Latest Episode of OSC’s Inside Sales Enablement

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Latest Episode of OSC's Inside Sales Enablement
Ep1 Selling the Sales Enablement Role Internally & Galileo

Welcome to the Inside Sales Enablement Podcast, Episode 1

Do you feel like a modern-day heretic inside your own company?  You’re not alone. In this episode, Scott Santucci & Brian Lambert discuss their advice and point of view about the critical nature of selling the sales enablement role internally. Scott shares his exciting experiences in a well-known research company and what it was like to create a shared vision for the role, what those many conversations looked like, and how the process unfolded. 

Much of what he encountered was the same thing that you — a modern-day Galileo — will likely encounter. Learn from his experiences in talking about a new way of thinking about the value-add of the sales enablement role to better support sales leaders and their teams. 

Join us at to collaborate with peers, join Insider Nation, participate in the conversation and be part of the continued elevation of the profession.


00:02 intro

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.


Hello, this is Scott Santucci.


And I’m Brian Lambert. And we’re the sales enablement insiders. Our podcast is dedicated to asking the big questions you should be asking if you want to be successful with sales enablement. Are you frustrated that no one seems to know what sales enablement does? Or what it is? Do you sometimes feel that something’s not quite right? And do you believe that sales enablement should be offering your company a lot more impact? But you just don’t have permission to tackle it. In this podcast, we’re going to explore how challenging it is to do something different in business today.

Scott Santucci 01:09

You know, Brian, in 1633, Galileo was condemned and convicted by the Catholic Church for technically vehement suspicion of heresy. And was sentenced to basically life imprisonment till he died nine years later. What was his big crime? The big crime Galileo had was he made the observation that the earth actually revolved around the sun and not the other way around. And that challenged a lot of conventional theology at the time, and there was a strong, strong, strong negative reaction. And the reason I bring up that story is its human nature to stamp out something new or a new idea that buys it conventional wisdom.

Brian Lambert 01:56

So, what are you talking about Scott? Right, you just hit us with the Galileo story. Which is awesome, by the way, a great piece of history. But what what are you trying to say? Are you trying to say that we’re Galileo’s and sales enablement?

Scott Santucci 02:08

What I’m saying is in a lot, and a lot of cases, the information and the evidence dictate a different way than what you’re doing with. And many people within the sales enablement space feel like they’re heretics inside their company. They’re told that, oh, you’re just a sales trainer, or sales enablement. We’ve been doing that for 20 years or 30 years or whatnot. Yet, the role keeps growing and growing and growing. So, this idea of being a heretic really ties into human nature, those in power when confronted with a lot of complexity and change, hold firm to the things that they do know, which puts those of us who are in a role that’s expanding and growing, to have to sell those people in a completely different way like Galileo dead in order to be avoid being labeled a heretic.

Brian Lambert 03:03

Yeah, that’s a good point. Because much like Galileo did, he had to Kitt, you know, convince people share ideas with them, tell them something new. And you know, there’s a lot of friction there. And he had a choice to make. And if you go, if you fast forward to today, you know, we both talk to a lot of sales enablement, professionals that are new to the role, trying to stand up the role, etc. And when you look at what’s going on, there’s a lot of turnover and churn in the role. There. I’ve certainly seen a lot of friction between sales and training, between marketing and sales, and even trying to get funding where people say things like, well, that’s just an overhead roll. Why do I want to do that? And, you know, I feel a little bit like Galileo, sometimes trying to explain the value out of the promise that I see in sales enablement.

Scott Santucci 03:52

So, you’re right and to really unpack how difficult it is to actually sell in an entirely new role. Let’s think about a lot of the different friction points. There’s friction points between sales and finance, for example, whose number is it? Is it the product number to the product? and business units number? Or is it the address geographic sales team is is they’re the one with the number. What’s the role of marketing? What’s the role of sales when it comes to sales, messaging and the like? What’s the job of a product marketer? In a world where we’re moving away from products? What do we do with with with sales, training and sales leaders in the role of sales, management, all of these different variables, they’re all happening today? And it creates a lot of friction to what we’re looking at. Looking at today in terms of roles, so what we’re going to cover in this second section is really how do we understand what those friction points are? How entrenched are they, and what does it What does it look like?

Brian Lambert 04:54

That’s great, and I think I want to take our listeners back a little bit in history here. Since we’re on the Gale Galileo theme, let’s go back in nine or 10 years, you know, you were instrumental in creating, or at least starting the definition of the role at Forrester Research, which is one of the most prestigious research companies in business today. And I’d love to unpack that with you. Can we go there we talk a little bit about what you did at Forrester?

Scott Santucci 05:22

Sure, I think one thing to do is we got to go back 11 years ago, 2008. Everybody can go back into their wayback machine and remember what the world was like in 2008. We were in a very, very dire time in our economy and a lot of confusion was happening and a lot of scared people, myself included, were happening but the time what was going on within Forrester is like every business is organized and foresters was at the time organized around research around roles. So, the idea of, Hey, we have this subject matter around sales enablement, what does it look like? I certainly felt strongly that sales enablement needed to be its own role. The reason I felt strongly for that is I built a role before. In my past, I’ve been a VP of sales and marketing. And I saw a lot of a lot of conflict prior to me joining Forrester and I had that strong opinion. The difficulty was when you bring up sales enablement, the way that Forrester was organized, first with a heavy bias towards marketing, no coverage, even to this day, no coverage really around around sales, not not at all, not a role level. There’s a little strong bias. So more or less the point of view was with sales enablement. That’s really just Product Marketing, which there was a role for. I pushed back on that and said, No, it has it includes these element elements of go to market. And I said, Well, that’s really market strategy then and let’s stick it there. And I said, No, that that doesn’t fit there. And we had a lot of conflict. So, what I want to do do his first put in a box, how difficult it was to really get forced or to do that. And of course, there’s a market leading company. And at the time, there was no other sales enablement coverage. I think at the time IDC had some content that they were repurposing from their own research to buy as training materials that they call it sale and I have one, but there was no role or no dedicated research function around the role. So that started out.

Brian Lambert 07:31

Yeah, let’s unpack that a little bit. Right. So, you have you know, this idea of, you know, your vision, your past experiences saying, we should have a role around this. There’s a dedicated scope that you see in your mind. There’s a there’s some functional attributes that people in this role should be executing, they should have certain skills etc. There should be a roll. But what you’re bumping into is, well, let’s put it here. Let’s let’s put it there. Or isn’t it Just as an adjust or is this what you’re talking about kind of, uh, you know, people trying to make sense of what you’re saying. Is that is that how that came across to you? or?

Scott Santucci 08:10

Yeah, very much. So, I think in terms of hindsight, hindsight is always 2020. Right? The, the vision that I had in my head was really the evolution of a bookkeeper. All the way to a CFO roles change and evolve over time. And if you think about the Charles Darwin, Christmas Carol, the tiny Tim’s dad was actually a bookkeeper. Could you imagine in 2019, a CEO trading their CFO that way, but times change, roles evolve based on changing market needs. So, I always had that in the back of my head, but I don’t think I did a very good job of communicating.

Brian Lambert 08:47

That’s, that’s interesting, right? You take that as a given. You know that that roles are going to change, and roles are going to evolve, and it’s happened in every space. If I think back to it’s not just in you know, the bookkeeping stuff. Marketing’s gone through the same transition and other functions have to what why? Why do you think it was so hard? Or what? What did you hear about? Or what questions Did you get with regard to this idea of sales enablement against the context of the changing business landscape? But do people get it?

Scott Santucci 09:15

Well, I think I definitely I don’t think people get it. So, the first step that we did when I started socializing it socializing this idea, and I was, frankly, dumbfounded by, by the feedback that I got from all these very, very well accomplished experts who have lots and lots and lots of data points, as you could probably imagine. But the first the first thing was I was surprised about the pushback. So, I suggested Why don’t we get some executives, CEOs, or not CEOs, VPS of sales and CMOS together and write out a definition of what they think sales enablement is and get them to discuss it. So no one really wanted to sponsor that idea. So, I said, you know what, I’ll recruit it myself. Well have it at my country club in Virginia so I can pay for it. So, I had to I had to offer all these things while while I was a forester employee. And I thought that was going to prove the case. We got a variety executives together. This is where

Brian Lambert 10:14

Why do you think that was important, though? Well, it wasn’t, why not just write a definition and publish it?

Scott Santucci 10:20

Well, the reason that I didn’t write a definition at all was because no matter what I wrote, was going to be counter minded counter measured by somebody else saying, No, that’s not true. And I have data that says sales enablement is really this because why? Because it’s always been this way. It’s always been part of the product marketing. List. Look, here are all the deliverables that product marketers must do. That material is sales enablement.

Brian Lambert 10:49

Yeah, I remember from my research it was it’s part of the four P’s you know, as its placement, they just talk.

Scott Santucci 10:56

Yeah. Then you go to the training people and say well sales in a month. There’s always been these kinds of things. And people getting more and more sophisticated on it. And that really was never my experience. When I was a VP of sales and marketing. I thought all of that was way too tense and, and not focused on where we’re going. So, what I wanted to do is instead of projecting my viewpoint, get a variety of executives together, because we wanted to say should this be a role and really highlight the tension? The other side.

Brian Lambert 11:28

What were some of the companies that you got, like, you know, are you talking fortune 500?

Scott Santucci 11:33

Oh, yes. Right. So, they were all fortune 500 companies. So, some some at the top of my head, who were at the table. IBM was at the table Siemens, Sun Microsystems that you know, this is before they got acquired CSC a variety of Xerox companies like that, so we had about 20 of those companies and 10 of them 10 of the members 10 of the participants in In this meeting where sales leaders, Chief sales officers, and then the other half were CMOS, so we had this conversation. And I thought that the outcome that we arrived at which was what the definition of sales enablement was for Forrester, which I’m sure we’re talking about in another podcast. And I had executives from Forrester participate that they would see the see the engagement, and I thought game over right. You know, here we had real market validation highlighted a need, but really what companies Yeah, fantastic companies a lot of debate a lot of conflict between between it, which to me is that highlights that I need to research this more. But really what happened was, all that did was create some sponsors. So apparently, what I didn’t know at the time, Forrester has this process, this strategic process that they go through a deep dive process to assess the health of an individual role, and they need to make sure that that as an economic market cap associated with it, or opportunity associated with it. So, what we had to do is we had to actually survey on interview and collect data, primary data, statistical data, not what I would call wisdom, type data through a conversation, that we just had some stats to show how many seats we could sell, what kind of research agenda we would need to have. yada yada, yada.

Brian Lambert 13:30

So, so this is interesting. So, you saw a vision, I’m gonna pull everybody together, you figured out how to do that, by the way, which I think is great, you know, you funded it. But these folks off traveled on their dime to come out all this buzz and excitement. You guys leave there you think, okay, I can start researching it, but instead it turns into now we have to figure out how this is going to link to our strategy, right. So how do we what type of products how are we got to sell these guys, etc. And they may have changed their process. Now. This was 11 years ago, but at the time You know, it needed to be linked to the strategy. And I think, you know, from what I’m hearing is, here, there’s this is this is important because it sounds like you had to constantly get what, you know, the proverbial buy in along the way every step of the way.

Scott Santucci 14:16

I think and this is kind of fast forward now to 2019. I think this is what all sales enablement leaders are struggling with, which is there’s always another hoop. So Oh, yeah, it’s like first, number one, let’s get our customer feedback. So we collected a lot of customer feedback about the trends, you know, getting the chief sales Officer of HP, for example, in the same room with the Chief Marketing Officer of Xerox and then arguing out about where it is, and then flipping that argument around, and then illuminating the fact that they’re really talking about a gray area that nobody owns.

Brian Lambert 14:55

Yeah, when so when you say arguing as a researcher, you don’t mean fixed Cops you mean to be crane? passion, passion? It sounds like right, right? I just want to make sure that people understand that you’re not fostering, you know, this the hostile work environment, work environment. It’s putting people in the hexagon. But, um, but this is this is important as well, the second piece of this to me is this idea of a debate. And it’s going to be an intelligent debate, because you’re talking about Lincoln a roll of business strategy. And I think if you fast forward to today, in 2019, sales enablement, professionals are going to get into those types of debates, right?

Scott Santucci 15:34

Well, they should or else what’s going to happen is somebody else’s preexisting idea of what sales enabling is, is going to shape it and your opportunity to impact the rest of the company is diminished from from that reason, so, Okay, got it. So basically, just within Forrester though, think of it this way. So, I want to prevent the circular looping that goes on with some of the stuff, but we had very senior level people who are our customers speaking on their behalf of what they were looking for. Some of the executives saw but how do you collect that sort of subjective feedback? And then how do you communicate it up to actual decision makers because there’s so many people involved in deciding that we’re going to add a new role at Forrester, for example, that we got enough sponsorship to say, Okay will allow you to go through this deep dive process. So, the frustrating part is, as a former salesperson, all of those executives who are willing to buy right then in there a service that we wanted to wanted to offer. We had to wait another nine months to go through this deep dive process. And in this deep dive process, we interview, and we had the people who weren’t us, the Strategy Team within, Forrester interviewed a segment of folks. we plotted it out, we took feedback that we had, we created a framework, an organizational framework, we identified different stakeholder roles that we would target our research for all of those other things, that was the groundwork that we had to do. And in order to do that, to launch, actually a sales enablement role, so that was all the work that we had to do before we could even hire you to join our team back then.

Brian Lambert 17:33

Yeah, I was gonna say I appreciate all that work, because that’s what got the funding for my role in this idea of an analyst joining you, right? That’s right. Yeah. So that so if we stay there on the the precursor of that nine-month period, what other kind of friction Did you run into?

Scott Santucci 17:51

Well, the the friction really gets into. A lot of people don’t want to spend time to talk about the definition of a term particular When people have strong opinions that they know what that term means. So, for example, if you have folks who don’t want resources diverted away from say the role of product marketing, or away from the role of strategic marketing, those people are going to argue a lot to prevent those resources from getting diverted. The same problem that would be inside your company, or anybody’s company, is the second you bring up a new role. The argument the pushback that you feel you feel like Galileo, you feel like you’re being heretic, but really, the core functional problem that you’re dealing with is one of resource. And no one’s going to say, oh, you’re going to take money and resources away from me. That’s never what anybody is going to say. So, they’re going to pound you with a lot of things to ask you to prove to make proof that this is going to work and what I had to do was I had to say, well, what’s currently being promoted as best practice is not working.

Brian Lambert 19:08

So, they have examples from your past history and all these folks in the room and I did this deep dive, you know, because, you know, I have the luxury of seeing what that was back when I joined and it said, what was kind of broken in the space that you wanted to go fix? That’s right. Yeah. The voice of the customer.

Scott Santucci 19:25

That’s right. So, having voices of customers, just I think one of one of the lessons learned, Brian, there is how do you organize the voice of the customer in a way that’s digestible? for folks who see the world through the lens of the folks in the Inquisition?

Brian Lambert 19:41

Yeah, that’s interesting. Because, yeah, so yeah, the gal Galileo reference there. That’s awesome. Because everybody, there’s so many different perspectives, right? I think it’s easy to say, well, it’s just one person, I have to convince the person sitting in front of me, but if you think about it there, there are a lot of people In the Inquisition there, that’s right. And connecting all those dots, even if you have the quantitative and qualitative reference that may not work. And, you know, that’s one of the big takeaways that I have here is this idea of, of what that might mean. So, Scott, we’re almost out of time. And I think I could talk about this for a lot longer. But one of the things that, that I’m hearing here, and I want our listeners to, to relate to is in the takeaway for me is, you know, this idea of getting buy in getting support, getting alignment, it has to be personal, you have to make it personal. And by that, I mean, you know, who’s you know, tapping into my sales background, who’s who’s going to be buying this from you as a sales enablement leader, and you had those things at Forrester, you had the voice of the customer, you had the data, etc. But then it became who do you need to navigate to inside your own organization? Who do you need to have those quote unquote, sales calls with and how do they take this on as something that they want to do? Right, so they believe in it, etc., and transfer that passion that you obviously had to your to your internal leaders and internal peers and customers internally. that’s easier said than done. But that has to be done. Or else if you didn’t do that, I certainly wouldn’t have joined up with you eight or nine months later, and I wouldn’t be sitting here right now. So, but more importantly, when you look at the I just did a search. While we were talking there’s there’s almost 12 million website pages that say sales enablement on it. And I know back when, when you and I started there, there was far less than that. Maybe 500,000. So, there’s been a huge proliferation of the role and the titles, etc. And I think that’s, that’s a huge piece of this is what does it mean to do these different functions and how do you make it relatable, and something that’s additive to what people are trying to achieve with customers? What takeaways you have?

Scott Santucci 21:54

So that’s a good question. I would say the the real value of of what a sale the name on role really is. The real value is the elimination, or the slump simplification of a lot of the different disparate parts that go to sales. Okay, so that sounds really academic and very difficult. So, you do have to personalize it. You have to give it an identity for each one of your companies, but you have to be able to frame it out with all of the different audiences. So, you talked about sales one on one I think about there’s a there’s a cartoon I love Foghorn Leghorn. And there’s this one Foghorn Leghorn, where a little chicken Hawk wants to get him and the dog who doesn’t like Foghorn Leghorn, says, Hey, if you want to be able to get that chicken, you need to give me a bone. And they blow chicken off wants to know where to get a bone. A cat tells them hey, I know where to get a bone. All you need to do is get me a fish. And then the, the little the little chicken Hawk runs into a mouse that says a fish. I know how to Get your fish, if you get me, that hunk of cheese. And the tagline of this cartoon is everybody wants something. And for me, the number one thing that I think is the most important is how do you give your job and sales and Day One is to give everybody everybody the thing that they want. She had to give the customers what it is that they want. So, you have to know what they what they care about. You have to understand what the salespeople want. And therefore, you have to know what they care about. You have to give the sales managers what they want and have to know what they care about. You have to know what the VPS of sales want and what they care about. You have to be able to give the CEO what he wants, or he or she wants, the CFO, what they want. You have to be able to give marketers what they want. You have to be able to give business unit business unit leaders what they want. And ultimately the way that that all happens is by being very disciplined and breaking things down. And I think if if where we are today, there’s Only a small percentage of the folks that are actually in this role of sales at Amazon. They assume that because what’s in their head just like I did, I assumed my view sales enablement was was the right one. And I ran into a lot of friction. Many of us within the sales enablement roles, believe it and because there’s 12 million websites out there, there are what 400 500 different companies out there that today that are in the sales enablement space, right, provide a low hanging fruit tagline out there to confirm any point of view that you have. But back to your point, Brian, at the end of the day, if you’re not converting the information from maybe your suppliers, the human resources, the product people, the marketing people and converting it into conversational content that salespeople can have with customers. It’s gonna be very difficult to add value and that means you need to do the work, what’s in it for them? What’s in it for everybody? I’d say that would be the Number one thing that I’ve learned, and it’s not easy to do.

Brian Lambert 25:04

Absolutely not. But you know what? It’s not easy, but it has to be done. Somebody has to do it. Alright, well, thanks for joining everybody and continue to listen to us.

Outro 25:15

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 Comm. You can also connect with them online by going to inside following them on Twitter or sending them a LinkedIn request.