Episode 132: Mike Weir on Sales Enablement as a Strategic Advisor to Revenue Leaders

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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 they can be more effective in their jobs. Today I’m really excited to have Mike, the chief revenue officer from G2, join us. Mike, I would love for you, to introduce yourself, your role, and your organization to our audience.

Mike Weir: Thank you. It’s a pleasure to be on the program today. My name is Mike. I am the chief revenue officer at G2 where I’ve been for about seven months, but I’ve been a fan and a partner of G2 over the years. G2 is really where you go to research, compare and make informed decisions on the type of software you want to purchase for your organization. It’s an extremely valuable and important platform that helps people to make great decisions about what technology will empower their teams and their vision for the company.

SS: Well, I’m excited to have you here, Mike. I’m also a fan of G2 and the work that you guys have done over there, as well as your wide range of experience. So, you have experience leading teams across business, including marketing and sales. I would love to hear from you how has this experience in many types of revenue facing roles really help set you up for success as a revenue leader?

MW: I think the main thing that’s done having come from being a marketer, being a marketing leader, and now directly leading sales organizations is that I’m incredibly client-focused. And I’ve really found that there’s a difference. A lot of people say they’re client-focused, but there’s a big difference in saying that and actually getting what your clients do, why they do it, how they do it and using that really informed knowledge to shape your strategy around how to make them successful. That’s huge having been in our client’s shoes, both as a marketer and a sales professional. Those are the folks that we want using G2 and getting value from our platform to engage with buyers that matter to the products they’re trying to sell. And having been in their shoes, I can better empathize and learn what it takes to make them successful using our platform.

Then of course, having come from the marketing world, I’ve always worked really closely with product. And I think that’s the third huge lack of the stool in this case where we want to be thinking about the holistic client experience. How does that show up in the website experience? In the interface that we have for my G2 that they’re using to execute campaigns, access data, launch content so that all in all the marketers and sellers using our platform have a great experience and deliver ROI for their businesses.

SS: Absolutely. Now you also have a very deep understanding of sales enablement. In fact, you wrote a fantastic article on LinkedIn where you make the case that sales enablement can be a significant differentiator and competitive advantage for organizations. So, I’d love to hear your opinion. What is the strategic advantage that sales enablement can provide revenue teams?

MW: I see that as two key things: self-improvement and job satisfaction. We utilize peak development plans. At LinkedIn, we call them individual development plans. All in all, having a really key focus on helping every single individual within my part of the organization and at G2, the broader company to continually hone their craft and be the best professional, be the best expert that they can at their particular job. So, in my revenue organization, we’ve invested in sales enablement to make sure that we are not only helping refine the skills for the job they’re in today, but we connect that to the job they want in the future. So, what is that ideal next play for you in a year, two years, three years, and how can I help you map out a peak development plan that starts building skills, knowledge, and experiences towards that future role that you want.

All within sales enablement helps them to just master their craft and be amazing at their job today while really keeping an eye towards the future of where they want to get to. And that is a huge competitive advantage because, we know that our team and we get the feedback of our internal NPS programs, that the team is constantly feeling empowered, challenged, and improved over time so that, you know, they really want to do their best work to help the company because the company’s investing in their long-term success.

SS: I love that you’re using enablement to keep an eye to the future. Now, in that article, you also wrote that alignment across revenue facing teams, particularly sales and marketing, can help improve sales enablement efforts. Why is that?

MW: I tend to look at those and just focus and prioritization. The biggest blunder I see from marketing or sales enablement, or generally revenue leadership. So, we’re trying to cover way too much. We have to be willing to commit to the biggest and most important priorities that are going to drive our business forward and then focus on helping the team hone skills and knowledge to be able to lead towards that goal. And make sure that while they’re going towards that goal, as I mentioned before, we’re helping them prepare for the future.

We’re helping them see not what’s going to make you successful today, but what’s going to make you and the company successful in a year and articulating why that’s a priority today. We want to make sure you are ready for that future. We want to make sure you have the expertise before that it is a day-to-day conversation for you so that you’re always set up for success. And then we do that obviously in alignment with our go-to-market strategy. So, that prioritization really is dictated by what are the short-term, mid-term, and long-term needs of our business to be successful.

SS: I think that’s fantastic. Now, from your perspective as a revenue leader, and if you don’t mind, I’d love to break this question into two parts. How can sales enablement best collaborate both with the revenue teams to maximize business impact, but also revenue leaders like yourself?

MW: I think the first thing is that you’ve got to learn the business. I think that’s what differentiates the amazing sales enablement professionals that I’ve had the privilege of working with over the last decade or so is that they really got what we did. They got it at a macro level of like, what is the business trying to accomplish? What are the business objectives that we have set forth to achieve? But they also get it in more of a micro of like, what are each individual role designed to do, how do they work together? And as they become experts in the business, they become really consultative partners for an individual like myself and my leadership team, because they’re far more informed, they have more context so they can build out ideas farther without having to engage us a ton.

So, we get really well thought out ideas from our sales enablement team and we get new ideas, right? They are another part of our extended leadership team. Who’s seen around the corner, who’s seen what problems may be coming up. Oftentimes they’ve isolated skill gaps, knowledge gaps that we didn’t have as top priorities because they knew the business and they were in the trenches. They were talking to us. They were talking to the sales team every single day. And they surface ideas to us that helped us build a better strategy. So, if you learn the business, then it really does flow nicely into the second part of the question is you can be an advisor. You can be somebody that adds to the strategy versus just being somebody that’s waiting to be told what to do.

SS: I love that you see sales enablement as a strategic advisor to the revenue leadership team. That’s fantastic. Now, Mike, in closing I would love for you to give our audience some insight into what you see as the core opportunities for sales enablement teams to drive revenue impact in the year ahead.

MW: One area that I’ve really appreciated, my director of sales enablement has a keen focus on this, is leveraging the new technologies that exist to support sales enablement teams, and to really support the whole sales enablement process, but supported in a way that helps us better quantify the impact of the work that’s being done in enablement. I’m really excited about more sales enablement professionals using technology to help run and track the progress of the initiatives that they’re leading within their revenue organizations. And we’re creating opportunities via our director of sales enablement to improve our onboarding experience so that we can get people to productivity faster.

If it took an enterprise rep six months to get to productivity, we’re using technology to try to get them to productivity in four months. And that just two months of additional productivity provide huge dividends to the business from a revenue perspective, from a customer success and happiness perspective. We’re also utilizing this technology to create ongoing both on-demand and kind of virtual and in-person curriculum that helps everybody really hone their craft and be great at the jobs that they’re doing today, which is also leading to increases in how we’re driving product adoption with our customers because we’re launching programs and seeing people progress in their comfort and expertise in our holistic offering. Which then is connecting to more client conversations that are highly productive and convincing of those clients to consider purchasing those products from us. So, I think if we do a better job tracking the system, we can actually show the real impact that sales enablement is having on the revenue stream in addition to tracking the NPS and overall happiness of the team about these enablement efforts, making them a better professional.

SS: I love that. I absolutely love that. Mike, thank you so much for your time today. I really enjoyed the conversation.

MW: Thank you, as well. I look forward to future conversations and to learn from other leaders on the program as well.

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 you’d like to learn more about, please let us know. We’d love to hear from you.

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