reality. And why not use customers as a way to define the reality. Everybody says they know their customer. But do they really, and when you look at how COVID is, is showing some weaknesses, and some opportunities for growth, isn’t it time to use your customers to simplify from there and 

moving to the second attribute, which is which is prioritizing the right goals at the right moments? Because there’s a lot of waste in the ecosystem to Commercial Ratio and what investors are looking for highlights that there’s areas for improvement. It has to be focused on in the path forward to but to prioritize has to be focused on being easy to do business with and Louis gave the great example of the medical device company and how they’re orchestrating the digital transformation because The goals that they’re focused on working back from the customer. 

The third attribute here is driving results by design not by effort. In other words, customers don’t see marketing versus sales versus suit services. Louis talked about it, they see it as one company, it has to be orchestrated. And that’s where sales enablement can start really driving the value and listening to what customers are saying, in order to elevate their role and have that executive buy in that finally, 

a fourth one is around focusing on mission and goals, the quality of the conversations building the listening engine, building the real time NASDAQ to actually provide intelligence in that sales conversation. 

And then unlocking energy to create momentum, helping sales people get that momentum in the sales conversation by simplifying and actually coaching them in the context of the customer conversation. 

And that will lead to catalyzing change. And catalyzing change happens when you have that executive buy in and that Executive buy in has to be earned. It’s not just given. And so with that you have to have the courage to find the person who cares. And Louis talked about finding the executive that cares, but also who wants to act, because they’re not going to come at it from their, their siloed lens of it’s a sales or marketing or service challenge is all of those. In fact, it’s the customer view. 

So who has the courage to act, who has the courage to get engaged, and who wants to be you know, back to an earlier podcast episode, be heroic, in order to be heroic to drive the right value. So that’s the recap for you as sales enablement leaders. I want to thank Louis for his time. Thanks as always Scott for the ideas and for drawing out this idea of what it means to orchestrate and integrate technology plus customers plus marketing sales. And I hope you continue to give us the feedback as you always do inside the nation. Take the time to send us a note. Drop us a line We’ll see on the next one, Scott.

Outro 49:06  

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


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