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About This Episode
In the mid-2000s, your employee engagement was about 53%, which is, frankly, not ideal.
Now, it’s 84%, and your salespeople are telling you they hope you’ll continue peer-to-peer sharing in open office hours in 2021 because it’s been super helpful.
I recently had an incredible conversation with Paul Bleier, Director of Sales Enablement at TELUS Business, about what’s changed and what hasn’t in sales enablement. He told me about the 4 pillars of process that have led to such high employee engagement among 1,300 employees.
“I fell in love with the idea of how I can apply my background, training, and organizational development learning to help our sellers be the best they can be for our customers,” Paul said.
The adage is people-process-technology, in that order — but we’re going backwards. Let’s dive into a survey of Paul’s views on sales engagement!
Talking about technology
Paul said that his Google Chat feed has been a highlight for him as a leader. “Culture is our competitive advantage,” he said. “The way we take care of our people, the way we coach our team members, the way we support their career development and their aspirations to be the best they can be in a chosen field, is what our DNA as a company is.”
Here are the 4 tools (besides Salesforce) that are in Paul’s sales tech stack:
1 — LevelJump
Their sales readiness and outcome based program called LevelJump is a video based training platform where you can design instructional programs and measure the results of them against funnel, pipeline, and opportunities. Salespeople get to learn something and practice it before bringing it to a customer. This one’s Paul’s cornerstone.
2 — Altify
Their account planning tools come from Altify, a smart account manager for mid-market and our enterprise teams where they can build 2–3 year account strategies for our larger customers.
3 — Sales Navigator
The account plan from Altify is integrated with LinkedIn Sales Navigator, the research opportunities for reps to understand the buying circle and who the decision makers are.
4 — vPlaybook
VPlaybook by DSG is a virtual playbook platform where they document all of their sales messaging strategies and standard sales operating environments.
Quick note about tech, though: It’s not more important than culture.
You can’t make culture your DNA without setting the right expectations for communication from a leadership perspective. In other words, nobody will chat with you if you don’t set the tone.
“A lot of organizations have these tools, but they don’t have the right team norms, from a leadership perspective, to say ‘this is how we’re going to show up virtually together and how we’re going to collaborate together,’” he said.
Developing a fluid process
Buyers are more informed than ever, and they have different needs. We’ve got to build a process in ways so that it can stay fluid.
“The tech drives the process, but you need the process to understand what technology you need from the beginning,” Paul said.
Paul heard the siren call for consistency in process right before his transition to TELUS Business. Goals included repeatable success, addressing the everyday changing needs of customers, and confident, skilled sales executives.
“With those things in mind, we created a standard sales operating environment, and it consists of 4 pillars that we train to and coach to and execute against,” Paul said.
- Team development — the Telesales Academy program.
- Sales planning — methodology around conversation, account, and opportunity planning.
- Funnel health and funnel management — balance in territory management.
- Sales execution — monthly and quarterly operational reviews.
Training modules and platforms are built with this process in mind, allowing a new seller as well as a veteran to hone their craft as they are coached and trained.
It sounds streamlined now, but it was challenging work for Paul’s team to build a process so new — and mostly from the ground up.
Becoming a change agent for your people
Paul immediately thanked his amazing team of passionate enablers and sales operation professionals that want to do the best for the channel.
The team sits in the middle of all of these different sales organizations. When Paul began to build the sales enablement program, here were the people at the table: Sales VPs, top performing regional sales directors, marketing directors, product management, and the CFO.
“We highlighted the change vision to them from the beginning,” he said. “We need your support and buy in to be able to run this change throughout our sales and sales support channels. That was critical to our success.”
Here’s Paul’s message to sales enablement professionals: You have to have your sales leadership with you from day one.
You’ll also need to get close to marketing and product. It’s so important for them to understand a day in the life of a sales professional to support the frameworks and process.
Paul’s 3 takeaways
- If you are in the enviable position of supporting sales as a sales channel, you need to fit your support models into the cadence of the sellers.
- Sales coaches and sales leaders, please don’t start conversations with your sales rep by asking about the numbers. Check in and see how they’re doing as a person first.
- Take that extra time to think about the customer as a person. If you take the time to care, the results are going to be there at the end of the day.
Get in touch with Paul on LinkedIn.