Community Spotlight: Crystal Nikosey
How do you define enablement?
I think about this question a lot, actually. Enablement means several things to me but at its roots, I would break it up into four pillars. The first pillar being Training and Coaching, the second pillar would be Sales Processes and Tech Stack, the third, Sales Readiness content, and the fourth pillar would be, Facilitating Change Management. There is crossover between pillars so it's not always as black and white but in my experience, these are the main headers.
Describe your current role.
In my opinion, my current role is very unique. My official title is Customer Enablement Lead and what makes it unique is I do traditional CS work but because our ICP is Sales Enablement/Sales Leaders, I also serve as an advisor and consultant to our customers. Second Nature is an AI sales coaching platform driven by “Jenny”, our AI sales coach. The platform gives an experiential learning experience that can be used in Onboarding, Coaching, Training, and Practice, and most importantly, is scalable. My experience allows me to collaborate with other Enablement leaders to design and launch the product, drive adoption, and tie the platform metrics back to the customers KPI’s. It’s such an exciting role for me!
Briefly walk through your journey to get where you are today.
My journey into Enablement seems to be a common one in that I started out in sales. I started in inside sales and moved my way down the path to become an Enterprise AE. I was successful and did this for several years. I was at a crossroads however because it was burning me out a bit. I knew I loved sales and wanted to stay close to it but I didn’t want to take the next logical step in leading my own team. At the time, Sales Enablement was not even a thing, not in its current definition anyway.
I found a role working for one of the largest tech companies in the world that posted a “different” kind of job role, and I believe this was the very beginning of enablement. I jumped onboard and was focused on training and helping sales reps have better conversations around certain product lines to grow revenue. It was unique though because I was analyzing missed opportunity data so I’d uncover missed opportunities to these specific add-on products, go back to the sales rep and say, “Hey, here is a great opportunity to add this to their bigger solution, let me help you with this conversation!”
This was the beginning of my enablement journey. Since then, I’ve watched this discipline grow into a critical organizational function that is now pounding for a spot at the C-suite table. I’ve learned from other trailblazers, while forming my own thoughts from my experiences, and continue everyday to build something amazing for my sellers. Everyday something new comes out of the sales enablement community and it's exhilarating to know I am part of this movement. Now, my focus is on continuing to build the enablement community but I also take pride in helping new ones who want to become an enabler, do just that.
What’s your proudest accomplishment?
This actually happened recently and is still ongoing. One of my dear friends, Jeremy Levine, Director of Business Development at Walkme, reached out to me about one of his Senior BDR’s, Sarah Stevens, who was wanting to make a move into Enablement. He asked if I could work with her and just “show her the ropes”. She was already doing some onboarding work for her team but had bigger goals. We started meeting together once a week for an hour and we just talked about Enablement at first. I started to push her with questions around her onboarding methods and processes. I wanted her to start thinking about and asking the important questions; is this scalable, is this measurable, and can I align this to business outcomes. She was getting “it” quickly! We also started working on a co-branded project with another amazing woman who has enablement experience, Danielle Mathers. The focus of the project is to take one enablement topic bi-weekly and create a short guide to help others’ who want to get into the enablement world. Something small and digestible with powerful bullet points to remember. I chose to do the guides so she could get her hands dirty on a variety of topics. The more “hands-on” we are, the deeper our understanding of the subject matter goes. We’ve done two guides so far and it’s been incredibly rewarding and my biggest accomplishment to date! (Check out the guides 5 Steps to Nail Your Enablement Program Roll-out and How To Accelerate Your Customer Journey)
What’s your advice to someone getting started in enablement?
Find a mentor. Join enablement communities. Follow other enablers who’ve been at the game for awhile. Take in as much as you can. Ask questions, and then ask even more questions. Start small. Ask yourself why you want to move into enablement. Make sure your reasons are solid. It’s definitely not for the faint of heart. You won’t be liked all of the time. It takes resilience because the blood, sweat, and tears you put into a project or program may go unappreciated. You must love sales and/or all revenue processes and teams, otherwise, you will find yourself frustrated and burnt out.
What are you doing to develop yourself?
I love Enablement with every ounce of my being so continuously learning about all things Enablement is easy for me. Something I’ve recently started doing though is taking other seemingly unrelated topics, like Stoicism for example, and learning about it’s teachings to see how much I can bring with me into Enablement. It’s quite eye-opening! I also take a look at my weaknesses or areas that I don’t particularly enjoy about Enablement to hone in on how I can improve. Enablers are unique individuals that have to be charismatic, love people, and find leadership rewarding but then we must also be able to quiet our minds and isolate for a bit to focus on the data, analysis of that data, invoke our creativity in building programs, and dive deep into how we can facilitate change management. I call us the “chameleons” of the org because wherever we are at any given time, we need to adapt to who our audience is. Ahhhh…what an amazing ride this is!
Connect with Crystal on LinkedIn or follow her on Instagram!