Enablement’s Role in Change Management – Soirée, Europe
777 Views | 42 Min Read
Bob Apollo: Good afternoon. Well, thank you for that warm welcome and congratulations on your persistence and your patience for getting to this session, which we hope will be one of the most informative that you might hope for. We’ll see. They’ve all assured me that they’re going to contribute to that. So our topic is change management. I’m Bob Apollo, I run a sales effectiveness consultancy called Inflection-Point. And we find ourselves involved typically in that all-important post-startup pre-corporate phase, when companies are growing, often through periods of significant change. So I’m very much looking forward to hearing the experiences of my esteemed and distinguished panelists as to how sales enablement contributes to change management.
I hope you’ll agree that sales enablement has the potential to play a pivotal role in times of significant organizational change for companies. Perhaps that might be driven by the adoption of new reporting structures, new sales strategies, new sales methodologies, or new sales tools. So what we want to do is to acknowledge the contribution made by sales enablement in supporting the change management process. We’ve assembled, as I’m sure you’ll come to discover in the next few minutes, an experienced, not to mention a good looking team. And they’re looking forward to sharing the lessons that they’ve learned during periods of tumultuous change. So without further ado, and before we get to the meat of the questions, I’d like to invite each of the panelists to introduce themselves.
Matthew Norton: Thanks, Bill. I’m Matt Norton, I’ve worked for Canon in Europe. Bob’s already said- what did he say- distinguished, that’s one of those trigger words for old, right? I’ve worked for Canon for over 20 years and had 15 years of sales leadership. And three years ago, I was asked to set up and then lead a new sales excellence function for our B2B organization across the company. The span of that’s about 1500 salespeople, thousands of partners across 19 countries in Europe and all of Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. As part of that practice, we had four areas, sales, and partner strategy, looking at our partner and sales direct go-to-market strategy. We had an inside sales team that we had to create and run. A sales effectiveness group, which was around sales performance, sales behaviors. And also the management of our CRM, and we had a sales enablement group that looked after our sales content for us- sellers and our partners, trying to make sure we had the right content in the right place at the right time, so our salespeople could have better conversations with our customers.
BA: Well, my goodness, with all of that experience I nearly fell off the stage. And no, they didn’t put in the water bottle but maybe they should have. We’re going to have a hard time, you know, allowing enough time for all of the others to share their experience. But let’s start by Spence, tell us who you are and what you do.
Spencer George: And you want me to keep it brief-
BA: That would be lovely.
SG: From the sounds of it. Okay, my name is Spencer George, or Spence, as nearly everybody calls me. I’ve been in and around sales for 20 years. So I got literally roped into sales enablement by my old VP saying “Can you onboard some new hires?” Like a lot of people have. And then it carried on, I was doing sales team management plus onboarding, and then I found myself doing it as a full-time role. A long ten years ago, so I’ve been in this business for a long time. Now I’ve been very fortunate to work for some very- some truly disruptive technologies. So I worked at NetSuite, was like employee number 10 at NetSuite and Amir.
To sell disrupting technologies, you have to disrupt. So what you need to do is you need to find change agents in the companies you’re selling to. And we’ll come onto this later. So when I roll out new sales tools or areas or methodologies within an organization, I look for change agents within my business. I look for exactly those types of people. They will then come on the ride with me and sell it for me internally. So not a big- that’s my secret, that’s how I’ve managed- I still class myself as a salesperson, I’m a sales practitioner, I’m still a seller at heart, I’m a sales manager at heart, and I just- I get as close as I can to the field.
BA: Very good. Rusty.
Rusty Bishop: Hey guys, Rusty Bishop. I’m with Bigtincan, one of the sponsors. I’m not going to talk about Bigtincan because I’ve been the director of sales enablement for 22 days. You’re probably wondering why that qualifies me to sit on a panel and talk to you guys as sales enablement practitioners. For the last nine years, I did run a sales enablement company, and I was a part of about 150 deployments of sales enablement software during that time. And Bigtincan bought my company months ago so I’m going through a pretty massive change myself right now. So hopefully I can share some of my experience with you guys. Lastly, I do have a Ph.D. in biochemistry, which makes me even less qualified to talk about sales.
BA: But you could be a dab hand at cocktail time, I imagine.
RB: You’ve got that right.
BA: So how can we tap into all of this experience? Well let’s start with- here’s our first question, and what I’d like to do is ask Matt to start by giving us an example of a change initiative, a large change initiative that you’ve been through and some of your experiences on them.
MN: Let me pick one. Three years ago when we started the sales excellence group, we had a massive challenge, which is along the- what James was talking about this morning, and how Tamara touched on it as well, which is that we have an incredibly complex organization, massive amounts of products, all going through even more and more confused sellers and buyers changing by the day. We had this big issue when I was selling in the ‘90s, before some of you were born, everything that a customer knew about our company was what came out of my face. And so it was quite easy and it didn’t really matter though I had to have a bit of training.
It didn’t matter that the story I would tell about what Canon could do for somebody’s business was completely different from the bloke in the territory next to me or somebody else in a different country, it didn’t matter. But now, of course, it does. As our buyers are becoming more digitally enabled, it’s incredibly important that the story that we hear from salespeople, the story buyers hear from salespeople, at least makes some sense in the context of what our company’s also putting on the web, social and all the other platforms. Which means logically that it does matter that my story is very similar to the story that the guy next door is telling.
So we had a massive program to change, that was our big change program that we started three years ago which was to define what our common story was as a B2B organization across America. And that in itself was a complex process that involved gathering an awful lot of stakeholders, right from the top of the organization. The guys talked already a lot today about the importance of top cover, really important to get the salespeople involved. But we also took an awful lot of time to get a huge number of customers, partners and importantly, high-performing salespeople involved in helping to understand why we should make that change, and also designing the message. That was really really critical because what the message was was important, but the real change was people understanding the fact that we actually needed to have one common message, and that you couldn’t just make up what Canon did, you had to somewhat stick to a congruent message.
So, we first- so how did we implement the change- we brought together these stakeholders and took an awfully long time to consider what the message is and do a lot of that pre-change work, and then we tried to get it really quite quickly. To both develop really, really good compelling content that would- sort of spark salespeople’s imagination as they like shiny things. Also then to reinforce that change and to train them on how to use the assets and the messaging that we’ve created, all the way down to storytelling lessons and making sure that everybody can tell their version of the new story. And then reinforcing that by making sure all of that content is in our sales enablement platform, and then we can track and measure the usage of that content and the effectiveness of the message that people were trying to tell.
BA: Just thinking about it, consistent story, not necessarily consistent word perfect script.
MN: No. If you try to script salespeople, you’d be mad.
MN: But try to get the essence of the story that they boil into something.
BA: Therein lies madness. Alright, Rusty, perhaps you’ve got an experience?
RB: Well like I said, guys, I’m going through a massive change right now and one of the things I- especially for you guys that are doing sales enablement to think about- I started a company, right? And I hired all these awesome people, recruited them into a startup, which is really hard to do. And I trained these people and we fought hard together and we loved each other. And I had to go to those people and tell them that we were selling our company to a larger company, right? And salespeople, you guys probably know this, they immediately assume the worst. And I think this is probably true, when you bring change on them in almost any situation, they immediately assume they’re going to be fired, you’re going to change their quota, you’re going to change their territory and move them to Montana, it’s amazing.
So one of the hardest things for me as the CEO in that situation was communication. And that’s what we had to do over and over again was communicate number one, why we were changing, why it was leaving the status quo, this is a- people will really want to stay in the status quo when you change, especially salespeople. And to me, that’s our job as sales enablement people when change comes, we’ve got to communicate why we’re doing it and we got to keep that message steady, steady, steady until everyone is on board with it.
BA: Okay, so we’ve had a couple of examples of how to apply positive thinking to create successful change, but of course not all change programs are successful and we can often learn as much from failure and what to avoid next time as from success. And Spencer, I wonder if you could volunteer any-
SG: I’ve got a few.
BA: Any stories where you might look back and think maybe we’ve learned something valuable out of this.
SG: Yes. So my previous company decided to roll out The Challenger Sale, as a new sales approach. Okay, so they decided to do that. The way they rolled it out was they told everyone to buy a book, and you can expense it to buy the book. And it was pitched to them at sales kickoff. That was it, that was the rollout. And then the senior management stood back and said: “Right, let’s start measuring the success of this.” And of course, even I in sales enablement didn’t believe in it because I- that was my training in it as well, was to read the book.
So I, as I said before, I’m very, very close to the field, so I sort of always take the temperature of the field, and it was very, very cold. Another thing we did was we announced it and said this is your new sales methodology, so if you’ve done TAS or Spin or any of those, forget that. You’re now using Challenger. And as we said earlier, if you’re a 25-year-old sales veteran who’s used Spin or TAS all their life, to be told that you can’t do that anymore, the back goes up and they immediately just ignore everything else that you say. So it was a really, really great approach as to how not to do it. And I’ll go on to what we did differently afterward, but it was- yeah. It was a very interesting approach.
BA: We look forward to the second part of that story. Does anybody else want to bare their souls and share any failures?
MN: Well yeah. That same program, so it wasn’t- if I stood here- or rather sat here, and said it was perfect, that’s rubbish. So we had some huge problems. Some of the big problems that we really would struggle to get around were the massive amounts of stakeholders that we had in our business. Managing those stakeholders, keeping everybody on the side was an incredibly difficult challenge that we weren’t super successful with.
One thing that we would have done differently is we underdid the training. So we went really quickly to try to take advantage, consciously of momentum. Because momentum is really important in change, that it happens really quickly so people can’t get a chance to change their minds. And they can see delivery, they can see outcomes quickly. We probably went a little bit too quickly in that we did that probably at the sacrifice of some of the quality of the cascade training, training 1500 salespeople plus a load of partners, that’s a lot of stuff. And we probably went a bit too quick in cascading that material.
And the other mistake we made, which was- don’t know whether Tamara[?] is still here but I remember she was telling me this, she said, “Don’t do this,” and of course we did it. And then she was right because it was completely wrong. We were getting people a bunch of new assets, so going back to sales enablement and how important it is. So we wanted people to tell a congruent story, we wanted them to use a common-ish set of assets to share this story. What we didn’t do is take away all the rubbish assets that they currently use. We were way too nice in removing the bad assets that they currently use and we were too slow in doing that. We’ve done it now or we’re in the process of doing it, but that’s something we definitely would have taken away, done much better with.
BA: So if we think about one of the things we might want to do is to smooth the transition to change. It’s one of those things then, removing that dead wood and clearing the ground.
MN: Yeah, from a sales enablement perspective, definitely. So from an asset and a content perspective, if you have clear evidence that you can get from the systems next door and many others, that gives you an idea that what has been created by some wonderful agency and the mind of a beautiful product manager. No one is actually looking at it, let alone is converting a deal or opening an opportunity or changing anyone’s mind. You have to not only stop producing it but also get rid of it. Because it’s just clutter, it’s just clutter. And if you’re trying to introduce a new concept, a new idea, moving the waste and the clutter that’s around there for salespeople to get confused by is a really good thing to do.
BA: Very good. Any other thoughts on smoothing the transition to change?
RB: I could go on all day because I’ve done this 150 times, but no, I’m just going to let these two guys’ stories stand out there.
BA: Spencer, anything from your experience in terms of smoothing transitions?
SG: Well putting it right. Yeah, so my previous employer got a lot of stuff wrong, but what they were really really good at is getting it right afterward. They were really great at doing that. And that was partly because we had a really strong enablement team. So we threw resources at it, we threw money at it, so we certified me and three others in Challenger, and that’s not cheap, but it’s really worth it, it really is. We embedded Challenger in the new hire training, the two-day workshop, which meant every single new hire got- started to adopt the Challenger sales approach. We went back to the field, we spoke to them, we created assets, Challenger assets on the industry, personas, messaging. We ran- I ran workshops all over the world, in all far parts of the world. It was great, and we got the adoption suddenly increased. And I knew the adoption was increasing because I would sit on- like I always have, I’ve always sat on discovery calls, I’ve always gone out in the field with salespeople, because I need to understand their challenges or else I can’t help fix them.
So, I was there and what I was looking for is if you challenge someone to a new way of thinking, the most important thing is the conversation changes. If the conversation doesn’t change, they may accept your challenge but they ignore it. If the conversation changes, the contacts at the company suddenly change as well. And so there were quite easy ways of saying to a rep, “you’ve told me you’ve challenged, what is now different about the opportunity?” If they couldn’t really tell you if there was anything different, they’ve either challenged incorrectly or the challenge hasn’t worked.
As I’ve said before, I’ve worked for some great disruptive technologies where this is a really, really proven- I use it on my children. Yeah? And it kind of works and my 14-year-old actually says to me, “Dad, you’re doing that thing again. I know you’re doing that thing again that you’ve told me that you do to your people at your work.” But it really, really works. And we had marketing, product marketing, product, ops, all involved in the new relaunch. And it was very very successful. And we saw pipeline growing, we would look at deals where someone had said they’ve managed to challenge correctly and we would measure that with pipeline growth in different areas of the software products we were- So yeah it was a lesson learned, we learned the hard way but we really, really, really changed very, very quickly, otherwise it wouldn’t have worked.
MN: Just building on what Spencer said, what’s so important when we’re doing our sales enablement journeys is you will find senior leaders in your business that will tell you that the changes aren’t working, all this newfangled stuff is far too difficult. And you’ll find many people that are above you in an organization that’ll tell you to stop, just because they don’t like it or they heard from someone that it wasn’t very nice. You’ll get lots of people telling you to stop.
The key that will help you persevere is what Spence was saying, is really gather some information about whether it’s actually working. Don’t get someone’s opinion, go and talk to salespeople, go and talk to customers, or even better, look at the data in terms of whether things are being utilized or not, whether it’s actually having an impact. If we only listen to some of our leaders, we would have stopped half the really good stuff we’ve done, before you get a chance to go through that change curve. So we all understand about change curve, there are ups and downs, and if you listen to everybody that tells you to stop when you’re just getting through the rough of it, you’ll never get anything done. So really take the time to listen to the people for whom the change you’re trying to affect- doesn’t make much sense- But if you’re trying to change salespeople’s behavior, listen to salespeople. Listen to customers. And also rely on data because that will help you plow through that inevitable difficult bit when you’re doing a change.
SG: I agree, and the big thing about it is enforcement, so we had this conversation earlier actually. I usually do EMEA roles and APEC roles, so I need country leaders, I need VP of sales, I need sales reps, sales managers for what I’m trying to do. I need all those people to work. And that’s hard. The only way you get the management in the company to buy into you is to show them that you care, and my job is to remove all the barriers that are in the way that are preventing them from selling. And if I can demonstrate that to them then they will buy into you all day and respect you. I can’t walk in and say, “You’ve got to listen to me because I’ve been doing this for 10 years.” Who says- Who cares? If someone said that to me I’d be sitting there thinking that would automatically put me off, because I’m very stubborn and cynical.
BA: That means pretty clear that the approach we take, the behaviors that we try and influence are absolutely critical to any successful change management program. But it would also be hard to deny that the program needs to be fueled by things like the appropriate material, the appropriate guidance, the appropriate training. You know a program rather than standing on the bridge of the enterprise and saying make it so. So Rusty, any thoughts on putting together that sort of program of materials and guidance and training?
RB: I mean, if you look at the three pillars, we’ll call them, of sales enablement, in my mind those are the content that we’re creating for our sales team, the training that we’re doing on our products and what we do, and coaching. So if we take that top pillar, that content, yeah it’s critical. Especially when we’re taking our teams through that change. As an example, you guys were probably rolling out sales tools. One of the coolest things I’ve seen is someone took the time to make a motion picture trailer. It was splashy and it was huge. It looked like an Arnold Schwarzenegger movie. And they played it at their sales kickoff, this was how they introduced a new sales tool and a new sales methodology. But it’s fun, it got everyone fired up, it got them excited to be a part of it. So content is really really critical.
The other thing that I would encourage you guys to do as sales enablement people, marketers, whoever, that are creating content during a change, is go back to first principles. How many people know what first principles are? Wow, okay, great. Go read “The Cook and the Chef” by Tim Urban. This is the principles by which people like Elon Musk have built their companies. It’s The Cook and the Chef, it’s a short read. The way you go back to first principles is you ask why.
So, I heard some talks this morning where we were talking about should sales enablement be at the table with marketing. Absolutely. Because half the time, marketing is sales enablement, from what I’ve seen. And you need to be asking why about every piece of material that comes out of your office that goes out to sales. Here’s our new deck for the change of the sales methodology. Why are we doing this? Half the time, people don’t even know. They just were told to go create a deck. And if you ask why five times, I promise that you’ll get to the bottom of it. And you’ll get to an answer that’ll be something like our CEO decided that we’re going to enter the life sciences vertical and we need to go by about 20% this year. Okay, now I know how to go create an awesome deck because I can communicate that to my sales team, to the leaders, and we know why we’re doing it. And that’s the content that you’ve got to be creating.
BA: Doesn’t it feel like the reason why so much of the content is generated doesn’t get used is because those “whys” weren’t asked in the first place?
GB: You’re not asking why we’re doing it. Why is it important?
SG: And when it’s rolled out, there’s no explanation as to the benefit of that content. So there are two things there. You can create great content but unless you explain the benefit of it someone’s not going to-
BA: I’ll make another observation, I’ve seen very interesting interaction with marketing departments, there was that discussion about should sales enablement be involved in the creation of marketing materials. I think one of the critical questions is so what conversation is this material intended to stimulate, and what can we do to equip our salespeople with – the thought leadership has sparked an interest, but if you’re in a complex sale, that’s just the start of the process.
GB: And I’ll add one more thing there. If your job is sales enablement, and you don’t have buy-in all the way to the top, you can probably forget it. It doesn’t matter what you want to change, if your VP sales, if your CEO, your CRO, if they’re not behind you, you’re in a lot of trouble. It’s not going to work. I’ve seen it fail way too many times, and I can almost always point my finger at not having buy-in from the C level.
MN: We had Cat from Xerox, one of our main competitors this morning, having the same challenge as us at Canon where we have a massive challenge that we have multiple product managers who sort of ideate the content, they are the people who want to create it. Historically they were all creating all their own stuff, it all looked beautiful, all incredibly expensive and- but at some point it’s all got to go into the hand of the salesperson who’s got to explain to a customer, and not only are these conversations not being thought about by the people who create the content, they just want some shiny stuff, they’re not thinking about what conversations or wherein the sales cycle it’s supposed to be used, who are you supposed to be speaking to, all that sort of stuff.
One of the massive benefits that we- one of the things we did really well when we created the sales enablement team in Canon, and actually Christina, our- former head of sales enablement here, but she’s now working for Google as head of European sales enablement- but one of the best things we did was that we hold the budget. Now I think that’s just a few conversations I’ve been having through the day so I was intrigued, that might be a bit unusual. So we hold the budget.
Our sales enablement team holds all the budget for all the content creation that goes to sales, and goes to our partners. That’s really painful, and a lot of work and means that you are at the center of all the arguments. But it does mean you have a chance of translating the real wishes of the people who are trying to understand and create the value propositions, but only for their unique product, to really what conversations that you want to have with customers and what conversations they want to inspire through salespeople, and to make sure that a single salesperson can connect all of the various different messages into something that resembles a customer’s story. And without sales enablement, we would have no chance of doing that. And also, by the way, it helps you save a load of money on not producing stuff that doesn’t get used.
BA: I think you’ve just touched on another important thing, and that’s the salesperson’s role in crafting the customer story.
MN: Yeah, absolutely.
BA: Being equipped, being trained-
MN: Absolutely. To really understand what the story is, they have to be competent and trained with the right assets to be able to deliver. Otherwise, it’s just-
SG: And they need to deliver the right customer story at the right time in the conversation, not just recycle one that they- that’s the one I know. So, I’m a great believer in workshops, I love a workshop. Someone did one yesterday. She said that’s exactly how I get people to practice. Practice, practice, practice, practice, get it wrong with me, have a bit of a laugh but there’s- you’ve got to take it seriously. I don’t let any sales directors or managers in the room when their AEs are practicing because for obvious reasons. If you dish out content, how are you going to propose using this content? How are you going to propose using it? I can’t tell if they do a PowerPoint deck. I can tell if they act in a workshop.
RB: You guys got given a great book, I don’t know if you’ve read it, a sales enablement book, I just read it myself. And throughout that entire book if you guys read it, I encourage you to do so, I didn’t write it, customer journey, customer journey, over and over and over again. As sales enablement professionals, we’ve got to come back to that, and when we make these changes, we’ve got to remember that those customers, that customer journey is what it’s all about. Our reps are not going to be successful if we’re not creating the content and the ideas around that customer journey.
BA: I think there is a real and growing trend, and the journey isn’t yet complete. From thinking of what we do as a sales process to something that is designed to help facilitate a customer decision journey.
SG: How many people here have seen reps aligning their sales cycle with a customer’s buying cycle? It’s the first question I ask. If you’re towards the end, show me how they’re aligned. They’re not aligned, most of them, so you’re thinking so you’re telling me this is going to close in a month or two months, the customer’s thinking it’s going to close in six months. Because they don’t ask those questions, they just assume the customer is running at the same pace. It’s because they’re not thinking what the customer’s thinking.
RB: There were some people that didn’t have that experience, so that’s awesome.
BA: Well I’d hope next time we ask that question we see more hands go up. Well very good. So I think we’ve covered a lot of ground in our prepared questions, I hope you’ve been more inspired than depressed with the experiences positive or negative. But now here’s your chance to ask these experts.
Emcee: Great, I’m just going to come and hand the mic around.
Audience 1: Hello, yeah, there seems to be a lot today about getting buy-in from the people above you and obviously that’s critical because they pay the wage and they can give you P45’s and all the rest of it. In our organization, we need this sort of seed of change. So I’d need to get buy-in from those people. And there’s a lot about back to basics, keeping it simple, and floor exercises, I see from my position on sales that other departments don’t understand what salespeople need. They’re just throwing things at you, and a lot of it is just straight in the bin. I don’t need it.
How would you suggest that we get the people at the top of the ladder to engage with the sales staff and engage with the customers and actually find out that they’re out of touch with the marketplace, actually find out the tools that we need? Is there a tip that you could give people in the room to get that buy in to wager in this profession?
MN: Don’t try. Go- that’s the hardest thing, the last people whose minds you will change about the specifics of how to do it are going to be the most senior salespeople in the organization that have had a lot of experience and were selling 15 years ago and all of the “in my day, it was”- Either you get the, “in my day” thing or you get the people that one of the speakers earlier described who were just brilliant at it and therefore training them is incredibly difficult for them to conceptualize.
Getting them to buy into the source of the problem, the fact that a thing needs to be fixed, and then go and solve the problem with the salespeople, and just get them to stay on the balcony rather than down there on the dance floor. Because they can easily mess it up. If you get a very senior guy and you’re trying to make a change, and then suddenly he says the wrong words, or it’s incongruent with your program, then everyone will switch off. So I would get them to buy into the big picture, your end goal, and give them support and then that’s your job to go fix it.
RB: And from my end, a very simple suggestion. Tiger Woods has a coach, right? Lionel Messi has a coach. Professionals hire coaches. There are people that have done it before you. Go out there and find that coach or find that person that’s done it successfully, and interview them. Coaching one on one is really important but a lot of us forget to go coach ourselves. So that’s my small piece of advice to you.
SG: What I tend to do is if we’ve got very experienced AEs who may be a problem, I get them to help me facilitate. And they coach the other AEs, I tell them that they’ve got- because they’ve all- they’re successful, they’ve got stuff I want to share with everybody else. And it’s a matter of finding out what that is that they do really, really well and getting them to share- and they love telling- sharing the good stuff about themselves. And why not? They’re successful, they’ve got the experience, but you really need to coach them well in a case during some of the workshops they say things that are actually anti-what you’re trying- but it does work, it does work.
Audience 2: Hi, this is Avertina from Challenger, Spencer, I’m glad to hear things are going so well. But I think my question is really around this whole idea of the content. It’s really my passion point. And obviously, at Challenger we have our ideas about how to build content that is more relatable, not only to the end customer but also to the salesperson. Because our own research shows that 80% of all marketing material is actually not used by salespeople, which is a very scary place to be if you’re in marketing, right? So, Rusty, in your opinion, what would be a good way to ensure that salespeople actually take the content that is built internally onboard and really take ownership of it?
RB: Well, you’ve got to- I would say come back to what we think about as sales enablement. You’ve got to coach them one-on-one, you’ve got to train them on the content and how you want to use it and the content itself has to be something that’s useful for sales. One of the things I’m seeing as a big trend right now is what I call snackable content, because sometimes you need a piece of snackable content to describe your awesome piece of content. And that could just be a one minute video of your VP sales saying, “This is why this presentation is really important, I want all of you to use it,” which you can go record on your iPhone tomorrow. So think about ways to use small snackable pieces of content to really showcase your important stuff, and obviously metrics. At the end of the day, as sales enablement professionals, we’ve got to- as you said, we’ve already measured 80% of it’s not being used, you’ve got to find out why, go and ask. Go have those hard conversations with people and say why aren’t you using this? And that’s just the things I would suggest.
SG: I think it’s also hard because a lot of reps won’t find the right content at the time they need it. So I think a big thing that’s going to make a difference is guided selling. I think in five years’ time, a rep will be sitting there at a certain situation in a deal, and the content will be coming to them. And I think that will change, but before you automate it, you’ve got to get it right manually. I don’t think anyone does it right at the moment. Because you’re right, we’ve got so much content. The trouble with content is people will take it, amend it and keep it on their desktop. And it’s out of date, they won’t use the new content because it hasn’t got the two slides they introduced that they like. And I don’t think we’ll ever overcome that challenge but we just need to make it as easy as possible.
Emcee: Great, we’ll take one more question.
Audience 3: I guess in my experience I think you find senior leaders saying “yeah, we need to change our organization, we need to move forward.” And they’re very good at doing change to people below them. How do you go about addressing the issue of getting sales leaders and business leaders to change their behaviors to reinforce the things that you do?
SG: That’s the hardest thing. Thanks for that.
Emcee: Nice easy one to finish with.
MN: With great difficulty. It depends on what you’re actually talking about. So trying to change their own personal behavior when they’re in a sales situation so in our example, getting them to reinforce the change. We just had to give them a safe space. We treated them- in the way that we did this rollout, this new way of telling the story, we did it with them. We did it with them first. We did it in a safe space where they were either alone or with their peers and so they couldn’t get embarrassed among the people below them. It’s hard though, it’s really difficult. But you have to be conscious about doing that, that’s the right question to ask, but how you do that just depends on the situation and the behaviors of the individuals that you’re trying to change.
SG: I think I said earlier, I look for change agents within my sales organization. So if there was- I would look for a peer of that sales leader who is a change agent. I wouldn’t need to convert them because they’re already converted. And I would get them to help me change the people who are less adaptable. Because they’re not going to listen potentially to me, unless I’ve got a really strong relationship with them, but they are going to listen to their peers. So that’s how I would do it.
RB: And there’s a lot of really good research in recent years about people’s brains. And those people above you have a personality type, they have a Myers Briggs type, they have a- and learning about those kinds of things, even though it’s a little boring and painful, can give you the ability to have that conversation and communicate with those people. But sometimes we have to stop and ask why can’t I communicate and put it back on ourselves. And then go and find the research and the studies and the people that are out there that are smart about this stuff and say how do I do this? And as I said, there’s been great books that have been released in the last couple of years about communication and people’s brains and I’d recommend you maybe checking out some of that stuff. And I’d be happy to give you some examples if you want to talk later.