Martina Cole is Sales Enablement Administrator for The Sacramento Kings. A graduate of The University of Alabama in Huntsville with a B.A. in Foreign Languages and International Trade, Martina has been a leader within different areas of the sales industry for over 15 years.
Martina talks about her role in sales enablement, what a typical day looks like and how The Sacramento Kings are pioneers in the entertainment industry through implementing sales technologies.
Accelerate: In a few sentences tell me what sales enablement means to your organization?
Martina: Sales enablement at the Sacramento Kings encompasses a 3-prong approach:
- Externally, sales enablement intends to engage and reach the customer at the most convenient time and in the most convenient way – be it via email, video, text, etc. constantly innovating around the customers’ preferred method of communication.
- Internally, sales enablement aims to create excitement for the sales team by designing a process that produces predictable and replicable results supporting the representatives’ efforts to engage their prospects in a fun and exciting way – selling the experience versus selling a ticket.
- Sales enablement efforts offer increased efficiency and better reporting for internal stakeholders.
Accelerate: What is one enablement tool that is a must-have for your team? How do you measure its effectiveness on your sales enablement efforts?
Martina: Last October we implemented Outreach, a sales engagement tool, and after a few months of orientation to the tool, sales reps are really enjoying it. The tool enables us to standardize the touch-point process, while still allowing for creativity and individualized messaging. Additionally, it allows us to evaluate whether the touch-point process works or needs to be fine-tuned. The success of any activity in the tool is directly related to generated revenue, deposits placed and seats purchased. The tool helps to keep our sales reps organized and all their activity is automatically logged to our CRM system. The tool has a robust analytics section that allows managers to coach more effectively based on the stats in each of the touchpoint processes.
Accelerate: The Sacramento Kings is the first sports team Accelerate has learned of who has an established enablement role, can you tell us how this came about?
Martina: The franchise’s focus on sales technology stems from the change in ownership in 2013 when Vivek Ranadivé and his partners bought the team, a new sales strategy was defined. Mr. Ranadivés professional background in Silicon Valley contributed to his passion for the use of technology.
Over the past 5 years our SVP of Ticket Sales and Service, Phil Horn with his sales leadership team, has worked to introduce one sales tool after another, supporting the sales team and morphing the age-old cold call process into the innovative process that it is today. Along with the implementation of more tools, came an increase in the demand for time and other resources to support the growth in sales technology. The need for a dedicated resource was identified and in July 2018 the Sales Enablement Administrator role was created.
Accelerate: Handling enablement in the entertainment industry must require your focus on multiple areas in the company. What are some of your day-to-day activities and how do you keep yourself organized?
Martina: A lot of my day-to-day centers around supporting the users, our sales reps. There are always questions on how to do something better, more efficiently and at times troubleshooting is required. Beyond that, I have about 2-3 projects running at a time. Most of these projects center around a specific tool. The goal is to maximize the potential for each tool, make sure old material is archived, new product features are evaluated and if applicable, shared with the users. I spend a couple of days each month pulling data from our tools to discuss usage, further strategic objectives, and assist sales leadership in their coaching activities.
Accelerate: The Kings are clearly a pioneer when it comes to embracing technology in the culture of your operation, is the team doing anything in the sports and entertainment vertical to help other businesses learn more about how technology can benefit them and the industry?
Martina: In March 2018 the Sacramento Kings held their first annual ASSIST (Academy of Sports Sales, Innovation, Science and Technology) Summit. We invited our sales technology partners and leaders in the sports industry to join us for a day at Golden Center for vendor discovery guided tours, Q&A panels with Kings leaders, and the opportunity to shadow our reps on the sales floor to see the tools in action. The event was well received and appreciated.
Accelerate: What do you think the biggest challenge is enabling a sports team and how do you overcome this?
Martina: One of the biggest challenges is the continuous growth of the inside sales department coupled with constant changes in the environment – from changing focus from one product to another, usually dictated by seasonality, to various campaigns that take place throughout each month but also changes on the Sacramento Kings team, which often require a change in direction or focus. Pivoting at a moment’s notice can be challenging to sales enablement efforts.
Accelerate: How did you get into the enablement field?
Martina: Actually, quite by accident. I was looking for a new challenge, found the job posting with the Sacramento Kings and thought it sounded interesting. The combination of (internal) customer/sales support, analytics, and development of a new role really appealed to me. I felt that my many years of experience in various forms of sales support would be a good match, I believe an understanding of the sales process and the nature of sales reps is necessary to become a successful sales enabler.
Accelerate: What are some skills you possess that make you successful in an enablement position?
Martina: My more than 15 years of experience in sales support is definitely a huge plus. Sales reps in all industries are a group of people who never have enough time, are always under pressure to perform, thus have a need and urgency to be as efficient as possible in their mission to achieve their goals. Keeping this in mind while evaluating sales technology is essential. Additionally, I had the opportunity to execute and implement Lean Enterprise projects in the past, which is an important skill to have in a sales enablement role. Cutting out “waste” from processes is in direct relation to be efficient in efforts. In addition, I previously worked as a business analyst, which made me comfortable with numbers and trained me to be able to draw relationships between data and behavior. This experience supports my efforts today in understanding usage data and drawing conclusions for best practices, which in turn provide the basis for advising sales leaders on how to change/improve/fine-tune sales processes.
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