According to the Salesforce State of Sales Report, 81% of sales reps say their managers are their most valuable source of support in navigating change. So, how can you enable sales leaders so that they can effectively support their teams and drive change?
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 Bree Liscinsky, director of sales enablement at Blancco Technology Group. Thanks for joining, Bree! I’d love for you to tell us about yourself, your background, and your role.
Bree Liscinsky: Thank you, Shawnna. I’m so glad to be here. I am currently the director of the global sales enablement team at Blanco Technology Group, as you’ve mentioned. Throughout my career, I’ve moved through sales roles and customer support roles, primarily within the consumer packaged goods and technology industries. I’ve always found my passion in those roles to be around helping others, making things easier, finding simple processes, and celebrating the successes of those around me. The transition a few years ago into sales enablement felt like such an obvious one because it was really where, where my heart was.
SS: Well, Bree, we’re excited to have you here on this podcast. One of the things that you and I talked about before getting on the line was your area of expertise around sales leader enablement. Why, from your perspective, are sales leaders an important audience to focus on as part of your enablement strategy?
BL: It is such a great question, Shawnna, because, to me, sales leaders are the people that are most critical to communicate with. They’re the ones that sellers listen to most. We can bang the drum from revenue operations and sales enablement, but when they’re in a one-on-one or a coaching situation with their sales leader, that is when they’re most receptive to information.
Sales leader buy-in is critical for nearly every enablement program across our organization. That buy-in really starts even higher up though. Having those sales priorities set and communicated first by the president of our organization and then from there, the enablement team can continue to impart. The importance of providing the necessary content to our sales leaders and really allowing them to then drive the message home and without those continual reinforcements and touch points from sales leaders to their downline, we’ve seen enablement initiatives just fall by the wayside. Continually communicating with sales leaders and having them communicate with the downline is the strategy I’ve found to be most effective.
SS: Absolutely. I have to say I’ve seen that work really well within organizations. I’d love to hear, from your perspective, What are the core components of an effective sales leader enablement program?
BL: I think the core component is making it very simple. Sales leaders are extremely busy. Many of us are. What is on a sales leader’s plate is just so immense and the priorities are all high, so don’t make them go hunting for information or expect them to build content on their own. My enablement team provides the messaging and any relevant content for our sales leaders on a silver platter through multiple mediums.
We make it as simple as possible to find the messaging and even the scripts that they need. We recently launched what we’re calling Manager Minutes, and these are three-minute videos providing the key messages for upcoming initiatives and projects, our expectations of managers, and that’s what’s in it for me. We always try to use data to prove what we’re working towards or what’s not working. Additionally, we build the slide for our sales leaders to bring to their team meetings and to bring into their one-on-ones. We outline the next steps within those slides for their downline. When we see that the enablement team is really proactive in supporting sales leaders’ needs and making it easier for them to do their jobs, we quickly build trust and our messaging is received with open ears.
SS: I love that. Manager minutes are so catchy too. How do you partner with sales leaders to help them understand the value of enablement?
BL: Here, I think it’s really about the why. We always talk about what’s in it for me and we think about it from the seller’s perspective, but the same goes for sales leaders with so many priorities to choose from. We always ensure that our sales leaders know our why as defined by our enablement mission statement. We’re here to drive revenue, make selling more efficient, to develop modern sales skills, all of which make the seller and sales leaders’ jobs easier. I communicate with our sales leaders on a very consistent cadence, and I’m always sharing the data to reinforce what our team is working on and why we’re working on these initiatives.
SS: Absolutely. I think data is critical in helping to reinforce that story. Now, on that note, tell us how you built the business case to invest in an enablement platform. What were your best practices for gaining buy-in from your sales leaders to implement Highspot?
BL: I’d say the buy-in was pretty simple because the Highspot product itself is second to none to any others out in the industry. Even going through the sales process with our Highspot salesperson was phenomenal because I could tell she was being enabled by the platform itself, and I thought, I want our salespeople to act the way you are. That’s where it was so obvious to me that we needed Highspot.
To gain the buy-in from the sales leader, as I’ve said a few times, data always tells the best story. We launched a survey, which was provided to us by Highspot, and we adapted it for our own business needs. We launched that survey among the global sales teams to learn more about their habits around sales content management, and their awareness of the impact of what they’re sharing with prospects and customers. Then, their desires around how and when they want to learn.
From that survey, we were able to build a really clear data-driven case for why we needed Highspot. We’ll be launching that same survey in a few months to evaluate the impact in our first quarter of Highspot at our organization and to see how these behaviors have changed. I will say the survey was pretty surprising. We thought that many of these behaviors were happening, but they were self-reported by our salespeople. For example, download content and save it on their desktop because it is easiest to find there. That content became quickly outdated. Being able to set timelines, create a governance strategy, and see how content is resonating is going to change the game for our organization.
SS: Absolutely. Well, I love to hear that. To the point of data, I have to say you have an 88 percent recurring usage rate in Highspot, which is fantastic. Do you have best practices that you can share with our audience around driving the adoption of Highspot?
BL: Absolutely. I would say that rate would be much higher if we weren’t a global organization. It’s summertime when we launched Highspot, so we have a lot of people out on their European vacations. They’re all rolling back into the office, and that will be 100 percent very soon. We’re driving adoption through many different avenues. We’re providing messages and metrics to leaders to reinforce with their teams. We’ve launched a drip campaign to highlight quick wins and recognize salespeople who are using the platform to further their buyer-aligned selling. We’re also sharing best practices in that drip campaign and using multimedia to make it exciting to open that email, and to make it easy to understand what you want me to do and why you want me to do it.
Next, we’ll be launching leaderboards because every salesperson loves some friendly competition. Then we’ll start layering in gamification because we all know everything’s more motivating when you can win something. I do find that the adoption is so well received when it’s peer-shared, so another avenue we have is our Voices From the Field Podcast, which was very much inspired by you, Shawnna.
There, we find people through the data who are really using Highspot accurately or any of our other platforms or tools. We bring them on the podcast and talk about the challenges and successes and how they have improved their selling skills by using these. That has been one of the most motivating things we’ve done for our salespeople is really sharing and amplifying their peers’ voices.
SS: I absolutely love that, and thank you. It’s an honor. I would love to give it a listen. I’m sure you run a fantastic podcast. Now, last question for you, Bree. As you continue to navigate change, how do you plan to leverage Highspot to help you drive business results that also align with the goals of your sales leaders?
BL: This is a great question. Our next step is really connecting the sales content to business in the Highspot platform to the stages in our Salesforce CRM to really continue to drive that buyer-aligned selling motion. By serving up the right content for the right person at the right stage in their buying journey, we’ll be able to align our sales motions to their journey, to meet them where they are. We can quickly build trust, show we’re listening, and ultimately, close more deals quickly. The best part about that next step in change management here is that the Highspot data is so easy to understand and so easy to share that we’ll be able to prove this very quickly.
SS: I love to hear that. Bree, thank you so much for joining us today.
BL: Thank you for having me.
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.