Ep17 Set and Manage Executive Expectations: A Case Study

Exceeding Expectations

Welcome to the Inside Sales Enablement Podcast, Episode 17

In an earlier episode (#13), Brian and Scott discussed the very important concept of Stakeholder Management. When we published that episode, we received a lot of feedback from the Insider Nation. One of those feedback items was a person asking us for a more in-depth discussion on stakeholder management moving beyond the Chicken Hawk concept and asking us to breathe life into the idea.

In this episode #17, Scott interviews Brian and his recent work internally at a large company. As a Sales Enablement leader, Brian shares his learning and experiences in managing across the organization and managing up the organization. The guys walk through this important concept and dive into the operational challenges. They also talk about expectation setting approaches, and they explore the importance of managing the message to multiple altitude levels.  

Listen to the episode, and you’ll hear what Brian and his team did to work up, down, and across the organization to: 

  • Communicate
  • Manage the message
  • Declare victories 
  • Handle push back and feedback from sales

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.

EPISODE TRANSCRIPT:

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 00:33

I’m Scott Santucci

Brian Lambert 00:35

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

Scott Santucci 00:48

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

Brian Lambert 01:04

Our podcast is different. We use a conversational format to help share the experiences that only people who’ve been there and done that can provide, as we have been pushing the envelope in the profession for over a decade. In this show, we’re going to hear from one of our listeners and pick a topic and talk about it. What did you get Scott?

Scott Santucci 01:24

So, one of the things that’s fantastic is that our listeners are becoming more and more engaged, and we’re getting some, some emails and this one’s particularly great. So hopefully you can tell that we’re trying to include you all as as, as our audiences inside our nation. And I love this topic because what he did is share and I’m always protecting the names to protect the innocent, some points of view about what’s important to him. Great. What he says is lastly my big my big big challenges as enablement practitioner are number one. stakeholder management and a pas and parental you started this and if you know what we’re talking about, that’s Episode 13. Or better yet our chicken Hawk chicken Hawk episode, but I think it’s much bigger than any practitioner realizes we couldn’t agree with you more. Number two prioritization process. I think it’s different than stakeholder management. And this is often and then this and off of this is almost model a business case to justify investment enablement process. Number three is capacity planning, what it actually takes to do one facet of enablement properly. I think we all underestimate the resources, so be great to have some kind of strategy or formula for before taking on a project. That’s very, very true.

Brian Lambert 02:54

That might take five or six.

Scott Santucci 02:56

Yeah, exactly. Oh, each of these topics might take five or six, right? Yeah. Number four, a strategy for general continued green reinvest in your function and selling to your CFO, your value. That’s the business within a business strategy that we’ve talked to we’re still trying to figure out how to introduce that one so, any ideas on how we can just get that topic going, we’d love to hear. Number five, how to say no without losing trust. And number six, it could be us here at insert company name here to protect the innocent. Innocence, but enablement practitioners to me are seemingly awful at reinforcement strategies.

Brian Lambert 03:36

That’s a good one too.

Scott Santucci 03:38

Yep. So those are those are the topics and in the spirit of trying to give you what we want. This is this topic. We’re going to go into stake holder management, or aka chicken Hawk. And with me we have we have Brian Lambert, who recently was with a he’s under nondisclosure, so we can’t say exactly what the company is. So just imagine I’m beeping it. I’m kidding. I’m not gonna say the name of the company was recently had a large fortune 500 company where he ran enablement function. And we’re going to talk about the importance of stakeholder management. So, first question to you, Brian. On a scale of one to 10. How important do you think stakeholder management is as a sales enablement practitioner?

Brian Lambert 04:25

Well, 11. Right to 11

Scott Santucci 04:30

He’s gone to 11

Brian Lambert 04:33

Yeah, how good how good am I? A Two. Yeah

Scott Santucci 04:38

it’s a difficult it’s a very, very difficult thing to master. But let’s talk about a little bit why it’s so important. Why would you say it is a 10? And why do we not hear about stakeholder management outside in the community of sales enablement? Why are we only hear about onboarding or coaching, or you know, tactics? How come sales outcome stakeholder management if you think it’s 11 why isn’t it getting a lot of talk out there.

Brian Lambert 05:03

I’m not 100% sure, maybe because nobody’s got an approach to it. Because a lot of times, I think people inherit remit or the department and they just execute what has been going on. In this case, I think it’s important to think about the transformational nature or where the function is going, and how disruptive it can be in a positive way to the success of salespeople. And when you think about that, it impacts a lot of people. And you have to do what salespeople do, and you have to map it all out. So maybe it’s a quote unquote, a lot of work for folks to figure out but it has to be done.

Scott Santucci 05:44

Yeah, so I want to add comment a little bit there. Brian, you mentioned transformational. I think we would you agree that within the sales enablement world there are some people who like who believe sales enablement is transformative, but they’re not doing it. Companies, there are some who believe sales enablement is tactical and it should be just tactical. And Aren’t we all over the place in the community in terms of the flavors of sales enablement?

Brian Lambert 06:10

Yeah, absolutely. The flavors or domains of sales enablement, and then, you know, is it here to execute well, and optimize what we’ve been doing in the past? Or is it a transformative role that requires new ways of working or new processes and deliverables, if you will? Or outputs to help salespeople be successful to close some sort of gap? Yeah, you know, improve efficiencies, etc.

Scott Santucci 06:38

So, let’s do this to help the listeners or help our audience or help inside our nation. I’m hoping guys that we can, you know, get behind that. So let us know like,

Brian Lambert 06:47

We might need a sound effect from Nick every time you say insider nation, right? Audio engineer, think about that one.

Scott Santucci 06:55

And I’m also thinking about if he does our listeners, just Hashtag insider nation out there and let us know that you like the term and let us know that you’re out there. But back-to-back to this topic to help inside our nation known being able to identify with Brian’s story. Brian, tell us a little bit about the scope of what your enablement function was. What was the impetus for what you were doing? What was the scope of role at a high level, just real lightweight with the business problem? Was this the size of your team? Where did you what what function Did you report into give us some of those demographics before we start talking about stakeholder management so that way somebody can engage in your organization and why stakeholder management be so important?

Brian Lambert 07:43

So ultimately, we reported into a shared service function. It was designed the Shared Services function was designed to support and enable the call center so the call centers or sales and service call centers. So, in that view, the group that I worked in had traditionally been an L&D group. However, the VP that came in was very transformational. We basically work together to sell a vision for evolving the function and from traditional l&d function into an enablement function, which means it had primarily two groups, technically three. So, I’ll go with the three-legged stool, because these are important concepts. I think that we can work on later Scott with this business, a little bit business idea that you have, but the the first function was a solution in group, the group that would intake you know, tens of thousands of initiatives, we had quite a lot of feedback coming from the field, and also a lot of initiatives that we had to run so they would intake we would scope it we would architect with solution architects or in this case learning experience architects, as we call them. That was the group that I ran is about 35 people. That group broke into architecture and program project management or business relationship management and project management. So that was that was the one group. The second group was a Build Team, a build function writers, production folks, curriculum designers, creative specialists, etc. This was a group of about 80 people, they put finger on keyboards very technically skilled, very good at what they do to produce these types of outputs that reps would use in the field. And then the third groups analytics business analytics function to measure all that as we evolved our services over time. So that was my group was on the I ran the solutioning group, about 35 people. And this idea of stakeholder management is huge, because we were the group responsible for

Scott Santucci 09:55

Great hold on let me let me ask, I want to just make sure I’m clear here, Brian. So, the sales enablement function had three stools, a solutioning. Stool, a build stool, and a analytics tool.

Brian Lambert 10:11

That’s right. Three legs of the stool, same stool. Right.

Scott Santucci 10:14

So, and they all report into a shared services function. Where did the Shared Services function report to?

Brian Lambert 10:19

Into the business units.

Scott Santucci 10:21

Okay, directly into the business units. So yeah, funding from multiple different business units?

Brian Lambert 10:27

Yeah, in a way it was. It was a fixed investment that they figured out at the top, and then we had our, our funding was headcount plus, get consulting dollars, if you will, professional services that we would go get, and we’ll get an annual drop, if you will. And then we had, we actually increased that over year over year, but that’s that’s how we were funded. Gotcha.

Scott Santucci 10:50

So, what I’d like everybody to do before we start talking about stakeholder management imagine in your head, you know, just a box that’s the sandbox that the organization is in It’s a shared services function of which there are multiple business units with which, whom are more or less contributing to pay for this function. There are three components within that within that masterbox, three smaller boxes within it. So, a solutioning box, a bill box and an advisor, a advisor analytics box, our hero, Brian, our hero is in the solution inbox. And so, within the solution box, let’s talk about why stakeholder management is so important. What I try to do is do might do the job of laying the land Tell me why stakeholder management is so important.

Brian Lambert 11:41

It is really sets and manages expectations when you have an enablement function that is evolving. And, you know, we made a lot of promises. We we had to sell it internally. It had to be stood up internally, it got carved out from existing groups, we took some headcount over in the process. We Just come through a merger environment. And it was one of those things where we had to release that and manage expectations. And I think that’s ultimately what stakeholder management it’s about on both sides, ourselves and what our people can do what we can deliver in the context of an evolution or a transformation, but also the impact business impact we can get over time. That was critical.

Scott Santucci 12:23

Okay, so the, to be simple about it because we started off talking about stakeholder management, using a Looney Tunes cartoon. Right to go back to go back to centering, centering principles and simplicity. The simple answer to stakeholder management is about setting and managing expectations. Right, right. That’s right art is that then you said you said it was a two on how well you are? Because it seems so hard.

Brian Lambert 12:52

Yeah, I learned a lot. We broke it into three groups. So just to keep it you know, actionable here. You have to manage up, you have to manage across, and you have to manage down the managing down. I think we should park that maybe for another podcast and just talk about the up and across piece. Because I had to learn a lot there. There’s there are a lot of landmines. There are a lot of expectations, as we talked about, and quite frankly, some politics right there. And that’s something that even though I’d come from a sales background, is important to make sure that that we stay on top of proactively to build the right kind of relationships across because that’s ultimately where your your power and your funding comes from. And then also above because of the pressure that they’re getting from the executive team to transform the customer conversation.

Scott Santucci 13:46

Right. So so, let’s let’s Park this here for a second. So, we have stakeholder management is about setting and managing expectations, not rocket science. Well, now that now that you’ve broken that down one, one level further You have three different groups, you have up, across and down. Let’s talk about up right now. Just point number one, what is managing up me? Who is the up?

Brian Lambert 14:12

In this case, shared services leadership, who really cares about, you know, business impact the number of customers we’re serving internally, the volume of initiatives, the quality of initiatives, and, you know, the feedback that they’re getting, to make sure that they’re adding the right kind of value. And then our business unit leaders who really care about business impact of, for example, new hires, or knowledge management articles with processes in them to make sure that they’re right and they want to make sure that they are ultimately serving customers the right way. And in this business environment, compliance driven, making sure that it’s done legally correct, etc. So, there’s a lot of inspection by the business units to make sure that we’re equipping the right reps with the right content, message, processes, etc.

Scott Santucci 14:59

So Let me ask it this way. So, I’m being purposely challenging here. Because Brian and I both know that bringing up a topic like stakeholder management can be difficult and people can tend to assume that’s too theoretical or too big or whatnot. You just say you said that you are we’re in the solutions team. How is messaging, why isn’t messaging up? just deliver to the VP of the Shared Services function? I don’t understand. Isn’t, aren’t you just managing expectations of one person? Is that a pen or a woman who’s managing all the other relationships of all the other groups? Why are you involved in that?

Brian Lambert 15:42

Yeah, that’s, that’s a good question. But it’s, yeah, I guess it’s easy to miss. But it’s one of those things where if you don’t do that, you are pigeonholing yourself, with assumptions So in other words, people will assume and by people, I mean, leaders and sister organizations, for example, shared services in this organization, let’s pretend there’s eight groups. And we were, you know, one of eight. So, seven eighths of the sister organization wouldn’t really necessarily know what we’re up to other than the interactions that they have with our people. And that’s I don’t think it’s a good expectation to expect that one leader would be able to handle all that. And we really had to be proactive and actually plan out how we would stakeholder manage these, you know, seven other groups, if you will, from a communication perspective, messaging, declaring victory, even for some wins, which is important. And also, being clear on when we screwed up and doing that proactively so that things didn’t fester bubble up or turn into an issue.

Scott Santucci 16:53

All right, so let me I think I need some stakeholder management to manage talking about This. So, I, here’s where I got a little bit lost. And maybe you can help provide clarity for me in my head, as I’m following along with you. And I’m actually, if you’re listening, I’m actually using a sheet of paper to draw out these things so I can make it more concrete. I have in my head that there’s a variety of different business units with whom are contracting or have expectations with your VP. Mm hmm. You said seven other sister organizations. What’s going on in my head is I’m confused because I thought you only had two other sister organizations, the ops group or sorry, not the ops group.

Brian Lambert 17:45

Oh, the analytics. Yeah. So, enablement had three three legs of the stool, huh? That is one function of eight.

Scott Santucci 17:55

Got it. So, there are eight total functions, what were the other functions?

Brian Lambert 18:00

Things like policy procedures, a group that would translate the product and technology into what our what our sites needed to be doing. That was a second group of third group was quality QA. A fourth group was tools technology. Our group was pretty much specifically aligned to equipping sellers with content. So, messaging and training content knowledge management content, but we didn’t do the technology that you know, for example, tech tools, rep tools, etc. And there was a separate analytics group that was outside of our enablement function, we actually created our own name our own analytics group to get what we needed from a enablement perspective. But that was another example.

Scott Santucci 18:52

So, I’m going to use some of the terminology No, we haven’t really mentioned or brought up our business within a business construct, but Have these eight, total SR or partnering companies, these Shared Services functions. Some of them are operating as suppliers to you, right? Yeah, that’s right. Okay. So therefore, you have stakeholder management up to your boss, the VP. And then you have stakeholder management, would you say that these are above or across? Or do you have to message up to the VP? Do you communicate to the VP of the seven other growth? Or do you provide messaging to your VP to provide those when the technology don’t give you the requirements?

Brian Lambert 19:39

Yeah, that was a great question. It’s all the above. Goodness. Yeah. And but we also it didn’t really exist before. So, the VP that I worked with and for he was a genius at and really good at the VP-to-VP stuff, huh? But he needed the details. And so, we had to put systems in place or processes really more importantly, to make sure he was equipped, because we’re talking a lot of volume here. So yeah, he was good at VP to VP. But in the in the weeds, if you will of the director level role, you know, talking about initiative sequencing initiative, resource challenges that was really me working with my analytics team that I had l&d in my sister org to me, and that was something that I had to do, and then eventually, Scott actually trained and certified my my people, my my 30 people on how to do some of this stuff. Individual contributor to individual contributor, because the roles weren’t clear, and there was things that we were, like tier a super savvy point we were an internal customer to these organizations. And I actually figured out that 60% of what we needed came from these other seven groups, but we rarely got it on time, and we had to be clear on when we needed it, what we needed for this initiative, and we had to provide direction and prioritization to these other groups, so that we could get what we needed because we were dependent upon those inputs from them. And so, the whole function ended up being stakeholder management that I led, not only setting, managing expectations on intake and initiatives, but setting manage expectations on what we could actually deliver on time.

Scott Santucci 21:25

Gotcha. So, Brian, I’m gonna actually talk to the audience real quickly here. To give a structure for it. I’d love to hear your comment on my on my thoughts. So, if, if you’re listening to this, your head might be a little swimming and saying, well, gee, this company has an org structure problem. Why don’t they fix that or key that I don’t have those problems inside my company? Or Gee, why didn’t Brian just do what he’s told and just execute on the on the training programs and even if you’re in a small company, The the ability to navigate on us the amount of people who have strong opinions about what sales enablement is, does and should be doing is massive to Brian’s point earlier on, which is setting and managing expectations. How many people are in your supply chain? And I’ll bet you it looks as convoluted as what price by the way, we still haven’t even talked about the business units.

Brian Lambert 22:23

Right, right. That’s correct. Yeah, it was. It was hundreds of people. We actually mapped it all out. So, there’s hundreds of people across that we needed to make sure we were working with well, and that we were setting managing expectations with.

Scott Santucci 22:38

So, there’s another key point. What did you say, or you mapped it all out? How did you do that? Talk to me about that?

Brian Lambert 22:46

Well, yeah, so on the across piece, only each one of those we had dependencies, and we built a dependency playbook, if you will, for our teams. And this is just for our enablement team but to get what we needed because we’re dependent upon success. percent of other groups to get what we needed. And we had to train and certify our people on setting magics retain expectations across giving them the influencing skills and techniques, etc. And then we actually built stakeholder maps, we built spreadsheets, we had people’s names and functions. And we had people that we identified as key partners. And those people that were either responsible for giving us information, and it was basically a functional, the functional, functional, racy, raci diagram, who’s responsible, accountable and needs to be consulted, who needs to be informed, but by function, we actually mapped all that out and I did that with my teams, and it was super painful, but it cuts through a lot of the challenges downstream later.

Scott Santucci 23:49

So, I heard a couple things that if in my experience that our audience might be wrestling with I heard some what our listeners might not know not putting this into you, Brian, but our listeners might be saying, raci. That sounds like consulting mumbo jumbo. Why would you do that? Why don’t you build a raci chart?

Brian Lambert 24:13

Yeah. It’s a good question. And actually, I got asked that question. And the thing about it is we’re in a knowledge working business. We as an organization, and I would even submit even eminent organizations that were significantly smaller, have this this nature of quote, unquote, functional work. We all need inputs, and we all should be adding value to produce some sort of output that others can use that’s our assembly line. And we would we’d dissect the assembly line of taking an input from other groups the quality, the spec requirements of said inputs, clarifying what we needed on the input side, so it made it easier on our output side, we would also have to stakeholder manage on the outputs. We created those that Put some of those, we didn’t have enough time. And we had to set expectations we didn’t have enough time. Some of them quality wasn’t good. We had to explain why and be proactive doing that before somebody called it out. So, these are things that we actually ended up having to institutionalize. And we can only do it through this idea of a raci, who’s actually responsible, who’s actually accountable, who should actually just give us input or informed? And who should we consult with? And I’ll tell you why to net it out. If you don’t do that everybody’s an approver and everybody needs to provide input. And we actually did the work to figure out how many approvers we had and they were hundreds of people responsible for signing off on stuff. That’s not manageable. Yeah. So just the approval cycle alone was eating us alive. And

Scott Santucci 25:49

So, Brian it sounds like a lot of work.

Brian Lambert 25:52

Oh, yeah, it is. You have to do it though. Have to do it because it actually clarified across the organization, if we didn’t do the work, nobody nobody else would have and everybody was making assumptions and the thing about enablement and I think everybody can relate to this is because were you about kind of the last mile or because you’re the VP of broken things, the buck stops with you. So, you know, you ended up inheriting a lot of you know, baggage and or conflict and or expectations that others should be fulfilling on. And, you know, you could be people could shoot the messenger or shoot the deliver in this case, and I was kind of sick of it. So, once we clarified our dependencies and who was responsible for what we actually got business unit help and enrolled them in to getting what we needed. Earlier getting access earlier, we were actually able to knock some doors down with the help of the our internal customers in the name of helping reps be successful.

Scott Santucci 26:52

So, it sounds to me like hearing all that and to try to put some simplicity or have some put a simplifier bow around it. So, to me that stakeholder management is a critical cog in order to create some clarity, yeah, multiple departments, right? not the only answer, but it’s a step. So, what I would like to do is I’m going to relate this story. So, you might be saying, Well, of course, you need to do all that fancy stakeholder mapping stuff in a big company like that. I don’t need to do it in my insert, small insert, medium size, whatever, I don’t need to do that. Well, what’s interesting about that is if you listen to our episode number seven, a listener joins and establishing a sales enablement function. We actually had somebody who was brand new in the role remember that Brian, we had, we had that pair

Brian Lambert 27:44

Lizzie. Elizabeth. Yeah.

Scott Santucci 27:46

And one of the things that we we talked about was both the combination of role clarity which I’m sure we’ll have another podcast on and stakeholder, stakeholder management and racy in the situation that she was dealing with was she was in competition with sales managers. And that that in upon itself is a complex topic, but it’s nowhere near nowhere near as complex as you start radiating out. So, she actually was sales managers and then also the Product Marketing Group, right? So, what I’m trying to do is say that this concept of stakeholder management is vitally important, regardless of whether or not you’re just getting started, like Elizabeth was or whether you’re in a corporate function, like a large corporate function like Brian was, would you agree with that?

Brian Lambert 28:38

Yeah. 100%

Scott Santucci 28:40

Okay. So, then I what I did want to do is I want to get a little flavor you said you were a two at how good that was. What what were give us three lessons learned or three things of what what pitfalls to avoid that if you were to do it all over again, how would you go from a two to a five, what do you need to do better at stakeholder management? What should be boot people? What should people be heating?

Brian Lambert 29:06

Yeah, you can’t stakeholder manage over email.

Scott Santucci 29:14

Okay, I’m sorry. I’m laughing at that because Brian I have yeah, we have some history of working together that’s there.

Brian Lambert 29:23

But I wasn’t a digging you but uh, uh, maybe maybe I learned some bad habits. I don’t know. But yeah, you got to pick up the phone, you got to go visit and you got to get in front of people. And it’s same in sales, right? But you got to do it and you got to force yourself to do it, I would say to the magnitude of double what you think you should be doing. Not just for activity’s sake, but the speed of business moves so quickly. Especially where I where I was that, you know, you saw me last month, but that was, you know, a month feels like six months here, because things move so quickly. So, you got to make those If that’s primarily to work on the trust, face to face. So that’s the first one is face to face build trust. The second one that I would say to avoid the pitfall is frequency. I found that even to the point where I could build trust and get a text, I could text people. And these are executives, we actually I started texting them, and they would appreciate it. So, there was more of about a frequency instead of making it so formal, that we’re going to now do a stakeholder touch and things it’s more difficult to do real time. And the third thing is, you know, enroll the team. I thought, okay, I’m the leader, I must do stakeholder management. Then I realized that I couldn’t do it alone. I needed to equip my 30 people to manage stakeholders, it’s gonna take a village and that’s where we rolled out our certifications and stuff to help with that and built this you know, dependency playbook, which was an incredibly detailed Everybody started using and we were kind of, you know, wielding, like the force in Star Wars. It was like, people like object. How’d you guys do that? I mean, you’d have this thing, you know, in the backstage and people didn’t even know we had it, but we could be present. So, you know, that’s the third thing.

Scott Santucci 31:18

Excellent. That’s, that’s great stuff. So, things to improve. So, I think we’re at that point here to wrap up. What we’re going to do right now is Brian, you have some five summary points, and then I’ll close this out. And we’ll, we’ll let people along their day. So, what are five? What were some five, five key points that you think people should know about with regards to stakeholder management?

Brian Lambert 31:44

Yeah, I’m going to frame this out in the context of being helpful to create maybe a little bit more of a tool approach here. I think you should, you know, take your org chart, print it out and do the work to figure out who who you need to be talking to Actually documenting how frequently you want to talk to them. So, it’s kind of a covered heat map, which we built. And again, we actually only talked about the across these mostly there. And, you know, there’s the whole managing up piece and including that as well. And you’re covered heat maps so that you’re clear on who you talk to and when and document that. And we actually got into the point where, when is the last time we talked to them? Who said what, how do we carry that conversation forward as a unified group, that covered heat map, let us do that? We also built a kind of a thermometer view of that coverage heat map to you know, who who’s a little bit agitated with us and who’s a big supporter so that we could enroll people there. The second thing would be to have an actual communication strategy, almost like a PR strategy to say You know, here’s our approach to when we stepped on it. And we didn’t do what we needed to do. Here’s our approach. So, it’s management responsible. And here’s our approach for declaring victories and wins. So having that thought through proactively so that we could just wheel it out and execute that’s the second thing. And then the third thing I would say is, make sure you have successes and wins. And make sure you have those identified.

Scott Santucci 33:25

So let me make sure we cover the the cover those things real quickly. So, talk about the coverage heat map. So, the that’s that’s point number one, right? I thought, right, starting with stakeholder map wouldn’t be step number one, we start with just inventorying out all of our audiences.

Brian Lambert 33:45

Yeah, that’s right. That’s what the stakeholder map will get you.

Scott Santucci 33:48

Yeah. Because what I’m trying to do is this, this all can sound very complex. And it sounds like you were building a lot of this stuff in the fly in a very reactive situation. Is that right? Yeah, that’s right. That sounds, to me, the mental picture that I have is that you’re throwing a bunch of your team is basically in regards to managing expectations. And setting expectations. You guys are a whole bunch of fingers in the dikes and then another one popped in, we got to just scurry over here and go fix this thing. And that was that was the situation that forced you guys to build that? Is that, right?

Brian Lambert 34:26

Yeah. And we had to take the inventory, like you said.

Scott Santucci 34:30

All of us in sales enable can relate to that. So, what environments like this when we’re under heavy, heavy, heavy fire, the idea of creating a stakeholder map we just might reject. So, what I’m trying to do, Brian is for our listeners, is take advantage of your emotive state of where you were heard why you built these things. But then let’s be a little bit simpler. Like step number one, it’s not that difficult to take to go and look at the org chart and build up Have a map of the people that are important, right? It’s where you started.

Brian Lambert 35:03

Yeah, that’s right.

Scott Santucci 35:04

Okay. Because what I want to do is I like the idea of a heat map. Jeez, what does that look like? Ah, it can get intimidating real quickly. And it can sound like theoretical junk consulting jargon to some people, right? Yeah. And then what did you do? After you took that inventory? What did you do with that?

Brian Lambert 35:24

We met internally. And we talked about each individual on the on the, on the inventory. Did you pursue that with your team?

Scott Santucci 35:31

Right? Yeah,

Brian Lambert 35:32

I met with my team and my leader.

Scott Santucci 35:34

So basically, what I’m in that imaginary, sort of like a scene in Moneyball, you have a bunch of scouts in the room and it’s right and I say, what about this guy? This guy?

Brian Lambert 35:44

Yeah. And all of them are fantastic, awesome people, if any of them are listening

Scott Santucci 35:52

The people that were up on the wall that you’re talking to

Brian Lambert 35:54

Them to them to.

Scott Santucci 35:57

Well, you know what, it doesn’t matter what the company is. We don’t know who it is. That’s true.

Brian Lambert 36:00

That’s true. We go down, and we would we would just talk about them. And more importantly, we would start with what are their outcomes? What are their goals? What are their needs? What do we know about them? What are their hot buttons? Right? Those types of things are really important.

Scott Santucci 36:16

So, one of the things that we’ll talk about, we’ve been talking about this for an engagement that we’re both working on is sort of managing anxiety. But in the environment of how did you go when when everybody’s in this finger in the dike mode? How did you get get everybody to take time out and say, let’s build an inventory over stakeholders? I can just imagine people going, I don’t have time for that.

Brian Lambert 36:42

Yeah, luckily, I was in a leadership role. So, I could say, Listen, you know, I’m gonna give you two weeks. Let me do the work here and give you an example. So, in one of my, one of my all my all hands, I put it up there and said, here’s an example of a spreadsheet. We’re going to build. I’ve done several of them. We’re going to do this. Here’s why. We’re going to do and here’s how we’re going to do it. My expectation is you’ll have a draft, it doesn’t have to be perfect. You’re going to run that through your managers I had, I had three direct reports. And then we’re going to talk about this. And then what you’re going to do is you’re going to see that come back to you in a month or two. And then but here’s why we do it. And I use a similar language. And you and I had worked on it’s a it’s a practice golf swing, it’s a piano, we’re just doing something. It’s an exercise. And it’s important for stakeholder management. And this is important for a skill, you know, for your professional development. You guys are going to need to do this in any in any position that you have.

Scott Santucci 37:36

Yeah. Yeah. So, I just want to provide a little bit of transparency there. And the key point before we will wrap this up is to stakeholder marriage. It’s a big topic. The reason that we introduced it through the lens of Foghorn Leghorn cartoon because at the end of the day, it really gets down to what Brian?

Brian Lambert 37:57

Everybody wants something.

Scott Santucci 37:59

Everybody wants something. At the end of the day, and when people can’t even figure out how to articulate what they want, or they’re not communicating, they get frustrated. It’s a basic human nature. But when you’re in that state of agitation, you have to introduce some things to, to calm your team down. So that’s where what Brian was talking about these, oh, we’re just gonna practice a golf swing together. Because people when you introduce new terms to your team, there’s a lot of resistance. So that’s that’s one one point. Another point is, if you can sort of envision ways to make it simpler. Why does the chicken hop why did the chicken hop cartoon resonate with you? I’ll tell you how it resonated with me. But what about you? How did it help you? And how would it help you do stakeholder management better?

Brian Lambert 38:49

Yeah, everybody wants something and also, this idea of everybody has something different. And yeah, that can be a little aggravating, but it’s reality. It’s reality. And you got it. Gotta do the work.

Scott Santucci 39:01

So, I spring a lot of these stories on Brian. So, he doesn’t know what they are in the first place. And you know, sometimes we talked about it the next day when you’ve had a chance to think on it. And Brian told me, he said, you know, I really like that idea of the cheese, because even on top of that, there’s so many different flavors of cheese that we like, right? Like Swiss and some people like cheddar and some people like sharp and even just the concept of cheese isn’t even easy. And, you know, I think that these are the things to think about is if we want to make our lives the lives easier for our sellers and give them a try to kind of training, we have a whole bunch of companies or a whole bunch of people in our company that wants to get do stuff to them or have you do it for them on their behalf. And there’s just all these different flavors, how you manage all those inputs and outputs. We really, we both of us feel very strong. You need a strategy to do that. Stakeholder management is a topic that you should we should You should be learning about and it’s a topic that you should be learning about. And it’s something that’s baffling to both Brian and I, that we don’t see a lot more articles about it so that’s why we’re doing this podcast. Brian, I’ll let you have it. Let you have the last word here. And,

Brian Lambert 40:16

yep. And one of the mantras that I would use as my people, I’m going to leave with our listeners and it’s either do the work on the front end, or you end up doing the work on the back end. And the work on the back end is extremely painful. It’s either in you know, you’re called on the carpet, it’s an escalation. There’s some sort of crisis that that couldn’t be averted and or could have been averted with stakeholder management. So, while it might seem daunting, it’s way better to do it on your own terms on the front end, than to have that issue pop up downstream, that’s going to take you you know, all weekend to resolve because you don’t have the right relationships, etc. So do it on the front end and not the back end.

Scott Santucci 40:54

Excellent. Excellent, excellent. So, insider nation. Give us your idea. What we’d like to do is we’d like to ask one question, o you one question? Where do you listen to us on? Or how do you listen to us to listen to your car? Do you listen on the treadmill? And take a picture of it and post it on LinkedIn for us and share with other insider nations where you’re watching, or listening, or however you’re engaging. Let’s see what happens. Thank you very much, and we’ll see you next episode.

Nick Merinkers 41:29

Thanks for joining us. To Become an insider and amplify your journey. Make sure you’ve subscribed to our show. If you have an idea for what Scott and Brian can cover in a future podcast or have a story to share, please email them at engage@inside se.com. You can also connect with them online by going to insidese.com following them on Twitter or sending them a LinkedIn request.


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