Entrepreneurial mindset is a specific skill required for success in enablement. Not only are we always part-builder, we need to have the hustle and grit to relentlessly pursue our personal development knowing that it will enhance our programming and have a multiplier effect on the teams we represent.
Early on in my enablement adventures, I focused on learning from vendors and vendor conferences. This expanded my awareness to the industry-led conferences. I recently presented at and attended the ATD SELL Conference and wanted to share the personal benefits I received, even as someone who has been in the profession for over 10 years.
Practitioner Sessions are my favorite part of any conference. They are led by folks who do the job - not tech vendors or sales training companies - so they take messages from high level theory to true application. They share learnings from a recent experience - both what worked and what didn't work. These sessions help others in similar roles to see around corners and learn from failures to mitigate those risks in their own organizations.
One of my favorite practitioner sessions was led by Stacey Unck - where she shared an example of an initiative she was "sure would be successful" but ended up flopping. She facilitated small group discussions to implement her lesson learned: "winning hearts and minds to gain buy-in for programs."
As much as I love the practical nature of learning from my industry peers, I also enjoy challenging my thinking of the "art of the possible" and look at the bigger picture with inspiration from thought leaders and focusing on industry trends.
While I know he doesn't love the term, I've looked up to Mike Kunkle's work in the space for a while now. His early concept of the building blocks of sales enablement helped me to form shared responsibilities when starting the enablement function in a prior role - so it was so much fun to meet him in person, participate in his session and celebrate the launch of his new book: The Building Blocks of Sales Enablement!
Conferences are also incredible mechanisms for building an industry network. And as we all know - our network is our net worth! There's typically a social element to a conference that allows for more personal relationships to be established with tech/training vendors and industry peers. This is particularly important in enablement as we often don't have many peers with which to brainstorm and knowledge share. I left the ATD SELL conference with a handful of new connections who I now talk to regularly - whether in a community slack channel or even more formally on webinars or panel discussions. (And when your conference connections make it on your keychain - that's when you KNOW you're lifelong friends in the making!)
Looking for a similar experience? Other conferences in our space to consider:
Sales Enablement Society Annual Conference
Sales Enablement Soiree (Sales Enablement PRO)
Vendor Events & Webinars - Start by asking the CSMs at your current tech stack and then branch out to their competitors for a holistic view of the space.
Subscribe to stay in-the-know! I will be doing a future post about how to request personal development budget from your company in order to be sponsored for your attendance versus having to pay out of pocket.