Episode 113: Petek Hawkins on Why Enablement Must Co-Own Revenue

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Shawnna Sumaoang: Hi, and welcome to the Sales Enablement PRO podcast. I am Shawnna Sumaoang. Sales enablement is a constantly evolving space and we’re here to help professionals stay up to date on the latest trends and best practices so that they can be more effective in their jobs.

Today, I’m really excited to have Petek Hawkins from Fivetran join us. Petek, I would love for you to introduce yourself, your role, and your organization to our audience.

Petek Hawkins: Yeah. Hi Shawnna. Thank you so much for having me here on this podcast. I’m really excited to share some best practices and hope everybody finds benefit in them. My name’s Petek and I am the head of global learning enablement and development, and I oversee the entire revenue teams, engineering teams, and product teams’ enablement as well as our learning and development initiatives in the company globally.

SS: Fantastic. Well, I’m very excited to have you join us Petek, because I noticed on LinkedIn, you had said that sales enablement needs to co-own revenue growth. I’d love to hear from your perspective, why is it important for sales enablement to play a role in this?

PH: That is a great question. I believe that we do need to be owners of revenue because first and foremost, it gives us skin in the game, right? We have something to work towards and it’s something that we can connect to. And when you are a part of that revenue growth, you actually have more buy-in internally and externally. And if you can really tie all your initiatives, all your projects and programs to revenue, not only you are able to show the company your worth to the company and impact to the company, and also you’re able to, really emphasize the importance of enablement and you can get more resources.

So, it’s a win-win situation for everyone internally and from the customer experience standpoint, again, enablement, in my opinion, is revenue enablement and they go hand in hand and it’s because it impacts customer experience. So, if you can impact the customer experience that in return impacts your business that is again, win-win for everybody.

SS: Oh, absolutely. Absolutely. Now for those in the audience that are a little bit kind of less experienced, I’d love for any advice that you have around how our listeners can align their sales enablement efforts really to their organization’s revenue growth strategy.

PH: That is not an easy task Shawnna. And as you can imagine, there’s a lot that goes into that. However, first and foremost, I would say try to find an organization that really embraces the impact and the importance of enablement to begin with because when you do that, then you can start aligning with your C level executives on what the vision is and how the company is going to take advantage of your enablement projects. From there, really align with the businesses that you work with. So, a lot of the sales enablement work directly with sales organization only. However, with more evolved enablement, you do work with the rest of the go-to-market. You start working at product, you start working with marketing, revenue ops, and so on. So, it’s really important to understand what their company strategy is, what are they looking to implement as initiatives as a part of that strategy and what can you do to help enable their teams and enable their revenue?

So how do you do that? You literally, as soon as you get started at a company, go meet with these people, let them get to know you, show them what you do, make it very clear on the programs that you’re running and what those programs entail. Once you do that, then it’s really important that once the project started evolving and a program starts forming, ask your key stakeholders to tie metrics, key metrics, at everything that you’re doing, because if you’re able to do that, then you can show dashboards then you can tie that to the revenue and do QPRs with these groups and do a QBR for the C level executives.

If you’re able to have that buy-in across the organization, this is how you’re going to tie everything that you’re doing to the revenue. And again, if you can do that, you can drive the customer experience. Then you can drive the revenue and you can drive the impact of your organization for the rest of the company.

SS: I love that. Now I want to come back to that topic in just a moment and talk a little bit more about metrics and stakeholders. But I also want to talk about this cross-functional collaboration that you just mentioned. In order to scale sales enablement efforts, how can sales enablement practitioners best achieve cross-functional alignment within their organization?

PH: So, there are a couple of ways that you can do that. First and foremost, again, make the time to get to know these groups and get them to understand what’s in it for them to partner up with you. And one of the ways that I have been able to coach my team to do this is, for example, say product has an amazing initiative. They do great updates and they’re making a lot of impact for the organization. If they partner with us, we can really help them amplify that impact across the different go-to-market teens by really showing the differentiators of our company, plus the product here, is that they’re already on board. And so, for that reason, they are willing to do maybe a monthly meeting. So, we’ve done that with product team, for example, at marketing, it’s the same thing. You have all this amazing content from marketing that you’re putting up and it’s fantastic, but if you’re not really enabling the team on how to use it at the right time, are you really capturing the real ROI? So that’s how you get their buy-in.

Now, for example, you talk about revenue operations. Revenue operations has all these phenomenal dashboards and metrics that they’re supporting the organization with. And you can tell them, “Hey, let me enable your leadership on how to use this to culture people.” So, all the value of these dashboards is really being seen and the systems and processes that you’ve put in place is actually in use. So, by doing that, you really show them what’s in it for them to work with you. And once they are aligned, you can have monthly meetings. That’s what we do. And I don’t do these siloed meetings with our teams. I actually bring them all together. We talk about the top initiatives and that way we can align. And that way, when you’re doing enablement, you’re not bombarding the team with a ton of stuff, because let’s be honest, everybody has a lot of information dump nowadays. You can really focus on the vital few. And that vital few then sticks a lot better. And then again, you can prove the return on investment a lot better that way.

SS: Absolutely, absolutely. Now to tie this back to what we were talking about, though, with regard to revenue, where do you see it being important for practitioners to work cross-functionally in order to drive revenue growth? And I hope you’re able to dive into the customer comment that you made earlier as well a little bit here.

PH: Yeah. So, this actually looks different for each organization that you’re a part of. So, my experiences have been, it could be led by product and this is especially for SAS companies or technology companies that is a value in the product-led growth. Because product really understands the interaction of the customer, your customer journey, and they will be able to tell us how you impact that revenue. If say that your product team is not driving this, then it will be the go-to-market teams. Most of the time you want to alignment chief revenue officer, who would be responsible for that. Marketing teams definitely help out, rev op teams. Again, there is not a one size fits all answer unfortunately, you just have to really dive into what each organization is doing, understand who owns the customer experience and revenue and start partnering with them.

SS: Absolutely. Now I do want to go back to the conversation around metrics, because I think that that’s really important when we start talking about, you know, tying into revenue and really kind of basically doing revenue enablement within these organizations. What metrics do you use to really track enablement’s impact on revenue growth?

PH: That’s a really great question. So, this is very much like how do you impact your revenue? I’ll be honest with you, Shawnna. There has not been a very consistent answer to this and the different organizations that I’ve worked at. And I’ve been in sales and revenue around for 20 years now. I’ve done sales, I’ve been a VP of sales and marketing. And this really is the only advice that I give to all enablement professionals. Don’t make up some metrics for enablement and stick to them just for the sake of having some metrics. Instead, really understand what is the organization that you’re serving really emphasizing that quarter, that six months or a year. And the reason for that is let’s say that for one quarter, your organization is going to give emphasis on commercial because of XYZ reasons. Right? If you do not pivot to those metrics, and let’s say that you started out with time to quarter, and that really is not something that business really cares for. You’re really not going to be in alignment anymore.

So, yes, there is some certain metrics that are umbrella metrics that you can bring up if the organization does not have a good understanding. However, always align with your organization on what is it that they care for. So that being said, there are some that I’ve heard and seen and implemented that has been universally important for all go to market and revenue teams. And that is pipeline conversion, win rates, time to full productivity, percentage to full productivity. And then I would say if you are again, a product-led growth, you can take a look at adaption rate. So, these are some of the good key metrics that I’ve seen all organization pick and choose from, in any given setup.

SS: Excellent. I think those are great ones. And now to close out this conversation, how can sales enablement practitioners demonstrate enablement’s impact on revenue to their key stakeholders?

PH: So, there are multiple things that you can do. First and foremost, the most important thing is listening to the organizations and really understanding their strategy, understanding where they want to go, and be able to speak their language. If you can do that, they’re going to start aligning with you a lot better and they’re going to be bringing you along their journey a lot more. Once you are over that hurdle, then I would say, start saying no to things and it’s not to just say no, it’s to say, “Hey, let’s prioritize.” Because if you work with a lot of type-A personalities, which a lot of the revenue organizations are, they’re going to want to get a lot of stuff done all at the same time. So, it’s really up to us to help them slow down and take a step back and understand number one, is this the right strategy? Is this the right initiative? And is this the right priority? Once you are aligned on that, you can also ask them, “Hey, is this really an enablement thing? Or is this really setting up to expectations better or understanding how to coach better and so on.” So be their guide. So instead of being a yes person be their consultant, this is extremely important.

Other than that, when they bring up an initiative, ask them to help tie some sort of a metric to your initiative, because if you’re asking for more stake in the game, it’s so important for you to be able to show the metrics that you’ve been able to make an impact on as an organization, as the enablement organization. That’s why always push for some sort of a metric. And that’s, you know, going back to be a metric-driven, data-driven organization and being able to make data-driven decisions. Other than that, be a team player. I think it’s really important for enablement to show up as a team player at Fivetran, we have this saying called “one team one dream.” Be that person and support people because the more you support, the more you’re going to gain value out of that. So I would say those are some of the advice best practices that I can give.

SS: I love those Petek It’s been fantastic talking to you. I really enjoyed our conversation.

PH: Thank you, Shawnna. Same here. Take care.

SS: To our audience, thanks for listening. For more insights, tips, and expertise from sales enablement leaders, visit salesenablement.pro. If there’s something you’d like to share or a topic that you’d like to learn more about, please let us know. We’d love to hear from you.

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