Welcome to the Inside Sales Enablement Podcast, Episode 35
Continuing the ground-breaking series on the State of Sales Enablement, the guys bring industry trailblazers together to discuss the survey data and open-ended responses from over 100+ respondents.
This is the 3rd panel discussion, and it’s incredibly insightful. The panel discusses three critical questions:
- Having looked at the survey findings, what are a few things that stood out for you?
- What was your favorite question, and why?
- What do you see as the future of sales enablement from here?
The panel podcasts guests are:
- Sheevaun Thatcher, CPC, Head of Sales and Global Enablement, RingCentral
- Imogen McCourt, Sales Enablement Leader & Advocate
- Doug Clower, Head of Enablement, MicroFocus
To view the research method, visit https://www.OrchestrateSales.com/research/
Join us at https://www.OrchestrateSales.com/podcast/ to let us know what you think, collaborate with peers and sign up to be notified of new releases, updates, and news.
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.
Scott Santucci 00:40
Hello insider nation, we’re excited to bring you yet another star-studded panel. This time it’s of your peers and part of our continuing state of sales enablement project. We hear it inside sales enablement are dedicated to making sure our listeners are successful. Overcoming the complexities in their own companies so that they compete more effectively in the market.
There are many names used to describe what I just said. We’ve been calling it sales enablement for the last 12 years COVID was a wake up call for Brian and I and hopefully it was for all of the rest of you and inside our nation. And we answered that call first by launching an amazing, absolutely amazing if you haven’t had a chance to listen to you need to listen to it, our covert panel which we broke down into five parts because it was so rich on that we had Dr. Howard Dover from the University of Texas Dallas, we had Kanaan metha, who was a partner at TCP private equity, and Lindsey Gore, one of the top reps at at Microsoft and we had her on to keep us honest. So you know, so we won’t go veer off into theoretical land. Something can all share with us in part two, you should go listen to that episode really caught our attention. He was talking about the growing gap between What investors want to see and how poorly the sum of the parts in the commercial process sales and marketing are, and that this alignment or this connective tissue isn’t happening, cannot mention that that was the responsibility of sales enablement. And they don’t see it anywhere happening in any of their portfolio companies.
So that was a big wake up call. And I thought, geez, we need to investigate that further. So we launched a survey to get the feedback from sales enablement practitioners, and we challenged you inside our nation to help us out. We thought, Hey, we’re going to ask open ended questions, we’re going to get a lot of subjective feedback, so that we can piece together what’s really happening. We thought that if we got 25 responses that would be enough or suitable to give us a really good perspective. So we challenged you guys, and we said, Hey, if we want to get 25 we need to set our quota. Like I guess, your companies do two years, your salespeople at 50. So, okay, we’re going to go out and get 50 How did you respond insider nation? Did you give us 30? Did you give us 50? No, in one week time you gave the 70 responses. 70. That’s incredible. So thank you so much. We’re very grateful for your participation. But that creates a different kind of problem. It’s a high quality problem, but a problem nonetheless. How do you analyze open ended feedback from 70 people who all are incredibly thoughtful the responses were really, really thoughtful. So the other thing too is when you look at that information, I don’t want to insert my bias. So all of us have bias. We have a fake news problem in business too. So please side note, if you if you take any study and use the quote, statistics, please, please, please read the methodology that they followed, please. There is so much fake news out there. It’s it’s really distracting.
But I digress. One of the things that we wanted to do is make sure that we don’t have enough bias that we put onto it. So we’ve highlighted and recruited over 30 thought leader experts like the people that we have here to help us figure it out. As part of that program, we want to be able to give you insights or, or a glimpse at how this information is being combined. So we’re running these panels, our first panel, we had sales enablement experts, so I’m sure you’re know if you’ve been in the space, Tamra shank, Mike conkel and Josie mashburn. We had a fantastic panel there. We just put out our second one was with sales leaders. So if you know skip Miller, so it’s great that you know cheban mentioned that skip Miller’s a client is fantastic. At skip Miller, Steve Kaprow, and we also had Bob Apollo.
So we just completed that and now we’re pulling up and having perspective from practitioners, practitioners. All of this is leading forward, Mark your calendar. For may 19, go visit inside se calm to register, because on May 19, we’re producing a findings presentation for where all of this sits. So now let’s kick off our panel. I’m really excited. So this is a panel of people that I’ve known for quite a long time. We have, I’m going to introduce, I’m going to introduce them first and have them introduce themselves to you. The first person is Doug Clower. Doug, as Doug, I met through inquiries, I think our first time that we actually met was at when you were at net IQ, and we were doing a briefing of the executive buyer research that we’ve done. When we were at Forrester, he’s worked at Novell net IQ, and most recently at at microfocus. Doug has been pretty heavily involved in I would say a little bit more focus on the content side of things rather than the rest. In the training side of things, and I’m very excited to have Doug participating with us, Doug, would you care to introduce yourself to inside our nation?
Doug Clower 06:07
Yes, thanks. Thanks for that Scott, Doug Clower, obviously, I’ve been around sales enablement for a long time, I have a rather unique background, I did not come to sales enablement in high tech, through what some people might think is the normal business channel I grew up or my degrees in architecture. So I practice architecture for 15 years before I moved over to technology. I’m passionate really about enabling a Salesforce to make a difference with customers because ultimately, what we’re trying to do in the sales enablement field is help our sales people solve problems that our customers have. That’s really the approach I take.
Scott Santucci 06:44
Excellent. So that’s Doug. Next up is Shivan Thatcher. So Shivan and I met I don’t even know exactly when maybe it was at, maybe it was at that first conference Shivan but we met at Forrester and I think Just had many, many interactions in sessions, whether whether it be through an analyst or the like, she also was at the very first, the founding meetings. So when the sales enablement society was forming, Jim nanavati, and I did a I don’t know what it was right, a workshop, I guess a group therapy session, whatever that was, we had a meeting of about 80,000 plus in, in some hotel, in out in California, and Shivam was there, you know, right then and there. That was when the the chapter the San Francisco chapter was born. So Shivan has been very heavily involved in helping get this profession off the ground for quite some time. As you know, she’s a she’s a leader out there in the sales enablement society and in the community. So I’m incredibly incredibly honored to have Shivan join us, Shivan. Introduce yourself to the few people who don’t know you yet.
Sheevaun Thatcher 07:58
Hi, Shivan Thatcher yeah, I do definitely have a passion and a purpose around sales enablement. I did come up the more traditional business way I came up through sales than pre sales, then over to the enablement side of it. And so it was, it was a, it was a great path for me. And it was the right way to go. Scott, you and I met at the very first forester conference, and you asked how many people in the room have the title of enablement. And there are about 100 people in the room and four of us stood up. I mean, and that’s how long ago that was. And then yeah, in out in Palm Desert, Palm Beach, Palm Beach, wherever we were, and then here in the Bay Area, so it’s been, I’ve seen the growth like you from virtually nothing to now there are 10,000 15,000 people that can really, really say that their true sales enablement folks.
Scott Santucci 08:51
Yeah, it’s been a long journey, huh? Yeah. Great one though. Great, very exciting. And then, last but not least, we have Imogen McCourt. Imogen McCourt and I met while at Forrester so bear with me this can be a little bit complicated. But this is all true. This is how things work out in real life, right? It’s not, it’s not that linear. So Imogen had this gigantic and I’m being sarcastic department at Forrester helping the Forrester sales reps with sales enablement. At the same time we’d launched the sales enablement practice for Forrester to provide research to to clients.
So I guess it’s almost like we didn’t want to be the cobblers son that had no shoes right imagine and so image and work with I mentioned skip Miller so skip Miller was somebody that Imogen and Greg hired to help help our help the Salesforce. And so this is sort of the weird triangle of skip, and Imogen and Scott. So and then we also invited image into participate, and she was a client of our sales enablement Leadership Council that was for clients. Okay, did that make any sense image and introduce yourself inside our nation? Oh I forgot oh my gosh, I forgot another thing. imaging also was at that founding meeting to kick off that was a great meeting by the way it for London side note the London meeting started out at the wrong address remember that people had to go find the right address but still 45 people showed up it was incredible imaging did I get anything right can you help me make make me not sound insane?
Imogen McCourt 10:32
Yeah, so I think he’s got an image in the court and it was complicated. And I been forced to for some time, and they were sort of broad an interesting history a bit of that the best bit was obviously getting himself open at the same time as you were there building the practice out. And just to add extra complexity. Fourth also decided to do global sales transformation and different go to market approach at the same time. So I landed this global role, skeleton skull skeleton skull skeleton skull off. And of course, Scott Miller coming in to support us and then have to support sales organization to that transformation and try and be the best I could possibly be Scott to live up to the very high standards that even the team were were giving. So thank goodness you were all around to support me through that process. And you know that pedaling in the deep end piece really helps, right? You really learn at speed when you go through that sort of process quickly. And, and it’s been fantastic to be able to continue to do that. And, and to do that in Europe. And I know we’re going to talk about this later. But I think the the environment in Europe is different to the will not experience. It’s working in it for Forrester leading things from the US.
Scott Santucci 11:42
Yeah, so I like that pedaling in the deep end. And I think that’s why you have to have people getting your back, right because a lot of this stuff is you just have to have people that are supported that you can talk through it. And also it doesn’t help or doesn’t hurt to have to kill it. Right. Imagine Okay, so with that, having said that, we’re now going to go to the meat of our show. So the meat of our show if you’ve been following along, this is our third panel. And we have three standard questions. So the first question, and again, just to set our audience’s expectations, every single one of these analysts has had the opportunity to look at the 70 responses, open ended responses. And by the way, that’s not a not an easy task. It’s not just data. It’s a lot of open ended feedback. So it takes some work to do the analysis. I’ve interviewed each of them too. So we’ve had a chance to talk about it. So question number one, and I’m going to ask you, Doug, having looked at the survey findings, what are a few things that stood out for you?
Doug Clower 12:49
Well, Scott, I thought it was really interesting. The paradox between strategy that different individuals were taking and their titles. So I saw a lot of titles associated with what we would consider a sales enablement leader, you know, the those people that were leading the department doing their thing. And they were approaching sales enablement as an operational excellence kind of approach, which seems and and it’s sort of an inference on my part, it seems a little bit more like it’s a tactical execution as opposed to the innovation answer to that particular question, the business strategy question. Because what I think in sales enablement we have to do especially as you underline the idea of COVID-19. We have really got to be more innovative, we have to be thinking on our feet more what I would call startup or, you know, a very nimble organization being able to respond to the circumstances that our Salesforce is facing on a daily basis, and the environment that we’re working in whatever it happens to be. So I guess if I looked at it, those were, there was a bit of a discussion. between what I thought a sales enablement leader should be thinking about what their priorities were, or their strategy was and what their actual strategy was.
Scott Santucci 14:09
Excellent. Thank you, Doug shavon. How about you? What were some some of your reactions?
Sheevaun Thatcher 14:16
I would echo what Doug said. But I think the other thing that I did find gratifying was that the majority of the folks do in fact believe in are bullish on sales enablement and believe it’s on the rise. There’s been a lot of buzz going around that I’ve heard a lot of negative around enablement for the last few months. It’s It’s interesting, I haven’t heard it before then that enablement is not working. And I get a sense, especially looking at some of the answers of the folks that don’t think it’s working, that a lot of that just has to do with tactical versus strategy, the same thing Doug said that if you take much more of a strategic corporate view of it, and how do you actually help move the business forward, as opposed to how do I make sure I’ve got these courses running? It’s just I think It’s just a vision that folks have on what, what enablement can be that they’ve restricted themselves. And when you restrict themselves, then you don’t give yourself the you don’t give yourself the runway to do what needs to be done.
Scott Santucci 15:12
Imogen McCourt 15:15
Yeah, I mean, as you might suspect, I echo what both Doug and Sharon say. But I also think that, for me, it was always gratifying to see people talking about the fact that they see sales movement on the rise because of the complexity of doing business nowadays. It’s like we’ve always been, you know, I think you coined the phrase, the VP of broken things we’ve always been that person brought in to fix things that weren’t aligned to what working. And it really seemed to echo in the people who thought we were on the rise. It sounds like it was really getting more focus that it was because there’s so much out there that needs to be sorted out. And we can’t do that tactically one bit at a time because it’s too complex. We have to go simple and we have to think strategically so people can see the big picture of how sales movement really impacts a company’s ability. To drive and grow profitably.
Scott Santucci 16:03
So, Doug, how do you respond? What What did you What are your takeaways from what you heard from Shivan and Imogen?
Doug Clower 16:10
Well, you know, the the one thing that Shivan talked about was, you know, enablement is broken. And I think what happens is we get these little courses, things aren’t quite working the way they should be. Sales isn’t quite hitting a number or something’s happening here. Or in some respects, maybe it’s marketing that is, is failing to see that what their message is, is a little different than what the salespersons messages because it’s a broad story as opposed to a focused story to the customer. And so when I echo the fact that we hear a lot of sales enablement is broken when it’s not really sales enablement, it’s a matter of somebody thinks what they have to say is more important than what sales enablement is doing. To that to that extent. Now, that’s just a little bit of a, you know, takeaway on that. But it’s really important for us to make sure that everybody understands it’s a collaborative effort. nobody’s saying marketing’s doing the wrong thing or sales doing the wrong thing. It’s here’s the things we should be doing differently because of what our message happens to be. So I would echo what Siobhan said.
Scott Santucci 17:24
On would you get away from a get from dugin imaging.
Sheevaun Thatcher 17:30
We’re all we’re all pretty much saying the same thing, I think is that, you know, enablement does work when everybody is looking in the same direction. I think the the dis the disconnect between marketing and sales is the fact that each believes that they’re doing a better job than the other to get the customers attention where in fact, we’re all trying to do the same thing, which is to help our customers buy from us and it’s getting folks to put to put that That that silo ism, newer silo ism aside and say that together if you work together on this sales and marketing, in fact, I see enablement, doing that a lot is bringing those two sides together to say there is a quid pro quo, right marketing, you give sales content in the way that they can use it and sales, you make sure as marketing and good marketing back adoption, and rock and roll. Right. So it’s it’s everybody’s trying to do the right thing. And it’s giving them the opportunity to do the right thing through conversation and training. Right, you can teach each other.
Scott Santucci 18:34
I like that image at all. Yeah,
Doug Clower 18:35
I like that to that. That’s really good. We teach each other. That’s the collaborative nature of what we’re trying to do with sales enablement.
Imogen McCourt 18:48
Yeah. Well, we can provide feedback for them. So you know, in my last in house position, I own the sales operations group as well. And also customer success as it happens. And so that gave me all the feedback loops. I could provide the, what the clients are actually saying and how they were reacting to it. And we could see how things were mobilizing. And moving along the sales process, whether it’s resonating with buyers. So you know, I think this idea of collaborating is absolutely spot on. We’re not, we’re more than the sum of our parts. And we can help reflect that in in data and feedback that’s real from the client.
Scott Santucci 19:24
So you use you use the word feedback Shivan and Doug, you use the word teach each other? Are those the same idea or are they different is the feedback-
Sheevaun Thatcher 19:38
Feedback feeds the feeds the outbound it’s a loop, it’s a continuous loop, it never stops. I people say all the time, you know, it’s your sales enablement, finished. It never stops. It never stops. There’s always some learning. There’s always some new feedback. As enablers we have to make sure we ask for and get the feedback, right. Sometimes it just rolls around out there and you never hear anything. Well Once you get it, then I think it is part of the part of what feeds the outbound and where the company goes.
Doug Clower 20:09
Do that spot that spot on Shabaab? Because Scott to your question that you just posed is feedback and teaching the same thing. It’s no that they are the circular loop that Siobhan just talked about. Because somebody gets feedback from sales that this message doesn’t seem to resonate, we learn that we, we can share that teach that if you want to call it that, share that with marketing, marketing says Well, why and let’s modify it, then we go back out and test that that feedback. Teaching loop is is really very important part of what enablement does. I have a way of looking at the way I see things usually in technology is there’s a product group, a marketing group and the sales group, and it’s trying to get those three to work together, which is so important. And that’s it.
Scott Santucci 21:01
Shivani right on, I guess what I’m trying to tease out, I’m gonna ask this to, for image and to react to it. What I’m trying to tease out here is, it’s been my observation. So first of all clarifier. Do either of you three have a formal professional learning background?
Sheevaun Thatcher 21:20
Doug Clower 21:21
Scott Santucci 21:23
Imogen McCourt 21:24
Scott Santucci 21:27
So part of the part of the observation that I’ve seen is, sometimes people will have a professional learning background, think about teaching one way. It’s, I will do instruction, I will teach you. We are there to teach you rather than to learn from each other. It’s not bidirectional. And the reason that I asked the question about feedback loop image and you and I both worked under a regime at Forrester that was heavy on the data side, low on the insights on And feedback can get interpreted as Yes, just data. And you have to be able to learn to be able to put that data in context. So the reason I’m asking this is, what’s unique about all three of you is none of you came from a traditional learning background. All of you have put a high degree of value of learning. But your perspective of learning is bidirectional, not one way. And then the second thing imaging, I think you’re in a unique spot to do. Having worked in a data-driven research company. The word feedback has a lot of different meaning to you. So I want to give you some opportunity to give some texture about what you mean by feedback.
Imogen McCourt 22:46
Yeah, so I think if I was going to broaden out my definition of feedback, it’s about this continuous understanding of what the effect you’re having or what impact you’re having towards an outcome. Yeah, so It can be very exposing, right. So if I go to my marketing department and say, those amazing series of webinars that you crafted, nobody’s listening, nobody’s interested, that would be awful. But if I can say to them, this isn’t necessarily accelerating the sales process in the way that we want it to. And I can show you that. But we think that we’d really like you to try this, we’d like to work together to do that. What would be beneficial for you, to me up to up to ask the commercial organization to do to try that out. And then we can start to do some really interesting learning together, finding that mutual benefit, to move forward what the marketing teams are trying to do, or the product heads they’re trying to do, that really drives forwards not into an abyss or a black hole that they’ve chucked it over the fence into the commercial team. And they’re hoping for the best. But they’ve actually understood that sales enablement will help partner that see whether it is having an impact to their home. Well, so I think that is how I would broaden out feedback in this context.
Scott Santucci 24:01
Excellent. So what we’re what we’re looking at then is, I’m going to put words in everybody’s mouth. Obviously, you know, the goal is to get to a statement that we all agree with. So if, if my words aren’t the right ones, amend them, so that we have something that we can agree on, but it seems like across the board, there are some there’s some vocabulary that doesn’t exist today for, you know, the people who haven’t been through been through the wringer like you guys have have had. So one concept is it’s two way learning, not one way learning. And the other concept is, feedback is important data is important, but put the data in context with the lens of what’s working, not so much just data for data’s sake. Is that fair?
Imogen McCourt 24:50
Yes, that’s fair.
Doug Clower 24:51
I think it’s a very fair summation of it.
Scott Santucci 24:55
Excellent. So I think these things are important because what’s interesting is We keep talking about strategic or tactical, I don’t think that has enough context. And I think what you guys have all done is unconsciously you’ve tapped into your unconscious competence, but arrived at the same phenomenon is where you’re blending things. You all talk about the need to blend or align cross functional groups. You talk about bi directional learning, it’s learning is a two way street, I can learn from Shivan Shivan can learn from me together, you know, we both thrive. That’s a positive feedback loop. And then, you know, image into your point. Feedback isn’t just data. Data is not data is just a measure. There’s other things about it that you have to contextualize. And you have to have a purpose of why that data is, and it sounds like image and over the years, you’ve got really focused on figuring out what that purpose is, and helping executives see the meaning in the data so that they can contextualize the feedback.
Imogen McCourt 25:58
And I guess the other thing, I would add That is that when you do deliver the data, you have to deliver it in the language of the people that are speaking.
Sheevaun Thatcher 26:06
Absolutely agree. And organization as well.
Scott Santucci 26:13
Excellent. Awesome. That’s exciting. So now we’re on to question number two. Question number two is what was your favorite question of the survey? And why? So the first person that gets to answer this one is you Shivan. What was your favorite question? Why?
Sheevaun Thatcher 26:28
That’s easy. My favorite question was, if enablement, were a business, what business would it be? Because it’s funny because it actually goes to what we were just talking about, which is how can you take sales enablement, and describe it in a way that people can understand it to a set of metaphors, for example. So the thing that came to mind immediately to me was it was Mission Control. Right that we are we all have our headsets on we’re all listening to the various parts of how to make this rocket ship take off. And then we’re bringing them all together in a coordinated fashion to make sure that we get off the ground and so doing that concept of Mission Control, you think about filing a flight plan, you think about registering the flight plan with your leadership, you think about the different types of flight plans. Some people like, you know, I’m impatient, I want to get from here to the moon in a direct shot, right or here to New York in a direct shot where somebody else may want to take a skip and hop through Dallas or Chicago or whatnot. We’re still getting to the same destination. We’re just choosing our own paths to get there. So as an enablement folks, I really do see us as you know, Mission Control to help the company go in the right direction. And so you don’t have those you know, Miss firing rockets going off in different directions.
Scott Santucci 27:41
They want to know something funny Shivan that this is really awesome. I think I found your business soulmate, because that response. I’ve been interviewing a bunch of people. I interviewed a guy named Samir. Samir is that SVP of sales and marketing at Solvay chemicals company. And his first feedback to me was the thing that resonated, the most was who was the one that was talking about the Mission Control, because he uses that metaphor with his executive leadership, the you know, the entire executive team to explain what they’re doing. And he’s got this broken down into like different kinds of rockets and different delivery models. He’s extended into his. He’s in he’s extended that metaphor into how they segment you know, different rocket types to put different loads in. It was so precise. I was like, man, I gotta get you two together and that amazing.
Sheevaun Thatcher 28:41
That’s awesome. I love that
Scott Santucci 28:43
Isn’t it cool, is it so I’m just like so. And I guess more commonality common thread. Doug, he’s in Houston. No, yeah. Cool. Yeah. So maybe I can get you guys together. Anyway. I think that’s so cool. And I that’s that’s the magic. Because serendipity. Okay, so the next person that I’d love to know is what your favorite question was and why imaging? What was your favorite question and why?
Imogen McCourt 29:09
You know, I was worried to have the same questions and I did absolutely love that one as well. But mine was the stock if it was a stock, would you buy it? And there’s a couple of reasons I loved that one was because it’s it’s very personal, right his reaction but it also senses for right now in the situation we’re in right now, under this pandemic conditions, but also long term, but I also made it made me think and reflect on through the sort of life cycle of building sales navan department, would I buy my stock? And it’s such a great question to say, am I doing enough? Am I thinking strategically enough? It’s my, it’s my business within a business doing the right thing. And so I really liked that and that resonated well with me.
Scott Santucci 29:52
Awesome. Awesome. Okay, Doug, what was your favorite question and why?
Doug Clower 30:01
Who is the customer of sales enablement? Because it gives us a perspective. I saw a lot of commonality in here. But it also helps us think about what is the who is the real customer of sales enablement. And I, I personally think it, it sits much further up the chain than a lot of people answered. But all in all, it gives us insight on what people are thinking about who they’re having to respond to. And I think sort of related to that is, you know, is it tied back to who funds me and who cares about what I’m doing? Or is it just, yeah, we have you here because we have to have a sales enablement function, but I think through who the customer of sales enablement is, was my favorite.
Scott Santucci 30:46
Excellent. So reactions were reactions to each other Shivan.
Sheevaun Thatcher 30:52
I loved imagenes talking about the stock. I haven’t thought about it that way. I mean, I read the question and I thought, okay, it’s cool. But it’d be interesting to go back into to ask my own team, right? If we were stock would you buy us? And then the ultimate customer, you know, that was just seemed odd because that was the one. My answer to that whenever anybody asked me that is that it is actually our buyers, the people that buy from us, our actual customers, because if they’re not buying our purposes and around, and so I see as enablement as being part of a business that helps people stay focused on the two things that are really, really important from a from a revenue perspective, which is increasing performance, reducing attrition, right? Especially as enablement. We enable all these people let’s keep them you know, what’s up, what do we do? How do we do to make sure we keep them get them what they need, and then the customers buy from us? They’re the ultimate stakeholder.
Scott Santucci 31:45
Doug Clower 31:47
You know, I I think what you just what you just said earlier, about Mission Control the what if enable when we’re a business, what would it be its mission control. I know that when I responded to this, I talked about it being more consultative on that side, because that’s sort of the background that that I have. I’m a more consultative seller purpose driven. That was something about that just struck me srivatsa just impressed with that question. I think with regard to images response on on the stock I thought that one was really interesting too, because there are a lot of people are going yeah, it’s on the rise, but I’m gonna short it cuz I’m gonna put my money somewhere else, you know, so you get some insight there. But the idea is, are we, if we were a business, are we a business people would, would trade in, invest in and support and can we create that I think there’s a there’s a lot of people out there that are doing sales enablement, privately, but not necessarily in a public business that’s traded on that’s just a great, great way of assessing where people think the value of sales enablement is.
Scott Santucci 33:02
What was awesome is in our session that was actually just yesterday with, with the sales leaders, skip actually admitted. He said, I gotta tell you, I thought that was the stupidest question but what who are your customers how obvious it was? And then I felt like a jerk reading through it because people were so all over the place. Oh my gosh, people aren’t getting the fundamentals. Right. And I think that’s, I think that’s pretty interesting is how often like what, why not just answer some simple questions. And if we can answer the simple questions move on. Why do we reject asking the simple question? I think that’s a that’s an interesting phenomenon. Imogen and what were your reactions to the other people’s favorite question?
Imogen McCourt 33:49
Yes, I mean, I simply love this mission control idea. And if the customer one is really powerful, because to your point, it’s very simple and thinking about it simply is very hard. So, we’re encouraged now we’re ready to start thinking about sort of subjecting our customers, right. Are we sales manager enablers? Are we revenue enablers? How do we think about subset, subjecting it? But actually, ultimately, Sheevaun, right, if we can make our sellers successful and making our buyers successful, you know, can we blend that and think about that as our overall customer? So, I mean, you’re not gonna be surprised by this, Scott, because I spent so much time sort of with you at Forrester. But I think about the the customer conversation is almost the product we’re developing. And I think that’s the customer interaction point, right? The buyer and the seller, and that moment in time has to be where we drive value. So yeah, the customer question is fantastic, because it makes you reflect back on who you’re actually enabling and what you’re actually empowering.
Doug Clower 34:58
Amen to that emergency. It’s it’s, I think you’re getting to that, Scott. It’s that conversation that happens between a salesperson or a sales team and their customer is ultimately what we are trying to facilitate in the most productive and valuable way for both us as a company, and them as a company. They’re an entity and we need to be profitable. They need to be successful. That’s what we’re trying to make happen.
Scott Santucci 35:27
Sheevaun Thatcher 35:27
And I think that’s the ultimate breakdown that a lot of sales enablement folks have is that they’re thinking about it from a tactical inside the walls of the castle, instead of what are the talents people need. Be strategic.
Scott Santucci 35:45
Yeah, I want to piggyback on that I see that our sales organizations are bombarded to tout to talk about us our products or services, what we do, how many stocking sites we have how many customers we have They get that from our own company. And that the sales enablement function works, has to work to D, fragment that kind of that kind of mentality and focus more on the customer. So it’s almost as if that companies are inflicted with this disease of productitis productitis exists in all the product groups. It exists even in finance, it exists in how you report to the street, you know, how what your products and services are, the burden required to synthesize all this information and get it back into a customer perspective is massive, because no one owns it. So I think that’s really a theme that I’m hearing across all of you guys. How would you guys react to that?
Doug Clower 36:44
Imogen McCourt 36:47
Yeah, completely. And I think we need to go beyond just working with our, you know, siloed departments we were talking about earlier to help them see this client conversation, but actually, really bring it to life for them. To the marketing teams who are creating fantastic content, how about how big, bright, beautiful, wonderful products or services missed the point that at the beginning of the sales process for the first three or four stages, and most funnels, all we care about is pain, motivation change, driving that complexity through and it’s only at the end, and they’ve decided to work with us that we tell them they’re right. And it’s really good. It’s beautiful. And it’s consistent. We can do it. So yeah, I think it helps to be a design point for how we work with our colleagues across our companies.
Scott Santucci 37:31
Excellent. So we have the last question, and then we have a wrap up, we may lose. Unfortunately, we may lose chevonne. So I’m going to let everybody know beforehand if she’s got to go we’ve asked her to just leave she’s got a appointment with our CEO. So we gotta we got to definitely let that happen. So there’s, you know, no other scheduling thing when the boss says I want to meet the boss will be met with so I’m going to ask Sheevaun out a sequence here. The next question So what I’d like you guys to do is imagine you’re taking out your crystal balls. Okay, got your crystal ball, this is your opportunity to be a soothsayer Sheevaun. What do you see is the future of sales enablement from here?
Sheevaun Thatcher 38:14
I think the future is that the word sales will be dropped from it. What we’re discovering is that the challenges that we have, and we’ve been asked to solve in companies like content issues and go to market messaging, and, you know, I’m making sure everybody understands customer needs and storytelling goes way beyond sales, the whole company especially now that people cannot just go visit you or you cannot go visit somebody. Everybody in the company is a a seller, a supporter of the customer. In order to be able to support the customer properly, you have to be able to talk about why does the company exists, why do our products exist? Why do you need us Why do you Why do we understand what your issues are? It goes way beyond sales. So I can see enablement becoming a much, much broader, a much, much broader practice within within insightful organizations who, who really get it who see the value of it, which is part of our job is to show them the value.
Scott Santucci 39:16
Yes, I love that you love our job is to do that. Okay, next crystal ball. Imogen, dust off that crystal ball. Take a good look at it. Tell us what you see in the future.
Imogen McCourt 39:33
Oh, you want me to add to what Sheevaun just Said?
Scott Santucci 39:36
I want you to get your own one. And then we can add and piggyback on.
Imogen McCourt 39:40
Okay, so I have a slightly left field thought about this. I really hope that no company ever needs sales enablement ever again. This should be an instinctive not instinctive, but it should be an end to end understanding about empowering our ability to get out into the marketplace and into those seller compensations. So 30 years from now, because it’s not moving fast and we are behind the curve in Europe. I would love it if there was a distinct part of the competency of the CIO and the CIO, perhaps even the CEO is to under understand how to align these different parts of the organization’s the spinning cogs. So they constantly think end to end about how they spend their budget and their internal thinking processes and resources to drive that conversation. So they set
Scott Santucci 40:35
a different way. And I’m putting words in your mouth, spit out what doesn’t fit Imogen. What you’re saying is that sales enablement is a temporary role. And to piggyback on the metaphor I guess we’re all using his rockets. It’s a stage booster, to ultimately get us to a point where organizations are more holistic and operate like an ecosystem and support customers.
Imogen McCourt 41:03
I wish it’s a temporary role I suspect it isn’t and it will just manifest in new and more interesting ways as we move forward. But ultimately I would love to be able to break apart some of the great things that we do in sales enablement and know that everybody else is also doing those in the same way and that that rising tide is lifting all ships in the company to help drive success.
Scott Santucci 41:26
Doug Are you like me and just want to buy in and maybe it’s because the British accent She sounds way smarter than the rest of us?
Doug Clower 41:32
Oh, absolutely. Absolutely. I’m from Texas. Nobody thinks we know anything down here. Strange dialect.
Scott Santucci 41:44
Right. And your big claim to fame of smartness was Enron and that didn’t turn out too well, right.
Doug Clower 41:48
Oh, hush hush.
Imogen McCourt 41:52
Oh, that was brutal.
Doug Clower 41:53
Let me tell you I was in consulting and lived through that one. I had responsibility for the Houston area. In consulting Novell, when in run, fell apart, and boy, it took the legs out from underneath a lot of people so yeah.
Scott Santucci 42:09
Awesome. I hate to be digging up past traumas there dug that off here and let’s bring out your crystal ball. Tell us where you see sales enablement heading?
Doug Clower 42:20
Well, I and I’m not gonna comment on the other two radicals. But I’m going to say that I think sales enablement almost becomes its own business unit like finance or something else in the future. The reason is, because it’s so integral or so pivotal to a lot of different things that happen to the point where I think it I guess there’s almost as a wish or a hope for it’s aspirational, that it reports up to the CEO or the CEO, because that sort of reinforces the idea that Chevron was talking about have a you know, it’s it’s not sales enablement. It’s just in a month. I mean, I long ago drop the sales out of my title I just said, I’m global enablement director, that’s what I do so, but I kind of see the the idea that images get into and the idea that it is, is just like a natural component of what the CEO CEOs and CFOs all think about. And I guess this kind of goes back to maybe what you know, like Dr. Howard over is doing at UT Dallas, the idea that sales enablement or enablement itself, and having that is part of the curricula that we teach in every college if it’s in the business space, or something else like that. So I guess that’s, that’s kind of the way I’d like to see it. That’s aspirationally what I’d like to see happen, that’s what I want it to happen. That’s what I’m trying to support.
Scott Santucci 43:56
Sheevaun before you go, do you want to comment on digram And we’ll wrap up with dugin image and from here on out.
Sheevaun Thatcher 44:04
I think we’re all saying the same thing. I think it is. It’s having a much broader, much more global view of what it means to be the corporate communicators, the corporate. The center of the center of all the all the various cogs is imaging said, right, and we’re the ones in the middle there keeping all the cogs going and making sure they’re communicating with each other and keeping the focus in the right direction. And it’s it’s a much more strategic, much larger, much more global view that that needs to be taken in order for companies to be successful now.
Scott Santucci 44:42
Excellent. Thank you so much. Sheevaun. We’re going to turn the show over now to Dr. Brian Lambert. So Brian has been patiently organizing all of our different thoughts. He’s going to ask us to clarify and agree on on certain things obviously. shavon you’re gonna have to drop off. Thank you so much for participating. Brian prioritize her feedback first.
Brian Lambert 45:06
Yeah, I just have one quick question. And it has to do with this integrated view that we we had a bit of a dangling discussion around. When you think about Mission Control, and you guys are all talking about the interconnected nature of sales enablement. I just like to pull that thread more. One of the things that I’d like to just get your thoughts on before you go is the importance of skills required in this sales enablement role?
Sheevaun Thatcher 45:35
I think the biggest the biggest skill you need to have for that isn’t understanding that you have to be empathetic of the folks that you’re dealing with, and that it’s all about curiosity and what their roles are, what they believe their roles are, and how you believe they’re all integrated into the ultimate goal, which is to help your customers right and to tell people to understand and actually put their own wording around their roles to make sure They get it. But it’s to transform the company to recognize that who the real stakeholder is and to get their view much bigger and help them see bigger beyond the horizon.
Brian Lambert 46:13
Oh, I like that. So so your definition then of impacting is looking out and abroad interconnecting thinking about others having empathy for them, and making it relevant to them.
Sheevaun Thatcher 46:27
And wanting everybody is trying to do the right thing. It’s just making them understand that everybody is doing the right thing. They just need to coordinate it. Yep. Okay.
Brian Lambert 46:36
Yeah. How about you Imogen, with regard to this concept of interconnecting.
Imogen McCourt 46:43
I know, she wants that. And I’ll add to that I, I never thought about sales enablement as a sort of linear process or a set of tactics. I think it’s a really holistic, spinning wheel of things you have to prioritize for the company and the market that you’re working in. So you can’t just just improve and simplify the sales process and say go do it, you have to create a coaching culture that can pick that top, you have to make sure that they’re doing it to the right markets and the right clients and reflecting the problems those people have. So being able to think, really big picture and raise your head, I’m going to steal stuff from Sheevaun. But also be able to break that down into the component parts, and help people come together across the organization understand how they are all part of driving that forward. And that’s a good thing. That to me is how you try and how I try and bring us of some level of systems thinking to what I do and to enable departments. That is how I think about it. It’s got lots of tenants. It’s got lots of pillars, but it’s not linear. You have to be thinking ahead of the game and actually helping your CIO or CSO go beyond their next quarter or even the end of the coming year. Right? Help them think two or three years out to make ready for that and be proactive what that might look like.
Brian Lambert 47:55
Hey, thanks so much for that. How about you Doug, what do you think about systems gain or skills in that way?
Doug Clower 48:01
Well, in in this goes back to the west sort of introduce myself, I’m an architect by professional training by degree and everything else. And absolutely at the heart of any piece of architecture you see in the world, there are systems all through it. And an architect himself is not the guy that knows how to run the electrical or the HVC, or the structural parts of everything, we have a basic understanding. And so as a sales enablement person, we’re a little bit like an architect in that we’re able to understand broad Systems and how they interact and how they support each other. But then we can blend them together with the aesthetics of material, content, whatever you want to call it, and that begins to wrap it in the kind of presentation that satisfying to the customer and so we have to be systems thinkers, but we have to be big picture systems thinker, understanding all of those pieces. I mentioned this Scott the other day. A lot of people talk about the buyers journey. What does it go through the process? And everything is all well and good. But it’s also a little bit about the sellers journey. What do they have to deal with? What are the processes that they have to go through? How do we simplify that? How do we message that to them help them, there’s all the different pieces that work together to help that salesperson or sales team be successful in front of that customer to solve the customer’s problem. And that’s really why I think systems is important, but it’s not systems in that I just got to make sure it’s all tactical, that’s an operations kind of thing. It’s, it’s an orchestration, that’s what right boils down to.
Brian Lambert 49:40
Right. I appreciate that. All three of you guys were were talking about the the words like integrated, big picture, idea simplification, you you just injected architecture. So I wanted to pull that thread some more as one of my takeaways so I’ll segue into my recap here. And that’s going to be point number one. It’s this idea of what you guys are all talking about and is going beyond. So going beyond what you’re currently thinking, there’s a big future orientation in this discussion. But there’s also a real-time right now orientation of thinking more broadly thinking more like an architect, integrated, big picture about all the pieces. And what strikes me about that is those are not termed and those are not words used day to day, in my view and sales right now. We hear words like go go, go close, close action activity. Did you do it? Is it done yet? Is it done yet? isn’t done yet. But this conversation, to me is really standing out as it’s about integration, helping people win helping people think helping people, understand relating to them have empathy, getting outside of your own siloed view, and becoming more interrelated, interconnected. So that’s my first point is going beyond what you currently think. What do you guys think of that, Imogen and Doug?
Doug Clower 51:02
I like that. I mean, that’s that’s a good summation, a good way of looking at it.
Imogen McCourt 51:07
I like it Brian.
Brian Lambert 51:08
Okay. The next one is before that is a great value conversation. So my second point is, you’ve got to really know and then Believe in your value. And what you guys talked about, there was not the value of your widget that you’re producing or not the value of your project plan, or even the value of yourself for So, so to speak. I am valuable, of course, everybody’s valuable. But really, it’s this idea of know your value to sales conversations of interactions between buyers and sellers. That’s your value so newsflash, and they’re, you know, inject some some newsflash, you guys actually coined a new, a new disease, a new disease discovered on this podcast called product itis and product Titus was diagnosed because of this idea of the conversation and how hard it is to have that conversation. So that’s my second point is no one believes in your value to sales conversations say it out loud. I am valuable to sales conversations I our team impacts sales conversations. And we’re going to fight product. Titus. What do you guys think of that? Doug and Imogen.
Imogen McCourt 52:18
I think product itis is something that needs to not be abandoned, it needs to be stopped. But just one quick reflection, Brian, I’ve always tried to be both the difficult position of both pushing the power of sales movement and trying to be invisible in the process of enabling our selling organization, because they have to think that it’s come from them. It’s just that we’ve empowered it and made it happen for them. The last job I took I said, you’re going to be in a totally different place in two years time. And it was happened so gradually and so gently, you won’t know that it’ll happen to you, but you’ll reflect and see what’s changed. And I just think that if something lands noisily or drives complexity, then I’ve done Wrong. So product titles would be an example of doing it badly, I think.
Doug Clower 53:06
Really good point. Thinking in terms of products, tends to put us in a tactical approach to things. And it’s about blending or melding ways of utilizing products to solve problems. You know, I, the one thing that microfocus they’ve heard me say over and over and over, it’s solved the problem, not sell the product, but start with a problem. you’ll sell the product. If you start with a product, trying to find a problem, the chance of success drops in half at least. And so it’s just that whole idea that you got to get it all blended together.
Brian Lambert 53:48
Yeah, that’s great. Yeah, that’s really helpful. And so we’ve got this idea of looking beyond blending together. From point one. This idea of finding product Titus two drive value and be valuable to sales conversations. Which leads me to my third point. That’s a great segue, Doug. It’s this idea of the blending. You guys talked about a lot about blending tactical and strategic, and or, in this case, the customer view, or just the the views of others and blending those together. And what that creates is not what you guys didn’t talk about friction and confrontation, you guys actually talked about opportunity for learning. And so that’s my third point is blending, tactical and strategic. It’s not about one or the other. It’s about creating an opportunity for learning. And that’s that two way learning that you guys talked about so much in the beginning. So that’s my third point. Blending creates an opportunity for learning. And so do do both. Blend and learn. So what do you guys think of that summarization of that early part of the conversation, which seems like forever ago.
Doug Clower 54:55
Does seem like a little bit back there, but I’ll be honest with you, I think the real value of what you just said there is blending and learning and it’s having to go back to what I said it’s the collaborative nature of what we do. It’s it this also sort of leans back on what Scott and emogene have talked about Scott sort of coined the phrase VP have broken things, you know, 10 years ago, whenever it was, it was, it’s been a while. That’s kind of where we are. Maybe it’s not v people, we almost are always in the middle and we can see things broken and a lot of different places our responsibility to, to listen to learn, share, and improve. It’s just a continuous cycle of improvement.
Imogen McCourt 55:43
And I think we blend to elevate, right, this isn’t about creating a gray of compromise that will fly with enough people that we can push it across the line. This is about bringing my spinning cog analogy back again, bringing those people together to show just how far they can accelerate what they’re trying to do because we are trying to do the right thing, which is what Sheevaun said we are trying to drive profitable growth and help our sellers and our buyers. But the sales movement group so often are people who I don’t boil on the Troubled Water of friction by showing people how we’re all at the chunked up level all trying to do the same thing and all trying to do it really, really well and support each other through that.
Brian Lambert 56:21
Yeah, that’s great. So there you go, Scott. There’s the three things we discovered on this call, the idea of blending and learning and the value of conversations and then going beyond and we actually discovered a new disease called productitus. So I think this has been productive, productive podcast. So back over to you.
Scott Santucci 56:40
Excellent so before we get into what we’ve learned, I do have one question for Imogen. So Imogen I wouldn’t do this. I’m only putting you on the spot because this is how we roll way back when. But putting you a little bit on the spot. What resonated a lot with me as he said, Hey, sales enablement has to be invisible. How do you How does a sales enablement department get the resources and you get paid what you should get paid for making that kind of change? If you’re invisible? How do you articulate nothing? Like visible is not visible? How do you articulate articulate the value of not being seen?
Imogen McCourt 57:20
I mean, I think you’re either opening there, how do you measure the success of sales enablement cattle. But I think as far as the C suite and the CR O’s and my SVP of sales are concerned, I’m absolutely in their faces and very, very visible, and I’m showing them or not just know what I’m doing, but what my team are doing to drive, improved productivity, improved sales, process, velocity, volume, etc. But as far as the sales people are concerned that our world is just easier, simpler, better organized with the right content at the right time to help them have the conversations they need to have. So it’s an enormous amount of facilitation, to Trying not to take them out to the field or try not to put them in the classroom. Not that we’re doing that right now anyway. But trying to make sure it’s all on the job and incremental changes towards something that we’ve already told them is good. We’ve already shown them what’s going to be changed. And I’ve done sales processes in every company that I’ve worked with and a lot of clients and when it launches and launches a strange word, we always want there. Oh, yeah, of course, reaction, knock on wood. Oh, my God, I don’t understand. I don’t do it like that. So that’s the sort of invisibility right, you’re you’re all over the C suite. You were in there in those executive meetings. But as far as the sales managers and the frontline salespeople are concerned, it’s very subtle and it just feels empowering.
Scott Santucci 58:39
Yeah, so well, so I think there’s there’s two lenses that right, so one is, once you have the job, how you manage it. I’m looking at how you get a new job in the first place. And let me be really let me break this down to extreme simplicity. What I heard you say is sales enablement is, hey, management, give us more money. In return for that more money, we’re going to give you less stuff. And as a result, you’re going to have better you’re gonna have, you’re gonna have better results. Right? So I want more money to give you less things. By the way, they’re conditioned to buy things, staff headcount, deliverables, you know, spending activity, and you’re saying, I’m going to take all that away and simplify it. And as a result of that, you’re going to get outcomes. How do you? Where’s an example of where we’ve sold something like that where you bought something like that before?
Imogen McCourt 59:40
is a really great question. I think we’re talking about margins, though, right? If I’m in the business of sales, now, the business of sales, and for every dollar they spend on their selling organization and the infrastructure and the ecosystem that supports that, they need to be getting 3456 I mean, they can set the the outcome of what they’re looking for that and I’ll show them how to get there.
Scott Santucci 1:00:00
Yeah, today to give full, full transparency what I’m starting to worry about. I’m going live on a webinar sharing findings in 19 days, this is may 1. So part of what I’m at is why to what is the business problem that created the VP of broken things in the first place? How do we illuminate this gap that Kunal mentioned? And how do we help business executives see the same thing that the finance people are seeing or that you see, you know, in the bowels of the organization, and to me, when you break it down, that’s really what our value proposition is, give us more money or redirect some of the spending that’s already happening. We’re going to create less, a lot less of things. And as a result of less, you’re going to get more that is a hard case to make on on its surface, but it makes a hell of a lot of sense in context, right. So That’s something I’m wrestling with. So please sleep on it. If you have any ideas in the morning, please give me ideas. I really, really appreciate that.
Brian Lambert 1:01:08
It is the as the reporter here and like it Scott just gave us a newsflash but then we’ve got to cut to commercial.
Scott Santucci 1:01:15
Yeah, right. Okay, so going back, right. I guess maybe that was a commercial. My commercial is an appeal for help.
Brian Lambert 1:01:23
Yeah, it’s a that’s an that’s one to noodle on for sure.
Scott Santucci 1:01:28
Okay, so with that. Here’s our wrap up. Imogen, what’d did you learn?
Imogen McCourt 1:01:36
Wow. I mean, I’m still digesting most of the things I learned. I am delighted to hear token shoehorn. Think about things in the same way as I do. And I learned that the idea of focusing on the client conversation is the right one. Keep going with that because it is the way to make a difference here.
Scott Santucci 1:01:56
Awesome. Doug what’d you learn?
Doug Clower 1:02:00
I learned there’s there’s still lots of opportunity to help people understand sales enablement better. The the results of the survey showed the variety of opinion and perspective. And the nice thing about it is we can learn from that because just like images, ninjavan have shared some things. I’m going Oh, yeah, that’s really great. And that’s, that’s the important thing now. Can we use that as a way for us to be able to share our point of view, not I disagree with image, enter cheban on something, but here’s what I think about that. Here’s how I see that happening. And then we can have that discussion. And that’s what sales enablement society is really all about. It’s like, let’s have a dialogue and figure out the better way to do it. We all learn from each other. A long time ago, I heard somebody talked about steel sharpens steel, and that’s, you know, it’s it’s our stuff. Steel against each other just has to be able to be used in a way that it improves all of our approach to everything we learn from each other. And it’s just such an insightful survey. And I’m just so happy that the 69 other people other than I, who responded to it took the time to respond to it because there was some really good material in there.
Scott Santucci 1:03:26
Excellent. So with that we’re at a wrap. Thank you so much, hopefully, insider nation. You got a lot of value out of this as much as I did. Please take the time to listen to all of our panels. What I what I challenge you to do is really concentrate on where there’s themes. What did the sales enablement, experts say and the language that they use? How’s it different? How is it the same as what the sales leaders are looking for, or the practitioners who are in In the middle of making it work, that connective glue, if you will, what do they look like? Because ultimately, one of our challenges is how we communicate the value of all this stuff. So with that, I’m gonna we’re gonna wrap it up, I do have a couple of requests, please go to insidese.com find it, click on the registration register for the webinar. It’s on 5/19 it’s 11 o’clock eastern time. And we’re going to be able to, we’re going to provide the synthesis of all of these different things, the survey, the COVID response, 10 years in the field interviews like this panels like this. How in the world are we going to put it all together? I don’t know. I just know we will. Because this is the way things work. We challenge yourselves and have people like me, Imogen and Doug and Sheevaun, helping you along the way.
Thanks for joining us to become an insider and amplify your journey. you’ve subscribed to our show. If you have an idea for what Scott and Brian can cover in a future podcast or have a story to share, please email them at engage at insidese.com. You can also connect with them online by going to insidese.com following them on Twitter or sending them a LinkedIn request.