Sales Enablement Best Practices: The Pillars of Productivity
- by Elay Cohen
- June 6, 2017
We sat down with Sheevaun Thatcher the Head of Global Sales and Growth Enablement at RingCentral to talk about sales enablement, sales playbooks and salespeople. Here is her interview.
Sheevaun: I was running global sales engineering at Actuate since 1998. An executive had noticed that my team was the one team that they didn’t need to worry about. In 2008, they had said “whatever you’re doing now, I want you to apply it to the whole organization.” It was too new a concept to have a standardized title. I came up with my own title: VP, Global Success Metrics. Years down the line Forrester coined the phrase “sales enablement” and I adopted that title. I discovered that in sales enablement, I could still enjoy the thrill and game of sales, but without the risk. It became the perfect environment for me, and management came naturally. Back then I wasn’t able to find any mentors, so I had to forge my own path. Along the way I found a repeatable enablement methodology that works.
Sheevaun: Building a successful enablement program comes down to four key pillars. The first pillar is Strategic Alignment. Does everyone in the company know the strategy? How widespread is the understanding of the why? Understanding the why is what drives behavior and what creates culture. The second pillar is arming our teams with Assets. What we do with these assets is create playbooks that are accessible in small, bite-sized chunks. Those assets will typically be sales collateral, videos, websites, podcasts, training modules or whatever you need to support the visual delivery of the WHY. Then you want to ask yourself: how current are those materials? Are they on message? How accessible are they? Which gets me to the third pillar: Just-in-Time Content. We need to organize content so salespeople are provided with the right content, when they need it, in the right format, at the right stage of the sales cycle in order to be successful. You have to think like a salesperson and create a system for “withdrawals” instead of the typical “deposit” document management environment where files sit across many systems collecting digital dust. It has to be quick and easy to access. Finally, Tribal Knowledge is the fourth pillar with team collaboration, sharing best practices, sharing deal wins and customer stories. It’s important to create an environment that makes it easy for everyone to provide feedback hearing what’s working and what’s not working.
Sheevaun: When you bring this all together into a unified sales enablement strategy, you are left with a focused, highly productive sales team that can stay consistent, even through sales leadership changes. Your team’s win rates will continue to get better and better over time. Your sales cycles will decrease. New reps will be able to soak up the content faster and reduce ramp time. Lastly, field reps will no longer feel ignored, and will be fully supported and brought into the team’s culture. All of this leads to a stronger, more unified sales team that’s been enabled to reach record breaking results.
Sheevaun: The difference in my career has been profound and it happened with SalesHood. I had a vision for sales enablement for a lot of years but there was always a barrier. Either I was in a company too small to afford these tools, or I was in a company that could afford them but they didn’t do what I needed. I was sold on SalesHood’s capabilities, but it wasn’t until we saw huge increase in competitive win rates that I realized not only does it do what I needed, but it actually makes a major impact! SalesHood allows me to execute my vision that I proved works over the past 10 years, and bring order to chaos with a streamlined system that allows me to focus on building truly great content. SalesHood’s given me opportunities to be elevated to running a larger team, at a half-billion dollar company whose executive team is completely aligned with my vision centered around SalesHood.
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