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Last week, Seismic was honored to host the Sales Enablement Society (SES) 2019 Boston Spring Event at our office. The event was attended by a mix of sales enablement veterans, new practitioners, those looking to gather more information before making an investment, and more. Beginning and ending with networking, the crux of the event was a panel on how and when to leverage sales enablement solutions to reach sales enablement goals.

Panelists included leaders from organizations with different perspectives of how to successfully implement sales enablement within an organization. Chris DeLisle, RVP, customer success at Seismic, was accompanied by Allego Sales Enablement Director Mary Charles, Brainshark VP of Marketing Brendan Cournoyer, SiriusDecisions Senior Research Director Peter Ostrow, and Moderator Sandra Nangeroni.

It was a lively discussion, complete with useful attendee insight and questions. Some of the key takeaways included:

Consider what’s not working

One of the first few questions asked of the group had to do with when and how to get started with sales enablement. Sometimes the trigger is a major company event, such as a merger or acquisition, but as Chris DeLisle and Peter Ostrow noted, oftentimes the catalyst of embarking on a sales enablement initiative is the recognition what an organization is not doing.

Chris explained that companies have turned to Seismic after realizing sales teams are not taking advantage of, or able to locate, great content that marketing and other departments are creating. Peter went on to explain that sales enablement champions at organizations have had success calculating the damage of doing nothing, touting it as a reason for execs and other stakeholders for why at least something will be more cost effective than the current state.

Lay the groundwork for sales enablement

The group agreed that once a decision has been made to move forward with a sales enablement solution, it’s crucial to identify an internal sponsor or champion. This is the person whose job it is to understand the vision for sales enablement within the organization, understand its priorities and goals, and drive the strategy and approach. A sales enablement solution can only do so much without someone to properly manage it.

When deciding to move forward with a sales enablement solution, choosing a vendor is perhaps one of the most important decisions, and it can’t happen in a silo. The group encouraged attendees to involve organization-wide stakeholders to get their buy-in and really understand their pain points and what they expect from a sales enablement solution. Organizations should seek out a vendor that will help guide them through the implementation process, be realistic in terms of what a sales enablement solution can do, and help choose the right use case upon launch that has a direct correlation to what matters most to sales.

Set it and forget it will never work

A significant portion of the conversation had to do with ensuring success after implementation. After all, a sales enablement solution may be foreign to some salespeople, and per insight from Brendan Cournoyer, it must be considered in the context of a behavioral change.

Ensuring salespeople understand why and how a sales enablement solution will help them perform their job better is crucial. Organizations can get creative with this, including creating a video or showcasing top sales reps that have been successful with the sales enablement solution.

Mary Charles suggested finding a solution that can accommodate the ways that salespeople prefer to live, work and learn, which Chris DeLisle re-iterated by explaining the importance of finding easy points of entry. For example, if your salespeople live and die by Salesforce, which many do, you’ll want to make sure the chosen solution can be easily integrated with the CRM, and any other tools salespeople use daily to be successful.

Sales enablement success is different for every organization

One of the concluding questions asked of the panelists was how an organization should measure the success of a sales enablement solution. Largely, this will depend on specific use cases, which is why it’s so important to choose the right one(s) at the onset of the program, to make it easy to show value. A few panelists offered other suggestions to measure success, such as adoption – how many salespeople are logging in on a daily basis? Mary Charles noted a fun, anecdotal way to measure success: when people start using the solution as a verb to describe how to get something done!

If you missed the recent SES 2019 Boston Spring Event, I invite you to refer back to the SES events page often, for the next local event in Boston and other cities throughout the year. If you happen to be in San Diego next month, Seismic will be hosting another SES meet up at its headquarters on April 10th. You can register here.

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