Episode 1: What Is the Strategic Enablement Framework?

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Marissa Gbenro: Hey and welcome to the inaugural episode of the Win-Win podcast by Highspot. Be part of us as we dive into altering tendencies within the office and learn how to navigate them efficiently. I’m your host, Marissa Gbenro. By my work as a content material marketer, I’ve spent quite a lot of time fascinated with what content material individuals favor to devour. What did I discover? Properly, finest practices and analysis are very talked-about throughout the board. So, every episode of this podcast will present insights and finest practices on rising tendencies that can assist you keep forward of the curve. In the present day we’ll focus on how the affect of COVID-19 has pressured 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 function to the viewers?

Steve Hallowell: Hello, Marissa, and thanks a lot for having me. I’m Steve Hallowell. I lead strategic providers right here at Highspot. My background is that I led gross sales enablement operations and technique groups at quite a lot of high-growth expertise firms over the previous decade. I just lately joined Highspot to assist our prospects profit from a number of the finest practices on the market, each throughout our buyer base and throughout the trade.

MG: Excellent. Thanks, Steve. I believe we will all agree that 2020 has pressured quite a lot of firms to do an inner 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 individuals get began? So, Steve, are you able to begin by telling us just a little bit in regards to the strategic enablement framework and what it’s?

SH: Positive — thanks, Marissa. So, to step again, I’d first begin with what’s the strategic enablement framework attempting to drive, and actually it’s about attempting to drive constant efficiency. And I don’t essentially imply one particular person being constant, although that’s a very good factor too. However what I imply is that throughout your group, you’ll have some people who find themselves doing significantly properly. However then most individuals are doing someplace round what you’d anticipate. To attract a distinction right here in lots of organizations that I have a look at, that is true for, I believe, a really excessive proportion of gross sales organizations.

You might have just a few people who find themselves doing actually, very well, however you’ve many extra people who find themselves really struggling. So it’s not that they’re just a bit bit under quota — they’re really quite a bit under. That’s a very unhealthy dynamic for a lot of, many causes. You already know you may think about these are people who find themselves all consuming advertising and marketing 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 when it comes to success of their gross sales endeavors.

From a morale standpoint, now you’ve an entire bunch of individuals that aren’t being almost as profitable as they may very well be. That’s no enjoyable for anyone. It’s actually not useful for the careers of these people. So once more, while you form 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 wish to be. It does inform us that it’s potential to do properly, nonetheless.

When you’ve some people who find themselves doing properly, that claims, “Hey, there may be 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 “form of fairly properly.” Perhaps they’re just a little above quota, and in the event that they’re just a little under quota, it’s strong, wholesome efficiency, and the variety of under-performers is way much less.

We actually need it to seem like type of a bell curve, the best way we’d think about it might be. Within the overwhelming majority of circumstances, 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 prospects are doing. There are actually two issues that the easiest prospects are doing, they usually sound actually easy — they’re simply laborious to do in follow. Certainly one of them is defining successful behaviors, outline the issues that these finest individuals, the people who find themselves succeeding, are doing. The second is systematically serving to individuals grasp these behaviors. It doesn’t do us any good to outline what the very best persons are doing if no person can really go replicate that. A part of the artwork there may be in defining the behaviors granularly sufficient and crisply sufficient that we will really operationalize them. A part of that’s about having a very strong technique to guarantee that no sellers are left behind. We’re bringing everyone together with us, everyone is studying the important thing issues that matter, or we determine learn how to train them higher so that everyone finally will get there.

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

SH: Positive. Let me begin with just a little context. So typically in firms we see that there’s a giant distinction between the oldsters who’re performing actually, very well and everyone else. This was true earlier than COVID and I believe COVID has not helped this pattern. The scale of the group of individuals which can be doing actually, very well is way smaller than the group of people who find themselves struggling.

I believe all of us form of assume that most individuals are someplace within the center, however sadly, in lots of firms, the majority of the persons are really out within the left when it comes to the people who find themselves most struggling. So the chance for companies is that as a result of now we have some individuals doing properly, let’s determine what these persons are doing and get the remainder of the oldsters in our firm to do these issues.

The truth of truly making this occur is commonly fairly difficult. It’s one in all this stuff that’s extremely priceless. I believe everyone desires to do it and but it may be actually laborious to do in actual life. The strategic enablement framework is known as a roadmap for the way to do that. It’s been tried and true and utilized many instances, and in case you 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 properly, 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’ve most individuals performing properly, driving monetary return, and driving the expansion of the enterprise ahead.

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

SH: Yeah, it’s a terrific query, Marissa. It’s attention-grabbing as a result of I hear this query requested in several methods by totally different individuals, nevertheless it all comes all the way down to the identical factor. One query that I hear come up is an enablement chief saying, “Hey, how do I measure the affect of my enablement program?”

It might probably additionally come from a really totally different altitude within the firm. Let’s say you’ve any individual 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 sport as a result of we’re leaving one thing on the desk?”

Particularly on the planet that I come from with excessive progress firms, let’s say you’ve an organization rising at 50% a 12 months. Is that phenomenal? Or ought to that firm be rising at 100%? I really suppose this framework may 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 and marketing group, gross sales consultants, gross sales engineers, your buyer success people, your account managers — are we bringing the total weight of that firm to bear in an efficient approach or not?” And that comes again to this notion of consistency.

I have 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 just a little bit above quota, how many individuals are just a little bit under, or how many individuals are actually struggling? If I put individuals into these buckets, what does the ratio seem like throughout these buckets? If I see that most individuals are form of in the midst of that, I’m doing very well. Once more, the fact for many firms, although, is that far too many individuals are over within the “I’m struggling” bucket.

That claims to me that the group as an entire has not discovered learn how to make its individuals profitable. So you may have a look at this in general quota attainment however you can too have a look at this in additional particular issues, like possibly how rapidly people ramp is a giant concern for you in case you’re a quick rising firm. Then you may have a look at it when it comes to how a lot enterprise do individuals shut of their first 12 months. Normally when individuals say they’ve a ramp problem, it’s not that no person’s ramping rapidly — 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 one in all this stuff that may sound actually easy, and may be more durable to do in follow. The 1st step, do I do know what these finest persons are doing? That is one thing that for lots of firms you’ll get a solution, however generally the reply isn’t particular sufficient that you may operationalize it. A state of affairs that I’ve actually 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 individuals higher, we wish higher efficiency.” What ought to I prepare them to do? What would you like them to do in a different way? And that’s not likely clear while you really get to the extent of working a program to assist individuals get higher. You don’t actually know the place to start out. It’s type of like attempting to scale a pile of mush, it’s only a nondescript pile of one thing. And I would like extra of it. Properly, 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 very best individuals do? Have I outlined that in a approach that’s clear sufficient and crisp sufficient that I can actually operationalize these issues? Do I’ve the blueprint for what I wish to replicate?

MG: I used to be simply going to say, I believe that defines a lot of the ache factors for lots of pros, “Go do that and do it higher.” Properly, 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 world that was most necessary? Is that going to have probably the most enterprise affect? 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 probably the most affect are extraordinarily necessary earlier than even beginning. You don’t wish to get too far into it and notice you targeted all this time and power on one thing that nobody needed to alter. It’s important to 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 instructed, “No, I needed it to be a circle or triangle as a substitute.”

SH: Yeah. You already know, I believe one thing that you just see typically is that gross sales leaders will really type of over-delegate to an ailment. They rent an enablement chief. They’re tremendous psyched. They will’t wait to see what we will all go do now that they’ve a powerful enablement group. However they don’t acknowledge that there are specific issues that the enablement chief simply merely can’t remedy 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 occurring?” after which holding individuals accountable and training them once they’re not.

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

MG: That completely is sensible, and I heard you form 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 necessary to anticipate coaching and training to have an actual affect, or what are the very best key metrics or indicators to anticipate from coaching and training to ensure you’re actually getting probably the most out of it early on? Such as you mentioned, downstream isn’t while you wish to acknowledge one thing has gone improper.

SH: In order that’s a terrific query. I believe 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 now we have at the least one factor that we all know it’s actually necessary for our groups to go do.

A quite common instance of that, as an illustration, 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 individuals to go do. Many enablement groups will form 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 steering round that of right here’s when and learn how to use these property and supplies. That may be fantastic for any individual who is absolutely self motivated to seize these discovery questions.

However the actuality is that for many of us once 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 study a brand new idea. We’d like to have the ability to follow it and construct confidence earlier than we go use it with a buyer in what can really feel like a fairly excessive stress surroundings. And lastly, we’d like any individual to carry us accountable for really going to do it and offering us with the appropriate assist once we’re on the market in entrance of the shopper. That is the place the function of the frontline supervisor actually is available in.

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

MG: I believe that accountability and visibility piece is commonly neglected. There’s a field that’s going to get checked of in case you did it or didn’t do it, nevertheless it’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 alter behaviors and so that you can do these particular issues for a motive and that accountability isn’t translated. There’s no open loop of suggestions that not solely offers you visibility but in addition holds the particular person 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 believe that facet is absolutely necessary 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 believe what you’re form of relating right here is the way you construct actually efficient coaching. There’s just a few issues that I’ve seen through the years that make a giant distinction right here. I believe one of many first issues is getting actually particular about the way you hope to assist individuals’s coaching. What’s the particular factor you need them to do in a different way on account of the coaching and the place are they really caught? Generally it’s straightforward to form of launch right into a coaching and type of unload on any individual saying, “Listed here are the entire methods I’m going to strive that can assist you, however I don’t actually know what you want.”

It will be type of like, your automobile is having some concern so that you pull into a store they usually change the tires and the transmission, they alter the belts within the engine, they wash your home windows, they alter the headlamps, after which you’ve this large invoice on the finish of it. You’re undecided they really mounted the factor you wanted to be mounted, however you spent quite a lot 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 individuals, speaking to their managers, understanding particularly the place they lack confidence, the place they want probably the most assist, and recognizing that may fluctuate throughout totally different individuals.

Secondly, it’s about making coaching that’s really difficult. I simply received off the telephone with a gross sales chief who mentioned, “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 by that coaching they usually’re profitable, they’d be totally assured to face any state of affairs with a buyer.”

Many people within the enablement area are good individuals and we wish buddies on the gross sales group, and we don’t wish to push too laborious, and we wish them to be ok with our coaching. The truth is, if I’m going by coaching that’s very easy, I didn’t get something from it. If you happen to push me in a productive approach, exterior of my consolation zone, now I’m actually getting worth and actually getting higher. Now coaching might be a very good use of my time versus wanting again and saying, “That was form of good, I had fun hanging out with so-and-so, however I’m undecided that I’m really any higher for it on the finish of it.”

MG: That’s actually true. A few of the finest trainings I’ve ever gone by made me so intimidated that I assumed, “The primary time I ever get on a name with a buyer, they’re going to ask me all these actually laborious 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 a terrific 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 parts which can be most necessary to bear in mind when driving constant efficiency, what would you say these are?

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

The following step is to essentially 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 individuals may do that factor in a different way, it might transfer the needle. It’s not going to unravel every part however it’s going to assist issues get higher. As we’re in SKO season, take into consideration the main 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 individuals did that factor, you’d be higher off.

The third piece is to essentially swing right through on serving to individuals grasp these behaviors. Once more, with SKO season right here, have your SKO, however ensure you’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 by getting coached,” after which maintain individuals 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 believe it’s price asking the query, “Is that this conduct actually necessary? 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 price your time to place the stuff collectively? And extra importantly, is it price your group’s time to take a seat by 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 essentially drive it by.

MG: I like the advice that in case you’re receiving pushback, then it’s time to ask the query, “Is that this actually necessary? Is it a precedence that we needs to be spending our time on and an initiative we’re attempting to nonetheless transfer ahead?” If you happen to don’t suppose it’s that necessary, then possibly it’s not and we will save a bunch of effort and time that approach.

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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