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Sales Enablement Society - Stories From The Trenches
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Sales Enablement Society - Stories From The Trenches

Author: Sales Enablement Society

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Sales enablement practitioners share their real-world experiences. Get the real scoop on what’s happening inside Sales Enablement teams across the SES member global community. Each segment of Stories from the Trenches shares the good, the bad, and the ugly experiences inside corporate sales enablement initiatives. Learn what worked, what didn’t work, and how obstacles were eliminated by corporate teams and leadership.The wide and varied profession of Sales Enablement ensures there is never a one-size-fits-all solution to be successful. Wins always look different and the journey to successful outcomes is never the same. Learn from your peers and gain insights on topics like:Gathering requirements to identify stakeholdersGaining buy-in and executive sponsorshipAligning with sales leadersFacilitating cross-functional collaboration
49 Episodes
Have you ever doubted your abilities and felt like a fraud, despite being very competent? Have you tried to help a friend dealing with feelings of inadequacy? If so you've likely experienced Imposter Syndrome which causes people to feel anxious and inadequate and affects their mental well-being. Learning to overcome it is a critical skill for sustained mental health.For this special Mental Health Month episode professional Imposter Syndrome Coach Alli Rizacos joins us to share insights into Imposter Syndrome and techniques that anyone can use to help conquer it. Listen in and learn about:👉 The root causes of Imposter Syndrome👉 Authenticity vs. Attachment👉 How to upgrade your personal "operating system"👉 Moving from self-criticism to building your inner leaderAlli had a 15 year career in sales at companies like Salesforce before leaving the corporate world in 2021 to start her own coaching business as an Imposter Syndrome Coach. She works with revenue leaders to overcome their imposter syndrome and upgrade their mental operating system so that their minds are working for them and not against them. 
How do you enable sales teams to turn average demos into compelling stories that capture their prospects' attention and keep them engaged?  Can demo effectiveness be measured? If so, how should Enablement teams track and improve their demo enablement? In this episode, Brian Geery shares his proven strategy and techniques for enabling sales pros to give demos that highlight solutions to prospects' business challenges and helps them create a vision for how to solve those challenges. Listen in to learn:7 steps to create a persuasive and compelling demoWhat KPIs to use to measure demo effectivenessHow to give your demo enablement  a makeoverDemo scripts - yes or no?Specific steps for getting startedBrian Geery is a Managing Partner at SalesNv and author of How to Demonstrate Software So People Buy It. His firm transforms software demos, so they win more deals. They give your demo a makeover. Sales leaders at high growth SaaS companies use Brian’s guidance to increase demo win rates, reduce new hire demo ramp time, and enable everyone to demonstrate like a top performer.
True revenue enablement is a strategic approach that aligns sales, marketing, customer success, and product teams to improve customer experiences, drive revenue growth, and increase profitability. In this episode Matt Cohen, Sr. Sales Enablement Manager at Dotmatics and I discuss the foundational elements of creating strategic enablement that he's used successfully. Listen and catch valuable insights into:Determining  if an organization is ready for strategic EnablementDefining Enablement as a critical first stepSelecting a sales methodologyCreating Enablement aligned to your buyers' experienceMatt Cohen has been in go-to-market roles for the past 7 years since earning his MBA, building enablement for sales tech leaders like Seismic and Clari through hyper-growth. Throughout his career, he has leveraged his ability to strategically align resources in a way that fosters adaptability and scale. That passion for alignment is why his career is in Enablement, which he views to be the proactive identification of gaps in the buyer journey and shaping priorities to fill them through the optimization of people, process, and technology in service of revenue. Matt co-founded the San Diego Chapter of the Sales Enablement Society, served on the Board of the Boston Chapter and is currently working on starting a new chapter in Nashville. He regularly contributes thought leadership in the form of articles, podcasts, and webinars, and was recognized this year as a 2023 Enablement Leader Making It Happen by SalesHood.
According to Forrester, direct managers have the most impact and influence on sales reps’ success and organizations must make their enablement of sales managers as comprehensive as that of rep-level contributors. Forrester has also found that B2B sales leaders often make flawed assumptions about the ease with which new sales managers can transition from previous roles. In our 50th episode Terry Bird, VP of Enablement at Vonage, and I explore ways in which sales enablement organizations can support revenue team managers in various stages of their career. Join the conversation as we discuss:How much more complex the role of sales leader has becomeGartner's analysis of top performing sales managersThe constant Internal vs. External struggleHow the Voyage team is supporting leaders and enabling them for successTerry is based in the UK and has a long history in technical sales and sales roles prior to moving into the Sales Enablement space around 15 years ago.In 2008 Terry joined IBM and worked in a number of roles helping to drive enablement transformation, before ultimately landing as Director, Sales Enablement for IBM Global Sales, overseeing enablement programs and tools for a population of over 20,000 sellers and business partners. Terry joined Vonage in 2021 where he took up the mission of helping to establish a company-wide sales enablement function.Terry loves the challenge of architecting cultural change alongside helping go to market teams deliver success. Away from his day job he has been a DJ for over 25 years, playing all over the world alongside legends of the house and techno scene.
Revenue enablement teams aren't the same as HR - they don’t exist to deliver corporate and regulatory training. Revenue enablement teams exist solely to optimize the performance of all customer facing teams and have a positive impact on revenue.To fulfill that mission it's critical for revenue enablement teams to create and execute strategies and programs that correlate and align with the financial objectives of their executive team so in this episode Kunal Pandya and I discuss:Strategic vs. operational enablementThe impact of current economic conditions on enablement teamsMitigating the risk of being labeled a cost center3 key changes you can implement to become more strategicKunal Pandya has over 20 years experience, with various tech and high-growth SaaS companies such as SuccessFactors, SAP, Taulia, HighRadius and UserZoom, leading global revenue enablement teams. He is passionate about building and executing data-led enablement strategies to drive significant and transformative growth and impact.  He can be heard at various events, webinars and podcasts, highlighting the importance of strategic enablement functions in order to deliver revenue impact.
Most business leaders would agree with former Home Depot and Chrysler CEO Bob Nardelli that "people, unless coached, never reach their maximum potential," yet many teams and organizations lack a strong coaching culture. According to Devon Anthony,  Director of Sales Enablement and Learning at Morningstar, Enablement teams can really impact revenue teams' success and create a multiplier effect by building and nurturing a strong coaching culture. Listen in while she shares:The differences between coaching and managingCommon misperceptions that devalue coachingHow Enablement teams can grow the value of coachingCoaching "landmines" to watch forDevon Anthony has a passion for developing sales and coaching others. She's spent her entire career in financial services and has been with Morningstar since 2019. As Director of the Sales Enablement and Learning Team, her primary focus is developing curriculum at scale while prioritizing for impact.Devon volunteers her time as a coach and member of the board of directors for Near West Little League and as a Client Advocate for Administer Justice, a legal aid ministry. Devon enjoys concerts, yoga, and exploring all the cultures of Chicago with her husband Rob and dog Tonka Truck.
Enablement - what's in it for your sellers? No, seriously. Can you measure and quantify the benefits or impact of your Enablement programs and activities? If not, how do you know whether you're meeting the needs of the Sales, SDR, or CSM teams your team supports? For Sunil Chhabra, Vice President, Global Enablement at Conga, having these critical benchmarks and measurements in place is non-negotiable. In this episode, he talks about:Providing guard railsIdentifying the right metrics and KPIsShort-term vs. long-term KPIsGenerating buy-in from Sales leadersSunil Chhabra is the Vice President of Global Enablement at Conga. He's transitioned from Engineering to Sales (and Sales Engineering) Enablement during his career with companies like Cisco, Oracle, and Salesforce while leading teams in Product Management and Marketing for close to 20 years along the way. Sunil's interests lie in bridging technology products to customer needs and pain points - and, therefore, his passion for the Enablement function. He enjoys setting up systems that help sellers become more effective - faster—and demonstrating the measurable impact that the Enablement function can have on an organization's sales. 
Harvard Business Review reported that Emotional Intelligence accounts for nearly 90% of what sets high performers apart from peers with similar technical skills and knowledge (HBR, 4/3/19). Is EQ just as critical for success in sales? Matt Cameron, CEO of SaaSy Sales Leadership says "Yes"! In this episode he shares what he's learned about applying EQ in sales and sales coaching and the framework he's developed to support it:How to think about Emotional Intelligence in the context of salesMapping EQ to methodologiesAssessing EQ for targeted coachingHow to integrate Emotional Intelligence into an enablement programMatt Cameron is the CEO of  SaaSy Sales Leadership, the creators of the world’s first EQ-based go-to-market leadership development programs.  A regular speaker and columnist on the topic of SaaS sales leadership, Matt started his career in traditional IT with roles at HP, EDS (HP Enterprise) and Wang. Having started with Salesforce in 2005 he is approaching 2 decades in venture-backed SaaS companies in RVP and VP roles. A New Zealander by birth, he currently lives in Las Vegas which has cut down on SKO travel by 50%.
In a 2018 survey of more than 3,000 employees from various firms and industries, less than a quarter said they regularly felt curious at work. According to Macy Tanking curiosity plays a critical role in successful revenue enablement teams. In this episode she shares the key elements of creating a culture of curiosity she’s learned and applied in her career:Obstacles to being curious and how to avoid themEgo vs. EmpathyHow to listen to understand; not to respondConducting effective discovery with stakeholdersMacy has over two decades of experience coaching leaders and teams within sales teams at fortune 100 companies. She is an innovative and consultative leader, having coached executives and organizations at Meta (Facebook), Microsoft, Nordstrom and Southwest Airlines. Currently she is the Head of Sales Enablement for VidMob, the world’s leading digital advertising platform for intelligent creative.  She founded GRIT, a community for connection and compassion for girls ages 6-22 (  Macy lives with her six year old son, Zavier in Kansas City, MO. Her life-long goal of attending every MLB park will be realized this next summer (2023).
When John Lennon sang "life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans" to his son Sean he captured what so many in the revenue enablement and tech communities are feeling right now. While working through challenges and setbacks it's critical to maintain your long term vision and perspective while continuing to bring your "A" game but it can also be very difficult. Jeff Hatchell, from American Express has worked through his share of career setbacks and disappointments. In this episode we discuss his experiences and a framework he developed to keep his vision for himself and continue to succeed despite challenging times in his life. For example:Ensuring your last success doesn't limit your future success.The importance of perceiving the best in every situation.Learning how to expect to receive good things.Not making long term decisions based on temporary situations.Jeff Hatchell is Vice President, U.S. Field Sales Enablement and Global Leadership at American Express. Jeff is also an executive coach and motivational speaker and built a reputation as an inspirational executive with a track record of creating winning strategies that leverage the strength of teams to exceed corporate objectives.
Forrester calls First Line Sales Managers the "secret agents" of change and Revenue Enablement teams are often on the leading edge of change alongside them. In over a decade of experience as an enablement pro, Del Nakhi of MariaDB, has learned how to create and optimize those relationships for success. Listen in as she talks about:Why the change management relationship with Revenue Leaders is so critical.Where the Revenue Enablement role ends and the Sales Leadership role begins.How Revenue Enablement can set leaders up for success.Where to start in creating this critical partnership.Del Nakhi is the founding member and global head of revenue and customer enablement at MariaDB Corporation. She has a passion for managing strategic changes to multiply the impact of her team and partnering with revenue leaders to turn strategy into a reality. As a business partner and certified change management practitioner, she's helped executives evaluate and address corporate challenges and objectives at both large public companies and smaller startups, for more than a decade. By working with and through leaders and enabling them to effectively coach their teams, Del is not only able to scale her team’s efforts, but also collaboratively achieve sustained change and business impact.
Gartner says the foundation of a sales enablement strategy is to provide sales teams with what they need to successfully engage the buyer throughout the buying process.  How are you and your revenue enablement team ensuring sellers can easily find relevant customer facing assets? What about product info, research and competitive intelligence they will consume internally? In this episode Lisa Capra from Instructure shares some of the best practices she's developed over two decades including:Scoping and defining a knowledge management strategy.Who are the stakeholders outside of revenue enablement?How to build workflow processes with all stakeholders.Best practices for governance and scaling.Lisa Capra is the  Revenue Knowledge Strategy Manager on Instructure's global revenue enablement team, She brings over two decades of experience in instructional design, online learning, and content strategy. Through cross functional coordination with Instructure‘s internal stakeholders, Lisa has designed, developed, and created  governance for a 700+ page revenue enablement knowledge base to support Instructure’s global sales, services, and customer experience teams.
Is it possible to enable sales reps to hit quota more consistently while keeping them happy? How does a sales enablement team measure "happiness"? Can revenue enablement teams create a voice for sales teams that gives them input into corporate level decisions?According to Sarah Fricke of RingCentral the answer to all of the above is yes! Listen in as she shares:How they developed a sales happiness surveyHow it differs from engagement surveys from HR teamsExamples of how the results of the happiness surveys were shared with other teams to help break down barriers and improve communicationSarah's life motto is "Make my life a story worth telling!"  She faces all life adventures with this  audacious spirit and loves helping team members, clients, colleagues and partners succeed. At RingCentral Sarah advises senior commercial sales leaders on the strategic direction for sales to drive business results. This work includes implementing go-to-market strategy and facilitating cross functional alignment. Before RingCentral, Sarah ran enablement for the large enterprise team at Gartner and built sales teams for TrackMaven and Atlantic Media.
Who doesn't love a great success story? This year the Sales Enablement Society Experience was held in Atlanta and the theme was "Take The Leap". For this episode I had the opportunity to sit down with 11 different Revenue Enablement pros from as far away as Singapore and listen to their stories about a time in their careers when they took a big leap; why they did and the outcomes. These are inspirational stories. They shared great ideas that were new to me and I'm sure you're going to enjoy listening to them just as much as I did!Thank you Jesse Potter, Zeenath Kuraisha, Russ Clark, Rebekah Ash, Jay Allen, Patricia Guobadia-Nicholson M.Ed., Bob Britton, Cassie Watkins, Mary Baez, Jessica Hendricks, and Chuck Marcouiller for sharing your stories. 
What are the areas of professional development that Sales Engineers are interested in but that many Sales Enablement teams miss? How can Revenue Enablement teams generate excitement and boost morale within Sales Engineering teams? What do  customers say they want Sales Engineers enabled to  do well?John Care, Author and Managing Director of Mastering Technical Sales shares his insights with me in this 2 part series. In Part 2 we focus on discovering and developing professional development pathways for SEs that focus on the experiences and skills they're most interested in developing. Since 35% of SEs say they'd like to go into leadership we also cover how to help them prepare for that career goal.During his career, John built world-class sales engineering organizations at Oracle, Sybase, Business Objects, Nortel, CA Technologies, and HP. His responsibilities have varied from an individual level up to a VP of Presales running teams of over 200 people. He also has diverse experiences as both a quota-carrying salesperson and a senior IT executive/ CIO listening to salespeople and presales engineers trying to sell him their “solutions.”
How do Sales Engineers learn differently? Is their attitude towards training different? What are the onboarding needs of an experienced vs. a novice SE?  When should the handoff from the Enablement team to the SE leaders occur? What are the 3 critical legs of onboarding SEs?John Care, Author and Managing Director of Mastering Technical Sales shares his insights with me in this 2 part series. In Part 1 we focus on defining and understanding the Enablement needs of SEs and how to design an effective onboarding experience for them.During his career, John built world-class sales engineering organizations at Oracle, Sybase, Business Objects, Nortel, CA Technologies, and HP. His responsibilities have varied from an individual level up to a VP of Presales running teams of over 200 people. He also has diverse experiences as both a quota-carrying salesperson and a senior IT executive/ CIO listening to salespeople and presales engineers trying to sell him their “solutions.”
How do you set the correct enablement priorities when you need to make a decision but don't have a lot of information? What is the only wrong decision you can make in any situation? Is following your gut a sound strategy? How can you apply buyer types to internal selling and negotiation?  This episode features Arup Chakravarti, Director of Sales Excellence at Equifax UK and we discuss his unique insights on identifying, selling and negotiating enablement priorities and projects.
What do buyers actually need sellers for? What are the "3 Cs" of empathy in selling? How do sellers enable buyers to build internal consensus? If a seller is empathetic do they risk losing control of the opportunity progression and velocity? How does an enablement team use selling with empathy to help sellers to not be "product pushers who reek of commission breath"?In this episode Chuck Marcouiller, VP of Revenue Enablement at  Freightwave joins me to answer these questions and much more by sharing the insights he's gained over a career as a seller, a sales leader, and  revenue enablement leader.
As Revenue Enablement professionals our mission is to enable others with the skills, knowledge, and experiences to grow and improve. With everything we focus on have you ever evaluated how well you and your team are teaching the actual skill of learning? Keenan believes that learning is a skill not a default mechanism. In his years of working with sales teams he’s observed that not enough time is spent teaching the skill of deliberate learning. In this episode he breaks it down for us.Keenan is A Sales Growth Co's CEO/President and Chief Antagonist. He's been selling something to someone for his entire life. He's been teaching and coaching almost as long. With over 20 years of sales experience, which he'll tell you he doesn't give a shit about, Keenan has been influencing, learning from and shaping the world of sales for a long time. Finder of the elephant in the room. Keenan calls it as he sees it and lets nothing or no one go unnoticed.Father of 3 amazing girls, PSIA Certified Level 2 ski instructor (see more coaching) and avid Boston sports fan, Keenan keeps crazy busy when he's not focused on A Sales Growth. 
The Sales and Revenue Enablement profession continues to thrive and grow overall but we’ve all seen enablement individuals and teams negatively impacted by the recent economic challenges. The sad reality is that even high performing enablement professionals can find their careers taking an unexpected detour. In this episode Dave Lichtman of Enablematch will offer insights in proactively managing your career to avoid redundancy but also what to do if it happens despite your best efforts.Dave Lichtman is the founder and CEO of Enablematch, a recruitment firm specializing in Sales Enablement. Enablematch has the largest bench of enablement professionals and helps companies solve the challenge of finding and hiring proven sales enablement talent. Additionally, Dave has become a sought-after speaker and coaches on topics surrounding sales enablement careers. 
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