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Community Spotlight: Ashton Williams

Ashton Williams

Revenue Enablement Manager at Ada

How do you define enablement?

When my family asks what enablement is, I usually answer that it is the art of getting revenue teams - that is all the customer facing folks - to productivity and success again and again and again…

When I answer this question at work I add that we focus on three core things:

1. Ramp - getting new hires to productivity and quota fast while equipping them with the skills, tools and resources to rinse and repeat.

2. Effectiveness - ensuring we are having effective customer interactions (aka delivering value) at every stage of the buyer’s journey.

3. Efficiency - making it easy to get what teams need at the right time to be able to adapt and move quickly. Optimizing process, getting the right tools and having more time spent doing the things to drive customer-lifetime-value (CLTV)

Describe your current role.

I'm currently the Revenue Enablement Manager at Ada, a platform that empowers industry-leading organizations to transform their customer experience with AI-powered automation. As their first enablement hire, I spent my first year building from the ground-up to help the organization scale their sales teams and am now in my second year taking on Customer Success, Partnerships and scaling my team to support our growth. I'm currently working on introducing a unified methodology and process across the buyer journey (and hiring!).

Briefly share your journey that got you to where you are today.

While studying art (and vowing I'd never work in sales like my parents) I transitioned to work in customer service for a loyalty company. With customers often calling in frustrated by wait times I’d managed to turn calls around and hit sales targets. I realized quickly that my dreams had shifted from life as an artist to a career in sales. With that in mind I took a role at the Canadian Professional Sales Association (CPSA). This would be the place where I received my first formal sales education as I navigated negotiations, partnership acquisition and advertising sales in addition to managing and growing key accounts. After closing a deal and onboarding a partner I would equip the sales team with training and tools to sell the new partnership to our members. This was where I fell in love with sales process and training.

Next I joined a large student travel organization as Sales Trainer where I had the pleasure of building onboarding, leading ongoing training, coaching reps to success and eventually building a 3 year sales development program and manager enablement. At the time I didn't know a career in Enablement was possible and was ready for a new challenge so I moved on to a role as a Sales Manager for a new B2C section of the business. I discovered Enablement was a role - not just a term - through a tech blog post and I knew I'd found the place I wanted to be.

Knowing I wanted to make my home in Enablement, I started reaching out cold to leaders in space and received an overwhelming amount of encouragement, guidance and mentorship to make the leap into the world of high-growth tech startups and a new role at Ada.

What’s your proudest accomplishment?

Honestly, I think by the end of this year scaling with Ada I'll have a few, but as we’re not finished this adventure I’ll say the creation and successful launch of a 3 year sales development program. The challenge was that reps weren’t staying on for more than a year and with a 2-3 year sales cycle, this was a huge barrier to achieving our targets. We also had many new managers start at the same time so we needed to support them in driving growth and more consistent performance across the teams. We hosted brainstorming sessions across the organization to identify what the core skills, knowledge and behaviours needed for success, then went on to build milestones and training. This project resulted in an increase in retention, faster ramp for new managers and increased sales effectiveness (measured by pipeline health as the cycle was so long.)

What’s your advice to someone getting started in enablement?

Network! Reach out to people in the roles you want and ask them about their journey, how they got into enablement, and what skills they developed. Enablement is still new and ever changing in most companies so getting a picture of what it looks like at different companies is helpful. I recommend looking up job descriptions of roles that excite you and deepen your understanding of the challenges. I’d also say to really spend time understanding organizational structure. The titles in enablement can be varied and it's tough to know how the organization is aligned and where they hope enablement will drive impact. This was key when interviewing as I was able to see what I would be excited to learn, what challenges I didn’t have a passion for solving at that point in my career and based on the organizational structure I had a good idea of scope and alignment. I’ve taken a skill-hunting approach to my career where I sought roles that would help me build a skill I’d need in the future. I’m grateful to be able to tie each of my roles to the career I have today.

What are you doing to develop yourself?

I am an audiobook addict. While I love reading a great story, I find most business books to be dry. I discovered I could get through a book in one weekend and that was a game changer. I also have been really pushing myself to put my voice and perspective out there through speaking engagements where I’m learning so much. I also actively seek mentorship and I cannot stress enough how important this is. Network, ask questions and take help when offered. We can all learn from each other’s challenges and lift up this community.


Connect with Ashton on LinkedIn!

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