Our guest for this episode is Salil Mishra, the Sales Enablement Lead at Vymo. With a daily adoption rate of over 75%, Vymo is a personal sales assistant. You can now log all sales activities automatically, improve outcomes through contextual coaching, and progressively learn from the best sales reps.
In the interview, Salil talks about transforming top sellers into champions for the entire organization and replicating their winning behavior to drive revenue growth.
(This conversation has been edited for length and clarity.)
Role of enablement today
Enablement is often relegated to onboarding new reps to help them sail through the initial few months in an organization. However, enablement plays a crucial role in upskilling market-facing teams periodically. This requires regular feedback from customers, sales teams, and market-facing teams on what is working and what is not.
Your customers will only return if you are helping them succeed. The 80-20 rule is a great place to start. How can you help your reps extract 80% of their quota from the top 20% of their accounts? Provide a framework for your reps to get more from their accounts, keeping in mind continuous customer success.
Align your revenue enablement with GTM and sales. Does the team have a strategy for a specific account or a new market they want to enter? Start by documenting your strategy, put it together on a centralized platform, and inform your teams.
Also, with companies expanding into different geographies, how can you ensure cross-geographical wins and consider the learnings? Companies need to discuss the problem they solved for the customer and why they were chosen on open platforms. Being able to replicate the success of one account or market across others is essential.
Replicate the winning behavior of your top reps
Top sales reps are often perceived to be bottlenecks for learning because other reps do not think they are open to sharing their strategies. As an enablement practitioner, transforming top sellers into champions for the entire organization is crucial. People often forget that reps need a lot of motivation regularly. If enablement can help in getting that, there's nothing better.
Implement a process for the learnings of top sellers to be passed on to the middle order. How did they go about their accounts? Share their entire journey of the account from when it was brought in, starting from the approach. Who were the critical external and internal stakeholders involved? Sometimes closing a deal requires multi-threading and connecting with internal C-level folks. How did they do that?
Create a playbook around the various obstacles faced. It can be something as simple as a demo that did not go well or pricing issues. When you bring multiple points together, you see the larger picture and can show specific accounts were won. Such lessons encourage reps to revisit old lost accounts with a new winning mindset to determine what they could have done differently to get a different outcome.
Leveraging your internal champion reps in this way is crucial to elevating the performance of your sales team.
Also, remember, most sellers aren’t great at every step of the sales process. One could be great at discovery, another at running the demo calls, and yet another at upselling. Combining the learnings of your top sellers and making them available to the rest of the team is the way to go.
Facing a turbulent market
In the current economic climate, many teams across industries face a crunch in the form of customers unwilling to buy. How can revenue enablement help your reps do more with your product?
1. Go after low-hanging fruits
As a revenue demand function, enablement must remind your internal market-facing folks what steps have worked with certain accounts in the past and how we can leverage them for relatively easy wins.
2. Use customer evidence to win buyer’s trust
The impact of enablement in giving out clear-cut customer references in a deal cannot be overstated. For example, we were running a deal with a midmarket customer a few years back. There was a pricing discussion, and they were not keen on investing in the solution. As a sales team, we bought out at least four use cases where the customer was from a similar industry and faced identical pain points. We understood their challenges, brought in that value, and provided a dedicated deck. “These are all whom we have sold for, and it’s fine even if you start with just a couple of users.”
You have to ensure your customers see value in the product. Then, you can create deals with more users and provide value to the customer.
3. Prioritize upsell and cross-sell opportunities
When it is challenging to get new customers, go back to the drawing board, look at the current customers, and analyze how you can help them get more out of your product.
Align revenue enablement teams with customer success teams, run through product adoption cycles together, and identify ways to add value through your product - whether it is new use cases for existing features or new feature requests.
Enablement is critical in educating the entire team about your use cases, the industries you serve, your referenceable customers, and so on. This is the biggest service enablement can provide in the current economic landscape.
4. Work closely with customer success and other teams
The sales and customer success teams need to be in sync and understand what is happening with each account. “Did you know that we won this account again? We now want additional users.”
Ensure that the information trickles down and percolates to the entire customer-facing team. Reps must also know specific vendors and what is happening with various accounts. It is easy for information to get overwhelming very fast, so categories are essential.
One way to do this is to avoid having multiple sessions for different teams across diverse segments. For instance, have a separate segment for an enterprise team and another for a mid-market team. You could also compile it by geography and showcase it together.
Document, compile, and centralize the learnings on a content management platform. Lack of documentation is a deterrent to progress as sales teams often need help to store and find information. A central repository will make it simple for reps to refer back.
Tenured reps and enablement
Leverage the seniority of tenured reps. How can they share their experience with new hires or other team members? Their experiences are worth their weight in gold, including selling the product, pricing discussions, diverse product mindsets, and fluctuating markets. Help them share that with the entire sales and customer-facing teams.
If someone new has joined the organization and is struggling to understand the product or establish value, speaking to tenured reps will provide confidence and boost their morale.
However, while tenured reps bring a lot to the table regarding how to win deals, their enthusiasm for learning something new may wither with time. They can become hyper-focused on the current set of accounts they are handling.
As an enabler, how can you nudge them to learn something new on the go? This could be something new with the product, a different use case, or a different customer.
The objective is to inculcate a culture of learning from each other and growing as a team.
Enablers must act like consultants
While winning every deal is impossible, enablement teams have to upskill reps and make them more effective. If they are more skilled, they will have better conversations, leading to them closing more deals. Enablement needs to facilitate this by encouraging authenticity.
Enablers have to be more like consultants and less like sellers. How can enablement ensure that reps are trained rigorously to understand the product, the problem it solves, and the target customers? When market-facing teams know these three points, nothing can stop them from being effective consultants. That's the idea that enablement can infuse into the organization. Another aspect is showing the impact and benefits that customers have obtained from using your product.
Where do your reps need the most help?
The idea is to ensure that your teams know the product they are selling. Reps love to talk about what their product does, its different features, etc. However, are they aligning key product features to the problems that the customer is facing? When that happens, there is a sense of impact on your product and the customers.
Customers only want to buy your product if they see it will solve their problem. How do you build that together? It's crucial that enablement provides complete knowledge of what the product solves and periodically trains the team through product certifications, mock pitches, pricing strategies, negotiating skills, etc.
However, reps often do not focus on this. They feel they will get discounts once the pricing mechanism runs through the deals team, but that's not how it happens. Knowing the product, the customer, and the competition are great, but you also do not want salespeople to be hyper-focused on the product they think is the best.
How are your sales reps taking calls? How does your CS team take the call? Do they follow a discovery framework? Often companies with small in-house sales teams have yet to have any specific discovery frameworks. Organizations with large in-house sales teams typically have documentation on how to expect a discovery call to go through.
It is more about your customers than talking about your product. We can show more value by uncovering your buyer’s challenges and tying them to your solution. Here is where discovery plays a massive role. For instance, if your team is not trained for a well-thought-out discovery call, that's what you, as an enabler, have to plug in.
Leadership and enablement
Making a compelling case for the value of enablement in this unpredictable economy, with so many support functions being cut, is a challenge. Discussing enablement with leadership requires building trust. Through this process, you have a clear set of asks from them.
Suppose 10-20 new reps join, and 2-3 have entered customer-facing roles. As an enablement practitioner, you must ensure they are ready as fast as possible. Enablement is not just about running training programs or elevating the revenue team's performance; it is a strategic function aligned with revenue goals. This starts with ensuring reps understand the product, the market, and who the customers are, all of which enable them to sell the product effectively.
You will only enter an enablement environment if your leadership team supports your initiatives. The leadership must be aware of the impact you are creating. Discuss with your leadership the initiatives you want to drive in the sales organization and their expected outcomes.
What are their expectations for the sales and the market-facing teams from the entire enablement function? How is the team doing as of now? How can enablement functions support them more cohesively? Transparency and communication with your leadership team are imperative to build the team and grow. Enablement will be jeopardized unless it is assisting companies to cut their budgets or increase their revenue.
The impact of enablement across the revenue function will be felt through reduced ramp times, preparing sales and marketing teams with specific use cases or new product launches, etc.
It takes a village to win an account. Having every team involved in the deal come together, and share those aspects, is where enablement can provide a massive boost with leadership support.