We love hearing career stories from our Enablees. We recently met with Lissa Songpitak, our Head of Revenue Enablement based out of our San Francisco office, on how she got started and is now making a big impact on the Revenue team by equipping them with the knowledge and resources they need to be ready, effective, and productive in their roles.
Hi Lissa! How Would You Define Revenue Enablement?
Revenue Enablement is a function that ensures our Revenue team has field readiness, effectiveness and productivity.
- Readiness is when we’re changing, releasing new products or have a new process. Does the team have all the know-how, tools and resources they require to do their jobs and keep up with this change?
- Effectiveness refers to skills. How well are people executing? What are the areas of opportunity for people to perform better? Or improve how they’re doing things so that they can hit their quota and progress in their careers.
- Productivity is how much time is spent selling. Are there any areas of the process or areas of execution that could be improved? In the world of sales, time is money.
For Revenue Enablement to be successful, people, processes and systems must work together seamlessly to achieve a meaningful change in behaviour.
How Did You Get into a Revenue Enablement Career?
I was on the Customer Success & Support team at my first startup. I focused primarily on helping customers and making sure they could fully utilize the platform to meet their success. I found a lot of joy and reward from the ‘thank you’s’ I was receiving from our customers.
Because I was one of the first on the team, I built out training and processes to ensure my new teammates would have the skills, knowledge and mindset needed to succeed in their role. It was extremely rewarding and motivating to see the light bulb go off in people’s eyes and witness their growth journey – that moment of understanding, of connection as they started to piece the puzzle together. That’s when I knew I found what my calling was and sought out enablement opportunities.
I started my journey in enablement as a Sales Enablement Manager, honing my project management and collaboration skills, ensuring I was adding value to my sales field team. I worked my way to managing end-to-end programs as a Sales Enablement Program Manager. Now, I have the pleasure of building out a rockstar Enablement Team here at Enable!
What Do You Find Most Rewarding About Revenue Enablement?
What’s most exciting to me as an Enablement leader is seeing the impact that a solid, agile program can have on revenue growth, scale, and people’s development and career progression.
Tell Me Just a Bit More About the Dynamics of the Revenue Enablement Team at Enable
Often, revenue enablement teams are quite under-resourced. It is common to hear that one or two enablement people are supporting hundreds of reps. Our Enablement Team is designed with Sales Enablement Program Managers responsible for their programs and outcomes. Think of each program as a garden and our program managers as keepers of the garden. You can grow whatever you want as long as it aligns with our charter, objectives, KPI’s, and north star, which for revenue enablement teams is often revenue.
Program Managers have the know-how and skills to execute a program end-to-end. The steps include defining skills and competencies, collaborating with stakeholders (within and across teams) to discover gaps and needs to execute, deliver, measure, and evolve the program.
My incredible team of Enablement Program Managers include:
- Tessa Frendo, who takes care of pipeline generation.
- Jeff Trang, who is responsible for driving sales opportunities to close.
- James Panter, who is aligned to solutioning and product enablement.
This team structure allows us to stay tightly aligned to our stakeholders and have an end-to-end view of program outcomes. This enables us to standardize our programs across geographies and ensure our global Revenue teams are following best practices as we go through hypergrowth. As programs evolve, mature, and scale, Program Managers will have the support of Sales Enablement Managers to execute aspects of their programs. This allows us the opportunity to coach and cultivate talent internally within the team.
Describe a Program or Initiative You’re Most Proud Of
We’re able to get our quota-carrying reps ready for the field within 10 business days of onboarding. The program consists of a foundational bootcamp that includes a certification process with a heavy emphasis on skill development and one-on-one coaching. After tinkering around and a few iterations, we’ve been able to bring it down to under 10 business days for Account Executives and Business Development Reps. After this initial certification, they are then enrolled in subsequent pipeline generation and driving to close programs once they’re in the field.
What Differentiates Your Revenue Enablement Program from Other SaaS Companies?
At other companies, a typical program leaves people to their own devices with minimal training. They might get a webinar-type enablement session once a quarter or every six months to help them keep up with the pace of the job. Alternately, enablement is done via grassroot efforts by managers and team leads leading to non-standardized processes.
At Enable, our programs are designed to provide tangible, on-the-job, just-in-time enablement and plenty of coaching. I think that’s what makes us so unique. I’m hiring program managers who truly have subject matter expertise to be able to support our frontline sales reps.
This means our reps onboard faster and obtain their first and second deals faster through a series of programs designed to help them get ready, be more effective and productive. Again, it’s all about people, processes, and systems.
Why Is Revenue Enablement Such an Important Department?
We are a hypergrowth company. Having an effective enablement function allows us to move in the same direction, at the same pace, therefore creating the momentum that sustains our growth.
First, Revenue Enablement ensures everyone has the tools and the skills they need to ramp up and contribute to revenue generation. That’s our core north star.
Second, I think the success that Enable has seen is truly because we hold our reps, our managers and everyone on the revenue team to a higher standard of operational and sales excellence.
Our goal is to really accelerate people’s effectiveness at growing revenue and sustaining that growth with expansions so we can reduce the cost of acquiring new customers. We aim to change behavior through intuitive processes and design, by which I mean making key tasks as simple, easy, and intuitive as possible.
What Are the Qualities of an Effective Enablement Professional?
- Be fearless: For us specifically, our ethos is to be fearless because supporting a team that is growing at 2-3X is no easy feat. It takes a lot of trial and error, forming a hypothesis, testing it out, and going back to the drawing board to iterate. We need to be fearless; we need to persevere; and most importantly, we need to truly believe that we can do it.
- Embrace collaboration: Enablement is the glue and connective tissue that ties the business together. Having that collaborative work ethic matters more than almost anything else. At the end of the day, you can have amazing tools and a well-designed process, but if you can’t work with people, if you can’t get those people to use those tools or processes, then you’re not going to be effective.
- Have a growth mindset: I value my team’s ability to learn on the job, ask critical questions, and pivot when we need to. I can’t let perfection be the enemy of progress. I have found that this space is where the most innovation and improvements stem from.
How Do You Measure the Success of the Team?
We measure our success through qualitative feedback and quantitative metrics/ KPI’s. We can’t formalize our strategy and execution without feedback, metrics, and KPI’s. When we talk about KPI’s, there are leading indicators (such as activity, and immediate change in behavior) and lagging indicators (such as attainment). Examples of KPI’s we keep track of are:
- Time to certify
- Time to first deal
- Deal velocity (conversion from S0-S2, S2 to closed won)
- Win/ loss
- Deal size
- Rep Attainment
- Promotions, or horizontal movements in careers
For Someone Starting out in Revenue Enablement, What’s the Most Important Advice You Would Give Them?
Figure out how to work with people and meet them where they are to get the best out of them. This is one of the many important lessons I’ve learned from my mentors. Enablement is in the business of people. We can’t simply roll out a program and hope and pray that people will simply do what we ask. We’re developing people’s skills, knowledge and mindset; this means us meeting them where they are to understand what is needed and giving them tools to succeed.
If you’re starting out in revenue enablement, you’re probably on the front lines delivering content and training people. You need to be charismatic, able to relate to people and build rapport to establish credibility quickly. Much like sales! Use this time to figure out how to influence different types of people to get buy-in and alignment on important initiatives
Another crucial skill is project management. Often, we don’t generate or initiate a lot of things ourselves. Instead, we get a trigger (for instance, a new product is released or a new process), and we act as the mobilizers and change makers. You have to be extremely detail-oriented, organized, and keep to a tight schedule.
What Words of Wisdom Would You Give to Companies that Are Starting Their Revenue Enablement from Scratch?
Onboarding is critical, especially if you’re in a hyper-growth company and hiring a lot of people. You need a way to get people ramped up and contributing quickly. If people are coming onboard, but aren’t contributing, you have a problem.
A couple of great places to start:
- Figure out your charter – your north star. This helps you maintain focus and prioritize when things become overwhelming (and they will). It is also a helpful tool for communicating with other teams.
- Align with the Talent team or hiring managers. The pace of growth truly impacts your program strategy and delivery.
- Figure out the jobs to be done by role and what the process is. We anchor our programs on our sales process.
- In general, design your enablement or trainings based on who, what, when, where, why, and how. We always address the ‘why’ first.
- Last, and most importantly, build a rockstar enablement team – fearless doers, critical thinkers, and change makers.
Any Final Words?
I love working at Enable because of our collaborative culture, the caliber of talent, and the passion that people have. We’re always talking about one-upping ourselves to do things better and faster each time. Maintaining that mindset and attitude will take us far.
Are You Hiring?
Yes! Please view our current revenue enablement roles here.