This week, we're catching up with George Pastidis, Head of Sales Enablement Programs at Ericsson. George shares his views on being a leader at one of the world's top telecommunications companies, adapting to new ways of working during the pandemic, and the importance of challenging your customer...
Hi George, great to have you. Can you tell us a bit about how your career has transitioned to your current role?
My career is split in roughly three decades: Telecoms B2B Sales with mobile network operators and mobile handsets manufacturers, Sales Training with Huthwaite International - leading its business in Southeastern Europe - and Sales Enablement with Ericsson.
Looking at the role that sales enablement plays at Ericsson - has it been more of a recent addition or embedded for a while?
Sales Enablement was always there regardless of the different names the hats had on. But Sales Enablement is changing big and fast nowadays following the market’s continuous and rapid changes and emerging trends.
Give us a quick overview of your main activities during the day. Where do you find yourself spending the most time and energy?
Understanding our internal customers’ needs; helping them address their current issues by designing learning solutions that will enable them to deal with their challenges in sales; implementing these solutions; communicating so we have awareness in place around them; and finally measuring their business impact.
Needless to say that throughout the above journey, we gather and embed the ongoing feedback of internal customers and business stakeholders.
Following on that - how do you ensure successful collaboration with other functions? Do you have a go-to strategy to build and manage those relationships?
Cross-functional team collaboration is a one-way street. This first requires the right attitude - we need to leave behind the idea of working in silos. Then we have to work on developing our partnership leadership skills, learning to lead such teams and drive global projects where often we have no authority over the team members. We also have to learn not only to lead such teams but lead in the teams when we don’t sit in the driver’s seat. Finally, we have to adopt the necessary digital tools that will facilitate this new way of working.
What’s been the one big challenge or roadblock that you or your team has faced during COVID-19, and how did you navigate that?
I will be sincere. We've faced no challenges. Maybe it’s the digital and collaborative way of working that we were used to before, maybe it’s Ericsson that had us already prepared, attitude-, competence- and tools-wise. I feel like we pushed a button one day and switched on the new way of working, getting effective and productive in a split second.
That's really encouraging to hear. As we wrap up - can you share what you enjoy most about working in sales enablement?
I love that we help our sellers see a change in their behaviors, which leads to better performance and results. In other words, we help them have a tangible business impact!
Last question… in your opinion, what are the top three ways to be a successful sales enablement leader?
Prepare; demonstrate curiosity about the market and your customer business; and challenge your customer!