The last few weeks have felt like a sales enablement whirlwind!
A few years ago, when I joined the sales enablement community, it was difficult to find a place where I could connect with other sales enablement peers, practitioners, and thought leaders. In fact, I can’t think of a single one!
Fast forward only a few short years, and I had the honor of participating in two events that will likely be pivotal in building the sales enablement industry and expanding professional networks for existing practitioners.
The first was hosted by the Sales Enablement Society, a nonprofit group that has been led by a thought-provoking industry analyst from Alexander Group, Scott Santucci. The group has grown from a small handful to a few thousand in just one year, with regional chapters popping up all over North America, Europe, and Australia. All of which came to the first annual Experience Sales Enablement Society event October 26-28, 2017 in Dallas, Texas. It was a gathering of about 250+ sales enablement practitioners, consultants, and solution providers with the sole focus of elevating the function in a collaborative environment. The event covered everything from career advancement to the nuts and bolts of daily activities to where we’ll be in 5 to 10 years. It might be an uphill battle to elevate the function from “Fixer of Broken Things” to sitting with the C-suite, but this will be the crew that charges into battle together.
The second was the second annual Sales Enablement Soiree, an all-day event at Dreamforce that is led by a coalition of forward-thinking sales enablement solution providers. As one of the event organizers, I put a lot of blood, sweat, and tears (OK, maybe not blood, unless you count the paper cuts) into this second year. The first was amazing, with nearly 600 registrants, but to have nearly 4 times the number of registrants — more than 2,400 — was mind-blowing! It became the largest sales enablement event ever held, and the amazing speakers, supportive sponsors, and engaged attendees were the core reason for its success.
“Sales enablement is growing rapidly, especially in high-performing organizations. In high-performing organizations, sales enablement is twice as likely to report into the C-suite than low-performing organizations. This is an area that is both growing and elevating,” said Peter Ostrow, Research Director at SiriusDecisions, in his keynote at the Sales Enablement Soiree.
“The maturity of sales enablement is still evolving. 62% of organizations have six or more locations that sales reps visit to find external sales content. 47% of organizations have reps that spend more than 20 hours per month searching, editing, creating, or managing content. And only 33% of organizations can correlate sales wins with content utilized by sales to influence the buyer’s journey,” said Ostrow.
Surrounding SiriusDecisions’ keynote presentation were several panels of sales enablement practitioners that provided sage advice on everything from agile sales management to the future of sales enablement with AI to elevating the sales enablement function through meaningful, measurable revenue impact.
“I think enablement is a competitive advantage. If you have a solid enablement function in your organization, that helps you keep your team one step ahead. And that’s what you need to be doing,” said Marcela Piñeros, Director of New Hire Sales Enablement at New Relic, during her panel session on accelerating sales performance through agile management. “Regardless of the size of the organization, some of the things we need to be doing as an enablement function include cutting through some of the noise and making sure that we are giving resources that people need when they need them; another key piece is that we need to maintain really constant feedback loops with all of our stakeholders and build those business partner relationships across the organization.”
The transformation power of sales enablement was clearly evident throughout every panel session. “Overall, we’re seeing that there’s a digital sales transformation that’s happening. And a lot of that has to do with the profile and DNA of sellers and how that’s evolving,” said Haley Katsman, Vice President of Account Development at Highspot. “By 2020, millennials will make up 50% of the workforce, and they want and need to have the resources to go out and engage buyers in a more digital and modern way. Buyers are also evolving in that they want more transparency and a higher level of personalization. What that means is that it’s not just about a linear process through the funnel; it’s about looking at all of the teams that have a piece in generating the revenue — marketing, account development, sales, customer service — and continuously optimizing your go-to-market strategy with insights and feedback from all teams, rather than the strategy solely being pushed top down from executives.”
The event was sponsored by a coalition of sales enablement solution providers that were willing to work together to advance the industry, including: Allbound, Allego, Ambition, Bigtincan, Gong, Highspot, LearnCore, Mediafly, MindTickle, Node, Octiv, and Veelo — all companies that focus on facilitating various aspects of sales enablement across industries.
Planning is already underway for the Sales Enablement Soiree in 2018, so sign up to receive an invite once registration officially opens in the summer.
Thanks to all who participated in both events. I am truly excited to see the immense growth to come in 2018!