Welcome to the Inside Sales Enablement Podcast, Episode 26
What type of sales talent does your leadership team need, and what’s your role in helping them acquire, develop, and improve those people?
- Respond to demand
- Generate demand
What do customers think?
In this podcast, Scott Santucci and Brian Lambert provide a foundation helps you answer questions like:
- How do you on-board salespeople when they all come from so many different perspectives
- How do you get agreement from sales managers on what they are supposed to do
- What’s the turnover rate of the sales force and are you using your top talent instead of bottom performers and how would you know
- When designing a development strategy, who do you listen to? Product, product marketing, sales leaders? Sales reps? Who gives inputs on the curriculum?
- How would you measure the impact of on-boarding programs across so many different teams?
Join us at https://www.OrchestrateSales.com/podcast/ to collaborate with peers, join Insider Nation, participate in the conversation and be part of the continued elevation of the profession.
Nick Merinkers 00:02
Welcome to the inside sales enablement podcast. Where has the profession been? Where is it now? And where is it heading? What does it mean to you, your company, other functions? The market? Find out here. Join the founding father of the sales enablement profession Scott Santucci and Trailblazer Brian Lambert as they take you behind the scenes of the birth of an industry, the inside sales enablement podcast starts now.
Scott Santucci 00:34
Hi, I’m Scott Santucci
Brian Lambert 00:36
And I’m Brian Lambert, 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.
Scott Santucci 00:48
Together, Brian and I have worked on over 100 different kinds of sales enablement initiatives as analysts, consultants, or practitioners. We’ve learned the hard way of what works and maybe what’s most important, what doesn’t.
Brian Lambert 01:03
That’s right, Scott. And we’ve had a lot of feedback since our last podcast, which was on the flavors of sales enablement. So much so that we’ve actually decided to deep dive. And today we’re going to talk about one of those flavors in the talent flavor. So, Scott, let’s walk through what we’ve been talking about what we’ve been seeing as we’ve engaged with our our customers and clients.
Scott Santucci 01:26
Sure. So, to frame this out as if, if you’re joining us, fresh and new on our podcast, welcome to insider nation, by the way that we frame this out is that sales enablement as it is a really giant topic, especially depending upon how you look at it. If you look at sales being the revenue of your company, and enablement is how you get more of it. Obviously, the scope can be very, very huge. And that’s what we’re seeing is we’re seeing a lot of these different pockets and a lot of you know the most successful Strategic functions are emerging at intersection points between the sales organization and other organizations. So, for example, we I, we talked about the message, the message flavor, which is at the intersection point between marketing and sales, or the engagement, flavor, which is the intersection between marketing sales, business units and finance. It’s a huge quagmire. And we also talked about the administrative or administer flavor, which is really at the intersection point between sales and, you know, the administration support team. So that might be if you have one administrative function that would that would include your legal it might include some sales operations, particularly revenue recognition parts and your IT department. But that would be that what that would focus on but what we’re zooming in on is that intersection point between the human resource functions, which are typically responsible for training, culture learning and development, hiring, and the sales organization, which is starting to also pick up its own version of training and onboarding and participates in hiring. And as you could probably imagine, there’s a lot of friction points between those two groups. And that’s what we’re going to be concentrating on.
Brian Lambert 03:24
Yeah, especially with all the digital transformation that’s happening, the scope and change that’s happening within the talent space, as it evolves, you know, skills need to become higher. The conversations that people need to be having need to be different. And I think this is a great topic for today. Because of those, those challenges that we’re seeing.
Scott Santucci 03:47
Yeah, and to pick that back up, to pick up on that thread. One of the things that we’re asking people to do is take a step back, and sometimes you can’t See the forest through the trees if you’re actually looking at the boss, right? And that’s really where where we think a lot of people are today is that they’re so focused on very specific details about it maybe do we have the exactly the right training curriculum? How many fields can we put in, in terms of our hiring specs? That maybe we’ve lost sight about where things are going. So, if you boil this back up and just use this podcast as an option to take a step back, one of the ways that we like to look at this as talent, why do you have a Salesforce in the first place?
Brian Lambert 04:41
Oh, that’s way back. But I love that question. And, you know, when you and I started talking years ago, you would ask me questions like that, and I would laugh them off. But the more the more I thought about, I’m like, dang, that’s a really good question. So why do we have a Salesforce, Scott, what’s your thought on that?
Scott Santucci 05:00
Well, the simple answer is because customers still demand it. But I think where we are today is to have this idea that you have a one size fits all monolithic, Salesforce is just, it’s just barbaric as barbaric thinking.
Brian Lambert 05:15
Well, but aren’t 58% of all decisions made before before anybody ever talked to a customer?
Scott Santucci 05:21
Yeah, just like 58% of the decisions that I make when I go to a grocery store already made for me, right? Uhm it that those those metrics are good sort of talking points, but you can’t ever know for sure. And it’s kind of ridiculous to think that way. But let’s talk a little bit more simply. Right? If if we have a Salesforce because customers demand it. Well, what kinds of customers are there? We don’t, we don’t want to make this about how do you segment your customers that would be a completely different topic. But let’s just talk very specifically here. You have a Salesforce to Respond to demand, aka your markets blowing up, you have a lot of competitors, what you’re doing and what you’re selling is maybe not that differentiated from everybody else, and you’re in a highly competitive landscape. That’s scenario one. Or Scenario number two, is you’re bringing differentiation or you’re bringing innovation to your customers. And you have to go actually create demand. And this podcast is for the businesses who are investing in a Salesforce in the ladder. How do we create demand? And it’s very difficult because, you know, let’s say in the last 10 years, we’ve had a massive expansion, you know, since the, you know, the deep dark economic burden that we’ve had, we’ve had a pretty good recovery. And over that recovery, recovery period, we’ve had a lot of, you know, growth, but now where we’re at today is that growth is it’s a lot harder to want to Talking about the sales forces better designed to create demand with our customers.
Brian Lambert 07:07
Yeah, especially, as you’re pointing out, you know, innovation is just exploded, you know, moving into platforms, cloud, Ai, automation, you know, every industry is transforming and salespeople, much like they had to do in the 1890s have to bring those innovate individual innovations to customers. And I like that concept for those that are generating demand. So, let’s talk about that. What are we seeing? What are you seeing?
Scott Santucci 07:38
Yeah, so I think that’s a really great way to think of it right. So, you have, you know, all those different trends. And you have businesses that, you know, is GE now a digital company, they certainly have tried to advertise that a lot. So, a lot of a lot of businesses are trying to shift and what what that requires Is your salespeople to go and actually educate your customers? So, when we think about education, that means you’re selling ahead of a RFP, or you’re selling ahead of a budgeting cycle. So, who is it that we’re actually Who are those customers? So, let’s zoom in a little bit more and talk about why you have a Salesforce. We have had the opportunity to either to survey and then interview hundreds of buying executives. So, the first thing is, who actually is the customer that we’re designing our Salesforce by? Because the sales force exists to support customers. We’ve already isolated that the type of sales force that we’re talking about other sales forces designed to create demand. So, who are those customers that we’re after? And then if they’re there to support customers, what is it that they expect? What do customers think makes a great salesperson?
Brian Lambert 08:58
Yeah, because that answer should determine the type of talent that you’re bringing on and how you’re supporting them. Right? That’s the, that’s the punch line is, if we understand that, then we could talk about the talent pillar.
Scott Santucci 09:14
Yes. It was like, what is the design point for all of the talent, not just who you’re hiring, it’s, how you’re training them how they’re developing, etc. So, here’s the spec, right? The spec is we asked those executive buyers to tell us what makes a good Rep. And here is their definition. This is not our definition. This is not, you know, your definition from other sales forces. This is the definition of executive level buyers. All right.
Brian Lambert 09:45
I’m going to give the drumroll Yep. There you go. big reveal.
Scott Santucci 09:49
Okay. The salesperson shows they understand my business issues and can clearly articulate to me how to solve them.
Brian Lambert 10:01
That’s the definition of executive buyers of what a good rep looks like they guess right? Those reps understand my business issues. And they, they articulate to me how to solve those issues.
Scott Santucci 10:12
Now, what’s interesting is if you talk to a lot of people who are students of sales and said, they’re gonna say, Well, no, bleep, right? No kidding. What’s new about this? And really the issue is not a lot to know about that. If you’re going to help somebody, think differently and drive change, you must understand their business, you must understand their challenges. And you must be able to articulate those or else there’s no basis to change. What makes this difficult and unique is how complex those business issues are, and how hard it is to articulate them because they cut across multiple silos. So, the next question, we asked those executive buyers, is how often does your interaction with a typical salesperson lead to that criteria? So, in other words, how often do say do the conversations that they have with different reps meet that spec? What do you think that, that I’m gonna ask you, the leaders Brian knows what the number is gonna ask him?
Brian Lambert 11:28
Do the drumroll though.
Scott Santucci 11:28
Right. But before I share what the what the date is, think to yourself, what percentage of executive buyers find their interactions with sellers valuable? Is it 80%? Is it 50%? What’s the number? Well, the number we have is it’s 11%. So said differently, 90% of the interactions that they have with sellers is not valuable.
Brian Lambert 11:59
Yeah, this I’ve got a bit of a story on this. I’ve since 2002. I’ve traveled all over the world. And I asked a simple question. When I’m on the mainstage. I asked, I say, Hey, you know, I’ve got, I’ve got 500 US dollars right here, who can come up here and talk about their customer. And I always get a ton of people that want to come up when I bring up the salesperson who volunteers, which is great. I say okay, the only caveat to that is you cannot talk about your company, your product or yourself, you have to talk to minutes about your customer go. And to date since 2002, I have not been able to find a single salesperson who can do that yet. I haven’t found a representation of of the 11%. And and I would challenge you as listeners, I would challenge you to try that same same thing. Go ask your salespeople to do that. And also, you tried to the world of the buyer has definitely evolved.
Scott Santucci 12:59
So, I think that’s a great segue into we, here are some exact quotes. These are exact quotes from executive buyers, executive executive decision makers about why is it that so few of the reps add value. Here are some direct quotes five direct quotes because they don’t do their homework. They can’t think outside of their product. They’re unable to provide any knowledgeable answers to queries raised. They don’t understand how they fit into our company. They’re focused totally on closing a sale. They don’t understand the issues or problems I’m trying to solve. These are all direct quotes of executive buyers to describe why so few add value. Brandon comments on that
Brian Lambert 14:00
Yeah, it’s been interesting. I’ve actually been on the buyer side as in a fortune 500 company and this exact challenge came across my desk. I had, you know, probably 100 salespeople reach out to me, I took one, I took one call because of those those issues. If somebody and it’s interesting, right, as, as somebody on the buy side, I didn’t need them to articulate my challenges fully and become a, you know, Zen master at them. I was just looking for somebody to kind of meet me, not even in the middle. I mean, I guess at the 11% mark, if somebody can do just 11% did it, I would have taken a call. That’s actually who I took the call with. So, they didn’t have to be perfect either.
Scott Santucci 14:44
So, to add more color on that, so what we’re what we’re making a case is how case of what is the current state if the all of the talent investments that we’re making across the company, whether it be in human resources or in the Salesforce All these things are happening, what type of rep are we producing out there in the industry? So, the next question is, how prepared are the reps? So, through the lens of an executive level buyer, here’s some real data. These executive buyers believe that 62% of the sellers are knowledgeable about their company and products. 24% said, the salespeople were knowledgeable about my specific business. 23% said that those salespeople can relate to my role and responsibility in the organization. 22% said those salespeople can understand my issues and where they can help. 21% said those salespeople had relevant examples or case studies to share with me.
Brian Lambert 15:58
Yeah, that’s interesting. So, in the 20% is knowledge about my business, my role responsibilities, my issues where they can help. And then and then this idea of providing examples or case studies, those are all 20%, which is a big, you know, big F, the highest is 62%. That’s still a B, in most, most organizations. And that’s an idea they’re knowledgeable about their company and their products. And that’s the, that’s the most prepared that they are. That’s so interesting.
Scott Santucci 16:25
And what’s also interesting about that is if you were to break down and look abstractly, or you know, very high level, but force through cheese, and categorized content, or specifications, of what you’re hiring people to onboarding people to do, coaching them to do, or developing them to do train them to do. The overwhelming majority of the amount of information that we’re asking our salespeople to do behave is about us. It’s about our products, it’s about our products and services, etc. which is great if demand already exists. But it doesn’t help to create demand. In order to create demand, you have to understand a company’s business. Simple as that. You have to understand how that company makes money, or loses money, or what risks it factors in yet 24%. Only 24% of sellers can do that. If you’re going to persuade somebody, a company in upon itself doesn’t buy things a human being does. Somebody has to have the intestinal fortitude to drive change in a complex environment. So, if you can’t relate to that individual’s role and responsibility in the organization, how in the world are you going to empathize with them about all the risk factors? The next point then would be understand their issues of where to help if you can’t understand their business challenges? How is it possible that salesperson could add any value and then if you don’t have any examples of how you’ve helped solve that problem, specifically, what are you going to talk about? Right?
Brian Lambert 18:08
In that, you know, just to tie it back again, we’re unpacking the spec here of which to drive the talent pillar. And I think it’s really good to pause. And we’ve really spent 10 minutes on this. But you know, look at the contrast that we’re painting here about, remember, I remember that one time, Scott, you and I worked on that project, and we audited the new hire training, and it was like 5% of new hire was about customers, and the company couldn’t believe it. And then they looked at it. They’re like, Oh, you know what, holy cow. You’re right. Wow.
Scott Santucci 18:43
Exactly. The whole point was, there were so many different people involved in that onboarding program, that everybody assumed that somebody was doing the basics and it took an audit of the content to say, oh my gosh, we’re not even all of the material that we’re providing is all about us all about our products, because that’s the muscle memory that we’ve gotten into. So, here’s some good news. So, some good news is we also asked those executives, because in this interview process and this discovery process, you start to learn Hmm, this is painting a pretty bleak picture. But these executives didn’t see it that way. Because the salespeople that actually do meet the criteria, add a lot of value. And as as a matter of fact, they offer so much value that they differentiate their vendor from all the competition. So, here’s some here’s some proof on that. We asked those executives to tell us what an open-ended question what most differentiates a vendor or supplier from their competition and the specific question asked to those executives. The top two answers were number one, the ability to match relevant capabilities to specific problems and to being prepared on my business, my role, and what is valuable to me. When you add those together, that’s 54%. These are all the things that are in the job descriptions of most salespeople everywhere. Yet, we’re not equipping salespeople to actually do that. And when we are able to do that, listen to what good sounds like in the words of customers. These are exact quotes from executive level buyers to describe these quote unquote good reps or differentiated reps. Think about this a little bit and think about what percentage of your reps are actually behaving this way. She acts like she is fully embedded in our organization and she exceeds our expectations every time access to the suppliers total capabilities is the second one I’m going to share with you. Third, truly concerned about finding answers and solutions that fit my needs. Four they learn my personality expectations and requirements. Five, a single point of contact with a good understanding of the business and active engagements and can solve problems rapidly.
Brian Lambert 21:36
Yeah, wow. That’s that’s quite a contrast. Now. You know, the interesting. Let me let me let me challenge you a little bit. Right. So, I think in today’s world, and I’ve actually been on the receiving end of this, so I’ll repeat what others have said, you know, our product does that Scott, our product embeds in the organization, our product, you know, Links capabilities to problems. The technology we’re building is so advanced that, you know, it speaks for itself and it’s self evident. And you know, now we’ve got AI, so artificial intelligence, so because of that, that, that, that salesperson isn’t doesn’t need to be as involved because it’s going to be even more clear to the customer, what our product can do. What would you say to that?
Scott Santucci 22:27
I would say my short answer would be if that were true, you you should experience a higher success rate than 10% of adding value to executive buyers yeah
Brian Lambert 22:43
And and that’s buyer’s perspective, you know?
Scott Santucci 22:47
Right and and what I would say is all the words that you described, you said product none of these quotes from but what good looks like mentioned the word product. They said capabilities. They specifically said total capabilities that includes your training, the knowledge, the knowledge, the knowledge that you have. It includes your professional services; it means everything that can help them be successful. The second thing that you didn’t mention in all the things that you know, in your pushback, a word that was mentioned multiple times, is expectations. You said, I meet your expectations without even asking what my expectations were. So how is that even possible? So, in all of these different error areas, expectations are a form of experience. And we don’t really have a method to be really concrete about what that buying experience actually looks like. And I think if we focus on the buying part, we’re not aligned with the buyers. What we want to be focused on is how to make them successful. What does it take for these executives to be successful with the demand or the problems that we’re creating? And we just don’t have a lens to be able to work backwards. Right? That’s why we started this process by working backwards from customers and asking the simple question, why in the world do you have a Salesforce in the first place? So, the big question that I’d like to ask our audience is, given this data, and given this case, are you manufacturing the right type of salesperson inside your company? Forget about all that tactics that you’re doing and oh, we’ll just tap them do challenger sale you know, the challenger sale or Oh, we’ll just train them on this. If the behavior and the experience on the customer side is is still what it is, are you actually solving the problem? Or are you manufacturing the reps that don’t add value? What is-
Brian Lambert 24:56
Yeah, and I like that, and I think it’s worth in wearing explain this in some detail before we wrap up. But why why the word manufacturing? I think that we’ve had a discussion about this, I think we should, we should say we should explain that to our listeners, why we’re using the word manufacturing.
Scott Santucci 25:15
So, manufacturer is a byproduct of actually having a system. So before, you know adding to that, let’s walk through the typical process. Now you’re going to say we don’t have a process, or we say we have lots and lots and lots of processes, what process you’re talking about. Any thing dealing with human beings has a process associated with it. It just does because there is a sequence of events that happen, whether you’re aware of it and actually working, it is a different issue. But here’s basically what happens. The workflow starts with the executive management team inside your company. What do they want? Step one is we want a better warranty. productive Salesforce. And why do they want that? They want to be able to get more sales and they want to be able to spend less money getting more sales. And most executive teams are under increasing pressure from their investors to do a better job of that. But since they don’t have a strategy, or a complete view or a reference point or whatever, they take that better, more productive Salesforce requirement. And then they go to step number two, they assign that to different departments, because each department is going to say, well, we’ll why don’t we just all sales need is more insert blank here,
Brian Lambert 26:41
Process, technology, playbooks.
Scott Santucci 26:44
Right, exactly. Insert your buzzword here, and that that perspective is going to be biased based on the perspective of that department. So, in human resources, underneath human resources, you’re going to have the high the recruiting people All the recruiting people say we’ll concentrate on, you know, acquiring more talent. You might have other people in the in the, in the human resources department looking at culture will build a better culture to attract more people. Or you might have a different group of people in human resources focusing on learning and development, who are going to build training requirements. And then you’ll have people inside sales organizations, like sales enablement, professionals that, you know, might might work there who build their own training requirements. Or you might have product groups who build their own product training requirements to get all this mess mass of stuff to the execution, the spec of execution is highly varied.
Brian Lambert 27:48
Yeah, and one that I’ve seen lately there is, you know, because I had success with process acts or methodology, why we’re bringing that in, because it worked before so let’s bring that one in. Right.
Scott Santucci 28:00
It’s sort of like I call that the silver bullet, you know, myth, right? The, if it worked somewhere else, it’s gonna work it’s gonna work here for us. Okay, so what does that lead us to? What it does is it creates the situation if we think about major milestones of what we want to accomplish, are we hiring the right people? How would you even know?
Brian Lambert 28:24
Well, nobody really owns that.
Scott Santucci 28:26
Exactly. Then the next so that the next part is how are we making those new hires ready? Or another version of readiness is? How do we equip our existing salespeople to sell our new products and services? Yeah, both are challenges, right?
Brian Lambert 28:45
We have to do all that stuff, plus more.
Scott Santucci 28:47
Right. Mm hmm. How are we training? Salespeople what should we be training them on? Do we want to keep training them on time management techniques and negotiation? What what are the things that we should be training on in the first place? And who’s responsible for looking at that overall curriculum?
Brian Lambert 29:07
Yeah, and needing to click up and say, you know, what’s that look like over, you know, multiple touchpoints, not just well, adult learning says it should be this way.
Scott Santucci 29:17
Right? Then you’ve got the other issue of the set, the sales training space has talked about for at least 20 years, the need for reinforcement, but once you train somebody on something, if you don’t reinforce it, you lose up to 80% of that yet, we still don’t have adoption and reinforcement strategies and processes in place. So, it’s pour money into training and get 20% out of it without reinforcement. And then the last part would be measure what it used to be, we didn’t measure anything. Now we measure so many, gosh darn different things. It’s almost impossible to figure out what what the metric matters. So, in this state of all of these things and activity activity activity, we have to do this. What happens is, you get all of these uncoordinated clouds of execution, which results into higher turnover rates. Longer ramp up times massive inefficiency, you get a growing disproportional amount of results. In other words, the top 20% produce more and more and more of your growth, then less of it. It’s not it’s less smooth. Yeah. And you get less of spending.
Brian Lambert 30:37
Yeah, I was gonna say that’s, there’s a lot of there’s a lot of money involved in that what you just painted.
Scott Santucci 30:43
And and it’s money that’s hard to see. Because there’s so many different individual people spending 50 to $100,000 on their one thing, they don’t people can’t conceive of how much this stuff adds up, because there are so many people involved. So, this is what’s happening and so what’s happening is with this lack of coordination without with this lack of strategy, was it make any wonder why we’re getting and we’re producing salespeople? Who were 90% of the salespeople produced don’t add value to customers?
Brian Lambert 31:20
Yeah, and that’s great point. And I would also say, you know, there’s a lot of well-intentioned work and there’s a lot of volume of activity. And I think, you know, sales enablement, training products are trying, the challenges that we’re outlining here is we’re you know, are they using, are you using the spec of the customer expectations? That’s one and then two, just because you’re well intentioned in a perhaps a sliver of the value contribution that’s needed. What about the entire in you mentioned this what about that entire system view? Who’s who’s driving that? Because this is this is turning quickly into more of an ecosystem view that needs to be managed in my, in my view, would you?
Scott Santucci 32:05
Yeah, so let’s talk about that word ecosystem. So that might that’s definitely going to scare people because, well, who’s responsible for this? And the answer is everyone and no one. And this creates opportunity for people who have a vision about where to take the company and have the skills to be able to do this. So, we’re not saying this is for everybody. And if it makes you nervous, you know, that’s fine. Let’s just walk through what this looks like. And we’ll have future podcasts to talk about, you know how to go about selling this internally or what steps you need to follow. But in terms of what good looks like, there’s only three things you got to do. But these three things are a little bit are a little bit challenging, just because they’re probably so different than what you’re expected. That you’re you’re used to to step three. Number one is when the executive team says we want a better, more productive Salesforce, we need to have a sales talent management strategy. And you should start with a Northstar or a spec of what a good rep looks like. And that spec should be designed by your customer types. If you don’t do that, you don’t have a foundation with which to build everything. So that’s the sort of the central part or component of a sales talent management strategy. And you’re going to say, well, wait, we can go hire these behavioral scientists to go and plot this out. So, one of the conversations that I had is one company, one business that I worked with, had hired a company to profile and use 128 different attributes to profile what a good rep was. But the database that they used was just other salespeople it wasn’t who their customers were. And when you looked at that, and compared, let’s make a list right now, what, what kind of customer you’re looking for, because it’s a lot easier to work backwards from that spec, than it is 128 different variables from, you know, behavioral scientists. And you just and you map it out and then say, well, what criteria do we need to meet that? And it becomes really, really clear and simple to talk about.
Brian Lambert 34:27
Yeah. And then, you know, how do we manufacturer against that criteria? And what what things can we do and how do we drive that in a consistent, orchestrated way? You know, that’s is as inexpensive as possible.
Scott Santucci 34:43
So that’s, I love that you said that, right? So, the talent spec, if we were to use this manufacturing thesis, the talent spec is, this is what we’re trying to produce. We’re trying to produce the the salespeople who are the 11%.
Brian Lambert 35:00
They roll off the assembly line, you know, this way.
Scott Santucci 35:03
Right. So instead of producing salespeople who are the 90% that don’t add value to buyers, we want to produce the salespeople manufacturer salespeople who that. And in order to do that we have to have a talent spec or a product spec. Now we need to say, what does our factory look like in order to do it in our factory to your point, Brian has to be cross functional in nature. So, it can’t be we the sales enablement group or we the Learning and Development Group, we’re going to own this and make these our deliverables and throw them over the wall. That is insane. Think about how insane that is. If you were to say, on a production line and assembly line, well, we’re going to build the tires that
Brian Lambert 35:49
We own the steering wheel.
Scott Santucci 35:51
Right, and the steering wheel is going to get built and we own it it and what would that car look like if you had different groups building their own different pieces of the car without a common spec are common. And
Brian Lambert 36:04
We’re going to end up in debates about is the steering wheel more important than the tires? But that’s a whole new, a whole different podcast.
Scott Santucci 36:10
Right, so what we’re talking about then is once you have this talent strategy of which the core pillar is what’s our Northstar? The second thing that we have to get at is, what is an operating plan or an operating model? How are we going to work this? How are we going to drive the right kind of agreements and coordination among all of the different people who touch this process?
Brian Lambert 36:35
Yeah, that’s important because if you are building against the spec, and you understand that there are many people involved in providing messages, content, skills, tools, etc, reinforcement coaching and you understand that those people need to work together. It’s totally legit to say Well, how am I? How am I going to help them work together? How am I going to help everybody get the win? And is that going to be, you know, a series of projects that we just do? Or is there something else that can emerge here? Because we’re working backwards from talent, and we’re trying to manufacture talent, not just get a project done. And that’s why I like the idea of an operating plan an operating model to help everybody get that win.
Scott Santucci 37:23
So that’s it. And that sets up a great question. We’re used to or accustomed to creating deliverables or having lots and lots and lots of deliverables created. That brings us to number three, point number three, that operating plan, that operating model, maybe think about that as setting up a business within a business, you know, to manufacture these kinds of sellers. What is the service that that business provides, and that service is a optimized hire to retire lifecycle? So, if you think about managing your talent from when you get them into your Company all the way through to where they are, they are either exited the company, they get promoted. Or, you know, they retire inside the organization. There’s only, you know, a handful of choices. That’s the lifecycle. So, what we want to be able to do is we want to be able to help provide people that journey all the way through. And we
Brian Lambert 38:26
Yeah, I like that. I like that. And the reason why I want to pause there, sorry to interrupt is, you know, this is such a different contrast because in the in the previous contrast, it was, you know, executives want these reps. So, everybody goes off and does their random thing on this, this picture here that we’re painting it’s what’s the spec? What does it mean to be productive? How do we help everybody get the win? How do we orchestrate that? And it’s not a one and done it’s not just a project get it done. We’re gonna build some sort of hire, hire to retire lifecycle, and then hire to retire lifecycle is something that we can manage and, and that’s not. It could be a bunch of projects. But the projects are orchestrated against the hire to retire lifecycle. Is that right?
Scott Santucci 38:41
Yes. And a life cycle is really just a process. And a process has three attributes. It has a beginning and an end point. It has a definition of what’s a quality standard. So, what, how do we know we’ve completed that step well or not? And then it has, there’s a cost element associated with it, we can calculate how much money we’re spending for the time it takes and the output we produce. It’s just that simple. It really is that simple. So, it underneath that big umbrella, you, you’re gonna say, well, that’s boiling the ocean sick. Well, we have to be able to chunk that out. So, there are five stages of that life cycle five, the first one is acquire how we hire retain the right people. Are we acquiring the right talent? And if you think about it, when does that acquisition process begin? And when does it end? Making being clear on those and making sure everybody involved is clear on those is a is a huge success factor. But if you think about all the people involved in just the acquisition process, there’s many we’ll get into that later. Yeah, we zoom in on each one.
Brian Lambert 40:25
Yeah, let’s zoom in on each one. And I’ll just say if you’re listening to this, and your scope is, you know, sales enablement, for example. And you’ve been in the perhaps, onboarding space and we start with a choir, you might say, well, that’s out of scope. For me. This is not a job set of job descriptions that we’re outlining here. This is the the components that align to producing talent across a higher retail lifecycle because it’s a process regardless of if it’s your scope or not. These things need to happen. But the question then becomes how does it happen but starting with acquire, ask yourself Do people need to work together to acquire the right talent? For our sales team that’s driving demand and creating demand? If the answer to that is yes, then can you help those people do that? And obviously, there’s management involved, and there’s talent acquisition, etc. But who’s going to help drive that team and that that core cross functional team, to that talent spec, right? So that each one of these is going to fall out perhaps outside the scope of your traditional, you know, what you’ve been doing for the last 12 months. But think about this in the context of how do we manufacture the right talent.
Scott Santucci 41:39
So underneath enabling services and optimized hire, retire, we’ve talked about acquire, and we’ve got four other ones that we’ll just touch on and we’ll probably have different podcasts to go in because we can zoom in to a lot of detail for each one. The next one is on board. So that’s, that’s really picking up the processes after somebody has sign the paper, the clock should start on onboarding process. And the goal of the onboarding process is to make them productive faster. Pretty simple and straightforward. Figuring out what that exact requirement is, is tough as it’s worth, I love this quote. Sales is simple, simple as hard to very simple spec, getting that right as hard.
Brian Lambert 42:25
And everybody knows where onboarding starts, but as you pointed out, I think five or six years ago, nobody really knows when it ends.
Scott Santucci 42:33
Well, I don’t think people agree on when it starts. I don’t I would not so for me, you should start the clock. The second the rep has signed, the clock of onboarding should begin. The second the rep has stepped in the door. Actually, I would prefer onboarding should begin when they sign the paper. But you can choose whenever you start the clock you want, but make sure your consistent about when it starts. The bigger question is when does the onboarding process end and the role of the frontline sales manager begin? That handoff is something that we’ll have a whole podcast on onboarding to talk about, but that that that handoff is rarely, rarely clear. Which brings us to our third element, our third phase of the hire to retire process, which we call coach. How do you equip the manager to teach and reinforce the right behaviors? That’s our that’s our focal point there. Make sense? The fourth one is develop. How do we improve skills and knowledge for everybody? So, this might be your Do you have a common strategy or a curriculum for how all of these things happen? What what knowledge base are you leveraging? And who are all the different groups involved?
Brian Lambert 44:04
Yeah. And what’s your definition of knowledge and skills with that customer spec in mind?
Scott Santucci 44:08
Exactly. And is it coordinated? I’ll give you a frame of reference. We did an audit for one client that had 37 different training departments, work groups, providing training, they weren’t all called training departments that would fall under this development category. None of the 37 groups were aware of the other 36 groups, and none of them were coordinated. So that would be the that would be akin to you going to a school, you know, University, and having your physics material at least physics is a standard, all over the spread all over the place with different styles and different workshops and everything like that. How in the world would you be able to consume that information? And without a overall consumption strategy, it’s going to be very difficult to turn all the content that you’re investing in development and skill development into actual skills that are that as you can see, turn into behaviors that that lead to value for customers. And then the last bucket would be evaluate and evaluate for us is assessing the reps, but also assessing the impact of all the other programs. So how do you hold the onboarding program accountable? How do you hold coaching accountable? And the people involved there? How do you hold the acquisition of talent and the people involved there? How do you hold them accountable? And then also the people responsible for development. Those are the three parts and because that stuff is so well organized, it provides clarity and contribution to lower churn rates, faster ramp up time, improved, overall productivity more balanced performance, optimized spending, and expectations get met? Yeah.
Brian Lambert 46:06
And I would say, you know, taking the time to go through this, and perhaps folks need to listen to this again. But mapping this out and building simple tables is also going to help, you know, in in your role, like, for example, hey, you know, how am I going to onboard all these salespeople that come to us with so many different perspectives? How might I do that? Well, you might actually want to talk about the hiring side, and what that might look like, right? Because that’s, that’s the first in the process, or, you know, we have a high turnover rate and we’re not sure why. And we can look at and diagnose that perhaps as part of our evaluation strategy or we can ask what the role of managers have been, you know, we can, we can help diagnose the problem by using a framework and a process like this to at least have You know, objective discussions and analysis on how we might improve, right? So that I think this, this is a good framework and process that can not only help you think it through on the front end of how you might, you know, manufacture, but you can also use it to help think through and diagnose where you might be having some friction points. And I wanted to make sure that we we gave the listeners that Scott as well, because to me, this is very action oriented and in a applicable framework. And I know we’re running out of time, but what, what parting thoughts do you have for the listeners with regard to using this type of approach?
Scott Santucci 47:42
Well, I wouldn’t necessarily say I think we need to dedicate more time on other podcasts about how to use it because there’s going to be a lot of questions about how would I even bring this up, etc. But let’s scope out how you if you’re listening to this, how you should process this this podcast Number one, listen to that data often and learn how to talk to it. Because the data from buyers is incredibly valuable, and very few people actually work backwards from it. What that highlights is, more or less if we want to be simple about it. It’s not about all the activities that we can go and do for the Salesforce. It’s we are not producing salespeople that meet the spec, meet the expectations of what our customers are demanding. It is knowable, to go out and know what those customer demands are. So go collect it. The second, the next point is this is a system wide problem. It’s going to be very difficult for you to just go and get the system wide. Get the buyer feedback about what you’re building to unless you can help enough people understand what the problems are, which is where that data that I mentioned beforehand, becomes really, really valuable. I have yet to run into any executive that doesn’t go, oh my gosh, you’re right, when I’ve talked through that data, get comfortable talking to that data yourself so you can also get people to say, oh my gosh, you’re right, how would you propose that we look at it? So, then you can then start with, let’s start with understanding who our customers are. And then the next point is, just take this in and absorb it. Use this to develop a vision for it and stay tuned for other podcasts that we’ve got to think through how you will go about implementing it, or what, you know, which one should you start with? Do you have permission to start, you probably don’t have permission to start with the whole vision? So maybe you just start with the onboarding group but make it ready so that you can extend out to other parts. These are all topics and techniques and tips that we’ll talk through and other podcasts.
Brian Lambert 49:56
Yeah, great. points, Scott. I appreciate it. And also, listeners You know as as, as you’re digesting and thinking about this reach out to us, you can find us at insidese.com we always want to hear from you and a lot of our content, I’d say 90% of what we do and why we do it is because of listeners like you taking the time to send us a note, hit us up on LinkedIn, Twitter, etc. So, keep that feedback coming. Also, we are also looking for advice on on how we can help with this hire to retire framework and process. Send us over, give it give it to us and we’d love to continue the conversation, even directly with you. On behalf of Scott, thanks so much. This is Brian Lambert. We’ll see you next time on the next inside sales enablement podcast.
Nick Merinkers 50:44
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 podcasts 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.