Episode 170: Eric Andrews on How Enablement Adds Value to the Customer Journey

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Shawnna Sumaoang: Hi, and welcome to the Sales Enablement PRO podcast, I’m 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 excited to have Eric Andrews from Infor join us. Eric, I would love for you to introduce yourself, your role, and your organization to our audience.

Eric Andrews: Hi, thanks, I’m delighted to be here. My name is Eric Andrews, I am Vice President of Sales Enablement at Infor. Infor is an enterprise SaaS provider with solutions that are built for specific industries, including ERP, human capital management, supply chain management and solutions like that.

As the VP of sales enablement, I’m responsible for our sales enablement platform and the content and tools that sellers use to prepare to sell and use to engage customers within the selling process.

SS: Well, Eric, thank you so much for joining us today. On LinkedIn, you’ve been referred to as an exec that really understands customer care and solving their problems. I’d love to understand from you, how can sales enablement leaders embrace a more customer-centric mindset if you will, and why would you say that’s important?

EA: Sure. I think it’s critical to remember that today’s buyers can do and are doing most of their research on their own. In fact, there are many surveys out there that would suggest that they prefer to do so. If we want to participate in that process, we need to make sure that we’re adding value to their buying journey.

I think one of the best ways to get the team more customer-centric is to focus on doing fewer things but doing them consistently and with a high level of quality. There’s only so much content that sellers or buyers can consume and we’re trying to shift from a “more is more” motto to a “more is less” motto. It’s the old Mark Twain adage, “I’d have written a shorter note if I’d had more time.” This is really about providing fewer, really high-quality enablement assets that sellers understand and can use effectively in the buying process rather than having to hunt through hundreds of documents to find the ones that make the most sense for their customers.

SS: I love that. I think that’s fantastic. How do you take that same mindset though, and really make sure that it trickles down throughout all the levels of the organization? What are some of the strategies that you’ve used for how sales enablement can help enable reps to build customer relevance throughout that entire buyer’s journey?

EA: Sure. Some of the things we’re doing to really ensure that our reps are able to build that relevance throughout the buyer’s journey is to really be thoughtful about the assets that we’re creating at each stage of the buyer’s journey and how they’re meant to be used. We then create templates for those so that they’re consistent across every product we sell and every industry we sell into so that if you’re a rep and you want to know how to handle customer objection, you know exactly where to. It’s the second page of a battle card. It doesn’t matter which product in the company or which industry, it’s always the second page. In fact, it’s always the little lower right-hand corner of the second page.

We’re trying to make it as easy as possible for the rep to find the answers they need. We think this gives them confidence in the buying process and we think that confidence really translates into a more customer-oriented experience.

SS: I love that, I think that’s fantastic. Now, we’ve all had to pivot to virtual or maybe hybrid work environments as of late. What are some of the skills that salespeople need in order to still effectively engage with their customers through these new channels?

EA: Well, I think it’s a combination of skills and assets. I mean the reality is, sellers to the whole sellers to their inside sellers. What we’ve been doing is focusing on helping our sellers engage virtually and digitally. We’re creating more digital tools that they can use with customers and frankly, there’s some real advantages to that. A lot of these tools tend to be what I would call, choose your own adventure. As a customer, you can navigate to the content that you want to consume within that digital experience and that gives the reps real insight into what the customer’s demonstrated interests are. They can then tailor subsequent conversations by understanding that, hey, this customer really spent a lot of time on HCM and not so much time on ERP, so for my next conversation, I’m really going to focus in on HCM.

The other area is we’ve enabled our sellers to create tailored microsites for each customer opportunity that they have going. That’s become a really interesting opportunity. Those microsites are where the seller can share content with the customer, can share conversations, they can record their meetings and put those recordings in there so that everyone has access. We know that buying is a team sport and so not everybody’s available for every meeting. If we record those meetings and put them in there, we can have conversations within these microsites and what happens is that microsite, or we call them shared space, becomes a record of that customer engagement from start to finish. All the assets, all the conversations are there. That for us is really interesting and gives us the ability to start to analyze lots of these different conversations to understand which assets are most effective at which part of the buying process, which conversations are most effective at moving a customer forward.

SS: That’s fantastic. That’s a really great approach. Now, you’ve also been described, Eric, as a team-first leader on LinkedIn. I’d love to understand from your perspective, how does focusing on the success of your enablement team internally translate to success externally with the customer experience?

EA: I had a boss once who said, “you’re only as tall as the shoulders you stand on.” This is very much a team effort. It’s working together to determine what the appropriate bill of materials is for a different product or industry, it’s working together to ensure that really consistent high-quality curated environment, and everybody takes a role in that. Before an asset gets posted, we work with a content creator to make sure that it’s on-brand. We then will check every link in it to make sure that those links all work, we’ll check the legal disclaimers, we’ll check everything. It’s really all about trying to create a really high-quality environment. I think everybody has a responsibility in that.

SS: Absolutely, I love that. I love that philosophy and management. Now, in addition to the partnership between sales enablement, sales, and marketing, that can be super critical when it comes to driving a seamless customer journey. I’d love to hear your opinion, how can alignment across revenue teams impact the customer experience?

EA: I think that’s really important. The alignment is really important and it’s really important because we spend a lot of money with our marketing teams to generate demand for our products. As we pass those leads over to sellers, it’s critical the sellers know what to do with those leads, understand the conversations that generated those leads, and have we created enablement materials for them to continue those conversations and continue to progress those customers forward? We don’t want that handoff to be jarring. We’d ideally like it to be a seamless transition.

SS: Absolutely. think you’re completely right. How have you gone about, because I think at the end of the day something we’re always curious about when it comes to the business world is understanding impact, so how can sales enablement practitioners measure the impact of their efforts on the customer experience? Then how do you communicate and translate that impact back to your stakeholders?

EA: Yeah. We have a lot of different metrics, but I think the most important one was the one I was mentioning a little bit earlier, which for us tying the content shared and the conversations had back to individual opportunities, and then looking across those as a portfolio of opportunities and trying to understand through relatively simple analyses which assets at which point in the buying process are having the most positive impact. Which conversations at which point in the buying process are having the most positive impact.

By the way, it’s both our content creators and content owners, to help them understand how to refine that portfolio of content based on what we see is working and not working. Also going back to the sales leadership team and being able to say, hey, when these assets are shared at this point in the buying process, when these issues are explained in this way, there’s a significantly greater likelihood of a positive outcome.

SS: I love that. Well, Eric, thank you so much for joining us today. I learned a ton and I enjoyed our conversation, so thank you.

EA: Thank you.

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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