Episode 6: How to Create Enduring Business Value With Analytics
Shawnna Sumaoang: Hi and welcome to the Win Win podcast. I am your host, Shawnna Sumaoang. Join us as we dive into changing trends in the workplace and how to navigate them successfully.
Recent research from Sales Enablement PRO found that organizations that leverage enablement technology is four times more likely to effectively provide insight into what’s working well within enablement. So how can analytics be used to drive business impact and how can an enablement tool, like Highspot, help you gather the insights that make the difference?
Here to tell us all about the power of analytics in enablement today is Highspot’s very own Vice President of Revenue Analytics, Paul Lisagor. Thanks for joining us, Paul. I’d love for you to tell us about yourself, your background, and your role here at Highspot.
Paul Lisagor: Absolutely. Hi Shawnna, I’m responsible for revenue analytics here at Highspot. My team is supporting sales, marketing, and the go-to-market strategy and planning functions for the organization. As far as my background I worked in analytics my entire career starting with reporting analyst and a reporting developer role while I was still in high school. Working through the years and across industries I have built expertise in both academic and practical data architecture, data science, finance, software development, and business strategy. I’m super excited to be here and looking forward to our conversation.
SS: We’re super excited to have you here Paul. Thank you so much for joining us today. I’d love to start by hearing about the value of actionable insights from your perspective. How can analytics help enablement teams grow their business impact?
PL: Look, the days when legacy companies could win just purely by showing up are over, and for some of the younger companies and newer industries, these days have never really existed. Companies today must really understand what’s going on within their business environment, what’s going on outside and around them, and of course is going on in our unpredictable world so they can quickly pivot, make decisions, and make adjustments to what and how they operate.
Running a business without having actual data and actual analytics is kind of like driving at night without your headlights on. You can sort of get away with it for some time, but ultimately, it simply doesn’t work. Within the enablement space, I find it to be particularly rich with opportunities where analytics can really help. Because of enablement’s indirect impact, it’s been historically very difficult to get good data and good metrics on the most important thing that enablement teams do, provide and improve business outcomes. Connecting enablement work to business goals and business outcomes is what analytics can do to help, and with knowing the impact, we can start to see where we’re steering toward and point the organization in the right direction.
SS: Absolutely. Why might some teams struggle to uncover insights or leverage the right data? How can enablement teams overcome some of these challenges?
PL: Getting the right signal from the data is difficult. It takes much more than good data technology, much more than fancy and shiny reporting, and certainly much more than simply investing in analytics. It takes time, it takes skill and it takes discipline. I found that most go-to-market organizations operate with so many unknowns and move so quickly that developing the new muscle, like analytics, just seems too impractical, too slow, too difficult, and too uncertain, but these investments, in my experience, and the patients around it have proven to be worth it every time.
To be a little more specific and to be successful, leaders need to find low-cost examples first. These low-cost proof points are extremely valuable. They establish executive support and build an understanding within the organization of what analytics can do. With this, they can then move into hiring the right people, putting the right tools in place, and starting down the path, but starting down the path slowly, iteratively, and measuring outcomes every step of the way.
SS: That’s fantastic advice. What are some of the key ways that you use Highspot analytics in your day-to-day? How do you leverage insights regularly and how do these help you in your role?
PL: Highspot provides a unique set of reporting and a unique set of tools that helps us get started significantly earlier and faster than we normally would. Bringing someone into the organization to build out analytics is, of course, very expensive and takes a long time. They need to ramp up and truly understand the business to build something that truly works. Plus, getting it done on time and on budget is exceedingly complex and uncertain. Having analytics built by experts is incredibly valuable and becomes a huge accelerant in getting started on the journey.
SS: I love that. For business leaders, having access to actionable data is essential for decision-making. How do you help ensure that your stakeholders have access to and understand the analytics that matters for making strategic decisions for the business?
PL: Yes, thank you for that question. This is actually one of the most important things we can do as analytics leaders and as enablement leaders. Make sure that it’s not just the analytics team or just a select few that have access to data, but the larger community and business decision-makers who are able to self-service and get insights and metrics right away. As like we talked about prior, having the most sophisticated data technology, and most beautiful reporting won’t accomplish anything unless it’s used. What I would recommend using are the three ingredients that over my history and experience doing this, I came to appreciate and recognize. Three ingredients to success for getting stakeholders on board and using analytics in a meaningful way. Number one, not surprisingly, is enablement. Companies must develop skills and practices outside of their analytics organizations and within the teams that make decisions to get the right metrics on their own when they need them. Number two is building the culture. The culture around analytics is fairly unique. It’s a set of business practices where arguments are supported by evidence and that are supported by data win versus those that aren’t supported by data. Number three is bringing the right blend of technology and tools and putting that in place. Those are the tools and tech that unlock simple answers to simple questions for key decision makers and personas within the organization that need to make these business decisions at the time that they’re needed. The tech and these analytics and reports need to be simple so that they are also simple to enable and train on. That completes the loop of three. Beginning with enablement, building the culture, and creating the right tools.
SS: Absolutely. A common challenge for many organizations is moving from “random acts of enablement” to a strategic enablement approach. How can analytics help enablement leaders prove the value of enablement as a strategic function?
PL: When I think about a strategic approach, to me, it means achieving long-term objectives and creating enduring business value. It also means being systematic, having a framework and the program with specific outcomes in mind. Analytics is the connecting tissue that really ties enablement to business outcomes. Companies that successfully implement the practices that we discussed earlier become able to now set business hypotheses using data and reporting, and conduct research and analyses. On top of these hypotheses, we can capture the insights in the process, make business changes, experiment, and then ultimately measure the business outcomes that these changes bring about. That sequence of events then helps attribute business value to the outcomes and investment in enablement and in enablement analytics. Measurable business outcomes are the proof in the pudding.
SS: This has been fantastic, Paul. To close one last question, I’d love to hear about your predictions for how analytics will evolve and continue to play an essential role in elevating enablement value in the next year and the years to come.
PL: What we’ve discussed so far has really been about turning the lights on and confidently staying on the road and steering around the obstacles, but when I start thinking about the future, what comes to mind is autonomous driving. There will be more and more data and complexity in this world. Exceedingly it will more and more difficult for humans to process and manage this information and synthesize it into confident decisions without being overwhelmed. As we all know, information overload is real and it will continue to become more and more acute across organizations, across industries, across businesses, across departments, domains, and people. We’re going to need help and I believe AI and ML will have to step in and make decision-making faster, simpler and easier. I think companies that will do it well and figure this out, will turn enablement into a true differentiator. They’ll be able to set themselves apart and then quickly move into the fast lane and accelerate past their competition.
SS: I love that vision for the future. Thank you Paul so much for joining us today. I really appreciate the time.
PL: Absolutely. Thank you for having me on.
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.