Ep39 Scott Santucci on TRIAL: The People vs. the Definition of Sales Enablement
Welcome to the Inside Sales Enablement Podcast, Episode 39
In this episode, the definition goes on trial and so does Scott Santucci. Scott gets temporarily removed from the co-host seat by John Thackston, VP of SOAR performance group.
Perhaps no case in Sales Enablement history deserves the oft-used description “Trial of the Century” more than the case of Scott Santucci’s Definition of Sales Enablement vs. the People.
In this podcast, the prosecutor’s arguments are presented in a trial fashion. The defendant is Scott Santucci and he’s waived his right to an attorney.
More than 10 years ago, the definition of Sales Enablement has existed in the market. The definition has created unprecedented international scrutiny and media attention, captivating the sales enablement profession. In one camp, the best definition = “whoever has the most organic search hits.” On the side, the best definition is “created by VP’s of Sales and CMOs and executives over the course of 2 working sessions as agreed upon by a team of practitioners.”
You’re the juror. You decide.
By the way, the first definition of Sales Enablement was written by Scott Santucci and published by Forrester in 2010.
Sales enablement is a strategic, ongoing process that equips all client-facing employees with the ability to consistently and systematically have a valuable conversation with the right set of customer stakeholders at each stage of the customer’s problem-solving life cycle to optimize the return of investment of the selling system.
Since that time, he’s received a lot of feedback on this definition, and many many many other definitions have sought to take it’s place.
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.
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.
Brian Lambert 00:34
I’m Brian Lambert.
John Paxton 00:35
I’m Jackson and we are the sales enablement insiders. Our podcast is for sales enablement, leaders looking to elevate their function, expand their sphere of influence, and increase the span of control within their companies.
Brian Lambert 00:49
Thanks, john. And for those of you longtime listeners, you heard that right. That was john Paxton and not Scott Santucci. Actually Scott’s on this podcast with us. But, john, are you ready to do this? So you ready to go, man?
John Paxton 01:04
I am. I am. Absolutely. I’m absolutely ready to Yeah,
Brian Lambert 01:07
yeah. Scotty excited.
Scott Santucci 01:12
You know, I love being surprised, but not really sure what’s going on here?
John Paxton 01:17
Well, you know, it’s, it’s pretty funny Scott. Bryan actually reached out to me earlier in the week. And he said, You know, I am really, really just kind of tired of hearing about how Scott defines sales enablement, and there’s so much debate about it. And it’s really just time to put, you know, Scott’s original work, sales enablement defined, it’s time to put it on trial. And he said, john, I want you to come on the show we’re going to do today, Scott is put you on the spot, you really wrote the original definition around sales enablement, we’re 10 years in and we’re gonna put it on trial and see, Hey, does this stand up? Or were some things that were off? That’s what we’re gonna do today.
Brian Lambert 01:58
Right, man, you’re on trial. Scott, you ready for it?
Scott Santucci 02:00
Was this lightning evolution or creationism?
Brian Lambert 02:03
That’s right. Or people are People’s Court. Okay. Well, let our listeners decide. Yeah,
Scott Santucci 02:10
the first Actually, I’m not giving that $400 to john, no way.
Brian Lambert 02:15
So first, let me
Scott Santucci 02:15
let me do fulfill his his duties on filling back my my lawnmower when I lent it to them.
Brian Lambert 02:23
Right. So So with this, this is for our listeners. First let me introduce john Thaxton to you guys, as our listeners of insider nation, oh, john is with soar performance group. He’s one of the co founders of it. soar performance groups, a client focused sales consulting and training company that concentrates on sales transformation and enablement. JOHN is based out of Atlanta. And let me tell you something cool about him was when Scott first had this idea for the DC area, networking group of sales enablement, professionals, or whatever it was called, he put out this call, he gave me a call and said, I’m going to do this. Make sure you make sure you’re all over LinkedIn. And we’re going to do this networking group. I’m like, Yeah, man I’m in. So we put it out, Scott put it out. You know, we did our liking and sharing and we started getting people in and all of a sudden, this guy, john pings me on LinkedIn, I have no idea who john is didn’t meet him before in my life. And he’s like, Hey, can I come to this networking group? And I was like, yeah, sure, man, whatever. Of course, well, a few days before, I don’t know, four or five days before he pings me on LinkedIn again, hey, I’m coming. I’m coming in from Atlanta. I’m flying in. I had to come in and leave on the same day. And my flights have me coming in. I might be a few minutes late to the start. So I’m on LinkedIn, my mobile app, you know, I’m like, okay, cool, whatever. But then, like, three hours later, it dawns on me. I’m like, Wait, what? This guy’s flying from Atlanta. That’s like, holy cow. This guy’s flying from Atlanta. So I called Scott up. I’m like, hey, Scott, we got this guy come into the DC area networking group from Atlanta. Scott, do you remember that? That was john. And in that now, he’s got you. He’s booted you out of your seat, from sales enablement, insider inside sales enablement. So,
Scott Santucci 04:13
well, I love that. And I think there’s, there’s a whole bunch of things going on. So if you’re listening to this, a couple things to remember. We were trying to just form a local, a local networking group. In order to get that going. One of our podcasts, I think it’s, I don’t know we can get the episode around that was following up the being heroic framework, where I highlight being heroic takes little baby steps of courage. to, to just come to help out is exactly the kind of mindset of people that I want to be around with. It takes a lot of courage. It takes a lot of determination. To me, it says a lot about john human being to come in and say hey, there’s a group of people here looking to do something that I personally believe in. I’m going to Lion from Atlanta to help out. So immediately there is the world according to Scott, john stock is through the roof for me. So I’m really grateful. And I’m assuming this is going to be a great experience of getting fired from my co host job. So, you know, I’m gonna have to, you know, I’m still looking in the mirror and tell him, you know, doing my affirmations, you know, I’m a good guy, people like me, my story is,
Brian Lambert 05:24
gosh, darn it fire like you.
Scott Santucci 05:26
Yeah, exactly, exactly. I’m interested in seeing how this goes. But I just wanted to stress to everybody. The way that the society grew, were little tiny baby step acts like john, john demonstrated. And if you’re like that, please join inside our nation and find the little tiny baby steps to get engaged.
Brian Lambert 05:49
There you go. Great words, and well spoken. And that’s how that’s how you grew. And that’s how you started the society. And that’s what got me involved. And that’s what got john involved. And, and so what we’re doing now, is, we’re gonna put Scott on trial, as we alluded to. So here’s the roles. So Scott, you’re, you’re the defense. Right? You’re just the defendant. Alright, and our listeners are the jury. So you’re the defendant, john is the prosecutor. So he’s going to prosecute you about the report hero that I was helping you with at Forrester a long, long time ago called sales enablement define. So since I’m partially biased, because I’m a big believer in the report, and, you know, help you with the peer review, etc, I’m going to just be a proxy of the of our listeners, representing insider nation. So I might chime in, I might ask clarifying questions of either of you, through this activity. And this interaction, I’ll be also summarizing what we’re taking away. And I’ll provide a bit of a recap at the end as well. Okay. So is everybody clear on their role?
Scott Santucci 06:55
Well, yeah, I’m, I’m, I love this idea, guys. I don’t know if anybody’s ever done a podcast to do something like this. So I’m all in.
Unknown Speaker 07:03
I do want to make one quick disclaimer that none of us are lawyers. And you should not take any legal advice from this podcast. for any reason. If we need to legal qualifier,
Unknown Speaker 07:12
I want to make sure that no one listening for any reason believes, and you should take any of this and act on it in any legal capacity whatsoever. Please do not do that.
Brian Lambert 07:22
That’s right. That’s how that’s how that that’s awesome. This is how totally unscripted This is. All right, cool. So I feel like we should have some sort of music, but you know, we’d probably get sued for copyright infringement. So we’re just going to jump into it. We’re going to go with opening statements. And we’re gonna start with you, john.
John Paxton 07:41
Well, Scott, I’m gonna, I’m gonna open up with this my high level summary, which is your report, I read it, I’ve read it several times. And the bottom line that I got to come come back around to is that definition is smoke and mirrors. It’s great in theory, but there’s no real examples where we can see it in practice. And on top of that, it’s really let down all the stakeholder groups that it was intended to help. What I’d like to do is go through and really dig in stakeholder by stakeholder to understand, hey, based on the past 10 years, based on what happened, was the original idea valid, and where did it fall down? If we’re not seeing it happening in real life? So that’s, that’s my point of view.
Scott Santucci 08:28
Okay, so I had no time to prepare. So this is just going to be, you know, part of me wants to say, Who the hell are you to make that kind of statement, but I’ll refrain from that. What I’m going to say is what I’m going to say is this. There are companies out there that are doing this. Well, if there weren’t, why would we have listeners today? The the and then also letting down the stakeholder groups. Maybe you miss read this, this is targeted at the C suite. The core of the core business problem is that the sum of the parts of sales and marketing are wasteful, and they need to be coordinated. So does that mean each of the individual stakeholder groups whom it seems like you’re trying to protect sounds like you’re trying to defend a hierarchical siloed based organizational structure? So we can put that on trial too.
John Paxton 09:30
And before before we dive into that, Scott, I do have one question for you. Before I really dive in to some of the you know, the deeper dive is when you wrote the report originally. So I think it’s important to always start with a frame of time if we think back to 2010. You know, if we think back to the year 2010. I think I knew like one person that had an iPhone. So that’s been a while. What was it that led you to write that report at that point in time. So the driver goes back to
Scott Santucci 10:01
We at Forrester held a meeting in 2008. So the report that you’re referring to is titled, August 3 2010. And 2008, we came up with a definition that we wrote, I wrote a statement. And I had that we had 10 VPS of sales and 10 CMOS in the room from Blue Chip companies. And the purpose was, let’s admit that there’s friction between sales and marketing. Let’s talk about where they’re at where the gaps are in responsibilities between the two. And then let’s let’s leave the room all agreeing on what a role could look like. So that was that was done in 2000 2008. The definition was published in a in a report called engineering valuable sales conversations, we learned was that that definition needed to be unpacked. So the purpose of this report was to do two things. One is to provide the business drivers behind why this is happening. And then to break down each of the different attributes of the definition to provide more context.
Brian Lambert 11:17
Can I have Can I ask a clarifying question on behalf of our listeners? Scott? Yes. When you say when you clarify, this is happening, right? So what is this to what you’re referring
Scott Santucci 11:29
friction business business problems, okay. Lack of execution. So this, by the way, this report wasn’t written by me per se. It was based on interviews with companies from Accenture, BMC associates Citrix systems SC, Dell, HP, IBM, NetApp, Oracle, SAP and semantic. And it also include cluded, full day discussions, both in Europe and in the US with 30 sales and marketing executive executives representing Alcatel Lucent, areeba BMC, software brocade, bt, Capgemini, Cisco, Fujitsu, Jen, Jen says HP, IBM, orange Business Services SAP semantic tea systems and VMware. So I am a messenger, not the message.
Brian Lambert 12:22
So just the last clarifying question then just so I have the timeline, right. For our listeners, you Scott held these meetings with executives and CMOS, see had marketing and sales in a room. And that created a engineering valuable sales conversations view, which is not necessarily not on trial right now. Maybe it will be in the future. Anyway. So but the second piece of that that outcome was this need to clarify and to embrace and really confront the execution challenge. And that’s the impetus for this report, which was a separate meeting of all those companies that you just named to which you are a mouthpiece for with this definition. Is that right?
Scott Santucci 13:05
So with that with that, Scott, and I probably wasn’t clear when I was talking about stakeholder views, because the stakeholders that I’m going to refer to are really the business stakeholders. And one of the things you brought up is, it was intended to knock down cross functional silos. I think you even quoted, you know, in one of your recent podcasts, that somebody who’s an operating partner that looks over a large number of portfolio companies, they are noticing that their sales and marketing spend is not consolidating, is not, you know, becoming more efficient. I would imagine the average CEO, if you ask them today, are you getting a good return on your investment in sales and marketing? They would either scratch their head or they would say, No. So the thesis in the paper or one of the key thesis is there are too many people doing too many things. We need a way to consolidate all this and spend money smarter. How What do you say to that CEO or to that private equity investor that says, You know what, we have put sales enablement in place, we have a sales enablement department, our companies, but guess what? Our spend on sales and marketing, it’s not going down, it’s actually going up and we’re being less effective. What do you say to those people?
Scott Santucci 14:22
Well, there’s two things. So I’m still reacting. I wrote down your bottom line and your, your opening statement, john. So in being a lawyer, let’s stick the word you said was smoking mirrors. I just don’t understand how somebody can say a report is smoke and mirrors, reports a report. This is based on evidence from these different groups. I’ve challenged, it’s the lack of execution inside companies. And the lack of execution involves number one, a failure to do a full inventory or audit of all the spending. One of the things is very common inside Inside organizations is to skip the analysis, step four in sales and marketing, for some reason, just skip it. But if you go and do an audit, and follow up a hidden cost analysis, a hidden cost, a sales support, analysis, and inventory, all of the different all the different spins that are going to, quote unquote, help sales. And it’s not just in sales and marketing, it’s in product groups training, you name it, and you put all of that money together. And then you divide it by the number of sales people that you actually do have the quota carrying sales people you do have, what you have is a totally incredibly inefficient system. The bulk of companies aren’t doing that work. Once, when you do do that work, and there are companies who’ve done that work, because I’ve worked with companies who’ve done that work. When you do do that work, you actually get to see how big the waste is. The bottom line that I’ll tell you, john, is that if you’ve hired a sales enablement group, and you’re not seeing a better return on an investment, you probably didn’t do a good enough job of figuring out what the root problems are, and you’re treating symptoms.
I’m gonna concede the point on that one, let me ask the next level question down, which is, why don’t people do that. I mean, if you just look at if you just look at the chart in your report, plays out so clearly, and so compellingly, hey, here’s all these different money, I there’s all these different money flows. And here’s how much you’re spending per Rep. And anybody with with any sort of financial argument would go, oh, my goodness, this is just, you know, this is just not not good. You know? So in spite of that, how is it possible if the evidence is so compelling, that people are willing to do that exercise?
Scott Santucci 16:46
So, like, literally, this is, um, I’m breaking character a little bit, because this is super interesting. JOHN, your opening statement with the smoke and mirrors is so pissed me off. And so now I’m like, I’m here to fight. But then when you can see to the point, now, you’re asking a question that I have to concede a point on. So it’s interesting, like how things happen in real life. So this is all like in in real real life here. So this is really interesting. But I think that I think that is such a phenomenal question. That we need to we need to unpack more.
Brian Lambert 17:23
Yeah, just so we’re clear on this, because the listeners don’t have the report in front of them. This is the table john, where you’ve you’ve shakeout, all the costs of supporting a sales team. Right? Yes.
And it’s astronomical, you’re like, Oh, my goodness.
Brian Lambert 17:39
And Scott’s got these into buckets. And he’s This is a analysis that he’s done on?
Scott Santucci 17:44
Yeah, I was gonna describe it. Okay, good, Brian, thank you. In terms of it, in terms of the table, what we there’s kind of two, two forces happening at the same time. Force number one is each different functional group is doing things to quote unquote, help sales. Why? Because this, the the CEO and the CFO get off of earner investor calls. And the investors want to see greater sales productivity. So because activity is the design point, everybody prescribes more things. So for example, you might have in the portfolio group or the business, say the business units, they create more product demos, or they create more products, even the acceleration of the number of products is through the roof, or businesses acquire more businesses and slam them together, and they create more things.
On the marketing side, there’s more and more demand Gen, and more and more details about for, say, for digital today, but you know, back in the day, it’s still like authoring, sales guides and playbooks and the like, when you look at human resources, there’s what we’re gonna work on our culture, or we’re gonna work on human development programs, and then whether or not training reports into learning and development. sales leaders are doing lots of things too. So that the point is you have all of these activities. And the sum of the parts don’t add up to the whole because they’re not prioritized. And there is no valve or choke point in their evaluation point to prioritize all that stuff. So that’s one point. Then the second point is when you go on the finance side, because the way companies are organized, they’re organized in a very distributed way. So the finance can’t really look at the charts of accounts of all the different budgets. So for example, I worked I’ve worked with multiple companies to identify these hidden costs, and many of them have as many as 30,000 budgets. Think about that. 30,000 budgets.
Unknown Speaker 19:59
That’s all budgets?
Scott Santucci 20:00
Yeah, how do you figure out where are the activities that drive value are across all of those different budgets. And they do those budgets because they want to push decentralization as out there. So it’s not like it’s insane if there’s a logic for it, but the byproduct of it is a lack of coordination. So there so there’s, there’s two variables going on. Number one is most companies don’t have the tools to identify where these complexities are. The second thing is like all human beings, we have this condition called change blindness. And change blindness is a condition every single human being has is that when the environment around you is changing rapidly, you don’t notice it. And it’s, you know, at some point in time, you’re that frog that, hey, the water is getting warm, but I don’t really notice it until it’s 212 degrees, and then you’re cooked. And that’s, that’s really a that’s a condition. And I think the third thing is, human beings are also very afraid. It is a poor choice of words, but it’s true of ambiguity. And complexity is ambiguity. And because you because people’s first reaction to talking about complexity is to resist, there’s a tremendous amount of resistance to even talk about this problem.
Unknown Speaker 21:20
Well, it brings up an interesting point, Scott. And so I’m gonna just ask a little bit different question here. And what do you say to I mean, what do you say to that sales enablement leader who read your report got really excited and said, you know, what, I’m really ready to take this on, and went inside their company and said, Hey, I’m gonna do this, I’m gonna make this happen. I have a whole new vision. And 12 months later, they’re nowhere they have no budget, and they have completely failed. You know, what do you say to that person who says, I have totally embraced your idea? I tried it and man, it belly flopped?
Scott Santucci 22:00
Well, so one of the problems with this is I don’t have as much feedback of the people who just read a report and launched into it, I only have feedback of people read the report and asked, How should I go about doing it? Right. So I’ll have that insight. What I do know is the people who follow the prescriptions in the report are generally successful, because step number one is doing the work to collect the facts to hold the mirror up to the organization. If you don’t hold the mirror up to the organization and help them see the problem, and just launch into start doing things, you’re going to get hit with tons of resistance. It’s just human nature. So So basically, john, the issue is the people who read these reports and try to do it without it. The difficulty is, you didn’t follow the right approach. You just because you see the problem doesn’t mean the rest of the organization sees the router sees the problem.
Unknown Speaker 23:05
How How do you eliminate that problem, then if that if that is the core issue is eliminating the problem? I mean, aside from doing the analysis, aside from hiring someone like yourself, who knows how to do this? How do you eliminate the problem?
Scott Santucci 23:19
Well, it’s very similar to a It couldn’t be more simple than that. Step one is admit you have a problem, that problem is complex. That means get a sense of what complexity really means complexity, me is two dimensions of this. It’s interconnected things, and lots of things. So that means you have to figure out organizationally, where are their connection points, and where are their failure points. And then the second thing, it means taking inventory of all the stuff. And taking that doing that step people don’t want to do it sounds tedious. It sounds below your station. But once you put that out there, you can do it. And then the other thing, too, is fanfare. Or you have to have some drama. One of my favorite examples was a lot of people think that in order to tackle it, you have to do stuff. But really, the number one goal is to stop doing things. And my favorite example, this guy Matt, from a large company, at the sales kickoff, he printed out all of the policies that the company had. It was a stack of maybe it was maybe two feet, it was huge. And what did he do on that stage? He lit it on fire and said we’re not doing this anymore.
Unknown Speaker 24:43
Actually lit it on fire actually lit it on fire. I’m impressed that the venue facility allowed that that’s pretty cool. I gotta say, they
Scott Santucci 24:53
they came in and told him not to do it because he did it on you know, on it was funny. But anyway, the point of doing that Was, we’re not doing this bs anymore. And right, what happened? Pretty much because I was there pretty much every salesperson stood up and applauded, you could have ended the whole sales kickoff right there. So the point is, the amount of complexity is death by 1000. paper cuts. Once you show all of it, it’s like putting, if you’re a libertarian, it’s putting the tax code out in front of you and going, whoa, this is what we’re doing to businesses. I didn’t know that.
So that’s, that’s step number one of a big win, which is really just to say, let’s stop doing things. Otherwise, other other examples of doing that is to actually put together a report of you know, so this is something else that happened less dramatic, putting together a report and then asking the executives like put the put the numerator all the spend of sales costs, and then put the denominator of how many salespeople there are? Good horses an amazing lead hard conversation. One, where did you get the numerator from? Oh, my God, two, there’s disagreement about how many reps there are, and then the denominator, I don’t even agree how many reps they have. So, to me, if you want to be successful, you have to get clarity. And clarity starts with raising these kinds of basic issues that don’t get raised. When you do that you’re successful. People give you power, hey, this is unacceptable. Let’s go fix it. But when you don’t do those things and start, you know, building, well, let’s build the sales process first. If you don’t have support, and you’re going to get met, the white blood cells inside the company are going to resist any of that change.
Unknown Speaker 26:48
I think it’s time to take the gloves off this. So if I read the definition in the paper that says sales enablement is a strategic ongoing process that equips all client facing employees with the ability to consistently and systematically have a valuable conversation with the right set of customer stakeholders at each stage of the customers problem solving lifecycle to optimize the return of investment in the selling system. So question I want to ask you is, how do you square that with the fact that salesforce.com just came out with a report that said 87% of executive buyers don’t find conversations value?
Scott Santucci 27:29
So we’re just supposed to accept that you’re a company? You’re the one who’s training them make them better? But I’m baffled by the question. Yeah, the in your control is a business of what output you produce out there. And if executives aren’t having value in the output of your salespeople, that’s your company’s fault. you’re producing bad sellers. Or don’t sell to executives. I mean, there’s your two choices.
Unknown Speaker 27:59
The other question I would have would be so what that says to me is that people are not executed. Well, the definition. So can you prove somebody? Can you prove that somebody’s doing it? I mean, do you have examples of where people aren’t like real examples, real tangible examples of where people are actually doing it?
Scott Santucci 28:21
Yes. Talk me through those, what do they look like? None of them want to share these things, because they believe they have competitive differentiation now. So let me walk you through a couple scenarios. And maybe those that are doing this will feel comfortable enough to share their stories about how differently they’re behaving in their peer class. But some of them look like, Hey, we’re a we’re a business. And we’re going to decide how many accounts that we grow. So we’re not when we build our growth strategy, we’re going to pick 20, accounts to go after. So these are this is a business that sold big ticket items, instead of ramping up or the number of reps or anything like that. And we’re going to choose to go out, we’re going to choose to add 20 counts to our profile. And that means we’re only going to pursue 30, period, end of subject. And then everything is about quality about those accounts and saying, look, we’re only going to take 20 in so if you’re one of the 10 that aren’t in, you know, tough and get
Unknown Speaker 29:27
that I get that, that that’s a I think that’s an interesting use case.
Scott Santucci 29:32
There’s other use cases. So there’s another example of companies that they break down their sales, their sales organization into a portfolio of revenue streams. Yep. So for example, a office furniture company has been selling, you know, individual office furniture for all for a long period of time, then transforming instead of building a p&l around the product. Build a p&l around the key accounts, and then assign people to work, whether Product Marketing, etc, all into all into a flow a work team assigned to those accounts. So if you look at the if you look at the inventory in the breakout, there is more growth potential, they could grow the they can grow their business to x three x by just concentrating on the top 20% of accounts that meet their meet their profile, but they have to work in completely different ways than just selling individual products. So you carve that group out, wall them off, so that they can develop their own culture and their own ways of working. That’s an example of executing executing this. And the answer is was actually simple to do. The hard part was envisioning it.
Unknown Speaker 30:52
Yeah, I guess the you know, I would, I would just say that, you know, people have been having p&l or on key accounts for a really long time. So I kind of question I kind of question if that’s an execution of this definition, or if that’s a business strategy, been around for a long time, back to the question at hand. When you think about the definition,
Scott Santucci 31:12
we can chat, let me challenge that, because I’ve experienced a p&l statement around a key account, say it like an outsource or something like that. But they don’t staff to it. They staff too. They staff, the silos. It’s virtualized, when we talk about a p&l and an org model, it means people are assigned directly to those to those account profiles, their job descriptions are rewritten. How they work is different. Their org structures are different. It’s not just a artificial assignment of a p&l around it. It’s really an org model based on that and time in terms of entire revenue stream,
Unknown Speaker 31:49
I think we’ll leave that as agree to disagree. Now, let me get back into something that I think is gonna be really relevant for the practitioners of sales enablement. Like, why is the definition so long and complex? I mean, if I’m a person that’s trying to sell this into my organization, you know, I think ronald reagan once said, if you’re explaining you’re losing, and you know your average sales enablement practitioner, how do they even explain what a problem solving lifecycle is to their company? Like, what does that even mean?
Scott Santucci 32:22
Well, first and foremost, would would you take a definition of anything and sell it ever? Of course not. That’s why you need to build a charter. This is for you. How are you going to execute? And how do you know what the pieces are? So the reason that you have a definition is that you can score out what the what the pieces are, how would you build an organization if you’ve never built it before? So the first thing is, how do you frame what it is its strategic and an ongoing process? I’ll ask you, how many, how many sales enablement groups, do you see that operate strategically? And then also, once they’ve done a program, let’s say a training event? Do they follow up with it and drive reinforcement? Or did they just, you know, wash their hands and move on to the next thing? So just right there. That’s the litmus test.
Then the second thing, all client facing employees? Well, you’re talking about then you have to work with, say customer support people, you have to talk about if marketing people are doing client facing work, sales engineers, how do you get all of them on the same page? So how many how many groups do you know that are doing the hard work to do that? And then when you factor in like live chat agents, SDRs, that the sales model has gotten more complex? I think, in comparison to what the sales model actually looks like. This is actually a very simple definition, frankly. These are the variables that you have. And if you want to choose to avoid the variables, because you don’t like complexity, well, you’re not in the business of making things simple. The ability to consistently and systematically Well, what are your core requirements? If you don’t have that as a as a as a value add or quality assurance to have a valuable conversation? What’s the definition of one, if you don’t define a valuable conversation, you don’t have a spec to build to. That’s why only 11% of business executives find that those relationships fitting. There’s different then also problem solving lifecycle.
If you engage in a client, you know this, john, if you engage in a client after they’ve already decided what their problem is, you’re just in a Bake Off. You might as well just do self service, then you don’t need salespeople because customers already know how to buy stuff that way. Why are we even focusing on buying cycles in the first place that reinforces it? The differentiation lies, particularly if you’re b2b and helping those executives envision what success looks like. Do you even know what steps they go through to make problem solving and decision making? No, the reason that That has to be a definitional item is because you need to have some meat in order to gain permission from other groups to all have this momentum of thinking they know who customers are, but they don’t.
Then on top of that, what are you doing this all for, if you don’t have a reason to assist them at to invest in ongoing return on investment, you lose your bigger biggest power base that there is the CFO, if you show your department that is a good steward of corporate resources, the biggest bully in the group is going to be your friend, the CFO is going to give you so much insight so much up so much power, if you’re the adult in the room worried about whether or not we’re getting a return on investment on these things. So, you know, if you want to look at this as a definition, that you go and just put up in front of a CEO and say, let’s, let’s buy into this, well, frankly, you’re not executing, you have to have a plan that encompasses all those things, then you have to build the tools to sell it, which means you have to do the work beforehand to create the assessment so that you can create the vision and the charter, only 25% of sales and eight one people john actually create charters. That’s a failure point. If this isn’t a problem with the definition.
Unknown Speaker 36:29
That makes sense. Scott, let me switch gears a little bit and ask you to reflect which is when you first wrote the paper until now, what is it that you believe has changed? And also what is it that believe that you believe hasn’t changed? There’s a lot of what we’ve talked about is all these things remain true, at least in your perspective. And you have examples of where it’s working. And I would say your main point on your main point thus far has been that where the promise of the report is not being lived out, is due to poor execution rather than poor idea. What ideas that are in the paper Do you believe are fundamentally flawed?
Scott Santucci 37:11
Well, I wouldn’t, I wouldn’t say flawed, I would say we need to adjust. So this, this report was written off of the heels of the last recession. And coming out of that what was hard to predict was the growth cycle that we’ve become, and how driven how much that growth cycle was driven by SAS. And so what’s happened is, and that’s not even that, I know, that sounds like it’s just talking to the tech industry. But let’s translate SAS into other industries, subscription based business. subscription based businesses, as it’s in entertainment in its in manufacturing. Now, there’s a whole bunch of industries that are moving to subscription based models. And in at least in the tech space, what that did is ignited a huge amount of land grab just growth without any real focus on profitability. So what that did is it coming out of that that was something that we were unable to, to project to reflect on his grow, grow, grow, grow, grow, you have to capture market share, because you have to be a market leader, because the whole business model of a subscription, one is having a huge amount of subscribers. And if you’re losing a huge amount of subscribers, that’s death. And to give a give a frame of reference to that in different industries, ESPN, I think it was in 2017 2018, they lost 9 million subscribers.
Think about that, losing 9 million subscribers in one year, why their business model was to do subscriptions through cable providers. And what they did not anticipate was the huge amount of people moving to Hulu or Netflix or things like that. And so their business, the one of the reasons that they’re really struggling is they are set up to lean on cable providers, and then lean on advertisers. But when you’re losing eyeballs, you have to shift and find new ways of doing business. That’s a perfect example of how disruptive this whole digital world is, is or is becoming. And these are the kinds of things that are hard to see. And they’re also really hard to help executive team see themselves because they’re stuck on their own business models. So I would say that that is definitely if I could go back in time and rewrite this. I would, I would rewrite this to have a better reflection of what the impact of the digital economy is.
Brian Lambert 39:55
So guys, we got 10 minutes left to this trial.
Unknown Speaker 39:58
See So Scott, you know, I
Unknown Speaker 40:03
mean, what I, what I’m hearing? You know, what I’ve heard throughout this is one pretty consistent theme, which is the problem is not the definition. The problem is that people don’t know how to go and execute on the definition. that a fair statement.
Scott Santucci 40:23
In a trial sense, yes, in terms of like, you know, trying to get to common ground and understanding, I think the big missing point is to clarify why, why do we have these problems, that’s what’s missing. This is a, a product based definition, for an enablement person to make sure that they’re successful. This is not the tool that you put in front of your company and say, This is what we need to do. And it was never designed for that in the first place. We need to have something different, which is, here’s a business problem, why? How do we teach people to communicate these issues? internally? How do we help highlight the lightbulb moments that have to happen before you get to the solution, because executives just don’t see these problems, because of the instruments that they’re looking at it, they’re looking at the problem for the long wrong lens, but they feel the pain, we have to do a much better job of helping them connect the dots between feeling the pain, identifying the business problem, giving it a better identity, and making it more accessible. And that’s something that I feel completely, completely at with this report. I will totally agree with that.
Unknown Speaker 41:41
So I mean, I think what you’re saying, Scott is that, like, if sales enablement, people want to execute on this, they actually need to essentially become good at what they want their people to do, which is get inside of a company understand what’s going on, build a business case, along with the right stakeholders, and create a case for change.
Scott Santucci 41:58
Yeah. And to be very specific, what I would say is, I would take each line of this definition, and see whether you have a clear answer for and anticipate where you’re going to get pushback from the rest of the organization. So that you have a plan, then that plan, you need to turn it you need to write it up in terms of your definition of what you want the outcome to be, then you need to write up, you know, a staged approach, then you need to start the work of how you’re going to sell it. But if you try to sell a problem without having a clear plan, once you highlight how much money spent the executives tips so quickly to you know, what’s your answer, if you don’t have a path forward, you’re going to fail, because they’re going to say, Great, you’re poking the bear. Now what? And they’re going to give it they’re going to give the execution of this to somebody else.
Unknown Speaker 42:53
So why can’t I got one last one before the closing argument on this one? And why can’t sales enablement leaders do that? Like, you hear? I mean, yes, like you’ve mentioned some success stories. But if you walk around in the marketplace, there are a lot more failure stories and success stories. So what you’re describing makes total sense to me, why can’t i can’t sales enablement, leaders do that? Like what’s holding them back?
Scott Santucci 43:19
Well, I think it’s not, I wouldn’t characterize it as can’t, it’s won’t. And I think it really comes down to your perspective. If you in most cases, people get tapped on the shoulder, john, let me tap you on the shoulder, I’ve got something broken, I want you to fix. And that right, there is a tactical result oriented view it. In order to fix this problem, you have to have a mission and a goal oriented perspective, you need an executive sponsor, you need to make a case you need to be more inquisitive. So a lot of it has to do with Who are the people being tapped on the shoulder. Like if you’re waiting for the company to start dictating things, then of course, it’s going to be tactical, and you’re being reactive. So it really comes down to mindset, whether or not you have the skills to go about doing it. And also Do you have enough curiosity to figure out Hmm, how would I go about selling it?
Unknown Speaker 44:16
That’s pretty interesting. So I think I think what you’re describing is the sales enablement leader who’s going to be good at this is going to be the same kind of person, that would be a good sales rep. I think that’s interesting. So closing argument, last question, because I think then Brian needs to provide some recap. So even Forrester, the company that published this and redefined it, they don’t even use the definition now. So why why should we or why should anybody else?
Scott Santucci 44:43
Well, I think the the question, I mean, that’s a fair question. I think if you look, my ask my ask of you is to ask yourself, what is forester does forester today, if you look at the profiles of the analysts there, how many of them have a salesperson Background versus a marketing background? Is the definition more suitable or aligned to a marketing perspective? Are they out advocating that marketing should do it? If you notice, john, I don’t advocate anybody to own it. I just want somebody to be able to elevate this to a business problem to help the executive committee to solve it. I’m neutral. However, if you look at the goal and the effort around where Forrester is, most of the work that they do around b2b is marketing. They have a whole marketing practice, and that’s b2c focus. That’s phenomenal. Does b2b b2c marketing translate into b2b marketing? No. Where do they have a lot of sales leadership? then on top of that, I would also challenge it even further. foresters acquired serious decisions, serious decisions has their own definition of sales enablement. So I think the question is less about this definition and more a question of what’s the vision that Forrester has moving forward?
Unknown Speaker 45:58
My my closing argument is as follows. The report itself is, I think, still valid, there is a huge gap and failure point in creating a mechanism and model for people to execute it. I think that that’s really where all the debate in the world is today. So I don’t have a I don’t have a closing argument that says that the report is invalid, that it was the wrong definition, the wrong idea. My main closing argument would be, if sales enablement is going to take the next step, there has to be something behind this, that creates a way for people to operationalize and execute on it. Otherwise, we’ll be in the same place in 2030. And that’s kind of my closing point of view.
Brian Lambert 46:47
So are you dropping all charges are what?
Unknown Speaker 46:51
Am I dropping all charges? I guess, I guess, I guess I’m gonna say, well, we’re gonna we’re gonna we are going to acquit on we’re going to quit on effectiveness of report and convict on lack of next vision for execution. How’s that?
Scott Santucci 47:08
That’s what you’re gonna drive to now, you don’t get to acquit. You just get to drop charges or not drop charges as the project
Unknown Speaker 47:15
leader, I’ll drop, I’ll drop I’ll drop. I’ll drop the charges on his report. good or not? I will, you know, I think we’re gonna file a new set of charges on file a new set charges on? Do we need a next layer around execution? How’s that? Great.
Brian Lambert 47:30
Scott. That was that was John’s closing argument
Scott Santucci 47:34
by my defense on that would be first of all, geez, john, that’s a that’s a police state that your are what do you know what the antenna is? The report just says define that scope. So I think I’ve been fairly defended on scope. This report doesn’t cover execution models, this report is scope. And the reason that it’s on scope is because it’s a complex business problem. And you need to be really precise on how you execute it. If we wanted to have a different report or review a different report on execution models and everything, I’m game for that I’ll give you a different report, this report scope, its scope. So, you know, I think the government is overreaching here. But that’s maybe that’s just me as my libertarian viewpoints. My stance on this is, this is fantastic, because it creates clarity.
Part of the difficulty that I’ve observed in this space is we talk about define and what is it mean and clarity, but we’re not asking what do we need clarity for? So I think that there’s many buckets of clarity that aren’t being addressed. So for example, the thing that I was trying very hard to help you on the prosecutor part is, I need to be prosecuted more on the why the big epiphany that I’ve had doing this research process is sales enablement is a function that’s grown dramatically but there’s no real business reason why where’s the why if you read any of the vendor, vendor pitches or go to their websites, it’s look at our product look at our product look at our product. If you hear anybody who’s in the space it’s you got to do this you got to do coaching. You got to do this. You got to do challenger, we are still we have such silver bullet itis in the sales and marketing world. But you know, john, at the end of the day, there’s no such thing as werewolves we’re shooting bullets at these Phantom Phantom invisible problems in Scotts gang. What’s the problem?
Unknown Speaker 49:34
Clearly, you never watched the movie Teen Wolf.
Brian Lambert 49:39
Man, you know, he’s just trying to get in your back pocket Scott because he knows that you’re a sucker for 80s movies.
Scott Santucci 49:47
I haven’t though that’s got it got me. He got me monologue and I’m like, I’m trying to defend my life here.
Brian Lambert 49:54
But so wrap up the closing argument, please.
Scott Santucci 49:57
Yes, no. Didn’t you Also a definition of what’s the market space? The market space has had hundreds of providers come and go, and they’ve all faded. Why? Why do we Why do you it? Why the people were out there looking for jobs or finding so many different job variations all over the place, but no consistency. Why? Why do people just hire people and expect magic to happen? There’s this invisible golden box that we’re just not getting to. Maybe because we’re not thoughtful enough. Maybe because we’re too pressured. Maybe it’s because the pace of business is too great. Maybe it’s all of those things. But the thing that I will say I should be convicted on is not enough. Why. But as far as the definition goes, I’m willing to stand by this. I think it holds the test of time, even though I’d like to tweak it to some dough to it to modernize it a bit. But I still think it’s the best one out there.
Brian Lambert 50:56
All right. So we will let the listeners decide. I will say, the trial, the trial was adjourn for the day, for the month of the year, I don’t know. But I’m going to wrap this up with some takeaways. The first thing though, I’m going to say is I want to thank john and Scott for doing what I think is a service to the profession. So I know that these guys kind of went at it a little bit. JOHN, I know you’re passionate about this topic. And maybe you know, you’re role playing a little bit. And some of these questions, you’ve maybe even have a feel that as somebody involved in sales enablement, but at the end of the day, we’re all still friends, and we can still have these discussions and go get a beer afterwards. Right. And I think that’s modeling the kind of behavior that we want to see around sales enablement. So before I go to the wrap up, john Scott, guys have anything to say to each other before I go to the three point take away. Scott, you can get first.
Scott Santucci 51:54
Thanks. So what I would say is, this is this kind of debate that we need to be having. This is a complex problem, and there’s many moving parts. And what we what we tend to do is we want to isolate just one piece of it. But if you just isolate one piece of it, what happens is, this is an ecosystem type problem, and you don’t address the other thing. So I think part of what we’ve got to learn to do is to learn how to talk about an ecosystem or a system and learn how to do it, that doesn’t trigger so much emotion and anger, and be more, bring more civility, but also a lot of hard questions. In my opinion, the hard questions are what teases out the clarity. And if you can have civil discourse, and I like the lawyer metaphor, I’d like us to just, you know, build on that more, because you have to make your points, and you have to be able to defend it. And the whole legal process about the cross examination and asking the right questions, is really, really healthy. So I think we should find ways to do more of that. And less pontification yelling it at or, you know, bringing other ideas down. That’s what makes
Brian Lambert 53:12
a good. That’s a good point. If you guys ever watched these crime dramas on TV, the prosecutor and defense are going at it in the courtroom, then they go out in the hallway and talk about their kids and stuff in the shows. And I’m always like, how’s that even possible that I’m like, I love it, because they’re all getting along, and they’re following procedure. And they’re upholding rights, you know, they’re doing the jobs. So that’s, that’s pretty cool. JOHN, your comments?
Unknown Speaker 53:36
Oh, well, two things. Number one, first and foremost, I want to thank you guys for having me on. You guys routed to the real leaders in the space. And I was, you know, honored that you selected me for this, this task. I hope that my main hope in all this is that, you know, this will be of service to the community and be beneficial to someone who is wrestling with this challenge. And I’m just really grateful to you guys for having me on. And Scott, hopefully, you know, I was playing a role a little bit, but I wasn’t trying to pick on you. It was really about how do we have a healthy debate?
Scott Santucci 54:09
So, um, I am a big boy. I love how healthy debates my feelings aren’t hurt at all. I just, you know, what’s it? What’s a type of inquiry that that’s useful? I think maybe that’s a whole nother show is what kinds of questions can you ask? A lot of people will tell you, you need to ask more why questions? But when you’re in a company, and you ask a why question, you can get slammed. So how do you know when’s the right time when you can ask the why question versus when you can’t.
Brian Lambert 54:45
So it’s like, why are we doing that? It’s very confrontational and he gets slammed right up. There’s a way in which to deliver it. There’s a timing piece around it.
Scott Santucci 54:53
Yeah. So being aware of when you can ask why. What I’ve noticed is that people who have more of a tactical or consider themselves more pragmatic, the time to ask questions. They’ve been given the floor to ask questions, but they don’t think they can or they can’t come up the questions or they can envision it. And they ask questions, you know, kind of too late like in the middle of execution, and then management’s like, why are you asking me this question? Now I get that we asked that question six months ago, how could you not be prepared? So I think part of this is having much more empathy about and I’ve sort of called this sympathy for the devil, you know, management, I hear a lot of work a lot of talk about what management needs to do to help me as a director level or something,
Unknown Speaker 55:39
you know, it’s also it’s also my job to help management understand how why they should obey. So Exactly. That’s another topic.
Scott Santucci 55:46
Yeah. So I think that there’s a lot of misunderstanding across different groups that I think we probably need to tease out, I think everybody, everybody that I encounter in this ecosystem wants things to be better. So find a way to start there, instead of finding a way to where we can point fingers at each other.
Brian Lambert 56:07
So my three points real fast that I want to give one is print the definition. It’s in the show notes, I’m going to print this the definition of sales enablement. in the show notes, we’re going to put that there, make a line by line inventory, and make sure you can answer the questions there, to take a long, hard look and think about this deeply. But if you are in a sales enablement role, and you’re a listener of this show, you need to reflect on do you have a skill problem or a will problem. And that discussion around skills in will, is an important distinction here, because God laid out his argument that he believes it’s more of a will piece, and then he backed it up and said, You need skills to do that. So just expecting management to give you the the charter, and the funding and things like that, that’s that’s not going to work, you’ve got to be able to have both the mindset and the skills to go up and get what you need.
The third thing, last thing is is Who are you talking to? And where are your inputs coming from? It’s really important in a time like this, you think deeply about where your sources of information are, and how that sources of that information is being vetted through what lenses there is going to be, you know, a huge change and challenge in the coming years around sales and marketing. It’s it is it is a done deal, it will change. So with that in mind, we invite you to come on May May 19, to the readout and the findings of the sales state of sales enablement, research report, you can see the whole methodology when you go to insight se comm slash research, you can see all of the panelists, all the companies that Scott’s been interviewing, you can also listen to all the podcasts, there’s six panels that we went through to hear that so even if that may 19 is already passed, and you’re listening to this a year later. Make sure you listen to these, these panels and engage us around that topic. I want to thank Scott for going on trial he had very little I told him to print the report and be ready. And I think he was in great job, Scott and john, thanks so much for doing this. Once again, when you flew up from Atlanta, and just engaged. That’s what I asked you to do here was you know, just have fun with it. And, and he did that. I really appreciate you john putting yourself out there. So on behalf of insider nation, john, thanks for being an insider. And we’ll see you guys on the next part. Take care.
Thanks for joining us. To Become an insider and amplify your journey. Make sure you’ve subscribed to our show. If you have an idea for what Scott and Brian can cover in a future podcast or have a story to share, please email them at engage at inside sp.com You can also connect with him online by going to inside se.com following them on Twitter or sending them a LinkedIn request.