The Sales Engagement Podcast
The Sales Engagement Podcast

Episode · 9 months ago

Building Out Your Sales Excellence Function


The sales excellence function is the perfect marriage between sales enablement and data analysis. What would that look like in your company?

In this episode, I speak with Lucrezia Keane, SVP Sales Excellence at GWI, about what their new sales excellence function has achieved and where it’s going next.

Join us as we discuss:

- Data that companies should track to help SDRs build connections

- Why sales teams should report to sales excellence

- The intricate relationship between sales excellence and sales tools

- How advance planning reduces friction during implementation

Check out this resource we mentioned:

- The Advantage by Patrick Lencioni

For more engaging sales conversations, subscribe to The Sales Engagement Podcast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or our website.

Welcome to the sales engagement podcast. This podcast is brought to you by outreach, the leading sales engagement platform, and they just launched outreach on outreach, the place to learn how outreach well does outreach? Learn how the team follows up with every lead in record time after virtual events and turns them into revenue. You can also see how outreach runs account based plays, manages reps and so much more using their own sales engagement platform. Everything is backed by data pulled from outreach processes and customer base. When you're done, you'll be able to do it as good as they do. Head to outreach Doo on outreach to see what they have going on. Now let's get into today's episode. Hello all, welcome to the sales engagement podcast. This is your host, Kaitlin Kelly, senior manager of sales development at outreach in the Amida region, also cofounder of STRs anonymous. For today's episode, I am super excited to be talking about the evolution of sales excellence over at global web index and I am super excited to have our guests Lucrezia, who will be joining us, who's the SVP of sales excellence, to provide a little bit more insight on how they've been able to scale their team, as well as what the str function looks like and how she's been able to develop that function as well. Now be crazy. Yeah, I'm going to pass it over to you. Can you tell us a little bit about what you're doing over at global web indext as well as your group? Happen? How are you got here? Yeah, that's great, thanks, thanks a lot. Nice to meet you everyone. I'm Lou Lucrezia. Is My full name, but everyone calls me lose, so that's fine. I've been with global in next now for just over eight years. Joined Gwi to look after the account management team. Grew that for the first kind of six years globally and then, yeah, kind of left that role with twenty five people both in Account Management and customer success, and that was, yes, spread across our London and US Office and actually's really interesting. When I joined Wi there was no account management team, so we had a few people doing both new business and account management, which I think was a little bit frustrating for some of our clients, because our new business and prospects were also always prioritized, and so it was really nice to come in and be able to set up that function and actually help grow the business and and the experience that our customers get from Gwi in the service they get when they buy into our solutions. So that's what happened the first six years and then went off on maternity and when I was off there was a bit of a restructure. So we regionalized a lot more and kind of separated the US and rest of the world operations, which meant there wasn't a need for a global account management role as the one I had, and so we looked at the business and identified a a gap around sales excellence and what we define a gwy cells excellence is all things sales enablemen, sales training, sales operations, and then we've also added sales accelerators. I'll go through all of that in a little bit more detail later, but yes, it's it came back from eternity in March two thousand and twenty. I was in the Office for one day before we said let's test working from home and then we were all at home for good due to the pandemic, and then, yeah, pretty much grew grew the team over the last eighteen months or so. Amazing. So I think like one of the things I most excited about is kind of your experience in this current role has been really throughout the entire pandemic. So kind of how did it really influence your decisions through it? How did you pivot that strategy? And then on the back you're starting to see a lot of it come to life. And what I'd love there is you just mentioned a little bit, you know, in the last eighteen months, sales excellence overseas, the enablement team, the operations as well as the acceleration. Can you kind of dive into each of those three teams and then I'd... for us to kind of understand kind of a little bit more about them? Yeah, absolutely. So, essentially, the way we've kind of structured the team is in I'd say, for broad pillars. So you have sales enablement and that's everything to do with ways of working, sales processes, collateral or and sales tools. So lots of tools that we work with at Gwi and the revenue side. And again, it can go through all of those of more detail later. That's the first one. Then we've got sales training, which is literally all about making sure that everyone who joys the company gets in, the sales team gets a really good on boarding experience and can literally hit the ground running as quickly as possible and then upskilling existing reps and managers. So we're working through all of that. We'll see. The team is being built in the last eighteen months or so. So the main focus was really on boarding over the last twelve months and making sure that anyone new in the business got that support from a training in development perspective. And then we're going to be rolling out additional training for everyone. The ideas to essentially make all this training of Sales Sales Academy Self Training Academy, so there's a whole program that everyone enrolls into at all levels and functions. Sales operations is very much all around finding the insights in everything that we do from from a self perspective, so analyzing the the cell cycle, the funnel, the activities of the reps and literally looking in into those numbers and looking at the data and understanding right, if we were to do a little bit more of this type of activity, we would drive business here and we would drive pipeline and so essentially trying to look at the leavers that we should be pulling as a business to drive either more new business or expansion. And then finally, this sales accelerators. So there's almost three teams within them. So you've got the SDRs, which is, I guess, slightly controversial that they're normally reported to sales excellence team, but I'll explain why we did that in a second. We've got solution partners who support our revenue guys. We're selling more custom and so project based work and she being the I guess, an extension of the revenue rep but also working very closely with our research team to drive that collaboration and engagement and and provide the client with the best service. And then we've got a trials team who currently a very much focus on new business trials, so making sure that prospects have a really good experience when dem owing and stardom to use the Gwi Platform, understanding what the Gwi data and platform can help them with and and add value to before they buy. And then we're looking at how we can expand trials within existing business as well to drive expansion. So yeah, so weird and wonderful team. It's kind of grown from three of us in much two thous twenty to about thirty five people at the moment across lots of different functions. So it's yeah, it's really interesting. Lots of different challenges and things that we yeah, we work on on a daily Rasis. Yeah, that is amazing. Lots of areas of expertise that you're definitely overseen. there. When thing you had mentioned, which you know you had it, called it out a little area of current controversial as the stars reporting to you. Can you kind of tell me a little bit more about this, saying kind of what drove this decision within Gwa? Yeah, so we had about two too and a half years ago, maybe a little bit more. We had an SDR manager and then the str sat under that manager and they had dotted lines into the different verticals. We then had a bit of restruction decided to bring the strs in the actual pods. So you had SDR sitting on the same team's as a's and VP's and being managed by new business...

...leaders. And that what really well from understanding the vertical, the industry, the personas knowing how to talk to them. But we found that SDRs they needed a little bit more handholding and it's quite difficult to manage someone when they're doing the same job as you. It's even harder if you have any trying to manage an SDR which is doing a completely different job. They're using different tools, they're different KPIS, the way that their success is measured is completely different, and so, while it works really well to have them working side by side, almost on a this is the industry. These of the personas. These are how you engage with them. It was a bit of a challenge in terms of keeping the SDRs on track with these. Are Number calls you to make, these a number of emails you need to send. This is you know the tools you need to use and how you log everything and how you hand things over and how you work with your e so almost in terms of like processes and best practices, we're kind of finding we were falling a little bit short on that and so we decided to bring that support back to the SDRs and bring them all together and have kind of like a team that's working off the same tools, the same processes, that ways of working, etc. We've brought them all back and we decided to put them on the sales excellence because we felt they would have even more support when as it sells excellence team because they have the sere. We have an SDR manager and we're going to be hiring more for those. So they report its SCR manager will reporting to me, but then we'll work very closely with the sales trainer, will work very closely with the sales enablemen and person and all of those, because we're all part of one team. The scrs really get the support of their manager, they get the clatter row, they get support and training and processes. They've got a lot more handholding and then they still have their dotted lines into their pots, so into the vertical pose that they work with. So they're still getting that support on the vertical the industry how to contact this person, how to talk to them. So yeah, it is working well and this last transition of the SDRs moving into the team is only happened over the last four months or so, so it's all quite new. But everyone the SR team has hit target globally for the first time in a few quarters. So already we're starting to see the the success of this efforts. All Right, Lus so we've been talking a lot about how the seer team over global web index really rolls into the sales excellence function. Can you tell us a little bit about the tools that you've been able to laverage to really support this? Yeah, so, in terms of the tools that we've been using with SDR specifically, there's as a number of different ones. So we've been using things like sales love for their outreach. We've been using cognism in terms of, you know, finding new leads to go after, companies to go after, as well as enriching our our crm. I'd say those are the main ones. There's video tools, like video that we use for them to kind of, you know, try different ways of engaging with prospects, so not just by email, but using kind of video clips and trying to be a little bit more creative. And then the other thing that we've actually launched in April is something called high spot. We had a bit of a challenge where not only SDRs but all the reps across the companies were spending a lot of time finding the right content, and so what we really needed was a like content management platform, but also we wanted something that supported us with training and then enabled us to track analytics around content shared. And so what high spot was enable to enabled us to do is get all of our content from whether it's training or marketing or product, all uploaded in the high spot platform and then our reps can essentially high spot integrates with sales, laughed, with Gmail, with every kind of APP that the sales reps use, and they can use that to pitch the content directly. And what that enables us... do is what a enables them to find the content in a much quicker way and find the right content quicker. It also links to sales force, so it links to specific opportunity. So if they're selected a specific product within cells, more sales suggest content for them. And then what enables everyone to do is pitch the content out to prospects or clients. We use it on the acount management side as well and then track the analytics and it's not only like has this person opened it, but it's also you know who, if they shared it with. And once the person has opened the piece of content, how are they engaging with it? So how much time are they spending reading the content? What pages have they spend time on? And that is really interesting because it then enables us to feed back to marketing. These are the types of content that actually driving sales or a driving engagement. And then, for for the reps, they know right, this person has read this piece of content. They've also shared it with all these other people and I can now contact these other people because they're their new leads, essentially, who've been engaged in exposed to global epen next and the data. And then, for even when it comes to that proposal, reps, not SD os but ORA's or can managers, will know right, has this proposal been open? How much time have they spent in it? Have they shared it, and so when is the right point for me to reach back out to my prospect and have that conversation about the proposal? So it's yeah, that's been really, really good and obviously driving adoption now and pushing that. But yeah, those are the the main tools. Those are hurt I mean you're as here's a vert global of index are exceptionally lucky. Sounds like they have a great tool box that they get to leverage over there. When you'd mentioned a couple things in there is like the video prospecting know, which I'm a major fan of. I feel like this is something that, like a loater ups are starting to pick up now. There's so many different ways where you can kind of leverage this and implement in your sequencing. But also what I love about the high spot is a lot of people have been talking about multi threading and even mentioned there that your team is like leveraging the content and warming up with a personalized approach and then pulling and people that have seen this in you're able to kind of track all that on the back end. Have you kind of seen that? Have you seen the uptick in their ability to multate threat accounts based off of this to pollen multiple conversations? We're still doing a lot of the analytis so because we only launched it in April, so it's probably what six months now that we've got it. The first few months of really been all about the on boarding and just making sure that, you know, people are using it in the right way. Where now starting to look at all the analytics behind it and see how it's all kind of working and pulling together. But everyone, all the feedback that we've gotten from people kind of using high spots been yet they they all love it and they all kind of really grateful that we brought it on because it enables them to not only find the right content at the right time a lot quicker, but enables them to like even create these like microsites for clients or prospect so an SDR will share, for example, like a couple of maybe blocks and articles. They will have them the demo call. They cannot bload the recording, then it will part be passed on. Today who will share some additional collateral and it can all live in the same landing page, essentially so that the prospect that's this, I guess, continuous experience with Gwi, despite moving maybe from an str to a to then an account manager. So that's that's been really useful. And then, obviously being able to track who they're sharing everything with has been a way for for us, the hours especially, to make kind of new connections and start new conversations and broaden their yeah, their contacts within the company intastic. So previously we talked a lot about how your sales seem started out reporting into the sales or Oregon and it's kind of transition over in the sales excellence. Can you walk us through how this is really improved their development as well... the successes that they are able to drive? Yeah, so, without a couple of transitions with the with the sales development team. So they used to be one team. A couple of years ago. We then decided that we wanted to put them under the sales leaders so they become more experienced within the vertical that they were working in and that and from that aspect it did work really well. The SDRs were a lot more confident in terms of the personas, the industry, the clients and prospects they were prospecting into. Where splitting them up into different teams didn't work as well is that they were being managed by, more often than not, quite junior a's who, in some instances hadn't been SDRs before. They didn't really know the processes at tools, the KPI's, the activity that SDRs needed to do in order to achieve their goals, and also they were the a's or the managers on the kind of new business side when KPI'd on the SDR performance. And although you know, if you're smart, you realize your Sdis you know feeding your pipeline and if they're doing well, you're doing well, for some reason in some cases they didn't put one in one together and so the SDRs weren't performing as well and because they're junior, often out of uni or with maybe one year of experience, they need a lot of handhold, they need a lot of training in the law support and they weren't actually getting that in the way things are set up previously. So we brought them in on the sales excellence because we felt they would have a lot more support. So they now report into an SDR manager and we're hiring actually more SDR managers because the SDR team itself has grown, and the SDR manager will essentially provide them with all kind of the information they need about the tools, that processes, the ways of working, rules of engagement, how they work with new business people or a care managers, because we've got scrs that also working with a car managers to drive expansion. And then they also get the support of ourselves training function that sits on the sales excellence. So a lot of the onboarding will be done from the cells training team and then a lot of the we do a lot of like competency frameworked on the stand where the gaps are different points of the year, so we can then develop courses that are specifically targeted to specific needs and developing those needs so that those people can progress whilst in the process of rolling out our seals training academy and that will enable strs to be put on like a six to twelve month or Central Academy and course that helps them develop the skills for them to then progress into any role or a care management role if they want to go down that way. So they they're a lot more supported and have lots of different points of contact within sales excents, but they still have the Dota Line into the actual verticals and the the sales leaders. So that we wanted to make sure that still happen because we didn't want them to lose everything we gained from the set up previously, which is all about understanding your vertical, understanding your personas, how to talk to them, how to engage with them, and and that's where the sales leaders could really add a lot of value. So yeah, I mean we've made the transition again in May this year and already we've seen for the first quarter when we got our results in the end of September, beginning October, globally the strs had hits a hundred percent of their target for the first quarter in a few quarters. So it was really nice to see that already there was a positive impact being had. Yeah, I love that. You either do. There's so much around. I did development and then kind of prograding that clearity for your strs. I...

...think kind of you were to look back on the ear years previously on the str function. A lot of people do see it, as you know, the stepping strong get into SDR and then get out as quick as you can into the next role. I think one thing that we're starting to learn over time is the skills that you can develop as an str and. But I'm talking to somebody previously. They're talking about, you know, that's thers are like the baby sharks of a company and they don't have to be sharks, but you over the Guppies, whatever you want to call it, but that is kind of like your firm team might grow, develop them and then have them blossom into other areas of the ORG. When then you'd mentioned there, which I think is so valuable. As you guys work off of the competency framework as well as putting them through an academy based off of what are all they want to go into, so that they're actually developing skills specific to that, which is so great. Yeah, and I think it just helps them see that there's a career path there for them and they know that. You know, if if they're successful in their role, the hidden their targets and then they're doing well on these training sessions, when there are roles that open up, they will be the first ones to be looked at for those roles. And, you know, as a company we want to make sure we're in a position and we're able to promote people internally rather than bringing people out, you know, externally, because, you know, if an SCI has been with us for six to twelve months and they know the industry, they know the vertical, they've got the right skills and are ready to progress and have done well in that academy, they could be a really great asset and they could actually, you know, get in and and start their job as account executive or care manager much quicker than if we were bringing someone in from a different company or externally. Yeah, definitely. If you want to invest in your people, you want to give them the opportunity to have, you know, a long career directory within Global Webin decks. Yeah, absolutely, Lou you know, you've obviously you been implementing a lot of initiatives. You brought on this as your function. You're developing it beyond what I think a lot of people have been able to start to deal. What are you kind of foresee for the sales excellence function and to continue to grow? When ilse are you looking to bring on in the next year? Yeah, so I think I mentioned before the Sales Excellency was a yeah, Weird and wonderful team. So, broadly speaking, is split out with sales enablement, which is all about kind of process and collateral, sales training, sales operations, which is sales force. So I crm and an analyzing our data so that they can start looking at, I don't know, rep performance, for example, and saying rite this, this rap is performing really well because of this specific thing or I've noticed. It's really interesting thing in the data. And if we do more of this we're going to be able to drive, you know, sales by ten percent. So that's the sales operations functions. And then broadly we've got a sales accelerators area, and so that is new business trials for within that section, Sdrs for within sales accelerators and solution partners. So solution partners support our new business and I can management team with driving custom or project sales. So this is is a lot of functions already. I think in terms of growing, I think we won't probably bring in too many different functions but will look to bring in, for example, you know, things like we we're looking at recently at data minors, so people who can come in and like help us in enrich our crm and break like target lists for our account executives will be looking at so we've got a analyst team, but where we've seen value is having some support in pre sales to build like, you know, really short like powerpoints showing the data, which isn't specifically an analyst job, but it's just, you know, someone bringing that information together. So it could be developing or hiring more people within that area. But within here I think there's quite a lot of teams at it is. So it will be very much growing those teams as they stand. It might be that. I mean one of the things that we want to pull in on...

...the sales enablemen at the moment is someone dedicated to tools and because we don't have someone who's full job is on tools and as you can probably imagine, we've got so many tools. So having someone who dedicated to the training, the renewal of the tools at the best practices, keeping sales reps accountable and then working back with enableman and training to say, you know, this is what we need to do to make sure we leverage these in the best way, and also someone who can proactively go out and say, you know that there's this new tool on the market and like bench, market against other tools and see if there are things that actually we should be getting rid of, because I then think we do enough of that analysis. Will also always very excited about bringing it in new tools, even just yet doing the analysis on what's working, what's not working, what needs to be replaced, etc. Yeah. So, so to recap, kind of the major focuses for you, as not only did to develop the functions that you've already kind of kicked off in the last year, but to really kind of dig into the data that you guys are in reaching in your seer and make sure that it is clean, correct data so that you can drive results on the back end. I know, based off some conversations, I think you and many other revenue leaders are kind of understanding the importance of having that cleaned out of there so that you can really leverage, you know, the right things and be pulling those insights out, but also kind of getting the most out of the tools as well. I think that's a huge call out. A lot of people do invest. I think one of the worst things you could do is invest into something but they're not implement it or not get the the use out of it just because you haven't kind of worked it into the workflow, which is common because change is hard. Yeah, and actually one of the things that we've realized is planning before you bring a tool on board is so important, and we did a lot of that when we brought in high spot, which made the whole roll out phase a lot easier. And one of these tools that we're looking at the moment, which you're quite excited about, is a tool that will help us run competitions. So where it's competitions with it, but then stas or can managers or as, we've run competitions and we do that at the moment. What's difficult about running competitions without a tool is analyzing that data because there's always someone who has to do it manually. So having a tool that enables us to do everything in real time and have those leaderboards would be great, but I've said to my team, who's really excited about that tools, we need to plan it all out. You know, we happened to have a list of every single competition we want to run. How is going to be run? What are the metrics that we need to get? where? There's my tricks going to come from? And only once we've got that plan can we go and purchase at all, because otherwise it will take, you know, a month just to plan it out and then an extra two months to roll it out. So it's yeah, just making sure we're organized before we bring anything new on boarders as proven to be a good a good way of approaching it. Yeah, proactive approach, which is fantastic. I'm curious to know. I'm a big FEAN of the game of fine especially, and like that's your org like, but just find a way to keep it fun and competitive. What is this tool? And so I can remember what it's called, I can send it you later, but it's yeah, we've had a demo of it and it's yeah, it looks very exciting and it does exactly that. It loads of different like games and competitions and you can literally play around and create anything. Has got this full flexibility in the way it works, which I think is why we all got very excited about it. But, as anything that's got so much customization Shin, you need to have this really clear plan of you know what you're going to do first and how you're going to get the value you know straight out, and then you can build on top of it. Yeah, and they're definitely so lude. Thank you so much for sharing your insights into what you're really doing. Over I'm in the sales excellence function over a global web index. Love to hear kind of house and orgs are running their sales development function a little...

...bit differently truly drive revenue for all teams. If you had to recommend one book that's really kind of helped develop your career progression or your professional development along the way, what would you say is like one book that sticks out to you that you'd like to share? Yeah, I've actually I'm just looking at my back now because there's one that would really get the moment because we're doing a number of strategy sessions with our executive team and it was actually really interesting to read. It's called the advantage by Patrick a Lynn Toney, and it talks about, you know, the different questions that you should think about when, you know, when building an organization, but you can apply those two teams as well. So that was, yeah, really nice book to read and really interesting in terms of some of the things that you pulled out. And a lot of it is, you know, the importance of our culture and building a an organization of trust where you can have those open conversations and even if people don't see eye to eye, it's about actually talking it out and not and not saying silent because people are getting get frustrateds making sure you have the confidence and you know you're in a trusted environment where you can express your opinions and even if you don't agree with it, you walk away and you're bought into it, even if you don't a hundred percent agree with it. So it's very much about that, which is yeah, it was really, really interesting reading. Fantastic. I'll to look into that one. I haven't heard it yet, but sounds like a lot of takeaways from there. Lou any of our listeners wanted to connect with you and talk about some of the tools that you're leverageine or the processes that you've been able to implement. Where's the best place for them to connect with you? Yeah, it's a probably linkedin is the easiest. So you can find me on Lucrezia keen or brutal Liberati. Keen is my married name. Brutally Liberati is mo of a handful, since it's to say, but yeah, that's that's the best way to reach me. All right, fantastic. Well, you heard it here first. Thank you so much, new for all of your insight and have fantastic day everyone. Right. Thanks, Skate Lendardsday. This was another episode of the sales engagement podcast. To help this get in front of more eyes and ears, please leave us a shining five star review. Join US at sales engagementcom for new episodes. Resources in the book on sales engagement. To get the most out of your sales engagement strategy, make sure to check out outreach. That Li Ioh, the leading sales engagement platform. See you on the next episode.

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