Founder at Scale GTM
How do you define enablement?
Organizations are more inundated than ever with “priority” initiatives. And it’s only gotten worse with the massive disruption caused by the global pandemic this year. We shouldn’t be surprised that getting a buyer’s attention, asking them to change their status quo, funding yet another project, rolling out and adopting a new solution IS HARDER THAN EVER. This customer journey, from purchase to adoption to expansion, requires that vendors offer real value to their customer along every step. Enablement is a multi-disciplinary approach to align a company’s internal resources with the customer lifecycle (buyer journey + adoption journey) to accelerate the sales and adoption of your solution. Some of this work is done by the actual enablement team, while much of it is orchestrated in partnership with cross functional teams (e.g. enablement, product marketing, solutions engineering and sales teams).
Describe your current role.
What better time is there than during the greatest pandemic/recession in our lifetime to take on a new challenge?!?! After many years in marketing and sales leadership roles in companies like DocuSign, SAP, PricewaterhouseCoopers and JPMorganChase, I founded my own business, Scale GTM. In my previous roles, I started to notice common challenges emerge when sales organizations were looking to scale growth by accelerating hiring or entering new markets. The largest of these challenges were poorly defined sales/adoption processes, sales messaging built from ivory tower, and poorly prepared sales, channel and success teams that didn’t have the required tools and skills. At Scale, we help sales, success and marketing organizations navigate this transformation by deploying proven sales messaging, process, and skills to accelerate their ambitions.
Briefly describe your career path.
When I look back at my journey, there are 3 defining moments/lessons that have shaped my journey.
The first is when I transitioned from being a developer to a sales engineer. In 2005, after working for years at a mobile pioneer (many years before iPhones and the App Store was a thing), I was hungry to have more interaction with PEOPLE on a regular basis. David Singh (currently VP of Sales at Intellimize) gave me an opportunity to join his SE team. And I had my first opportunity to cut my teeth in sales.
The second moment is when I learned that there’s nothing more important than the user experience (and while this applies to product, it also applies to the buyer/sales experience). In 2010, Brad Lucas (currently SVP Digital Solutions at FiServ), gave me an opportunity to combine my passion for collaboration with my expertise in the mobile space. I became a Product Manager at JPMorganChase where we led the way in transforming how our clients engaged with us via their mobile phones and tablets by launching iPhone, iPad, and Android solutions for mobile banking. Through innovation and delightful user experiences, our clients flocked to the mobile device and we quickly grew the money moved via mobile from millions to billions overnight.
Finally, in 2012, Neil Hudspith and Scott Barmmer taught me how to “see the forest through the trees”. I was one year into my job building up the Core Product Marketing team at DocuSign. As we were getting ready to scale to fulfill the vision of our founder Tom Gonser, we knew there was work to be done to help our customers understand the value of DocuSign. I took on a new role to help build out the enablement function and never looked back.
What’s your proudest accomplishment?
This is going to sound cheesy, but I’ve been able to consistently drive incredible outcomes in large part due to the people around me, especially those on my team. Like I mentioned earlier, the definition of enablement includes the word “multi-disciplinary”. As an example, a few of the incredible leaders that I’ve had the honor to manage/hire (and I’ve included their background so you can see the diversity of disciplines they come from) are Tanya Casey (Sales Management), Jeff Leslie (Communications), Marcus Latour (Learning & Development), and Eve Alexander (Product Marketing). I believe in lifelong learning. By surrounding myself and learning from incredibly diverse talent, I am able to incorporate this belief into my day to day job, while accelerating outcomes for my clients.
What’s your advice to someone getting started in enablement?
In enablement, we often complain about how the role is defined so differently from company to company. But I believe that it’s actually a positive. How often do you get a chance to enter a profession, and have the opportunity to pave the road for yourself and others that follow? To get started, I would focus on those 3 lessons I mentioned earlier.
Cut your teeth in sales. If you don’t have a sales background, spend lots of time on the floor with sales people, listen in on calls, and develop empathy for their day to day.
User experience matters. In this case, the “user” is your company’s customers and buyers. Do everything you can to understand what your customers care about.
See the forest through the trees. Be maniacal about asking why (or being able to provide the why when someone asks). You’ll quickly come to realize, if you haven’t already, that there’s always more work to be done than there is time. Be sure you know WHY you’re working on the effort and how it will impact the buyer or adoption journey.
What are you doing to develop yourself?
I’m forcing myself to get even more involved in learning from people of different backgrounds. The reason why I say “forcing” is that it can be easy to isolate during these times. For example, Janet Gerhard and Michael Hvisdos, founders of Inquizo, have helped me to hone my curiosity skills. Annalee Hagood-Earl and Danielle Leeke, owners of Bash-Creative, have given me great insights into how to successfully run virtual global events. I recently attended Sales Enablement Society’s annual conference, and gleaned insights from amazing speakers such as Scott Santucci and Elay Cohen, known for their leadership and innovation in enablement. In many ways, being in a virtual world has opened up EVEN MORE opportunities to learn since I can be “everywhere” from the comfort of my own home.
Connect with John on LinkedIn!