Magazine article Talent Development

Flying Solo: Develop and Grow a Flourishing One-Person Sales Enablement Function

Magazine article Talent Development

Flying Solo: Develop and Grow a Flourishing One-Person Sales Enablement Function

Article excerpt

It's Monday morning and you are all set for your first day at your new company. Even though it's taken several months from start to finish, the interview process is still fresh in your memory. In just a few minutes, the interviewers will be your co-workers.


You step out of the elevator and in front of you is a long hallway that leads up to the front desk of a company you can now call "the company I work for." You say hello to the receptionist you have come to be friends with in the final stages of the interview loop. "Oh, hi Marcel! Welcome to Kony! Anthony should be here in just a few minutes. I have your new business cards right here." The box she hands you has one business card taped to the outside. It says, "Marcel Eisma, Director of Sales Enablement." So begins the journey of a one-person sales enablement function.

Beginning and growing our one-person sales enablement functions has been a continual work in progress. Now, as we look back, a little older and a lot wiser, we are able to determine what worked and what didn't.

Rapid takeoff

What did not work was taking the big-company approach we were used to. What do you do when you work at a company with more than 100,000 employees? You listen, learn, analyze, plan, reflect, discuss, socialize, and finally get ready to do something. Being new to a company and maybe even new to the industry, it is most important to learn all you can before attempting to teach others, right? Well, that was Marcel's approach when he started at Kony. However, he was not able to convince his boss of that.

Less than 10 minutes into Marcel's first one-on-one meeting, his brilliant plan was met with a broad smile from his new boss and this reply: "Nice try. We have 16 new sellers who need to be onboarded. The workshop starts four weeks from today. Can you send me a first draft of the approach and the agenda by end of day tomorrow?"

With previous experience at a large telecommunications company, Erik had similar plans that included immersing himself into the unique culture at SolarWinds before moving forward with developing an onboarding program that would encompass business objectives. But before Erik took over the company's new sales enablement program, a commitment already had been made to the executive sales team that a new onboarding program would be up and running within a month. That meant that in only a couple of weeks, Erik would need to learn the products, evaluate existing training, and develop new content.

Setting goals

In both situations, we quickly learned that we were in environments where decisive action was valued; where a rapid sequence of small steps was more effective than taking huge leaps with long intervals of nothing in between; and where results were celebrated, even if they would be disappointing. As circumstance would have it, the results of these undertakings were not always as successful as one would have hoped. The reaction: "Lesson learned. This did not work as well as we'd imagined. Let's rethink and move on."

This is when a BHAG (big hairy audacious goal) comes into play. The term was first used by Jim Collins and Jerry Porras in their book Built to Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies. For both of us, our BHAGs would be True North, something to keep us on track in the fast-changing environment of every day.

Marcel was mostly focused on enabling outside sales teams, so these were his BHAGs:

* Clients see Kony's sellers as strategic advisers to their business.

* Kony's sellers are sought-after keynote speakers for strategic leadership events.

* Kony's sellers consistently and predictably meet revenue growth goals that far exceed market growth.

* Kony's sellers are continuously approached by recruiters from other industry-leading companies, but they invariably decline because of the unmatched personal fulfillment and income growth opportunities at Kony. …

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