Sales Enablement PRO Awards 2022: Driving Sales Excellence at GoCardless

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Congratulations to Sales Enablement PRO Award winner the Sales Enablement & Development Team at GoCardless. Learn more about the Best Enablement Team award recognition below.

Sydney Lee: I’m excited to announce the winner of the 2022 Sales Enablement PRO Member Award for People’s Choice on Best Enablement Team. Congratulations to the sales enablement and development team at GoCardless. I’m excited to be here today with George Campbell as he shares how his enablement team was built from the ground up to become the core team in supporting the sales function in productivity and increasing sales opportunities. George, I’d love for you to introduce yourself, your role and your organization.

George Campbell: So my name is George Campbell. I am the Global Director for Sales Enablement and Development at GoCardless.

SL: Again, thank you so much for being here with me today, and I’d love to get started on the topic of the impact of your team’s efforts at your organization. So to start off, how do you structure your enablement programs for success?

GC: Ok, so I have a general mantra point, which is the four pillars of world-class enablement or enablement maturity. And so, as I came into the organization, I looked at where we were, whether we were at the basic stage, or developing or indeed established or world-class, and then what components tick each of those columns and then work from there to devise some of our priorities. And those priorities that came out of that is that we needed to have some sales methodology, training programs put in place. We needed to put in an onboarding program for our new hires and the sales roles. And then we needed to put some governance around the launch enablement aspect. So those are things that are coming on a recurring basis, maybe some product updates or new products or changes or pricing changes and things very similar to that. And then the final pillar was looking at team development overall. So, as we look after the team’s response and how do we also develop our own team to make sure that we’re being the best that we can for the people we serve.

SL: Absolutely. That’s fantastic. And GoCardless rolled out six new enablement programs in six months. What initiative was most impactful to the success of your team this past year and what specific behaviors resulted from the implementation of your initiative?

GC: Yes. So probably the biggest impact that we had, or certainly where we saw the most immediate impact was our SDR program. So we had a look at some of the gaps and how the SDRs were performing and where it is that we could help. And we put together a program focusing on some key areas. The first training day that we put together for that was focusing on phone prospecting and so we did some live training in person. That was a big flip and pivot from where a lot of us have been over the last couple of years that went down really well. People being face to face, mixing with the peers, hitting the energy and the dynamism. In the class, we also did some live calling and we asked people to immediately implement some of the things that we were training them on, and that resulted in 400% increase of productivity versus the highest average amount for the year. And then quarter on quarter amounted to a 60% increase in activity and a 90% increase in opportunities created.

SL: Absolutely. That’s fantastic. I’m also curious to know what was the biggest challenge your team faced and how did you overcome it?

GC: So the biggest challenge, I guess, was the learning culture. And I think probably not just the learning culture. I think that is always a challenge in organizations, which is fair to expect a team like mine to address. I think the post-COVID conditioning is probably what was the big challenge is, getting people back to the normality of like we can go into class and we can be safe and respectful of each other’s space. But we can actually go and have some lunch together and we can have coffee and we can exchange and debate in a room and it’s been so long that that felt a bit alien to people. And so trying to coordinate that and to do that in a safe way was quite a logistical challenge. But it was worthwhile one because again the impact was really great when we got people over the hump and back in the habit of turning up for some in-person training again.

SL: Absolutely. That’s fantastic. And I want to move into the second part of how enablement delivers programs that drive business impact. So to start, how do you measure the effectiveness and success of your team at GoCardless?

GC: So I tend to refer and gravitate towards the Phillips ROI model. So that’s looking at how many people we’ve trained? Did they like it or not like it? Did they actually learn it? Are they applying it? Have we seen some behavioral changes? And then fundamentally, what’s been the business impact that’s resulted from that? And then in the long term is looking at the overall ROI in the long term and any climate factors. So that’s really the impact of us versus the business that we’re trying to serve. There is also an internal piece as well, which is looking at some of the competency mapping for someone who’s an Enablement Program Manager or someone who’s a Facilitator or a Designer of training or enablement solutions. And users have scorecards that way as well. But by and large, the real thing is looking at productivity levels, time to ramp for onboarding. And not only are we increasing the volume, so are we training people and encouraging them to make more phone calls? But are they actually? Are they… is the opportunity, is that outgrowing the level of productivity, meaning the quality is better and then are the win rates better as well. And it’s as simple as that and looking to track back using some of our CRM tools to help us be able to track specifically and directly correlate the enablement activity to the performance.

SL: Absolutely. That’s fantastic. And I’d also love to know how do you align with leadership to continue to grow your teams while also gaining organizational buy-in on the enablement function?

GC: So, I’m quite lucky in the sense that I sit amongst the leadership team. So, they are my peer levels, which means I have very frequent engagement. We have one to ones between myself and each of the leaders, as well as fortnightly group discussions. My team also looks after our sales kickoff and of course sales leaders are very actively involved in driving what they’d like to see. So the simple answer is really just building really good relationships. Some of the early wins that I managed to achieve were the first sales kickoff, the first program for the SDRs helped build the credibility. So they’re not only willing to share what they would like, but they’re also willing to be guided. And I, bottom line is I have a very good sales leadership team who are very trusting and are happy to let me be the expert of my area and they are not overly prescriptive and they are very open to my consultative feedback.

SL: Absolutely. I love that. And I’m also curious to know how have you seen the enablement team at GoCardless impact organizational objectives and drive business impact?

GC: So like I mentioned earlier, we’ve seen a correlation amongst a number of things. So first of all, one of our… Some of our top performers, as in those who won sales awards quite recently, also happen to be super users of some of the training enablement content that we put in place. And then if we look at the most engaged users right across the board, we almost have a like for like the top 30 most engaged in Sales Enablement and Development also have to be almost the top 30 performers as well. Like discussed earlier, we have measured very, very closely levels of productivity. Then we’ve tracked opportunities to make sure that they correlate back to the days where we ran training days combined with line callouts. And we’ve also put out surveys to ask people to put some sort of qualitative data on what extent they think that the lessons learned or the key learning points directly contributed to some of the success that’s been had. So those are some of the ways that we’ve been able to see that we’ve had an impact.

SL: Absolutely. That’s fantastic. And I want to move into this last topic of key considerations for 2022. So to start off, what was your team’s biggest learning in the past year and how will this impact the team in 2022?

GC: Yes. So probably the biggest learning is that the goalposts changed quite often through no fault of anyone other than maybe some external climate factors in the market or some more significant shifts internally in the business as well. So that’s meant that we had to be quite reactive to what we offer and how we offer it. For me personally, I think one of the biggest learnings is that, as well as trying to address the learning culture that we have at the company with the sales organization, it’s also trying to encourage the belief system that everyone owns enablement. So whilst I might set the strategy that the core part of the enablement function can also provide the core elements of sales training and connectivity with whatever resources we provide. We also need the rest of the sales leadership and sales management to also be responsible for enablement as well. And so probably more so than maybe other environments I have been in where there’s been a higher volume of enablement resource, I’ve had to maybe rethink how we go into 2022 and think about how I can do more to enable our managers to enable everyone else and make sure that we utilize their skills and experience to scale out in the better way that we can, rather than just trying to come up with all the answers ourselves.

SL: And finally, now that 2022 is in full swing, how are you planning for the upcoming year as we continue to face a mixture of virtual, in-person and hybrid work environments?

GC: Ok, so yes, that’s a good question, and it’s very important. We have some distinct options for some of our enablement. And for example, when it comes to new hire training, we’ve actually made quite a courageous decision to make that exclusively in-person and not hybrid. And I know the hybrid conversation comes up a lot. We found that the immersive experience, particularly as a new joiner, the best environment is to get people into classroom, face to face, mixing and feeling that they’ve joined the company and making sure that we’re giving them the right learning, the right time. So making that first couple of weeks all about their actual day to day job, and there’s lots of other things to learn as well. But in the first couple of weeks, focusing on their actual job and then we can come to all the highly desirable and nicer to know things later down the line. Doing that in a traditional classroom environment works very, very well, and we’ve seen the results of that very early on as we piloted our onboarding program. That said, we don’t have that luxury with everyone and we have to respect that not everyone can. It’s not that they don’t want to, and not everyone can make it to an office. And actually, because of the different learning styles we have, some people would prefer to have more self-subscription style learning. So, we’ve made sure that we’ve got some platforms and some licenses for learning resources that are made available. And I’m trying to work with a lot of our business partners to make sure that anything that we’re providing, we’re providing by as few clicks as possible for a seller to access and to benefit from not feeling like we’re always the ones that have to be the master of the entire pool of knowledge, but finding quicker ways of getting the knowledge to our sellers.

SL: Absolutely. That’s fantastic. And that’s all the questions we have for today. Thank you so much George for joining us and for sharing your expertise and congratulations again to the sales enablement and development team at GoCardless for being our 2022 Sales Enablement PRO Member Award winner.

GC: Thank you very much.

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