With all the buzz and momentum around sales enablement, I want to offer the gift of a mantra. A useful mantra can be your north star when you’re facing challenges or to keep you on course. The best two-word mantra when thinking and talking about your sales enablement careers is simply “So what?” This is shorthand for “Why would my CEO care?”
Consider the typical CEO. They care only about metrics and outcomes. And, with the increased investment in sales enablement, they are looking for a clear ROI on it. This is your opportunity. When you’re looking to advance your career inside your company or with a different company, mastering the mindset of “So what?” will be your superpower and will differentiate you from the masses. Far too many of our peers are speaking about enablement activities but not outcomes. This means they’re missing the mark when interviewing and meeting with executives.
For example, when asked about a program or two that you built for your organization:
- Rather than saying, “I rebuilt our onboarding program and made it incredible,” consider saying, “Our time to ramp for new reps was three months longer than expected, and it was hurting overall productivity, so I overhauled our onboarding program and was able to reduce ramp time by four-and-a-half months.”
- Rather than saying, “We rolled out a new sales methodology to all our sellers,” consider saying, “We increased our win rates by 30 percent by rolling out and making it the framework through which every sales leader has a deal conversation.”
- Rather than touting that you “researched and purchased a new sales enablement platform,” say “I’d talk about how the platform that you invested in took the sales team’s attainment rate from 43 percent to 65 percent.”
Each of these examples answers the question “So what?” in such a way that a CEO would feel as though they had invested wisely in enablement (and in you). These interactions are the foundation on which reputations are built and are the currency by which candidates use to get new jobs. If they are weak interactions, you’re put into a category of tactical team members. If they are strong, executive-sounding interactions, you’ll be put into a different category. And that’s where you want to be.
Beyond how you merely describe your accomplishments, when designing your programs, weave a “So what?” mentality into it. If someone wants to roll out a new program, start asking questions. What is the metric you’re trying to drive? How will this program (or purchase) affect that? What is the baseline and the expected outcome? That is the “So what?” If you can’t find an answer rooted in real KPIs, consider whether that’s the best place to invest.
This “So what?” mantra will prepare you for any interview and discussions with your executives. It is also woven into your reports to senior leaders, into how you speak to your executive, and on your LinkedIn profile and resume. When you interview for a job, people are listening for this. When you inject this mindset of this mantra into your stories and accomplishments, it’s an opportunity for you to stand out and move up the enablement ladder.