Our AMA (Ask Me Anything) series sees us put top sales enablement professionals on the spot to ask questions posed by YOU.
In our latest, Tim Peterson answered questions posed to him by the sales enablement community about his learning curve at PageDuty, and gave us some frank insights...
Q. How do you go about measuring the ROI of your sales enablement efforts?
A. I wish I had a magic answer for this one, it's something we really work hard on and haven't come up with great answers. Since so many things impact sales performance, it's really difficult to determine causation vs correlation, ie, did what we do actually drive a given outcome, or contribute to that outcome, or in fact work at cross-purposes to that outcome?
We try to look at a wide variety of metrics, with as many leading indicators (activity, pipeline, funnel conversion rates) as possible. We can slice those by team, by tenure, by role, and by what sort of enablement they've completed. Those data points give us hypotheses to try to pursue, and training tactics to double down on... but it's still a fairly incomplete picture.
Q. How often do you run training sessions with your team - and how has the ‘new normal’ of the virtual environment changed the schedule and structure of those sessions?
A. In March, we pivoted extremely heavily toward e-learning. We started cranking out content and completely overhauled our onboarding programs. We have a global team, so we found ourselves running parallel onboarding for East/EMEA as well as West/APJ. This got tiring quickly, as you can imagine, so we started trying to space those sessions out more.
As WFH has dragged on, we've noticed less uptake in our e-learning, so we've come back to virtual live sessions. We run those every week on Thursdays, with one session in East US morning for East/EMEA and one in West US afternoon for West/APJ. Same content in both, with a sales enablement team member facilitating and live Q&A during and after each 10-20 minute segment. Each session is no more than 55 minutes. Each week alternates between a "sales" topic and a "technical" topic. We try to get the agenda published by Monday and include expected outcomes from the training. We then edit the recordings into the segments and post, with supporting materials and links, into our CMS by COB Friday.
We've also been dropping into team meetings much more frequently for tailored training. For instance, I was asked to put together some more context around Cloud Migration for our ISR team, and I'll be doing a 50-minute session on that topic this afternoon. Other team members are working on tailored trainings with the rest of our global teams.
Q. What kinds of challenges (and opportunities) are you expecting for the next 12 months? Not just at PagerDuty, but for sales enablement in general?
A. At my company, people are primarily getting really tired of e-learning. We miss our people so much! So, how can we make training more fun and more engaging? How can we try to replicate the in-person bonding experiences we get from Sales Kickoff, from onboarding boot camps, and the like as much as possible?
My company isn't planning business travel until at least next spring, so we're settling in that virtual will be the new normal for a long time. Even after we can travel, does it really make sense to fly people to the US from the UK, Australia, etc for training sessions?
So, we're really trying to step back and evaluate our training programs from top to bottom and figure out how to make our programs effective, efficient, engaging, and sustainable. From an opportunity standpoint, how often do we get a chance to really rethink programs from first principles? In some sense, it's exciting, but wow, it's going to be a lot of work.
Q. What sort of KPIs you're measured against? Plus, how often do you report back on these?
A. Our primary metrics that we're measured against are rep productivity and ramping effectiveness. Now, there's a fair bit of complexity in both of those numbers. My team is also responsible for enabling all of our sales & customer success organization, so that includes AEs/AMs, Inside Sales, Business Development Reps, Solutions Consultants, Customer Success Managers, Professional Services, and Technical Support.
My team is not directly responsible for KPIs for some of those roles, as I said, we primarily focus from a KPI perspective on the AEs/AMs. Rep productivity is primarily the number of reps reaching 60/80/100% of quota, and ramping effectiveness is primarily quota attainment during their ramping period.
Obviously these are very simplistic measures, but these are the primary ones. As I mentioned in a question above, we look at a variety of leading indicators (primarily activity, ie meetings, and funnel conversions/opportunity transitions) to see the health of the business and the team.
Q. What’s the relationship between product marketing and sales enablement at PagerDuty?
A. Product Marketing (PMM here) has undergone just as many changes as Sales Enablement has over the last year and a half post-IPO; they have a large number of new folks and an all-new management team. And, I haven't met many of those people in person yet, thanks to COVID! So, there have definitely been some learning periods as we get to know each other and how to work together.
We are currently working on a RACI diagram (Responsible, Accountable, Consulted, Informed; and we've added an S for Supporting) with PMM, Partner Marketing, Solutions Marketing, Sales and Solution Consulting leadership, and many other teams to make really clear who does what for various tiers of launches, campaigns, etc. Our challenge at PagerDuty is primarily that everyone is ready to jump in anywhere it's needed and get stuff done.
This is fantastic in many cases, but we've seen that for launches, it's causing confusion, redundant work, and muddled responsibilities. I'm optimistic we'll get this figured out very shortly and settle into PMM developing great content, and Enablement helping to operationalize that content with the field.
Q.How has the IPO impacted the sales process and enablement strategy?
A. I don't know that it's so much the IPO as just the continued company growth. We've doubled in size in the last couple of years, and as a result we're constantly rethinking and improving our processes. We've had a real strong focus on internal friction over the last year-- better defining our internal processes, allowing our reps to spend more time with their customers and less time on paperwork. We're also continuing to sharpen the go to market motion, but mainly in evolutionary, not revolutionary ways.
As I mentioned, Product Marketing has really grown. Solutions Marketing has grown. Our Field Marketing and Events teams are killing it with virtual events and new ways to connect with customers. We're broadening our messaging to our customer base, which means we have to enable the field on those messaging changes and keep our decks and other assets up to date. The real challenge is continuing to stay in sync with all those teams, since we can't gather around the Bevi anymore and everyone has extreme Zoom fatigue!
Q. What are the top 3 pieces of advice you’d pass on from what you learnt?
A. 1) Focus on the outcomes. For each deliverable, what are the desired outcomes? Is this content or approach going to drive meaningful outcomes? If not, scrap it and rethink the approach. It's not about how many trainings are being delivered or how many people are attending courses, it's about do they have what they need and are they succeeding.
2) Is it important, or urgent? If it's important, make the time to work on it. If it's simply urgent, rethink. Is it busy work? Does it really need to get done? Some of the supporting teams we work with send us communications that NEED to go out to the field right away. Take a step back-- do they really? Is this the right time or the right channel? Is it actually important?
3) Take care of your team. We are living in a very different world. We need to consciously support our team members and make sure that they have what they need, whether that's space, someone to listen, or some extra TLC. We also need to adjust our performance expectations accordingly and be understanding.
Q. What are the biggest challenges with Sales Enablement in fast-moving landscapes (like we've had over the last few months) and what are you doing to support teams and people?
A. Things certainly have been moving fast! The biggest challenge, I think, has been trying not to overwhelm the salesforce. We have had a number of campaigns over the past six months and have evolved the messaging a couple of times. We've tried to keep up with enabling the field on those, but then we realized that what we really need to do is keep our internal content management system and documentation up to date and make it as easy as possible for reps to self-serve information when they need it. We started by rolling lots of e-learning out whenever there was an update, but that wasn't effective.
So, now it's more of a focus on document first, then enable and sometimes certify. We're also doing a lot of work right now trying to streamline communications to the field, so we are looking at putting traffic cops in Marketing, Sales Ops, Enablement, etc to have all comms to the field flow through them for rate-limiting and making things simpler. Any noise that we can reduce to the field, then they can spend more time being focused on their customer engagements.