Episode 42: Best Practices for Rolling Out a New Enablement Program


Shawnna Sumaoang
Shawnna Sumaoang
Vice President, Marketing -Community, Highspot
Nicole Olson
Nicole Olson
Director of Sales Readiness, Deluxe
Podcast Transcript

Choosing the right sales enablement solution and getting your sellers to adopt it can be challenging, as more than half (51%) of our customers struggled with low sales team adoption of their previous solution before Highspot. So how can you choose the right solution for your team and encourage adoption?

Shawnna Sumaoang: Hi and welcome to the Win Win Podcast. I’m your host, Shawnna Sumaoang. Join us as we dive into changing trends in the workplace and how to navigate them successfully. Here to discuss this topic is Nicole Olson, director of sales readiness at Deluxe. Thanks for joining, Nicole! I’d love for you to tell us about yourself, your background, and your role.

Nicole Olson: Shawnna, thank you so much for having me. I’m very grateful to be here and be able to tell our story. As you mentioned, I am Nicole Olson, the director of sales readiness at Deluxe Corporation. I started my sales enablement career seven years ago. I came in as an administrative assistant and worked through the corporate world and found myself in sales enablement. I never thought I would be here, but I love every second of it. It’s exciting to see how the environment is changing and staying up with the current trends, especially the technological ones.

SS: Wonderful. Well, Nicole, again, thank you so much for joining us today. You actually recently became a Highspot customer. To start us off, tell us a little bit about the enablement journey at Deluxe. What led you to decide to invest in Highspot as your enablement platform?

NO: We are in the early implementation stages of Highspot, so it’s super exciting. We’ve been with a current enablement platform for three years. Our contract is coming up at the end of this year, which is what pushed us into the market to vet all vendors. We put everybody on the table really to decide what was best for our business. We made the move three years ago to our current vendor. As our business changed and enablement, even in Deluxe has changed as well, it really made us reevaluate what our needs were and what’s going to support our sellers best.

Ultimately Highspot came out on top and we have a lot of excitement internally around it. Everyone’s super excited for the implementation to be complete, but I do remind them that it is a heavy lift. Everyone’s been really enjoying the ride so far.

SS: I love that. Prior to Highspot, as you mentioned, you had a different platform in place. Can you tell us about the experience and maybe some of the challenges your teams were facing?

NO: Ultimately, one of the biggest sticking points for us was analytics. That was one that even our leadership came down on. We need to be able to prove our ROI as an enablement team, but then also to help our cross partners, such as marketing and product. They want to know what’s being used in the market, content-wise. Are we training our reps? It was really hard for us to get those analytics, and so that was one of our top priorities when we went out to the market to vet. Can you provide us with those analytics?

The other challenge is our sales teams were losing adoption because they would go out to their enablement site, search for something, not find it, and then give up. It’s really hard to get somebody to buy back in if they’ve had a poor experience. Since our contract was coming up, it just gave us a clean start and if we wanted to make the change, now would be the right time. Between the analytics and then a less-than-ideal user experience, those are kind of the two main things that really pushed us to make the move toward Highspot.

SS: How have you started to work towards solving some of these challenges since switching to Highspot?

NO: We’ve been deep in the weeds of global lists and thinking through how we want to organize our content. This time around, we’re really involving a lot of different stakeholders, not trying to keep it enclosed in our sales enablement team. We’re pulling in marketing, we’re pulling in the product team, we’re listening to the sellers, what they need, what they want, and what really works for them. I think just by gathering everybody’s feedback, we’re going to be able to push out a much better platform that works for everybody and solves all the needs and not just us working in a vacuum.

SS: I love that. Now, for our broader audience, tell us about your process for rolling out a new tool. What are some of your best practices to ensure not only a successful implementation but making sure that you’re also seeing a good amount of adoption? What role does a strong support team play in this?

NO: I think the biggest thing that I pride Deluxe in is that we’ve created a content governance guideline document. We’ve laid everything out from how to write a title, how to write a description, what this looks like, tagging categories, and how lists should be utilized in different spots. We really broke it down pretty granularly so there’s no question when a seller is going out to search for something, we can kind of follow that thought process. We are using sales enablement to lay out that framework.

Now, we’re in the process of having marketing, product, and sellers vet what we’ve come up with. Again, I don’t want to be the end-all be-all because I’m not the one ultimately using it. Getting that feedback from everybody within the company that’s going to be using the platform is really important. That just makes our support team grow because yes, sales enablement is driving this platform and really building it, but we also need the support of everybody else that’s going to be using it. They have to have the buy-in. They have to feel like it was built for them because that’s what’s really going to help drive the adoption for us because they felt like they had a seat at the table. They were able to provide their input and as long as we listen, which I think we are doing, I think it’ll be super successful in terms of adoption when we do pull it out.

SS: Do you have advice for our audience on what are some of your best practices or your ideas that you guys are thinking about in terms of how to drive adoption of the platform among your reps?

NO: We’re going to meet them where they work. A big push in our leadership is just getting them in Salesforce more. Another reason we went with Highspot is their deep integration with Salesforce really feels like the systems talk closely together. We’re going to work really hard to develop those sales plays and sales guidance within the opportunity.

I think that a key piece we’re missing today is that they have to jump to a different tab or browser to get what they’re looking for. With this implementation, we’re really trying to meet them where they work. Even in Outlook, if they’re sending emails, we don’t want them to have to think about where to get that content. It’s coming right to them. That’s one thing that we’re really focusing on meeting those sellers where they’re at.

SS: I love that. I think that is absolutely crucial to adoption and you guys had to navigate some barriers to adoption with your previous platform. What were some of those barriers?

NO: The biggest one was just the analytics piece. Being able to prove our ROI of why we are making this investment in an enablement platform and n show our value. With Highspot, it eliminated that barrier completely with one click of a button to show us a scorecard. Our partner’s marketing and product are super excited about that feature.

Then, another barrier is our previous vendor ended up being a company of companies. You start to feel the pain points when you’re jumping between a training platform to your content management system platform. Sometimes it kicks you out so you have to sign back in. It really was not giving that seamless experience that we want to provide to our sellers. We really started to feel the effects of that and that’s where some of our adoption was lost. Highspot being a natively built system really solves that barrier and we’re excited to reap the benefits from that.

SS: I love that. To that point, how does having Highspot’s Unified Enablement Platform help you continue to overcome those barriers and maybe a few others?

NO: We throw a lot of technology at our reps. They have a huge tech stack and so allowing them to just, once they’re in the platform that they want to work in, whether it be for an hour or throughout the entire day, we want it to be seamless. We don’t want them logging in and out, jumping from tab to tab. We’re meeting them where they’re at.

The unification that Highspot provides with the training. If we set up our sales plays and guidance correctly, they’ll be none the wiser whether they’re looking at a piece of content or if they’re taking training, which is, I think will benefit our sales team because again, it’ll just become second nature that everything they’re looking for and need an answer to is either right in a sales play. It is nice for them to be guided to them, pulling up at their opportunity. I’m really making it seamless and hopefully allowing them to have more time to sell, which is ultimately what we want to do.

SS: Continuing on the topic of Unified Enablement, I know that you plan to leverage Highspot to support your partners in addition to your Internal sales teams. How does a unified enablement platform help you drive partner growth?

NO: I had our team raise our hand, whether they were excited or not. We have a big solution and a big opportunity in terms of supporting our partners and our resellers. Right now, we kind of have a couple of different pockets where they can go to get resources, but there’s nothing consistent throughout the company. I told them that we were in this negotiation with Highspot. They can sell for the platform and marketing was really exciting. They’re one group that really spoke up because it’s one spot for them to keep the content, whether it’s for internal use or those external partners to come and grab.

Again, I keep harping on the analytics, but marketing can come and see what content is resonating in the market, whether it be for our partners who are reselling our product or internally. They can start using those analytics to feed what they’re doing next in their roadmap. Really being able to have just that central location where marketing can get a holistic view of what’s going on in the market is, I think, going to be a huge win.

SS: Absolutely. On the note of analytics, what has the business impact been so far of investing in Highspot? Do you have any early results you can share?

NO: No, I still think we’re too early in the implementation, other than the fact that everybody’s excited. Highspot is allowing us to also include those view-only licenses, which we didn’t do in our previous platform. We can get those support folks or operations who didn’t really have insight into what sellers were doing. By bringing all of those teams onto the platform, letting them know what’s going in front of customers or prospects, I think helps Deluxe, and us, succeed because then there’s no confusion on what’s being sent and if it worked. Everybody has a line of sight into that.

I think that will quickly prove our ROI, just in terms of having that central location that nobody is getting denied from. They can access it and they can see what we’re doing and hopefully build great adoption throughout.

SS: I love that and I imagine it’ll create a more seamless cohesive experience for your buyers and your customers as well.

NO: Absolutely.

SS: Now, last question for you. To close, what advice do you have for listeners who are interested in investing in an enablement platform and are maybe currently evaluating solutions?

NO: I would say just make sure you put everything on the table and really prioritize what your needs are. The space is getting very competitive. It was a ton of fun just in my role to go out to the market and just see where all the different vendors are, what’s new, and what’s trending. AI has made it very interesting and that’s coming into play as well.

Really just making sure that you have your North Star of what you’re trying to accomplish with a platform. Every time you come up with functionality, if it doesn’t quite fit or meet your needs, challenge it with the vendor and see if they can work with you to solve it. Highspot has been great for us in terms of that we threw them the partner portal and we have a distributor network. We kept throwing them curve balls and they answered every single one of them. Don’t be afraid to say what your needs truly are because most platforms can adapt and work with you and really truly build a platform that’s going to solve the need for your company.

SS: I love this. Well, Nicole, thank you so much for joining us and sharing your insights and your enablement journey at Deluxe. I really appreciate the time.

NO: Thanks so much, Shawnna. It was great being here.

SS: Thank you for listening to this episode of the Win Win podcast. Be sure to tune in next time for more insights on how you can maximize enablement success with Highspot.

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