Rachel Reyes-Wheeler has been leading enablement efforts for over 10 years and is Senior Training Manager of Waterstone Mortgage Corporation.
A graduate of Psychology and Leadership Studies, Rachel is a believer that taking a consultative approach and solid discovery works not only in the sales process but with identifying the needs of internal customers as well. This approach enables Rachel to put strategic programs and resources in place, by helping to remove all barriers for her talented sellers so they can fully concentrate on meeting the needs of their prospects and clients.
Read on as Rachel talks about some of her projects and shares how she measures success.
Accelerate: In a few sentences tell us what sales enablement and development mean to you?
Rachel: What sales enablement and development means to me is equipping Sales Teams with the resources, tools, continuous professional development, and processes to better enable them on the behaviors of selling and efficiencies vs. getting caught up in the workflows of it all. Whether it is creating or implementing sales systems (e.g., LMS), sales micro-learning, discovery worksheets, certification processes, goal-tracking forms, etc. The goal is to remove process or other barriers so talented and capable sales teams can do what they do best which is meeting the needs of prospects and customers! I approach resource creation in a similar fashion to a good discovery conversation, I take the time to listen and learn about the needs of employees and then design solutions to meet their needs while exceeding expectations.
Accelerate: What is one development tool that is a must-have for your team? How do you measure its effectiveness on your sales efforts?
Rachel: Collecting “voice of the field data” is a critical component to hearing what’s top of mind for employees (this includes engaging sales management), and is critical for a Training Department’s continuous improvement efforts. This data provides us a pulse on successes and opportunities for improvement. This can be accomplished formally through leveraging surveys, including a company-wide needs analysis survey, and focus groups, to having regular and informal knowledge-sharing meetings with Subject Matter Experts (SMEs). Based on what’s uncovered, we build a strategy around it, create checkpoints (evaluations) along the way to assess our effectiveness while creating a framework for comparison benchmarks. Again, just like a good Sales Executive, the Training Team takes the time to listen (discover), understand, and then create solutions based on the needs of our employees and the company.
Accelerate: How is the success of your projects measured?
Rachel: Successes are measured in many different ways. Learning/knowledge transfer is measured in a successful application. The application of learning is then measured through behavioral changes. Successful behavioral changes will create habits that should hopefully impact key performance indicators. When done correctly, all of these success indicators should ultimately produce a positive impact on business results (quantitative metrics). Then there are those qualitative aspects that are also a signal of success this includes intangibles such as employee engagement, a positive and empowering workplace culture, and so on.
Accelerate: What have been the most successful projects that you’ve implemented with the team?
Rachel: At a previous employer, one notable project and major initiative that I implemented was successfully streamlining a company’s onboarding program and sales certification process. By increasing efficiencies all-around, I was able to reduce onboarding time, which is now saving the company about a half-million dollars annually when compared to the previous program.
Accelerate: How did you get into the development field?
Rachel: Being a psychology major, I’ve always been curious about human behavior, including learning development, and human motivation. I thoroughly enjoy making connections between people as well. This knack for connecting people (specifically a cross-functional team of individuals) around a common goal, including simplifying processes has proven valuable in my role. I get great satisfaction about finding ways to help teams “work smarter,” through collaboration or otherwise. Additionally, I have a passion for assisting employees in uncovering their career potential while guiding them to create development plans on how to obtain their goals. Part of this is process-related, the other part is mentorship and coaching. Whether at the individual, group, or company-level this is all rolls up into the overall umbrella of training and development.
Accelerate: What are some skills you possess that make you successful in your position?
Rachel: Being naturally curious, and by taking a consultative approach, with the mindset that Sales Success is everyone’s success. From a training perspective, it is best practice to regularly get a pulse on what is happening within, and between teams. I do this by serving as a consultant to assess where we can streamline, or enhance processes and/or procedures. This is accomplished by taking a deeper dive into the day-to-day of each team and through effective questioning. In the end, the ultimate goal is to bridge gaps in process, foster inter-departmental communication, and assist in creating role efficiencies for teams (including Sales Teams). This consultative approach to “working smarter” typically helps out other departments and our relationship with our customers as well.
Accelerate: How do you see development changing over the next five years and what role do you think enablement will play in the industry?
Rachel: I’m extremely excited about what the future holds around development, empowerment, and enablement. Being in the learning and development field for over 12 years now, I’ve seen astonishing growth in learning technology, data collection, and business intelligence analytics. I’m looking forward to exploring these advancements further. I’m also interested in uncovering more about what Virtual and Augmented Reality can do for learning, including within the sales process.
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