Oct. 14, 2021

Why is Sales Enablement CRITICAL

Why is Sales Enablement CRITICAL

Episode 17: Why is Sales Enablement CRITICAL with Roderick Jefferson
Sales enablement is absolutely critical, there are no two ways about it! Today’s guest, Roderick Jefferson, is an acknowledged practitioner, keynote speaker, and award-winning author of Sales Enablement 3.0: The Blueprint to Sales Enablement Excellence. Listeners will hear the story of how Roderick coined the phrase ‘sales enablement’, what the term entails pre-COVID and today, and how it differs from training. You’ll learn more about the role, which includes talent acquisition support, role-specific onboarding, teaching business acumen, measurements, leadership coaching, and succession planning. Roderick considers training to be a part of enablement, and sees AI and developments in technology as the next level. He gives us his opinion on ‘Shiny Tool Syndrome’, and tells us why he doesn’t hire anyone who isn’t “carrying the bag” before telling us why he believes that shelfware is the enemy of productivity and where companies can start if they are looking to adopt an enablement strategy. Tune in to hear all of this and more from this highly experienced enablement expert today!

Key Points From This Episode:

  • Roderick’s background in sales, running enablement, consulting, and VP of field enablement at cyber security company, Netskope. 
  • How he coined the phrase ‘sales enablement’.
  • The belief that 70 percent of a sale is already done before a salesperson gets involved.
  • Sales enablement pre-COVID: breaking the complexity of sales into practical ideas through scalable, repeatable practices.
  • Sales enablement today: being woven into the fabric of a company through market strategy.
  • How tools, processes, and people need to shift as you move further up the maturity curve.
  • Why enablement needs to sit under sales, in the thick of things, to stay in the loop.
  • Due to time constraints, the more a company grows, the more they need enablement.
  • The option of hiring a consultant for this role rather than an in-house person.
  • The difference between training and enablement: enablement is ongoing. 
  • What a sales enablement job entails, from talent acquisition support to succession planning.
  • Why the biggest challenge is acquiring the right talent that fits your ideal profile.
  • How to delineate between training and enablement: training is a part of enablement.
  • The reason sales leaders should care about enablement: it takes some things off their plate.
  • Why Roderick doesn’t hire anyone who isn’t “carrying the bag.” 
  • How sales enablement people are advocates who create credibility for contributors.
  • The next level for enablement: AI overtaking things that were once done manually.
  • How salespeople are no longer seen as the fixers of broken things, but key differentiators. 
  • Why consistency and scalability are the most important things. 
  • Shiny tool syndrome and how sales enablement asks if a tool will remove selling obstacles or create more and prioritizes accordingly. 
  • Why shelfware is the enemy of productivity.
  • Where companies should start by asking: what does success look like like for you?
  • Why you should ask yourself what you are doing well, how you can do it better, and what systems you can implement to move towards automation. 
  • Why you need someone other than the salesperson to focus on enablement.
  • Who is responsible for enablement, from sales leaders to the COO, CEO, or president.
  • Advice for implementing enablement: don’t wait until you are bigger!
  • Additional advice: don’t give them what they think they need, don’t allow yourself to be a fixer, but create a charter and continue to re-assess it. 
  • Why you should stop calling them stakeholders and call them internal customers instead. 
  • The importance of working out your average sales value and your average time from first to second close, with a goal to reduce this and increase revenue.


“You train animals, you enable people.” — @ThevoiceofRod [0:03:49]

“I wish I had been smart enough to actually trademark the term ‘sales enablement’ but I wasn’t. I have run enablement at Network Appliance, HP, Oracle, EBay, Marketo and SalesForce.” — @ThevoiceofRod [0:03:58]

“Now, enablement is really about being woven into the fabric of the company through market strategy.” — @ThevoiceofRod [0:08:21]

“It’s not enough to be able to increase productivity and accelerate speed to revenue. We’ve got to be able to help our customers and maintain the customers that they have today.” — @ThevoiceofRod [0:08:31]

“The larger a company grows, the more they need enablement.” — @ThevoiceofRod [0:12:12]

Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode:

Roderick Jefferson on LinkedIn
Roderick Jefferson on Twitter
Roderick Jefferson on Instagram
Roderick Jefferson

Sales Enablement 3.0

Applying the Art and Science of Sales Enablement

Sam Capra on LinkedIn

Sales Samurai B2B Sales Podcast


Title Sponsors:


Speaker 0    00:00:01    Coming to you from Orlando, Florida, Orlando, Florida, and streaming around the world around the world. You're not tuned in to the sales samurai podcast. The only B2B sales podcast, providing unfiltered unapologetic views and tactics directly from the sales trenches. Here's your host, Sam Capra.  
Speaker 1    00:00:30    Welcome to episode 17 of the sales samurai thing. Thanks for listening. Before we be a, do us a favor, take a moment to subscribe and download on today's show. We're going to be discussing why sales enablement is critical. And I have a very special guest help us tackle that topic. Robert Jefferson is the vice president of field enablement at Netskope. He's a senior executive with 20 plus years of sales enablement. Leadership experience is also an acknowledged practitioner and keynote speaker in the sales enablement space, winning numerous awards and the author of the Amazon bestselling book sales enablement, 3.0 the blueprint to sales enablement, excellence Roderick, man, how are you? Thanks for coming on  
Speaker 2    00:01:12    Fantabulous, man. Thanks for having me. I appreciate it. I always  
Speaker 1    00:01:15    Have to ask. I always feel like you guys are in a different universe out there on the west coast being three hours behind me. How's life out there in the west coast.  
Speaker 2    00:01:22    Life is good. As long as we can avoid fire season, I laugh,  
Speaker 1    00:01:25    But that's a serious thing. It's crazy. Like we're getting all this rain over here and you guys would literally, we  
Speaker 2    00:01:31    Would trade just about anything for rain right now. And we're nowhere close to getting any anytime soon  
Speaker 1    00:01:37    I tell you, it's amazing how there's the differing areas and the impact of the environment and things of that. But anyway, that could be a whole other podcast that we can go off on a diatribe about. But Hey, I am really excited about this because I actually believe, and we're going to do a couple of things. We're obviously we're, I'm going to, Roger's going to share a little bit about his background because he has a unbelievable background from a sales enablement standpoint, actually coined that phrase sales enablement. So I want to talk to him about that, but this is, I think is an area where a lot of sales organizations really get things wrong, or don't quite understand sales enablement to that, to the fullest. So we're going to dig into that and we're literally going to be calling this, Hey, why sales enablement is absolutely critical to success. But before we hop into that, Rodney, can you give the audience just a little bit of a background, kind of your background, kind of how you got started.  
Speaker 2    00:02:30    Um, sales guy started as a BDR way back and carried it back. There did well got promoted. A, he went to president's club a couple of times, and then unlike most salespeople that are going operated, I realized one, I wasn't surprised surprise. And also I love the process of selling more than I did taking down big deals. So what I did was after going to president's club, I went to my VP and said, what if I could take all of my templates, which were pretty rudimentary at the time, but take all my templates and spread it across the entire region. And I could one get people up to speed and ramped faster, and secondly, get more people to club. Who's going to say no to that. And his answer was, well, then you'd have a new job. So I became the regional trainer at the time and absolutely loved it.  
Speaker 2    00:03:15    And this was at, at, and T got some tremendous training back then. And from there I moved over to Siebel, started running enablement or excuse me, sales training there. And then I moved over to NetApp and realized that, um, there's a lot more that we can be doing. I was talking to my sales leader and he said, we were having a problem with discovering qual, throw more training at it. We're discounting too deeply because people can't handle, um, objections, throw training at it. We're not getting strong leaders throw training. And I said, being a smart ass, I'll be honest. And what I said was actually you train animals, you enable people. We need sales enabled. And from there became what has now become this unbelievable global phenomenon that I had no idea. And I wish I would have been smart enough to actually trademark sales enablement.  
Speaker 2    00:04:04    So from that forward, I have run enablement at network appliance, um, HP, Oracle, eBay Marquetto and Salesforce. And then for the last three years, I actually consulted because I felt like I'd gotten a little too ivory tower. And I was like, I need to go roll my sleeves up. So I'm now the VP of field enablement at Netskope in cybersecurity company, unicorn list and all that fun stuff. So here I sit before you and with that, actually, that's why I wrote the book was because to your point, if you asked 10 people, what sales enablement is, you'll get 12 different answers. And frankly, none of them will be wrong, but they won't be completely accurate either. Because what enablement is, is different depending upon the maturation cycle of your company. If you're a, if you're hiring spree, right, you're in hyper-growth, what's it going to be about all about onboarding. There are times that you've got to move into playbooks and you've got to make sure that leadership's done. So depending upon where you are, it could be, we've got to bring in a bunch of new tools and all of that falls under the umbrella.  
Speaker 1    00:05:07    Yeah. And I know we want to dig into that because I think you're, I think that's actually one thing I, number of things, but, uh, you asked me what enablement is. I know I'm probably not scratching the surface. And I think you're right, if you ask individuals, but then you go to different organizations, it takes on different roles and how they implement it and what they implement it as. So I want to dig in there, but I'm always curious. I love the origin stories. I know you said president's club, but you were a little, a little different wires. You like the process better than taking them, but why sales? Like what, what was, what was the catalyst or the epiphany? Let me get into sales to begin with. I wish  
Speaker 2    00:05:44    I had a really cool story. I really do. And I've got to come up with something that's way snazzier than what it really was, but what it came down to was, um, I was heading off to go play pro ball, got injured, met a girl and her family was deeply entrenched in a T and T. I always had the gift of gab able to talk. So I say I'm down as a mass comm major in school. So I said, sure, I can go talk to people and sell stuff. That's easy. It wasn't as easy as I thought it was kind of, I had mad respect for BDRs and SDRs. So I'll say it out right now, mad love for them because they have the hardest job in any company  
Speaker 1    00:06:21    Without a doubt. But by 100%, I, you know, it's funny. I always ask that question of everyone that comes on the show. Hey, because I'm just always curious if people's origin stories and I have yet to hear anyone say, well, when I was a kid, I just dreamt to be in the salesperson. It's always someone, they fell into it. Uh, just girl I'm  
Speaker 2    00:06:44    Like you, I don't know anybody that, that went to school for zoom. Now, today you can actually go and major in sales, but as we were coming up, absolutely not. It was that thing like, okay, well I tried everything else. Let's go try and sale. And that's the hard part I'm having today is sales is an amazing career, but it's gotten a lot of stink over it over the years, right? Surveys say that that 70% of a sale is already done before they bring a salesperson. And that upwards of 30% of customers say if they didn't have to, they would never even talk to a salesperson. The availability of information and content out there is like no time ever before. So we've got to get away from giving presentations and trying to sell and start having conversations and just  
Speaker 1    00:07:30    Try to help. Hey, you know, it's funny. I actually let let's, let's, let's kinda dig in because this is important. I actually want you before we just kind of started just going on about sales and how, how should we, like, how do you define sales? And let's just start with just the bare bones, like for those out, like how would you define sales enablement just at a high level rod, right? Or at a macro level  
Speaker 2    00:07:52    Level, I'm going to give you two definitions, pre COVID and where we are today. Pre COVID. I would have said, what we really do is breaking the complexity of sales into practical ideas, through scalable repeatable practices that will lead to accelerated speed to revenue, increased seller productivity and customers for life driving revenue, right? And there were three pieces kind of communication, collaboration and orchestration. I can get into that later. It shifted. Now enablement is really about being woven into the fabric of the company, go to market strategy. We're no longer seen as the fixers of broken things and broken people. It's not just enough to be able to increase productivity and accelerate speed to revenue. We've got to be able to help our customers and prospects maintain the customers that they have today. How do we help them accelerate revenue? How do we help them mitigate risk?  
Speaker 2    00:08:47    How do we really become? And I'm not going to say a trusted partner because that's way too cliche, but how do we become a partner that grows with them as they grow? Now? Now that's external internal. I always give this as a story and it's going to be really quick. Think about an orchestra. You've got brass, percussion, strings, woodwinds. They're all trying to play the right song at the right time, but there's no collaboration, no coordination. So it sounds like a bunch of noise. Well guess what same thing happens inside of a company, marketing product, marketing, engineering, HR sales enablement, we're all trying to do the right thing for the prospect or the customer, but sometimes we're stepping over each other. We're sending out double messaging. We're not sure what the right hand is doing with the left hand until in both of those situations, either one person or one organization, which I believe a sales enablement steps up taps, the conductor stand and all of that noise and chaos becomes a beautiful sheet of music. That's what we do. And  
Speaker 1    00:09:44    Your battery to touch on this a little bit earlier. Um, but talk to me, why does it look? Why, and should it look different at different organizations depending on where they're at in their, in their, in their maturity or whatever the case might  
Speaker 2    00:09:59    Be. It's a great question. Let's think about it from this angle. If you were a startup, right? And you're a churn and burn quick turn sale, you've got a specific set of needs and also a specific type of individual selling for you, right? But then as you move further in the maturation cycle and you become that, um, larger, big ticket right now, it changes again. Then when you move to the really complex sale, it changes again. So what matters down low in the maturity curve is not the same as you move forward. So your tools, your processes, your people, your level of competence, your level of confidence, your messaging, and positioning. All that's going to shift  
Speaker 1    00:10:43    Makes sense. That makes sense. Hey, so I always ask this question and I don't, and I'm sure you probably have the answer, but does sales enablement live under sales? Does it live under marketing should live on its own? Where does it, where does it live?  
Speaker 2    00:10:59    I love, love, love this question. I've reported to the CRO, to the COO, to the VP of marketing I've reported across the board. And I have a very, very simple and basic answer for you. The further you get away from the sun, the colder it gets sales is the sun.  
Speaker 1    00:11:17    So sales is where it should live under  
Speaker 2    00:11:19    Absolutely because I need to be closest to the CRO or the VP of sales to be lockstep with them, what their scope and vision is and their sales leaders, whether it be sales se, customer support, whatever it is, I've got to be right there in the thick of things. Because if I'm with marketing, I'm going to see it be seen as potentially too fluffy, no disrespect to marketing folks. This is just experience talking, right? If I'm outside of that, then I'm outside of the loop. So again, the further you get away from the sun, the colder it gets, it sells as the sun. I want to be up close and personal. Just  
Speaker 1    00:11:52    From what you've seen. Do you see that, that, where that lives differs by the maturity of the company as well? Does that differ?  
Speaker 2    00:12:01    Absolutely. I mean, I've got friends that are in startups that report to the CEO, depending upon the size of the company. And as you grow, what we find out is the larger a company grows, the more they need enablement. So it may be just, okay, I've got this salesperson that has some templates and they do some things. They do some trainings sometimes with the younger folks that are coming in, then you realize a very simple fact, no sales leader has time to do enablement and close deals. So that's where the map, the demarcation point is is you now say, I need to bring somebody in. That's going to own this particular function. Then it's now as we grow, I need someone that owns this function for, um, SES. I need some fun someone to own it for AEs, somebody to own it for post-sales for pre-sales. And now you start building out that organization because what you do for one, as we both know, what's too technical for one is not enough for another. You got to go deep and wide for some deep for others,  
Speaker 1    00:13:00    But is there, is there a critical mass point? Like, is that something, does it just depend on the organization or, Hey, have you seen like first startup, Hey, when you get to about 10 million, ARR is there, is there  
Speaker 2    00:13:13    You get a 10 million ARR you're way too late. When you've got about 15 to 20 sales folks, you really need someone to own that function. That makes  
Speaker 1    00:13:21    Sense. Okay. Glad you clarified that because you know, that, that alone is when do you pull the trigger on that? Cause you know, as your startup, it's always running, lean, running fast. So a head count is always something you have to fight for. So I'm glad you shared that. Yeah. Well, I'm  
Speaker 2    00:13:36    Glad you say that because, and that's was the ideal client profile one. I was doing consulting. So don't think this isn't a role that absolutely has to be in house. There are some fantastic consultants that can come in, set the groundwork for you, get the plumbing in place, right? And then you can come in and build the house around that. Once you get to a point of need of bringing someone in, but you've already got the programs, the processes, the tools and platforms in place by that time. So don't negate bringing in a strong consultant, but do your homework before you bring  
Speaker 1    00:14:11    That makes sense. Hey, so you brought this up earlier, so I know there's a lot to chew on here because training and enablement somehow some way became one. So give me your thoughts on training. And they've obviously I know you, like you said, you train animals, you enable people. So give me your thoughts around.  
Speaker 2    00:14:29    Yeah, there, there are two schools of thoughts and one is training is all about us. It's a sprint. It's all about one time jolts. There's not a lot of metrics behind it. There's not a long tail to it versus enablement is an ongoing occurrence versus that single event. But the biggest thing I look at is when I'm thinking about enablement, I think of it as a waterfall from the ground up first, you've got to talk about talent assessment and talent acquisition. You should be a part of that interview process. If you're the enablement person for a number of reasons, one, um, we look at things differently. We're also looking beyond just can they hit quota and we've got a much higher BS filter even at sales leaders because we have to deal with them. Right? And the next step in that waterfall is you've got to think about onboarding and I mean, role specific onboarding you can't peanut butter because one size does not fit all.  
Speaker 2    00:15:18    As you move up. Now it's role specific business acumen. And we're talking about what are they doing after that first 60 or 90 days, going into the continuing education piece? How do we continually sharpen the sword? So we're not sending them out to war with a plastic spoon. The next is measurements. And I love this piece and I'm not talking about smiley sheets and butts and seats. As I call it, we got all fives and we trained 400 people that in seven bucks, we'll get you a latte. I'm talking about making sure that everything we do has impact materially on revenue. And it's cellaring to that revenue and maintaining consistent revenue, whether it's building stronger pipeline, stronger connections across the lines of business, et cetera. And the final piece is, or excuse me, the next piece is leadership coaching that tends to get left out, right?  
Speaker 2    00:16:04    A lot of times, what do you do? You've got a rockstar sales person. You promote them to sales manager, but you never teach them how to lead. These people have never even run a team meeting. They've never hired a fired. So you've created two problems. One, you've got someone that's trying to micromanage a team. I've never heard micromanagement as a positive term. So they're trying to micromanage the team the way they did their patch. And now you're just taking your rocks out of a patch. So it's vulnerable to your competitors. So you've got to have the final piece and that is succession planning. What is the plan to get them from individual contributor all the way up through the high potential program into leadership and then a plan backfill for that particular patch.  
Speaker 1    00:16:45    So there's a lot of elements to that, right? I mean, right. I mean, you, you walk through quite a few steps, like w w where maybe it's not one thing, where do you, where do you find that where's the biggest gap where where's the toughest bridge to, to overcome that? You've seen that, Hey, if you don't have X and Y like, you could do the rest of it, fantastic. It just ain't going on.  
Speaker 2    00:17:06    It's not what most people think it's actually on the front end of that talent assessment in acquisition piece, because things are constantly shifting. We're always talking about our ICP, right? What's our ideal customer or client profile because we don't have enough acronyms. Let me add another one. What's your IEP. What's your ideal employee profile. And how does that shift with the maturation of your company? And that means you've now got to go hire a completely different type of seller. You may need someone that is a BDR dialing for dollars, but as you get into that complex sale, you need someone more mature. That's been there and been to a couple of picnics and rodeos, right? When you get into that really deep, um, big ticket sale, I need someone with a little gray that's been there and done it before. Can eyeball the buyer and say with confidence, I understand what's top of mind. I understand what's important to you. I've done this a number of times. Let me give you some examples. And also some references we've done it.  
Speaker 1    00:18:02    So, so you say really it's the, it's the assessment of talent is the mission critical.  
Speaker 2    00:18:09    Yeah, because let's, let's say you've got a mismatch of talent in regards to trying to speak to your prospects and your ideal customer profile. What happened? You don't close deals. So if you don't get that IEP straight upfront, the rest of that waterfall becomes a house of cards and it all drops.  
Speaker 1    00:18:26    Yeah. Yeah. One of the things that, so then on that side of it, so where does training, so all law that was like, mentoring's leadership, everything you kind of like, how do you delineate between a training function or, or is it one that like, it's not one and the same, but how do you delineate between, Hey, I need training or I need it.  
Speaker 2    00:18:46    Um, there's two ways. One training is a component of enablement. It is not a standalone. Alright. And I'm not saying, oh, I hate training. No, not at all. There's a time for that, but it's encapsulated in the overall enablement strategy. So you've got to make sure that these all come together. And when you do that training, you also still have to make sure that there's some kind of reinforcement to it. You've got to make sure you get buy off from the sales leaders. Because especially that first and second line manager, that's where the rubber hits the road. If they don't own the adoption, the execution and the positive modeling of it, I can give you a world-class, it's going to die on the vine. And there's another big difference with enablement. We're going and saying, what's state. What does success look like? And that's training also that here's the extra component. And what part of it? You, Mr. Mrs. Sales leader will own, we're not doing it all.  
Speaker 1    00:19:38    Yeah. I, you know, a lot of the stuff that you're saying, and I understand going back to your comment around, you want to be closest to the sun, because if you don't get buy-in from the leader, it doesn't make a difference how good the enablement is. Like, if they aren't going to reinforce it, they're not going to adopt it. They're not going to drive it. It dies. It dies on  
Speaker 2    00:19:57    The vine. It's DOA from the time that you roll it out without  
Speaker 1    00:20:00    A doubt. That makes sense. So talk to me, cause it's we now are we're on the leadership subject. I always like, well, why should leaders? Why should sales leaders really care about enablement? Right? What, what? Like what's in it for them. That's how every  
Speaker 2    00:20:12    Sales. Oh, no. I love that. Another question I love, first of all, what's in it for them. I'm going to take some things off of your plate. I'm going to have, I'm going to find out what your needs are. Then I'm going to diagnose that need and come back and say, sometimes it's aspirin. Sometimes it's Vicodin. And sometimes it's an extraction. Cause we got to stop the bleeding or yanked that tooth out right now. Right? Then the next thing I'm going to do is make sure that anything we roll out is always vetted and signed off by you. The sales leader, I'm never going to give you what I think enablement thinks that you need. The other piece is we are going to define what success looks like. Whether it be an accreditation, it'd be a program. It's a workshop, whatever it is, we're going to agree on it.  
Speaker 2    00:20:55    And then we're not going to, either of us are going to be allowed to move the goalposts. Once we get to the red zone, because we got that locked in, then when it's done, what I'm going to do is come back to you with revenue, impacting metrics around that piece that we can say, look by accelerating speed to revenue and cutting off a month or two in the ramp. Guess what's happened. This amount times are our average sales price, right? Equals X amount of dollars. I'm going to give you hard line figures. And then from there we're going to rinse and repeat. We are now a partnership and I'm also how I can help you. If I'm talking to product marketing all the time, I'm talking to marketing, I'm talking to engineering, I'm talking to HR. Guess what? It goes in my ear and right out of my mouth to them, but I give it to them in their language. Then what I do is take back from them, translate it into sales speak. That becomes those programs. So we're all on the same page. Remember that orchestra I talked about earlier, I'm that orchestra master that makes sure that the music stays on time.  
Speaker 1    00:21:56    So, so, uh, as a sales leader, that sounds fantastic to me like, Hey, you take stuff on my plate. You can articulate and actually decipher what marketing and engineering and how we bring all this together and help roadmap on it. So it sounds, it sounds perfect to me as a sales leader, like what is the biggest hurdle? Like why are more people doing it and doing it the right way? Like what, what, what is  
Speaker 2    00:22:20    What you're missing is the last component I was going to add? I don't add anyone to my enablement team that is not carried a bag. You can't go talk to people about how comfortable or uncomfortable shoes are you. Can't step in with credibility and say, you know what? I've taken down Wales, I've landed Bluebirds. And I've lost that the 13th hour. I've known what it's like to sit at the last day of the month or the quarter waiting on that DocuSign. Right? If you can't say that with credibility sales folks are not going to listen to you because we both know if you don't know the secret sales handshake, you're not one of us and we will shut you down. Am I wrong?  
Speaker 1    00:22:59    No, you're right. No, it's definitely a fraternity for  
Speaker 2    00:23:02    You and not all, all enablement leaders deploy that strategy. Also, excuse me. Sometimes enablement sits under dare. I say, learning and development. And there's a place for L and D. And that's great when we're talking about managing legally and ethically. That's great. When we're talking about all the courses we have to take to make sure that as leaders we are prepared and that we don't do anything crazy, that's going to put the company at risk, but they don't have a number hanging over their head. When I went into enablement, the first thing I thought was who I don't have a quota anymore. I don't have to hit this on a monthly or quarterly basis. What I didn't realize that I realized 25 years later now every single customer facing person in the company is my quote. And so Michael to expanded because my responsibility covers sales, BDRs, SES, and customer support slash CX. So I own everything other than customer education and HR L and D uh,  
Speaker 1    00:24:05    Yeah. You're you're yeah. You're, you're quoted just evolved a little bit. It's just evolved. Hey, so we talked about why it's important for sales leaders, but I think just as important, at least putting on my contributor, am I carrying a bag? Like, why is it important to the sales rep? But like, why? Like, why should they look at that role at, like you said, if you haven't carried the bag, you're going to get shut down easy. But for those that have like, why, why should they be pushing for enablement from a contributor, your standpoint,  
Speaker 2    00:24:36    A couple of different reasons. First of all, you're where your advocate, right? Because we're talking at the sales leader level, we're talking at the e-staff level. So we're going to make sure as we're gathering all this information that we're bringing it back to you, but most importantly, I'm pre COVID. I'm going out on calls with you. So I'm creating credibility for you when we're in a prospect meeting. And I start talking about, go to market strategy, not training and tools. And they're looking at me like, is that your sales lead? No, actually that's our enablement guy. Wow. Okay. So if he knows that, imagine what it's been passed on to you. So there's a credibility piece there, but there's a bigger piece of that is we're taking what we're hearing now on these zoom calls and we're taking it back to product marketing and saying, look, we absolutely love the first call pitch, but slides seven, eight gets fuzzy.  
Speaker 2    00:25:26    I've heard it positioned eight different ways. Can we rejigger that? And then we'll do an accreditation around it to make sure we've got consistency globally. Right? I can go back to product management and go, I've talked to 10 different prospects. Eight times they've asked for this, how do we get that? Moved up on the release cycle. I go back to sales and I say, Hey, sales leader. I think it's time that we readdress our IEP, right? Because our individual contributors right now are drowning. We're asking them to talk and punch well above their weight. What if we did something around objection handling, because with confidence comes competence and we give them an opportunity to not only grind internally, but slip and fall here because in house we're way more forgiving. And when they go out and they ask that question gets answered. They're like, yeah, I know that answer. We've run through this in the workshop eight times. Now we give it to them. And also now they get to AB test how they do this. So we should be the best friend of an a  
Speaker 1    00:26:23    So help. So help me understand what's kind of next for sales enablement, right? Because there's obviously an evolution to everything. So w w what's the next horizon for sales enablement and what you're seeing? It's  
Speaker 2    00:26:34    Funny. That's exactly why I wrote my book sales enablement 3.0, it is about the next level in the future of sales. Certainly I give the background of how we, to what I call 3.0, but I believe there's a couple of things. And remember the Jetsons that old cartoon, where people were flying around and they had the robot Rosie that did their things. It's here. Now we are using AI and ML in enablement in ways that I never thought was possible when I created this space, right. There are things that we're doing now that used to be manually example, we run a bootcamp, it could take a day to crunch all the numbers and all the averages and all of the feedback and come up with some kind of themes. Now we can feed that into an AI tool. An hour later, a week's worth of work is now down to like an hour or two.  
Speaker 2    00:27:25    So that that's one way it's going. I also think that technology has changed, right? And, and I always caution here. Don't get, um, stuck on the latest and greatest, hot and sexy tool. If it doesn't work for you, I've got peers of mine. But tell me about tool all the time and they're killing with it. And I'm like, yeah, but we're just not there yet. So you've got to make sure that you've got all of your technology in place. You've got a learning management system, a content management system. You've got sales reporting in place, the right marketing automation tool, all the different communication tools from zoom to podcast or reference guys to instant messaging to playbooks, to QBR has all that. Then you got to hit that sales engagement platform, things like a Lego and celebration and level jump and Showpad. And then when you get up to the highest level of those revenue intelligence tools, where now we can send them, record them, have their managers come and review and rate them.  
Speaker 2    00:28:25    We'll give them a standard scorecard, right. But review and rate them. And my team doesn't have to do that anymore. And they get a deeper level of feedback because it's coming from their managers. And the next step is the manager says, okay, here's where the weakness is. Now. I know what I need to coach that individual. The whole game has changed no longer are we seeing as the fixers of broken things and broken people, we're now being woven into the fabric of the go-to market strategy as a key differentiator, external of the walls of our customers, excuse me, of our company. Oh, it's a whole new ball game now.  
Speaker 1    00:28:59    Hey, so help me. So let's go look and that's good. I'm and I tend to, uh, you know, it's funny, every aspect of sales, you know, technology obviously plays a huge role in everything in life in general, but I think from a sales perspective, Roderick, and I think you would agree into your sales enablement 3.0, you know, sales is really allowed for effectiveness and efficiency at scale, right? It allows you to do all so much more, right. Bigger, better, faster. And that's the whole methodology,  
Speaker 2    00:29:29    Consistency and scalability when it's all about. Right.  
Speaker 1    00:29:32    But you even bring up a point, which I, which, you know, I like, because there's always a pro and con to technology, the pros are, it does all that great stuff. The con is, is it typically, there's a lot of noise and there's a  
Speaker 2    00:29:45    Change in shiny tools syndrome. Got it. Right.  
Speaker 1    00:29:48    And you get caught up in that, that, that dilemma of, do I need that tool or do I not? Does it really drive effectiveness or does it not like those things can actually gobble up time when it's not the most effective use of time? Do you agree? Disagree?  
Speaker 2    00:30:04    I agree. A hundred percent. And that's where sales enablement and field enablement comes in. We look at it and go, is this tool going to remove selling obstacles or create more? It's it's a yes or no. Right? And there is no gray area. If it's going to, by scalability and consistency, get them prepared faster. If it's going to get them to understand their prospect's business and how to speak their language. Absolutely. If it's going to help us trim down the percentage of discount we're getting, because we can now handle objections better. Fantastic. If we've got consistent messaging and positioning, fantastic. If it doesn't do any of those things, then it's just a sexy, shiny tool. And it's a waste of resources and money. They're eating up budget. There's some, there's some tools out there right now that I won't name them. There are some tools out there just stealing budget, and it's not going to do what they promised, but they've got a great big logo and they've got a phenomenal brand and people are buying it. And then a quarter later, they can't justify the spend and they can't get the metrics that they promised their sales leader.  
Speaker 1    00:31:13    And, you know, as a, as a result, you know, those tools are left on adopted unused, and then sales leaders are trying to fight for budget. Say, I need more tools and senior leadership, but you don't need any. You've just had three tools that we've never, uh, talked and there was no more tools are you getting? So, I mean, it's  
Speaker 2    00:31:31    The enemy of productivity is shelfware right there. And there's a lot of shelf wear off. So  
Speaker 1    00:31:38    Help. So kind of let's go down three paths and we're w we're, we're kind of, I want to get your thoughts on this for someone that is doesn't have enablement, but they they're looking to either, Hey, start down that path or start, like you said, finding a consultant, just setting the groundwork, like where should they start Roderick in your eyes? Like, Hey, I don't have money to go out. I'm not big enough to go get an enablement person, but I need to put the foundation. How would you help them from a, from that standpoint? So am just,  
Speaker 2    00:32:10    Well, first of all, I'd say, let's understand what's broken, let's understand what's not in place and let's understand where you're trying to get to. So we can now remove those obstacles. Once we determine what success looks like. Now we step backwards and say, all right, back to the maturation point, where are you? Are you in hyper-growth mode? Then we're going to focus all of our energy on onboarding and making sure we can get people up and running. If you're past that, you've got the plumbing in. Now let's talk about maybe it's about the flooring and it's about the cabinetry in the house. That's the continuing education do you have just in time training, do you have continuing it? You have podcasts library in place, right? Do you have leadership coaching for your leaders? Okay. If you've got that, then now we've got that on. Let's take care of the roof and get all the shrubbery and all those other things around the house in place.  
Speaker 2    00:33:03    And what that looks like is now we're combining and collaborating with all the lines of business to say, we're all on the same page. We're all rowing in the same direction. We all understand what our deliverables are. We are all accountable to each other, and we're all going to do this after. And only after it has been validated by the sales org. And now you've got a big, beautiful house, but there's one piece that's left. You've built this big, beautiful house, but if you don't bring in the back end of customer support and CX, you built a big, beautiful house with a short hallway. That's your customers are going to trip out of the back door. So make sure that your enablement strategy and your overall success plan includes customer success, customer support, customer experience, whatever you may call it, and that they understand just as well as your sales folks do, because now you've got a resell.  
Speaker 2    00:33:59    Would you agree? You've got upsell, cross sell and renewals, which is very different than the upfront with a very different expectation after implementation. So what I recommend is bring them in earlier. So now you've got to look at this from a different angle. Stop looking at your sales process, your sales tools, your sales methodology. Let's just call it all of your sales, selling motions, take it up a level. And the first thing I'd say is if you don't have your buyer's journey mapped out end to end your sales process and selling motion, won't matter. Cause you're forever trying to shoehorn them into your process. Instead of understanding where you fit into their buying cycle,  
Speaker 1    00:34:38    Does that change or does the process or the critique or the evaluation change for the newbie? That's trying to get this off the ground versus the guy that Hey has had enablement good, bad indifferent. Does that look? Oh,  
Speaker 2    00:34:53    Absolutely. It's night and day. If you're the newbie trying to get it off the ground, everything is net new, right? So the first thing I say is go and do surveys with all of your leaders and find out what's important to them. And then start looking at where you get things and where you have low hanging fruit, where you can build some credibility and get the biggest bang for your buck. That also is going to impact revenue. Now, if you're the person that's been doing this for a while, I was looking at it from two different angles. One, what am I doing that works really well right now? And two, how can I make that even better? And then the third point is what has changed since I created these programs and processes that can help me towards consistency and scalability and automation even faster. So I can do more with less, or do I need more people in my organization? When I came into my current job, there were three people right now there's nine. Not because I'm trying to build a fiefdom, but because what I'm doing now is segmenting my program managers. So they're responsible for particular audiences and theaters globally. It's  
Speaker 1    00:36:02    Just a level of sophistication. It's, it's self-assessing Hey, what's working. What's not, no, I'm really boiling this down, but what's working. What's not working. And then making adjustments and then taking it up, but not on areas of sophistication. Right? I am my boiling.  
Speaker 2    00:36:18    It's more like, instead of focusing on what focus on, why, why is this working? Why did it not work? And why do I need to change? So here's,  
Speaker 1    00:36:28    Here's here's and this is coming, putting my, taken off my podcast or hat and putting on my sales leader, hat, you know, the biggest challenge I see. And I met that one of those I'm at an organization that's on a smaller scale, that things not quite startup, but you know, we're moving in the right direction, hypergrowth, you know, it's time for me like you, when you're a Jack of all master, like you're doing everything. And sometimes you forget about the things that you've put in place and you're not even tracking. Are they working? Are they not working? It's like out of sight, out of mind. Right? So it's, that's a little tough. I'm just trying to get my arms around it. That that is, that's a tough thing for some sales news, depending on the maturity of the organization to actually  
Speaker 2    00:37:12    Do right. Well, that's why you need one person that goes to sleep and wakes up thinking about enablement. It's not the sales leader. And I I've been in small, tiny companies. I was in a little company called jigsaw. They got acquired by Salesforce. So I know what it's like to be in that in-between zone. But I was even brought in there to run enable because they needed someone that was eating and sleeping and thinking enablement all the time and constantly going back and questioning the sales leader. How can we do this better? How can we get bigger, faster, and stronger? Okay. This person's at 90%. How do we get them to a hundred percent? How do we get more people to ramp faster, hit quota faster and get more people? The biggest, the best problem any sales leader wants to have is man, I've got too many people to send the club. I don't know if we've got the budget for that, but I guarantee you they'll find budget for that one. So our job in enablement is to create that problem for the sales leader,  
Speaker 1    00:38:11    Your opinion. And I'm, we're kind of going through some little conjecture, but you you've seen both sides as you've been on the large enterprises and what you've been doing. You've been on the startup side of things for a sales leader. Who's typically, let me, let me, let me go back. Who's typically the one that's pushing for, like, when you find that sales enablement is trying to get implemented, is it typically the sales leader that's leading the charge to put like, Hey, we need a sales enablement team. Like who, depending  
Speaker 2    00:38:39    Upon the size of the company, smaller company, it's usually the sales leader. If they understand the value of enabling larger company, it's usually the COO or the president or the CEO. Like now, as I said, my initiatives go all the way up to our CEO level. We're part of his overall go to market strategy, which rolls down to the president. Who's responsible for executing on that piece. Then there's the SVP of sales one step closer, then there's me. And I've got to be in lock step with all of them.  
Speaker 1    00:39:09    Kind of like your final thoughts, feedback, like as you're approaching this, like for the audience, like, and we know we've kind of touched on this a little bit, you know, for those newbies, for those that are a little bit more mature, like what would you, what would you leave the audience with when you, when they're thinking about sales enablement and either launching it doing it, should we do it? Should we not do it this whole, this whole thing that we've been discussing? What are some of the thoughts you wanted to leave the audience with? Right. A  
Speaker 2    00:39:35    Few things. One don't wait too long thinking that I've got to get to 10 million. Right? I get it. Like I said, 15, 20 people when it's time and it's in mass and you have to make a decision as a sales leader, do I go and help close deals? Or do I go and train and enable these people? You've got your answer right there. It's time to bring someone in the other piece is sales enablement three dot O as I'm calling it, it is a whole different level of enablement. The way it's been done previously. I believe that. And, and the way I crafted sales enablement, 3.0 is both an art and a science. There are no magical silver bullets. There's not a single approach. That's going to guarantee that you'll be successful. However, there is a formula, just like any successful process, program or tool that requires a combination of practical application, trial and error mixed with a lot of conversations with sales leaders, to understand exactly what they want need and expect.  
Speaker 2    00:40:34    And once you do that now is when the fun starts because you get a chance to start working on solutions. And that's what we do naturally. The next piece I would say is don't ever give them what you think they need, whether you're a one-person show or you're a 20 person organization. If you don't vet it, as we said earlier, Sam, it will die. It will crash. And you will burn the last piece. Do not allow yourself to be put into the box of the fixers of broken things and broken people. It does that. They've got that down, pat. That's not our role define and create a charter, especially if you're new. And if you've been in this for awhile, reassess your charter, the charter should say, here's what we're going to do. Here's the resources that are going to do it. Here's our success metrics.  
Speaker 2    00:41:26    And most importantly, here's what we don't do. Notice. I didn't say here's, what's not our job. Here's what is the most valuable use of our talent and resources and budget for you when you get that charter in place game changer? Because now everybody's on the same page. And remember you have to go back every half year by annually and reassess your charter because as the go to market strategy changes as the competitive landscape changes, as you release more products and solutions and platforms, you need to go back and reassess. Are we in lock step with our internal customers? And this is the final thing. I'll say stop calling them stakeholders because they're not stakeholder says I'm patrolled to you. Internal customer says we both are dependent on each other to be successful.  
Speaker 1    00:42:16    Makes sense. So, Hey Ron, uh, 100% agree with you. I do have one, one. The last thing is I was going to ask you, because I think this is important for those individuals that are like, Hey, cause you, I think you mentioned this either offline or earlier in our conversation, the sales enablement should not. We looked at as a cost center, right?  
Speaker 2    00:42:37    Oh no, absolutely not. No, no. We are a revenue impact there that pushes towards revenue being driven without a doubt  
Speaker 1    00:42:47    Sales leader that like you said, typically, a smaller organization, sales leaders are driving. Hey, I understand the value of sales enablement. We need it. That's the lens that they should be approaching senior leaders, board members on why sales enablement should be brought in. Is that fair  
Speaker 2    00:43:01    Every day, all day, go and find out what your average settled value is. Take that and say, if I were to find out what your average time to first and second clothes are, then go back to your sales leader, your CEO, whoever it may be and say, if I were to trim two months off of our time to speak to revenue, and two months is equivalent to X, Y, Z thousands of dollars. Times two times the number of heads that we're going to hire. Can I show you the number that my team is actually going to impact in regards to revenue that no longer makes you a cost center. And then you say, and here's the strategy behind it to get there. It's not empty promises. Here's how we're going to do it. Here's the six assessments metrics. Here's the communication plan along the way to make sure that you stay in lock step. That's what I do when I need to justify adding on another head. We're doing this right now with this number in this period of time, if you gave me one more person, we would be able to do these numbers in this period of time. And it would only cost us X amount. Thus, we stopped being a cost center without a doubt.  
Speaker 1    00:44:14    Hey, that's awesome. And I only ask that because you know, those are the conversations. As, as a sales leader, you need to be able to have what senior leadership to judge, because I am a big believer in sales enablement. I truly believe that's a vital role within the sales. Let me take back. Not a vital, it's a vital role to a successful sales organization. How about  
Speaker 2    00:44:35    This? Let's take it above sales. It's a vital role for the success of a company within the Oregon, without a doubt. We're a go to market partner now without  
Speaker 1    00:44:43    A doubt. So I brought up, how do people learn more about you? Obviously you're an author, you've done a number of different things, which we're going to, we were going to share, we're going to put that all in the show notes, but how do people reach you? How do they engage you in kind of maybe pick your brain a bit? Sure.  
Speaker 2    00:44:56    You can find me on LinkedIn at Robert. Jefferson can find me on Instagram at Roderick underscore J underscore associates. Find me on Twitter at the voice of rod. If you can't find me out there, you're not really looking in regards to the book. You can find the book, um, sales enablement, three dot O the blueprint to success. You can find it on Amazon Barnes and noble and anywhere that you buy online books. It's in hardcover, it's in paperback. It's an e-book. And next week I start recording the audio book. So the audio book will be ready by October to drop the other pieces. I have an online course, a very, very baseline, um, 1 0 1 type course on you to me that, and just simply go in and search for my name that will give you the baseline of understanding enablement. That was actually the precursor to me, riding the bus. Awesome, man, it's called the art and science of sales enabled,  
Speaker 1    00:45:56    By the way, everything Roderick, just share. We're going to put in the show notes. So we're not going to make you struggle to remember everything and rewind the podcast back and forth to hear it. We'll share all that Roderick. I sincerely appreciate you taking some time, man. I love this conversation. I love the sales enablement component. So thank you for coming on this evening and I, my absolute  
Speaker 2    00:46:17    Pleasure. Thanks for having me.  
Speaker 0    00:46:20    Thank you for listening to the sales samurai podcast with your house, Sam Capra. Be sure you subscribe to our podcast and visit <inaudible> dot IO and join the conversation. Access show notes and discover bonus content. 

Roderick Jefferson Profile Photo

Roderick Jefferson

Vice President, Field Enablement @ Netskope, Author

Roderick Jefferson is the Vice President, Field Enablement at Netskope. He is a Senior Executive with 20+ years of sales enablement leadership experience. He is also an acknowledged practitioner and keynote speaker in the sales enablement space that understands how to create bridges between internal organizations to empower sales to exceed expectations. He has won numerous awards including being selected as:

• 2021: Sales Enablement Lifetime Achievement Award (Selling Power Magazine)
• 2021 & 2020: Top 15 Sales & Marketing Influencer (LinkedIn)
• 2020: Top18 Major Leagues Sales Coaches Award (Lessonly)
• 2020 Sales Influencers to Follow (Morning Brew Media)
• 2019 Top 15 Social Media Influencer (Brainshark)
• 2019 Top 10 Sales Enablement Consultant (Sales Hacker)
• 2015 Sales Onboarding Program of the Year (SiriusDecisions)

Roderick is the author of the Amazon bestselling book, Sales Enablement 3.0: The Blueprint to Sales Enablement Excellence. He is currently an Executive-in-Residence with VentureScale and one of the founding members of the Sales Enablement Society. Roderick is also a member of several Advisory Boards, including Capella University, Autobound.ai, Visionyze, Sales for the Culture, and Selleration Inc.

Prior to Netskope, he held a variety of executive leadership, sales, sales enablement, operations and customer experience roles for Roderick Jefferson & Associates, Marketo, Oracle Marketing Cloud, Salesforce.com, 3PAR, Business Objects, NetApp, PayPal, Siebel Systems, & AT&T.

When not working on sales enablement projects and programs, he can be found perfecting the art of barbecuing or playing on his bocce court in his backyard with his family.