Ep30 Part 4: COVID-19 Response Series: Questions About the Path Forward

Ep30 Part 4: COVID-19 Response Series: Questions About the Path Forward

Welcome to the Inside Sales Enablement Podcast, Episode 30

This is part 4 of 5 in response to the global COVID-19 pandemic, specifically tailored to sales enablement. As sales enablement leaders, we have a huge role to play in helping sellers navigate these trying times.

If you listened to our first three episodes (episodes 27, 28 & 29) we talked about what is going on in the global market, how companies are likely to respond, and what you can do about it.

In this episode, the guys are fielding your questions. The questions are based on podcast feedback and also the responses we collected with a short questionnaire we sent to Insider Nation. 

Based on a rapid fire format, you’re bound to take away many actionable ideas on what you can do lead from the front. 

Our agenda for this podcast series in response to the global pandemic has five parts:

  • Part 1 (Ep27): What is really happening in the market?
  • Part 2: (Ep28): How are companies likely going to respond?
  • Part 3 (Ep29): What can Sales Enablement leaders do?
  • Part 4 (Ep30): What are your peers thinking and doing?
  • Part 5 (Ep31): How do we lead our teams, our companies, and our initiatives to help sellers be successful?

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.


Nick Merinkers 00:02

Welcome to the inside sales enablement podcast. Where has the profession been? Where is it now? And where is it heading? What does it mean to you, your company, other functions, the market? Find out here. Join the founding father of the sales enablement profession Scott Santucci and Trailblazer Brian Lambert as they take you behind the scenes of the birth of an industry, the inside sales enablement podcast starts now.

Scott Santucci 00:34

I’m Scott Santucci.

Brian Lambert 00:36

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

Scott Santucci 00:49

Together, Brian and I’ve worked on over 100 different kinds of sales enablement initiatives as analysts, consultants, or practitioners. We’ve learned the hard way what works Perhaps most importantly, what doesn’t.

Brian Lambert 01:03

On this episode, we’re going to have part four of our COVID response series. In March 2020, we had a panel discussion of a venture capitalist, an academic, a top performing sales professional, and Scott and I. And we talked through the impact of the global virus on the economy, and more importantly, on sales enablement. We talked about the data, comparing this to previous recessions. We talked through some ideas and some approaches you can take within your company and projected what we believe would happen inside of companies. As part of that. Scott and I put out a survey to the insider nation. And many of you responded not only with thoughts around what what’s happening in the current economy, but also what you wanted to ask us and what you wanted to hear about, and that’s what we’re going to talk about today. On this episode, the questions from insider nation regarding the current condition, and the future of sales enablement. Scott, why don’t you set us up? provide a story and center us around this this concept?

Scott Santucci 02:14

Yeah. So, we’re going back to our, our format. So, we recorded all of the previous three episodes all at once. And we of course, chopped it out. So that’s in a series. This one, what we’re trying to do is make make sure that we capture enough or we’re able to answer enough of the questions. So, what we did in our survey is more like a pulse check than a real research survey. We gave our insider nation a whopping six hours to respond. And 25 of you responded well, so that’s, I think that’s a fantastic turnaround. So, it shows that there’s a level of interest and the like and some of the things that that that we learned from you and your your peers, here’s what you like about our podcasts, we’re going to try to keep doing more of this allows for a wide-open look at what works. I like that because that’s actually a design point that we have the presentation and discussion of structured ways to help improve our sales enable initiative. Again, that’s great that that’s coming out are very, very focused on on the on the structure lots what comes to mind immediately to mind our strategic frameworks role playing executive points of view, and most of the history corpus historical analogies. Tell me the ones that don’t work guys because I don’t know.

Brian Lambert 03:42

They like beaches, that’s for sure.

Scott Santucci 03:44

Well, the beaches that plays well with the ladies.

Brian Lambert 03:47

They also like the the metaphors and insight. Yeah, that was part of it. And the content and Frank approach that means I can interrupt you more. I think that’s my, that’s my opening.

Scott Santucci 03:58

Okay. That’s how you take it. Instead of that we’re talking to addressing real issues. Right? Always timely and insightful. They either affirm what I’m actively promoting or make me stop and reconsider some of the some of my approaches. It’s exactly what we are hopeful is happening. The structure the back and forth really insightful, relevant content. I like this last part. Where does it say, Brian?

Brian Lambert 04:22

Oh, it doesn’t waste my time, which is great.

Scott Santucci 04:26

Exactly. We’re trying to not waste your time and try to help you make you think through these things to be thoughtful and practical at the same time. topics are often relevant to me a few helpful hints on sales enablement, focused topics, useful tips, format, and openness.

Brian Lambert 04:42

relevant topics are discussed and formal down to earth tone. And I like this one, the idea of it’s a bit theoretical, but also, it’s got practical ideas and that’s one of the things that is a design point for this series in this podcast is provide a little bit of a top down but also sink Things you can go do and take away.

Scott Santucci 05:02

Yeah, our point of view on that is, is pretty simple. If you’re too focused on practice over time, and you don’t innovate and bring in any new ideas, guess what happens, your practices get stagnant. If you focus too much on the theory, guess what? Nothing ever happens, figuring out that balance and what that balance should be, is a tough task for anybody in sales enablement. So now moving forward, what’s our centering story? And I’m going to, I’m going to keep it short because it’s more of a metaphor than it is a story. But Brian, do you ever watch the BBC?

Brian Lambert 05:40

Oh, yeah. I’m fascinated. I like I like comparing the, the way they present the news thing and BBC News versus what we do in the in the States. Yeah.

Scott Santucci 05:50

So, what I’ve what I love is, so we have states of the Union addresses and they have something different over there. And I’m always fascinated Because what happens is the prime minister walks into whatever the house that is I don’t know what it is but addresses parliament. And he stands and he does a very short, prepared remarks sort of like a the the letter to shareholders that a CEO might write.

Brian Lambert 06:17

Oh, yeah, right. And it’s game on man.

Scott Santucci 06:19

Oh my gosh is a game on so they have that giant book. And he’s you know that whatever that book is that that gigantic book that they have?

Brian Lambert 06:27

Oh yeah.

Scott Santucci 06:28

And then boom, they start they start getting all these aggressive summer aggressive questions and some are softball questions from all over the place ranging from this school district has a big drug problem. What are you doing about it too? What is the global geopolitical landscape look like? I mean, right topics all over the place. And it’s amazing to me, how boom spot on and how quick, the Prime Minister answers those questions. And then I compare that to the past present. that we’ve had, and I go, huh, wow, would it be great if they could answer questions like that? So here we are, we’re trying to mimic that. And what we’re going to do is in the survey that we prepared to try to collect your feedback, and what’s on your mind as investors of our as investors or our listeners of our show. And what’s on your mind, we put out the survey and some of we had some open-ended topics and one of the topics was what topics discussion or advice would you like to hear in this special podcast? And after we recorded our panel session that Brian referred to with Dr. Dover and Kanaal metha and Lindsey Gore, we went through and said, you know, we think we answered these questions, but in a roundabout way, let’s go through and be specific. So, what we’re We’re gonna do is we’re going to go off we’re going to alternate reading in order. So, these are questions that appeared in order. We’ve arranged them in no particular way. We don’t know who has time for that. But these are the, in the exact words of you our audience.

Brian Lambert 08:15

Yeah. And these came in 24 hours ago and we do not have a big book. So, we’re just gonna go for it. Exactly.

Scott Santucci 08:22

There you go. That’s, that’s what our podcast is about. It’s what’s on your mind? And what are some some thoughts? So, I’ll start off with the first one. We’re going to alternate reading the questions. And then we’re going to alternate having a first answer and, and then move forward. We’re going to move through the series really quickly. Then we’re going to talk about what we observed in the questions and then figure out what new podcasts that we need to have and then we’re out. Sound good?

Brian Lambert 08:49

Nice. Yeah, let’s do it. I’m in a coffee shop setting. That’s my mentality. Okay. So, office shop with the insider nation right now.

Scott Santucci 08:57

You know what it is? It’s It’s, it’s addressing Parliament but COVID so they’re at it, they’re having to do it remotely.

Brian Lambert 09:09

That’s right.

Scott Santucci 09:11

That’s what we’re doing. So, we’re actually the the delegates have inputted their, their their questions. So here we go, here’s the first one. And right off the get go is a great one. What’s the process to go from an ad an ad hoc sales enablement to a robust dedicated strategic sales enablement? Go fire!

Brian Lambert 09:37

Well, so I think you got to define the from what to what very clearly what is ad hoc in versus dedicated and things that come to mind. There are ad hoc process ad hoc programs and projects, ad hoc stakeholder management. And if you just take an inventory of what those components are, and say, how do you get to a structured Strategic view of stakeholder management processes, programs, etc. You can start painting through and painting out a journey that you can take across critical components. Obviously doing that in the context of what’s really happening in the sales teams that you’re supporting. And we can talk through that on a probably a separate podcast, but that comes that’s what comes to mind Scott, what do you think?

Scott Santucci 10:24

Gotcha. I think there’s there’s two parts right part number one, I like the from what to what. So, you can use the three levels of maturity that we that we’ve talked about in other shows, level of maturity number one is fragmented or highly reactive. So, think about yourself as a firefighter. Maturity Level Two is managed. Think about yourself as being planful about what your sales enablement programs are and coordinated with with other people. Sales enablement level stage number three is adaptive. You it is difficult to define a process going from one state to another state without also having a maturity model to work backwards from now that now having said that, so that’s basically your North Star have three different phases. If you want to have five, that’s fine. I think that’s too complicated myself. Three is great. Now, what you have to first do is recognize why your ad hoc in the first place and that is difficult. So, the first step in the process, it’s almost like AA Brian, right? It’s it’s step number one is admit you have the problem. Step nine is step number two is take inventory, what are all of the things that you’re being asked to do it to begin with, and then figure out if you can put a price tag on them? That price tag could either be what does it cost us to do that thing? Or what are the results of that thing? If the cost is higher than what the results are Stop doing them. A big element of going from ad hoc to robust, isn’t doing more stuff. It’s stopping doing the things that don’t add value, you’re not going to be able to do that unless you do some sort of inventory with an 80/20 rule. So, we definitely think we need to go through that concept more. But to be simple about it, if you want to move from ad hoc to robust, the first thing that you have to do is stop taking all the inbound that you’re doing and just take order taking. You have to figure out what, how to learn how to say no, if you will, and get good at that.

Brian Lambert 12:39

I like it. Great next question, how to how do we guide sellers in the types of conversations that are going to resonate most with customers and prospects during the uncertain times that we’re in today and in the weeks to come? So how do we guide sellers?

Scott Santucci 12:58

So, there’s a two parter here is Well, you must have a North Star. And what do I mean by a North Star is these are the principles that we’re going to go through. If you engage customers and prospects during uncertain times and you’re inauthentic, you might as well write them off forever. The trying to engage during these times and being honest and authentic is probably the worst, worst movie that you can make. So, what you need to do is create a Northstar of you know, here are the principles that we’re going to follow. The second thing then is how do you add value in uncertainty in the way that you add value is to provide anything that’s clarifying. So, for example, if you are engaging with a customer, and you’ve been, you know, in the stages and you’ve, you’ve constantly talked about products, change the conversation topic to be about how other clients have been successful. or collect, have those sellers talk to other other customers and ask them, how are they responding to COVID? Have teach them and give them a format to collect that information and say, that’s interesting, Brian, that you’re responding this way. Here’s how other people are responding. And what you’re doing is by doing that, you’re helping them feel less isolated, the customer feels less isolated, but you’re also giving them clarity in uncertain times. That’d be my, my quick answer. I think how to do that is, is a bigger topic.

Brian Lambert 14:37

Yeah, I like that. Where my head went on this one is, well, who’s the guide? So, the question is, you know, how do we guide sellers? And you know, on one of the episodes, Scott, we talked about the role of sales enablement, and the role of sales management. So, where I went on this was the real guide in my opinion right now probably is sales managers. As they’re dealing with change, and you know how, how is sales enablement, going to help that unit that Team Drive team outcomes that sales manager and his or her team? And I think there’s three key areas one, what are they seeing? So, in a time like this, there are a lot of, I don’t know, anomalies, let’s call them blips changes challenges. How is the manager in the management team inventorying these anomalies and then what are we doing about it? That’s one second thing is the idea of remote work or changing the teaming dynamic? If there’s a manager that used to go in the office all day, and that’s where their salespeople were? Now you’re in a remote environment? Are you equipping that manager to have the tools to help and not just inspected and or perhaps even run things like they used to say, what changes and are you providing that that help? And then the third thing is this idea of being real and being real with with what you know, like what you said Scott with with customers, but that reality to me, starts on the sales team. So, in a time like this, you know, people are human. How is the manager in the management team processing that humaneness whether it’s, you know, school closures or kids in the background? And then how do they work through that together to stay focused to to work together to be creative and have the right kind of conversation with customers? That’s what I would say.

Scott Santucci 16:36

Next question. So, get ready, Brian, you’re up first. Okay, translating marketing’s obsession with and that’s in quotes brand, down to the something that is meaningful to the field stories on improving operational efficiency to give get of removing redundancy, but asking for different behavior. I think we did that already about the You know the how to say no. And more on manufacturing the right reps.

Brian Lambert 17:05

Yeah. This one is is an interesting one. And it’s because the context and the backdrop here is the times that we’re in and the changes that have been happening because of COVID. And the response, this one is a symptom that’s been going on, perhaps longer than just the COVID situation. I mean, the idea of Mark quote, unquote, marketing’s obsession, and translating that into real conversations. That’s probably something that’s been eating at this person for a while doing in the context or tackling that in the context of a dynamic market like we’re in and risk aversion of customers. You can create an opportunity to be more specific, but it also could create some paralysis. So, timings probably not the best to tackle that. But if you had to, I would say, look, you know, our customers are more risk averse. They have, I think No, we’re having conversations. But these conversations that we’re having are not necessarily on the buying journey, so to speak, they’re not on that buying path. So, I need to do two things I need to relate better, what kind of content Do we have to help me relate better, other than that COVID-19 message that legal wants me to stand? And then to, how do I actually, you know, be real enough to talk through their risks that they see inside their own organization? What kind of content Do I have there?

Scott Santucci 18:32

So, here’s my reaction to that. I’m a big fan of Winston Churchill’s, quote, never let a crisis go to waste. If this has been and I’m going to concentrate there, this is a three-part three-part question. I’m going to blend the manufacturing the right wraps with the brand and the message. Here’s the opportunity. I think this is a fantastic pastic opportunity to confront this problem. If we if we established, we already had the question earlier on is how do we engage with customers in today’s way it was we must be authentic. If we pick on what what one of the earlier conversations if you remember canal was talking about his his conversation with john chambers saying transparency to, we have to be transparent and authentic with our customers. What’s the next step of that our messaging must be cohesive because messaging must be cohesive? You must tackle the brand, the product messaging, all of the messaging that is disparate. You cannot look like you’re lying to customers right now. And unfortunately, today because all of the messaging is an orchestrated, singing off a different music sheet or etc. You may unintended usually set reps up to look dishonest. So, I think this is a fantastic opportunity to elevate your role and move forward on it under the umbrella of we must be authentic, we must be transparent with our clients. In order to do that we must get alignment. We’ve got to get this brand down into into something useful. I like I think we need to break that down even further to be more manageable because there’s a lot of marketers who, who play roles and coming up with messaging. There’s individual product marketers there solution marketers, we’re probably going to want to tap that tap into Customer Success people. People are taking inbound phone calls, branding, etc. all of those different things are all message elements that have to be orchestrated. We probably need to zoom in on that for me This is a golden opportunity to change something that has been broken for decades.

Brian Lambert 21:07

Yeah, like that, Scott. And the, the difference in that is an A key, what you’re pointing out on that is this idea of doing it together, not just saying, hey, marketing, where’s my more relevant message? It’s seizing the moment to make that message. Land through these multiple perspectives. I really, really like that. All right, let’s see. Next question. How can we as sales enablement, professionals in the hotel industry, support the many sales professionals that are put on unpaid leave due to ownership mitigation plans? And how can we support them coming back?

Scott Santucci 21:46

Awesome that I get to answer this first. So, what’s pretty funny is because of our audience in the emergence of sales enablement, we have people in manufacturing in the hospitality industry, so I’m going to try to answer this as specifically as possible, but also know that we have hopefully this individual will cut us some slack and recognize that we are not a transportation industry specific.

Brian Lambert 22:17

hotel industry specific.

Scott Santucci 22:18

Right. All right. I said transportation I meant hospitality. Pacific.

Brian Lambert 22:25

Okay. And the good thing is, though, is is our listeners will now know that we don’t filter these questions.

Scott Santucci 22:30

That’s right. Yeah, right. That’s true.

Brian Lambert 22:33

Okay, we thought long enough. What’s the answer Scott?

Scott Santucci 22:36

Okay so, so here’s the answer. The nose nose down, but let’s let’s break this down. So, here’s common patterns that exist across different industries. So, the corporate entity of a hotel has some say, the individual proprietors have a lot of say to. So, this is no different than if you’re an office manufacturing office furniture manufacturer and distributing through partners or whether you’re a software company distributing through through vendors, the salespeople, the independent businesses that you partner with, that you call partners have salespeople themselves. So, they are going to decide to lay off people or not lay off people. How do you help them? And I think it’s a good opportunity to for those so let’s let’s break that down even further. For each one of those different parts. First, recognize that those salespeople are human beings. So, one thing that you can do is if they are on unpaid leave, you can still give them things to sharp keep sharpening their sharpening them their saw, so providing them information and updates about day daily trends or weekly trends that are happening while they’re furloughed. We’ll help help them feel connected, which is something that anybody who gets laid off, doesn’t want to feel disconnected. Another thing that you probably want to do is you want to reinforce, you know their value, and help them understand that they are the victim of a global circumstance they’re not the victim of a lack of a performance. When anybody gets laid off, the psychology of them is messed up. So, I think that the number one thing that you can do there is find ways to keep them engaged, maybe make a podcast series or something just just for them. And make sure you’re empathetic interview, you know, maybe pick one or two of them and interview them on on each show to show that this is about them. Do not try to sell anything in those that would be inauthentic. Just try to help make sure that they’re prepared. That would be that would be my Oh, here’s another thing if you do find me formation in in that in that community about every government is has different strategies about how they’re handling with it, if you find ways on, you know, unemployment or any kind of benefits, please make sure that they’re aware of it and how and walk them through specifically how to go get those funds so that they can be able to put food on the table for their family.

Brian Lambert 25:25

Yeah, great Scott. And I totally agree. And also, you know, I like this question and time like this, because obviously, there’s a huge human element to what we do. And, you know, just scanning I just googled here while you were talking and, you know, there’s companies that are as small and medium businesses that are laying off 90% of their workforces. That’s one headline, there’s actually a waiter. There’s, there’s a story about a waiter on the side of the road, who was let go and you know, hold the sign. And he’s trying to figure out what to do. Right? So that’s a real thing. And also, I would say, in the context of sales enablement, the role of sales enablement, a critical component of the role is to help execute strategies. When you look at this, and what’s happening here, headcount and risk mitigation is a real thing had headcount reduction as part of risk mitigation. That is, you know, the corporate strategy. And on the flip side of that, there are a lot of companies that are paying people during unpaid leave, and they’re, they’re actually hiring more because of, for example, Amazon, hiring 100,000 people. So those are corporate strategies. So, in sales enablement, you know, our goal is to help implement that. I think asking this question as part of that, asking leadership, what can we do? And then to develop helping with Scott saying look, you know are piggybacking on what Scott said, you know, what can we provide? So, because there will be a bounce back, how do we rehire? And let’s think about our rehire strategy. Do we have a list? Do we, you know, what’s our process for reaching out when we do want to hire people? Things like that, instead of just cutting them loose.

Scott Santucci 27:22

Awesome, and one. This probably goes without saying, I just need to, I feel obligated to said to our listeners, when you engage the C suite of your company, do not say what can we do and don’t have suggestions. always provide options, and then let them choose the options. If they’re a solid executive, they’re going to ask you to weigh in and by you having options gives you a lot more control if you prepare on one contingency and and don’t do it You are going to create friction. So, number one is you don’t go to an executive and say, what can we do and not have anything, the open slate that’s going to irritate them to a massive degree. On the flip side, don’t go with here’s our, here’s our solution. Here’s our one solution. What if they don’t like it? So, age, right? Oh, shoot on the connectives. Come up with plans. Pick one of the plans. That’s at patently absurd, just so that they can go yell at that one. But make sure you have plans. Never, ever, ever engage an executive and don’t give them options. That’s just, that’s just bad strategy.

Brian Lambert 28:48

I like it. All right. Speaking of strategy.

Scott Santucci 28:51

Yes, next one is for you, Brian. The topic is balancing uncertain or urgency with strategy.

Brian Lambert 29:02

Yeah, this is a good question. But I would need a little bit of clarification, urgency with strategy. I think urgency is the name of the game and speed agility is the new way of competing. So, this feels like a little bit of a question of competition. How do we compete with strategy? Maybe maybe the person writing was saying, you know, how do we balance tactics and doing with strategy, but urgency with strategy is an interesting one. Because that means to me being competitive and to be competitive balancing that with strategy. It really is how do we skate to the puck, and how do we get to where we’re going, as opposed to stopping and you know, if you if you stop the work if you stop the actual planning and execution of enablement activities and wait and see that’s a problem. If on the other side, you just start randomly doing stuff, and creating randomness, that’s also a problem. So perhaps that’s what this person means is, look, you know, there’s a sense of urgency because we’re in a crisis where we’re being asked for solutions or help. How do we make sure that we’re processing through that we’re providing the right type of structured approaches and well thought through plans that we can execute? And also, we’re considered part of the solution, not part of the the challenge and part of the problem here, look, you know, we all have to grow together. We all have to get through this in order to achieve the strategy. Gotcha. That’s where I’m at what do you think Scott?

Scott Santucci 30:47

So, I concentrate on the word balance. What the reason I that I think it’s important and I’m putting dramatic pause in there. Balance isn’t just up to us as individual sales enablement people; balance is also managing the understanding and expectations of everybody. So, the first thing is I’m not necessarily sure urgency with strategy is are the right dimensions, but I get what, what’s, what’s happening here. What’s happening here is, we have this rule of thought. we’ve all learned cotters cotters, forces about change management, and one of the things is to create a sense of urgency. Unfortunately, when too many people are urgent all at once, there’s no understanding and there’s no way for strategy to form. So, creating better understanding and coming up with some structures to help foster that understanding. What you want to be able to do is your best ability, sort of the jujitsu of managing all of these different competing threads is to create structures to hold the mirror up. To the organization. And what I mean by that is, you will be much more powerful. If you can come up with sort of like the techniques that consultants use to provide assessments or guides, not assessments of individuals, though. It’s just saying, well, three different people said we have an urgent need. The urgent that let me summarize for you what those urgent needs are, and you can see how they conflict. On the same token, we’ve gotten four different strategy imperatives. Some of these are aligned and some of them are conflated. How do we navigate moving forward? What is it that we should do? If you get a conversation going on there, you might you run into a little bit of resistance. But ultimately what you do is you get people on the same page, and everybody can move forward together, but it’s taking this time and having the discipline to just hold the mirror up and say this is how we’re reacting, is this the behavior that we want to communicate? So that’s, that’s my take. It’s developing teams to balancing that urgency.

Brian Lambert 33:14

I like it.

Scott Santucci 33:17

Great. So, you’re up.

Brian Lambert 33:19

Okay. So, Scott, how do we stay away from the pitfalls of being reactive versus being thoughtfully collaborative, cross functionally, to come up with an action plan that brings value to customers in this difficult time? The stress of today can cause a disjointed message in the market, make companies look ill prepared to support their customers.

Scott Santucci 33:50

So, I think that’s a good tie in and I think that’s related. The, these are the invisible problems. So, what I want to highlight is, let’s give this money Have an identity. These are the invisible problems that sales enablement people particularly run into all the time. So, if we click this back up to something that tangible that we can all relate to, basically, what it is, is the our role inside the company is predicated fundamentally on two things. What are the expectations that people have of us, or that we’ve set for them, and then whether we’re delivering on those expectations? What’s happening here in the middle is exactly the byproduct of that if you’re not clear on which department or which group, what expectations they have of you. So, if you have set the expectation that you’re the get it, we fix, we’re the VP of broken things and we fix things quickly. You’re always going to be reactionary; you haven’t carved out any space or an expectation that You’re going to be thoughtful. The other thing too is if you if you have been, you know, thoughtful, you’re going to have to act more quickly. So going back to locking in, or what’s the one thing how you balance the pitfalls between the two is figuring out what the expectations are and what how you’re delivering. You need to also cut, click on another step further, you may encounter stress from executives who are being terse and not on, don’t take it personally. They are under stress. Also use that as an opportunity to say what is their driving force, find a way to understand what that is and ask them don’t just go off and jump on things. At the end of the day, executives want clear results, and they don’t want to compound mistakes. You just have to develop a strategy on how to balance that the last thing I would say, don’t compound it by just going off and doing stuff. If you go off and just do a bunch of stuff, you are magnifying and amplifying that stress. You don’t want to be part of that. That’s my answer.

Brian Lambert 36:17

Great. Yeah. My my thought here on this one is, you know, staying away from the pitfalls of being reactive versus thoughtful collaboration. Right. So, I’m, I’m putting myself in a we’re all working remote. We’re trying to get stuff done. And, you know

Scott Santucci 36:37

Who’s We?

Brian Lambert 36:38

Yeah, we of sales enablement, and and working with sales leaders, salespeople, Product Marketing, whoever. And as sales enablement we’re trying to run these meetings like we’ve always perhaps around these meetings, or because of the times we’re in everybody’s on LinkedIn and they reading all these grades Idea is about working remotely. So, you know, people having to get set up to do that. And when you have an influx of new ideas, plus a new approach to teaming, called, you know, working or approach to teaming, it’s hard to sort through that in a group and be productive. And I think that’s part of the question here is how do we work through this? And how do we get productive and on the other side, and I would say it’s it, get to the basics of do it, practice it, and actually engage more directly with these tools and and remotely, so do it more frequently, and learn how to do it together. What you’re going to probably find is, email isn’t the best medium to team up on building an output together. What you’ll probably find is if you pop up Slack, there’s a lack of discipline in In Slack, and it’s a lot of noise. Maybe there’s somebody wants to use a project management tool that you’ve never used before. These are real things that you’re going to have to be patient with and help provide structure to it. So, the organization of thought and approaches is actually, to me, one of the critical components of sales enablement, is providing some, some framework, some tools, some structure for this teaming to occur remotely. That’s where my head went.

Scott Santucci 38:33

All right.

Brian Lambert 38:35

All right, how much time we have left?

Scott Santucci 38:37

We got a few more questions. Okay. So, balance the investment in methodology, and CRM tools versus messaging, and selling competency.

Brian Lambert 38:52

All right, so balancing the investment in methodology. So, I assume sales methodology and CRM tools. So that’s one side with messaging and selling competency, so I’m going to process that as process and tools in one side versus conversations and methods and skills and techniques on the other. which then leads me to process, and tools could equal heavy inspection. Right? So how do we avoid over over inspection and hitting everybody and forcing process adherence and tool compliance versus thinking through working through what’s actually happening in sales conversations. And so, then that leads me then to the inputs that people collect. If you’re collecting inputs and data on process and CRM usage, that’s what people are going to want to use. If you’re collecting inputs as a sales enablement, professional, on sales conversations, what types of conversations salespeople are having, and what challenges are coming up on those sales conversations? And those are the inputs that you’re gathering, then it’s the natural to want to tackle that. So, I would say the balancing act is looking at what inputs are you collecting? And what are you communicating back internally? While there might be a need or desire to inspect to feel like there’s control. Just in the nature of this question, you probably know, in sales enablement, that the real value here is in having great customer conversations that are productive and moving the sales process forward. So go go inspect that and go work on that with your sales team.

Scott Santucci 40:34

Excellent. For me, this is a systems problem. And I don’t mean technology systems. I mean, this is a systems thinking problem in order to balance the investment of methodology and CRM tools, and then also make sure investment and messaging and selling competencies are you have to make you have to bring both of these things together. So, for me a model that’s been very effective for me for me, is to say it’s this sequence of events to there’s you have to deliver it in a certain way or else people get too confused. But if you click back up, why do we have a Salesforce is to communicate value to customers. When you look at that it’s a system, that system you draw out and make it look like a like a circuit. And you have audience on the on one end, in between audience and message messenger, you have two bidirectional arrows. And then you have messages. That’s your circuit. And basically, what you want to be able to say is that the methodology in the CRM tool is the automation system that makes it run. And then that way you can start calculating all of the costs involved. Because you you need to do this because the costs of messaging and selling competencies is not part of the equation. For most executives, when they make a tool or methodology investments, it just isn’t. Because in their head, there’s a static relationship between the productivity of your reps and the number of reps you’ve got. And therefore, if you’ll roll out infrastructure that that should move, but you have to remind them, we can train, we can have the best trained salespeople in the world, and if they show up, and they don’t know anything about physics, and they’re, you know, having a conversation with theoretical physicians, theoretical physicists at Harvard, they’re not going to get anywhere they might be able to have good conversations, but it’s not going to lead to anything because they don’t have any about what that’s the content messaging and competency engagement competency. On the flip side, you can have all the best content in the world. But if the salespeople don’t know how to engage that particular audience, it doesn’t matter. And when you state it that simply or common sensitively, but then map it back to math, you win. And that’s how you are able to have the conversation to balance, you’re gonna need to build a model for that so that you can actually do the balancing for it. But I just wanted to give a simple, a simple lens to look at it that at that at that from. So, we’re going to we’re going to do two more questions. What we’re going to do is I’m going to read through some of the other things that are on top of mind, I wanted to be able to answer all of them because you guys took the time out to do this, but I don’t want to be overwhelming. So, we’re going to we’re going to land with one last one, but here are some of the other the other topics How do you sell in an unknown market? Good topic. It’s simple to the point I love it. best strategies for moving our program to entirely remote, I think we need to dedicate a whole new, a whole episode on that, Brian. Now that onboarding is less important, how do we move to increasing sales, team engagement and morale? How do we keep the existing team moving to the next level performance? I think a lot of those questions are answered in our hire to retire podcast. You can go and listen to that. But I think we need to dedicate more time definitely to the programs working remotely. Next Next topic is training and professional development, speed to success post onboarding, pipeline building and progression. I think all of those you must lay your metrics first. Because your and negotiate with with whomever is your executive sponsor to make sure that the metrics and the actions are tightly aligned, then you can answer that pretty easily scaling sales enablement with a small team. It’s it way that’s a great, that’s an ongoing topic. Engaging virtually, virtual tools. definitely think that that relates to something later. There’s one really long one, I don’t, should we read it or not? Brian, this is really, really, really long.

Brian Lambert 45:20

No, I think, you know, no I can’t keep in. It’s basically reinforces a lot of the other stuff.

Scott Santucci 45:28

Gotcha. What’s the role of streaming and other other technologies to making this happen? That’s probably under the bucket of how do we work work remotely. And then the last question that I want us to end on is, how is everyone converting to an all-virtual world for the foreseeable future? How do we keep our audiences engaged for hours at a time remotely? And how do we get all well intended efforts to digitally flood the field and partners even more than they have been previously?

Brian Lambert 46:04

Yeah, that’s a great question. Wow. Well, there’s a huge assumption in there that that has to be done. For example, we have to go all virtual. That’s probably a pretty good assumption. Second one, how do we keep our audiences engaged for hours at a time remotely? I’m not sure that’s a good assumption. How do we get all well intended efforts to digitally flood the field? How do we gate it? You know, gatekeeper it? I’m not sure that that’s a good assumption. And then how do we how do we do how do we flood them even more than they’ve been previously? I’m not sure that’s a good assumption either. So that’s the internal muscle memory, if you will, the internal push is to do this more. You could you could waste a lot of personal effort and company resources. As opposed to flipping it around and saying, look, we’re in an all-virtual world, we can at least all agree on that. Let’s focus on what we can agree on here. The question now becomes in in the enablement role, what’s our role of enabling sellers in this all-digital world? And I think you got to start with what do salespeople need right now? And it’s it’s some basics like if you go on Amazon and search for webcams, there aren’t many people don’t have setups to work virtually. So, I mean, you gotta, you got to understand the game we’re playing and equip people to play the game. The idea of flooding them right now, when they’re getting flooded by, you know, I just did a search, you know, there’s 300 and 50 billion hits on COVID-19 on Google right now, and they’re getting hit probably 200 or more, you know, COVID-19 emails from a variety of different companies that they bought from there’s a lot of input right now on the virus. So, you gotta be helpful and start small and start simple and work backwards from the conversations and the reality that sellers are facing, help them get set up and help them engage. Don’t flood them.

Scott Santucci 48:25

So, here’s here’s my response to that, I think a response to the question, first of all, I appreciate Brian you going through and publishing out assumptions. What I think is very important as a tactic for anything is write down what your question is, and then come back to it an hour or two later, so that you can find out what it is that you’re really after. You’re going to be hard pressed to move super quickly. So, what I think is you have to really think tackle this problem and chunk it out. So, you do have to have a vision of where we’re heading. And assume you should assume that for the next three months, at least, probably six months, we’re going to be engaging in a virtual world, which means more virtual stuff will occur. So have a vision for what that world is going to look like. The second thing, the next thing that you need to do immediately is start teaching people tactics, easy to follow tactics that people can behave and emulate that behavior instantly. And what I mean by that is, my son learned how to do flips off of the diving board really, really quickly by emulating and watching YouTube videos. So instead of forcing people to engage remotely with your arm, web-based stuff, make it asynchronous. In other words, make it just in time so that they can do it. But make sure it’s Model Model or bow. show people actually doing it so that they can repeat it themselves so that they can they can simulate that behavior. The third thing that you must do is in order to simplify it and get people working again, you must make you must identify some sort of virtual work habit, simulate what their environment is, repeat it, test it yourself. If you’re not doing what they’re doing, you’re probably adding to the clutter. The next thing is you use the opportunity if you expect a lot of internal groups to flood the field and partners with random acts of her virtual enablement. Inventory it, show it at elevated I can’t see stress enough how valuable that is of taking inventory. Nobody sees the problem that way. And if you don’t document it, you’re just gonna be sounding like no, we don’t want you to do it. We don’t want your help. We don’t want you to do things, you must frame it out what the business problem is, the business problem is so many uncoordinated things bombarding the sales force all at once. That is an absolute way to create paralysis. So, the point is, in order to pull that together, have a have a quick vision, create a vision, start shopping it write down what it is that you’re looking to accomplish, so you can parse it out. take immediate steps right now. Those immediate steps must be modifiable. Do not force people onto online programs that they have to go between two and four o’clock. Take advantage of the digital world guys. week you can record digital assets and have people change check in and check out of them whenever you want. Heck, you’re listening to a podcast right now, while you’re walking around or folding laundry or whatever. Do this for your reps. that’s those are my thoughts there.

Brian Lambert 52:14

Yep, and I

Scott Santucci 52:17

Summarize what you know, what did you take away from all the questions and what are we going to do next?

Brian Lambert 52:22

Well, I I really appreciate the questions like you said, it was a fast turnaround time. The questions were all in the same bucket of wanting to help and wanting to enable. And we saw the really a variety of different perspectives in that which I think is super helpful. I learned a lot, just thinking through this and also it helps me provide a an input back out. And I think that’s the key is Gather, Gather the inputs, multiple perspectives are critical at this point in time. Don’t isolate and then put it back out and see See what other people think and collaboration can be driven through that type of practice. And one of the things that I think is a takeaway, Scott is we should do this more often. One, we should, you know, leverage this media more. And then to I’d like to, you know, actually open this up more to that dialogue from, from our listeners, perhaps even online, things like that to model to your point, model, this idea of enablement. And let’s use this moment in time to innovate.

Scott Santucci 53:34

I yeah, I’m gonna, I’m gonna mimic that, like my biggest takeaway is when, as you know, you’re listening to this passively, but we’re actually doing it in the moment, and I’m all fired up now to go take action by having me to move on to a whole bunch of action questions. So, what I am going to do is I’m going to challenge you that you as the audience, you’re listening you and inside our nation, you’re listening to this passively, right? You’re coming up with ideas, you have to give those feedback that feedback back to us, whatever it is, in any way, shape or form, send us an email, leave a voicemail posted on LinkedIn, I don’t care how to find a way that’s going to do two things. One is you are playing the role of the salesperson. You are also experiencing how do I get information in this asynchronous way. You’re also simulating patterns that you’re going to need to model out for your sellers. I think let’s practice what we preach and use this do this as a feedback mechanism. You guys put us on spot on the spot. I don’t know how many people could rapidly fire answer all those questions and frankly, our advice was awesome. I think you know, you’re gonna be in a much better spot. If you Follow these these kinds of rules. And frankly, you probably didn’t think about, you know, half of the questions that other people are dealing with. So, take advantage of us as a resource sort of like a, you know, the the central node of a network, but participate in a network as a social network, engage more, give us feedback, say I did this, here’s how it worked. Maybe we feature you on a podcast, so we can get that quick, rapid fire alert, and we come together as a virtual community as insider nation.

Brian Lambert 55:31

I love the vision let’s do it. And let’s let’s help each other. Thanks so much everybody for listening in. As always, make sure you like and share this out there on LinkedIn. Also, make sure you head over to inside se comm and fill out the subscription box every time we publish a new podcast you get an email, and don’t forget to add us to your podcast player and tell your friends thanks so much.

Nick Merinkers 55:57

Thanks for joining us to become an agent slider 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@insidese.com. You can also connect with them online by going to insidese.com following them on Twitter or sending them a LinkedIn request.

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