Meganne has been with Emarsys as a Manager of Global Commercial Enablement for the past 3 years and beforehand was on the Renewal Operations team at Salesforce. Throughout her career, she has enjoyed sharing knowledge and helping others improve their skills. Through this passion, Meganne found the enablement field.
Accelerate: In a few sentences tell us what sales enablement means to your organization?
Meganne: We wear many hats, as I am sure that most enablement teams do! We act as the conduit between Marketing and Product to the Sales/Commercial team, which means we do everything from “translating” content to sharing it with the teams in a way that resonates with them, with the aim of providing them with valuable information that helps them run their business. We sometimes act as a filter to help the teams prioritize what they need to be focused on. In a world where things move fast, it’s important that our sellers are focused on generating and closing deals. Our role is to support that focus and supplement with other learning opportunities that help uplevel their skills.
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?
Meganne: We use Lessonly as our LMS and I literally couldn’t do my job without it. One effective step that we have taken this year – in a direct effort to reduce noise for our sellers – is what we call “The Enablement Round-Up.” The Round-Up is a bi-weekly communication delivered via our LMS that sources updates from around the business and packages it in a quick 5-10 minute read for our sellers. This has greatly reduced the email volume that they are receiving on a regular basis and helps them focus on closing more deals. From an Enablement perspective, we are able to understand who is consuming the content (we average about an 85% completion rate globally) and we are also able to glean insights from their participation. For example, we recently took a poll in the Round-Up asking our sellers where they would like our Sales Kickoff to be. We asked them to deliver their answer via video – with a global team in over 16 offices, this is a fabulous way to get to know people – and we were better able to take their feedback into account as we made our decision. We couldn’t do this via email in a way that put metrics behind the answers.
Accelerate: What are some tips you have for someone who is trying to improve their current onboarding process?
- Have a structure in mind. We think of our 30-day onboarding as a funnel, starting wide at the top and getting smaller as the month progresses. For all of our commercial teams, the first week is all about the company – Who are we? What does our product do? What problems do we solve? What’s our culture? Where does the individual fit into the organization? The second week moves down the funnel and serves up general content around a specific role, the third week is more operational in nature (still focused on the specific role), and the fourth week wraps up all of those “loose ends” and gives additional resources. Kudos to Elay Cohen and his book “Saleshood” for inspiring us to take this approach.
- Give a forward path. All of our onboarding plans conclude with a “Metrics Going Forward” section so that our reps know what to do after onboarding concludes. This includes resources as well as specific metrics that they need to meet at the end of Month 2, Month 3, and beyond.
- Reach out to your leaders and interview people who just went through the onboarding, or who are a month or two out. Understand what they liked about the plan and also what they didn’t like. Identify your top performers and see if you can tie any correlation to the onboarding program.
- Iterate often. We tweak the plan based on feedback for every individual that goes through the plan. For some organizations, this will not be scalable. If that’s the case, make a note to re-evaluate the structure and content of your plan on a quarterly or bi-quarterly basis to make sure that information is relevant and up-to-date. Annually, have a half-day whiteboarding session where you gather key SMEs in the business and brainstorm all of the core concepts that a new seller should know in their first 30/60/90 days.
- Leverage your internal resources and SMEs. Instead of asking the individual rep to read a document on your product during onboarding, ask him/her to meet directly with a solutioning individual and participate in a demo of the product. In organizations where this doesn’t scale, ask the solutioning individual to create a video to make the content more interactive.
- Quiz often. We intersperse quiz questions throughout many of our onboarding lessons, always as a gut check (and never as a punishing approach!) The intention is not to demotivate the new starter, but to help confirm their understanding of key concepts. We have recently interjected an element of “practice” into our onboarding whereby new starters record their answers to some questions, which gives us a deeper understanding of their comprehension. If the seller is simply repeating an answer word for word, we know that we have some work to do to encourage the seller to “own” the content and make it their own. It’s much easier to see this when the seller is on a video as opposed to hiding behind a multiple-choice question.
- Put the onus on the new starter. All too often, we spoon-feed the new starters longer than we need to. When it comes to certification elements, put the responsibility on the seller to book the assessments with the manager/coach. It’s a good way for a manager to see how invested the individual is from the get-go too.
- Get constant feedback and track it. We put an NPS score at the end of every single lesson and also add a free response box for, “Feedback? Questions?” We evaluate both metrics monthly and have been tracking our NPS for two years, so we have a good handle on where we stand with our teams. Additionally, the feedback question gives us the ability to connect one-on-one with our learners in the event that they need additional clarity or information.
Accelerate: How do you measure the success of your onboarding efforts?
Meganne: All of our new starters have a 30-day intensive onboarding program, “hosted” by an Enablement liaison. In many situations, these liaisons are in market and have weekly catch-ups with the individual as well as check-ins with the individual’s manager to gauge how the onboarding experience is going. When onboarding closes, we ask that all individuals take a final survey which is directly correlated to their onboarding experience and we are able to tweak the plan according to the feedback we receive. True success in onboarding is seeing a strong tie between productivity/ramp time and the onboarding experience. Our team has struggled to get out of spreadsheets and long phone calls to evaluate this – our solution is to implement the Lessonly & Salesforce integration, which will pull in learning data to our CRM and give us a quick snapshot into sales performance with learning investment. We are in the process of implementing this now but have high hopes for the efficiencies it will gain our team.
Accelerate: How did you get into the enablement field?
Meganne: By default! Through various roles and opportunities in my career, I discovered that I had a passion for helping people by sharing knowledge with them and learning alongside them during the journey. I’ve managed salespeople and herded study abroad students on European adventures, been on the front lines as an outside sales rep and trained other salespeople how to sell long before I figured out that there was a field called “Sales Enablement.”
My first true “enablement role” came at Salesforce as a contributor to the Renewal Operations team on the Marketing Cloud side. While my primary focus was on the data side and providing teams with operational efficiencies and actionable insights from data analysis, my skills were best demonstrated when I needed to teach the teams how to do a new process or had to document a new approach and communicate that to the teams. In my current role at Emarsys, I’ve been able to focus solely on creating content and developing a structure to help revenue-generating team members uplevel their current knowledge.
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