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The 3 keys to successful sales enablement programs

rsz_lisa_redekopIn the run-up to the B2B Marketing Forum on March 13th, Shimon Ben Ayoun (spotONvision) spoke to Lisa Redekop. Lisa is Global Head of Sales Academy, Learning & Enablement at Thomson Reuters. Lisa leads the global sales enablement team within Marketing, that is responsible for, delivering customer focused and sales-ready relevant programs, materials and tools to increase Sales effectiveness and productivity. Lisa supports around 4,000 sales staff and 250 Sales Managers. In an interview Lisa gives her vision on what it takes to develop successful sales enablement programs.

Customer change as a base for organizational change
Lisa has spent her whole life within sales, field marketing and sales enablement. Lisa: “I have a lot of experience in what a sales person needs to succeed. Lisa started to work for Thomson Reuters just as the effects that the major financial crisis took hold. Lisa: “We noticed that our customers were really changing. As our customers behaviour changed, the organization needed to change the way we went to market. And marketing needed to help support our sales people in the way they dealt with and sold to our customers.” Thomson Reuters made the decision to move towards a more customer-centric way of thinking and we needed to help our sales people. The fact that our customers were going through a huge change, meant that the sales people needed to reflect this change.”  Lisa: “To support them Sales needed someone who could help Marketing understand and who could deliver more customer and sales-centric communications and materials. And that person was me.

Steps before the actual change
Lisa: “One of the first things I had to take a look at was how we were currently delivering materials and communications to sales people.” Lisa took a look at the platforms and what kind of materials Marketing was providing to Sales: “The challenge that we had was that Marketing was going directly to Sales with an overload of information.” So within Thomson Reuters, they really needed to understand the infrastructure and what Marketing was currently delivering to Sales.

Lisa: “The next step was to determine the learning requirements, both, where and how we were providing it. We needed to create a landscape of where we were and what we needed to change.” It was very clear to Lisa that there was too much information, that the information wasn’t getting to the sales people in an easy way and that there were too many channels leading to sales people. Lisa: “Those were our 3 priorities that came out of our landscape review of the current situation at that time.”

Since Lisa was put in role, they have spent a lot of time talking with sales people: “The good news is that the sales people now know where they need to go for their sales information. They also know how their sales information is going to be delivered and they know in what format it is going to be delivered.” But there are still more improvements to make, according to Lisa: “We need to have a continuous dialogue with our sales people to make sure we constantly deliver what they need.”

3 tips for setting up sales enablement programs
As an expert in the field of sales enablement, Lisa gives 3 tips for setting up successful Sales enablement programs.

1.    Alignment between marketing and sales
Lisa: “I know it sounds obvious, but make sure that Marketing understands the way Sales people sell. In this way marketing can adapt their tools and education material to the way that Sales people sell. This is extremely important.”

2.    Re-evaluate your infrastructure
According to Lisa, you need to make sure that your infrastructure is a natural part of the sales workflow. Lisa: “Make sure that you have an infrastructure that supports the workflow of the sales person.”

3.    Connect learning with sales enablement
Lisa: “How do we make sure that our learning (first mile) is connected to the sales enablement (last mile)?” According to Lisa, we need to think about how we connect the first mile to our goal: sales enablement: “We need to turn that learning into action and that we are truly enabling our sales people to be as successful as they can be.”

Ultimately, it is about the alignment between Sales and Marketing, the infrastructure that reflects the sales workflow and to make sure that we are supporting the sales learning all the way through to the sales enablement. With the goal to help our sales people with customer-focused conversations and ultimately driving more revenue.

In the keynote presentation at the B2B Marketing Forum 2014, Lisa Redekop will provide more ins and outs on Thompson Reuters sales enablement program. Don’t miss the presentation of Lisa and register now!