Enablement’s Role in Change Management – Soirée, Boston
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Dan Pearl: My name is Dan Pearl, I’m with INFINIDAT which is a large scale data storage company and I run enablement and strategy for the sales organization. And, we’ll let the rest of the team introduce themselves and then we’ll go through all the questions.
Kiersten Kaye: Hi everyone, my name is Kiersten Kaye. I work for Dassault Systèmes and I am the sales enablement leader for one of our brands, Innovia.
Jon Perera: My name is Jon Perera, I am the chief marketing officer for Highspot.
Christine Schweickert: Hi, I’m Christine Schweickert, senior director of service enablement at Akamai.
Rusty Bishop: I’m Rusty Bishop and I’m the VP of sales enablement at Bigtincan. And I’ve only been in this job for six weeks, so I may not be that qualified to talk to you.
Shauna MacNeil: My name is Shauna MacNeil and I lead the global sales enablement team for Nokia software.
Sara Kleiman: Hi, I’m Sara Kleiman and I work for Salesforce. I cover enablement for our commerce cloud sellers, as well as our sellers who support the retail and consumer goods industry.
DP: Awesome. Thanks, guys. So, I think on one of the earlier panels today, Mike said if you took the word “sales enablement”, you jumbled up the letters, it would be what? Do you guys remember? Change management. Alright, he set me up perfectly. So, with that being said, we should probably define what it actually means besides a jumbled up word, and Kiersten is going to do that for us.
KK: Thank you. So, change management. If you look it up in the dictionary, it’s this woefully lacking definition that just says, change management is helping individuals, teams and organizations make change happen. So, we’ve been hearing a lot today about correlating, right? Correlating data. So, I’m going to correlate some data. Seventy percent of all change initiatives fail, according to McKinsey. Well, then we are really bad at change management.
Okay, I’m going to make that correlation. Why do I think we’re so bad at it? I think we’re so bad at it because it takes a very, very long time for an organization to decide to enact a change. And we’re on the sales side. We know we want our customers to feel the pain, right? But then we wait in our companies, good and long, until the pain hurts so much that we decide to enact a change, and what do our leaders do? They want to railroad that change. They want to speed it up, they want this change to move through our organization really quickly.
Good change management is just like any project. You plan, you meet with your stakeholders, you understand what the goals are, you identify what you want to have happen. Who is affected? How they’re affected. You go through that whole planning period before you deploy, with a robust communication plan alongside it. So as we go forward and talk on this panel, I hope we start to tease out some of those pieces.
DP: Great, I think if we take what you just said and then make it, maybe, even a little bit more specific with some examples, we had a couple of other panelists that are going to take even that step further. So, I think Shauna you had some examples of change management at Nokia.
SM: Sure, thanks. So, the division or the business unit that I work in at Nokia is, in fact, itself a really big example of a change in the process. For any of you who work at large companies, now or in the past, you know change comes slowly. What happened to us is, Nokia split out what they call the software business from the core part of Nokia.
And so, the reason for doing that was to address a different, broader set of personas within our existing customers, as well as, of course, trying to address some new and different customers. The core part of the business, or the historical Nokia that many of you may be familiar with, we used to sell phones, as you probably know. But also telecommunications equipment, boxes, radio towers. The way to sell those products is a lot different than how we want to sell our software products.
So, making the change complex is, of course, we’re a global organization with a lot of different time zones, a lot of different cultures. Also, we enacted if you will, a dedicated sales force. So we’re the only division within Nokia with our own dedicated sales force. And within that sales force, about 65% of the account managers are new to Nokia within the last 12 months. So, I have this mishmash, if you will, of salespeople I’m trying to enable. Thirty-five percent of them are people who come from the historic Nokia, so they’re used to selling boxes and leading with, “Let me show you this widget and what it can do for you.” And then I have this other 35% of my sales force who are new to the company, so they come with a variety of different frames of reference. Lots of great ideas, some of which are aligned with the corporate vision, and some are not.
We’re trying to take all of that, kind of narrowing it down to what it means just to sales for me, or for Nokia, is we’re trying to take all of that and align everyone around a common selling approach. And so it’s, it’s a lot of changes all at once. There’s been several other, kind of organizational shifts and changes along the way, even just over the last couple of months, that kind of make it a constant, constant state of change.
DP: Yeah, I think we’re going to talk about the idea of a constant state of change in a little bit, also. But I think Sara, you had a couple of other examples as well, right?
SK: Yeah, I have two examples. So, one is from my previous company. We decided to completely revamp the sales process, so this included redefining the sales stages and this touched a lot more than just our account executives. It was our BDRs, our solutions engineers, anyone who was in a customer facing role or involved in helping to close business.
This was a huge change. Not only did we have to educate everyone basically in the company on what this new process was, but we also had to make sure that was reflected in the CRM, which is Salesforce. And so working with a very large team on making sure that this process happened, and that it went smoothly and that everyone had the information that they needed to be successful. And it was one of those things where they really didn’t have a choice because we were going to do this one way or another. So, we really had to be careful with how we messaged and managed this change. And there were a lot of moving parts so it was interesting.
And then at Salesforce, this is a very recent example, for one of the sales teams I support, we really wanted to better understand the activity that was happening and opportunities and accounts. Like, what were our AE’s doing? What types of meetings were they having internally and externally? So, we had this big push to get them to log all of their activities: phone calls, meetings, in the CRM, which of course, at Salesforce we drink our own champagne, it’s sales cloud, no surprise there.
And after we launched this big initiative to get our AE’s to do this, they weren’t. And we could not understand why they were not doing this. And it’s because they did not know what the different types of activities were or how to log them. And so we’re like, oh gosh. You know, some of them are selling this product so this is something that will help them do their jobs better if they better understand how it works. But also gives us a lot more insight into what their day-to-day activities are, as well as opportunities to get more involved in the accounts and making sure that they’re doing the right types of things at the right time, which ultimately helps accelerate the sales cycle and close business.
DP: Yeah. Rusty, I think Sara just hinted at this, but it sounds like change is easy. So in seriousness, what are some of the other challenges that you’ve seen in your career in change management?
RB: Well, I’m actually going through a massive change right now. Seven months ago I sold my software as a service company to Bigtincan. And I know that you guys are all sales enablement professionals, and you’re going to have these radical moments when things have to happen rapidly with change. Not these large, gradual changes. The hardest thing to do was to communicate to our team why we needed to leave the status quo and do this new thing and go sell our company.
So, that’s the first thing I think about with change is, why should I leave this comfortable place I am today? My sales team. Nate, who’s back there today. I mean, we were doing well. People were hitting quota. They’re having a great time selling the product. Why are you taking me out of the status quo? So we had to communicate that.
The second thing you got to do, we had to do, was minimize uncertainty. I’m just going, to be honest. When you bring change to a sales team, they pretty much assume that you’re trying to do something bad to them. They assume you’re trying to take away their territory, their quota, their lives, or whatever it is. They can’t help it, it’s natural, it’s human nature. I think it’s our job as sales enablement professionals and owners of companies that are going through these rapid changes to really communicate why, and then to go have those uncomfortable conversations. I really believe that your life and your success could be measured by the number of uncomfortable conversations that you’re willing to have.
CS: I just want to jump in with one thing. One of the first panel sessions this morning, a gentleman mentioned VUCA. For those of you who are not familiar with what VUCA is, it is Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous. And if you live in the same kind of software environment that I live in, it’s our daily. Right? It’s regular. And so how do we, as leaders, help people find comfort in VUCA?
DP: I actually have a question for the audience. So, does everyone here view themselves as sales enablement? Show of hands if you don’t call yourselves sales enablement. Yeah, okay, good. One more question. Who here is part of the marketing organization? Okay, who’s part of the sales organization? Who’s part of “other”? And who here likes audience participation?
Alright, good. So, with that being said since this is a Sales Enablement Soiree, what is enablement’s role, Jon, in change management?
JP: Yeah, sure. I realize I’m a marketer and not in enablement.
DP: That’s why I asked that.
JP: I’ll give you an example from my last job. I was at Adobe. The day that I joined, it was in November 2011, my boss, the CMO said, “We’re going to change the whole thing. We’re going to go from selling a creative suite for $2,500 per box to the enterprise, and instead, we’ll use a sort of a Netflix subscription model, $50 per box. And it’s going to be great and go make it happen.” As a dutiful marketer, I went out and created the data sheets, price lists, and the PowerPoints and the whole nine yards, and enablement really sort of stopped us in our tracks at Adobe to appropriately slow things down. And I think there’s like eight or 10 steps of fantastic change management, but the ones that Adobe did, that that enablement team stopped me and I was so glad they did.
Number one, be 100% complete, Mr. Marketing Guy, with your stuff. Sometimes as a marketer, I can be like, “You know, 80-90%, that’s pretty good. And then as we go along, we can figure out a little bit more detail and get some feedback and make it better.” And they were like, “You don’t understand that we get one shot at our sales team and if it’s not done and complete, don’t do it.”
Number two was, nail the what’s in it for me. And they really did that from sort of two dimensions. One was, what is this for me as a person, as a sales rep, that we’re going to go from selling something I know how to sell, I’ve got the PowerPoint decks, I’ve been doing this for five years, to this subscription? Like what value people are going to find in that? So, tell sellers how they’re going to be successful with it is what the enablement team told us.
And the third and last thought was, they really program manage this thing and they held a daily war room, we called it our stand-up meeting. It was at 4:30 every day with all the key functional players in the same room, so that as we found questions and hard issues, we could surface them, remedy them, get them fixed really quickly. So those are, I don’t know if it’s a perfect answer, but three things that I learned from the biggest change I’ve ever been a part of around where enablement really helped the company do it successfully.
DP: There’s no such thing as a perfect answer. It was pretty good. So, sort of two sides of the same coin would be, what’s leadership’s role, Kiersten, in sort of answering a similar challenge?
KK: Absolutely. And just to contextualize my perspective and response, I have over 25 years in predominantly high-tech organizations. I am perfectly accustomed to working with the technical people, the engineers. And currently in my role, even though I’m responsible for my enablement team, I sit within a technical sales organization. My company is really an R&D company, we’re scientists that make software.
When you layer that in, you think about the personality or the mindsets of people who are in high-tech, and you know, the people that you fight with or that you love to fight with, within your organizations, they’re totally task-oriented. And these leaders, these technical leaders, they tend to approach change by just saying, “This is what has to change. From a task perspective.” But the 70% of change initiatives failing is because the human element is undeniable. The only reason a change will happen is if the people make the change happen.
When I think about this, there’s a nice article if any of you are interested in reading, there is the Centers for Creative Leadership, ccl.org. They have a nice article called “Negotiating Change: A Leader’s Role.” And in this, it really talks about starting at a place of three steps. Can you self-assess, I keep tapping on my mic, I apologize. Can you self-assess yourself? How are you feeling about this change? And are you ready?
One of the most hideous things I’ve ever watched a leader do is bash the change with their teams. You can’t do it. Second, are you then ready to help others make a change? Are you clear on what they’re going to need and how they’re going to make that change happen? And then the third piece is the organization. As a leader, I have to lead the change, but I have to leave the good. Leave the good change. One of the best ways that I’ve found in helping people navigate change in an organization is by sitting down and naming what the change is.
Second, identifying the parts of that change that are just not in our control. It’s happening, we can’t change it, like you hear leaders say, “Get on the train. The train’s leaving the station.” But the second thing a great leader can do is help people understand which parts of the change they can control. Once you sit down as a leader with your teams and you name all the things that you can control within the context of this change, you can then use that as your plan forward. And sitting down with the team, helping them, like you said, the WIIFM. You need a good “why”. “Why” is motivation. Without the “why”, people aren’t motivated.
But I need two “why’s”. I need the task-oriented why for all the technical people in the audience, and I need the WIIFM, then what’s in it for me or the person why, for the folks in the room who we might like to call feelers or whatever personality word you’d like to use. So then the leader can work with those people. Another way of thinking about this, and I’m a provocative speaker is Kubla Ross, does anybody know who Kubla Ross is? Kubla Ross wrote a book on death and dying and there is a grief cycle. Guess what? The change cycle is the same, and most people now call it the Kubla Ross change cycle. It get’s real for people.
JP: Can I add a quick thought to that? The train leaves the stations for the leadership of the company, like a few weeks ago. And then when you roll the change out at the company, leadership like, “Guys, we’ve already gone through all these stages of grief. Like come on, get with it.” And I think it’s enablement’s job to help everybody remember, “we’re starting our train journey today.”
KK: Yes, absolutely. So, you can have pragmatists, conserver’s, and what’s our third ones, they like to jump on, originators. Originators like to go with the change. They question everything. Pragmatists are like, “Mmm maybe if it’s a process improvement.” And the conserver’s are like, “It’s just fine the way it is.” So, you need to figure out, who are those people? How are we going to talk to them? What’s this whole communication strategy?
And there’s another person that I love to quote, this is not mine, I wish I could take credit for it. There’s a woman named Nilla Fermerchant. She’s written a few books, she’s a business strategist. She talks about loyal oppositionists and in all my years of working on change initiatives, this is a nugget. This goes back to that slide this morning of the hidden gems. Loyal oppositionists, find out who they are. They’re the people who are already complaining loudly about the change. Invite them in. listen to them. Give them space. Tell them that we know this change has to happen, back to what we can’t control, but there’s all this stuff we can control and with your input we can be successful. Invite them into the conversation, make them loyal. And they will be the loud people who drag everyone else along on the change.
DP: I think it’s super interesting when you consider the comments that were made on an earlier panel that we’re all in sales. To some degree, even if it’s internal sales. When you’re actually selling with a quota and you always have to, you’re always taught, go find the guy who’s going to derail your deal. And convert that guy, or woman, excuse me, into the person who’s going to be your biggest fan. Because once you convert that person, then you’re basically, so it’s the same thing internally.
And since we’ve now compared sales enablement to death and dying, I’d like to keep moving on. Let’s assume we’ve all bought in. We all want this, what’s in it for me? And now we actually have to make it happen. Also, someone before mentioned a question to the audience about frameworks. So, Christine, do you want to start talking about the framework that you’ve implemented at Akamai?
CS: Yeah, well I didn’t personally implement it. So, in 2011, Akamai adopted an industry standard called PACE: Product, Agility, Consistency, and Excellence. There is some stuff out there. And today, like I’m so glad they did that nine years ago. But, basically before that, they were operating in silos and they were, as they said in the morning, just figuring it out as they went.
By adopting this framework, it did two really important things. And then some other things organically happened. But it brought all the groups within the company to the table: product, marketing, sales, illegal, services, my group, and it also forced a commitment from the executive leadership at specific stage gates. And there are deliverables within that PACE framework, specific deliverables at different phases that are training, not only for sales but for the services team. The communication, how are we going to roll this out? It really set the platform for all different kinds of organic growth of like, my team, service enablement team. We actually have that at Akamai. We have a technical enablement and training team.
Now, remember, I said 2011, so I’m so glad we started back then. We’re still figuring stuff out, but a lot has organically developed there. There are frameworks out there. I definitely believe in them and it’s forcing a structure and it also makes us look better to the customers as well, because it’s not like three different companies are releasing different things, or all these different business units within Akamai are off in silos operating in a different manner. There’s a guideline to follow and it really forces a commitment from all those different groups.
DP: Thanks. So, that’s the framework side of things, and I think Rusty, you had some examples as well on some of the materials training that you’ve implemented in the past.
RB: Yeah, so as a bit of background, I have been a part of 200 sales enablement deployments in nine years. So, I’ve seen everything. I’ve seen a lot of failures. It’s kind of sad how much money people spend on these things. But I want to come back to something that you just mentioned. Not once have we talked about the customer. And I think our customers’ experience change as well, and we don’t realize it.
When you asked a question about content, and what is sales enablement’s role in the actual content that we give to people. It needs to be focused on our customers. And their journey. And I think we all get caught up in how cool our stuff is. And we get these PowerPoints, right, from marketing and it’s the latest PowerPoint. No one asks why it was created in the first place. So I encourage you guys as sales enablement to kind of be that layer.
If you are in marketing, you’ve got to be thinking, why are we creating this? Ask the stakeholders. I’ve seen lots of content come through these platforms, like mine and Jon’s, that’s just quite frankly, not helpful at all and it doesn’t explain the reason for the change. When you’re in a change situation, create stuff that’s flashy.
One of the coolest things I saw was someone created this video, one minute video, it was like a Hollywood movie trailer, explaining why we’re doing this change. And everyone bought in and started cheering and clapping. Right, so sometimes you’ve got to think about these things and their effect on people. So when I think about content that we’re creating, one, we got to be the gate between marketing and sales, and two, we’ve got to be thinking of things that are going to get people behind it and get like “let’s go do it”.
CS: And I’d add to that, the content that is created there can be leveraged by more than sales. And so again, bringing all the groups to a guideline, services can leverage that content. They have an upsell mission within an existing account. So it’s just little tweaks and stuff, so the process also prevents duplicate efforts. People going out trying to solve the same problem.
KK: But at the same time, as sales enablement people, we recognize, maybe like doctors who are trying not to harm, right? So in my organization, it’s the R&D, right? R&D keeps releasing and relaunching and coming up with a new approach, and right now, we as enablement are trying to enable both an on-prem traditional as well as an on-cloud next generation, and differentiating what to sell to whom.
And at the end of the day, are we really just confusing our sales force? They are coin driven, they are going to take the path of least resistance, right? So if you want them to move in a strategic area, it has to become really compelling. And then going back to what we heard this morning, are they well informed? Do they feel aware? Do they have the tools and resources? Are they trained? Are they coached? It’s a lot.
DP: Well, let’s use that as a segue into the next question, which I think, Kiersten you’re going to start with, but I think everyone actually has different examples in terms of, we all work for different organizations but the one thing we all agree on is change is constant. Unless anyone disagrees with me. Change happens once and then we move away and then never have to change again. With that being said, now that we have an agreement, how do you deal with kind of a never-ending, revolving door of change?
KK: It’s a great question. At Dassault Systems, we have, you know every company has this stuff, we have our values, right? One of ours, the status quo. We believe that we do not want to defend a mature market space. We want to invent the next market space, and we’re constantly at the forefront, cutting edge of what we want to bring to market. Part of it can just be you know, do you interview people who are change resilient? Do you interview people and hire people who are really excited and motivated to be part of a change machine? I’ll stop there.
DP: No, that’s great. Shauna, at Nokia how do you deal with, I mean, your role started as a change, right? And then how do you deal with it continuing to change all the time?
SM: Being very flexible and agile. Being responsive to the change. I do a lot of one on one reach outs to, sort of, my customers if you will. So the market unit leaders. I really try and get anecdotal feedback. How are we doing? How are you feeling? Are we missing the mark? Are we overwhelming people with change? One of the things, Christine, in one of your last comments was coming to my mind was like, in our organization especially, we’re pushing a lot of information towards our sales team. And how can we kind of reel some of that back? Simplify the messages. Make sure that more information is available. You know, people have that support that they need, but not overwhelm them with the details that they may not necessarily be interested in.
JP: Right, I’ll just add another thought. Earlier I said the role of enablement sometimes is to push back on marketing and say, “Be 100% complete with all your content before you roll that out to the field.” I think another balance point on constant change is, at a leadership level explaining to the company one too many, all hands format, here’s what’s going on. Here’s what’s happening in our industry, here’s what’s happening with our buyers, here’s what’s happening with our competitors. So that people are prepped for change. Because we’ve brought them along the journey a little bit. Just by one of many communications.
DP: Yeah, so I’d argue just to sort of wrap things up with the last question that one of the worst things that could happen is you spend all this time building all this change and doing all these great programs and building all these materials and building the frameworks, and then salespeople or services people often just regress back to whatever’s the path of least resistance. So how do we, Sara, how do we make sure that change actually sticks?
SK: I think there are a few different things and we’ve touched on this throughout the panel. I think number one, communication. Be upfront about the change sooner rather than later. Rumors start when change is coming, people whisper and I think it’s important to level set sooner rather than later and be really open and upfront about the change. And maybe it’s not even that you have an answer on what the next steps are, but let them know that this is coming and it’s something that you’re aware is top of mind.
Along with that, be transparent. I think it’s important to acknowledge, if the change is very different from what you’re doing today, that it might be difficult. A little bit of empathy can go a long way, especially with salespeople. I think the being upfront that it might be difficult and takes some time will really help your customer, if it’s a salesperson or whoever really, feel like you get them.
I also think that being very clear around what behavior you want to change, what muscle you’re trying to build, is very important too. Make it very actionable and make sure there’s no ambiguity as to what you want them to do. And personally, I try to focus on behavior that we want to create rather than what we want them to stop doing. You know, focus on the positive. Focus on moving forward, rather than on the negative, what they’re doing wrong.
And lastly, we’ve talked a little bit about this, the what’s in it for me. As we all know, there’s the saying “sales people are coin operated.” So usually “the what’s in it for me” is how will this make me money? How will this help me generate revenue, make quota, accelerate the deal cycle, improve my operational efficiency? So really look at it from the lens of your customer. From your sales teams. And really massage it in a way that they’ll want to do it because this will make them money at some point down the line.
KK: The last piece is if you’re leaders are not modeling the behavior every single minute of every day, then guess what message they’re sending? We don’t believe in this crap either.
CS: And that’s where I’ve seen it go off kilter, even at my own company. It’s seeking that buy-in at the executive leadership, especially like our sales org split, so the security portfolio has its own sales team, the media, etc. And so, if you’re sensing misalignment or no buy-in from all of the executives, I would suggest definitely seek that clarification. Seek to resolve that before you get to the end of all of that work you did. Because they need, in the end, to come back and force adoption and that cultural change. Meaning, “Hey people, why aren’t you doing this?” If you don’t have people’s manager’s bosses saying, “Hey, why didn’t you do that” checking up, that’s where I’ve seen it fall apart in a lot of places.
RB: Last comment, don’t forget about yourselves. We’ve talked a lot about our teams and we haven’t talked anything about you guys. So don’t forget about yourselves. Take care of yourself, too. Make sure you understand the change.
DP: Yes, and that’s as great a point as any to cut it right there. Don’t forget about yourselves. We’ve got, we’re the last panel, so this is your last chance to ask really awesome questions.
Emcee: Thank you, Dan, for moderating. Thank you, panelists. I was surprised and pleased not to hear a carrot or stick during that entire thing. Pretty good that you got through it without that. Questions for our panelists today on changing behavior? No one’s struggling with that, right?
Audience 1: Hi, just a quick question. Throughout the panel, I heard a couple of people saying that you wanted to be upfront about the change that’s happening, but also that I heard from a marketing perspective at least, that when something’s not 100% done, don’t go through with it at that moment. At what point would you start to communicate that change is coming and that things are happening?
CS: I think it happens in phases. Like he’s saying, you don’t want to put out the end package without it being complete, but you can definitely start articulating as soon as possible that, we’re going in a different strategic direction, you’re going to be seeing change coming. I think that’s even more helpful, just saying, “Hey, change is coming in this particular area. We don’t have all the details yet.” And that’s better than nothing. Instead of, next week we’re doing this and everyone’s like, “What do you mean?”
SM: I think it’s okay to say we don’t have those answers yet, here’s where we’re at and here’s when we expect to get back to whatever the next step. I think to one of the points you make, people are a lot more comfortable when they’re coming along with you for that ride, instead of just one day, see you, change direction.
KK: So, an interesting thing to think about in the context of real work is, if your enablement team is building communications, education or even certifications, imagine how much-misspent energy is involved if you’re constantly building those static things based on super dynamic inputs. You could redo the same one thing 15 times in the course of a year because people kept re-messaging it for marketing. You want to get them certain on something before you’re going to go build. And then you, I think we heard it more than once today, you get one shot with sales. So whatever that first message is you take to them, that’s the one they’re going to pay attention to.
DP: Yeah, I’d actually like to just give a little input as well as a former rep who has been enabled before, that I think there’s sort of two cardinal things that corporate teams, in general, can do that sales reps as universally hate. Which is number one, especially if it’s process related, you roll out the process and you train them up and you make them learn all this new stuff and then it turns out half the process was wrong and you got to redo it all over again. Then they’re like, “Well if it was right the last time then how do I know it’s right this time?” and you lose them.
The other is if things, to echo what Shauna and a few others have said here is, if you surprise the field with something completely brand new that could screw up their relationship with customers, without them knowing it’s coming so they can prep their customers in advance.
KK: This guy! He’s going to ask the hard questions.
RB: We prepped for you.
Audience 2: I remember one of Jon’s slides from this morning I thought it was really interesting because it said, I don’t remember the percentages but the customer decision making is like a very small amount about the product. It’s something like 80-something percent about the relationship with the seller, references provided, references independently sourced. Is there a corollary for change management initiatives, and if so, have you ever brought in references or provided references? And how do you build a relationship that’s going to help that go through?
SK: I think that’s a great question and a great perspective. A lot of times as Salesforce when we see something that’s worked in one group, we want to bring it to another part of the organization. So when we’re trying to make a change like that, a lot of times we’ll bring in like an AE from the other group to speak as a testimonial. You know, our own kind of customer story or a win story, so once they hear that there’s been some success with this change, whether it be a new process or a different selling motion or something else that we want them to do, they’re onboard, they’re more likely to get on board when they see that it’s worked before.
KK: So the way in which we chose to approach it was, we’re in the process of rolling out the next generation. What Dassault Systèmes does – we are a 3D-experience platform. We’re a business and product development platform. We have an end to end solutions that take you through the modeling, the virtual simulation, product life cycle management is embedded in there. We take you to manufacturing. We go through different life, you know because that’s the new IOT, so what will this product become in its next life span, etc. End to end.
What we did is we knew we had a flagship partnership with Boeing. 100% of every plane you’ve ever flown in is defined in our software, whether it’s Airbus or Boeing. We carved out that relationship with Boeing and what we said to them was, as a company we’re going on a strategic journey. None of our competitors are going to this place that we’re going to. Boeing, go with us. And they signed a 10-year, $30 billion contract with us. But basically we said to them, we’re going to carve out this space together, with you and then we will showcase it at the end. So if you have those kinds of giant relationships, you know, we’ve been working with them for 30 plus years. We’re able to leverage that to do that use case and build that out of the box use case for future enablement.
RB: I like your idea though. One of the buzzwords I keep hearing in sales enablement is “snackable content”, and I like the idea of those references being some of that snackable content. You know, something that you could just send out and it’s a one-minute video. Like here’s a reference for why this change has worked. I mean I don’t have an example for you but I love the idea, I think it’s really awesome.
JP: By the way, just picking up on one of Rusty’s points earlier about taking care of yourselves. This weekend I was with my best friend. He’s got 60 salespeople at a high-tech company that work for him. He has a $1.3 billion quota. Their quarter ends in three weeks. They’re going to hit their number. And I was saying, “How do you do it? That’s a lot of pressure and intensity.” And he said, “Well you know, Jon, what I try to coach my people to is that we’re all professional athletes, everybody in the NFL, NBA, you name the sport, Tiger Woods, they all have coaches, they’re all thinking about how do they take care of themselves day in and day out.” The daily conversations he’s having with individual contributors and leaders on that team are, “What did you do that was nice for yourself today? Did you get a workout in this week?” Because to deal with change, I think you have to be an athlete and have agility and all sort of dimensions, and I love the way he brought that in.
Audience 3: I was just going to ask, I fully agree with the idea that you want to drive executive alignment and engagement and I think that’s super key. What do you guys do when it’s not there?
RB: When there’s no executive alignment?
Audience 3: Well, let’s say there’s 80% executive alignment or 50% executive alignment.
CS: I mean, we do have that framework now at Akamai. But in reality, not everybody leverages it. It’s respectfully bubbling that up. Bringing it back. Why didn’t you use the framework? Why aren’t you doing this and that? And that organically gets the leaders to talk and hopefully, someone will address it. So to answer your question, I’d say how do you address it, strategically. And creatively.
SK: Yeah, I think it’s really important to understand the “why”. Because sometimes it might be something easily addressed. They might not understand why they’re, you’re going through this big change process, and so if you kind of come to an agreement on what it is that you’re trying to do and what the impact and why it’s a good thing, a lot of times you can get onboard. And sometimes it might be, the “why” might be they just don’t have an understanding of, you know if you’re getting ready to launch new pricing. They might not understand why this new pricing model. Or they might be really stuck using the old models. I think really digging a few levels deeper to understand why the resistant to change, and then working together and collaborating to figure out the best way to move forward and try to find some sort of commonality in the approach.
SM: It could be that they brought up something that you missed that it was going to bite you later anyway.
RB: Our job as sales enablement is to convince those people up there that this is important.
CS: And any change should have a return on investment, so have that story always ready in your back pocket. Especially in sales, because if someone’s resisting and he says the “why”, it’s not that you want to counter him but you want to say, “But yes, but if we do, do this, here are the gains.” And there’s nothing wrong with challenging at the company because maybe you’ve gone down a path and the return on investment isn’t there. We should stop that here, not at the end. Do you know what I mean? So, forcing those conversations to say, is this change the right thing financially, culturally, whatever. Return investment, I think have that in your back pocket.
SM: It’s all back to hearing that feedback and that back and forth conversation we’ve been, you know being open with people that we’ve talked about throughout the panel.
KK: During our prep, Rusty said it’s always great when there’s a little bit of contention in the panel. So I’m going to bring contention to this panel.
RB: Great, I can’t wait for it.
KK: If you want to get into a really, really tactical piece, I am a strong believer that if it’s a major change initiative, you’ve got to find that person, that executive, that is crazily passionate about them. They get dubbed your executive sponsor, and then their job is to go twist the arms of everyone else in leadership. And our job is to remind them, as their trusted business advisors, that this change will not have teeth without X. And then you empower that sponsor to take that and run with it. And only after they’ve carved out all of that support, can you move forward and drive it through the org.
JP: And sometimes, by the way, the CEO needs to let a VP or two go.
KK: Yes. Because they’re bashing the change initiative in their meetings.
KK: While you guys are thinking of a question, I have a plug for this morning’s competency model. I totally agree with it and a lot of what we’ve been talking about, about finding really resilient or people who love change, build it into your competency framework. In terms of competency frameworks, you typically carve out three buckets. The first one you call is the price of admission. I like to use the Korn Ferry Laminger toolset for competency modeling, and the price of admission is, this is the stuff we hire for. You got to bring it with you. The next one is I’ll develop this on the job. I will as part of enablement or whomever. And the other piece is, you got to develop yourself in these areas.
The other thing, the most brilliant story I ever heard at a recruitment event, someone said, “I worked with a leader who wanted happy people. And they wanted us to develop happy people. You can’t. He said you can’t hire happy. People are either happy or they’re not, you can’t make them happy.” So when you look at your competency models, you really need to dig down deep and decide, is that a skill? Is that an aptitude or ability that I can train up or empower? Or is that just persona? Is that just that person’s temperament and personality? And if you’re looking for temperament and personality, hire for it.
Emcee: Any follow-ups to that?
Audience 6: Yeah, just to piggyback off of that. One of the things that I’ve been struggling with is like, mindset. And one of the things that I feel is there’s a weak mindset on my sales team. And so how would you target that in terms of like, I want to make it something that’s actionable, like how do you hire for that? How do you make sure that somebody has the resiliency mindset but then also just that mindset that I’m going to cross whatever’s in front of me? I feel like we’re not doing a good job with that so how would you go about identifying that in a prospect?
DP: Can you clarify, what do you mean by a weak mindset?
Audience 6: Defeatists. Company’s not doing well and there’s nobody that’s stepping up and saying like, oh well we’re not doing as well as we have historically, I’m going to push through this and I’m going to do best. It’s more of like, oh well there’s something wrong with the product or there’s something wrong with our customer. And not taking accountability for their own actions.
DP: I mean, my two-cents is that I think part of that could be a company culture thing, there’s nothing you can do about it. Part of it is sales management. Part of it is our job is, I’m an enablement person so I’ll speak for myself, is I believe part of my job is to sell the salespeople to do the things that I think they should be doing, as well as their management. And I myself can’t be defeatist, so I’m going to say I’m going to break the walls and I’m going to convince the reps they need to do the things that I think they need to do.
And in some cases, you can do it for everybody, and some cases kind of piggybacking your question as well, not all change is good for all people. There are some times where certain groups don’t get change or they’re not going to, and that’s okay. I think it’s finding the right groups of people at the right times that you know you can break through those walls and you leverage that internal success and you reference it to the next group or the next theater or the next product. You keep working, and then you have enough data you can go to the people who are defeatists and say, “It’s working for these people, it’s not working for you. Change something or get rid of you.”
KK: There’s a behavioral modeling technique. Find your top sellers. Figure out the five questions you want to ask that you think are tied to this behavior. Create two focus groups. Don’t tell them what their group is. But one is going to be your top performers and one is going to be your bottom performers, your lowest. Ask them the same exact five questions. Keep track of what the high performing answers are and the low performing answers are, and when you interview new people, see how their answers correlate.
JP: Wow, that’s good.
RB: Can’t you come back to the principles of sales enablement, right? Two of those are product training and coaching. And when we read the books and we read what the analysts say. So, when you’re coaching, are you coaching to that mindset? Are you asking them where this is going to lead in the future? And are you training them on your products in such a way that they feel confident? So, I sometimes like to put the monkey back on my own back when I hear of things.
JP: And Peter, what were your three content types this morning? Shining stars, fool’s gold, and hidden gem, are really interesting not just for content but behavior types. And you can look across your team and organization, categorize people maybe in a bucket fairly, and then figure out how do you really give the microphone to the stars and your hidden gems.