Community Spotlight: Shannon Hempel
Director, Sales Enablement at Personify Corp
How do you define enablement?
Sales Enablement is a process that results in sales reps/customer facing roles having the product knowledge, skill set and processes in place that will help them not only meet their goals, but in my opinion enjoy the job. That is a pretty tall order, so an enablement leader needs to have emotional intelligence, adaptability, creativity and business acumen.
Describe your current role.
I'm Director, Sales Enablement at Personify Corp where I lead the enablement strategy and execution for all account executives, account managers and business development reps on two sides of our business. We were hit hard by COVID-19 as our software solutions cater to the events and association industries. Currently I'm working with all parts of the business to enable our reps as fast as we can on new innovations that are coming out weekly. So that adaptability and creativity mentioned before is more important now in my career than ever before.
Briefly walk through your journey to get where you are today.
My first career was in public education where I taught elementary ages. Enablement wasn't a thing when I went back to get my Masters in Instructional Design, but I knew I wanted to take the success I had in strategizing and building programs for my students into the corporate world. My goal was to make people more effective in their careers and have more success.
I took a chance, and a big pay cut, to sell education technology into school districts. I jumped in the deep end by owning all parts of my territory (prospecting, net new sales, account management). Even though I knew the buyer and their process, it was tough. We had zero enablement so I started making some for our team. That is when I knew I wanted to do this for a living.
Over the past 6 years I've led sales enablement and built programs from the ground up at multiple tech companies in Austin/San Antonio, Texas.
What’s your proudest accomplishment?
My proudest accomplishment is having the courage to leave the education profession that I knew like the back of my hand and jump into a corporate world that I didn't have a clue about. Over the years and various companies, I've initiated uncomfortable conversations with senior leaders to give visibility to and prove enablement value.
What’s your advice to someone getting started in enablement?
If you are getting started in enablement, align yourself with and find mentors. I didn't have any mentors and learned everything by trial and error. Enablement was not as visible as it is now, and there are more resources available today. Join your local chapter of Women in Sales Enablement (WiSE) or Sales Enablement Society (SES) to pull valuable information from peers.
What are you doing to develop yourself?
Learning is life long. Currently I'm reading Jo Miller's, Woman of Influence to understand where I should focus to reach my next milestone and am working daily to step out of my comfort zone in my current role.
Follow Shannon on LinkedIn!