Episode 204: Daniel West on How Enablement Drives Go-to-Market Effectiveness

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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 excited to have Daniel West from MYOB join us. Daniel, I would love for you to introduce yourself, your role and your organization to our audience.

Daniel West: Hello, it’s great to be here with you today. I am the chief sales and support officer for MYOB and we’re a SAAS provider of business management solutions to almost a million small and medium-sized businesses across Australia and New Zealand. We are an organization of about 2000 people and I have the pleasure of leading our teams across marketing, sales, solution consulting, partners, customer success services, and support along with the operations and enablement teams who support those functions.

I actually returned to Australia about 18 months ago after spending 17 years living and working in Palo Alto in California for Oracle, Salesforce, Informatica, Infoblox, and HP in a number of different Go-To-Market operations and enablement leadership roles. I was actually one of the founding members and chapter president of the Bay Area chapter of the Sales Enablement Society. Enablement as a discipline is certainly something that I’m very passionate about and something that’s been part of my career for more than 20 years now.

SS: Well, Daniel, I’m very excited to have you on the podcast given your deep involvement in the enablement space. I have to say I am jealous, Australia is on my list of must-visit places in my lifetime so I’m jealous that you are back there. It is a beautiful, beautiful country,

On LinkedIn, you mentioned that you are responsible for leading efforts to improve go-to-market effectiveness. In your opinion, what role does enablement play in driving GTM effectiveness?

DW: So I’ve always believed that fundamentally the role of enablement is to drive change and transform the way that an organization’s, what I call the value delivery system, so these are all the parts of the organization that deliver value to customers, so sales, pre-sales services, customer success, those parts of the organization that they number one are aligned and that they have the level of readiness that’s needed to deliver those customer outcomes.

As an example, if a company is making the shift from a product selling to a value selling motion, enablement is responsible for ensuring that sales and the other frontline teams are equipped not only with the right skills and assets but also the right processes so that they can drive those value-based conversations with those target customers and really connect with their business challenges and demonstrate how that particular organization can help those customers solve those challenges and ultimately drive better outcomes for the customer but also better outcomes from bookings and revenue perspective for that sales organization.

SS: Now you actually spoke at a recent event and you were talking about the importance of customer-focused, go-to-market initiatives to drive sales transformation, I think in today’s business environment, why is it especially important to make sure that you align the go-to-market strategy with the needs of your customers?

DW: The more relevant you can be to your customers the better off you will be. Just to give you an example, MYOB is currently going through a transformation of our own, we’re moving from a SaaS and on-premise products to a SaaS platform solution focused around this idea of business management and as part of that transformation journey, we have aligned our go-to-market function around customer segments. These are specific cohorts or groups of customers that share a set of common attributes and this structure helps to ensure that our go-to-market initiatives defined, orchestrated, and executed by the teams that are as close to the customer as possible and therefore as informed about that customer’s specific needs and requirements as possible, which increases our relevancy and our ability to serve a particular customer segment as effectively as we can.

SS: I love that. To dig into that a little bit more, what are some of your best practices for gaining the customer insights that you need to inform some of your initiatives?

DW: Yes, so I think there’s a couple but talking to them is always good, just to state the obvious. Talking to your customers either formally through a research effort or customer focus groups and so on or even just informally through check-ins and and things like that is always good. I think more formally, we have established some structures internally within MYOB so that we can gather input and feedback from the people who spend the most time with our customers, which unsurprisingly are our frontline teams. So we’ve established what we call an advisory council that’s made up from representatives across sales, support, success, and services and they play a role in bringing the voice of the customer to the table when we’re reviewing the types of go-to-market initiatives and programs that we’re looking to run as part of our 90-day planning and execution cadence.

Every 90 days as we look at our go-to-market initiatives for three or six months out, we bring this group of people together and they provide us with the input and feedback on those go-to-market opportunities that can then inform how effective they are going to be, what changes we need to make again to drive that customer relevance that I talked about earlier and also how we can ensure that they’re going to be executed well when they get into the field or into those frontline teams.

On top of that, we also use data. We use Gong data, we use usage complaints, calls, data, website visits, reviews, etcetera and kind of gather all of that information together to extract insights about how our customers are reacting to what we’re putting into the market and so that we can make adjustments as necessary.

SS: That’s fantastic. Now, another thing that you had mentioned, Daniel, was you talked about the role specialization that helps align to the buyer’s journey. What does that look like in terms of enablement and how can this help improve the customer experience?

DW: Yes, I think there are two elements of that. One is making sure that you have specialists, and most organizations have this today in the SaaS world, but you have people who are specialists at different parts of the buyer’s journey. What I mean by that is you have market development and sales development reps who are focused on driving that initial interaction and discovery qualification with the customer, you have a sales specialist who is responsible for ensuring that they’re working with that customer to guide them through that buying journey, you have customer success, who is then responsible for ensuring that customer get once they’ve made that purchase decision that they are getting on-boarded as effectively as possible and they are starting to adopt and use whatever the key capabilities are in the given solution that’s going to help that customer extract value as quickly as possible.

So number one, there’s having the right specialized roles as opposed to kind of a general account management role that tries to do all of those things and usually doesn’t do them particularly well, but then there’s also the enablement element which is what I would call role-based enablement. Role-based enablement is the opposite of one size fits all enablement and it’s really making sure that you have an enablement program, enablement content that is tailor-made for those specialist roles that I just mentioned.

So you have an enablement program for those business development roles that are predominantly focused on the front end of that customer journey. You have enablement that is tailored for sales, for solution, consulting, for customer success so that the individuals in those roles have the specific content and assets and knowledge that align to their role in that customer journey and then allows in the case of sellers for example, to provide that customer or prospect with compelling insights that demonstrate why change, why now, why MYOB, or why your company.

Just maybe to build on that a little bit we have built out sales playbooks by sales specialization. Even within our sales organization, we have acquisition-focused sales specialists and we have expansion-focused sales specialists. We also have within our business sales teams who are focused on very small customers that tend to have very high velocity, high volume transactions and then more enterprise type buying processes without ERP solutions and so on. So again, we haven’t taken a one size fits all approach to enabling those sales roles because they are quite different. So we’ve built out sales playbooks against those different types of sales specialists, so that even though our sales methodology has a common foundation, the customers have different needs and types of conversations and talk tracks that they’re going to respond to that address their specific needs and challenges, so that tailoring is quite critical.

From a customer experience perspective, obviously, again, the more relevant those conversations that your sales specialists are having with particular types of customers is going to improve that customer experience, demonstrate to that customer that you really understand their business and their pain and ultimately going to predispose them to working with your company and your solution and ultimately getting value from that offering.

SS: I love that. Now, Daniel, you’ve been in enablement for quite some time and now your role has really expanded quite a bit. As a GTM leader how do you foster collaboration across the business to ensure progress against a lot of the company’s core objectives?

DW: So, I think ultimately communication and stakeholder alignment are the secret sauce to effective transformation and change. Making sure that you are establishing clear priorities with your stakeholders, providing regular updates on those priorities and managing resources and capacity constraints against those priorities is critical to managing and meeting expectations and then to secure the support and participation that you need from other parts of the business, you have to again be able to connect those initiatives that you’re working on back to those broader business objectives or OKRs that your company is putting front and center and really use those as the way to drive alignment against those initiatives that you need to move forward but that you need other parts of the organization to work with you on to move those forward. Communication and stakeholder alignment, the more senior you go, the more time you spend in those areas.

SS: Absolutely. That could be said across a lot of different roles for sure. Now, last question for you, Daniel, because I realized we’re almost at time, what are some of the key metrics that you prioritize to really understand the effectiveness of these GTM efforts and how can enablement teams better correlate their efforts to impact on these key metrics?

DW: So I think the ultimate metrics for go-to-market effectiveness, did we hit the revenue target? And did we hit the EBITDA targets? In terms of the type, the leading indicators that that would that would roll up to those are the ones that I really focus on bookings attainment against the target, bookings per sales head, which is a key measure of sales effectiveness because if you can over time see an improving trend in the output from a bookings perspective per sales head that you have in the organization, then that means you’re getting more out of the investments that you’ve made in sales from a headcount perspective. I think there’s also bookings per dollar invested in sales or what I would call a bookings to cost yield metric from an onboarding and a productivity perspective there is time to first deal, so when you have a new rep, once they’ve completed the onboarding program, how quickly are they actually closing their first deal. From a customer success perspective, obviously reducing turn. CAC to LTV I think is one that is becoming increasingly more important as we need to both manage customer acquisition costs against the lifetime value of a SaaS customer.

Then for go-to-market specifically the two things that I look at is one, what is the absolute value of the pipeline and of created by a particular go-to-market initiative and did it hit the targets and how well is it converting to bookings, and for go-to-market overall, what percentage of those of your total bookings and pipeline targets are those go-to-market initiatives delivering to the company because ultimately the role of go-to-market is to make sure that as an organization you are focused on the most important opportunities in the market and that you were aligning all of your resources to execute effectively against those opportunities. If you’re not driving 60% of your pipeline and bookings from those go-to-market initiatives, then you’re probably focusing potentially in the wrong area. I think those would be the key ones that I would call out.

SS: I think those are fantastic. Well, Daniel, thank you so much for taking the time to chat with us today. I learned a lot from you and I really appreciate the time.

DW: My pleasure, Shawnna and lovely to speak to you.

SS: To our audience, thanks for listening. For more insights, tips, and expertise from sales enablement leaders, visit salesenablement.pro. If there is 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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