Episode 64: Staying on the Cutting Edge of Enablement Innovation


Shawnna Sumaoang
Shawnna Sumaoang
Vice President, Marketing -Community, Highspot
Chris Ho
Chris Ho
Sales Asset Manager, Sales Operations, Uber for Business
Podcast Transcript

According to McKinsey, 84% of execs say that innovation is important to their growth strategy. So how can organizations prioritize innovation in the year ahead?

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.

Here to discuss this topic is Chris Ho, the sales asset manager at Uber for Business. Thanks for joining us, Chris. I would love for you to start by just telling us a little bit about yourself, your background, and your role.

Chris Ho: Hey Shawnna, thanks for having me here, super excited to be here today. My name’s Chris Ho. I’m currently based in San Francisco, California, and I’ve been here for about three years, and I originally grew up in Monterey, California.

I’m currently a sales asset manager at Uber for Business, working under the sales enablement team, which sits under the larger umbrella of sales operations. I currently manage a few enablement tools, which include Highspot, Lessonly, Seismic Knowledge, and Gong.

SS: Wonderful. Now, Chris, one of the things that I noticed as we were preparing for this podcast on LinkedIn is that you actually have an engineering background. How does that background influence your approach to enablement?

CH: Sure. So when it comes to my work, I’m a very process and execution-oriented person. I also generally tend to take a data-driven approach to problem-solving. I imagine this way of thinking is largely attributed to my engineering background. I generally try to think in terms of what we can tangibly do. Bringing this back to enablement, you know, while sales enablement does, have a very high potential for positive impact, as we all know, I think it’s oftentimes difficult to concretely measure and communicate sales enablement’s impact with existing tools. Not just our existing tools at Uber, but sales enablement tools in general.

I think the sales enablement industry has a lot of analytical white space. I feel there’s a lot of benefit to be gained from better, more convincing correlations to business outcomes. I think many sales enablement teams, including ours, are well-positioned to provide convincing and data-driven correlations to business outcomes if given the right tools.

SS: I love that. Can you give us a little more insight from your perspective? What does a good enablement strategy look like? And, you know, maybe in other words, what are some of the key components of your enablement strategy?

CH: I think, we generally base our enablement strategy on principles. And the four main principles we tried to lock in, it’s going to be buy-in, engagement. scalability and support. And what do I mean by those?

So buy-in is like a prerequisite to receiving any engagement from your participants. If there isn’t buy-in from your participants, or if they don’t believe in what you’re doing, then you can expect low engagement from them when you actually try to roll out the strategy.

Engagement, you know, a lot of our job is about teaching behavior change and ensuring the adoption of new behaviors. In my opinion, participant engagement is absolutely necessary to realize any results from the things that we teach and implement.

Then there’s scalability; a scalable strategy is a sustainable strategy. In order to have a consistent standard of excellence across large organizations, I think it’s critical to have a scalable process that can meet the needs of growth.

And then lastly, support. So every enablement strategy, I think should have some sort of support system to back up the training, the teachings, and the coaching, whether it’s having a subject matter expert on call, PDF resources for best practices, or creating slack channels, or whatever. Or, you know, Google chat channels for quick answers. I think reps need support to sufficiently carry out their complex set of duties.

SS: I love that four-pronged approach. And, you know, as you mentioned in your intro, you all leverage Highspot there. What role does Highspot play in your overall strategy for enablement and what, from your perspective, is the value of having an enablement platform?

CH: I will preface that Highspot is a very useful tool for us and unlocks a lot of value, and it was fairly challenging to summarize this, but, you know, I think at its core Highspot serves as our central repository for sales content, internal and external. It currently provides a great means of distributing content and tracking engagement internally and externally. So this means tracking how our reps use content, as well as enabling them to see how their customers use our content. I think Highspot or, enablement platforms in general, provide a very unique, versatile, and intuitive way to track the performance and engagements of our sales team with the content that we distribute and hand out. So this enables us to create a data-driven feedback loop that informs how we iterate upon our enablement strategies in the future.

SS: I love that. And since implementing Highspot, you have actually driven a lot of innovation around kind of the way that you guys leverage Highspot at Uber Business. One of those areas is with Digital Sales Rooms, which I know that you’ve put a lot of work into, and you’ve actually increased the usage by 75% in the last few months.

Tell us a little bit about how you’re leveraging digital sales rooms, or DSRs for short, and maybe some of the results that you’re seeing.

CH: Yeah, the different types of digital sales rooms our sales teams are generally using depend on the stage of the sales process that the seller is in. So for example, someone at the top of the sales funnel would likely use the digital sales room to provide living deal rooms that provide a personalized introduction to our products and services.

Someone mid-funnel might use the digital sales rooms as a repository for posting content related to the customer’s mutual success plan, helping both parties stay aligned on the latest updates in the business relationship. Someone at the end of the funnel might use the digital sales room as a living customer support website to help customers post-launch.

In terms of results in general, we’ve seen that a good digital sales room for a quality customer relationship can enable larger returns of use effectively. So, you know, at Uber, our digital sales room has served as a really great forum to get users and at Uber for business, we work with businesses and their employees.

We see that the digital sales room has been a great value add for getting employees to get a taste of the products that we deliver.

SS: I love that. And as I said, you are definitely on the cutting edge. And as we look to some of the innovations we have coming, we’ve heard that you’re really excited about a few features that are being launched. One is our team scorecard. I would love to understand from you how are you envisioning being able to leverage that and what’s exciting about it to you?

CH: Going back to what we were talking about earlier with respect to there is a lot of analytical white space and sales enablement industry. I think the team’s scorecard really helps fulfill this gap that we’re seeing at its core.

Prior to the team scorecard, we were always looking for ways to correlate our team’s performance and our team’s engagement with content and correlate that back to sales performance, and using a lot of roundabout and jerry-rigged ways to do this reporting and to surface results and any trends.

I think the team scorecard is going to be a really great tool to be able to consolidate the information in an easily digestible way and allow us to distribute performance and any correlations without having to use so many different tools or integrations, etc. It’s all in one place being updated live as we go.

SS: I love that. I think another area of innovation that has definitely driven a lot of excitement in the enablement space is artificial intelligence or AI. I’d love to get your perspective. Why, from your perspective, is AI an important topic to pay attention to, especially given the current sales landscape?

CH: Yeah, in my opinion, if you’ve already used some sort of AI platform to help you with your work, you probably know that it can be extremely useful. With that being said, if you’re not already using it, I honestly think you’re probably behind. Your peers in the competition who are effectively using it are likely operating at a significantly higher productivity than what you might be used to.

That’s just my take. The sales landscape in tech is increasingly becoming more complex, requiring a high cognitive load on our sales reps. AI will be instrumental in reducing this cognitive load while enhancing sales effectiveness through guided selling capabilities. What we want to do is get to a place where we can automate the best-recommended sales motions to sellers at the right time, giving them more time to focus on high-impact contributions to close the deal.

SS: I love that. And specifically, how do you think AI is going to benefit the enablement industry?

CH: Yeah, I think in short AI will scale the amount of enablement that can be provided by the same number of team members. It’ll allow enablement team members to focus on higher impact tasks while continuing to provide a tailored just in time learning and selling experience.

SS: I love that. And you were actually a beta user of one of Highspot’s AI-driven features, Highspot Instant Answers. Can you provide some first-hand insight into how practitioners can use this feature and its potential impact?

CH: Yeah. I have a fair amount of thoughts on Instant Answers. And I’ll start by saying that I think it’s a great product, a great feature, I should say.

And we’ve been using it a lot. As of late, I think Highspot’s Instant Answers have unlocked our ability to quickly update our knowledge base at scale, and also unlock all of the great insights and knowledge that our content management system has, which previously wasn’t always readily available. I think the most notable impact is that you can take advantage of the versatility of Highspot to create your own decentralized process for keeping content up to date, while centrally maintaining visibility and accounting for hygiene, all without too many steps.

I know it sounds like a lot, but really, we want to get to a place where we can hand out the responsibility to the subject matter experts to update the content that they’re providing, and then centrally keep that visibility to make sure everyone’s being held accountable and everything’s updated and accurate. As folks are listening to this, and people are working with new AI tools, I think given the newness of AI-generated answers, it’s important that we continue to think of ways to reduce errors and human oversight.

SS: I could not agree more. We’re all still learning our way through a lot of the new AI capabilities, but I am very excited that we have this path now toward being able to leverage AI to make all of us in enablement and our reps more efficient and more productive.

So thank you, Chris. Last question for you, really appreciate it: as we continue to see all of this innovation in enablement technology, we’re What are your best practices for optimizing and evolving your enablement strategy to keep pace with this new innovation?

CH: For a few years, I think it’s been a mission of most sales enablement teams or companies to consolidate and simplify the sales workflow from the technology perspective.

Hence why so many places place such a strong emphasis on the importance of integrations as a prerequisite to onboarding any new software. And only now are companies producing their first iterations of a unified seller experience, conjoining CRM content management tools, learning platforms, knowledge platforms, etc, all into one.

So in principle, I don’t think the best practices change. I think what’s been most helpful for us with the advent of so many new technologies being implemented is to constantly have your ear to the ground, building relationships with sales and gathering buy-in piece by piece as early as possible; and extra emphasis on the “as early as possible” and “piece by piece”.

We’ve almost considered it like a cheat code to success. I think oftentimes when you’re rolling out new platforms, and new innovations to a large set of people, we all know that there’s so much reluctancy involved with adopting new behaviors. So we found that it’s absolutely critical to really have the boots on the ground, and work on one-on-one to understand the seller experience and slowly gather and accumulate that buy-in from the decision makers that you work with cross-functionally.

SS: I love that, and I love that you guys are trend-setting at Uber Business. You’ve done a fantastic job there, Chris. And thank you so much for joining this podcast. I really appreciate the time.

CH: Yes, thank you so much for having me, it’s been great.

SS: To our audience, 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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