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At Highspot, we’re committed to improving the performance of sales reps and their marketing colleagues.  Today we’re sharing insights from Brian Groth, a sales enablement leader at Xactly.  Brian offers a unique combination of knowledge and advice we think other sales enablement pros will find valuable. 

The Sales Enablement Pro Series is designed to highlight the everyday application of proven strategies.  Through the Series, experts illustrate observations and suggestions based upon real-world experience.

Here are Brian’s responses to 10 questions important to sales enablement success.  (Plus one extra, just for fun.) 

Please tell us a little about yourself and your sales enablement role at Xactly: 

I run sales enablement at Xactly.  It’s a position the company hired me to start.  In this role I look after everything from productivity improvement strategies to the tools, guidance, content, training, and processes our sales team needs.  There are approximately 100 people on the sales team at our company, including lead-gen.  

Why did your company create a sales enablement function? How were sales enablement activities handled prior to a formal function/team being created? 

The company was hiring faster than ever before and realized they were in over their heads.  They couldn’t keep pace with training needs, starting with sales bootcamps.  There was a shortage of written guidance, different sales processes depending upon each team, and sales enablement was being handled ad-hoc.

Where does sales enablement reside within the larger organization (sales, marketing, sales operations)? Does this model work well?  

Sales enablement for us sits within the the sales operations team.  Some companies manage similar functions within their marketing team.  For us, it works well in sales operations.

How do you and your team measure sales enablement success? What are your KPIs? 

Each quarter we look at volume, velocity, and revenue.  We also review by segment: SMB, mid-market, and enterprise.  Are they closing more deals, moving from one stage to another, and doing it faster? 

What are the biggest challenges standing between you and your sales enablement goals? 

Consistent buy-in from senior leaders.  This is really the key.  Everyone is very focused on revenue and closing deals.

If given additional resources, what sales enablement tools or techniques would you implement next? 

I really want us to focus on the tools we have and for reps to emphasize implementation.

What are the big trends that will affect sales enablement in the next three years? 

There will be a continuation of emerging functionalities.  For example: call reporting, email tracking, and nurture campaign emails.  We need to tie this stuff into the sales process and determine which content is being used and serve that up to sales reps.  This will all be table stakes within the next three years. 

As a sales enablement community, what is the biggest impact we can have on your business? 

I like to keep pace with how leading companies are doing things.  That’s always interesting.  I’m also interested in ratios of the number of sales reps per sales enablement pro.  Sharing best practices is always good. 

What gives you the greatest satisfaction in your current role? 

When I see one of our sales reps apply what they’ve learned.  In particular I like to see reps negotiate based upon personality type and available content. 

What are the biggest pieces of advice you would give a new sales enablement professional? 

Understand what’s available, as well as what’s working and not working, and what’s needed and not needed.  Also make sure there are sales processes and methodologies in place.

++ Final question (just for fun): If you could be any cartoon character – who would you be? 

The Abominable Snowman.  Not sure that’s a character, but we’ll go with it.

Thanks a ton, Brian. 

We hope you found this interview helpful.  For insights from other sales enablement pros, check out our recent conversation with Ken Roden of Payscale and stay tuned for more.  


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