Our CEO James Smee had the pleasure of opening the first ever European Sales Enablement Soiree in London a couple of weeks ago (check out his speaker notes here), and as a team we had a great day listening to a range of talks and panels and meeting other Sales Enablement professionals.
We were reassured to see that the majority of speakers, panelists and guests were very aligned with the way that we approach sales enablement, breaking it down into four key areas – people, technology, content and measurement.
We’ve pulled together some of our favourite nuggets from the day to share.
“I want to be a superhero and help the whole organisation”
Over the day there was, rightly so, a lot of discussion about people – training, engagement, retention, change management but also the role of sales enablement within the business. Something Cat Young from Xerox said early in the day stuck with us “I want to be a superhero and help the whole organisation. But it’s not that simple”. Sales Enablement is all about striking a balance of offering help and enabling teams to embed change themselves. It should be about facilitating conversations about change, providing the tools to improve, helping to break down silos and importantly measuring the impact of these activities.
Laura Valerio from Expedia Partner Solutions shared her experience from starting SE from the ground up, stressing the importance of always thinking about how you can prove the value of the SE function. SE has a company-wide impact, not just to sales or marketing teams. It starts with uncovering the main challengers and blockers and being really clear on the problems that you’re trying to solve. Develop a plan together with the key stakeholders and then demonstrate how you have improved the problem you’re tackling.
“Should we be talking about buyer enablement?”
Our CEO James kicked the event off with a controversial claim “should we be talking about buyer enablement instead of sales enablement?”. And while we’re not advocating a complete rebrand of the SE function, it was a timely reminder that there needs to be a shift in thinking to looking at enablement through the lens of the buyer.
We saw this messaging repeated throughout the day, Sam Robinson from Sage spoke about getting too sucked into focusing on the product and your own positioning and not drilling in to what the customer really needs. It’s the role of SE to understand what motivates customers to make their decisions and then align to that. There’s a great deal of focus on the solution and presenting the solution to the customer, but not as much attention on what led the customer to that solution in the first place. Sam’s advice is to get back to basics and that starts with understanding what the customer actually wants.
“Don’t just profile your buyer, also profile your sales team”
Michael Fox from VMware spoke about the need to better understand your sales team – it’s important to recognise which reps are better in different areas and embrace that. Profiling your sales team is just as important as profiling your customer.
This was backed up by Professional Neuroscience Coach, Tanya Kunze who shocked us with the nugget that there are 48 different types of salespeople! Her advice to start getting the most out of your salesforce is to get back to basics and really look at the profiles. Understanding the fundamental operating system of your sales team is critical, use it as a starting point to then overlay your internal processes and identify the technology you need to deploy to enable and engage them.
“Use tech, but not for tech’s sake.”
Technology is a crucial and important aspect of sales enablement, but if it’s not rolled out and embedded properly then it can also be a huge money pit.
Cat Young from Xerox spoke about using technology to help with personalisation, to get the right content to the right people at the right time, to monitor next actions and importantly to gather insight and establish data points.
The sales tech stack is huge now, and it’s crucial that the tech you roll out doesn’t just become ‘another system’ or ‘another login to remember’, integration is key for user adoption and it requires a carefully planned strategy.