This week on the Sales Hacker podcast, we feature Roderick Jefferson, a leader in the sales enablement space to talk about sales enablement and onboarding new sales reps. Tune in!
If you missed episode 17, give it a listen here: PODCAST 17: The True Secrets to Successful Enterprise Sales
What You’ll Learn
- The definition of sales enablement and the key elements
- The importance of coaching and training
- Developing the right onboarding process to shorten sales cycles and rep productivity
- Aligning sales enablement and sales leadership
- Managing your career as you work through leadership challenges
- The differences between a mentor and a sponsor in professional development
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Show Agenda and Timestamps
- Show Introduction [0:09]
- About Roderick Jefferson: Baseball Card Stats [3:00]
- Definition of Sales Enablement [7:06]
- Sales Enablement vs. Sales Management [10:38]
- Listen, Learn, Lead [11:18]
- Sales Enablement in a Growing Org [13:15]
- Onboarding Methodologies [15:48]
- Changes Over the Past 25 Years [20:51]
- Biggest Mistakes For Early Stage Companies [29:35]
- Getting Started in Sales [33:34]
- Making the Leap to Management [36:46]
- Seeking Out a Mentor [39:01]
- Sam’s Corner [45:18]
Sales Hacker Podcast—Sponsored by Aircall and Outreach
Sam Jacobs: Welcome to the Sales Hacker Podcast, folks. This week on the Sales Hacker Podcast, we’re excited that we’ve got, not one but two amazing sponsors. The first is Aircall.
They’re a phone system designed for the modern sales team. They seamlessly integrate into your CRM, eliminating data entry for your reps and providing you with greater visibility into your team’s performance through advanced reporting.
Our second sponsor is a company you guys probably know, Outreach. Outreach.io is the leading sales engagement platform. Outreach makes customer facing teams more effective and improves visibility into what really drives results.
Without further ado, thanks for bearing with us. Let’s listen to episode 18 with Roderick Jefferson.
About Roderick Jefferson: Baseball Card Stats
Sam Jacobs: My guest today is Roderick Jefferson, and he’s the CEO of Roderick Jefferson & Associates. He’s an acknowledged thought leader in the sales enablement space. And he’s got 20 years of leadership experience building enablement organizations across the enterprise universe.
He’s won a bunch of awards, including the 2015 Sales Onboarding Program of the Year, by Serious Decisions. He’s one of the founding members of the Sales Enablement Society, and he’s a member of several advisory boards. Roderick, welcome!
Roderick Jefferson: Hey Sam, thanks a lot. Appreciate it. Thanks for having me on.
Sam Jacobs: So let’s start off. What is Roderick Jefferson & Associates?
Roderick Jefferson: We are a consulting firm, focused on small to medium sized business, in the 10 to 500 million dollar range.
And what we focus on is really helping to drive consistency, and repeatable and scalable practices that lead to increased revenue. Also, we have a focus on leadership and executive coaching, and finally the third arm of the chair is focused on keynote speaking.
Definition of Sales Enablement
Sam Jacobs: What is the definition of sales enablement? How do you define it?
Roderick Jefferson: That’s actually why we started the Sales Enablement Society. To get a clear definition and a charter for sales enablement. And so my definition is:
Getting sales teams into the right conversations the right way, with the right tools.
And we help them to break the complexity of sales enablement into practical ideas through scalable, repeatable processes. This ultimately lead to increased revenue. It is an ongoing occurrence, not a single event.
Sales Enablement vs. Sales Management
Sam Jacobs: How does sales enablement differ from sales management?
Roderick Jefferson: There is a symbiotic hand and glove relationship between the two. I believe that enablement is here to understand the needs of the business, and translate those into tools, templates, programs, processes. And then where the sales leadership comes in is, they should own the adoption and the execution piece. On the back end, enablement circles back again, to own the tracking, the sales metrics, the KPIs, and the reporting piece. So, we’re working hand in hand.
Listen, Learn, Lead
Sam Jacobs: Is it accurate to say that your process is listen, learn, lead?
Roderick Jefferson: Well, you’re absolutely right, you nailed it. It is the listen, learn, lead philosophy that we take. What we do is help to collaborate, communicate, and then orchestrate. I look at sales enablement as the hub that spokes out to every part of the org anization. I call us the translators of dialects and languages.
Sales Enablement in a Growing Org
Sam Jacobs: What’s the true value of sales enablement in a growing org?
Roderick Jefferson: I think that’s a component of the value of enablement, and it’s a strong component. Because we are hand in hand, focused on ushering in that acceleration to revenue. And the value I think, comes from four pieces.
One is, the purpose of enablement, as I outlined earlier and that is about driving revenue. Second is, the people piece. What’s the right structure and talent needed to be able to achieve that purpose? The next is the programs that we bring into place.
That could be onboarding, accreditations, certifications, QBRs, guided learning plans, those kind of things. And the last piece is the orchestration, inside of a given platform. And that is what are the systems and tools that are required to really manage all of those other pieces we talked about.
Sam Jacobs: To the point of a great onboarding program, is there specific learning methodologies that you’re using?
Roderick Jefferson: It is a multimedia approach because there are different types of learners. You’ve got your visual, your kinesthetic, etc. We’ve gotta make sure that we hit all of those.
But we do have a centralized communication strategy that we put in place for every one of our engagements. It goes like this: you need to have some form of content management system in place. A learning management system is key. We want to also make sure that you have a centralized event calendar.
Changes In Learning Over the Past 25 Years
Sam Jacobs: What do you think are the themes that have evolved over the past 20 years?
Roderick Jefferson: Well there are a few things. Buyers are far more savvy now and further along in their buying cycle by the time they actually bring in a sales rep or an AE.
The second is I believe that the buyers now expect you to speak their language instead of trying to have them conform to your language or your messaging and position. The other thing that has changed significantly are the sales tools and automations that are required.
I can now pull together six five-minute podcasts where I can’t get the typical millennial to sit down for half an hour. So the way that we deliver content has changed significantly, the modalities have changed, they’ve certainly improved.
But they’ve changed the way that we teach. And most importantly I think we are getting away from training and getting closer to enablement and my philosophy is that you train animals and you enable people.
Biggest Mistakes For Early Stage Companies
Sam Jacobs: What are the biggest mistakes that early stage companies make when it comes to revenue and what is your advice to them?
Roderick Jefferson: Assuming that because they sold somewhere else and they were successful they would be successful inside of your organization.
We have all focused for the longest time on ideal customer profile. What I’ve been introducing as I’m consulting is: let’s focus on the ideal employee profile now. And that’s where I believe sales enablement should be a part of the interview process.
One, we come at it with a different set of lenses, and secondly, our BS meter is much higher. Thirdly we’re looking at the propensity for long-term success inside of the programs that we’re helping to build.
Getting Started in Sales
Sam Jacobs: If you’re a young person working in product, or you’re in investment banking and you want to make the jump to startups, how do you self-evaluate? What’s the best way to figure out if you’d be good at sales?
Roderick Jefferson: Now if you want to have a career in sales, start doing the most non-threatening activity on the planet. Ask someone for an informational interview.
I’m not asking for a job or for help to get me into the company — ‘m asking you to tell me about you.
The one thing that everybody is going to talk about. But go in and make sure that you have a set plan of questions that are going to help you direct and navigate either left or right when you come out of this conversation. It’s not just, “Hey, so tell me about your career and what you did.” Rather, “I have specific questions, tell me what your job looks like, what do you love about your job, what do you not like about your job?”
Making the Leap to Management
Sam Jacobs: How do you figure out if you should make the leap to management?
Roderick Jefferson: Don’t draw a line in the sand. Let me start there. We all say, by 24 months, by 12 months, by 18 months.
No, it actually really comes down to, what are your career goals? What’s going to enhance your quality of life? Where do you see yourself going and do you have the network to get there? Let’s go with the old adage of, your net worth is determined by your network. We all know that’s true, especially in sales. It’s about who you know.
I’ve always looked at it from the perspective of: I’ve done my homework and got the numbers that support it. Do I have a mentor or sponsor that can help me get there? Let me explain the difference to people that don’t know.
A mentor is someone that speaks about you. I can get your resume in front of the right person, I can move you up a lot. A sponsor is someone that speaks for you. And that is the person that says, they may not be ready yet, but I’m willing to put my reputation on the line, that I’m going to get them prepared to get there. Especially when you’re moving to a leadership role. If you don’t have that sponsor that will say that for you, you’re not ready.
Seeking Out a Mentor
Sam Jacobs: In your experience, do you reach out to someone and say, “Will you be my mentor?” Or do you just develop a relationship and then it sort of happens?
Roderick Jefferson: For the folks that I am a mentor for, I ask them a series of questions.
When someone says, “I want you to be my mentor”, I start with, “Why me?” and “What do you really know about me?” That’s not an arrogant statement. It’s just “Have you done your homework?”
The biggest piece that I ask them is, “In this relationship of mentor/mentee, how are we going to make this mutually equitable?” I’m not asking you to buy things, I’m not asking you to do things. But I have to learn something from you, the same way that I’m giving back to you. If you can’t tell me what I can learn from you, I’m not the right person to be a mentor for you.
Sam Jacobs: Folks, it’s Sam’s Corner. That was a really interesting interview with Roderick Jefferson from Roderick Jefferson & Associates. He has spent time with all the big names that we know and love, Salesforce.com, Oracle, Marketo, and many, many more.
RJ mentioned that a mentor is someone who talks about you and a sponsor is someone who talks for you.
You need those sponsors in your career in order to take those next steps. So, if you’re out there, and you’re thinking about how to take those next steps in your career, I would really strongly encourage you to network. I would encourage you to cultivate and build relationships.
So that is Sam’s Corner. Thank you so much for listening and I will see you guys next time!
Don’t Miss Episode 19
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I’ll see you next time!
Also published on Medium.