Welcome to the Inside Sales Enablement Podcast, Episode 6
What’s going on in the Sales Enablement space — specially with companies looking to evolve their sales strategy?
In this special edition, Brian Lambert catches up with Scott Santucci after a two-day Council Meeting of Sales Enablement Executives.
At the beginning of 2018, the Conference Board received requests from its members (large businesses) to form a council to explore the emerging role of sales enablement in order to establish the foundations for developing and running this new function. The group is invitation-only and works to create insights based on the practical experiences of its members. Members include leaders from large companies representing diverse industries including financial services,high technology, business services, hospitality and manufacturing.
Scott Santucci serves as the program director of the group (on a contract basis). Through the process of norming, storming, and forming – the group is developing new ways to gain insights from different industries. When you look at the forest from the trees, new patterns begin to emerge. What we are learning is that for B2B sales, the sales execution problems that Intercontinental Hotels Group and Microsoft are far more similar than they are different. Regardless of your industry, the practice of B2B selling is similar.
- You need an overarching “one company” value proposition that is more detailed than your brand, but less specific than products
- Your company is organized into product-based silos, but you need to bring a different, integrated, and more consistent experience to customers
- You have many different stakeholders involved in a sale – there are “buyers” who give you a hunting license and then “buyers” who drive usage
- The challenges sellers have navigated the ‘agreement networks’ within large companies is easy to explain through experiences (in the readout to executives we performed a 10 min skit to illuminate the challenge) but hard to conceptualize is traditional management consulting readouts, metrics, and charts.
- The solutions to fix these problems are actually simple when you follow design thinking concepts, work collaboratively across organizational silos and focus on the actual experience of customers. However, explaining the approach sounds excessively complicated and far too risky based on managements comfort level with traditional projects. In addition, because the solution required cutting across so many different organizational functions, identifying an executive sponsor and gaining the funding to even start a pilot program can be challenging.
The council is still forming and deciding what concepts to share, how to test insights and ideas the group comes up with, and how to publish its findings. Here are things it’s agreed to so far.
- The emerging role of sales enablement is a by-product of the digital transformation of our economy
- The value of the function is unique compared to other functions – it creates value by eliminating things
- The council believes that for sales enablement roles to add value to their businesses, they must be organized as cross-functional groups
- The council has embraced a “business within a business” framework to provide the foundation for this new role
- The council has also developed a review process to develop insights and then methodically test those ideas within the member organizations
To this end, the membership as adopted the midwest mindset of “show me” when reviewing the various claims, reported data, and various “best practices” advanced by industry experts and management consultants. Our members have engaged virtually all of the management consulting firms, read reports from industry analysts, and are evaluating most of the technologies provided. The group has decided to focus on sharing its experiences with these groups and what results (or problems) they create.
The #1 thing our members have learned is they learn from each other through actual experiences (working on team exercises or case studies) and in the meeting June 17-18 in Atlanta, the council was hosted by Intercontentinal Hotels. In this meeting, IHG openly shared its business challenges (all council members are under NDA) and other council members broke into groups to provide a readout of findings and recommendations to IHG business leaders.
In this session the guys cover:
- How the Conference Board was founded 106 years ago during a changing economy and how that relates to today’s digital economy
- What exactly IS a council – who is it comprised of, why, how does it work?
- How is the idea of ‘sales enablement’ forming and taking root in large enterprise organizations?
- How do you set up a working case study and what was the agenda and format of the meeting?
- What were some of the lessons learned
– The concept of “stratecution” – how important it is to blend strategy and execution
– Using a “letter to shareholders” format to sell the vision and promise of sales enablement internally
– Why creating b2b value propositions is so much more challenging than you think it is
– How do the concepts of customer loyalty and experience blend with a value proposition
– Why creating a new tool kit for how to drive programs is so important and what industries can learn from each other
– The importance of getting many groups together and why overcoming “English to English” translation is such a key to success
We realize this is a long episode, but it is jam-packed with the collective insights of companies who are driving sales transformation and innovations from within their companies. It will be a while before these ideas crystallize into ‘best practices’ or programs you can buy off the shelf so this will give you the opportunity to hear what’s on the mind of other executives seeking more proactive ways to address the revenue generation challenges facing their businesses.
Welcome to the Inside Sales Enablement Podcast, Episode #5
Everyone Agrees Sales Training is Important- So why the friction between sales and L&D?
In this episode, Scott Santucci & Brian Lambert discuss the role of people. Sales Enablement is a people profession and sales enablement leaders are focused on human behavior and skills of sellers (or as CEOs often say “manufacture their reps.” The challenge for many “classically trained” L&D professionals lies in balancing the hyper-specialization and needs of the seller with the desired by executives to run as a shared service function. Sometimes the L&D function and people within it aren’t often set up to support Sales.
This creates a fundamental question: Why is so much sales training outsourced? Why are sales processes off-limits to the training function? And when sales enablement equals training, why is it considered tactical delivery?
If training organizations aren’t comfortable engaging strategically on developing talent, or aren’t deemed “valuable” by executives that’s a problem. Brian & Scott talks about his journey to tackle this gap and enable the trainers to close the gap to sales teams through research, processes, and outputs. Why terms like ADDIE and rigid L&D approaches don’t resonate with other groups including the CEOs view of “training.”
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.
Scott Santucci, Brian Lambert, Nick Merinkers
Nick Merinkers 00:02
Welcome to the inside sales enablement podcast. Where has the profession been? Where is it now? And where is it heading? What does it mean to you, your company, other functions? The market? Find out here. Join the founding father of the sales enablement profession Scott Santucci and Trailblazer Brian Lambert as they take you behind the scenes of the birth of an industry, the inside sales enablement podcast starts now.
Brian Lambert 00:34
Hi, this is Brian Lambert.
Scott Santucci 00:35
And this is Scott Sam teaching and where the sales enablement insiders. Our podcast is dedicated to helping leaders ask the big questions they should consider in order to be successful with sales enablement. In this podcast, we rethink reframe, revisit the sales enablement function and past ideas and best practices. Around the role to clarify so that you can take action, lead others and ensure success for your company. Today we have another special edition on previous episode our previous episode was well received that was the episode where we did a trip report where Brian was at the sales enablement soiree in Boston. Before I before I asked Brian to frame out our trip report and how we’re going to do this, I do want to mention one exciting, exciting input. And I’m gonna ask our listeners to share. So first and foremost, if you haven’t reached out to Brian and I send us a send us a note and connect to us on LinkedIn. And I had a great I had a great correspondence with someone from from our show, and she reached out and said, Hey, I love your show. I love how raw it is and I, I said, well, what’s going on in your organization, we got to change guiding, and we’re exploring an idea of doing a show to put Brian and I on the hook to see whether or not she can give. We can give live feedback on the show, without ever really meeting her to help navigate some of the challenges that she’s gotten her SaaS company. So, I’m looking forward to that. What do you think of that, Brian?
Brian Lambert 02:21
I think it’s great. And we might want to change the names to protect the innocent sounds. All right.
Scott Santucci 02:26
That’s right. That’s why I didn’t say her name or anything like that. In this episode, normally, I’m the one who frames out frames out the podcast, but this one since I’m the one doing the trip report, and I’m holding back on Brian about what what to share. Brian, why don’t you frame us out?
Brian Lambert 02:45
Yeah, sure. So everybody, I left Scott a message and he had shared that he was going to Atlanta to have a big meeting around sales enablement strategy with with some executives, so I called him and said, Hey, you know, I’d like to hear about it. He didn’t call me back. So that I finally got him on the phone later that evening. And I said, I’d love to hear about it. And he said, Well, why don’t we do it on the show? So I’m just as in the dark as you all are, and we’re gonna kind of take a look at what you did. Scott, I’m really intrigued by it. So let me first ask you, it makes sure I understand what it was. And then I’d love to dive into what happened and what the outcomes were.
Scott Santucci 03:24
Does that sound that makes that makes perfect sense and always a good, good level set to start off with what you know.
Brian Lambert 03:31
So you had said, In preparation for this meeting that it was with the Conference Board, and you were, in your role, leading a council of sorts, and you had had success throughout a series of meetings with the Conference Board members and this one was an interesting one, because you’re pretty excited about it got me excited about it, because it was doing a deep dive on a specific challenge that one of the members is faced including working together through a day and a half session culminating in some sort of, I believe, executive readout to his executives that would be coming in cold to get the readout. Is that right? Do I have that? Right?
Scott Santucci 04:16
You do have it right. And I think I think what’s helpful, at least this, this would be helpful for me is ask a few, you know, get a few questions answered and level set. So, question number one, what is the Conference Board? Question number two, is was the meeting with the Conference Board? Or was the meeting with the council and set this question number three is what the heck is the council anyway? What the heck are they doing? So let me let me go through those three questions. Question number one, what is the Conference Board? So, I’m sharing this with you, I needed to know this information myself. I was recruited by the by the competition. To the Conference Board to start up a sales enablement Council. So, what does that mean? What’s the council all that stuff I didn’t really know. And this is how I’ve processed that information. The Conference Board started 106 years ago 106. And how it got got its start was back in the industrial revolution. If you kind of remember your history, their labor and management didn’t really get along. And if you’re familiar with your European history, it led to lots of revolutions. And the industrialists here didn’t think that was good for business. So, what they decided to do was get some labor and some leaders from at&t, and Ge, and you know, some other you know, big companies like that, and they worked out labor challenges, and in this in this meeting in this council that they formed, they created the eight-hour workday, no kidding, the eight-hour workday really engine. It started out with the Conference Board. It’s an American invention. You’re welcome France. And eight-hour workday was the birth product, the very first result of the Conference Board. So since then, it’s gotten companies together. multinational companies together, so it focuses exclusively on big companies to solve complex problems and they form these councils, and these councils are run in a very open way. We follow certain rules that we have but each program director runs this. We are not paid well. It’s it’s very it’s very it’s a very part-time part-time job. But that’s that’s basically what it is. So, you the Conference Board recruits the council’s the conference that the member the the program director, in this case, myself sets criteria for what it is that we’re looking for, like what kind of type or diversity or you know, things like that. They gather the gather the members together and they start having meetings, and the members are responsible for it. So, in a lot of ways, it’s like a homeowner’s association. The builder starts it, but then turns it over to the members. And really, my job is to facilitate or set the structure for it. So that’s so far what the sales eight what is the Conference Board? And what is the council? Is that clear so far?
Brian Lambert 07:31
Yeah, the only thing I would want you to clarify is, you know, you’re talking 106 years old, you know, industrial revolution stuff, and it feels a little stodgy to me, but then we’re talking sales enablement. Right. So, tell me a little bit about why they went into it. And, and then as you said, in one of your questions to frame it out, who are some of these people that you’re meeting with?
Scott Santucci 07:52
Yeah, so that’s a good question. So, the stodgy part is actually really interesting. So, as you probably can imagine, I forgot another element of the Conference Board. The Conference Board also produces a lot of consumer index data. So, if you go if you were to listen on Wall Street and when earnings calls come out, and I talk about consumer confidence and things like that, the Conference Board does all that data also. So, they have a huge amount of economists etc. And it’s a nonprofit organization to us. So, it’s a very unique, interesting thing. So back to the hundred years. Episode, what the reason that I like that story is 100 years ago, we were going from a we were transforming from an agricultural based way of thinking about how to run business to an industrial revolution. And we had a lot of we had a lot to work out about Management Science and, you know, span of control responsibilities and all those other things. And what’s interesting is here we are at the cusp of the digital economy, and we’re running into the same kinds of things. So, there are, you know, 80 other councils that focus on things ranging from librarian tactics, literally, to CFO councils
Brian Lambert 09:16
in the Conference Board,
Scott Santucci 09:18
In the Conference Board, right. All of these different little, little councils. And what happened was they started getting demand for, hey, what’s the sales enablement stuff? We don’t we as big companies hear about it a lot. We’re really unclear what that looks like. Let’s set up a council for it. So, what we did is, uh, you know, I, I was recruited for it, you know, that I’m pretty well known and guess in the space. And I said, I’d love to do that. That’s right up my alley, and we recruited people for it. So basically, I used a maturity model at that time. Assume three different phases like Phase One is, are you in a reactive state? phase two, are you in a manage state? And phase three? Are you in adaptive state? And I had other criteria for it. We can talk about maturity models later, we recruited people in stage two that wanted to get to stage three.
Brian Lambert 10:17
Okay, so you targeted that specific Lee. And so, one, that implies that there are people in a managed state, which I’m glad to hear, without a counsel and you wouldn’t have a meeting. So that’s a win. Yep, the profession. But before we go too much further, Scott, you know, some of our loyal listeners that have known this a long time might say something like, Hey, you guys, you know, at Forrester, you had a council too. So, are you are you just retreading the old Council and well, you know, redoing everything over again? And you know, are you guys going to advance this or what? What would you say to that?
Scott Santucci 10:54
Well, I would say that the economics is just everything. This is different. So, Forester, I think the fee to participate in the council was, you know, between 50 and $75,000 a year. And with that, you know, myself, you our team, we are we produced research also and had these had these council meetings and had, you know, had outputs. At the Conference Board. There are very lightweight deliverables. The fee is much, much, much less between $10,000 and $15,000, depending upon you know how many services the company has under
Brian Lambert 11:42
If people mention your name, do they get a discount?
Scott Santucci 11:47
I had to get invited first.
Brian Lambert 11:49
Oh, it’s invitation only
Scott Santucci 11:50
it is invitation only? That’s correct. So, you have to you have to invite and you got to go to the you can go to the website and apply and you know, the app application process happens and I’m not part of that. I just get on the phone after they go through the vetting. I set up the criteria and and then you know the members vote.
Brian Lambert 12:13
Okay, so it’s literally member run you turn it I like the homeowner’s association analogy that’s definitely makes sense now. And that’s not how Forster was run and it’s two different things. And almost I would even say, I’m gonna infer this you can correct me if I’m wrong. There’s two different problems to solve here. But Forrester was researched definitional. Here, it sounds like this is for the members by the members, and, you know, working on issues together for the good of in this case, the profession.
Scott Santucci 12:43
Well, that’s the interesting thing. Here’s, uh, here’s where the members are right now. Because of the progress that we so we’ve had three meetings, you have meetings, basically once a quarter, not once a quarter, three times a year is basically how it’s set up. And the meetings are two days long, and they’re facilitated. Every Council is different. In our meeting, if you know me, there are no presentations. It’s, you maybe present a few slides, and then we, you know, get in and I divide people up into teams, and then they read out to each other. And, you know, some people take the position, this is the best idea ever, and some people take the position is the worst idea ever. And we really embrace the idea of learning through conflict. So, you know, we’ve got some rules that we follow for, you know, for culture and things like that. But what’s fascinating is, there is a, a divide within our, with our community within this community. And I would love to write up some reports, right, because I would get some exposure there myself, but there is a contingent of our members who don’t want anything published. Because the things that they’re learning they believe create competitive advantage for him. I’m not kidding. It’s amazing. Other people are saying, Look, what are we going to do to sell the value of our role if we’re not communicating these? So, so part of the debate amongst the members is what to publish?
Brian Lambert 14:24
Yeah, I can get away with it.
Scott Santucci 14:27
Yeah, I guess the for our listeners, what I would do is anytime you see me post about a Conference Board thing, ask questions, because that’s sort of a an opportunity to poke at some things.
Brian Lambert 14:41
Yeah, it’s a good point. I mean, I can see both sides and actually being in positions where enablement is not a competitive advantage. I’ve been there seen that done that work that helped help people do it, you know, and then also on the strategic or more competitive advantage side, but in fact and that too? Yeah, I mean, it can have an impact. So, I can see both both sides. And it again, it comes down to what’s the goal? Right? You know, what are they trying to do? And
Scott Santucci 15:13
I’ll give you, I’ll give you something that I can I can give away as long as I don’t talk about the company. So, there’s one company in particular, that their enablement function owns the Technology Roadmap. They own it completely. They built an alliance with the IT organization, they process model map out everything. And what they’re finding is each time they roll out an iterative iteration, it’s a release, they don’t think in terms of big chunks, it’s a release, again, market share. So, what they now have is a very targeted roadmap, going after very different pockets, and they encode they codified the processes that they will Learn the adoption programs that they learn, and they keep simplifying things. And each time they do an iteration iteration, they gain market share.
Brian Lambert 16:09
This is Internal technology not not for sale.
Scott Santucci 16:13
It no it is they are it.
Brian Lambert 16:17
It’s clear, I was just wanted to clarify that. So, what you’re saying is,
Scott Santucci 16:21
it is it is definitely technology that they are buying from the marketplace. The issue is how they’re integrating it. So
Brian Lambert 16:29
Yeah they’re integrating and using it. They’re not bringing it to market. So, what you’re saying is when they implement internally, for the sales team, and in others, they’re saying, a quantified impact. positive impact is what you’re saying. I just wanted to clarify that.
Scott Santucci 16:44
Yeah. So, what I’m saying is, Thing number one that they do is they define an integrated process and they would, they eliminate friction across organizational silos. They go in and they buy the technology parts. But they integrate those technology parts to reflect to work towards that business process that they defined. And then they roll out that integrated thing to, to that target, whether it be a sales channel or whatever. I mean, I got to be careful how much I share. Would it be a sales channel, whether it be a partner, you know, a partner class or whatever, and every single time that they’ve done any release, they gain market share.
Brian Lambert 17:31
Well, that’s cool. You know, if I were to be dropped on the planet from, you know, if I was an alien dropped on the planet and trying to learn the language enablement, you know, that would make sense to me. But the reason why I felt like I had to clarify was after, you know, 10 to 15 years of working in this space, there’s just not that many people doing what you just said, but that that’s to me enablement.
Scott Santucci 17:54
And it is to them also. And what’s interesting about this community is They find it very difficult to find stories of how people are applying how people are integrating a variety of different strategies together to solve business problems rather than just doing stuff. Oh, that’s that’s really the conversation and what’s what’s also interesting is one of my requirements, I have had two requirements. One requirement was I wanted to make sure that there was diversity of industry. So, we wouldn’t allow I had quotas for how many different industry members could get in. So, you know, you wouldn’t be tech industry heavy or why was that important? Well, it was it what was important was it what was important for me is as I’ve been, as I was working, you know, as we know, at Forrester, we started our tech industry. Boom, then we lot then we drop the tech industry part and I started learning a lot from manufacturing, from financial services from pharmaceuticals. They all every industry has their one thing that they do really well. So, for example, at, at the at manufacturing, working with an office furniture company, these guys are just really comfortable with the concept of value stream mapping, which is, let’s follow the money. Let’s work backwards and eliminate it. So, the idea of having a conversation of let’s match the audience message messenger, let’s look at value communications as a manufacturing process was super easy. When I’ve tried to bring that idea into technology companies, the resistance is met was massive. And then we even let me finish sentences because if it gets too complicated, so it’s an example of each industry has their own strengths. And the media industry, by the way, is way more Advanced in terms of digital transformation and any other industry? Yes. Not even close. Right? Because they’ve been going through it since 1999. Yeah.
Brian Lambert 20:10
So, software companies are really good at, you know, maybe, you know, making some an idea concrete and being able to show you how that works.
Scott Santucci 20:20
Yes, and they tend to be better at analytics or metrics than the mat or the healthcare companies tend to be really good at process, like
Brian Lambert 20:34
a different list and process makes sense,
Scott Santucci 20:37
A different kind of process. District distribution companies tend to be really, really embracing of technology, whereas other industry technology for sales enablement, whereas others are tend to be more resistant to it
Brian Lambert 20:50
So, you’re going to build a super hammer, cobble cobble together superfunction with different biases already in hard hard wired to view the world. It makes sense to Cross industry view that makes right.
Scott Santucci 21:02
So, obviously, you have a huge learning curve with language of getting out in the financial services guys are fantastic because, you know, when we talk about building a portfolio of revenue streams instead of, you know, as a new way of segmenting, they instantly get it and they they can’t understand why people don’t build charters or build a financial business case. They can’t comprehend it. And they also don’t see how it’s hard. But you know, get your foot in financial services, they don’t realize how close to this stuff they are
Brian Lambert 21:37
Tell them to go build software, go build some software, and you’ll see how hard this financial stuff is.
Scott Santucci 21:42
Exactly. Right. Right. Right. Exactly. So, so the things that the first two meetings that we that we had, most of it were learning. So, I think the I think the challenge here is to set the what this meeting was was about what we learned was, innovation is hard. Let’s start there. And not no one really has clarity about welts, what sales enabling is, by the way, our membership has agreed that we’re not going to try to define it. We don’t really care what the what the definition is our council cares. What does the department look like and what is its business results? So, the debate about what it is or isn’t not really of interest to our members, the members want to say, let’s define out a framework on how we’re going to be a be a shared service group that adds value inside are inside their corporations. So that’s, that’s, that’s a that’s a focus
Brian Lambert 22:48
makes a lot of sense. Yeah. So, the results and the impact Yeah,
Scott Santucci 22:52
yep. And what you know, what’s, what’s the scope and, you know, reporting structures and capabilities that need to be built out operating models, these Have the kinds of conversations. So, what’s what was interesting was you were innovating across the board, you know, innovating, like how do you define and set the scope of this role. And some of our members, the role works within marketing. Some of it reports to the clo, they’re just all over the place. So, figuring out why,
Brian Lambert 23:21
And that’s fine, too. You don’t need to have an answer. Where should this report into which I know you and I’ve spent in probably tried, tried to not answer for years, it seems like that’s off the table, too. It doesn’t matter, whatever the scope and remit is reported into the best place to be successful.
Scott Santucci 23:36
Well, not a single person cares where they report to, not one, what they care about is whether or not they have the resources. And they care about what their relationships are with other departments.
Brian Lambert 23:51
Yep. Right. So yeah, that’s, that’s gonna make or break them. And, in the resource view, automatically, you’re implying, I imagine, you know, the executive Buy in the proverbial, you know,
Scott Santucci 24:03
money. It’s funding money account.
Brian Lambert 24:05
Yeah, that’s it, you got it. You got to have the executive buy in to have the remit. So, I know a lot of a lot of times we spent time talking about, you know, chartering and having top-down approval, etc. If you get the resource, that’s what we mean.
Scott Santucci 24:20
Yes. So, let’s let’s hold the note on chartering because we can talk about that in terms of meeting. So, so that’s that’s what the council is. That’s what it says. That’s what the remit is. We’ll talk about, you know, some of the representative companies that are in here. But one thing that I think is really interesting, is what we found is so some pockets who our last meeting was it was a pivotal one. It was at Tiffany’s. So yes, I got to have Breakfast at Tiffany’s. In our in our meeting, we had I think we had a contingent about 25% of the members came to me and said we want to wait
Brian Lambert 25:00
I interrupt you real quick. I’m sorry. So, one of the things that I’ve seen people do is say, ah, Tiffany’s doesn’t apply to me. And if you’re if you just said that, if he just said that I would ask you to check your bias, because I think that’s important. I think, you know, and I saw this live at the recent event I was at and people discount if it, you know, as is irrelevant. And that’s, you know, I would just ask that we, we pause on that. So, if you just did that when he said, Tiffany’s, or you’re hung up on that, you know, I encourage you to move beyond that. It’s not not applicable to your business. And let’s, let’s dive into what the what the discussion was and what the results were not where it happened. This little sidebar, sorry about that.
Scott Santucci 25:43
Yeah. So, if that’s if that’s your concern, I would remind you that they sell multi million-dollar pieces of jewelry to the Uber wealthy. If you don’t think you can learn stuff about selling from that, then I don’t know what I don’t know what you’re thinking, the environment that they create for buying the way that they do product introductions. The way that they work the way that they retail, the way that they brand, house subculture, everything is how well they concentrate on or how much attention that they put on. The attitudes and emotions of of people the experience. Oh my god, it’s all about the experience. It’s unbelievable how much attention to detail that they put. Everybody was completely blown away by their operation. It is top notch. And the things that they’re struggling with are different, but in this, but going back to this meeting at Tiffany’s, so yes, I did have Breakfast at Tiffany’s. I want to stress that again.
Brian Lambert 26:51
Yeah, that’s why that’s why you wanted to do this debrief live. You just wanted to say that live twice.
Scott Santucci 26:55
Exactly. Yeah. It was had 20 about 25% of our members. So, each individual member will say some things publicly but of course say things different to me. Right as the program director, I guess, either they don’t feel comfortable bringing the issue up, or they’re trying to influence everybody else, but enough of them got together. And so, we want to have a Technology Roadmap discussion. So okay, we’ll put that on the agenda. As they say, well, you don’t sound too enthusiastic. I just think you’re gonna get I think you’re gonna get some pushback from others. No, no, no, no. So okay. And we put it out there and facilitate it and about three quarters of the other members just rejected it flat out Why the hell are we talking about technology? How come we’re not talking about business process? Another group is again, how come we’re not talking about business drivers. It was really difficult. It took all my facilitation skills to navigate that because I said okay, well, let’s start with process then. And guess what? Three, three quarters said no, you can’t start with process because technology people say you got to start with tech, the metric people said, you got to start with metric, you know, the culture. People said you got to call it. Okay. Well, let’s start with culture. Three quarters said no. I said, guys, how are we going to get anywhere? We’re where we have pockets of different groups. We’ve got to agree on something. So, what can we agree on? That’s going to be our assignment right now. Because we cannot move forward if we are this dis, dysfunctional, not dysfunctional, uhm
Brian Lambert 28:35
At an impasse, basically. Right. No real consensus to work around.
Scott Santucci 28:39
You don’t have any plurality to move forward. Yeah. So, what are we going to do? And what what I did is I drew up, I took a variety of different frameworks that I saw, ranging from, you know, books that people have or past frameworks that you know, we’ve worked on it for or things that you know the technology, vendor neutral technology, stack some stuff from, you know, siriusdecisions, Gartner, putting all those things on the wall and also put on the business within a business construct. And
Brian Lambert 29:17
knowing that one’s going to be a whole separate podcast, and but you might want to give it a 15 second, what do you mean by business within a business?
Scott Santucci 29:26
Yeah, so basically what that was was, this is a framework on how to think about your role that you have investors. You have a core team of suppliers, that customers and then you have a support infrastructure, that’s your technology or legal, all those other things. And you are responsible for converting all of those things into value for those value for your targeted customers so that you produce the results that the investors want and figuring out who they are. ambassadors are those of the people who are funding your group can be difficult. figuring out who your suppliers are can be difficult figuring out who your customers are can be really difficult, like, Is it the end salespeople? Or is it the sales managers? Is it sales leadership? And then what is the metric the unit of value that you’re we’re delivering to them? Not easy questions, right. When you when you have any companies, so that what was great was the members agreed that unanimously that that was going to be the framework moving forward. And all of the companies committed themselves to organizing their departments in that framework. Well, that’s great.
Brian Lambert 30:39
Yes. And I can I can tell you, from my experience that that works. Is it easy? No. And you have a saying, you know, if anybody’s seen Scott’s LinkedIn, you know, sales is simple and simple is hard. And then I bet I sometimes comment, you know, hard is doable. That framework or that construct of a business, when a business totally works, it’s friggin hard. And as any businesses, I don’t know, entrepreneurs out there that have started their own business, but it’s about equated to that and in the risks in the, in the scale here of these companies, which you haven’t really told us about, but these, you know, Tiffany’s and I know, some of the others, these are big companies. So, there’s, there’s a lot at stake. And that’s that, that I just want to kind of draw that out and say if they unanimously agreed to that, and and i know it works personally. That’s, that’s great. And yeah, that was
Scott Santucci 31:36
That was a great one. And that meeting was in February. And so, what the other thing that we realized when we reflected towards the end of the meeting said, Hmm, how do we get there? Because that wasn’t even on the agenda to talk like that. And what we realized was, you know, I say, part of my facilitation is always about what works. Let’s concentrate on what works let’s not concentrate on what doesn’t work. What we learned was, the only times that we came to agreement was when all of the members were engaged in an experience. Because there’s just too many different English to English translation problems about the same topic. You just take the word sales and everybody’s going to have a completely different view of that or value,
Brian Lambert 32:22
right? Discuss or experienced sales enablement,
Scott Santucci 32:24
Even right. So, we, we, we can’t get anywhere that way. And then the second variable was, since all of this is new, every, every human being has a go to way of how they want to process information, right first. So, some people want to see an analogy first, and that helps them think about what how to start that journey of understanding. Some people want to see data. Some people want to see a report like a briefing.
Brian Lambert 32:52
Some people want to see a definition.
Scott Santucci 32:54
Yeah, some people want Right, exactly. Some people want to see metrics. Some people want it, but we can’t build awesome Have those things just to get agreement to talking about it. So, what we’ve what we realize is the only way that we move forward is through experiences. And that that then said, Okay,
Brian Lambert 33:11
well, so on that though, just to clarify, I know I think I know what you mean. It’s it’s a shared experience to produce something or do something together creates the the understanding that’s doing it together. That’s not an experience of, hey, let’s go get coffee. Hey, we had experience and listen to that live band. That was quite the experience. We’re talking about solving a problem together, tackling, debating, wrestling it out, hashing it out, producing some sort of output together.
Scott Santucci 33:39
That’s right. That’s right. And specifically, not having all the answers.
Brian Lambert 33:44
Yeah. And whatever happens, whatever gets produced, we’re cool with,
Scott Santucci 33:48
Right. So so, for example, one of the exercises that we did that was really illuminating is I had everybody go around the room and say pitch your department to us. And then after everybody did it, I said, because we were in New York City, if I were a reporter, because look at the brands that are around this room, if I were a reporter, and when I were to go over to CNBC and get interviewed on two minutes and say, This group of people agreed on what sales enablement is, and it was not, if I gave you guys if I gave a summary of what I heard what you guys all said, how would that come across? And it would have sounded awful. So, then we broke, broke, broke, broke people into teams. And I gave them a little bit of a business within a business frame. Marcus just said, Okay. What do you do? What services do you offer and who do you offer them to? That’s it simple. And they had 10 minutes to do it and we videoed outputs, and they were way better. And that that shared experience of wrestling through it not having enough time, filling through things, although all those activities is what got everybody who shared it.
Brian Lambert 35:03
Yeah, just had to do it not analyze it not, you know, what do you mean? And where’s our Scrum Master? And let’s have a proper kickoff, things like that. And I say that kind of tongue in cheek, right, but just go engage and do it. Yeah, makes sense.
Scott Santucci 35:16
So, what happened then was we realized that these were generic exercises. And we said, what if we had our next meeting, where we took the real live issues of one of our members, and just did it. So Intercontinental Hotel Group offered to say, this is what we’re going to do. So, what we did in Atlanta in Atlanta is basically we had to book ends of the meeting, we were presented with Intercontinental Hotel groups problems. And then we were to present our findings to a team of three executives.
Brian Lambert 35:54
So, whoever,whoever volunteered to do that, I want to buy him a drink.
Scott Santucci 35:59
I do too. Amazing isn’t it.
Brian Lambert 36:02
So, hey, come to this meeting and we’re going to tackle an issue. So, one, you got admit you have an issue. Mm hmm, you know, 12 step program or whatever, right? And then and then to, you know, you got to basically it because it’s only a third meeting. So, there’s some sort of some sort of synergy happening there. To be able to say, Okay, I trust these people. We don’t have to have all the answers here, but I trust them to work it. And then 33 Not only that, you know, I’m not just gonna pat myself on the back and go home. I’m gonna bring my executives in. Right, you know, that’s some. Wow,
Scott Santucci 36:38
a lot of risk. Absolutely. Yeah. So, I think we, I think we did an amazing job of establishing a culture and we can talk about that later. You know, how you go about doing it. We have principles that I’ve that we follow, really diligently and about other than that, it’s it’s pretty lightweight, but the principles are
Brian Lambert 37:00
Those same ones from the sales male society or dream know
Scott Santucci 37:04
they’re adopted. Yeah. Okay. But still when you follow those principles things work. And for some things work.
Brian Lambert 37:13
Yeah, I agree with that too. So now, you know, this has taken a while, but I think this has been worth the trip and you know, here we are now in Atlanta and you know what happened?
Scott Santucci 37:23
Okay, so those are the book ends and I’ll I’ll summarize it this way. So, our meeting I put together a lot of effort to structure out this meeting I made a video pre reads all this other stuff with 2020 people or wood members from Eaton waste management, McGuire, financial services, Ernst and Young cintas eco labs, Microsoft, NTT, FM Global solve a Cardinal Health, Eastman Sha, industrials, I mean, a lot it just such a broad mix was Tiffany’s there, just want to make sure No, Tiffany’s was not there.
Brian Lambert 38:02
All right, I was gonna let you work in another one like dinner at Tiffany’s. But
Scott Santucci 38:07
At right, this is in Atlanta this time. So, these were, these were all of the all the variables. And to Brian who is our sponsor, he first shared and this is a great innovation. He went all in on the business within a business construct. And when we were talking in preparing for the for the meeting, he’s like, I want to share my charter said, well, let’s innovate a little bit. Why don’t we call your charter your letters, letter to shareholders? Nice. So, we changed around we pulled up some annual reports and things like that. He actually talked to his in his Investor Relations, folks, you know, to get some ideas on how to have done it. He gave this readout and was so amazing.
Brian Lambert 38:54
Did he have a big pen to sign it with?
Scott Santucci 38:57
No, we just had they just had this We just didn’t call it a charter call it the letter share. It’s awesome up like a like a CEOs letter to shareholders great graphics for it and it looked unbelievable, and everybody was blown away and now everybody’s going to adopt that all of our members are going to adopt that, and we have somebody who’s responsible for breaking it down making a template for it, you know, and then we’ll get he’s going to interview Brian and I, how we how we how we got there and all that stuff. So that was a monumental accomplishment. And of course, the financial services guys made some comments about, you know, some metrics that needed to be. But But overall, I mean that it was just it was amazing. So given that, given that clarity, it was really concrete. He also had his team come in and present, what their value add is and how it contributed to the overall process. And that was really good too.
Brian Lambert 40:02
So, his, his his enablement team. And so, their value
Scott Santucci 40:06
Right so his enablement team is scoped in those operations include and includes, it’s just giant, they’re giant. He’s got over 500 people,
Brian Lambert 40:14
In his enablement org. So, this is pretty cool. Because, you know, I’ve been the recipient of Tell me your value add. And then I’ve also asked my team to tell me their value add. And that’s, you know, one is not easy, and two can be a little bit daunting. And so, for him to pull that off as well and have his team do that. Yes, sort of clarity. Yeah, that’s, that’s great. Great.
Scott Santucci 40:39
So that was great. And then what we ended up talking about, we had, we had three main top four main topics that we were going to cover. We were going to cover the b2b value, what bvdv value propositions are. And what’s interesting is I made surveys for all of our members beforehand and going into it. People were like We know how to do b2b value propositions, guess what? No one does? I mean, nobody knows. Because you don’t know what does what to start from? Do you start from the product? Or in this case? In the case, if you start from your property? Or do you miss out? Like, who’s who’s the actual buyer? Is it the consumer spends the ad is on the pillow? Or is it the procurement group or the procurement group that decides to put them on the right card? Who, who’s actually the customer? And what is the thing that you’re selling? Yeah, he arrived at it’s the experience and no one could define what the experience was.
Brian Lambert 41:37
Yeah, cuz he said, Okay, we have four things on the jet agenda, and he’s a b2b value prop and I’m like, the first thing I kid you know, that went into my head was, well, that that’ll take six months and maybe not even produce anything because I’ve been there. You guys are gonna tackle that it’s one of four and a meeting. How the hell do you do that?
Scott Santucci 41:54
Yeah, well, we just got gotten to read out some feedback, read out some feedback, read out some feedback, and okay. Look, we have to present findings to the executives. We don’t have time for debate. We just don’t have time for ponto because they’re coming in later. Yes. Coming in we had our meeting started at two o’clock on Thursday or on Monday. And then the executives were coming in at 1:30pm on Tuesday. Yeah, we don’t have time.
Brian Lambert 42:23
Yeah. RF time. Let’s net it out, moving forward. should have done the pre work pre work or whatever.
Scott Santucci 42:29
Yeah, and do the pre work. You know, you’re screwed. But luckily, everybody did the pre work. Yeah. Okay. Gotcha. you’re prepared their executives. Right. They’re executives. That’s how executives show up. So, they were they did all the prework. And even then, it was hard. Because no one has it. No one has a spec. No one has a definition for it. This The next thing that we talked about was the loyalty program. So how what can How can IHG work on a loyalty program to inform value propositions and drive more b2b sales? It’s very difficult when most of the overwhelming majority of the people in the company have a b2c lens. They don’t see through it to a b2b. And it’s difficult to explain what b2b sales actually is. Because it’s, it’s tough because it’s a mix of b2c and b2b. Right? What What is thing? And then the third, the third topic that we covered was we had loyalty, we had value props, and we had analytics. And so, we sorted out like, what kind of analytics were involved, etc. One interesting thing, there was a discussion about how IHG needed to look at data scientists. And one of the financial services guys actually said, I don’t really think that’s a good, good use of time. And of course, when one of the financial services guys talks about analytics, people really listen. And they were shocked by that and he gave us two Worry about how they did all this analysis, and they did all this analytic stuff on on a market opportunity that they were so sure was gonna win. And they were they started out like in 24th place in this market segment that they were they were going after. And with all the calculation all the data all the analysis that they did, they predicted by the end of the year they’d be third. And that would be a huge upside because going from 20th to third look at our market capture. And that would be fantastic for their investors, it would be a fantastic win for the executives. What happened? They got to 18th. What they realized that they didn’t do any job with was the buying the understanding the behavior, understanding the behavior of buyers, and understanding the behavior of agents. And as cool as it sounded at the end of the day, if people didn’t change their behaviors, it nothing was going to happen and by behavior he’s referring more to the behaviors. So, I know we have some training people here. He doesn’t mean the behaviors that you would see in terms of, you know, training. He’s talking about behaviors more like an economist would talk about behaviors. And it’s a really fascinating because some people who in our membership brought up the training perspective, he’s like, no, I don’t mean that at all. I mean, these kinds of behaviors. So, he articulated the when an economist looks at an economy, they look at two things, right, the motivation, you know, the psychological motivation for somebody, and then the, you know, the self interest, the the practical part, and both parts go into that coin. And what they said is, we’ve realized that we’ve over rotated to be non emotive side and we haven’t really concentrated enough on the emotive side. So that was a big, big, big, big aha moment for us everybody. So, then we said it was, so we gotten to this point at the end of day one, where no one was feeling good. Which by the way is exactly the best thing to do is no one feeling good and confident on day one because your brain works for you when you’re asleep. And then as you know, like how I like to facilitate these things as I ask people to share what their shower moments are, you know, the things that are in their gut that just come out and ask them not to worry it, you know, paint a picture if you need to just say what’s what’s in your junior heart. And we assembled all of these things, and they became our Lego kit to assemble the solution for for the executives, and things just started coming together. We learned like the VP of Sales and Marketing from Solvay was a chemical company was there and he’s got a very engineering background. So, we learned his perspective and then we took away a microsoft approach to moving moving the ball forward without a clear Northstar, you know attack the mountain, we’ve got a really amazing view of of how to manage a portfolio of activities from ny that isn’t about tasks. It’s about objectives, the NY is moving a lot of their engagement models to be more design thinking oriented than classic management consulting. So, they’re learning at an accelerated rate. We learned from waste management, this really cool structure that they put together to link everything that they do to the vision of the company, and they have the CEO sign off on it. It was the CEOs idea, and they just make sure that everything is reinforcing that one cultural goal. So, we put all those pieces together and we gave this amazing readout that I don’t think I have permission really to share too much because of how radically an innovative but yet simple to execute it was for, for solving their problems.
Brian Lambert 48:04
Yeah. Well, I think you know, for this podcast, we probably capped out our listeners Anyway, um, you know, this is a lot to digest, we were covering a lot of ground. And maybe one day we’ll talk a little bit more about what what the answer kind of the outcome was wasn’t probably the answer, because it’s just the beginning, but the outcome itself, but if you had to give it a 30 seconds, you know, tell us what happened with the executives and, you know, what was the outcome, the final result of said meaning?
Scott Santucci 48:36
Well, I think the the first part was, since I did the readout, I asked them, I don’t really know how you should take this feedback. I don’t know of Have any of you ever heard of where you could get you, I don’t know if I mentioned this before, but every single one of these companies are potential. buyers are potential customers for IHG every single one. And one of our the VP of sales and marketing the guy from Solvay did some math. He said, you know what, what’s represented here $500 million of $500 billion of total revenue 500,000 employees are potential travelers. And 5 billion dollars a TNT spending Holy cow, though, given the size of opportunity. He said there’s a number right there. Just figure out how to set us and you
Brian Lambert 49:36
I know, every salesperson listening is going to go and tell their their executive to go for it so they can go to the meeting.
Scott Santucci 49:43
Okay. And what was interesting though, is they it took them a while to digest that because when you’re in a in a b2c mindset, you think about markets. Not how influential just a few people can be and how it sets up a huge buying net works, which was another word that we talked about an agreement or a bi network is different than personas and journeys. Like, we tried to use personas and journeys, and it just didn’t work. Those those assets didn’t work and help us solve our problems. And Matter of fact, they made things more obfuscated.
Brian Lambert 50:19
And I would, I would venture to say that it’s because of the business-to-business framework, which we need to do a deeper dive on. But you know, there’s a relationship there. Because we’ve established in that, that the business-to-business framework works and when you say things like it doesn’t work, it’s because it doesn’t have a logical home, if you will, and that framework is what I’m,
Scott Santucci 50:41
Well, it this is different. It’s a It’s, um, the level of precision of what you have to message to is on the scope of just a persona. And it’s interesting that when you generalize so that marketers or people in corporate Understand, what it does is it makes things fuzzy for the sellers to execute, when you try to bring in too much detail for the for what the sellers need to execute, then it becomes too complicated for the people in corporate. So, wrestling through the lens of reality of where where the money actually really is versus where it is conceptually. It was a big, that was a big struggle. The other but I think the, so I think the difficulty of providing this feedback is I’m saying to the executives, first and foremost, I have no idea how to give a readout like this. I don’t want you to expect a Bain or McKinsey type thing because you know, number one, you’re not paying us that amount of money. Number two, I’ve got no skin in the game. Right? You know, for that we’re just giving you this kind of readout. And number three, you actually were eight your Brian was able to persuade your buyers to get so in engrossed in your own business problem, that they came up with solutions themselves. And I’d like to share them with you. But I’m going to caution you, they might be really hard to understand because they’re from a completely different perspective. And just the way that I set it up, they were like, wow. So, they were so floored by the innovation of just what the readout was. They were excited. Then they struggled to try to comprehend what the feedback was because all of their data is very much just about their own little silo. And then you get into questions like how in the world are we going to do that? Because we’re not organized to take advantage of that and they got a little nervous but look, there’s a way to solve this. We just need to get creative. That’s all it is. We don’t need to say anyone person needs to own it. We arrived at this answer together. If we can do this output, you can do this right was more and that was comforting for the each of the other executives like, yeah, you’re right, we could do this. So having them being able to pitch the other side of it and how valuable this sort of facilitated work backwards from what’s possible kind of kind of scenario, how empowering It really is. So, the excitement level of the of the innovation was there in terms of a deliverable way to deliver insight. The findings were exciting and scary at the same time, exciting because, wow, we have a huge opportunity to really move move the needle. And then the next part was that that created a lot of opportunity for for Brian’s team to offer a whole new class of service to the company. So, it’s going to help, hopefully, it’s going to help him elevate his function even further.
Brian Lambert 53:57
Yeah, that’s a good point. So, and I know we’re over, But I want to I wanted this to play out. And but you know, you mentioned he has a 500-person org. And, you know, I think a lot of times when you hear numbers like that, or you talk about people like that, you say, Okay, well, this this, this is it, this is the pinnacle or whatever. And, you know, I think there’s a bit of a bias. And I was talking to one of my colleagues about this as well, you know, in the l&d space, for example, it’s all about, you know, how many people report to you and, you know, the goal is to have more reporting to you and over time, the more people that report to you, you know, and eventually you reach to the top where you’ve reached your scope of everybody reporting to you, and now you’re done. And you’ve had a great career, you know, and that’s, that’s not we’re talking about here at all right, we’re talking about business impact and, and, you know, innovation and customer experience and transformation and meeting, you know, I’m inferring you know, the the customer evolution, it’s things like that, right
Scott Santucci 54:59
I think metaphor to think about the metaphor would think about it would be there was a within IHG there was a fragmented market of many independent groups providing sales enablement services. And what Brian did is he’s in an acquisition process of acquiring those functions so that they can stitch together and deliver more value to the company. I think that would be a better way to think of it. Yeah, start, you know, start acquiring you can offer more and more services you have, you know, one throat, one, you know, one throat to choke, so to speak you, as long as you’re designing it to where you’re delivering value where it is. It becomes a strong, valuable thing and no one looks at it territorially. I mean, no one because he’s a good at and like, it’s just, it doesn’t make sense to have, you know, seven different training departments. For example, does it make sense? So consolidated into one, get rid of get rid of the redundancies, which is wasted money anyway repurpose those resources in the areas of weakness. Why do you have six different or four different analytic groups? It’s not smart. Combine them. So, the constant focus on this look, we need to acquire these different parts because we can’t get economies of scale if we have a variety of different little piece parts or fiefdoms everywhere. Yeah, build us steel.
Brian Lambert 56:30
Yeah, like that, because it’s top down and it’s outside in. And my my story I gave purposefully was, you know, bottom up, and how these these perspectives, I think kind of dominate the sales enablement discussion, but the conversation that you guys are having a conference room, top down outside in, is the business conversation that was unlocked through business within a business construct, to the point where executives want to innovate Yeah, and I think everybody in the role wants to be there. But and I would say, you know, challenge our listeners, what are you guys talking about? You know, I went on a little bit of a soapbox earlier in this podcast, but I’ll go on another one. The risk is, you know, hey, it’s you know, 10 o’clock at night and I can then we’ll wrap up, but like, you know, sales is simple, simple, as hard and hard as doable. And you know what, what Scott’s outlining here? Yeah, it takes brain power. I know, one of the reasons why you didn’t want to debrief right after Scott, is because your brain was mush and you burned up all your brain cells doing something like this stuffs not easy. And so, the idea of its intellectual, you have to think about it you have to be detailed. You know, this does not equate to quote unquote, academic This is no, this is listen to the numbers, folks. And yeah, okay. You know, this is a the business side of enablement. And, you know, you can’t just wave your magic wand and get there, one, you got to do the work, too. You can’t just, you know, at the risk of turning off some listeners, you can’t whine yourself there and whine and complain about it to get there, you there, you know, like, Oh, I should have this, and that fiefdom needs to be mine. And those people should be doing this, and those people should be doing that. That analytics group should be doing this. And you know, I call it shitting on people don’t shit on people. And yeah, I have a saying don’t shit on others. And I yeah, it’s tongue in cheek. And, you know, it’s policy. And I don’t, there’s no shooting rule. And so, we can’t shoot ourselves to the top, so to speak. I know that’s a little bit of a rant, but
Scott Santucci 58:43
Well, that’s fantastic. Grants are always great. That’s what this podcast is for. I think that what’s really fascinating is in the Charles Dickens and living the transformation process to sales enable, we walk through my journey and if you take away the colorful stories and all that other stuff and concentrate on what the process was. It’s pretty much the identical process that Brian’s following or the identical process that some of the all the other leaders are following. Do the work first to figure out what the end baseline your performance, identify what the opportunities are do the work, though, to build the spec of what the problem is, and shop it and take the time to shop it. I mean, it’s, it’s, it sounds like you’re not making progress and not doing things. But that three months of time, is the most invaluable time you can spend. Yeah, what you do is you frame the problem. you frame the issue, you show the interrelationships of things, you help people realize it’s complicated. And because it’s complicated, they give you the resource. Because then you know what, you’re going to complicate it out.
Brian Lambert 59:54
Yeah. And you know, it is complicated, it is complex, and what are you going to build what’s you know, to some people You know, what’s your legacy gonna be? What’s your impact? What do you want to do? Do you want to make the donuts and leave? Or do you want to, you know, transform, and, you know, can’t can’t just say you want to do it, you have to do the work. So, if you’re going to transform, so I think that’s a great way to end it, Scott. We’ve got other topics we’re adding to the list. And you mentioned that that person who might want to come on the show my guts telling me that some of these things that she might want to talk about on the podcast are related to this and, and, you know, driving out being a leader elevating, you know, all the things that we’ve been talking about through this podcast. And I think this is a great example here of what what’s possible. You know, I think, when you look at, what can we aspire to, to some people, this this could be really exciting to other people, it could be like, I’m not doing that. But at least you now know that this is possible. It’s doable, and these conversations are happening, and that’s why we’re inside sales enablement. So, I appreciate that, Scott. And I learned a lot and I’m glad we held off from the debrief until till now. And for all you listeners, you know if I pissed you off on the rant Sorry about that.
Scott Santucci 01:00:14
This is your podcast, buddy.
Brian Lambert 01:00:17
All right, we’ll see you guys on the next one. And as always, send us a note, send us a LinkedIn, hit us up on insideSC.com. Make sure you also grab the download there. that’ll add you to a list and we’ll send you a note when we update and appreciate all the time. We’ll see you on the next one, everybody.
Nick Merinkers 01:00:38
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 firstname.lastname@example.org You can also connect with him online by going to insidese.com following them on Twitter or sending them a LinkedIn request.