Did we tell attendees what to expect? No.
The meet-up description was rather vague, simply a promise that it wouldn’t turn into a “vendor” discussion. Frankly, we had our brand value to hold up, so we wanted to ensure that our first inaugural Seattle Sales Enablement Society meet-up was truly centered around the core mission of the society: To elevate the sales enablement profession.
We quite literally had no presentations or speakers prepared. So we were extremely lucky to have the Sales Enablement Society founder, Scott Santucci, fly in to Seattle to help kick off the meet-up. Since we were not the first—or the last—chapter, but rather the 15th chapter to form, we had more structure than the first, but definitely less than the last.
Scott opened the meeting with an excellent overview of the history of sales enablement roles, which he was highly-involved in through publications he authored while working at Forrester. As he noted, sales enablement has struggled to find its core definition—ask 300 CEOs what sales enablement “is,” and you’ll get 300 different answers. As he navigated career change and a growing interest in sales enablement, Scott became more and more invested in empowering sales enablement professionals, and in the process of working with industry leaders, he realized there are four very distinct types of sales enablement, and putting all those types into one definition didn’t make sense.
And, thus—after some soul searching and brainstorming and idea sharing—began the Sales Enablement Society, with the goal to transform the role with a community of like-minded individuals that support each other, regardless of where they fall in spectrum of the four different types of sales enablement.
The core design of this group is to:
- Elevate the function
- Enlighten our members on how to leap
- Educate our members with a positive and challenging learning environment
- Create a forum for idea exchange
And sure, we’ve encountered a bit of internal turbulence along the way. But as with any new initiative, there will always be storming, then norming, then high-performing. You can view Scott’s presentation here.
Given the recent announcement of Jill Rowley as Chief Evangelist of the Sales Enablement Society, one of the topics that our newly minted chapter was tasked with addressing was the pros and cons of “designing an org around an EXPERIENCE.”
We alternated between the pros (“best idea ever”) and the cons (“worst idea ever”) and then met as a group to decide collectively what it all meant.
The essence of the exercise was that “experience” is relevant. What one might have expected to experience may not at all be in alignment with what another actually felt they experienced. But is an experience confined to one single experience? Or made up of multiple experiences?
Frankly, it depends on the willingness and temperament of the person undergoing the experience. Some may bow out at the first frustration. Others may wait it out and see what comes. We saw first-hand examples of this in our inaugural meet-up.
In the end, the new Sales Enablement Society chapter and its members determined that a positive experience for all is our goal, as long as it adheres to the following:
- Alignment to mission
- Listening and learning it at the core
- Relevance to needs and potential changes to those needs
- Personable and memorable
- Flexible and evolving
- Growth oriented
With these common criteria for what our Seattle Chapter members expect to EXPERIENCE, we established the foundation of what we will commit to and strive to achieve at each monthly meet-up.
We also are pleased to have established our Seattle Chapter president, Chuck Marcouiller, Director of Sales Learning & Enablement at Avalara. Chuck is well-supported by a group of diverse and seasoned professionals from a variety of Seattle-based companies and we’re excited to have him in role to lead us on our journey together.
If you’re not currently a member of the Seattle Sales Enablement Society and want to be, please take a moment to visit the Sales Enablement Society Group and join, as well as shoot us an email at SeattleSESociety@gmail.com. This will ensure you get all the relevant communications and notices you need to actively participate with us.
Our next meet-up is planned for April 19 in Seattle with more details to come. We look forward to seeing you there!