Episode 1: What Is the Strategic Enablement Framework?

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Marissa Gbenro: Whats up 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 methods to navigate them efficiently. I’m your host, Marissa Gbenro. Via my work as a content material marketer, I’ve spent a variety of time occupied with what content material folks favor to devour. What did I discover? Nicely, finest practices and analysis are highly regarded throughout the board. So, every episode of this podcast will present insights and finest practices on rising traits that can assist you keep forward of the curve. At this time we’ll talk about how the influence of COVID-19 has pressured many organizations to reevaluate the effectiveness of their income engine and methods to transfer ahead.

To assist us unpack this matter, 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 providers right here at Highspot. My background is that I led gross sales enablement operations and technique groups at various high-growth know-how 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: Good. Thanks, Steve. I believe we will all agree that 2020 has pressured a variety of firms to do an inner audit of what’s working, what’s not, and ways in which they’ll 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 a bit of bit concerning 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 an excellent factor too. However what I imply is that throughout your crew, you might have some people who find themselves doing notably nicely. However then most individuals are doing someplace round what you’d count on. 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 share of gross sales organizations.

You have got a couple of 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 beneath quota — they’re really rather a lot beneath. That’s a very unhealthy dynamic for a lot of, many causes. You realize you possibly can 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 crew 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’ve a complete 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, if you form of step again, you probably have a scenario the place some individuals are doing very well and a bunch of individuals are struggling, that’s not the place we wish to be. It does inform us that it’s attainable to do nicely, nonetheless.

When you’ve some people who find themselves doing nicely, that claims, “Hey, there’s a route to success right here.” We would like to have the ability to flip this right into a scenario the place most individuals, the majority of individuals, are doing what we’d name “form of fairly nicely.” Perhaps they’re a bit of above quota, and in the event that they’re a bit of beneath quota, it’s strong, wholesome efficiency, and the variety of under-performers is way much less.

We actually need it to appear like kind of a bell curve, the best way we’d think about it might be. Within the overwhelming majority of instances, that’s really not what the efficiency of the crew 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 observe. One among them is defining successful behaviors, outline the issues that these finest 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 perfect individuals are doing if no person can really go replicate that. A part of the artwork there’s 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 method to be sure 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 work out methods to train 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 influence? How do you even know what areas to concentrate on for metrics of success and key indicators for steady efficiency?

SH: Positive. Let me begin with a bit of context. So typically in firms we see that there’s an enormous distinction between the parents who’re performing actually, very well and all people else. This was true earlier than COVID and I believe COVID has not helped this development. The scale of the group of individuals which might 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 individuals 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 now have some folks doing nicely, let’s work out what these individuals are doing and get the remainder of the parents in our firm to do these issues.

The fact of really making this occur is usually fairly difficult. It’s one in all these items that’s extremely beneficial. I believe all people desires to do it and but it may be actually laborious to do in actual life. The strategic enablement framework can be a roadmap for a way to do that. It’s been tried and true and utilized many instances, and in case you comply with this framework, you actually can change the form of the curve of efficiency in your group. It goes from a scenario the place many individuals are underperforming to a scenario the place most individuals are actually doing fairly nicely, with the entire profit that comes from that, which is you not having this massive drag on efficiency throughout the group. You not have lots of people who’re simply failing to stay as much as their potential. Actually, you’ve most individuals performing nicely, driving monetary return, and driving the expansion of the enterprise ahead.

MG: Is there a particular time period that you simply use when considering 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 folks, nevertheless it 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 influence of my enablement program?”

It may additionally come from a really totally different altitude within the firm. Let’s say you’ve 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 development 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 could 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 crew, 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 method 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 a bit of bit above quota, how many individuals are a bit of bit beneath, or how many individuals are actually struggling? If I put folks into these buckets, what does the ratio appear 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 a complete has not found out methods to make its folks profitable. So you possibly can have a look at this in general quota attainment however you can too have a look at this in additional particular issues, like perhaps how shortly people ramp is an enormous subject for you in case you’re a quick rising firm. Then you possibly can have 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 person’s ramping shortly — it’s that some individuals 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 these items that may sound actually easy, and could be more durable to do in observe. The first step, do I do know what these finest individuals are doing? That is one thing that for lots of firms you’ll get a solution, however generally the reply isn’t particular sufficient which you can operationalize it. A scenario that I’ve actually been in when main an enablement crew 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 probably not clear if you really get to the extent of operating a program to assist folks get higher. You don’t actually know the place to start out. It’s kind 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. 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 process actually is, do I even know what the perfect folks do? Have I outlined that in a method 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 execs, “Go do that and do it higher.” Nicely, what is that this? What does success appear like? And if I come again to you and improved in a single space, was that the realm that was most necessary? Is that going to have probably the most enterprise influence? So getting very clear on expectations of what beauty like and areas that you simply’ve clearly recognized want work and are going to have probably the most influence 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 vitality on one thing that nobody wished to alter. It’s a must to put the mush in a field so that you at the very least know you need it to have 4 sides, as a substitute of being instructed, “No, I wished it to be a circle or triangle as a substitute.”

SH: Yeah. You realize, I believe one thing that you simply see typically is that gross sales leaders will really kind of over-delegate to an ailment. They rent an enablement chief. They’re tremendous psyched. They’ll’t wait to see what we will all go do now that they’ve a robust enablement crew. However they don’t acknowledge that there are specific 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 crew members to perform and our managers monitoring, are these issues taking place?” after which holding folks accountable and training them after they’re not.

That’s one thing that there’s a variety of work by the gross sales management crew to do there, enablement can facilitate, however they’ll’t absolutely personal it. Or, equally, “Are we arming our salespeople with the correct content material to help having the conversations that we’d like them to have?” In most firms, the product advertising crew has rather a lot to say about that content material and the messaging in that content material. If there isn’t the correct alignment throughout product advertising, gross sales, and gross sales enablement, then product advertising doesn’t have the correct imaginative and prescient for what they actually need to construct that may assist fill that want and actually present the correct milestone. Gross sales enablement can knock it out of the park on the downstream efforts, however in case you’re not enabling on the correct 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 count on coaching and training to have an actual influence, or what are the perfect key metrics or indicators to count on from coaching and training to be sure you’re actually getting probably the most out of it early on? Such as you mentioned, downstream isn’t if you wish to acknowledge one thing has gone unsuitable.

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 had been simply speaking about was defining successful behaviors, however then we additionally must systematically assist the crew 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 perhaps we haven’t outlined all of our successful behaviors, however we now have at the very least one factor that we all know it’s actually necessary for our groups to go do.

A quite common instance of that, for 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 form of undergo the traditional 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 methods to use these property and supplies. That may be great for anyone who is basically 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 want some actual construction to our coaching to have the ability to study a brand new idea. We want to have the ability to observe it and construct confidence earlier than we go use it with a buyer in what can really feel like a reasonably excessive strain surroundings. And lastly, we’d like anyone to carry us accountable for really going to do it and offering us with the correct help 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 crew I can do a beautiful job placing the correct content material on the market — I get the content material, I supply the fabric, I bundle it very well, I be 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 still fail within the goal of getting the entire crew 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 necessary? Are they offering the correct teaching and help after I’m really on the market with prospects?

MG: I believe that accountability and visibility piece is usually ignored. 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 provides 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 perhaps it requires some rework.” I believe that side is basically necessary and sometimes not talked about sufficient.

Additionally, you talked about change conduct. How do you be sure 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 simply’re placing onto the telephones is prepared and going to smash that decision their first time?

SH: I believe what you’re form of pertaining to right here is the way you construct actually efficient coaching. There’s a couple of issues that I’ve seen over time that make an enormous distinction right here. I believe 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? Generally it’s simple to form of launch right into a coaching and kind of unload on anyone 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 kind of like, your automobile is having some subject 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’ve this big invoice on the finish of it. You’re unsure they really mounted the factor you wanted to be mounted, however you spent a variety 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 want 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 probably the most help, and recognizing that may range throughout totally different folks.

Secondly, it’s about making coaching that’s really difficult. I simply bought off the cellphone with a gross sales chief who mentioned, “I need a scenario the place all of the coaching that my crew takes is the toughest factor they ever do. I would like them to know that in the event that they get by way of that coaching they usually’re profitable, they’d be absolutely assured to face any scenario with a buyer.”

Many people within the enablement discipline are good folks and we wish associates on the gross sales crew, and we don’t wish to push too laborious, and we wish them to be ok with our coaching. The fact is, if I’m going by way of coaching that’s very easy, I didn’t get something from it. Should you push me in a productive method, outdoors of my consolation zone, now I’m actually getting worth and actually getting higher. Now coaching can be an excellent 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 unsure that I’m really any higher for it on the finish of it.”

MG: That’s actually true. A number of the finest trainings I’ve ever gone by way of 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 laborious questions and I’ll have to recollect all of those product specs.” However then you definately get on a name and also you’re having a terrific dialog and it simply so occurs that there’s this good opening the place you get to pitch your product and it goes 100 instances simpler than what you had been prepped for in coaching. I’ve to agree, I would favor coaching to be the toughest a part of my job, versus after I really get on the cellphone.

Should you needed to wrap up the three parts which might be most necessary to remember when driving constant efficiency, what would you say these are?

SH: I believe the primary piece is simply understanding the place you’re and understanding if there’s a chance to enhance consistency. In virtually all instances the reply is sure, there’s. However the extra crisp you may get, the extra you possibly can assist focus your management crew on why this issues and what the chance is.

The subsequent step is to essentially robustly outline the successful behaviors. However I’d say simply decide one factor the place you and your management crew know that if solely our folks may do that factor in a different way, it might transfer the needle. It’s not going to resolve all the pieces however you understand 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 chance, that if folks did that factor, you’d be higher off.

The third piece is to essentially swing all through on serving to folks grasp these behaviors. Once more, with SKO season right here, have your SKO, however be sure you’re following up with, “Right here’s the content material you employ 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 methods to use it, right here’s the coaching program round it, right here’s methods to construct confidence by way of getting coached,” after which maintain folks accountable for really going and doing it in the true world.

Be sure to have alignment with management. Should you get pushback on any of that and management says “Oh, we don’t actually need to try this,” I believe it’s value 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 comply with up and coach, is it value your time to place the stuff collectively? And extra importantly, is it value your crew’s time to sit down by way of 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 prepared to essentially drive it by way of.

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?” Should you don’t suppose it’s that necessary, then perhaps it’s not and we will save a bunch of effort and time that method.

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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