Episode 242: Denyse Hannon on Enablement’s Role in Solving Sales and Marketing Misalignment

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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 Denise Hannon from Tray.io join us. Denise, I’d love for you to introduce yourself, your role, and your organization to our audience.

Denyse Hannon: Thank you so much for having me. It’s great to be here and hello to everyone out there. My name is Denyse Hannon and I work at Tray.io. Tray.io is really driven by the hope to create a world where really anyone can solve business problems without the constraint of technology, but in doing so through automation. We essentially help companies transform fragmented processes into very powerful business outcomes.

For example, our customers are able to automate business processes or even help accelerate a company’s integration roadmap by empowering product service developers to rapidly build integrations for their customers. My role at Tray.io is very focused on enablement. I am the senior sales enablement manager for the company, so I oversee their enablement strategy.

SS: Well, we’re excited to have you join us, Denyse. Now, one of the things that I love about your background is that you have a wide range of experience coming from enablement and marketing. How has that blended background really helped impact your approach to sales enablement?

DH: I’m so grateful to have that mixed background. It’s given me such an insight into just the different realms of enablement. I feel like we often think of sales enablement as one aspect of a business, but enablement really captures so many different elements from project managing, and operational processes, to collaborating with cross-functional teams in marketing, product, and even HR, with sales enablement onboarding. Having that background has really given me just the knowledge of how important it is to work cross-functionally and get to know those members because those cross-functional departments become an enabler’s true force to be able to create efficient content lessons, and honestly, that ongoing loop of communication that’s necessary for sales enablement.

SS: Absolutely. Oftentimes, within a lot of organizations, a common challenge that I hear about is just this misalignment between sales and marketing teams. In your experience, what would you say may be some of the root causes of this misalignment?

DH: I think the first thing that comes to my mind is communication. I think sometimes, and I see this through enablement, quite often teams are working in silos, unfortunately. Every team has its strategy and the goals they’re trying to hit. I think that the real root cause is miscommunication and not branching out to work cross-functionally and understand those strategies and create a consistent sales enablement strategy based on all the other strategies. I think that sales enablement has a really unique position in that sense and ability to look at an organization’s strategic angle in each department and intertwine those strategies to tell a consistent and effective story to the sales.

SS: I love that. Do you have any tips or things that you’ve done to prevent the silos between the two teams?

DH: Definitely. I think at the end of the day, the biggest tip I can say is we’re all human. Similar to what I teach from the sales enablement perspective, what is really important is trust, connection, and being authentic and genuine. These are all big aspects and tips that we overlook when it comes to breaking down these silos and working together as a team.

I mentioned that because I think a lot of the time, especially now more than ever in a digital world, we get into zoom and immediately we start kind of hitting on those key points we need to get at for the meeting. We have 30 minutes or whatever it might be, let’s get to it. I think sometimes we just need to have that human touch and really take a few minutes to get to know each other, get to understand what’s going on in your day, how are you feeling, and that really starts to create trust.

I think that’s really a key element to breaking down those silos because what I’ve noticed is people are more inclined, more willing, and they want to work with you. They want to loop you in on projects. I’ve even noticed even in situations where enablement wouldn’t come into play, people will come to you and say, hey, I need to talk this through. What sparks from that is other ideas, other projects where enablement can come and help. I don’t know if that’s a good tip there, but I think sometimes we overlook just the human touch and the power of truly connecting with other people.

SS: I love that advice. For our audience listening today, how can enablement help break down some of those sales and marketing silos and really start to drive really strong alignment across the teams?

DH: When I think of the sales side of things, obviously they are customer-facing, and they can provide such great feedback back into the company, like what they are hearing from prospects and from customers. From a marketing perspective, they’re the ones driving that message and approaching conversations. We really can’t have those silos. We need to have that ongoing feedback loop of what I’m hearing and marketing saying, hey, here’s how we’re tailoring that message. It’s going to be constantly evolving just with the trends that we notice in industry and the changing economy. That’s a constant form of communication that is necessary, and I think where enablement comes in and helps there is really to drive that communication.

They’re kind of that liaison between, hey, here’s what I’m hearing from my sales team, and from a marketing standpoint, providing the marketing team that message and then vice versa marketing might be saying, hey, here’s how we’re approaching this conversation now, or here’s how we’d like to frame the message here based on what we’re hearing, and then bringing that back to the sales team and working with them on how we can pitch this the right way. I think that’s a great way that enablement can really come in and play, and being that liaison between the two teams.

SS: I love that. Given enablement’s unique position as a core partner both to sales and marketing teams, do you have any advice for how to build strategic partnerships with the executive leaders, maybe the CMO or the head of sales within the organization?

DH: When it comes to working with executive leaders and to be quite frank, this is a somewhat newer area for myself and I’d love to continue my career down this path, but really looking at a higher-level strategy there. We touched on this a little bit before, but I think enablement has that unique ability to look at a micro strategy within, for example, the marketing department or a sales department and to first and foremost kind of flag to the executives, hey, we may not have alignment here, we need to create an efficient, streamlined process.

Also, vice versa, they can say hey, this is a gray area where we can all collaborate and grow together. I think from an executive leadership point, it’s almost kind of stepping outside of a sales enablement role, and it almost, in my opinion, it’s very much an operational, in some ways project management ability there to help executive leaders align on enablement needs to grow the business.

SS: Last question for you, Denyse, and I appreciate all of the insights that you’ve shared today. How, how do you correlate the impact of enablement’s effort to both sales and marketing priorities?

DH: It goes back to that ongoing loop of communication that’s necessary. Enablement is such a broad word. That is one thing I’ve learned in my career as an enabler. You can wear so many different faces as an enabler, and it’s one of the things that I love absolutely the most about the job. Not only can you see the impact in one area, but in so many different areas. I think that when you think about the impact enablement has on the priorities of a business, not even just marketing and sales, I mean, what’s really unique is that going back to communication, the information we’re pulling from sales and marketing should get communicated out to the rest of the organization.

This communication can help drive product strategy, and so I think there’s a much larger impact there, even from branching out to HR even saying hey this is what we’re noticing and this might be a future need for the company to hire. I kind of would expand that question to the impact enablement has on, on the entire company’s efforts. If you can think outside of the box that way and if you really want to have that company-wide impact, I think that sales enablement role really has that opportunity to do so and to branch much deeper than to personally a lot of different roles that I’ve been part of.

SS: Well, Denyse, thank you so much for joining us today and sharing your insights. I really appreciate it.

DH: Thank you so much for having me on and letting me tell my story.

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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