ISEs3 Ep3: Paul Butterfield – President, Revenue Enablement Society (2023)

ISE Season 3 - Enablement History with Erich Starrett

ISE Season 3 is focused on the past, present and future of Enablement History. And timed perfectly as we just celebrated the seventh anniversary of the official signing of the Sales Enablement Society into reality by the ~100 SES Fore-founders in Palm Beach, November of 2016.

For Episode 3, Paul Butterfield, President of the Executive Board of the (as of recently) Revenue Enablement Society joins us on the Orchestrate Sales Property and shares his take on Enablement History:

⏪ BEFORE the Sales Enablement Society:

❇️ Building out the enablement function for multiple companies including Vonage, Instructure, and General Electric’s CoE.

❇️ Googling “Sales Enablement” and being introduced to the research of Scott Santucci

⏯️ Paul’s introduction to the SES via Jill Rowley and ultimately getting involved locally.

❇️ A review of the three founding positions and how they, in part, solidified Paul’s findings from having built Enablement programs organically

❇️ A peek “behind the scenes” at the catalysts, current events, and decision making process that informed the executive board’s transition from the SES to the RES

⏩️ Paul’s take on the present and future of Enablement and his personal mission to empower enablement through the lens of Customer Journey

❇️ Enablement has yet to fully embrace and apply “business within a business”

❇️ The impact and opportunity of A.I.

❇️ A challenge for all to embrace becoming Enablement Challengers vs. Waiters

❇️ Drop the “ROI calculator” and rather focus on reasonable correlation to results


ISE Season 3: Paul Butterfield - President, Revenue Enablement Society (2023)

[00:00:00] Erich Starrett: Hello and welcome to Inside Sales Enablement Season three Enablement History, and today I'm so very pleased and blessed and grateful to have RES yes, RES. More on that in a minute. If you haven't heard the news, president Paul Butterfield in the studio here, fresh back from a hop across the pond to Birmingham in the uk.

Hello everyone and welcome to Inside Sales Enablement Season 3, which is focused on sales enablement history. And it's awesome today to have a historic figure in the room.

[00:00:40] Erich Starrett: The R E S, yes, R. Revenue Enablement Society. More on that in a minute. President Paul Butterfield in the studio fresh back from a hop across the pond to Birmingham in the UK, at the National Sales conference in the United Kingdom where he was representing the Revenue Enablement Society.

Speaking of going global, they have just gone global. Hopefully, I'm not stealing any of your thunder here, Paul, but the new URL is, , RE Society. Not. com, not. org. global to truly encompass the fact that the Revenue Enablement Society is a global organization. So he's been putting his SkyMiles to good use and proving it.

So jot it down and check out ReSociety. global. But let's turn to Paul himself. He is the CEO of the Revenue Flywheel Group. He's also holds advisory board and business partner positions for multiple additional logos, including sales ed and coach CRM. He was previously the VP of Global Revenue Enablement at Instructure, as well as the head of Global Sales Enablement at Vonage with did a lot of time right here in Atlanta, I believe, Paul.

And sales enablement director for gE 's commercial center of excellence, so that said, Paul, you've spent a lot of time reporting. It sounds like to the C suite. Tell me a little bit more. Did I miss any gaps? Welcome to the show. We'd love to hear your side of your story.

[00:02:24] Paul Butterfield: Oh, great. And thank you, Erich. I've been looking forward to this. Always have a good time when we have conversations. No, that pretty well nails it down. I've been very fortunate in the way that I came into enablement and I can share a little bit of that if you'd like. But the bottom line is from the very beginning, I reported to either CRO.

Or at Vonage it was the SVP of global operations at a 2 billion company. And every time my boss reported to the CEO.

So it wasn't directly into the C suite, but we had that visibility. We had that urgency and that presence with them to as to what we were doing, what we were working on.

And that has made all the difference. And I'm grateful that I never, even at GE, much larger organization. My boss was only a one step from Jeff Immelt, the chairman of GE. So again, our initiative had, so very grateful for that because it really does matter.

[00:03:22] Erich Starrett: And that sets the bar in the right spot.

That's a struggle that a lot of folks in our audience have had is having the gravitas to get the attention of that executive level, not to mention to be in a position where you are a degree or two, a separation from the top ears of the company that can take action. In fact, that's a great place to head down the path.

When did you first hear the words sales enablement, Paul? And what did they mean to you?

[00:03:51] Paul Butterfield: To clarify. I don't know how much gravitas I had. Beginning fake it till you make it.

[00:03:56] Erich Starrett: You got it now, brother. Yeah. Global president of the society. I'd say that pulls a little weight.

[00:04:04] Paul Butterfield: Yeah. My, my kids call it president of the world.

That's them, not me, but they were excited.

tHe first time I heard the phrase or the term sales enablement was in my boss's office. At a company called in context, SAS contact center, software. Okay. And when in there as a sales leader in mid September of 2012, thinking that we were going to talk deals to go and commits and all that two weeks before the end of the quarter, right?

No, he goes over to his whiteboard and he writes sales enablement.

And then he goes on to explain or remind me really that his mandate from the board, he'd only joined three months before was to take us from 225 million to 500 million as fast as he could. And there was no sales training. Frankly, there was no L and D for any employee at the company at that time.

And he had heard of this sales enablement. And he'd studied it and he decided that he had to have that to achieve his goals from the board.

So I'm sitting there in my mind, I'm like what's sales enablement? I'd been around the sales world and tech sales specifically for a lot of years by then.

And I'd never heard of it. So I nodded the smile, but I ran back to my office and Googled as soon as I could. But that is when I first heard it. And then he proceeded to outline. How he viewed enablement and what his objectives were. And he sent me home it was a Friday, he sent me home with the challenge on the weekend to think about whether I'd accept his Offer, although it wasn't really right.

Wink, wink. And then to come back Monday with it. Yeah. And come back Monday with an answer. And if it was yes, he wanted some high level 30, 60, 90 bullets that's. And so I was doing a lot of studying about sales enablement that weekend.

[00:05:46] Erich Starrett: So what ballpark year were we in there and what's September 2012, where you deal with

[00:05:51] Paul Butterfield: near the end of Q3 in 2012, 2012.

[00:05:54] Erich Starrett: Okay. And so what did you uncover about sales enablement in 2012?

[00:06:00] Paul Butterfield: Not much. I found Scott Santucci's work. I'm pretty sure he was still at Forrester then. But either way that there was, he had published work on the internet.

There was some stuff from Gartner. There was some stuff, we had a sales Executive Committee. We had a subscription to that, so I was able to find some stuff there. But bottom line, there wasn't a lot. And I had no idea how to find, much less talk to, other people doing enablement.

So I read what I could, and I again was grateful. I was, it was an incredible opportunity, Erich, to work in a laboratory environment almost where the, executive in charge of all revenue said, here's what I want you to do. You go figure out how to do it.

So first meeting. After telling him, yes, was with all the other sales VPs and directors that I'd been, they were my peers, right? , I've been there a little while already and

we got together in my office and I big whiteboard and some were, some were on the phone, but and we just brainstormed said, look, this is what bill wants. I get to go do it. However, we think. Is the right way to do it. And we mapped out a rep's journey.

We mapped out the skills they would need for each stage of the sales process. And then we identified the gaps

that was an incredible session. And if you think about that, my birth into enablement was coming purely from the viewpoint of those of us responsible for generating that company's revenue and given the latitude by a boss.

To make mistakes, which we did. I did. I can't put that on now. I got their input. It was all me. But also but also to, to stumble on some things, which interestingly we'll get into aligned with years later, the founding principles, our positions. But that was it. That was my beginning.

. The other key to that success was the fact that. When my boss announced Bill Robinson, thank you, Bill. Also in Atlanta Connection, Bill is a bulldog through and through. When he announced me to everyone, he said, nevermind the title change. He is still a sales VP in my organization and we'll be involved as such in all the same meetings.

And y'all need to listen to what he says.

[00:08:14] Erich Starrett: And so the folks in the room where it happened, you said they were all connected to driving revenue where they all hear sales. Or were there some cross functional folks

[00:08:26] Paul Butterfield: at that point? No cross functional unless you call B. D. R. The B. D. R. Director cross functional, which the way we were organized, they weren't.

They reported to bill As well. So no, that came later at that same company and we can talk about that. But no, that meeting was, it was like I said, up until three days before my peers and the sales leadership organization, . And we were like kids in a playground. We're like. All right.

We build whatever we want. We can't complain anymore. Cause now we've got the license and the budget to go make stuff happen for the teams.

[00:08:58] Erich Starrett: So we're in 2012 ish there. The sales enablement society was founded in 2016. Yep. At what point did you intersect as the, in the present, president of the global society. Where did you cross paths with it, Paul?

[00:09:16] Paul Butterfield: Jill, jill Rowley.

[00:09:19] Erich Starrett: Oh great, Jill, of course.

[00:09:21] Paul Butterfield: She, I don't remember how long it was after the Palm Beach meeting, but it was pretty soon, that she sent me a thing on, I think it was LinkedIn, and she said, hey, look at this.

And I think this is something that you'd be interested in and, here's how to join. And I remember I was really excited because badges are cool. I'll admit it. And I guess I was in the early enough. tier of people that weren't in Palm Beach that signed up that I was listed as a founding member. So it was pretty early.

[00:09:53] Erich Starrett: What better story than Jill Rowley, who is one of the hundred ish four founders. Who is the social selling queen using linkedin to reach out to you and you receiving a badge like it's like you were knighted into the queendom i love it

[00:10:13] Paul Butterfield: jill and i crossed paths when i was at ge in fact we had dinner okay san francisco we had dinner on the bay area somewhere i can't remember where now And I remember she had just picked up her Model S recently and was like, I got to ride in it.

It was pretty cool.

[00:10:29] Erich Starrett: Early adopter of that, of every technology, I think. So when did you first show up? Did you go to a physical meeting like that? Did you start a new chapter? What's our next step in the history timeline?

[00:10:41] Paul Butterfield: I followed. Any way that I could online.

And let's see, 2016, I was getting ready to start at Vonage. And so I, , got heads down building and Vonage trying to figure all that out. I have never inherited an enablement program, including there.

And the CRO had very specific things he wanted because I initially reported the CRO there. I think it was probably Erich just gradually became more involved and it was probably, I don't remember when the Utah chapter started, but that was local. That was my first. time that I would say that I was actively engaging and not just passively consuming with S. E. S.

[00:11:22] Erich Starrett: I'm assuming somewhere in the 17 18 timeline.

[00:11:26] Paul Butterfield: That's what I'm thinking. Yeah,

[00:11:27] Erich Starrett: . Okay let's get into speaking of the founding of the Sales Enablement Society. And Jill and her other 99 ish friends, along with Scott, they founded the Sales Enablement Society originally on three positions.

One, that sales enablement is a strategic approach to eliminating friction across the commercial system of processes.

Two, that in order to accomplish that, sales enablement, to be effective, needed to be chartered and run as a, what they coined, business within a business. Yep.

And then three that there needed to be an aspirational state. If we were, we that the, they were the, we wanted to evolve the profession to, and they needed to have an aspiration and the title they came up with was chief productivity officer.

What do those three positions mean to you personally, and maybe even comment through the lens of being the president of the Revenue Enablement Society today?

[00:12:28] Paul Butterfield: The meaning for me runs pretty deep. For the first two

we can talk about the CPO position. I don't have a strong position on it either way. I can see the benefits. I can see where, why they took that position. I don't disagree with it, but I've always been one step removed from the CEO. I've been able to get everything I needed done that way. Sheevaun Thatcher probably came the closest to anyone I personally know to achieving that when she was at Ring.

let's talk about the first two.

So you mentioned who else was in the room, even though at that initial stage, it was only sales leaders because. We had to build that core enablement for sales very specific outcomes that my boss wanted and wanted as soon as possible fast forward Almost a year and in that time we built onboarding We had run a bunch of classes because we were hiring like crazy.

So there was a class every month And we had established a global Customized a version of a sales methodology. I'd learned as microsoft and I had used it. It was latered into it Customize it for Instructure and had gotten certified to teach it. We've rolled it out. So we've got the core of what he wanted built, right?

Pitch certification, all the basics. Then I was able to look around and as a sales leader there, I saw firsthand how friction between marketing and sales and professional services, sales, and CS, that friction that was. Was degrading, like a better word that customer experience or certainly not elevating it to where it could be.

I just knew from practical standpoint, having to put out fires, right? You know what I'm talking about? And at that point, marketing from the very beginning was part of building the ICPs and all of that. And so that for the business methodology that I was teaching. All of the salespeople, right?

So they already were at that point at the table and they were all in great marketing leaders, Michelle Burrows. One of the best marketing leaders I've worked with. Then I went to our COO it was a guy named Sam. And I talked to him about that friction that I had observed with this methodology, briefed him on the methodology that here were the potential benefits that I saw for our customers by having his customer success teams.

And renewals team, et cetera, come through as we did, because we were still rolling sessions with sales. And so I wanted to start sprinkling in some of the, each parts of those teams each time. So that by, the end of the cycle, they would all be enabled with the same methodology.

And the Sam bought in, to what I thought was going to be a good thing. And so we started doing it and. Again, sometimes it's better to be lucky than good. And so without realizing any, knowing anything about that position, it was just a very practical response. To problems that I had dealt with there at that company and seen

so when that position came out and I was able to read, what was the reasoning behind it? What did they do?

It was first of all, it's very validating. That was cool. But second of all, it was so much better articulated than I had thought about it, right? I was reacting to problems and filling gaps, but I hadn't didn't have the background then to think about it the way those people did.

The other position that meant so much to me,, was the business within a business. I wasn't articulate enough to come up with that phrase. I told you about the roots of how we started building enablement from scratch. And so I had taken that view from the beginning.

[00:16:06] Paul Butterfield: It's me and a bunch of sales leaders reporting to a sales head of sales. And so we always just looked at what are the outcomes. We What did the reps need to do hit their numbers? What are the reps need to professionally grow?

And so everything was a hundred percent results focused. Cause that's how we knew how to think. And I've been doing that for years, focused 100 percent on results. And so the training, how many trainings and they were means to an end for us. And so as always, we built it and I built it and viewed it as a business.

Coming out of Palm Beach, they articulated it and explained it and talked about it in ways that, okay, now I understand how it's working and we understand why something's working. Not just that it is, you have the opportunity. To then really amp it up.

And so to this day, I'm very grateful for the time, the money, the energy that those folks invested, because I directly benefited from it.

Almost right away.

[00:17:05] Erich Starrett: You were doing exactly what they put words to

[00:17:10] Paul Butterfield: Close, not exactly, but close.

[00:17:13] Erich Starrett: . It put a headline over what you were doing. Not. Yeah, you weren't. Yeah, I was already nailing it. They caught up with me. Yeah, no, so what, I know a good bit about you

that's so much of what you're doing and you're going into businesses who don't even have a sales enablement team and doing what you've naturally been doing now for well over a decade. We were connecting those kind of dots, having those kind of conversations. And a degree or two, a separation, if not almost directly to the c-suite.

Having those strategic conversations that landed in tactics and addressing those gaps. . So I love everything you said now. It's and to me that was through the Paul Butterfield revenue flywheel and your history.

Now let's shift and put the president of the R. E. S. hat on. What does that look like through the lens of the current day.

What would you say the current day positions are or primary initiatives and what's the delta between everything you just described and what's hot and what's focused and what the members are asking for a combination of those things in the present.

[00:18:27] Paul Butterfield: So everything we've talked about so far, to be clear, that's my personal experience. I didn't even go to my first SES conference until 2019, but I have some great stories to tell from that. It was an amazing conference. But San Antonio, yeah, which is a great little river walk there. I can't think of a better place to have a conference.

[00:18:42] Erich Starrett: It was so fun.

[00:18:44] Paul Butterfield: It was fun. I'd done a sales kickoff there a few years before, so I was excited to go back. The, probably the most obvious thing to, to, to most of your listeners. Is the name change that you referenced.

A little history on that in December of last year, 2022, I asked the board, I had been president for, I don't know, four or five months by then.

I asked the board to come to Salt Lake just because I had really good meeting space available and structure we could use. And we did a strategic offsite. Okay. And we started with a SWOT analysis. And we were brutally honest with ourselves, right? What is the state of SES? And this isn't, this is not a criticism of anybody.

This is us. Ourselves figuring out. Okay. What's broken? What do we need to focus on?

[00:19:30] Erich Starrett: And this is four q 22

[00:19:32] Paul Butterfield: This is yeah, december 22. Okay.

ONe of the things that those in those discussions that we hit on is the fact that most of us in the room And at the time that was juliana stancampiano. Sheevaun thatcher bill ball peter ostrow Craig Kelly was actually remoting in from Australia. She didn't fly in for this.

But in, in our collective experience in our careers. We were all doing enablement for far more than just the sales team. We all had come around in our own ways to the fact that we, that position was very correct. We need to be eliminating friction across the commercial teams, I think is how it was worded in, in, in the original position. But I look at it as just across the go to market motion, right? Across the customer journey and the customer experience. That's really what matters.

And so that led us to a discussion about , has the industry, our profession outgrown our name?

And we didn't make any decisions that day, but it became one of our strategic initiatives for the year to look into it, investigate it, and continue the conversation. And that's what we did. And ultimately, everything we found, or most of what we found, validated the fact that, yeah, this is how people are talking about enablement, finally

think about last year, the chatter on LinkedIn and social, right? People were starting to really talk about it broadly for the first time.

And for a few reasons, we decided that was That we were maybe almost playing catch up, to be honest, again, it just and so that's when we started to put together our, the positions that we announced from the stage and we released them in the press release, we released them on LinkedIn, I think we've got 26, 000 followers on our LinkedIn page, and that's what led us there.

[00:21:23] Erich Starrett: Yeah, and if I remember correctly, you actually had each member of the board came up and gave their personal kind of testimony from this is why I voted for

[00:21:36] Paul Butterfield: yeah yes, that was as we were trying to decide what to do, how to do it. I was not, I told him, I said, that is not my story to tell, right?

Cause the typical thing originally was that I would, the president closes out the conference type of thing. And I said, not this, it just doesn't make sense. This was a collective decision. It was based on nine people's life professional experience and under, and learning.

So that's how that session evolved. We started to figure out how do we, without. Like taking up a lot of time without dragging, dragging it, the big announcement down share those backgrounds and the whys.

It seemed to go pretty well. The room erupted. We weren't sure. We assumed people would like it, but the room went nuts. You were there. It was actually pretty cool. Yeah.

[00:22:22] Erich Starrett: PAul, the move to Revenue Enablement Society, you mentioned that we were maybe falling behind.

I assume you mean through the lens of sales ops, you rarely hear that now, you hear rev ops, right?

[00:22:35] Paul Butterfield: Yeah, CRO was a well established position. Before 2022 December. Yeah. The other part of our thinking was that in our personal career experience in building and watching other people, that was where the, that was where the profession had been going for a little while.

And that was. actually what was predicted, if you think about it, in 2016 by reducing commercial friction. It probably took longer than People would have hoped at that time, but you think about that trend towards revenue enablement that it started in the last few years and picked up steam is at least my interpretation of that founding position is that it is you're getting outside of just the sales silo and you're breaking down walls.

And you're helping eliminate, or you can't eliminate, but reduce the friction across commercial teams. That had been happening. That was coming about somewhat naturally. And we were acknowledging that. That's the other piece I'd add to that. That we were already there.

[00:23:40] Erich Starrett: How about this, as a very clear indication to our audience.

If I am in a sales enablement role, I'm focused on X. As I shift into the title of revenue enablement and the society does as well, I'm doing all of X. And I'm adding additional things , whether it's who I support, the processes I'm focused on, how I go about my business, what is the shift in that?

What did I pick up in my roles and responsibilities ?

[00:24:14] Paul Butterfield: Who else is in your, who else is impacting your customer journey from top of the funnel for renewal? If you're in SAS renewal and it's then building an enablement umbrella. And strategy first, always first strategy . And that's where your expansion comes in.

I have noticed that a lot of people are doing that, but still have the title of sales enablement. And that's a lot of times a function of how their HR does the job architecture and things like that. So I don't always assume that title means you're only doing sales, but we're seeing more and more people having revenue. Or even GTM in their titles. And I always assume when I see that they are doing what you just described.

[00:24:59] Erich Starrett: So column a, I'm only enabling sales. In Revenue. It's all of the above. What additional roles am I enabling ?

[00:25:09] Paul Butterfield: You mentioned CS. You mentioned CS, so definitely that renewals teams, which may or may not be part of CS. Some companies I've worked with a number of them actually had a separate renewals team. And some of those reported into sales. Sometimes they reported into customer success. But yeah it's a mix.

One, I don't think you mentioned is RevOps and enablement and RevOps have very different, equally important roles, but we've also been able to assist. In onboarding new rev ops folks in helping them get plugged in different ways

even back my very first gig we talked about it and in contact after we had our onboarding going for a while Marketing leaders were like hey, can I send my people the same thing happened at vonage? And the our ask our answer was always yes But here was the ask they have to be in class and they have to fully participate do the work just like if they were in the sales org and it was like, part of their job. , we don't want them popping in and out or, stuff like that, which they agree to.

So yeah, I think that's the only other one though, that you didn't mention Erich would be rev ops. There is a role teaching, coaching frameworks, rev op leaders need effective coaching frameworks, just like every other rev leader onboarding.

And we've been able to provide that in some cases. Now, RevOps gets very specialized very quickly. And so typically, we will work with them to build the onboarding path, but then they take over the ongoing ever boarding. Some people call it professional development of their teams,

when you get into revenue leadership enablement,

you're able to help develop, RevOps develop their leadership team. You're able to help marketing develop their leadership team, CS and all the others.

[00:26:43] Erich Starrett: Interesting. For me, I think of it as, and I've thought about it this way my entire career, enabling the entire, my phrase, customer facing frontline. What I'm hearing from you is RevOps may or may not be customer facing, right? RevOps might even be, if, and I buy into that, definitely you need to be in sync strategically with RevOps. So maybe it isn't just the customer facing frontline. It's other internal roles as well,

[00:27:17] Paul Butterfield: that's why I use Customer Journey Enablement. Who impacts the customer journey?

RevOps may never talk to a customer. But the work they do? And the tools they're providing for the reps, the analysis they're providing for leadership, and for marketing absolutely impacts the customer journey. That's how I look at it.

[00:27:37] Erich Starrett: I Thought my worldview have been able, and what was big, you're going internal as you're enabling the whole shooting match.

[00:27:43] Paul Butterfield: Yeah. They may be the last group that you bring into the fold if you're developing this, not that they're not important, but the people that do directly work with customers. And the assets that product marketing and marketing are creating need to be aligned with how you're teaching your sellers to sell differently.

You got to start there I have found that RevOps leaders welcome the help,

when you think about enablement. And one of those ways that I think about it at a high level is our role is to identify with all revenue leaders. What are the few things that only they can do to develop and coach their employees?

And everything else In that employee's development enablement should take off that plate because every leader in a revenue org has very limited time for coaching and development of their people. So let's let them focus and maximize that time they have. And then we are. Supporting them in the others

[00:28:44] Erich Starrett: it sounds like something that someone called a chief productivity officer would say. Paul

[00:28:51] Paul Butterfield: nice. Posi position three. Yes. Yeah. It still, maybe I do have a, maybe I do have a stronger opinion about it than I thought. I don't know.

[00:28:58] Erich Starrett: We're storming the c-suite. Paul.

Let's move forward a little bit into. The present, what attribute or aspect of the enablement function are you, Paul, most passionate about right now, or maybe simply flat out curious?

[00:29:19] Paul Butterfield: Start with passion. My passion continues to this day with helping companies understand two things.

One, somewhere in the last several years, I started referring to what we do as customer journey enablement. Not saying that should be, what we call our profession, but for my version, my, my vision of how enabled it needed to be created across the commercial teams, that was something that executives and other people I talked to, they could get their heads around that, right?

There is so much opportunity in the enablement world to take the companies that we work with to another level.

And I know that gets used a lot, but here's what I mean by that. How much outreach do you get? How much outreach on LinkedIn and email does everybody listening right now get and how much of it Is horrible and cringeworthy, I'd say for me easily 90 percent right?

And so that tells me that the bar is still low. That tells me that the companies that are lucky enough to have enablement. And for and had the foresight to have enablement have the opportunity to rise above that by doing full customer journey enablement full commercial enablement.

Now, what am I curious about? Probably what everybody else listening right now is curious about AI. And I've found a ways that I'm using it, that are changing my workflow and things like that. But I've recently attended, I think two weeks ago was a webinar done. And it showed some upcoming capabilities that one of the enablement platforms are launching with AI.

I was blown away and we were under NDA. So it's coming, trust me. And you'll probably know when you hear about it, what I'm talking about. But I was like, wow. It's coming next year early.

I just spent the last two days. I hope it's okay to mention sales three at an O and Gerhardt. It was a fantastic AI in sales, two day virtual conference.

Again, came away with my eyes opened and I thought I was on top of AI. No, there's just so much happening. And I learned so much that I'm excited to start implementing in my personal selling and in my client work going down the road, it's going to be really cool next year. So I am wildly curious about that and trying to learn what I can.

[00:31:40] Erich Starrett: You couldn't have better queued up my final question to you. And I'm sure you see it coming the future. Let's see what I did there. What's next for an, in this enablement. Evolution. And maybe share a little bit of a click down into not giving anything away . But what are maybe some of those possibilities that you've heard about? So as a profession and maybe through the lens specifically of aI and what's possible.

[00:32:12] Paul Butterfield: My opinion is in the profession. I don't know if in 2024 set aside AI that. We will see a massive evolution. And I say that because there is still so much work to do with becoming a business within a business, vast majority enablement teams aren't doing that.

Peter Ostro and I were talking just earlier this week and. His observation, and he has a pretty good perch, viewing is that the sales and the revenue leaders he talks to still look at enablement as, in general, as nice people. Good trainers, but they would not necessarily bring them into a meeting with the CEO or the CFO.

[00:33:00] Erich Starrett: They haven't established the gravitas we were talking about earlier.

[00:33:03] Paul Butterfield: And they don't probably don't know how to talk C level, right? They, cause they really don't care if you think your boss doesn't care about butts and seats and smiley sheets.

A lot of progress has been made. The conversations. Are exciting to see the public conversations about becoming a business operating as a business within a business, the conversations about we're not just enabling sales and why is that critical again? And I'm not the only one, right? I know others that have been operating that way for a long time. But again, stumbled on it.

Now we know, now we have science behind it. Now we have a lot of understanding. So my, my thing is, I think we'll just get better and better at that, Erich, and hopefully see wider and wider adoption within our practice,

now AI is here and it's going to continue to impact what we do and how we do it. I don't know to what degree but I recently heard, I thought a really useful analogy of current state of AI. And it was this,

look at what we have today as a highly educated college intern, very smart, very educated, but they don't have the context of career and life experience yet.

That's the current state, which is why you have. The mistakes that get made in AI you have those things that's going to get better, but that's, I thought that was a really useful analogy.

And if you had that person working for you, which things that you do, could you hand off to them and trust that they could execute well, right?

And of course you would still inspect that person's work, right?

iN the future, and even next year. I don't know that we're going to get past that like completely, but there are going to become more and more things tasks, that as enablement, we will be able to automate that we will be able to trust AI to do and to get better and better at doing it, which means less and less inspection now, what does that free up? That frees up a lot of our time. If we're doing it strategically and smart.

One of the sessions I heard in the conference last few days was on having a blueprint for AI. Do not rush out and adopt it until you have a blueprint of why you want it, what your desired outcomes are, et cetera.

Now we've got time freed up. Because I've never talked to an enablement leader who was overfunded and over and had more headcount than they know what to do with. Never, ever, probably never will. So now they can, now we have more ability to focus on. The 50, 000 foot view to focus on strategically, how can we assist the companies that we work for and with in elevating,

when I look at enablement, Erich, at the highest level, I see it as enabling the go to market teams, commercial teams to elevate,, to differentiate by exceptional customer experience.

Not price, please not price and not features gag and to do that. That is the highest level of the calling in our profession in my experience. And it's been, that's my North star. You and I have talked about North stars. I would say that's probably mine right there.

that's what I'm looking for next year.

[00:36:20] Erich Starrett: I like it. And to pile on it back to our conversations, that experience infers. That you're landing them in the desired business outcome that gives the impact that keeps you around. That helps your business not only land, but expand and get that revenue wheel flying.

[00:36:39] Paul Butterfield: Yeah. Yeah. Yes, of course. But for some clients, honestly, Erich. What makes most sense for them is for me to do a full revenue org analysis and SWOT analysis. Here's what I found. Here's the top three areas you need to focus on. Here's why they're broken and dah. For some people, that just makes sense because that's one of my commitments.

I'll always deliver an output that you don't have to keep me around to operate off of.

For example, I worked early in the year with a Co founder to startup and the co founder told me this is great. This output, this is what we need. Thank you. We just can't afford a long term investment right now

[00:37:17] Erich Starrett: that's a great through the lens of advising a business,

how about we land in to all of the folks that and again, thank you for your service, Paul, and leading the global now revenue enablement society and taking us through the transition

as we know. The profession has been on a little bit of a roller coaster ride. There was a lot of excitement about our profession and a blow up during COVID. And then we fell off and then we came back and then we fell off a little bit. And it feels like we're on the rise again.

What maybe are the three things speaking of value and desired business outcomes that individual practitioners or leaders in sales enablement?

Might want to focus on as we head into the new year to be relevant and fit into that revenue engine I'll call it model that you're speaking of

[00:38:07] Paul Butterfield: at our chapter meeting here in utah yesterday our speaker was eddie morris a local member Who talked to us about the need to be a to have a challenger mindset challenger as in the challenger sale mindset in enablement And I would absolutely pass that same advice along.

Don't be a waiter. You ask a waiter for things and they bring them to you. And there's a fine line between doing that being reactive and responsive, but also bringing value to the relationship. That's that whole challenger mindset. If you haven't read challenger sale, go read challenger sale and think about how you would then apply that mindset to your, the internal work

make no mistake. You are in sales, right? You are selling sales leaders and marketing leaders, et cetera. Or you should be on how they prompt how things should be improving and that sort of thing.

Number two, we tell sales reps this all the time, but in my experience and observations, we don't practice it very well as as a whole. And that is. Understand your ICPs.

You don't I attribute whatever success I've had enabled the fact that I was in the trenches selling and leading salespeople for a very long time, but you don't have to have that background. I have worked with exceptional enablement folks that did not come from sales, but what made them exceptional is they learned about their ICPs.

They invested. The time, the energy, they found ways to understand or develop the business acumen to understand that world of the salespeople and the sales leader.

[00:39:47] Erich Starrett: They got in the trenches, maybe, you could say?

[00:39:49] Paul Butterfield: Yeah, they have found ways to effectively do that. That would be my advice. If you haven't been in sales. You need to go you tell the sales reps this all the time. I bet anything right understand your icp Develop the business acumen to have value added conversations with them right out of the gate again read challenger about that but are we doing it internally or have we made that investment? Can we talk to our internal icps like we tell salespeople to talk to theirs?

[00:40:15] Erich Starrett: So get to know your icp get in the trenches with your sales build that empathy for your ideal customer profile

[00:40:23] Paul Butterfield: I would even say business acumen. Empathy will come with that, but you've got to be, you've got to have the business acumen or you won't have any credibility,

the third thing. And this may be controversial, but I think you like controversy. I know you

[00:40:36] Erich Starrett: I love it. Challenge me, please,

[00:40:39] Paul Butterfield: Please stop talking about the ROI. Of enablement.

It's that specific term. I've been telling my salespeople for years, not to use that term with sellers or buyers,

here's why those that understand what a real ROI is. Will immediately. Look at you as a lightweight.

You will never get all the information from a buyer to truly do a real ROI.

They're never going to give you CAC. They're never going to give you a lot of those metrics. Why should they,

what you can do though, is identify the gap between current state and future state and what the financial impact of this, and with them develop. A compelling business case that will result in positive outcomes positive financial impact that they agree with you will happen.

That's what you need to sell, right?

But if you get to a CFO in your process and you start showing them the ROI from your ROI calculator, they're probably going to laugh at you.

Now, fast forward in our enablement world. It's the same thing. I understand what people mean when they say that, but again, some people want to argue with me. We'll get some good comments going here and I've been measuring enablement outcomes and inputs and reporting it to the EC executive committee for over a decade, right?

[00:41:57] Paul Butterfield: You do not have the ability to do a true ROI. There are too many variables. What you can and what you must do is create reasonable correlation to the what your team is doing, leading and lagging indicators, reasonable correlation back to Results that the revenue organization is having and you need to do that over time that will build you credibility, so I guess all i'm saying Erich is words matter and roi I just feel very strongly is not the right word to use To communicate what it is that you're actually doing and that we all need to be doing.

Bring the comments folks.

[00:42:40] Erich Starrett: Yeah. Bring it, bring them on in.

Paul. Again, always a pleasure my friend. Thank you for your service. And congrats on the transition into the Revenue Enablement Society dot global R E Society .Global folks. It is in fact live. Maybe you heard it here first. Maybe it's old news. Either way it is huge.

Go take on that world and keep in touch, would you come back

[00:43:06] Paul Butterfield: you know, I will, we've got to do another concert in 2024.

[00:43:10] Erich Starrett: Let's do it. Let's do it. Yeah, man. Thanks Paul.

[00:43:13] VoiceOverGuy: Thanks for joining us to become an insider and amplify your journey. Please make sure you've subscribed to our show

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