Episode 229: Amy DeBartolo on Using Incentives to Motivate Rep Adoption

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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 Amy DeBartolo from ACA group join us. Amy, I would love for you to introduce yourself, your role and your organization to our audience.

Amy DeBartolo: Hi, I’m Amy DeBartolo, I work with ACA group. My job is manager of sales enablement and I’ve been working in sales enablement now for 3.5 years. I’m excited to be here today.

SS: Thank you so much for joining us. Now, one of the things I wanted to make sure we got to chat about on this podcast was around driving adoption of new initiatives and it really starts with getting the right teams involved at the right time. I’d love to learn a little bit more about your experience. How have you been able to do that in your enablement career journey?

AD: Obviously the hardest thing about sales enablement is getting people involved and especially in larger companies when we’re rolling out new initiatives, what seems like, every day. One of the things that I like to do is introduce things to my team as things that are going to be helpful. Teams are often a little bit leery each time that you bring in something new, so one thing that I like to do with my team that I feel like is something that motivates them the most is I bring in a lot of contest work.

I like to motivate my teams with contests, whether their silly little contests or bigger contests with bigger prizes, I always like to motivate the teams with a little bit of friendly competition. By adding a contest, we can motivate the team to compete against each other and to learn the new product at the same time. Whether it’s a prize as simple as a t-shirt or a cash prize, we seem to get the team to motivate each other by competing against each other to learn the new products.

SS: I think that’s a really great approach. What are some of the challenges that enablement can face when it comes to driving adoption?

AD: The challenges are definitely with all the different programs that are out there. There are so many new sales enablement programs and platforms that are coming out. We roll out so many that the team is a bit hesitant to learn so many new programs, especially when we roll them out all at once. What we try to do is to not roll out too many at the same time and give them a chance to learn each program and see how they integrate in with each other. By showing them that they integrate with each other, they see that they’re beneficial to how their sales performance is going to increase. We try to pick our programs carefully and pick our platforms with specific intent so that they can see how they’re going to integrate all in one platform. By picking out platforms that work together, we can show the team that each one is beneficial to one another and they work together.

SS: I think that’s fantastic. Now, what are some examples of unique ways that you’ve been able to get teams involved and interested in new initiatives?

AD: I like to do weekly phone calls with my teams and instead of doing weekly phone calls that are serious and just training sessions, I like to give them fun titles. I’ve had calls before that I’ve called ‘it’s monday, don’t forget to be awesome.’ Right now I have one that’s called Shane’s loft and we call it Shane’s world and we bring in special speakers. I try to pick out people who are doing exceptionally well on the platform so that we can highlight our top performers so that people can see, hey, this is really working for someone and this can work for you too. I like to highlight the team and I feel like by highlighting our strongest workers that other people can see, hey, this is working for someone and it can work for me too.

SS: That’s fantastic. A lot of enablement practitioners really like to utilize intrinsic motivators and extrinsic motivators. How have you utilized these types of motivation to accelerate the adoption of new programs among reps?

AD: As I just mentioned, by using the teams and by having team phone calls, we find that a lot of people join these calls to see how other people are working on these platforms. Another thing that we do are newsletters. We can highlight big wins from using the platforms, so if we have an exceptionally large win, we’ll highlight that win. I also try to get a quote from the rep saying, you know, hey, this win was because I sent out this email or because of this program, I was able to do this. This is something that I hadn’t been able to do in the past. By highlighting wins and by highlighting good performance or things that are coming up, we’re able to send out that newsletter in a positive way.

I try to send out newsletters as often as possible, even though it’s hard on myself to send out a newsletter weekly, but I try to send them out as frequently as possible so that we can highlight those great win and highlight all these great programs that our company lets us buy into so that we can get the team motivated.

SS: Now on the topic of buy-in, leadership buy-in is I think often a critical factor and driving adoption from the top down. What are some of your best practices for gaining leadership buy-in?

AD: Obviously the motivation here is to make money. Anytime you can go to leadership and say, hey, you know, I can see a return on investment on this one as x amount of dollars. I’m lucky that I work for a company right now who is very adaptable. Our sales enablement program at the company right now is brand new, so they are very interested in anything that I’m going to roll out that’s going to help enable the team to make more money and to make life easier for our sales team. We have a very busy sales team right now with high quotas and anything that we can do to help enable our team to make life easier our team is very into right now.

I’m lucky and fortunate that I work for a company that’s into it. For other people who have trouble with getting buy-in, something to do is to go to that leadership team and to say there’s only 12% return on emails is average and with some of these sales enablement programs right now you can see returns on your investment so much higher. It’s so important to stress that these programs are there to help and not to hinder and obviously what you’re doing right now is working, but with the help of sales enablement and the help of sales enablement teams and training and all the initiatives that we can roll out, it’s only going to improve the investment. I’m all for bringing in new products all the time.

SS: I love that. Now, to close, what advice do you have for practitioners that maybe want to try new strategies when promoting their programs rather than just the conventional way that may have been used in the past?

AD: Make it fun. I’m all about making things fun. My teams always know me as the person that doesn’t take things too seriously because I’m always on calls trying to make things fun. You can’t take a sales enablement program, especially some of the ones that are more complex and have serious training calls constantly. You’re not going to have a sales team that’s going to be involved if you’re always serious and this is how it’s going to be and you’ve got to do this this way and this this way and this way and that. That’s why I bring in contest work. Right now I’m running a contest with a $500 cash prize for whoever has the most emails returned to them because I want it to be fun for them. I want them to realize that if they see someone win $500 just by winning a contest and see that they get 600 emails sent out in a week, they’re going to go, I can do that too. If they won $500, imagine how much money I can make by actually getting out 600 emails and having that many clients return things.

I always try to make things fun, keep things light, explain that we’re here to help them, we’re not here to make their lives more difficult. We’re here to actually make their lives easier. By having a sales enablement team and having a team that’s there to train them on things and make them feel more confident in what they’re doing is the best practice out there.

SS: I think that’s fantastic advice. Amy, thank you so much for joining us today. I really appreciate it.

AD: Thank 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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