Q&A With Tamara Schenk, Vice President Of Sales Enablement - T-Systems

Many of our clients are building named account or strategic customer programs in order to drive more revenue from their existing customers.   Unfortunately, few are even close to realizing their expected results. Understanding the challenges associated with cross-selling within large account structures is one of the track sessions at our upcoming Sales Enablement Forum

Joining me in my track will be Tamara Schenk, VP of sales enablement at T-Systems. Tamara has definitely followed the path of the manager of “broken things” to evolving sales enablement as a more strategic function within her company.  Here are some of her thoughts:

1. How has the role of sales enablement changed inside your company?

The role of sales enablement changed fundamentally inside T-Systems. We started with sales enablement three years ago after the consolidation of many different portfolio views to ONE portfolio. Consequently, we also consolidated the variety of different sales portals by implementing one cross-functional multidimensional sales enablement platform called SPOT ON. The hard work behind SPOT ON was to analyze existing sales content, to be brave enough to throw away thousands of documents and to define everything else in terms of target groups, content, purpose, mapping to sales outcomes, RACI matrix for each content type, content generation and content publishing activities including a content localization process.

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Q&A With Daniel West, Vice President Informatica University And Enablement At Informatica

Many people who set out on the quest to evolve from being the steward of broken things to a more strategic role of a sales enablement leader often ask me, “What should our bill of materials look like?” or “What kinds of deliverables should we be producing?” That’s the kind of thinking that begets more “broken things.” The question I tell our clients they should be asking is: “What are the kinds of ongoing services you can define jointly with sales leadership, develop and continually improve, and that you can demonstrate the business value by producing measureable results that matter to leadership?"     

Given that backdrop, I am delighted to have Daniel West, vice president of Informatica University and Enablement speaking at our Sales Enablement Forum.  Daniel and his team at Informatica have made some outstanding progress to elevate the function from an afterthought to a critical and strategic function within their company. One of their focal points have been to move away from creating many different training programs or toolkits measured by the number of people who took the course or the number of tool downloads to something far more impactful. They focus on creating and delivering a few services that are measured by an agreed upon metric of success defined jointly by Daniel and their executive leadership.   This is the kind of game changing approach that makes Daniel a HERO.  We recently had the chance to ask him some questions and share his thoughts as he evolves his role.

Questions:

  • How has your leadership’s view of Sales Enablement changed over the last year or so?
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Q&A with Carol Sustala, Sr Director, Global Sales Enablement At Symantec

The sales enablement profession is evolving from stewards of "broken things” into a more strategic function that helps CEO’s bridge the gap between the business strategy and field execution. Our upcoming Sales Enablement Forum is dedicated to these emerging HEROes and sharing the path forward to a more efficient and adaptive selling system.  Having said that, I am excited to share an interview we had with Carol Sustala, senior director of Global Sales Enablement at Symantec and one of our keynote speakers. I have the privilege of getting to work with her hands on a lot over the past year and am excited for the rest of you to hear her story.  

So, enough about me - here is Carol in her own words:

(1) Sales Enablement is a big, cross-functional role; what did it take to motivate your peers to team with you on some challenges?

The function of Sales Enablement requires tremendous cross-functional alignment and collaboration, and that's not something that happens overnight. One of the key elements to success in driving an aligned sales enablement effort is not really motivation so much, as it is relationships and shared commitments to success.  Invest in building strong relationships built on mutual respect for unique talents, expertise and experience across the key stakeholder organizations responsible for some aspect of Sales Enablement, and the motivation to team up on challenges will follow close behind.

(2) Sales Enablement is an emerging role and discipline; where do you see the Sales Enablement role headed at Symantec?  

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Effective Sales Enablement Depends On Your Definition Of "Sales"

During the first week of June, we had one of our quarterly Sales Enablement Leadership Council meetings in Barcelona, Spain. (A leadership council is comprised of executives from leading companies who work with us to set the direction for the near-term and long-term role of sales enablement.) For an entire day, we discussed the application of Forrester’s SIMPLE framework, which is a model designed to help combat the random acts of sales support that persist within most B2B companies, to common sales enablement leadership challenges.

The sheer volume of insight, ideas, new research topics, and techniques shared during that session was tremendous – far too much to share in one blog post. So, I am going to pick two issues that came up.

First off, Tamara, I hear you. I was told point blank that I need to participate in the social community more. I’m going to make a more dedicated effort to do this moving forward, but I need your help. Please tell me what you’d like me to share and how. Honestly, I get a little caught up around the axle about the many deliverable formats I’m responsible for (research reports, teleconferences, conference presentations, facilitating council meetings, client deliverables, etc.) so I would love the coaching from the community on what would be the most useful.

Secondly, at the beginning of our council meeting, we had a good discussion about where the sales enablement profession is heading. I’ve written a very detailed document defining the scope and role of sales enablement strategically, but there is an easier way to summarize the trends based on how you define the word “sales.”

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Sales Enablement And The Future Of Selling

Highlights

  • Looking back on the past 10 years puts the changes taking place today in the technology industry in context.
  • Over this period, SGA has grown faster than revenues – a major contributor to margin erosion.
  • Buyers are stratifying their suppliers into a caste system, increasingly delineating strategic vendors from commodity providers.
  • In order to achieve profitable growth objectives, technology vendors must rethink how they go to market.
  • Forrester’s Sales Enablement Forum February 14-15 will provide sales enablement leaders the concepts and approaches to compete in the new emerging “outcome economy.”
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An Inside Look At Forrester's Sales Enablement Conference

Quickly

  • There are a lot of forces at work driving technology industry vendors to change how they go to market. 
  • Forrester’s upcoming Technology Sales Enablement Forum is a two-day agenda targeted at addressing this.
  • You can register for a free webinar on Tuesday 1/18 to learn more about the conference.
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Is Your Sales Force Really That Dumb ... Or Are They Just Misunderstood?

Ah, that pesky sales force. Why don’t they:

  • Follow the selling methodology you’ve developed with much expense and rolled out with great sweat?
  • Call on more senior-level buyers, for goodness sake — don’t they realize those are the people with adult money and fat wallets?
  • Just use the tools you’ve developed for them — all they need to know has already been figured out.
  • Sell more stuff to their existing customers — with so many things to sell, how can they NOT be successful?
  • Stay on your brand message? It’s like each rep has created their own version of the truth.
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Forrester's Sales Enablement Conference Will Be About Selling In The New Economy

“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I – I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference.”   

        -  Robert Frost

In today’s dramatically changing world, many of you are also at a metaphorical fork in the road. 

The path most traveled represents squeezing that last ounce of productivity from the tried-and-true practices that got you to where you are today. 

The other path is being set by trailblazers who recognize that the economy is resetting itself and new go-to-market models are emerging. 

Simply put, it’s a race to see who can develop a selling system that allows client-facing people to add more value to clients, at every interaction. These value-exchange patterns are different based on your customer types, the problems you help address, and the role your organization plays in solving them.

I am excited to be telling you about our first sales enablement conference, which will be held in downtown San Francisco February 14th and 15th. Over the summer, our team has been at work putting together a truly exciting and innovative agenda for our forum. Here are a few of the great topics we are working on:

  • What do buying executives actually think of how they are engaged by sellers? There’s a lot of talk about getting sales and marketing to sing off the same page, but what is the song? Any kind of alignment should start with buyers, and we are going to present a mountain of buyer insights that in many ways are jaw-dropping.
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What Is “Sales Enablement” And How Did Forrester Go About Defining It?

There are other definitions floating out there about sales enablement – some are from our competitors, there is a Wikipedia definition, and several vendors in the space are promoting the phase pretty heavily.

  • So why did we just publish a huge research document on the topic? 

Let’s start with how we decided we needed to invest a lot of cycles writing a big report about defining something some could argue was already defined.

  • In August 2008, we convened our first Sales Enablement Executive roundtable (a roundtable is where I facilitate a group discussion about relevant issues facing our community and drive shared understanding about changes that need to be made moving forward) near Leesburg, Virginia. We assembled a cross-functional team of VP-level executives from sales and marketing roles, representing 16 blue-chip companies like: Accenture, CSC, IBM, CA, Siemens, BMC, etc.
  • During that session, as a group — we debated, painfully, the definition of sales enablement, which Forrester subsequently reviewed (to gain buy-in) from other roundtables we convened in San Mateo, California and London.
  • We published our short definition in our Uncovering The Hidden Costs Of Sales Support report in April 2009, where we worked with several CFOs to understand their point of view about managing “cost of sales.”
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Do Your Value Propositions "Go To Eleven"?

In Rob Reiner’s 1984 “rockumentary,” This Is Spinal Tap, one of the main characters, Nigel Tufnel, proclaims that they are different than other bands because their amplifiers “go to ll.” (You have to watch this clip if you don't know what I am talking about).

What a perfect analog of how B2B companies are trying to differentiate themselves today. I have the opportunity to work with sales and marketing professionals on the topic of competitive preference, and here are some actual quotes from vendors about how they think they separate themselves from “other blokes”:

  • “But we are truly global and our competitors are not” – a managed services provider
  • “We are much more scalable than them” – a software provider
  • “We deliver our services in the cloud” – a software-as-a-service provider

Translation? “These go to 11.”

You know the show MythBusters?

Forrester’s Sales Enablement team is testing the conventional wisdoms of sales and marketing by asking executive level buyers what they think. 

So, does “11” differentiate you? No.

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