Episode 182: Jeff Scannella on Onboarding and Coaching to Accelerate Productivity
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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 Jeff Scannella from FullStory join us. Jeff, I would love for you to introduce yourself, your role, and your organization to our audience.
Jeff Scannella: Yeah, absolutely. Thank you, Shawnna. Again, my name is Jeff Scannella, the Senior Product Manager of Productivity and Enablement at FullStory. For those of you who are not familiar with FullStory, we provide digital experience intelligence to companies that allow them to know everything about their customer’s digital experience, whether that’s on mobile, whether that’s on apps. As we see a transition to that becoming steadily the norm from an experience perspective, that’s where we can support our clients. I live outside of Charlotte, North Carolina. Grew up, born and raised in Atlanta, but proud to call Charlotte home now.
SS: Well, excited to have you here on our podcast today. I actually read an article that you were featured on for the FullStory blog where you were talking about your Sales Academy, which is your new hire onboarding program. I’d love to start there. How is that program structured to set new sales reps up for success in their roles?
JS: Yeah, this has been a great work in progress for us over the last six months to really establish the fundamentals of who we are as a business when someone steps their foot in the door. When it comes to the variety of sales roles, Shawnna, that we bring in on a pretty much weekly basis, we want to make sure that there is a tried-and-true plan of attack for them to know what they’re getting into in their first month of being a FullStory employee.
We’ve set out to create certain objectives, competencies, and weekly challenges, as many milestones for our team members to really strive towards day in and day out for their first month with us at FullStory. Each of these weeks, again, really centralizes on some of the core fundamentals that will help them be successful in the role. Getting familiar with the types of personas and industries that they will be working in, specific focus on our product, and then rounding that out with some essential focus on process and sales skills that will enable them to take that learning and bring it into the field with them to be successful very quickly.
We then coupled that with a nine-week program specifically around the behaviors, the interactions, the customer conversations that they will be having, almost from start to finish, from an initial outreach all the way through the demonstration and closing of a new client to give them that safe space to perfect and practice a lot of these key scenarios alongside their teammates. Really being able to start there, but also creating familiarity, Shawna, with key assets, key pieces of content. Where do those live? How to get help? How to communicate effectively through Slack, which is what we use? This gives them some of the more under the radar type of insights and knowledge base that sets them up, not just to be successful from a growth acumen standpoint, but just how to be efficient and productive day to day throughout their first couple of months of working at FullStory.
SS: I think that’s fantastic. Now, you mentioned that the program is applicable for any sales role, but do you tailor different aspects of the programs for specific sales type roles?
JS: Yes. That’s a great question. We’ve worked very hard to be diligent and mindful that not only does every team member who joins the business maybe learn a little bit different from the next, but their roles have different nuances to them just the same. What we’ve really built this program around is creating cohesion amongst the group to set the core fundamentals, core foundational elements in place, and then where appropriate based on a team member’s specific role, have tracks that are applicable more so to their day to day.
From an SDR perspective, from a sales engineering perspective, there are skills, activities, behaviors that are absolutely more relevant to each one of those use cases than the next. We want to provide that opportunity to them to partner with key stakeholders within the business, bringing in subject matter experts that again are aligned with their specific role. That’s given us a lot of strength to be able to meet team members where they are and their journey over their first month and beyond, but also to create that harmony between the large group as well as some of the smaller breakout tracks that we’ve put in place.
SS: That’s fantastic. Now, there’s another piece of the program, which I also found impressive and quite valuable, which is peer-to-peer learning. What are some of the ways that you’ve been able to foster peer learning in onboarding, and particularly so in the virtual environment that a lot of us have been in the last two years? How can sales enablement practitioners or practitioners running these types of programs motivate new reps to engage in and lean into peer learning?
JS: Yeah. That’s been a pretty big part of the culture that we’re trying to create, Shawnna, within a team member’s first couple of months, specifically around the onboarding perspective. Really at the heart of it is that each role learns from the next. There’s cultivation of respect between teams when we’re all together despite our difference in roles.
SDRs, for example, their outreach is very heavy compared to maybe an enterprise account executive, but there’s great things to be learned from the grind that they go through on a day-to-day basis, the tenacity, the approach to outreach and securing opportunities with new customers. Our enterprise account executives can absolutely take a page from, learn from, understand the messaging, the habits, the touchpoint cadence of SDRs that can in turn, help them as they approach this perhaps on their own. On the other end of that coin is that the AEs, they can show the SDRs what their future within the business can look like at that next level, the level after that in terms of some of the high-level conversations, some of the habits that our SDRs can aim for in growing their own careers.
First, it starts with the respect that is cultivated between team members across the board, but secondarily, the idea sharing in the breakout practice sessions is really where we’ve seen the most growth across the board within our program. It’s sharing ideas, complimenting ideas, challenging each other in a healthy fashion to think differently about a given topic, a given concept, a given sales interaction. If, Shawnna, you and I were in the same group, maybe there’s something that you said or a way you approach something that I wouldn’t have thought of myself. As a result, I’m taking bits and pieces, not just from the core content, but from my teammates day to day, week to week. We firmly believe at the end of the program, that there is a lot to gain from those interactions across the board.
SS: That’s fantastic. Now, I want to shift gears a little bit. After the initial onboarding program, you also leverage coaching to help reinforce the concepts that were introduced in onboarding. In your experience, what has been the impact of coaching on new hire productivity?
JS: It’s done a lot for the confidence and the exposure of core concepts, core situations, and specific sales process elements that our team members really need to be successful in the field. Because of coaching, it’s allowing things to happen faster, it’s allowing team members to see things, digest things, and act on things much faster, which is allowing us to see quicker ramp times in which we are selling more, but more importantly, we’re understanding the fundamentals that are replicable that can lead to long-term success.
Whether that’s good engagement with prospects, excellent in thorough discovery, impactful thought-provoking questions during a demonstration. The one-to-one small group cohort, large group cohort coaching environments that we position straight after the initial onboarding creates cohesion in what they’ve just learned for that first month but carries it out with real field awareness for that next eight to nine weeks, giving them a full 90 days to really start to put these things in action when they hit the field.
Also understand that there’s those things that we can refine, that we can complement, that we can change to allow the sellers to find their best foot forward individually. That is the most important message that we try to position, that over the course of that 90-day timeframe, your journey may not look like your team members, but at the end of the day it is yours and yours alone to get to where you want to be, which will not only impact your future success and longevity, but also your teams.
We have a lot of competitive people who come through our program who want to succeed, and it’s about meeting them where they are, challenging them to think differently and raise their own personal bar, but also understand that it is a process and one that we firmly believe will help them get to their next level, whatever that is.
SS: Jeff you participated in an AMA session with us recently on coaching. What metrics are you looking at to measure the impact of sales coaching at your organization and how are you using these metrics to improve your future programs?
JS: Yeah, great question, Shawnna. This is one that really fascinates me to take a deeper look at when we iterate on or create additions to existing coaching programs because it’s important for us to be very tight to the core KPIs of the sales organization in total.
The two high-level KPIs that really, we’ve tried to evolve even since that conversation, are twofold. Number one, of course, is at the end of the day, are we at our quota from a quarterly onset? Are we striving towards what we call, “in the green,” which is above 70% of your quarterly number? Our goal is to have every single person who steps foot within Sales Academy and/or the coaching program in unison, to be even in their first quarter in that green zone. We want to challenge our team members to really strive for themselves to have that as their first milestone within our business, but also to know that there are a lot of working pieces working collaboratively with their frontline managers to be able to help them. The first and most impactful is that initial goal of getting them in the green.
Now, second, and really where we’re trying to push the threshold a bit, is with team members that may not have a quota because they are on a ramp. Our challenge has been to measure what percentage of those people who are not on a ramp are still closing business. That’s giving us some really great data to see, how can we do things faster than maybe we would have envisioned before? How do we take that ramp time of maybe two to three months and shrink that down to a month? Shrink it from six months down to three? Doing so with precision around understanding that we’d still have to provide our team members with a deliberate process and a vision to get there.
Those two KPIs shown are really the macro level, if you will, but in addition, you know, we’re looking for also some micro KPIs that are a little less easy to track, but are ones such as, how is our sales methodology and our messaging appearing in more conversations? How does our competitive positioning and the ways that we differentiate in the marketplace appear in more customer conversations? Being able to leverage some of the tools that we have at our disposal to really coach from what we see.
I think you’ll remember me talking through in our AMA that coaching really starts from changing behavior that is witnessed. We have a really strong grasp on how we want to continue to push that envelope to make sure that our team members have a great runway, a great platform to be successful. In the enablement world, we are very deliberate on what we’re measuring and how that plays into future programming as well.
SS: Absolutely. Now in that AMA session, just to round us out and close us out, you also said that accountability is one of the most important things that you’re looking at as you plan for 2022. How are you planning your onboarding and coaching programs for the year ahead with accountability as a business goal in mind?
JS: Yeah, that’s a great question and one that I’m always striving to challenge my team and for my boss to be challenging me on how we can get better here. That goes, Shawna, from week to week, month to month, how are we analyzing performance not just of our new team members when it comes to onboarding, but also coaching programs as a whole? What’s working? What’s moving the needle? What isn’t? Why isn’t it? Thinking about the touchpoints, the content we create, the ways that we can provide visibility into that content, the ways we secondarily build programming in general, is there a better way, a more assertive way, a more creative way to contextualize that opportunity so all of those pieces to that very grandiose puzzle are what we are trying to analyze on a week in and week out basis?
For us as a team, our standard is to never be stagnant in how we’re approaching things. It’s to always be thinking of that next move and what that can unlock from a skillset development standpoint, a business objective standard. How do we think differently about our approach? Even when we are seeing things that are winning, how do we challenge to what that next level can look like? How do we think differently about the next set of team members that join the business? How does their experience not just stay the same as someone three months before, but improve? Always looking at that reflection component to our methods, as well as just being comfortable challenging each other within the team to be hyper-focused on our planning.
When we look at 2022 in particular, Shawnna, it’s all about working at scale. It’s raising our bar from that enablement focus from team members and their experiences. How do we align that with both personal team and business goals globally? In between, finding those personal touchpoints that we know is essential to creating positive team culture.
SS: That’s fantastic. Jeff, thank you so much for joining us on our podcast today. I appreciate the time.
JS: Yeah, absolutely. Thank you so much for having me.
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.