Welcome to the Inside Sales Enablement Podcast, Episode 2
Are you using new tactics, but everyone around is “do it as usual”? You’re not alone in the desire to change from within. In this episode, Scott Santucci & Brian Lambert discuss the challenges they’ve encountered in positioning and selling sales enablement in organizations. While this may seem easy, the value is the eye of your internal customers. Therefore, translating the impact and promise of the function is critical not only to their buy-in but also to the successful pursuit of the business impact your company expects from your role. Much of what we have encountered in explaining the “features and benefits” of the role come down to how our communications are received by those around us.
We use a highly disruptive and somewhat somber analog for what it feels like to share the future path forward. The analog? WWI warfighting tactics and how “hard-wired” everyone was to continue to pursue them, even to their own detriment. The generals, the people, the communication, the processes, and yes, even the measures all called for a new approach to warfare, but they just weren’t embraced. Why? Because human muscle memory is hard to overcome. Even if drastic and disruptive times, where NEW is required. Luckily for us, we’re not in a life-or-death situation, but we are in a time of drastic change where muscle memory is required to change by confronting reality.
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Scott Santucci, Nick Merinkers, Brian Lambert
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 Sam Tucci 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
Hello, I’m Scott Tucci.
Brian Lambert 00:34
Hey, it’s Brian Lambert here and we’re the sales enablement insiders. Our podcast is dedicated to asking those big questions you should be asking if you want to be successful with sales enablement. Do you have an idea of the value of sales enablement for your company? And are you frustrated that others might not see it? Oh, man, holy cow, am I live in that right now? I was actually listening to our last podcast, Scott and I thought Before he plays on to the next one, or to another one, I think we should pause and reflect a little bit around. What happened. One of the things that he said, in that discussion on our first podcast was, Oh, you know, I went around, and I got buy in from everybody. And then we, you know, we did it. And I said, that’s easier said than done. I’ve found in my own role, that’s incredibly difficult. And I think that’s the topic of this podcast, you know, how do you go about getting others to buy in to a more strategic view sales enablement? And I want to explore that here in the podcast today. What do you think?
Scott Santucci 01:38
I think it’s great. And Brian, as as you know, we like to try to have a leveling story. To really frame this issue out and to me the leveling story here goes back to World War One if you can kind of picture in your head and your mind, a whole bunch of say British or French troops down They’re in the trenches with the rifle and the bayonets armed, just waiting for that dreaded whistle to blow to go over the top. And when they go over the top, they have to cut through a whole bunch of barbed wire over no man’s land. And then they would just get machine gunned down by Germans in a pillbox. And when you think about that, the strategies there what why did they do that? And one of the battles actually, actually, over a million people died in a battle. It’s just amazing. Yeah. And what happened really is that these generals all learned the tactics, and what beat what running a military was using Napoleonic tactics. So, they learned everything about what how to run a military, how to organize a military, what motivation was, what strategies were all based on what Napoleon did in the early 1800s. What they didn’t account for was the Industrial Revolution during that Industrial Revolution, a huge amount of things happen. Number one, troops could be brought to the brought to the frontline and trains. Number two, you actually had mass produced foods, you could have much, much larger armies. Number three, the weapons that you had available, you had machine guns rather than at muskets that you had to front load. The altar artillery could shoot miles in advance, poisonous gas, had airplanes, and all of these different innovations but they didn’t change their tactics. That’s a framing.
Brian Lambert 03:38
Yeah, that’s a great story. Thanks. Now hopefully, hopefully we’re not eating lunch, but I that’s a bit of a morbid story. And you know, I said this in the first one, you know, what does this What the heck does this have to do? with sales enablement. Now I feel like I need to get my my flak jacket on and and wonder what I’m doing in the trench. But I think there’s something more to it than and has to do with this idea of the changing times that we’re in? And are we equipping ourselves to take the the new battle?
Scott Santucci 04:08
That’s right. The reason I like that story is it’s not that the generals of the French force or the English force, it’s not like they didn’t care is that they didn’t have the concept of a completely different way. And the reason I think this is a this is a great story is we have to be able to articulate to our leaders the fact that sales enablement is actually a different role, just as pursuing a strategy that’s different than what the Napoleonic tactics are. As foreign as that is we have the advantage of having 100 years of hindsight, they didn’t have that option then. And this is where we are today. sales enablement, might as well be as new as the idea offering the idea of why don’t we not dig in and trenches and why do we Why do we not do For the over the route to a frontal assault, yeah, that’s really that’s really the point here of, of that story and what the relationship is, that’s the big the magnitude of the challenge of the internal selling that a lot of us have.
Brian Lambert 05:16
Yeah, and this is super important for me, because, you know, my background in learning and development, you know, I kind of grew up in there in that field, I grew up in the sales field. And, you know, from a sales perspective, I was a top performer and, you know, any tweaks or improvements that I wanted to make to the system I was, I was met with a, you know, the equivalent of why don’t you just shut up and sell more, because you’re a top performer, we don’t need any ideas. And then on the l&d side, when it became time to not lead with, you know, training speak or frameworks or a bunch of theoretical stuff, it became No, we can’t do that because that’s all we have. We have to show them that stuff. Because, you know, that’s our needs analysis checklist. And if you were to take both of those fields and say, I’m not going to do that anymore, and you take those away, what are you going to replace it with? And that’s a bit of a risky feeling it was for me back then. And I think that’s the big you know why here is, when you want to make a pivot or make a change like that, and replace it with something else, you’re going to feel a little uncomfortable, and a little at risk and a little exposed, and especially if there’s a mechanism and machinery around you, or, or ways of working processes, you know, chains of command, etc. And that’s why I wanted to double click into this, Scott, because when you look at this idea of selling sales enablement as a role at Forrester, you know, that’s a research company, it’s been around for a long time, it didn’t have brand new roles cropping up, you know, to go out and sell to, and you were able to do that and I think I want to, I want to explore that with you here today. And understand how that how that comes together. So, can you take us back to that time and this idea of Getting buy in Who did you get buy in from? What type of discussions did you have? etc?
Scott Santucci 07:06
Yeah, so first bit of nomenclature. So, when you talk about for certain roles at the time, the idea was a role was more or less like a product. So, it would be you do research, okay dedicated to a role. That’s right. For example, one role that’s pretty easily identifiable as the CIO, Forrester would do research targeted directly to the CIO and build a variety of different capabilities, subscription research capabilities, even consulting capabilities, and other things to sell to that dedicated role. So, the challenge is the way Forrester was organized at the time. The company was organized into three different business units. There was the IT business unit, of which CIO was one of those but then they had other roles like security officer infrastructure and operations. Then you had the marketing business unit. And that business unit was very focused on b2c foresters excellence, just phenomenal excellence around marketing is very, very, very, very heavy into the customer experience, b2c world. And then the third business unit, the business unit that I was in was a business unit called the tech industry. And at the time, people who wanted to buy people wanted to influence the it buyers, the vendors etc., would buy Research Services for their analysts analyst relations. So, the tech industry group was the least understood the three different groups, it was just called tech industry. At the time, there was no such they weren’t thinking about b2b marketing or anything like like they did today. And one of the, the, the roles that they had already defined is ones to explain where analyst relations, marketing strategy, product, product management and product marketing. So, here we come, I’d join those selling, they’ll sit and there’ll be to be selling etc. There we go. Keep in mind, right. This is tech industry only. So, there was no there were no sales roles. Any kind of sales role there were write wants, there wasn’t demand Gen or anything like that. Those were the roles at that.
Brian Lambert 09:50
And I think this is important because you’re going to come waltzing in here with this. Hey, guys, I’ve got an idea. And I think a lot of our sales enablement listeners probably have the same Have idea or vision? Right? So I think there’s parallels here.
Scott Santucci 10:04
Right? So just as the generals in World War One had a view of how things should work, that’s where what I was entering into. So, the first thing is, the overwhelming majority of focus is on market and marketing. So, the first bias that you have to overcome is sales. People just do what they’re told. And, you know, that’s a, that’s a bias shared by a by a lot of marketers. So, you, you have to build that case, right. The way that way it really worked is I basically made a vision document and an outline. And in that, in that vision document, I was able to get the person who I reported at the time, you know, Brad, and he really liked that. It was a great way to to go about, but we had to sell that vision, just to really, really hard just to explore open up the space to explore the idea of the possibility of maybe potentially creating a new role. And since the company hadn’t really created any new roles, there was no protocol for how you create a new role.
Brian Lambert 11:21
So on that, was that one of those things where you do it as a project, if you will, and you invest time and you, you know, hunker down with your PowerPoint deck and build slides, or Oh, god, what was your idea of building this vision?
Scott Santucci 11:35
Well, the first part was just having a vision and then talking about it with somebody who’s friendly, well, you’re not really pitching an idea or anything. So, the role playing that with with Brad would be, well, you know, what about this or what about that scenario? Or why would we be any different than anything else? You really had to come up with a thesis if you will,
Brian Lambert 11:59
Using the company as construct, right? So yes, yeah. How’s that different than marketing? Or here’s what they’re gonna say here. When you bring that back. Why is it called sales enablement? That’s weird.
Scott Santucci 12:10
At Well, yeah. And then there’s a lot of other things too. Like, how come no one else is doing this?
Brian Lambert 12:16
Oh, right. Nobody else is doing it.
Scott Santucci 12:18
You know? Yeah, that’s right. We have no other competitors who are doing a sales enablement.
Brian Lambert 12:22
There must be a reason
Scott Santucci 12:23
Right. So why would we do that? And isn’t sales enablement? Just what the people in Product Marketing do? Hmm. Yeah. So then you have to go Oh, my gosh, we have to we have to educate how would we educate that but then you got you can’t use the word educate?
Brian Lambert 12:43
Right because this is a research company with a lot of people from a great great pedigrees, if you will, you know, and you don’t you can’t run around telling everybody you’re gonna educate them and insult their intelligence. Right, right. It’s actually I’ve tried that before and it doesn’t work.
Scott Santucci 12:57
Now. backfires So you have to, you have to create curiosity around it. So, then you have to, you have to develop your idea. You have to create curiosity around it. And then one way to create curiosity around it. Now keep in mind at this point in time I, my role where I worked, I was a analyst in the marketing strip market Strategy Group. For market strategy and things like that, I said, I think I’m better served in this sales enablement piece. And I would try to define the sales enablement coverage area, it would be in conflict with market strategy group as well, how would we create a space for me to actually publish this kind of this kind of content? So, in order to prove that there actually was a market because the first response is, well, we don’t see these kinds of roles, how many of them out there are there? What could we sell to them? them, and no one else is doing it. So why would we do it? So, in order to create that initial demand, I said, Well, I have a country club here in Virginia. I will go and recruit people to participate in a meeting. And you guys come and watch these, these people participate. Well, who are you going to get? What level are you going to get? I’m going to get VP level people, like, Oh, come on VP level, people aren’t going to come for a full day meeting, etc. And sure enough,
Brian Lambert 14:34
This is part of the vision right? You’re not trying to sell them research. You’re trying to get this figured out. So, you’re gonna invite these folks
Scott Santucci 14:41
I’m trying to buy the space to have them not have them. Be more curious about the potential of what sales enable could be. Not say we need a role when you do it right now, because that was too It was too far ahead of where Where they were?
Brian Lambert 15:01
Yeah, that’s another thing I want to call out this idea of, it would have been really easy to say, Well, here’s our first report, let’s put it out and start selling it. You know, but that’s not what you did here, because you wanted to make sure that there was a market that these folks were going to actually participate. And also, you know, hate to say sound cliche, but you’re trying to be customer centric. You’re trying to be outside in.
Scott Santucci 15:26
Yes. And it’s very hard to be outside in, in any kind of company. Right. So, I would say that it wouldn’t have been easy to just write a report on on sales enablement, because you have an editing process that you have to go through. And in that editing process, the questions are going to be Why will the role care, which is a actually a great thing that Forrester does for a quality control check. But if your audience is different than how do you nuance it, so so that was, that was really the challenge. We had this meeting, the engagement level was tremendous. We had 50% of the audience were marketers, and 50%, or sales leaders. What I wanted to highlight was, look, the reason that other functions other companies aren’t covering the sales enablement space is because there’s a huge gap. And if we only look at covering the roles that exist today, not maybe skate where the puck might be, might be going, we’re going to be just rehashing the same old, same old.
Brian Lambert 16:35
So, when you said there’s a gap, what kind of things did you hear back?
Scott Santucci 16:39
Like, yeah, I think that’s definitely a topic for a whole nother whole nother podcast. But the way that the way that we did it in a way that I like to facilitate is instead of putting the burden on the audience to come up with a draft and have them react to it. So, things like the future Friction points would be what messaging for example, what what is what is messaging? And it didn’t come up that way. But the point of view from marketing was that we build fantastic content. And the salespeople don’t use it. How are you as a sales leader, we’re going to make sure that the salespeople use that content.
Brian Lambert 17:22
So what as an example is two different perspectives. Right?
Scott Santucci 17:26
Well, that’s that’s the perspective of the marketing lens, right. And since we, since Forrester at the time, and so many people from the marketing background, they’re like, yeah, of course, that’s the answer. But since they’re not getting feedback from the sales organization, the sales leaders, feedback was, well, the content that you provide us is completely off the mark. It is it’s not conversational. You’re not targeting specific stakeholders. It it doesn’t fit with how we work. And basically, our sales engineers are other subject matter experts have to spend so much time redoing it all that we’re pretty much creating custom content. And the marketing point of view was, yeah, that custom content off brand. The feedback from sales is Where’d you come up with a brand anyway, the brand positioning has nothing to do with the customers that we’re engaging with. He said, wrote this back and forth until you start to illuminate. Look, we’re actually talking about two different sides of the same communications coin. marketers are looking at things from an aggregated standpoint and sellers are looking at things through a very micro standpoint. How do you how do you bridge the gap between those and asking it that way? Change the complete tone of both the sales leaders and the Marketing Leaders. And the executives whom I’d asked to participate in that meeting saw that and we went Aha. That’s what you’re talking about. So, they actually had to experience that that friction first. So that got us on the rail of, hey, maybe sales enablement could be a brand-new role. So that would be the first that was a lot of work just to get the first just to get the topic on the docket, if you would
Brian Lambert 19:19
Right. And I think that’s there, and Forrester found the opportunity to different perspectives. And you were keeping it simple. You only showed two but there’s obviously multiple anybody that’s done this role for a long time, or more than a couple years is probably bumped into more than two perspectives as they talk about helping salespeople be successful. By showing those two, Forrester was able to see see, okay, there’s an opportunity here to perhaps forge a path forward and help these these folks out now we get it. And I think from there, it became, from what you said last podcast, this idea of now following a little bit of an organic process. To bring in that role to fruition, but it was through that odd experience where you were able to, to move forward and have momentum.
Scott Santucci 20:08
That’s right. So, I think that the next step is, you have to recognize that as a sales enablement professional, there’s probably not a formal process inside your company to expand the scope of your role. And a lot of sales enablement, leaders that I talked to are frustrated that they don’t have the budget or the resources, etc. And they don’t really like my answer, which is we got to go get it yourself. You have to learn how to do that. That internal selling. And I think part of the difficulty is the viewpoint that budgets are that there’s a budgeting process, it’s it’s sort of rigid. It’s just not true. The budgeting process is very much dedicated on whether or not the executives find the business opportunity and and then case, huh? There’s something here. How do we go forward? And a lot of people have different ideas of how to go forward. So, what Brad and I did was we before saying, hey, let’s do the plan. Let’s pitch this idea. This now idea in flight. Let’s pitch it to the different groups. So we pitched the idea. And by pitch, I mean, hey, we have this idea. We want to get your thoughts on it. What do you think? Do you think that this fits our business? How might we go about doing it? You know, so I wouldn’t say pitch. It’s more like socialize get there. Yeah, yeah. socialize brainstorm. Exactly. Yeah. So, the first group that we went to was the sales organization. And they got so excited. They were like, let’s go let’s greenlight this, but no one knew whether or not it could be greenlit it or not, who decides whether a new role, right so then we went to mark Mark was the business unit leader of that group. That’s the person that you eventually, one of the people that you eventually interviewed with these. This is all before you joined, he joined us. And it’s like, Well, that sounds good. Okay, well, do we make it all? I don’t know if I can do that. I don’t know if I can add an add a new role or not. So, then we actually then we had another series of questions with corporate. And, of course, the marketing business unit was, well, why are you doing that? So it kind of went all the way back and the game one. So, the first angle instead of dealing with all that said, Look, this is tech industry stuff. We’re only going to make it specific to tech industry. So that was one area that we had to deal with was the first release of sales enablement was it was only a tech industry thing. And we had to do that just to get just to get going. And it’s ridiculous. I think about it now, in hindsight, you know, 11 years later, but these are the things that you have to do you have to make compromises in the trade offs, trade offs, and then realize that that’s that exposes you, and what do you do about it? So that’s, that’s what we had to do. And then we had to get the market had to get the buy in from or the support from the marketing person so that then we could take it up to a corporate, which was our seat at that time. Our CEO really was the person who made the decisions there. His name was Charles. So Charles had to hide away all these different things, but there were just so many different conversations going on. Then right in time, in order to get ready. The Product Marketing Group said, you have to fill out all these forms and do all this stuff. I said, based on what I’m not gonna, I’m not gonna produce all of that material because that’s going to be material that is outside of the scope, or actually contradicted. Due to the scope of the research that we’re going to be doing, so they create, then, of course, people rat you out and you know, escalate it, not a good team player, all those other factors. So these are these are the, this is
Brian Lambert 24:12
And now we’re back to our analogy. I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I cut you off, because what popped into my head there was now we’re back to the analogy we started with, right? You know, he’s not following orders. We blew the whistle, or That’s right. Oh, you’re supposed to be following a chain of command or?
Scott Santucci 24:30
That’s right. Yep. And then eventually, what you have to arrive at is your numbers. And I feel pretty strongly if you don’t participate in setting what your numbers are, you’re screwed. Because you have to really know what is the source behind those numbers and what is driving those expectations, so you can manage them. So we set our numbers and they were based on based on an agreement or a perspective, that all of All of us could agree to. And boom, went about watching, watching that new role. So how do you launch a new role in a company that hasn’t launched a brand-new role before?
Brian Lambert 25:12
Yeah, it’s just that simple. There you go, everybody, there’s the answer. But I think as we’re winding down here, I can certainly relate from my own background of one not being involved in setting numbers to maybe enrolling division one time. I think there’s a whole other podcast around how to make it sticky. Because it takes maybe a year or two to have it be anchored as something new. So how do you get through that transitional period and build momentum? That’s a whole other podcast, but it’s all rooted on the first vision and the trajectory set, right. If you’re off one degree in the beginning, you’re going to be way off further down the road you get, and I think that’s a big takeaway for me, Scott is this idea of Okay, there’s no formal process, probably, because idea generation is organic, into business business, people are smart, they might not need a formal process because they’re gonna follow the money and the business case. So, it becomes, you know, how how do you become more proficient or more skilled at taking a concept and making that concrete and at the same time making it, you know, malleable based on the needs of the market? Right. And I think that’s the tension is, how do you make it solid enough to move forward, but yet, you know, pliable enough to be customer centric?
Scott Santucci 26:39
Yeah, I think the for me, my takeaways are sort of reflecting. You heard me say this a million times when I was at Forrester, talking to our clients, sales enablement clients. What’s your charter? pitch it to me, let’s roleplay out your charter. You should be spending way, way, way, way more time about your charter. And you and I both know a lot of people don’t want to hear it would roll their eyes and say that’s just busywork? Well, I think really giving it a given a context to me. What’s what’s most important is to really create a idea or a hypothesis about what the world could look like, positively if, if you had this role. So, in the case of Forrester, what would be the new business opportunity and the case? In the case of you? How much easier can people do their jobs? How much money can you save? What were the results paid, but don’t be rigid about it? The likelihood that somebody that the likelihood that you’re going to be able to nail it just by putting the right words together is close to zero and I don’t mean that as a knock on any one individual. I mean that on a knock of just like Forrester, you, you you have a company that has that’s populated by a lot of very smart people that look at things in very specific ways. So even if you were to put the word value out there, everybody’s going to interpret differently. So allow your space, allow yourself some space to let that go and be very smart about what kind of metrics that you sign up for. Pick low hanging fruit items. Make sure you’re communicating with the leaders that they need to be low hanging fruit because they don’t want to sign up for more results either. Yes, your CEO because George the CEO was got excited said, Oh, we could do X, Y and Z. You don’t want to manage his expectations down. You say that’s a possibility, but we have to get started first. And in order for us to get started First, we need to build some momentum and some wins. And his answer is, well, of course, that’s right. So, his talking about all the performance or whatever, that that could be provided. He’s not thinking tomorrow. But you’re going to start you might interpret that tomorrow. So, getting clarity and the perspective around the horn. And understanding that just because you write it in PowerPoint doesn’t mean people are understand it. Those are the those are probably the most important things to be successful.
Brian Lambert 29:35
Great advice, Scott. Hey, I appreciate it. And I appreciate all our listeners. We’re at time and thanks so much for joining us today, and we’ll see you on the next podcast.
Nick Merinkers 29:46
Thanks for joining us. To Become an insider and amplify your journey. Make sure you’ve subscribed to our show. If you have an idea for what Scott and Brian can cover in a future podcast or have a story to share, please email them at Engage at inside sp.com. You can also connect with him online by going to inside se.com following them on Twitter or sending them a LinkedIn request.