Ep37 State of SE Panel 5: Sales Academics

Ep37 State of SE Panel 5: Sales Academics

Welcome to the Inside Sales Enablement Podcast, Episode 37

Hello insider nation we’re excited to bring you yet another star-studded panel. This time it’s a dedicated panel of academics covering the Sales Enablement space from Universities such as Johns Hopkins, University of Texas – Dallas, and Northern Illinois.

For many, the COVID Crisis of 2020 was a wake up call. The guys leaned into the Insider Nation to discover and learn their thoughts in response to the global crisis. Make sure you listen to episodes 27-31.

We continue our groundbreaking research on the state of sales enablement research project this panel.

In this episode, our guest panelists include:

  • Dr. Robert Peterson, Editor Journal of Professional Selling and Professor of Sales at Northern Illinois University 
  • Dr. Joel Le bon, Johns Hopkins University Digital Business Development Initiative
  • Dr. Howard Dover, Director, Center for Professional Sales at University of Texas Dallas

To view the research method, visit https://www.OrchestrateSales.com/research/

Join us at https://www.OrchestrateSales.com/podcast/ to collaborate with peers, join Insider Nation, participate in the conversation and be part of the continued elevation of the profession.


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 00:35  

I’m Scott Santucci. I’m

Brian Lambert 00:36  

Brian Lambert and we are the sales enablement insiders. So hello

Scott Santucci 00:41  

insider nation, we have another special edition podcast. We’re gonna get academic, we’ll talk about that what that means in a minute. But what we’d like to do is recap on what we’ve been doing. So far. As you probably know, as a regular listener, we’ve been doing a variety of special podcasts around COVID COVID response, how to be a hero and leadership frameworks. What we’ve also done what you also knows that we’ve done a survey of many of you, and we’re in the process of getting those findings, make sure you visit WWW dot inside sec.com and register for our executive briefing. We already have joined some of your peers, VP and director level people and companies like Verizon, Comcast, Microsoft, Amazon, boy, the list goes on and on comm vault, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, we have a we’re really, really delighted with the response that we’re getting so far in that upcoming webinar, and of course, puts a lot of pressure on Brian I to make sure we deliver on that.

Moving forward to what we’re talking about here today. What we’re trying to do is, as part of our research process, share or be very transparent of how we’re going about doing it. So we’ve mentioned that we did a survey, we’ve mentioned the idea about guest analysts. I mean, this is the kind of help that we’re getting seismic TCV private equity, sales benchmark index, show pad, high spot, sales hood, or Ely, soar consulting, these are all businesses that are working to help us get the information to shape out where we’re going. And that’s really incredible. No one’s putting any money to this. This is all just figuring out where this research takes us. So with that, we’ve already had a few panels, a few cohorts. As I learned from our from our distinguished panelists here, we’ve had a cohort around sales enablement experts, we’ve had a cohort around sales and eight sales leaders. We’ve had one around sales enablement, practitioners, sales enablement, practitioners with more of a training background. And now finally, let’s hear from the academics.

So let’s get let’s get academic. So I’m going to introduce our panel. I’m incredibly excited. One of the things that’s really fascinating for me, is I’ve gotten to know all three of these panelists pretty well, I consider them, I consider them my friends, where they really challenged me is looking at the world through through that different lens. So a lot of us can say, Oh, that’s too academic. But you know what, if somebody doesn’t look at it through that lens, maybe we get stuck in all of our thinking. So I’m going to ask you guys to pay attention and really put your be open minded and hear where they come from hat. We don’t need to agree with them. What we need to do is we need to listen to them because they stretch our thinking. So I’m going to tell some stories about each one. So for I’m going to first start off and introduce Joelle Oban. Joelle is a professor and he’s covering digital transformation. pretty relevant topic for the times, I’d say. I bet he’s pretty busy right now at Johns Hopkins. Now Joelle I think I met you actually virtually from a maybe a moment where Dr. Dover was doing a video cast and I was maybe a little bit more liberal in my in my speech than I than I normally AM. And we’ve we’ve gotten connected and have had a variety of opportunities since he’s been heavily involved in helping support the sales of a once society. You’ve probably seen around Joelle interest, introduce yourself and let insider nation know who

Joelle  04:34  

you are. Thank you, Scott. Thank you, Brian, for putting this podcast together in May, you know, academics talk and think because you know, talk and think is, is also very important for for us to understand what’s going on, especially right now. You’re right, actually, Scott, we met virtually, where you weren’t a panel at Harvard numbers. I think there was a panel at UT Dallas, you were on or maybe a conference and you said pardon my French. And yes, that’s right. Right. I like that. And I immediately put on your French, because I am partly French. So I’m a marketing and sales professor, Johns Hopkins University. And I’m also the executive director of the science of digital business development, which is an initiative and program dedicated to digital business development and by digital business development, I mean, combination of strategy, marketing and sales to facilitate companies organization go to market strategies, because obviously marketing strategy and sales, they have to work together, maybe just like for sales enablement. So this is why I’m I teach marketing, I teach sales, I do research in marketing and sales. And this is very much related to sales enablement. So glad to be on the panel. Thank you for the invitation.

Scott Santucci 06:02  

Excellent. We are looking forward to hearing from you. Next up is Dr. Robert Peterson. So I met Dr. Robert Peterson, I’d like you to imagine a little bit. There’s a conference room that’s on the on a Friday, at the meeting started at about one o’clock, the Friday before Thanksgiving in November 2016. There’s a whole bunch of people in there most of I would say mostly VP and VP level executives from pretty large, competent companies and sitting together our doctor, Dr. Robert Peterson, and Dr. Howard Dover. And Robert Peterson, was one of the people who was at that initial founding meeting to decide whether or not we need to do the sales, the name was society in the first place. So I’m really grateful that he found a way to get there, I still still think that’s interesting. One of my favorite stories about Dr. Robert Peterson is that we had a we had a really awesome conversation over a couple of drinks in San Francisco that one time and it’s really awesome when you respect somebody and get a chance to get to know them too. And that’s always always delightful. So Mr. Peterson, please introduce yourself, introduce yourself to inside our nation. Put a little bit of color behind your name.

Robert Peterson 07:26  

I’ve nothing but color. Let me tell you, thank you, Scott, and Brian for inviting me to the panel, the esteemed panel. Yeah, you know how we got to that place in the breakers. Um, that was beautiful. Thank you guys for inviting me to a six hour meeting that took three days because you couldn’t get to west palm on a flight you couldn’t get out of West Palm. So we were there for three days. So I got to meet a lot of people. But really what put that on the map for me that initial gathering of the sales enablement minded people was, um, you know, I saw Brian on LinkedIn talking about it. And I was like, Well, what is this? What is this mean? So I looked it up in the academic world. Now one thing was said about sales enablement. In any journal. It’s like, Alright, well, maybe I asked, you know, I did a search term of the topic. In the title, nothing, sorry. Well, maybe I’ll put that search term in the abstract, nothing, nothing, nothing. I’m like, Alright, I want to be part of nothing. So I, you know, Howard, I talked, we made it happen. The fact that Brian, essentially because I knew him from years ago when he was a young PhD guy. I said, Well, he’s involved and this has to be legit. So yeah, that’s how I showed up and haven’t turned back since.

A little on me as I you know, I worked in sales. I was 100%. commission sales guy on the phone, financial industry. So income paper in Washington, DC, my first sales job. I’m the editor of the Journal of selling, which is an academic journal. I get I use improv in the classroom to get people thinking, get them engaged. And just don’t assume that you know, some Pat answer, it’s going to work you need to be thinking, so I’m just out here doing some having some fun. Howard and I have been doing some research that the academics have fought us tooth and nail, and told us we don’t know what we’re talking about in this whole customer journey thing. It’s just terms we’re making up and so it’s been a good it’s been a good fight, trying to talk to people about sales enablement, its role and its you know, how vital it can be for a company that embraces it correctly.

Scott Santucci 09:32  

So inserted nation, one of the things that I found so fascinating is in getting to know getting to know these guys a little bit. How the world of academia actually works is interesting. I think we need to do a whole podcast on the feedback that you get about what doesn’t exist when we have a whole profession of 10,000 people doing things that don’t supposedly exist in the academic world. I think that would be very, very fun. Fascinating of how we don’t exist because we haven’t been peer reviewed or anything like that. So inside our nation, that’s going to be an interesting topic. Maybe if, if you guys want to hear more about it, I’ve got to tell it’s a very interesting and fascinating story as we delve into that. So with that, I’m going to introduce our last panelist, Dr. Howard, over whom you’ve already met. Dr. Dover was on our COVID panel with Kunal and Lindsey earlier. And it’s, it’s always great to have Dr. Pan on Dr. Howard on our show. He’s the director for the Center of professional sales and sales coaching at the University of Texas, Dallas. Howard, tell us more about about yourself or add some color to conversation, please.

Howard 10:44  

Well, I think, you know, it’s fun to kind of connect the dots I remember. So to kind of connect, have people understand the relationship between Rob and Joelle and myself is that when we go out together, Rob and I are known as dwells bodyguards. So we and we literally will will say we’re his bodyguards, if you if you run into us, so you see it as a conference come up to us and, and you know, Joel will be looking like the guy that could kill you. But Robin, I would have to take you out.

Scott Santucci 11:16  

So see Joseph, the smart one, he orders the hit pan. That’s right, he does.

Unknown Speaker 11:23  

He has a boss like presence. And Robin, I look like the muscle. So that’s an inside joke, but it gives relevance that we know each other. Rob and I have co authored several papers together. In fact, Rob didn’t say it. But we we did manage to get the first paper of sales enablement, actually published in the last two months in the Journal of selling so and Rob really kind of drove that forward. But I met Rob, I met Scott at the breakers with, with Rob and Brian at the same time. And so my my job at the University of Texas, Dallas is too I’m the director of the Center, I founded the center. We also do some work around research in the area of sales enablement, and also the area of the core issue of efficiency and effectiveness in sales, specifically around sales tech stack technology, trying to see how technology is improving the performance of sales people including that’s actually bled deeply into our curriculum as making pretty big impact out there in the world. As a fun note, I’ve picked up cycling over the last year and planned to do a 100 kilometer the hotter than hell 100 this summer unless it gets cancelled from COVID. So

Scott Santucci 12:57  

awesome. And you’re a Pisces, and you like swimming and golf. I’m just kidding. Anyway, all right. So with that is, obviously we were all comfortable with each other. One of the things that I’d like you guys and at insider nation to point out, innovation doesn’t just happen in business, these guys are all trying to innovate within the academic community. So whenever you see them, please link them, please give them our support, it is incredibly hard. And I want to stress it’s incredibly hard to get coverage on new things in the academic community. So anything that we can do, to give them evidence that we exist as a role as a profession, would be incredibly valuable to them to help help raise the cost. So that having said Having said that, all of our panelists have been given the the survey findings, and we’re going to follow the same format. We’re going to go and ask breakdown in sections, we’re going to have their feedback on each of each opening question. I’m going to direct questions to individuals in order, they’re going to say their answer, and then they’re going to respond to their peers. So getting into the meat of the meat of the question, we’re going to start with you, Joelle or Dr. lavonne. Question number one, having looked at the survey findings, what are a few things that stood out for you?

Unknown Speaker 14:30  

Yeah, some very, very nice question, because there were very, very interesting questions in this survey. So of course, you know, when we look at our survey, we always look at the respondents, you know, who responded, what do they do, because, you know, somehow their response are influenced by the response. So of course, I look at that and we have 67% of sales enablement leaders in there. survey 47 out of 70 responded, you mentioned? And and of course, they’re gonna they’re gonna support the field because they also study women leaders. So it’s good. First that, you know, they are engaged to participate into, you know, an initiative to understand what what’s the feeling the function is about. Having said that, when I look at the survey and the response responses, I think. And I think what really was interesting for me is to admit somehow that the function, I don’t even know if I should call that the function, but sales enablement, as not found its sweet spot yet, in terms of purpose and definition. And there are a lot of people are in fact talking about that, it is interesting to see that in our survey, we do have some people saying that it is in decline, and to look at the reasons why they think it is in decline, the rationale behind there, you know, they’re rational. And, and one of the respondents said, we have not clearly defined what sales enablement is in b2b industry.

So, um, so I think I think that was interesting to see that even for those who are in sales enablement, of thinking that sales enablement needs to define better its purpose. And I really like also, some of the answers around it’s something which is in transition. Even from those who say it was on the rise, it’s still transitioning, which is very interesting for us in academia, because we can participate into the thought process of understanding what the function and the discipline is about. It is also interesting to see that a lot of people mentioned that the function is being influenced by technology, and hypergraph of technical innovation, if I remember one of the response. So so then if technology is driving a function and a discipline, you know, what’s next, because technology is, you know, changing fast. And and I think that was, you know, the main the main takeaways from that the last one is, and I have to say, this is coming from an executive who actually said that even sales enablement departments, and he also say that it is on the rise. And he said that, his view is, we need to stop calling it a sales enablement. And for that person, it’s more commercial enablement. And I thought that this this thought was was interesting as a way to envision what sales enablement is about or could be about

Unknown Speaker 18:05  

for the future. So that’s, that’s the takeaway I took away from, from from the survey.

Scott Santucci 18:11  

Awesome, deep thoughts already. I love it. So let’s get Dr. Peterson’s perspective. You had a chance to look at the survey results? What jumped out at you?

Unknown Speaker 18:22  

I would say that I totally disagree with Joelle awesome. No, no. Well, as a PhD, we have to disagree right about everything. Um, there was a bunch of stuff that that that as I as I look through, it’s like, Hmm, that’s interesting. So I’ll get into my best, or at least the one that definitely rose my eyebrow the most, which was, who is the customer of sales enablement. And it kind of dovetails on what Joelle just mentioned about, you know, the purpose and the definition. And that was the article that Howard and I just published on, on, on sales enablement in the Journal of selling, which is free, if you want, you can, you can grab it. And we had baker’s dozen, we had 13 definitions, starting obviously with your sky because you’re kind of the grandfather of of the initial drive into initiative into sales enablement.

Scott Santucci 19:14  

With your 2010 definition. And by the way, I have some comments on Oh, I’m sure we’re talking. Okay. I’m going to critique it.

Unknown Speaker 19:23  

So did the reviewers trust me?

Unknown Speaker 19:26  

Um, but it went from, you know, your 2010 to start it out, and it’s obviously easy for me and Howard to take a retrospective and look 10 years after that and make some observations. You know, maybe you could have been more parsimonious But either way, you’ve got everybody in there, brother, I’m just looking at right now at the at the table. Everybody in their brother is trying to define it in some more sales, Ops, some more marketing, some definitely training, and then there was something a little bit more, you know, strategic in their, in their, in their, in their thinking. So what what what I find when I, you know, surprise, surprise, when we look at the survey results is, who’s the customer? Who is this group of people? Or sometimes one or two people, the entire organization? Who are they? Who are they serving? Or what’s their deal, who’s their customer, and I just ran just some, some stats or some frequencies on it. And 27% said, the sales was the customer. 13 was sales leaders 13% 14 any customer facing function 14 was the C level 11 i, i term 1% a term they’re lost. And that’s a little harsh. But that, you know, couple people said, well, who’s funding it is that’s who’s the customer, I get that 10% name five different stakeholders. So if you run the numbers here again, and combine some of that you got 40% of the people saying, Who is the customer sales name, when 40% were saying sales and sales leadership 25% was saying anyone who’s customer customer facing 14 was sea level. Now, what struck me was that 7%

Unknown Speaker 21:11  


Unknown Speaker 21:12  

said was the customer to me, in the end, it is the customer, the rest are intervening variables, or in other actors in this, if we’re not focusing on the customer, they’re buying journal, what what what do they find influenced, you know, influential, influential, etc, then we’re kind of missing. And I understand we can probably parse that out, say, Well, you know, I always thought of it this way, this way. But if 7% are really coming, approaching this with the customer in mind, then we’ve, then we’ve got, you know, a little bit of a of an issue. So that was kind of surprising to me, to find to see that it’s like, wow, it’s all about the customer. And I don’t know, again, you know, what people were thinking, but there’s a there’s a billionaire guy in, in, in China, jack Ma, probably a lot of people on this know that name. But he said that, you know, the customers number one, the employee is number two, and the shareholders number three, if the customer is happy, the business is happy, and the shareholders are happy. And to me, that would make sure that you’re going out on a sales call, or maybe not physically or you’re on the phone, that the sales enablement, people truly understand what it’s like to be on a call with people to understand that pressure that the salesperson is under every quarter, to understand what it’s like to try to teach someone a new skill ability, and how resistant our sales forces can be to anything new different, or you should do this. So I think if the to be more effective, I think the sales enablement people need to as much as they can earn the trust, and then be willing to listen to the sales force the sales leaders, and that’ll make them that much more effective in their job. And I have a feeling that a lot of them already had that relationship. We’ll probably talk about this later. But there’s a difference between people who do this well, and people who don’t do this so well. So that was one of the things that jumped out at me and who, who they thought the customer was and how that percentage is divvied up.

Scott Santucci 23:16  

Interesting. So inside our nation DC was important for us to get a academics perspective. I didn’t even think of breaking down the survey responses. So the work that Dr. Peterson had to do to get those percentages that he rattled off, was that was some sweat equity right there. Or maybe because he’s a professor, he had some students do it for him. Who knows? Who knows, but there was sweat equity involved. Whether he outsourced the labor or not. It’s interesting, he’s bringing bringing up a Chinese company as his frame of reference. But any rate, joking aside, that’s some This is the kind of perspective that we want to be able to get. And I would love to be able to compare customer first employees second stake shareholders third, with the opinions of the the lead investors at TCV. It’d be interesting if they would rank it that way. But this is why we do these things to figure out where the right balances. So Dr. Dover? How about you? What were your what your were your initial responses, or reactions to the responses?

Unknown Speaker 24:25  

You know, I think the first and foremost response is that there there’s a bit of a selection, you know, this and I know that there’s a bit of selection bias that or sample bias that the people that have filled out the survey are probably people who are very on the upside and positive to the field. They probably invest in your forecast and they follow you and Brian. So given given that, that is the sample. So we would assume these are people who are pretty the data is clearly shows that they feel that things are on the upside. And and so, you know, that’s clearly defined by the data. And I think when you look at it that we have a majority of the people are sales enablement, leaders, a few of them. We’ve got salesperson sales management coming in it, it only, you know, 10 of the respondents, there’s another data set that that Rob and I have been doing some research on. And one of the things we’ve found that we haven’t gotten to the point of being able to publish yet or figured out how to publish it or, you know, anyway, it’s just in some early analysis, is that there seems to be in that data, a very definitive conflict between the view of the problem and the field between the executive, the sales manager and sales enablement. And, and so whenever we’re looking at the value of the field, and we only get one sample, we’re going to get a biased view. And we clearly saw that in this other data set that was global. And so that was one of the first things I looked at and said, Okay, we have a predominant view of the the actual practitioner.

Now, this would be the same thing as for those in enablement to say, Well, you know, we need to get the view of the customer, what is the buyer doing, instead of just hearing what the sellers are doing, because without context of the buyer, then we don’t necessarily get the full picture of what’s happening, we just get the picture of the seller. And so that’s my first thought is that we’re getting a view or a lens from the industry, but not necessarily, we don’t get a good feel, or a good view from the people that this group serves. And so therefore, all of all of the results need to be taken within that context. An interesting side piece, I think, is I look at the operational excellence question, what what’s the strategy that we should be on that most people chose operational excellence and less people chose innovation? That’s, I just find that kind of interesting, I think for for existence in the future, I think we’ve just entered a space and a time that innovation is coined to be the currency of the next 18 months to two years. I don’t think anybody knows how to do operational excellence in incomplete chaos. And I think the more the more I’m having phone calls with, with sales executives.

Unknown Speaker 27:54  

It’s interesting how often I’m getting a call and saying, I just want to talk to you about what everybody else is doing right now. So I, because I know what I’m doing. And I must not be comfortable with what I’m doing. So I’m going to call a professor who talks to 50 to 60 to 70, you know, executives like me, and I’m going to say as what’s everybody else doing right now? And those have been fascinating calls to hear people say, I’m not quite sure what I’m doing. And then really, if if I’m, if I’m if the focus of that call is operational excellence. It? So let me the hint is it isn’t, it isn’t ever about operational excellence. It’s actually about how do I redefine what I’m going to do? Because what I’m doing, I know, I can’t keep doing or I’m going to be having the layoff a whole bunch of people. So if I can find the innovation and the new, what is the new thing I should be doing? What are the new motions? What are the new messaging? What is the new everything? What’s the maybe even the new structure given that we all were just, you know, we all just entered a space where if your structure was cheap, you’re now you know, sitting with no close. So now you’ve got to figure out okay, now I’ve really got to defend what I’m doing and innovate into a new normal and a new revenue generating function. And then I need to worry about operational excellence. So I find that fascinating, that that we may, we may be focusing in the wrong space. But yeah, once again, this is where the that bias can come through.

Scott Santucci 29:37  

Thank you, Howard. Before we ask you guys to react to different things, I want to highlight a couple things that I want insider nation to pay particular attention to. So I like that. Dr. Deborah called out the sampling bias of our study. I’m a huge advocate of calling out your biases for good research. So yes, we definitely have a sampling bias. There’s also bias that goes into the analysis. That’s why we’re doing so many panels. Some people pay attention to those kinds of things like Dr. Dover does. Other people concentrate on different things. And we want to be able to round out that perspective. I think it’s also really important, as Dr. Dover said, is to take different data sets. And how you define a different data set is different. I think a lot of people who are less removed from statistics and analysis and research think a data set is just a spreadsheet with numbers. But there’s data sets of qualitative feedback, survey questions. Think about perpetual focus group and being in the middle of the sales enablement. Society gave me a perpetual focus group of a lot of things going on. Howard’s got his own community that he’s involved with Dr. Peterson and Dr. Labonte each day. So we’re asking you guys to just be be aware that when these guys are talking about these things, these guys are all trained. And whenever they produce something, it’s going to get ripped to shreds by a bunch of peers. So that’s why he’s bringing up datasets is perfectly legitimate. There’s nothing that you can produce that doesn’t have bias. And part of the inquiry here is to figure out how we reduce as much bias as possible. So having said that, so, Joelle, you went first, what are your reactions to hearing your peers?

Unknown Speaker 31:24  

One of my first reaction is Rob, I’m sorry, question one with question two. Right. Because question two was, what was your favorite question? And you say, what was your favorite question? Which is great, because his favorite question was my answer to question two?

Unknown Speaker 31:43  

Because I do think that,

Unknown Speaker 31:46  

you know, he was a very nice question to ask, Who is the customer of sales enablement? And maybe we’re going to discuss that a little bit later, because that was my favorite question. I really like how Rob, you know, broke broke that down into their percentages, I I get that more around the, the narratives? And, and, and I think and I think he’s right to, to question, you know, the very purpose of, of sales enablement. And again, I would like also to discuss, you know, about this in terms of, is it a function? Is it a field, is it a discipline, I think this is very important, because we have that question coming from from the response you have in your survey, and to Harvard’s point, I, I, you know, this is how we are wired, we looked at the bias in the, in the, in the sand, of course, and, and, and this is why it was very interesting to look at those who did not say that it was on the rise, because, you know, 67% of the respondent was also the women leaders, of course, they better support their, their, their field function. And when when you look at that, someone said, and I think he was someone who said that the function of the field is in from the decline, he said, there’s no set of standard or strong certifications like in the financial industry, for CFO, CPA, etc. I think that’s important, because basically, this is also what we are talking about with Rob and and Harvard, which is what is what is this what is the purpose of this? What do we want to achieve with such a function, which is spread over the organization’s I really like also from the survey people talking about CRC Roman has to do from training, maybe more to consulting inside consulting within the organization. I think this is also very interesting to really help define the field and and you said you have a definition. I mean, this is very important. And I mean, you know, one definition several definition. It’s important to start with a couple of definitions to define what we are talking about. So, this is this is my takeaway from from the discussion, we are questioning the question to, you know, remain current about how our thinking on on what we are talking about.

Scott Santucci 34:26  

Excellent. How about you, Mr. Peterson? I appreciate

Unknown Speaker 34:30  

Joelle. Call me out there is a full professor tenured at Northern Illinois University, the second oldest sales program in the country. I will I’ll answer any question I want in any order I want. Because when I go home, I’m not in charge of anything. So no, I I do appreciate that question. Obviously, I do appreciate what our, you know, had talked about, you know, the, the sampling bias. I mean, What we’re looking at is people who have drank the Kool Aid, who believe in this you don’t go out and you know, follow you know, find a survey be connected to a survey, and something you totally don’t believe in. It just doesn’t happen that often. So yeah, I think this was

Unknown Speaker 35:14  

a great that Howard pointed that out.

Unknown Speaker 35:19  

And what Joelle just hit on to, I really enjoyed this like, because I get a lot of people say, Well, we, you know, because Joelle was before he was at Johns Hopkins doing the, you know, the technology and you know, especially at the grad level, he was at a sales, you know, program University, as I am is Howard, you know, started, there’s only about 55 of those across the country that have made a determination that sales education is going to be something that we do, and everybody asks us, okay, now we need sales enablement, education, we need a program, we need a degree or this and that like, and we’ve told everybody, that’s not going to happen for quite a while we can’t even get an HBr, a Harvard Business Review article on how important this is, and how many things that affects and how many places that it has helped it, etc. So, before, you know, before we get ready to teach all this, I mean, I’ve dropped it in a I mean, I hit Eli Cohen, he flew out from San Francisco to teach the title of the talk to my MBA class one night here in Chicago. And so we’re going to have to start there. But we’re going to need some cases, we’re going to need some obviously, some speakers, we’re going to need some more publications, because the rest of the faculty across this country will need to look for resources, the same thing that the sales enablement professional does within the company. What resources do I have? What are people believe in? What relationships do I have to build upon? So what we’re trying to do in the academia world is pretty much what, you know, sales enablement, Director managers is trying to do is trying to make sense of all this, trying to, you know, satisfy all the resistance that were being always been thrust thrust upon. And they’re in the same same boat on a daily on a daily basis. So yeah, I like the bias thing I like, like what Joelle he might have missed my first answer, because it was in French, and maybe he didn’t understand my amazing French, then you have to excuse my French. Pardon my French.

Scott Santucci 37:13  

Right, Scott? That’s exactly right. That’s how you become friends with Joe, immediately, he’ll tell you the exact words that you should have said, instead of my version of the French. Yeah. Eddie, right. That’s the love that awesome. So, Dr. Dover, please comment on on your your esteemed peers? What were your reactions to there?

Unknown Speaker 37:37  

I think, you know, I think this concept of who’s the customer? You know, I think this idea of what is sales and that the other paper that Rob and I have really been immersed in is a lot of people don’t know that, that Rob Peterson took a sabbatical for from NIU and sabbatical means he didn’t teach for eight months. And Joel and I thought he would be in a bomb because he was but he, he immersed himself in the sales enablement field, he went on road trips, he, he went around the country and he interviewed interviewed people around the world. And for 468 months, he immersed himself in doing an ethnographic and and study and definitely pulled things from other sources in the sales enablement, society, webpages and the different discussion groups. And I think one of the things that we were working on analyzing that we have a paper that really takes all of that ethnographic study and brings it in to saying what is the current view of all of the people, not just the thought leaders, not just the, you know, the paper we put out, as we call the Dirty Dozen. It’s the baker’s dozen now, but there’s the dirty baker’s dozen of the 12 definitions that occurred about two to three years ago. And Scott, you have one of those definitions that we included. And that was years ago, two or three years ago, but I think we’re still in the space of saying we’re operating around, who do we serve? What do we do? And, and the challenge, as Rob just pointed out, you know, Rob, and I did a presentation, and we were in, I’m forgetting where we we were in Paris, Rob, and Rob and I did a one two punch. I did a presentation Rob did a presentation and the editor from HBr came up to us and said, We’d like you to create an HBr article around sales enablement. So Robin are like, oh, hallelujah, we’re gonna get this kind of early. So we haven’t told the story to to use God and other people. And we started moving forward and then all of a sudden they dropped the ball completely. What we do know is they went for digital transformation instead. And they said, Well, we don’t work. They just quit talking to us, they found.

So once again, I think it’s just this issue that is, if it’s on the rise, we need to define it, we need to understand it. And I think what Rob and myself and a couple of other of our co authors who were in good, very good ethnographic research and analysis, I think we found the pulse and the common ground through all of that work. And I’m very excited to get it out there. And, and, Scott, I think that is going to cause a lot of debate within the industry, when we can get that paper released, it was substantially beat up even worse than the other papers. And it’s been a painful six months to meticulously go through and try to understand that but it really circles around a couple of concepts, which which have just been brought up by my peers. What What is, who is the customer? What is enablement? And why is it different than anything we’ve already had? What Why is that not training on steroids? Why is it not technology on steroids? In fact, one of the comments that Robin I just died about was you so this is just CRM, all you need to do is add CRM, and you can do everything you guys describe. And that is the take when when we when we try to describe this field and, and I think I came the epiphany of saying, wow, you know what, we’re not telling a good story. We can’t tell a story that describes what this field does. And I think we got to the point in that paper, and Rob can say yes or no. Where I think we said, You know what, you’re right, we have to defend the field, we have to define and defend the field to move it forward. And I think that’s, I think that’s where we’re at, because we were talking to executives, we’re talking to professors who were talking to executives, and they’re like, I don’t see the new here. I don’t see anything here. And so I think these comments by Joel and Rob are very, very serious and important questions around the customer around the definition around the function, and it and it can’t be siloed a lot of the work is siloed. Some people have their own lens of what this all is.

Scott Santucci 42:29  

So just a couple quick reactions. So to summarize, I think that Dr. Peterson was Jane Goodall living among us gorillas. Is that fair? It was an interesting saga.

Unknown Speaker 42:43  


Scott Santucci 42:44  

Loved it. And the second thing is, what are etho graphic? What does that mean? ethno graphic

Unknown Speaker 42:52  

is an immersion as opposed to just sending out a survey, I should say just instead of using survey, you’re it’s even beyond a qualitative that you’re living amongst it.

Scott Santucci 43:02  

So we think you’re getting Godalming it?

Unknown Speaker 43:05  

Well, totally. I mean, we we harnessed everything from the sales enablement society’s daily, you know, forum that they, they, I mean, I’ve been on that for forever, too, you know, I’m a, I’m gonna sit on the board for the Chicago version of the sales enablement society. So everything we’ve done there, so I was looking into every conversation that was documenting and looking and challenging, and that’s necessarily challenged me and asking for, for for more information. So without, you know, grabbing a paycheck with sales enablement as the title, I was hanging out as much as I could with the folks who are responsible for that respond to that.

Scott Santucci 43:43  

So am I doing ethnographic analysis by having analysts analyze data that was collected? What analysis am I doing?

Unknown Speaker 43:54  

You’re actually that’s part of the the act of the process. You can’t just if you gather qualitative data, you just can’t have one person interpret it, you because that’s you, okay? You have to have a more than one, somebody to analyze it. And then you look at where they agreed and where they disagreed. And this is exactly what you’re doing now is you’re taking a look at this data and interpreting it. And so if you then look for patterns and themes based on all the crazy academics and practitioners and sales enablement folks, and you look for what themes came out of that, you’re ready for your next book, Scott and

Scott Santucci 44:31  

Brian. Gotcha. So this is foreshadowing for you, Dr. Dover. I’ve just learned something. Just so we’re just so we’re clear. I have never heard of this term. So if you guys could give me a rubric that I can follow to make sure that I’m doing ethno graphics the correct way. Please do that so that I can provide legitimacy to my analysis. The other thing that I’d like to come out as you We’re talking. Actually, all you guys were talking, it seems like so what is this thing? And going through the interviews, I think last week, my mind broke because I couldn’t fit around. And the next morning I woke up. And I had the image of a platypus in, in my head. And the way that my metaphor is, is that sales name was a platypus. It’s a thing. But what the hell is this thing? So that’s, that’s where I’m going. So I really appreciate the I really appreciate the appreciate the diagnosis that you guys are providing. So let’s move on to our next question. And our next question is is, so this is gonna be interesting. Maybe you don’t know Joelle about whether or not the who the customer is is Dr. Peterson’s favorite question. It’s just chose to comment on right. So but we’re gonna find out right now, I can’t wait. Your colleague, Dr. lavonne, called you out for answering your favorite question. But the second question of Part two is, what is your favorite question and why? I do love that question. I also

Unknown Speaker 46:07  

liked the question that you talked about, you know, if you’re writing a letter to the shareholders, um, and that’s kind of what kind of brought up that that jack ma quote, because I was trying to remember, I think it was Warren Buffett, he talks about, Hey, you know, no one goes to the office every day thinking about the shareholder, they’re thinking about what their responsibilities and whatnot. And if you look at the sales enablement person, they go to work without a lot of controls, like a coach, you’re not on the field with the other baseball, basketball, football, whoever players, you’re on the sidelines, and you can’t own the outcome directly. And so, to me, it’s like, Yeah, what are these? What are these people? What are these people do and whatnot, and how do they influence and how do they get joy and any sales manager who’s listening to this, there was exactly the difference from going from the field and heavier on number and closing the sale, making the customer happy to, you know, being one level removed from that it’s a different way of looking at things. So these these people who are in the trenches for sales enablement, amazing folks trying to bounce so many things. And the fact that I stoled, right, went out of order. Joe Ellis is going to have to work with me on that one. I’ll fail the test. How’s that?

Scott Santucci 47:20  

Well, actually, you could say that the letter to shareholders was your favorite one. And then Joe? Oh, yeah, no.

Unknown Speaker 47:28  

No, I really like who’s the customer and Howard. Howard mentioned it too. But you know, what business strategy should sales enablement pick up? And following? Howard mentioned, it’s like, yeah, we’re talking about operational excellence. And I believe in it, there’s a lot of fat in there, like, you know, marketing folks making some great content marketing content tools that never get used, possibly, because they’re horrible, possibly, because the sales reps don’t even know it exists. So um, but I looked at that one that was 66. So two thirds percent of the people who answered said operational excellence is the way to go. But innovation is one third. And I think Howard hopefully did a justice to everybody listening. It is all about or I should say all about it is mainly about innovation, putting things together differently, that work together better than a bunch of silos, working in parallel, but don’t get the customer and all the other KPIs jelen for for all the stakeholders.

Scott Santucci 48:26  

Excellent. So the question to you, Dr. Dover, which one was your favorite question? And why?

Unknown Speaker 48:34  

Well, I I still think it’s going to be to be honest with you that my favorites question really is the stock ownership, but then then that comes back to the relative bias that that immediately made me go, Okay, let me let me go back and look who answered, because what it shows me is, and this isn’t inherently good or bad, I just think it is. We have a very optimistic group of people that really feel good about their profession. And so, you know, they they feel that you should buy or hold the stock. But that’s where the bias, that’s why the bias is important. Because I think it would be interesting to go back and say to the, because these people the challenges, I’m saying buy stock in it in something it’s like, it’s like a startup company, right? Hey, you should invest in us because we’re great. Well, okay, but you know, and, and but what are your customers saying about you? And I think that’s the challenge. I think I I’d love to see that question asked of the CEO, the the CRM through the VP of sales, the sales manager and say it would they buy the stock, because then I think we get then I think we’d get away Little bit more perspective. So it’s a bit insular. And it, it’s not shocking. But it’s interesting. It shows the positivity, but maybe maybe a bit of blindness to that the customer may not have the same view. Because, Rob, when you and I talked, I’m sorry, Scott, when you and I talked a few weeks ago, that was not the same perspective of the panel we had. Right? In fact, it was exactly the opposite. Yes, is that it was actually, you know, kind of short it.

Unknown Speaker 50:36  

So just exactly

Scott Santucci 50:37  

the opposite of bias.

Unknown Speaker 50:39  

That’s right. It’s exactly the opposite. And, and some of the conversations I’ve had, with with companies, I mean, they’re having to defend, they’re having to defend the actual existence of headcount, let alone the training is gone, the training has gone to zero, and has to be defended. So very interesting, you know, some of the support functions, if they’re not part of the solution, they’re part of the old model that has to be removed. And that’s a challenge.

Scott Santucci 51:11  

So it’s pretty difficult to exist in two states, right? There’s the new state, which a lot of us don’t really know, because most humans have changed blindness. And then the the past state, which you just sort of accept, there’s always going to be there. So it’s very difficult to exist in both of those states. Okay, so, Joe, you went first? What was you, you get to go last? What was your favorite question? And why?

Unknown Speaker 51:38  

Well, who is the customer of sales?

Unknown Speaker 51:43  

I think this question is very important.

Unknown Speaker 51:47  

Because, because behind this question, and actually, Rob was speaking about innovation. And, and, and there’s a lot of innovation going on. Right now in the in the field of sales. Is it relates to me, it relates to the work of Clayton Christensen was professor at Harvard Business School, who is the theory theorist of the theory of innovation, and he has this way to approach disruption in terms of the jobs to be done. And once you ask the question, Who is the customer of sales enablement? And the real customer, you ask the question, what is the problem to solve? And what are the jobs to be done? for, you know, the stakeholders? And I think this is important and interesting, and when you look at the answers that you have in the survey, and and we do have some people saying it’s its sales, its sales leaders, it’s the Salesforce. But we do have a lot of people who answer this question by saying, it’s the business. It’s called the organization. It’s the executive suite. It’s the CRM, it’s. So if you have so many stakeholders, potential customers and jobs to be done. And we still have not have an agreement on the answer. I think it questions the overall definition of what’s the purpose of sales enablement.

So I think that’s a very important question for which we have to find an answer we can agree on, because it’s a critical question. So we understand the problem to solve behind a customer’s needs. And and I think that the customers is really also outside the organization just like Rob, say, a customer is the real customers outside the organization. Yet the problem becomes how do you and align the stakeholders around sales enablement, suit serve the customers outside the organization? So I’m going to say then, what is my second most favorite question, and I think that was one of Rob’s house well, is if sales enablement was a business, what business it would be, because when you look at the answer, enough, very, very different answers. It’s consulting, its grocery delivery, its service delivery. It’s all in gas exploration and production. Its mission control. me Yes, exactly. I love this one mission control for space launch. Right. So it’s it’s important because once you define a business, you have to define the business model, right of your business and how you add value to your stakeholders. So what is the business model of sales enablement? I think that’s an important question. And coming back to the definition of have this as a, as a domain, as a field as a discipline as a function, we have to be careful with definition. This is why definitional is so important, because we can define something based on the antecedent of that something which is what is driving sales enablement, what is closing sales enablement, we can define something by the manifestations of that something which is what is at call, sales enablement. Why is it training, technology, marketing and sales, for example, or what is the consequence, the outcome of what we are defining, which is, to Rob’s point, maybe driving better customer centricity and customer value with around stakeholders.

So, it’s very important. And if you don’t look at the way we define things, you’re gonna have people defining things because of the antecedents before defining things because the consequence, the things because of the manifestations, and we are not talking about the same thing, which is fine, but at least we need to know where we disagree on, especially inside organizations, so we can better define the function and the business model of the function for the customers of the function and the jobs to be done. I think that’s a critical question. And I hope the survey will still, you know,

Unknown Speaker 56:43  

be going because maybe we’re going to find some pattern and what you’re doing is very important, Scott and Brian, you know, to triangulate, find some patterns and you know, and see what what, you know, what, what emerges from from from this, because it’s important, and I know Robin, and and, and her work are doing a beautiful work. And just bringing that together, and it’s hard. And I and I also share that frustration we I share something with you, when I did a some research long time ago on the relationship between marketing sales, sorry, sales and accounting. I wasn’t sales before I used to work for Xerox, I was ready to get out to an address. And I know in my job is to negotiate terms. You know, when is it that the customer is going to pay and it’s related to DSO, their sales outstanding, because if you don’t control your terms, and your DSO, basically, you are giving money, you’re getting our money, and you don’t get the money back. It’s a problem for your organization. So yes, salespeople do have to, you know, interact with accounting, and I did a research on that. And you went through the review process, and one of the reviewers said, Hmm, salespeople do so there’s no relationship. It’s nothing the textbook, I said, Come on. It’s part of the job. So maybe the textbook is outdated. Just like the one we don’t have on sales enablement, but it’s part of the job, people are doing that. And it’s important. So everything we are talking about, it’s critical to define and to help people understand so they can run the business more efficiently, I would say.

Scott Santucci 58:22  

Awesome. So, in hearing this out, where do you guys see the world heading? So we’re asking each of you guys to take out your crystal balls, dust him off? No, we’re not looking for your magic eight balls, your crystal balls. And based on the based on the perspective that you have as a, as a professor researcher plugged into a whole bunch of different angles? Where do you see sales enablement, heading from here? And Dr. Dover you get to go first.

Unknown Speaker 58:52  

I’m going to go with the sales field and enablement opportunities. So I see one of the greatest reallocations of human capital in our lifetimes occurring in the next six months to two years. I see new functions, I see new organizational structures. And I see enable the need to have the knowledge of people who can support and deliver that strategically will be essential. But I see, we over invested in a lot of things from a sales perspective. We were at. We were at a really amania investment and sales. We’d kind of reach this point, every every panic usually is preceded by a mania and we were over investing in salespeople, sales technology and sales enablement. We’re over investing in all these spaces. And we weren’t getting a return on investment, those days are done. So now comes the reallocation of human capital and function and structure. And it’s going to be one of the greatest things we’ve ever seen. Now, that’s scary. That’s exciting. I think if it is scary, yes, thank you. I agree. But from a personal perspective, are you going to be on the outside? Are you going to be in the midst of, of being part of the re transformation? And and I think there’s opportunity there. But I think the people who are going to try to maintain the old are going to be sitting in a space where, hey, that we just witnessed the shock. And now we’re in the panic. And there’s books about this. This is that we’re now in an extreme economic cycle. And so we’re going to see we’re going to see a massive reallocation of human capital. Are you going to be part of the solution? Or are you going to be part of the problem? So that’s the question that people need to ask themselves.

Scott Santucci 1:01:02  

One thing that I’d love to get an answer for, and I’m going to hand over the rest of the control to to Brian, one of the things that has come up often that I’ve run into myself is Santucci, you’re too academic. So, you know, actually talking to academics, I think that’s you guys would find that laughable. I don’t know, maybe maybe you don’t maybe if I’m too academic for you guys, I got to revisit myself and you know, look myself in the mirror, but don’t worry.

Unknown Speaker 1:01:33  

But Scott, was it? I can. Academic is simple, simple is hard.

Scott Santucci 1:01:40  

Yes, thank you. But I think that I think the issue that I’d like you guys to address is why does? Why does looking at an examining something through the academic quote unquote, academic lens. Why is it valuable? Why should somebody think this way? Why should somebody do this inquiry?

Unknown Speaker 1:01:59  

So let me take a stab at that. Scott. The first thing is there’s there’s the pure ivory tower ism, which can get to the point where it can bleed over into irrelevance and insular thinking. I but I think the academia that embeds like what the work that Rob did by embedding himself for eight months, and I did as well, I was part of the planning committee for the first sales enablement conference, we were very, very engaged. So we immersed ourselves in industry. And from that immersion, pulls back some very serious research questions that are extremely informed. And for people like Rob myself, and Joel Oban and some of our other colleagues, who are constantly in contact with sales leadership, and, and executives and companies and sales enablement, people, ops people, training people, I think that research in that academic thought then actually begins to structure the field. A lot of our partners, our code, and our program are co developing the future sales. And so I think to pay attention to the academics that are co developing, where thought is going, is kind of essential to understand the future. Anyone else?

Scott Santucci 1:03:33  

Have a thought on that? Oh, my god, yes,

Unknown Speaker 1:03:35  

I have a huge thought on that. And here’s what academia brings to the discussion is the timeline. Heck, when I was a sales guy, I was 100% commission every month, we had to make money, I had to pay my rent and pay my car, I had to pay my loans, I had to do all kinds of stuff, where and that’s what you guys live in. And that’s hard, because sometimes you don’t have the chance to wait for perfect information or more valid information, you just need to pull the trigger and run and that is kind of what our role is. In this in this solution or in this endeavor to understand we have a little bit longer timeline. The challenges is also academia moves at a snail’s pace compared to how fast the street moves. But we mean what we’re heading to and is trying to figure out you know, a scale what we do research and what is what it you know, it has all kinds of you know, reliability and you make sure you’re modifying the what you think you’re modifying, etc.

So that I think that’s what what we bring is that we can and then No, I’m not threatened. I mean, there’s no one I’ve had people tell me, Oh, you don’t understand or this or that, like, Well, that doesn’t my day job is still is still there. So because we’re impervious to the, the the Ying and the Yang and the excitement that or the you know, mass hysteria over something that other people get caught up in or get told they have to do. Whereas we can watch this behavior to send out our surveys with good measurements and say, okay, we can help that we can help the conversation because this is what we find and look For interaction effects, while some people find Oh, good, because this is bounded rationality, this is the only thing they know, not in a negative sense, but this is what they see. And this is how they see the world. But you know what, maybe sales enablement isn’t good for a company that looks like this. And that’s the interaction effect, the main effects of Yes, sales enable that mission help efficiency and effectiveness of your sales force, but not under all circumstances, and then it will be up to us to figure out okay, on what circumstances is it best and what’s needed? I mean, to answer your first question, Where are we going? Like, holy cow, I mean, we’re still discussing, you know, what’s the definition I get, there’s value and you talked about what Tamara shank about in the last session, but you know, the charge of sales name when you have to have a focus. Um, but you know, every fortune 500 company has a focus, but how many comp plans does every fortune, I mean, if you have any compensation plans, if you have 500, companies, you have 500, comp plans, they’re all modifying certain type of behaviors and reward and certain types of pages, etc. But you do have nothing’s the same. So the same thing, you know, throw everybody a bone, the sales enablement world, you will have different things, but they should converge kind of on something. And I think that’s what effective and where it’s going is, I think, effective sales enablement programs, and we’re going to be loved and those that are not effective, are going to be thrown away, I guess, like almost anything else. And, you know, you got to throw it over the wall. I’ve seen so many companies, that when they have a problem, they don’t know what to do, they throw it over the wall and throw it into the sales enablement. Because like, it’s this magic box, and it’s all sudden, they’re gonna pull the rabbit out. And they do a lot of the times.

And so that’s why they love them out. Third, give it to him, give it to him, it’s not part of their charter doesn’t fall within their bailiwick, but we’re gonna throw it over there anyway. So I look at it, it’s gonna, you’re going to have a little bit of the haves and have nots some more definition. And I totally agree with Howard, where, you know, as we, you know, take this in May of 2020. There’s going to be a wholesale change the way companies do everybody does. Everybody does does business, and what role sales enablement has in that is being defined right now.

Unknown Speaker 1:07:08  

So do you want me Scott, to get my quick answer to the question the future? Yes, please. Yeah. Okay. So maybe just just before we got in academia, and you mentioned that, why is that important? I think there is nothing more practical than a good theory. Period, a good theory helps understand the world. So we have to keep, you know, building good theory. And, you know, thank you forward and Rob to build theories of CLC anymore, and never be safer, which is fine. Regarding the future. I think I really like the concept of commercial alignment. Because, see, also, nevermind is too important to be left to sales enablers only. And I think the future is really going around, I would say something like hyper personalized enablement, both internally within the organization, and externally, so, personalization of enablement. And I think sales enablement is not about, you know, just getting your content across. It’s about getting your go to market strategy and learning. This is why commercial nine one, I think it’s very important. That would be my quick answer to this question.

Brian Lambert 1:08:18  

Great. Thanks so much. Joelle. This is Brian. Now what I’m going to do is hop in. And first of all, this has been a great conversation. I think one of the things that we can do so there’s three of us. There’s four of us on here, we’ve got PhDs and we’re in sales enablement. So I’m just gonna say, look, you know, we can we can confer the honorary PhD degree to Scott Santucci for sales enablement, because we’re the only four people talking about it with a PhD. So I think that’s, that’s what I’d like to do. Do we have that kind of power?

Unknown Speaker 1:08:49  

Howard Scott?

Brian Lambert 1:08:50  

Yeah. Scott’s an honorary PhD. But he actually had to drop so I’m going to put this in and see if he catches this and see if he listens to his own podcast. And see if he sees the honorary degree. This

Unknown Speaker 1:09:05  

is probably the longest podcast you’ll ever have it surprise, surprise as a bunch of PhDs. Right?

Brian Lambert 1:09:12  

This has been great. So but the the three points. So I have three points. I’m going to say that I believe I’m synthesizing and you guys can agree or disagree. But we wrap up every podcast with this. So the first one is, and I really liked this conversation, it was this idea of we got to have the wins, and we got to come together. And when he when Howard shared the story about the HBr article. And, you know, Rob, you were talking about the idea of being you know, Jane Goodall and the gorillas in the mist and how everybody disagrees. And you can’t even talk about bringing this to academia because there’s really no cases no wins. I think that’s my first theme is let’s, let’s get the wins, communicate the wins, and come together. So what do you guys think about that as a synthesis or an undertone of your discussion?

Unknown Speaker 1:09:59  

big thumbs up here. Brian, I totally agree with with that we do need to win with the people like to join winners, but they don’t even know what it was anything new. They don’t even know what they’re what they’re what they’re joining. I certainly didn’t when I joined you and Scott and Howard and Joelle too, then I didn’t know exactly what I was joining, but I was willing to learn. So I think that an early win and then bring it together and then sharing this the story. Thanks. Perfect.

Brian Lambert 1:10:27  

Yeah, thanks, Howard. How about you?

Unknown Speaker 1:10:29  

Yeah, I’m with you, Brian. I think that there’s there’s truly a need, like what Joel Joel just described, we have to have some operational theories and concepts. And, and I think, you know, there’s been a lot of attempts, I think there’s some really, there’s a couple of good books now in the field, too. I think that’s really helpful. You know, the book by tomorrow and the book by Eli, you know, that we’re starting to get some structure, and that’s what’s needed. And, and until you get some semblance of focus, there’s a challenge, because you can’t move a profession forward when you can’t define the profession and who it serves. And I think we’re getting closer. But yeah, so I like I like that someone.

Brian Lambert 1:11:21  

Hey, Joe, how about you?

Unknown Speaker 1:11:22  

Yeah, me too, especially

Unknown Speaker 1:11:26  

during the survey mentioned, that is driven more by technology than return on investment, return on investment is the win. So we have to, we have to see the way and we have to see the return, but we have to work hard to you know, get get the return. So I think I would I would agree with that. I think that’s important, especially because some people say, in the, in the survey that, you know, these can be in your party, great potential, but you know, some obstacles. This is why we need to keep, you know, talking about it. And you know, thinking about it, and and even, you know, doing it. In my in my program, I use a sales enablement platform to enable my students so they can be better equipped and educated about what they have to deliver in the class. And especially in this situation where you have to teach asynchronously, remotely, how do you how do you get, you know, pure learning? Well, sales enablement platform can help you have people share their knowledge more quickly, and to learn from one another. So you can have better, quicker education, training, learning returns, and weeks.

Brian Lambert 1:12:46  

Yep, great. My second point is on this that we’re talking about a really an era of entering into the era of known unknowns, and that I’ve seen this on on LinkedIn and some some form or fashion. But when I thought back about and I was listening to you guys talk about the those answers that are operational excellence versus innovation, and it was one or the other. And then hearing that, you know, the time that we’re in the phone calls that you guys are getting around, look, what’s everybody else doing, I’m not even sure how to sell in this digital space. Now, I’ve had those as well, where sales leaders are saying, look, I used to have these 20 person meetings, and now I’m on zoom calls, how do I even sell that way. And we’re entering into the era of unknown unknowns, which means we have to be able to be a lot more curious and be able to, like you guys say, engage stakeholders, in these thoughtful questions, think about the outcomes and the predecessors to those outcomes. And think about our business model. I think, Joel, you said that was, you know, what’s our business model? And what business are we are we in? And how are we adapting? And the big thing out of that is you can’t do what you were doing before with this innovation discussion. So that’s my point number two is embrace the era of unknown unknowns. What do you guys think of that?

Unknown Speaker 1:14:06  

Absolutely. I know what Yeah,

Unknown Speaker 1:14:10  

yeah, I think we were in the field of Have you got compensated if you did, shoot, aim, right, or not even aiming to shoot. And now Right, now we’re in the field of you better have precision aim, and then shoot. And I, and I think the unknown is going to continue for a while. And so, you know, a lot of effort has to be more precise. And I think we’re in a field that isn’t used to that need for precision. We’ve had a decade where it wasn’t required. And so we’ve got a bunch of people with, with with motion function, and attitude that, you know, you don’t need to be contextual and focus. And now we’re in a space in which you can come off tone deaf. And that tone deafness is going to continue to? Yeah, so we’re in that, yeah, we’re definitely in a state of unknown and iteration is going to be required constantly.

Unknown Speaker 1:15:14  

I like it duration, and we have to be comfortable with that problem, you don’t have to solve a is, especially in organization, the new KPIs of being comfortable with the unknowns? Because, you know, we don’t know how long we won’t still not know about the unknown. Yeah. And what are the KPIs? How do we facilitate DC duration process for for people to learn? The unknown? And, you know, an experiment what works? So yeah, right now, KPIs, especially in sales, all, you know, are revisited, right?

Unknown Speaker 1:15:54  

So Brian, I interviewed for my students who are excelling drastically under the new model we generated over the last 18 months. And that without prompting, all four of the top producers, they’re number one in their companies. And these are, these are pretty large companies. Every single one of them says, brought up iteration. And several of them as I interviewed them had closed a multi million or multi million dollar deal post COVID. And then one of the only people moving forward and post COVID. And they brought up, I never, I’m always iterating I’m constantly iterating.

Brian Lambert 1:16:40  

That’s perfect. I mean, this skill sets of entering into a world of figured out versus a world of I know what the answer is, let me declare it on everybody. Right. Right. Completely different skills and

Unknown Speaker 1:16:54  

different maps to

Brian Lambert 1:16:54  

the other other panels as well.

Unknown Speaker 1:16:56  

Right? You’re right. Yeah. We, we knew so much. We knew so much. We think we knew.

Brian Lambert 1:17:04  

Yeah, that’s great. Okay, the third? Oh, actually. Do you want to say anything on that? Rob? That’s good. You’re good. Okay,

Unknown Speaker 1:17:13  

you know, me, I’m a man of few words.

Brian Lambert 1:17:16  

So the last one is, it actually is related to this is, there’s a completely different skill set or mindset or an approach to figuring stuff out versus getting stuff done. So I call it figure fsd versus GST. And sometimes I swapped the word stuff out for something else, but figure stuff out, versus getting stuff done. We’ve been in a get stuff done mode for so long. That to Scott’s question of, you know, why does? Why do people react so negatively to an actual discussion? You know, like we’re having here, which by the way, we tell our sales people to go have discussions. But the idea of let’s let’s listen in on a conversation, or actual professional discussion is in fsd mode, it’s gonna figure stuff out mode. And it’s more about talking than doing and it’s more about figuring out the patterns and figuring out how to connect the dots and define defending the investments we need to make and being able to really bounce ideas off of each other, that’s figuring stuff out not just tactically hitting email, or whatever. And I think that you cannot I think Scott said that you can’t it’s really hard to exist in both states of and that’s what I think you guys are talking about is be purposeful about your fsd time in don’t call it academic call it to me I would say call it figuring stuff out that we need more people figuring stuff out right now, in this time. So that’s my my third and final point. Maybe we start with you rob on that what do you think about figure stuff out versus getting stuff done?

Unknown Speaker 1:18:50  

I love that for a host of reasons. I think the discussions going on in this country and the rest of the world as we you know look at this pandemic and how it’s going to change this Okay, let’s we we have a chance we get a chance to when we get a chance to rebuild what really do we need and what what wasn’t working for us but was a legacy and we couldn’t change or we wouldn’t change or whenever so everything I mean everything from the number of conversations I’ve had with sales folks who think that the funnel is an insane thing all the manager wants to talk about is the funnel which is the funnel is necessary to you know, possibly project revenue but to buy things to buy the you know, source that nor What if you if you’re if you manufacture a product product, but everything that we do is like it’s now going to become into question that and possibly because of financially is like what can we do? What can we afford? Everything will have a purpose.

So I think part of that will be phenomenal that we can throw away some things that we’re just getting stuff done where repetition and just move move move to a Why do we need this? Is this the best use of our time and our people? etc, etc. So I love I love. I love that. In fact, I, you know, throwing when I, every week when we get together with the student or when we used to get together with the students, but even when we moved my account of my class online to zoom, I had improv, they had to think on their feet, they had to listen, adapt and collaborate. And those things that make great improv, listening to adapting and collaborating, which makes for great stage theater is the same thing the sales reps do. So you got to listen to adapt and collaborate. And that’s figuring that stuff out. I don’t think that’s something brand new that I’m saying are brand new to the world. I think we’re just going to kind of go back to a renaissance of like, Yeah, what do we really need to make the customer happy? And let’s figure that out. And all these other things. We might not need a lot of the pomp circumstances or things that we just found ourself falling into and supporting an apparatus that didn’t make sense anymore.

Brian Lambert 1:20:59  

Yeah, thanks so much, Howard or Joelle? Anything to add on figure stuff out versus get stuff done as a theme?

Unknown Speaker 1:21:07  

Yeah, Brian, you know, what I’m thinking, I’m thinking that you should do another PhD on, you know, figuring out the competency models for now, figuring stuff out versus getting stuff done, right? Because especially in sales competency models are important, right? You need your PhD on that. To understand what are the skills and knowledge that you’re going to achieve, you know, performance, defining, you know, the type of performance we want. But in our in our mode and our world of figuring stuff out, the competencies might be a little bit different, and more cognitive competencies, right? around, you know, maybe strategy thinking, critical thinking, problem solving, decision making curiosity. Sometimes we don’t have time to do that, especially in sales, yet, it’s very important to figure stuff out, because if not, then we are stuck where we are today, with the unknowns, and the lack of preparation, and sometimes a lot of fake news of, you know, what’s going on and what’s going on, and seek knowledge, which is very dangerous. So yeah, pretty

Brian Lambert 1:22:25  

appreciate it. All right. Howard, anything to add on that before I close this out?

Unknown Speaker 1:22:30  

Yeah, you know, it’s I, I give a keynote. And, and I’ve kind of talked about this a little bit that we’re, we’re kind of sitting in a in a world in which we’re stuck in what I call a no do loop. The way knowledge is very cheap to achieve. Doing functions, and sales is now becoming very cheap, cheap to execute. And so we’re stuck in a no do loop, right? We learn and we do. And we learn and we do and we learn, and we do. And we feel behind because we’re not learning and doing. And there’s so much information that’s expanding. So we’re feeling anxiety, but yet think Kevin’s technology is allowing us to do things faster, so we can go learn what we should do. And then the whole process, we we’ve lost this idea of watch it you know, why should we be doing it? To what end? To what end? Should we be doing it? And what is the what is the purpose? And so for lack of a better concept, it’s what what should we become? What should we be doing? What should we be to the customer? And let’s let’s walk away from that node do loop because now once you’ve decided what you’d become, you know, and that’s what you said, you know, you’re figuring figuring stuff out. Once I figured it out. Now I go back to the no do loop and it’s pretty impressive. In fact, it’s magnifying the effect you can get from the same loop once you have purpose, and you understand what you’re doing. But until that happens that no do loop leads to really stupid stuff. Yeah,

Brian Lambert 1:24:15  

in the name of this is the way it’s always been done.

Unknown Speaker 1:24:18  

Like getting stuff done. Let’s get more stuff done. I just heard this. Let’s go do that. And let’s automate it and amplify it.

Brian Lambert 1:24:25  

Yeah. To what end? It’s the land of more and more and more instead of impact. Yes, impact. Oh,

Unknown Speaker 1:24:33  

yeah. I agree with where you’re out.

Brian Lambert 1:24:34  

And I’ll say guys, we made such a big deal out of less than how its chops about what we learned. We cannot leave this this podcast without going around the horn and and telling what you learned. So I’m going to start with our This is your chance to redeem yourself from from the last podcast but what did you learn?

Unknown Speaker 1:24:56  

Um, so I two things kind of popped out. First one is we’re still challenged with definition and purpose, which is interesting that we’re still there after, after so many years. And then I think the second thing is, uh, you know Rob’s work on improv, it kind of struck me is, is improv help us develop agility and creativity and curiosity. Hmm,

Brian Lambert 1:25:26  

yeah. Yeah. And creating that space in what happens in that space can be pretty amazing. But you got to create the space. Yeah, that’s a good point. I learned that too. Rob, how about you? What do you learn?

Unknown Speaker 1:25:40  

I’ve learned nothing from Howard like to go on record all kinds of notes from Joelle from sky from you, but I’m looking at my Howard list, I got nothing, I got nothing. So,

Unknown Speaker 1:25:49  


Unknown Speaker 1:25:53  

I got plenty. I mean, what I mean, what was new and different is just that, how probably probably one thing is, and I listened to the, you know, not every single one of that previous podcast, but I most of them, and then this one, too. And it’s like you some pretty smart people, pretty accomplished people, people with a lot of responsibilities. And they still, we’re still chatting about it. And we’re making forward progress. And but there’s no you know, total, a juggernaut everyone can get behind one, you know, one or two things it’s not. So I look at it just kind of a, to me, it’s like, wow, these are a lot of smart people, this is not a difficult situation to do is how to, you know, support revenue generation more effectively and efficiently. So to me, which is great to just be reminded, like, you know, what, this is not an easy thing to do, and everything, and although all the notes that I even took, while being part of this call, just kind of reinforce it for me.

Brian Lambert 1:26:59  

Thanks. Appreciate it. How about you, Joe? Dr. lavon?

Unknown Speaker 1:27:03  

Yeah, I learned a lot. In fact, I learned a lot in the study really enjoy. In the study, the survey, you conducted the narratives, you know, because you get to understand what people have in mind. And although they were supportive of their own, you know, profession, of course, you can see a lot of humility in in their responses in terms of what is it? You know, what are we doing wrong? Or customers, what is the business? And I learned a lot about, you know, the constant questioning of, of making it right. And, and, and I think that was, that was very interesting. And, um, the panel also learned that it’s, it’s okay, not to know, it’s especially from, you know, guys who are trying to know, and, and, you know, figure stuff out. Right, but it’s okay, and I think this is a, this is this is important to get comfortable with that. And, and sometimes we, you know, we don’t we don’t listen enough, we think we know, and we just, you know, provide an answer. And I kind of like the fact that, you know, even from Scott, who’s been around a lot to have approached that with very Academy mindset to keep learning. And I think that’s, that’s, that’s very, very nice.

Brian Lambert 1:28:35  

Well, guys, I really appreciate it. This has been an amazing panel. And to me, the time is worth worth it. And it’s well spent to get your perspective and really liked how you guys, you know, built off of each other, and we got into some real root conversations around why why exist? Why do we exist? What’s our purpose and sales enablement? And how are we going to get there and, you know, for you guys on the inside or nation, I really appreciate your continued support of this series on the state of sales enablement. Also, on behalf of Scott and I, we really appreciate all the comments, constructive criticism and feedback as well as the dialogue that we’ve been able to have around this so as always go to inside SC comm forward slash research. The research link has all of the methodology all these panels, it’s all in one spot, so you can link to the write ups of these episodes as well as the podcast. We’ll see you on the next discussion. And, as always insiders keep keep fighting the fight.

Outro 1:29:42  

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

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