Episode 18: Hillary Anderson on Team Selling to Foster a Supportive Sales Culture

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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.

Our guest today is Hillary Anderson, senior sales enablement manager at Host Analytics. Hillary, it’s great to reconnect with you. Could you take a moment and introduce yourself?

Hillary Anderson: Yeah, for sure. So, my name’s Hillary Anderson. I work for a company called Host Analytics. We are in the enterprise performance management space, and our tools help companies with their various financial budget processes, forecasting, making sure that we can help them with planning, modeling, consolidating and reporting.

I am a senior sales enablement manager there, and I’ve been at the company just shy of two months. Prior to that, I was over at a company called Hired.com. I started in sales there actually and built our enablement function from the ground up. So that’s kind of how I landed in the enablement world. And I was in sales prior to Hired as well in professional sports actually.

SS: That’s excellent. I’d love to understand from you, what are some of your upcoming sales enablement initiatives?

HA: Yeah, so we actually have two kick-offs a year, so we have a kick-off coming up here in July. So, just thinking through, this will be the first kick-off that the current existing enablement team will be putting together, so making sure that we preserve a lot of the historical way things have been done, but also bring some new stuff to the table and new ways to kind of energize and invigorate our group. So, we’re deep in planning for that, kick-offs are important in every company and they are quite a heavy lift, so trying to get ahead of that here.

Given that Laura and I are new to the company, we’re building a pretty intensive road map and plan for enablement and where we want to take things and where we want to invest up to about 20 months out. So thinking through what’s immediate, what’s today, what’s next month. But then more importantly, as the company grows and scales, how do we want to think through what could happen two years down the road, and making sure that we’re building processes and structures that will be able to scale up if our company does continue to grow.

And then the other thing that we’re pretty deeply invested in right now is thinking through – we have solutions consultants that work alongside our AEs that are very focused on the technical aspects of our product, and trying to think through how we can really build a culture of team selling with those two groups so that they both can learn from each other’s expertise and really think strategically around how we’re working with our customers.

Then, I mentioned the play thing earlier, so thinking through what does our playbook look like today, how can we maybe switch things up in a way that might be a little bit more interactive with the field, so that rather than just a playbook that they can read and hopefully retain, how can we bring that to life in an ongoing cadence? How do you make sure that things are sticking? How can we make that a part of either a weekly or biweekly or even monthly component of how our sales team comes together and shares best practices and how we win as a whole? So, that’s kind of some of the stuff that we’re working on right now alongside all of the usual things like onboarding, sales training, etc., like everybody. There are more things to do than hours to do them.

SS: That is the truth, that is the truth. You mentioned team selling and I just love that. How did you guys come to think about it in that framework and how do you really drive that across to your sales team?

HA: I think again back to that mentality of everyone having one shared goal and that’s the company being successful. Whether you’re at a 15-person startup and everyone is a shareholder, or whether you’re at a 15,000-person company, it might be a little farther departed from actually being a shareholder. I think it’s really important for people to just have transparency and visibility into what’s going on at the company so that they feel bought-in, they feel like they’re a stakeholder in some capacity and they actually are contributing and making an impact.

And I think once you build that culture as a company, it’s that much easier to build it on the sales side. By creating a sales culture where rather than putting people down that aren’t at top of the board, having those people that are top of the board working with those people that are at the bottom of the board to get them that much closer to being a top contributor, is where I’ve seen organizations be most successful. A competitive spirit is really important.

I myself as a salesperson was an athlete prior so I’m very passionate about being the best. But I think the people that I’ve seen be the best are also equally as invested in making everyone else around them be the best that they can be. And so again, really bringing the teams together as much as possible, allowing people to work with peers that they might not necessarily work with in an everyday capacity was something that we were really passionate about at Hired. Connecting our team out in London with our team in New York, making sure they work together on things, even if they were just exercises that make themselves better, it just connects people and allows relationships to build so that you can go pick that person’s brain or you’re tiering that person that much closer to their quota.

It just fuses everyone together, which makes it easier to share best practices, to communicate, to collaborate, and to have a really healthy sales culture that’s one of celebration rather than intimidation or putting folks down because they’re not top of the board. I think it’s really important. Creating team chemistry will ultimately help your business, and how can you do that in both organic and inorganic ways by bringing them together or creating environments where they’re going to be really encouraged or motivated to connect with folks that they might benefit from having a relationship with?

SS: I love that. It sounds like Host Analytics has a really healthy and encouraging sales culture, so that’s amazing to hear. I want to switch gears back to initiatives, but now I want to talk retrospectively. What are two of the top initiatives that you’ve implemented in your past and why have they been successful?

HA: Yeah, so I am kind of chuckling as I’m getting ramped up here at Host because I’m facing and tackling the same challenge that I had early on at Hired, even prior to my enablement days of just thinking through how we can be really organized and systematic with the resources that we have. I think at any good company that is able to get past maybe even the four or five year mark, you begin to get to a world where you have a plethora of information, a plethora of places, and a lot of people could benefit from a lot of that information but they either don’t know that it exists or they can’t find it.

So, we need to implement some sort of solution or organization structure that allows it to be easily discovered or revisited or relearned from a training standpoint, from a case study standpoint. That will allow folks to truly have an easy way to access the information that could help them, whether it’s real time or on a call with a customer or whether it’s thinking strategically around a meeting that you know you have to go into tomorrow. That’s something that was an area of opportunity for us at Hired that we were able to overcome by just implementing some tools and then implementing the process from an organization standpoint of the content and things that we had. So, I think just having systems in place in an organization that everyone’s aware of so that they can find what they need quickly is important.

Then, I think the second thing was implementing resources or tools that allow you to kind of retroactively go back and listen to the calls that you had or coach your team members on calls that they had, or even learn from your peers. I think that there is some really cool stuff happening in the AI and technology space right now for virtual listening of past calls and then allowing you to incorporate some data so that you can find out what’s the best way to do this, what’s kind of the not great way to do this. And learning by doing and learning by listening.

So, I think that those were two processes and tools that I’ve been able to put in place and see huge returns on almost immediately. With some things that are a little bit longer tailed and you need to wait to bake, I love an immediate result. So kind of implementing those two processes or tools have been really helpful in thinking through how we can make things easier for salespeople so they have more time to prospect, more time to talk to customers, more time to do the things that they need to do to get deals over the line.

SS: Yeah, absolutely. I think you nailed it, the most impactful initiatives are the ones that actually help the reps at the end of the day and also impact the business. It sounds like both of those have been spot on in helping you do that.

HA: Yeah.

SS: Well, thank you so much, Hillary, I really appreciate your time today, it’s always great chatting with you. You have been a phenomenal contributor to both the Sales Enablement Soirée events as well as just chatting with you now for this podcast.

HA: Thanks!

SS: Thank you, I really appreciate your time.

HA: Always great to catch up, Shawnna, thanks so much.

SS: 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 want to know more about, let us know, we’d love to hear from you.

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