Shannon Hempel

Sales Enablement Manager , Personify Corp

Human Learning Practices in Sales Enablement

Shannon, a co-founder of WiSE (Women in Sales Enablement), started with Personify Corp earlier this year and is responsible for building out the sales enablement function, before her role of Sales Enablement Manager at Personify Corp Shannon played a pivotal role in growing and nurturing the enablement industry in Austin, Texas.  

Learn more about how Shannon pairs an educational degree with a masters in Instructional Design to give a unique perspective to understanding best practices in ‘human’ learning theory.

Accelerate: In a few sentences tell us what sales enablement means to your organization? 

Shannon: To us sales enablement is giving the Sales Reps the processes, tools, and content in digestible ways to increase their productivity and product knowledge thus increasing the effectiveness in meeting/exceeding attainment goals. In essence, I am the hub that project manages the enablement ensuring that when training/enablement reaches the hands of the sales reps, each stakeholder has given input.


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?  


For planning: We currently use Google Drive as a planning tool. Because there are so many hands that may touch a slide deck or pdf before it reaches the sales team, we need an easily accessible way to edit and communicate on enablement content. 

For tracking engagement without a CMS, a marketing/video tracking tool (Wistia) has been invaluable. We can track who and how often someone has watched an enablement video and what parts they repeatedly watched.


Accelerate: If your company is just launching into sales enablement what is one tool that every company should already have on hand to aid in training efforts and how do you begin using it? 

Shannon: I highly recommend Wistia.


Accelerate: What is one of the most important metrics to measure sales enablement effectiveness? 

Shannon: Engagement – If no one is watching the videos or attending the training, or downloading the pdfs/decks then we can’t attribute any success or failure to enablement.


Accelerate: How would someone in enablement begin to measure their ROI within 90 days of implementing a project? 

Shannon: There are a few ways. 

  • Get anecdotal feedback from the Sales Directors/Leaders
  • Track engagement In some way
  • Passing an assessment, in my opinion, is not the best way to track ROI but it is a way for a practitioner to find valuable insights to coach the sales reps on.
  • If possible tie a specific sales goal to a specific training (ex. After the “a” training there were 50% more sales of “a” in the pipeline or in closed-won deals.)


Accelerate: At this point, What is your first step in developing a sales enablement strategy? 

Shannon: Take plenty of  time to watch how people are getting the training, knowledge, etc that they need and to talk to sales leaders and sales reps about what they like/don’t like about the current system.. Look at what is in the sales reps hands and how the product marketing team is communicating messaging to them. You must know what you have and how people are currently working before you can develop any kind of strategy. Even if you know what best practices are, you will still need to meet people where they are and then move them in the direction that will be most effective.


Accelerate: How do you know when it’s time to invest in a more robust enablement platform software? 

Shannon: When the sales team isn’t able to find any enablement at the time they need it. Our sales leaders made it a priority for this reason. We have an account-based selling and reporting method where each account has very customized content. Reps spent so much time looking for what was needed for each sales call that the effectiveness decreased drastically. They communicated this often to their leaders and the leaders listened. We just purchased a Content Management System that will be launched 10/2018.

Accelerate: What is a unique skill you bring to your position?

Shannon: Most people that I meet in my profession are former sales reps. My unique perspective and why I was hired at RMN is that I have an education background. With that comes a deep understanding of learning styles and best practices in “human” learning theory. There is a notion that there is a specific “adult” and “child” learning method. Not true. Humans all want to be engaged and want to learn something that is valuable to them at the time they need it. I consider myself to be the “audience subject matter expert”.


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