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Episode 1: What Is the Strategic Enablement Framework?


Marissa Gbenro: Hiya and welcome to the inaugural episode of the Win-Win podcast by Highspot. Be a part of us as we dive into altering traits within the office and learn how to navigate them efficiently. I’m your host, Marissa Gbenro. By means of my work as a content material marketer, I’ve spent plenty of time eager about what content material folks desire to devour. What did I discover? Nicely, greatest practices and analysis are highly regarded throughout the board. So, every episode of this podcast will present insights and greatest practices on rising traits that will help you keep forward of the curve. At the moment we’ll talk about how the impression of COVID-19 has compelled many organizations to reevaluate the effectiveness of their income engine and learn how to transfer ahead.

To assist us unpack this subject, I’ve invited my colleague, Steve Hallowell, Highspot’s VP of Strategic Companies, to be our first visitor. Welcome, Steve, and thanks for becoming a member of us. Are you able to introduce your self and your position to the viewers?

Steve Hallowell: Hello, Marissa, and thanks a lot for having me. I’m Steve Hallowell. I lead strategic companies right here at Highspot. My background is that I led gross sales enablement operations and technique groups at quite a lot of high-growth know-how corporations over the previous decade. I just lately joined Highspot to assist our clients profit from a few of the greatest practices on the market, each throughout our buyer base and throughout the business.

MG: Excellent. Thanks, Steve. I feel we are able to all agree that 2020 has compelled plenty of corporations to do an inside audit of what’s working, what’s not, and ways in which they will proceed to drive income. And due to this, I felt that it was solely proper that the primary episode of this podcast cowl the strategic enablement framework. What’s it? What’s the path to mastery and the way can folks get began? So, Steve, are you able to begin by telling us slightly bit in regards to the strategic enablement framework and what it’s?

SH: Certain — thanks, Marissa. So, to step again, I’d first begin with what’s the strategic enablement framework making an attempt to drive, and actually it’s about making an attempt to drive constant efficiency. And I don’t essentially imply one individual being constant, although that’s an excellent factor too. However what I imply is that throughout your group, you could have some people who find themselves doing notably nicely. However then most individuals are doing someplace round what you’ll count on. To attract a distinction right here in lots of organizations that I take a look at, that is true for, I feel, a really excessive share of gross sales organizations.

You could have a couple of people who find themselves doing actually, very well, however you have got many extra people who find themselves really struggling. So it’s not that they’re just a bit bit beneath quota — they’re really rather a lot beneath. That’s a extremely unhealthy dynamic for a lot of, many causes. You recognize you may think about these are people who find themselves all consuming advertising sources, they’re utilizing SDR time, they’re utilizing up time out of your technical gross sales group and gross sales management. And but they’re not turning that into productive worth by way of success of their gross sales endeavors.

From a morale standpoint, now you have got a complete bunch of individuals that aren’t being almost as profitable as they could possibly be. That’s no enjoyable for anyone. It’s definitely not useful for the careers of these people. So once more, whenever you type of step again, when you’ve got a state of affairs the place some persons are doing very well and a bunch of persons are struggling, that’s not the place we need to be. It does inform us that it’s doable to do nicely, nevertheless.

When you have got some people who find themselves doing nicely, that claims, “Hey, there’s a route to success right here.” We wish to have the ability to flip this right into a state of affairs the place most individuals, the majority of individuals, are doing what we’d name “type of moderately nicely.” Perhaps they’re slightly above quota, and in the event that they’re slightly beneath quota, it’s stable, wholesome efficiency, and the variety of under-performers is far much less.

We actually need it to seem like type of a bell curve, the best way we’d think about it could be. Within the overwhelming majority of instances, that’s really not what the efficiency of the group what’s like. The strategic enablement framework is one thing that we developed as we seemed throughout our buyer base and noticed what the easiest clients are doing. There are actually two issues that the easiest clients are doing, they usually sound actually easy — they’re simply exhausting to do in apply. One in every of them is defining successful behaviors, outline the issues that these greatest folks, the people who find themselves succeeding, are doing. The second is systematically serving to folks grasp these behaviors. It doesn’t do us any good to outline what the most effective persons are doing if no one can really go replicate that. A part of the artwork there’s in defining the behaviors granularly sufficient and crisply sufficient that we are able to really operationalize them. A part of that’s about having a extremely sturdy strategy to guarantee that no sellers are left behind. We’re bringing all people together with us, all people is studying the important thing issues that matter, or we determine learn how to educate them higher so that everyone ultimately will get there.

MG: That’s superior. Thanks, Steve. One query that I’ve is how do you measure impression? How do you even know what areas to deal with for metrics of success and key indicators for steady efficiency?

SH: Certain. Let me begin with slightly context. So usually in corporations we see that there’s a giant distinction between the parents who’re performing actually, very well and all people else. This was true earlier than COVID and I feel COVID has not helped this pattern. The scale of the group of individuals which might be doing actually, very well is far smaller than the group of people who find themselves struggling.

I feel all of us type of assume that most individuals are someplace within the center, however sadly, in lots of corporations, the majority of the persons are really out within the left by way of the people who find themselves most struggling. So the chance for companies is that as a result of we’ve got some folks doing nicely, let’s determine what these persons are doing and get the remainder of the parents in our firm to do these issues.

The truth of really making this occur is commonly fairly difficult. It’s considered one of these items that’s extremely precious. I feel all people desires to do it and but it may be actually exhausting to do in actual life. The strategic enablement framework can be a roadmap for the way to do that. It’s been tried and true and utilized many instances, and if you happen to observe this framework, you actually can change the form of the curve of efficiency in your group. It goes from a state of affairs the place many individuals are underperforming to a state of affairs the place most individuals are actually doing fairly nicely, with the entire profit that comes from that, which is you not having this large drag on efficiency throughout the group. You not have lots of people who’re simply failing to dwell as much as their potential. Actually, you have got most individuals performing nicely, driving monetary return, and driving the expansion of the enterprise ahead.

MG: Is there a particular time period that you just use when considering of the way you phrase closing this hole and what it’s?

SH: Yeah, it’s an excellent query, Marissa. It’s attention-grabbing as a result of I hear this query requested in numerous methods by completely different folks, but it surely all comes right down to the identical factor. One query that I hear come up is an enablement chief saying, “Hey, how do I measure the impression of my enablement program?”

It will probably additionally come from a really completely different altitude within the firm. Let’s say you have got anyone on the board who’s saying, “Hey, I’ve an organization that’s rising fairly properly, however ought to I be high-fiving the go-to-market group as a result of they’re simply killing it? Or do we have to uplevel our recreation as a result of we’re leaving one thing on the desk?”

Particularly on this planet that I come from with excessive progress corporations, let’s say you have got an organization rising at 50% a 12 months. Is that phenomenal? Or ought to that firm be rising at 100%? I really assume this framework will be utilized to each audiences to say, “Are we actually taking full benefit of the market alternative forward of us and utilizing all of the investments we’re making — not solely in our sellers, however in all of the individuals who encompass our sellers? The advertising group, gross sales consultants, gross sales engineers, your buyer success people, your account managers — are we bringing the complete weight of that firm to bear in an efficient manner or not?” And that comes again to this notion of consistency.

I take a look at quota attainment, if that’s the metric I care about: How many individuals are blowing their quota out, how many individuals are slightly bit above quota, how many individuals are slightly bit beneath, or how many individuals are actually struggling? If I put folks into these buckets, what does the ratio seem like throughout these buckets? If I see that most individuals are type of in the midst of that, I’m doing very well. Once more, the fact for many corporations, although, is that far too many individuals are over within the “I’m struggling” bucket.

That claims to me that the group as a complete has not discovered learn how to make its folks profitable. So you may take a look at this in general quota attainment however you may also take a look at this in additional particular issues, like possibly how shortly people ramp is a giant challenge for you if you happen to’re a quick rising firm. Then you may take a look at it by way of how a lot enterprise do folks shut of their first 12 months. Often when folks say they’ve a ramp problem, it’s not that no one’s ramping shortly — it’s that some persons are, however a bunch of individuals aren’t. So there’s, once more, disparity between the haves and have-nots.

It’s considered one of these items that may sound actually easy, and will be more durable to do in apply. The 1st step, do I do know what these greatest persons are doing? That is one thing that for lots of corporations you’ll get a solution, however typically the reply isn’t particular sufficient you could operationalize it. A state of affairs that I’ve definitely been in when main an enablement group is, let’s say a head of gross sales involves me and says, “Hey Steve, go make our folks higher, we wish higher efficiency.” What ought to I practice them to do? What would you like them to do in a different way? And that’s not likely clear whenever you really get to the extent of working a program to assist folks get higher. You don’t actually know the place to start out. It’s type of like making an attempt to scale a pile of mush, it’s only a nondescript pile of one thing. And I would like extra of it. Nicely, how am I ever going to repeat it as a result of I don’t even know the place I’m beginning. So the primary activity actually is, do I even know what the most effective folks do? Have I outlined that in a manner that’s clear sufficient and crisp sufficient that I can actually operationalize these issues? Do I’ve the blueprint for what I need to replicate?

MG: I used to be simply going to say, I feel that defines a lot of the ache factors for lots of pros, “Go do that and do it higher.” Nicely, what is that this? What does success seem like? And if I come again to you and improved in a single space, was that the realm that was most essential? Is that going to have essentially the most enterprise impression? So getting very clear on expectations of what beauty like and areas that you just’ve clearly recognized want work and are going to have essentially the most impression are extraordinarily essential earlier than even beginning. You don’t need to get too far into it and notice you targeted all this time and vitality on one thing that nobody wished to vary. You must put the mush in a field so that you at the least know you need it to have 4 sides, as a substitute of being informed, “No, I wished it to be a circle or triangle as a substitute.”

SH: Yeah. You recognize, I feel one thing that you just see usually is that gross sales leaders will really type of over-delegate to an ailment. They rent an enablement chief. They’re tremendous psyched. They’ll’t wait to see what we are able to all go do now that they’ve a robust enablement group. However they don’t acknowledge that there are particular issues that the enablement chief simply merely can’t clear up by themselves. So a part of defining a set of successful behaviors, for instance, is, “Are we actually clear about what we wish our gross sales group members to perform and our managers monitoring, are these issues taking place?” after which holding folks accountable and training them once they’re not.

That’s one thing that there’s plenty of work by the gross sales management group to do there, enablement can facilitate, however they will’t absolutely personal it. Or, equally, “Are we arming our salespeople with the proper content material to assist having the conversations that we’d like them to have?” In most corporations, the product advertising group has rather a lot to say about that content material and the messaging in that content material. If there isn’t the proper alignment throughout product advertising, gross sales, and gross sales enablement, then product advertising doesn’t have the proper imaginative and prescient for what they actually need to construct that can assist fill that want and actually present the proper milestone. Gross sales enablement can knock it out of the park on the downstream efforts, however if you happen to’re not enabling on the proper factor, it’s not going to assist.

MG: That completely is sensible, and I heard you type of point out coaching and training a few instances. How precisely does coaching and training match into this framework and the place is it most essential to count on coaching and training to have an actual impression, or what are the most effective key metrics or indicators to count on from coaching and training to be sure to’re actually getting essentially the most out of it early on? Such as you stated, downstream isn’t whenever you need to acknowledge one thing has gone mistaken.

SH: In order that’s an excellent query. I feel I’d begin with there are two issues that result in constant efficiency. The primary that we have been simply speaking about was defining successful behaviors, however then we additionally have to systematically assist the group grasp these behaviors. And that’s one of many locations that coaching and training matches in. One of many different issues I see is that possibly we haven’t outlined all of our successful behaviors, however we’ve got at the least one factor that we all know it’s actually essential for our groups to go do.

A quite common instance of that, as an example, is that we all know we’d like our groups to do higher enterprise discovery. Earlier than they get too deep into speaking about our product, we have to perceive the enterprise challenges that we’re going to be fixing for. Let’s say that’s the factor that I would like folks to go do. Many enablement groups will type of undergo the conventional issues that an enablement group can management to assist with that first. Perhaps they publish some discovery questions, maybe they wrap some steerage round that of right here’s when and learn how to use these belongings and supplies. That may be great for anyone who is admittedly self motivated to seize these discovery questions.

However the actuality is that for many of us after we’re studying one thing new, we’d like greater than that to get good at doing one thing. We’d like some actual construction to our coaching to have the ability to be taught a brand new idea. We’d like to have the ability to apply it and construct confidence earlier than we go use it with a buyer in what can really feel like a reasonably excessive strain atmosphere. And lastly, we’d like anyone to carry us accountable for really going to do it and offering us with the proper assist after we’re on the market in entrance of the client. That is the place the position of the frontline supervisor actually is available in.

If as an enablement group I can do a beautiful job placing the proper content material on the market — I get the content material, I supply the fabric, I bundle it very well, I make sure that all people is aware of about it, I even constructed nice coaching round it, I maintain an superior coaching session and all people loves it — I should fail within the goal of getting the entire group to do it constantly as a result of there’s this additional lacking piece on the trail to mastery. Am I creating accountability within the discipline for doing that factor? Are my frontline managers plugged in? Do they see it as being essential? Are they offering the proper teaching and assist once I’m really on the market with clients?

MG: I feel that accountability and visibility piece is commonly missed. There’s a field that’s going to get checked of if you happen to did it or didn’t do it, but it surely’s a lot greater than that. Accountability is greater than saying, “Did you do it?” or “Did you not do it?” however, “Are you training these behaviors each day and utilizing them?” as a result of we all know it really works. We’re asking you to vary behaviors and so that you can do these particular issues for a purpose and that accountability isn’t translated. There’s no open loop of suggestions that not solely offers you visibility but additionally holds the individual accountable to say, “I’ve tried it, that is the success I’m seeing,” or, “I’m not seeing any success in any respect and possibly it requires some rework.” I feel that facet is admittedly essential and infrequently not talked about sufficient.

Additionally, you talked about change conduct. How do you guarantee that we’re serving to to construct that confidence in sellers and the way can enablement practitioners particularly actually hone in on ensuring that every vendor that you just’re placing onto the telephones is prepared and going to smash that decision their first time?

SH: I feel what you’re type of bearing on right here is the way you construct actually efficient coaching. There’s a couple of issues that I’ve seen through the years that make a giant distinction right here. I feel one of many first issues is getting actually particular about the way you hope to assist folks’s coaching. What’s the particular factor you need them to do in a different way because of the coaching and the place are they really caught? Typically it’s straightforward to type of launch right into a coaching and type of unload on anyone saying, “Listed below are the entire methods I’m going to strive that will help you, however I don’t actually know what you want.”

It will be type of like, your automobile is having some challenge so that you pull into a store they usually change the tires and the transmission, they modify the belts within the engine, they wash your home windows, they modify the headlamps, after which you have got this big invoice on the finish of it. You’re unsure they really fastened the factor you wanted to be fastened, however you spent plenty of money and time doing it. Your automobile is shinier now, however did it really assist something? Versus having the ability to say hey, I need assistance with this, I’ve a squeal in my again left tire and I would like a brand new brake pad. That requires actually speaking to folks, speaking to their managers, understanding particularly the place they lack confidence, the place they want essentially the most assist, and recognizing that may fluctuate throughout completely different folks.

Secondly, it’s about making coaching that’s really difficult. I simply obtained off the telephone with a gross sales chief who stated, “I need a state of affairs the place all of the coaching that my group takes is the toughest factor they ever do. I would like them to know that in the event that they get via that coaching they usually’re profitable, they’d be absolutely assured to face any state of affairs with a buyer.”

Many people within the enablement discipline are good folks and we wish mates on the gross sales group, and we don’t need to push too exhausting, and we wish them to be ok with our coaching. The truth is, if I am going via coaching that’s very easy, I didn’t get something from it. If you happen to push me in a productive manner, exterior of my consolation zone, now I’m actually getting worth and actually getting higher. Now coaching will likely be an excellent use of my time versus trying again and saying, “That was type of good, I had fun hanging out with so-and-so, however I’m unsure that I’m really any higher for it on the finish of it.”

MG: That’s actually true. A number of the greatest trainings I’ve ever gone via made me so intimidated that I believed, “The primary time I ever get on a name with a buyer, they’re going to ask me all these actually exhausting questions and I’ll have to recollect all of those product specs.” However then you definitely get on a name and also you’re having an excellent dialog and it simply so occurs that there’s this excellent opening the place you get to pitch your product and it goes 100 instances simpler than what you have been prepped for in coaching. I’ve to agree, I would like coaching to be the toughest a part of my job, versus once I really get on the telephone.

If you happen to needed to wrap up the three elements which might be most essential to bear in mind when driving constant efficiency, what would you say these are?

SH: I feel the primary piece is simply understanding the place you might be and understanding if there’s a possibility to enhance consistency. In virtually all instances the reply is sure, there’s. However the extra crisp you will get, the extra you may assist focus your management group on why this issues and what the chance is.

The following step is to actually robustly outline the successful behaviors. However I’d say simply decide one factor the place you and your management group know that if solely our folks may do that factor in a different way, it could transfer the needle. It’s not going to unravel every part however you understand it’s going to assist issues get higher. As we’re in SKO season, take into consideration the most important themes you’re anchoring your gross sales kickoff round. That in all probability factors to a conduct the place there’s a possibility, that if folks did that factor, you’d be higher off.

The third piece is to actually swing right through on serving to folks grasp these behaviors. Once more, with SKO season right here, have your SKO, however be sure to’re following up with, “Right here’s the content material you utilize to motion this factor that we talked about, right here’s the place you discover it, right here’s the place we information you on learn how to use it, right here’s the coaching program round it, right here’s learn how to construct confidence via getting coached,” after which maintain folks accountable for really going and doing it in the actual world.

Be sure you have alignment with management. If you happen to get pushback on any of that and management says “Oh, we don’t actually need to do this,” I feel it’s value asking the query, “Is that this conduct actually essential? Does this really matter?” As a result of if it’s not well worth the supervisor’s time to observe up and coach, is it value your time to place the stuff collectively? And extra importantly, is it value your group’s time to take a seat via that session at SKO? So just be sure you actually have that alignment throughout the groups that that is what issues and also you’re keen to actually drive it via.

MG: I like the advice that if you happen to’re receiving pushback, then it’s time to ask the query, “Is that this actually essential? Is it a precedence that we must be spending our time on and an initiative we’re making an attempt to nonetheless transfer ahead?” If you happen to don’t assume it’s that essential, then possibly it’s not and we are able to save a bunch of effort and time that manner.

Steve, this was a lot enjoyable. Thanks a lot for becoming a member of us for the primary episode of the Win-Win Podcast. It was a pleasure having you.

SH: Thanks, Marissa. Thanks for having me.

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