State of Sales Enablement
tHE STATE OF SALES ENABLEMENT
NO vendor money
NO special interest groups
100% TRANSPARENT research methodology
… And NO forcing people to answer on a scale of 1-5
We gathered unfiltered thoughts to find gaps and opportunities based on what experts, practitioners, sales leaders, academics, and consultants are seeing.
The findings may surprise you…
There's a difference between data and insight
Data are a rear-view mirror. It comes from systems and spreadsheets and leads to a reaction based on assumptions of cause-and-effect. For example, if a score is 4.3 on a scale of 5 it’s time to do something. Data can lead to snap judgment on what’s right or wrong based on existing biases of “what to do.”
Insights are real-time and future-oriented. Instead of coming from spreadsheets, information is collected from humans. Each carefully vetted human has his or her own perspective, mental-model, decision-making approach, and priorities. Each human sees the world differently. Insight leads to dialogue and opportunities based on “what’s possible.”
And Identify Opportunities:
Ultimately, research fuels leader decision-making. In today’s highly dynamic, volatile, uncertain, and ambiguous world, research must be grounded to reality. What if research inputs could come from humans who are immersed in the reality of the day-to-day, and not from survey responses compiled on a 1-5 scale in 3 minutes or less?
What’s the value of the human brain? Do humans make sense of the world around them and adapt? Do they struggle to communicate what they’re seeing? Do they have a way to identify what’s working? What if we could tap the collective wisdom while managing bias?
We figured out a new research method grounded in brain-science while at the same time managing a broad range of human perspectives through a procedure that created executable insights for our listeners. We documented this research method below.
TRANSPARENT RESEARCH TIMELINE
- Virus cases top 100 in the United States.
- Brian and Scott record 5-Part COVID-19 response podcast series (3/21-3/30)
- Listen to the episode that launched the state of sales enablement research – Part 2 (16:15)
State of Sales Enablement Survey
- State of Sales Enablement Survey launches world-wide using google forms to collect the data. The guys worked to gather responses from a variety of industries. They also reached out to leaders and practitioners, and academics, consultants, and vendors.
70 Survey Responses
- 70 responses in first week
85+ Survey Responses
- 85+ Responses in 2nd week from companies like HP, Amazon Web Services, Pega Systems, Mimecast, and Soleil
25+ LEADERSHIP INTERVIEWS CONDUCTED
- We completed interviewing 15+ leaders in Sales VP, Sales Enablement, and Sales Management roles. Companies include Google, Juniper, Ring Central, Microsoft, Salesforce.com, SalesHood, and Microfocus. See the interview list.
10+ INTERVIEWS CONDUCTED
- Brian and Scott complete interviewing HR, L&D, and sales enablement leaders from companies like Red Hat, Avalara, Git Lab, Mastercard, and SSI, Seismic, and Highspot. See the interview list below.
PANEL 3: SALES ENABLEMENT PANEL
- Sheevaun Thatcher, CPC, Head of Sales and Global Enablement, RingCentral
- Imogen McCourt, Sales Enablement Leader & Advocate | Delivering the ‘Business of Sales’
- Doug Clower, Sales Enablement Leader, and Consultant
PANEL 5: SALES ENABLEMENT ACADEMIC PANEL
- Dr. Robert Perterson, Editor Journal of Professional Selling and Professor of Sales at Northern Illinois University
- Dr. Joel Lebron, Johns Hopkins University Digital Business Development Initiative
- Dr. Howard Dover, Director, Center for Professional Sales at University of Texas Dallas
102 Survey Responses
- 102 total survey responses received.
Executive Briefing & Findings presentation
WHAT WE FOUND:
SALES ENABLEMENT IS AT A CROSS-ROADS...
There is a lot of focus on fixing salespeople and very little focus on addressing the sales and marketing eco-system and the complexity that exists.
- Sales enablement needs to clarify it’s value, scope, and impact
- Sales enablement leaders need to develop specific characteristics
- Sales enablement needs to clarify the measures of success.
Interviews Conducted (April 8-May 10 2020)
- Josie Mashburn, CEO of Sales enablement Benchmark
- Bob Apollo, sales consulting
- Tamara Schenk, Author
- Steve Crepeau, True Sales Results
- Glen Lally, VP Global Enablement, Google
- Hang Black, VP Global Enablement, Juniper
- Sheevaun Thacker, VP Global Enablement, Ring Central
- Doug Clower, Director Enablement, Microfocus
- Jared Litwin, VP Sales Enablement, Salesforce.com
- Elay Cohen, CEO Saleshood
- Brian King, SVP Sales Operations and Enablement, IHG
- Angie Voutsara, consumer distribution
- Deb Honea, Sr Director Sales Excellence, Sysco
- Greg Peelman, Vice President of Operations, Ecolab
- Sameer Rupani, SVP Customer Solvay
- Mike Kunkle, VP Sales Excellence SparksIq
- Skip Miller, CEO Level 3
- Doug Winter, CEO Seismic
- Joe Terry, CEO Vantage Point and Marketing Profs
- Kunal Mehta, Operating Executive TCV
- Cameron Tanner, Sr Lead Sales Productivity and Effectiveness, Amazon Web Services
- Imogen McCourt, CEO AndGrow.io (formerly Argus Media and Forrester Research)
- Dr. Howard Dover, Professor University of Texas – Dallas
- Gerhard Gschwandtner, CEO of Selling Power Magazine
- Steve Patti, VP Racing Fuel, Professor Trinity University
- John Thackerson, VP Business Development, SOAR consulting
- Fred Penteado, Director of Customer Programs, SBI
- Walter Pollard, CEO Brand Fuzion
- Elana Anderson, CMO Veracode
- Robert Peterson, Professor Northern Illinois University
- Joel Len Bon, Professor Johns Hopkins University
- Barry Shields, Director Customer experience training & enablement, Avalara
- Garth McKinney, L&D Consultant Red Hat
- David Sommers, Director Field Enablement GitLab
- Scott King, Head of Global Sales Enablement and Commercial Strategy, Progress Software
- Krishna Depura, CEO Mind Tickle
- Nick Saunders, Sr. Director of Sales Enablement at Mimeast
- Louis Jonckheere, Co-Founder & President, Showpad
- Robert Wahbe, CEO Highspot
- Chad Quinn, CEO and Co-founder Ecosystems
- Lindsey Gore, Account Executive Microsoft
- Brooke Spatz, Head of Sales Enablement, Omnitracs
- Alexander Low, DLA ignite
We conducted the most comprehensive research on the state of sales enablement to date, so you have the actionable insights you need to drive
This research is not about creating another definition for sales enablement and it’s not about defending an existing definition. It’s about understanding what’s happening and how to improve.
About the Blended Research Method
The 2020 State of the Sales Enablement research follows a blended Phenomenological and Ethnographic qualitative research method. Phenomenological research is used to describe an event, activity, or phenomenon, we use a combination of methods, such as conducting interviews, reading documents, watching videos, or visiting places and events, to understand the meaning participants place on whatever’s being examined. We rely on the participants’ own perspectives to provide insight into their motivations.
With an Ethnography approach, we also immerse ourselves in the sales enablement participants’ environment to understand the goals, cultures, challenges, motivations, and themes that emerge. Ethnography has its roots in cultural anthropology where researchers immerse themselves within a culture (often for years). Beyond relying solely on interviews or surveys, we work to experience the environment first hand, and sometimes as a “participant observer.”
As researchers taking this blended approach, we are not looking at a given specific set of hypotheses to test; instead, we’re looking to understand how people think and believe the Sales Enablement space is evolving. Our approach to this research is a markedly different approach from quantitative research (for example, analyzing answers on a 1-5 scale with hypotheses to reject or not).