Revenue Enablement in the Work-Anywhere Buy-Everywhere Era

Hang Black

VP of Revenue Enablement at Juniper Networks

Learning Objectives

Please join the Head of Global Sales Enablement for Juniper Networks as she discusses sales enablement in our ever growing virtual society.


Key Takeaways:



  • How did COVID change your selling strategy in 2020?

  • How do you see the future of work and future of selling?

  • How will those trends affect your enablement strategy in 2021?

  • What are your Top 5 Enablement Tools?

  • How are you working with Marketing?


"I think crisis is where innovation is born, where you can create amazing escape velocity and create that competitive advantage. Because while everyone else is disoriented, that's when you can move."

Hang Black

VP of Revenue Enablement at Juniper Networks

Transcript

Britt Erler

Welcome, everyone to the Connect Sales Leadership Virtual Summit hosted on Quartz Network. My name is Britt Erler, QN Executive Correspondent. Thank you for joining us. We have a great conversation today to discuss upcoming sales trends, and what that will mean for not only the future of work, but the future of selling. With more insights and advice on this topic, I would like to welcome our executive speaker, Hang Black, Head of Global Sales Enablement for Juniper Networks. Welcome.


Hang Black

Thank you so much for having me.


Britt Erler

Pleasure to have you here, and really excited to dive into this conversation today. Before we do so, can you tell me a little bit more about your role and current company?


Hang Black

Juniper Networks is one of the few companies who actually builds the infrastructure behind the internet. You’ve seen in the last year how important that is, from being the technology that drives our connections, our finance infrastructure, healthcare, educational systems. What we like to say is that we power connections and empower change.


Britt Erler

I love it. That’s fantastic.


Hang Black

Thank you. As far as my role goes, I am the VP of Global Revenue Enablement, as you mentioned. My job is pretty much to supercharge our sales teams, our services teams, and how we connect to our customers, provide value to our customers.


Britt Erler

Absolutely. I think it’s no secret that sales is probably the hardest hit industries when COVID hit last year. You’ve seen a lot of change just within the last couple months of how it’s continuing to grow and also to develop. Talk to me a little bit about your sales strategy as of last year and how it’s evolved.


Britt Erler

I look at sales enablement, part of my job is to make sure that we’re looking around the corner. I am constantly tapped into all of the research data, Forrester, Gartner, everyone, and I kind of take it and prepare for it so that we’re prepared for tomorrow. When COVID hit, we were already preparing for a more virtual environment. Now, of course, that just means it was accelerated in the last year. What we’ve done is made sure that we’ve been very digitally connected. We’ve really automated how we connect to our customers. We’re all video on all the time. We’re automating our systems. We are engaging with our customers, not only where they are because of COVID, but it’s also where they want to be. That trend has been happening for years. It’s one of the reasons Juniper has done so well in the last year.


Britt Erler

I think that’s so true. You’ve seen just the major shift, everything going virtual. Many companies weren’t prepared for it, but like yours, you at least had something in place to really kickstart that type of investment. Now, talk to me a little bit more outside of the realm of preparing for a pandemic such as COVID. What are some other major benefits of having a sales enablement strategy in place?


Hang Black

Without a strategy, I call it carpet bombing. My personal background, I was 10 years in engineering, 10 years in marketing, which includes product management and product marketing, and in the last 10 years in sales. Now, what you find is, there’s a temptation to think of enablement as just technical product training, but then we go in and we carpet bomb everyone, but you didn’t get my white paper the first time, let me send it to you five more times. Every time I say that everyone kind of laughs—I am one of those people, I wrote those 50 page white papers. Guess who reads them? Only the author.


Hang Black

The goal for me is to make sure that I’m kind of the flight control tower, where we’ve got all these different inputs, and it’s just not technical, it’s soft skills, it’s business skills, it’s sales cadence, it’s sales operations, it’s legal ease. They’re all these things that sellers have to be aware of. I look at the content, I make sure that everything is in the right swim lane. Is this piece of content relevant enough to make the cut? If it does, does it belong on the Pony Express that comes three weeks later? Or does it deserve its own handcrafted at sea package that gets delivered door to door? Or does it belong in the Concorde? We’re very targeted in the enablement that we deliver. What it does is makes the entire system a lot more efficient. We’re also giving time back to the SMEs, the Subject Matter Experts, and that they are creating the right content, and they’re spending their time where they should be creating assets and information that the sales team is actually going to be able to consume.


Britt Erler

That’s a great lead into my next question. I was going to ask, how do you know align your sales enablement metrics with not just your sales team, but also across the departments?


Hang Black

You’ll see that we don’t call ourselves sales enablement, there’s a movement towards revenue enablement. As I mentioned, enablement used to be equated to technical product training. The reason we’re called revenue enablement is that I service my sales folks, my partner team, our external partners, and even our services team to make sure that they get the right content, information, and assets. Sorry, what was the question again?


Britt Erler

You’re fine. I was asking how your sales enablement metrics, how you align them across-


Hang Black

Okay. With that in mind, now, you’ve got one team that everyone goes to. You’ve got marketing, COVID coming, and PLM working with us as well. We’re aligned on our metrics end to end as far as not only what revenue generation are we seeing, which is what’s typically measured, and is still important, but also what deal velocity are we creating. What consumption are we getting from what we’re creating? How efficiently are our leads turning over? We are touching so many different teams, and the metrics that my team has measured on touches on each of those individual teams. We build councils that cross leverage and collaborate with all those other teams as well.


Britt Erler

Fantastic. As you mentioned, really making sure that you’re just all aligning on hitting the goals of the company as a whole. I think that’s something that a lot of companies really need to focus on, especially during this time. It’s been so chaotic for everyone trying to just get their jobs done. At the end of the day, you still want to make sure that everyone is aligned across teams. I think that’s a great way to do it.


Britt Erler

Now, as far as making predictions for the upcoming years, which I think is very difficult for most people, we have seen some insights just in terms of especially how sales revenue enablement has grown. How do you see the future of work and the future of selling?


Hang Black

Well, let me pull up my handy crystal ball here. Just kidding. As I mentioned, when we talk about looking around corners, I really do believe that if you prepare for today, you’re too late. People, at the very beginning of COVID, were talking about returning to normal. I don’t think we ever return to normal, and I don’t think today is the new normal either. I’m constantly thinking about the next normal. In the next normal, I believe that we will have some going back to traveling and face to face meetings, it may just be a little bit different. What I mean by that is you still need to be able to make critical decisions, executive decisions face to face, you still need some level of collaboration. It will probably be less, we’ll be more efficient about it. There will also be a lot more hybrid environments.


Hang Black

For instance, we may still be able to convene in an office. We may not all go to Vegas every chance we get, but what you may see is big collaboration spaces. Where we had conference rooms, and we shoved 50 people and maybe only 10 people are in there, but we have zoom telepresence. We’ve got 30 locations with 10 people in them each, so that people can collaborate in Microsystems. I also think space management will have to be a lot more flexible. We are already seeing that companies are selling off their physical assets. They will still need some physical assets, for sure. Again, trends that were already happening, people will continue to engage on a digital platform.


Hang Black

Did you know that according to Gartner’s latest data, 44% of millennials don’t even want to have a single interaction with their seller? That was already the case, but that doesn’t mean they won’t ever have a connection with them. They meant you just connect with them digitally. How do you do that? You pay attention to your customers on demand. What conversations are they having? What groups are they following? What thought leadership can you provide? Life will be different, but it won’t be this forever.


Britt Erler

I think that’s a key takeaway, is a lot of companies such as yourself, they have to be willing to evolve. They have to be willing to adapt with this new environment or you’re kind of going back to the stone age at this point. As you mentioned, we’re not going to ever I think go back to the way things used to be, even [unintelligible] in the events industry will always have now moving forward a hybrid approach, because there are these people, like you said, that are going to want to still be in the office space, go to our events in person in Las Vegas any chance they can get. But there’s also going to be those that now realize working from home, attending our summits from home, save the money, they’re just as effective, and they can still bring in the same revenue for their company. I couldn’t agree with you more. I think that’s definitely a trend we’re going to see in the coming months and even into next year. Now—I’m sorry, go ahead.


Hang Black

I’m sorry. What I will say is that what COVID has shown us, I was a remote worker for almost a decade, so I think it will allow us to bring in much more diverse environments. I remember people saying, “Oh, remote workers, there’s no way they can be as efficient,” and I completely disagreed with that. Now, what we’re seeing, as the whole globe has become remote working, we’ve seen that not only people are as efficient, they’re actually burning out because they’re working so hard, because there’s not that delineation. I think that we’ll be able to be more open minded about how we work and the hours we work. One of the detriments of being online is you may be able to have more attendance, but you don’t necessarily have more engagement. We’re going to have to be a lot more creative on how we engage and interact with people. When we do go back to being in person, I do believe we’re going to continue to be hybrid, where we will maintain that kind of open infrastructure where anybody can dial in and watch, but we’ll have to uplevel the engagement of the people who actually do get to be in the room.


Britt Erler

Right. Let’s dive into that a little bit more. With these trends that we’re seeing and everything going virtual, how’s that going to affect your enablement strategy going into this year?


Hang Black

This year, I’m really focused on making sure that not only do I ensure translation of skill sets, but how do I measure practical application and adoption of it? What we’ll be seeing is not just a unicast of here’s everything you need to know to be great in sales, but conducting missions and badging as far as what have people learn, how are they applying it? Getting the managers engaged in how they’re coaching their people. That’s going to be one of my big initiatives, to make sure that we’re also, now we’ve got the time to be able to be thoughtful about how do I uniquely curate my seller personas. I’ve got SDRs, I’ve got ANs, I’ve got PANS, I’ve got SES, I’ve got resident engineers, I’ve got a plethora of people that are very different, and they’re going to need unique enablement as well.


Britt Erler

Sure. How do you measure the success of those metrics?


Hang Black

Each of those personas, we have specific competencies that we’re looking for. We’ll have quantitative indicators, but also qualitative indicators too. Those qualitative indicators, we generally put rubrics behind them, so that everyone is quote, unquote, grading correctly and fairly. The other thing is, we’re really looking at the tool stack, and how we look at it end to end from marketing ops, all the way through sales ops, and sales enablement. How did those three pieces click into each other? Are they all using the same language? How do they connect with each other? How much can we automate? That will be how we also deliver our enablement, making sure that we’re giving our sales teams the right thing at the right time.


Britt Erler

Definitely. To kind of walk along through that path a little bit more, what do you believe from your experience are the top five enablement tools?


Hang Black

Hands down, a CRM. I don’t think anyone can even operate without that backbone connected to that CRM. We have sales readiness tools, as far as making sure that we’re delivering the right content and assets. Then, we have a sales asset management platform. Those would be my three table stakes. Beyond that digital engagement is really important, so a tool like LinkedIn Sales Navigator to make sure that we’re connected to our customers and our partners. Beyond that, we’re really looking at AI driven tools, specifically something like an outrageous sales loft and then call intelligence on top of that. That’s very selfishly in the sales enablement arena. There’s a lot more sales ops tools, as you know, and there’s a lot more marketing ops tool. If I were to favor my top five, those would be the three that you just can’t live without and the next two.


Britt Erler

Absolutely. I want to talk about something a little different as well that’s become a major trend and a major focal point, I believe, in the sales industry, is working alongside marketing. For the most part, a lot of times in years past, they were seen as two separate job functions. Now, marketing and sales alignment is huge. It’s what everyone’s major focus is. Talk to me a little bit about how your team really works with marketing, and why you think it’s so crucial for the business.


Hang Black

The good news is I came from marketing, so I kind of understand both sides of the coin. I used to think of marketing as the translation layer between PLM and sales. Now, I think of sales enablement as being the translation layer between marketing and sales. It’s that extra, what a friend of mine would call translating English to English. I work very closely with marketing. What I’m seeing now in the revenue space is almost where sales enablement used to sit under marketing, it then moved to under sales ops, and then it got big enough that it became its own thing. What I’m seeing now is a revenue engine getting created, and where it’s gonna land, I’m actually not quite sure yet. I think a lot of people are still trying to figure it out, does it belong in its own space? Meaning, you pulled together the operations engine from both sides and create one entity from demand gen through sales leads? Or do we create a virtual team between those three entities? I think there’s some experimentation to be done.


Hang Black

My team specifically, we work very closely. We built this pipeline where, of course, we work with PLM, but our main pipeline is through Product Marketing and the Demand Gen Engine. From there, you know, we are the enablement team, and we kind of create that connection between sales operations and our sales leadership. There’s still a lot to be told, but I agree with you, all the teams are working much more closely together. I do think there’s value in centralizing some of the work. A lot of companies have sales enablement sort of sprinkled around, it’s a little bit of everybody’s job. That centralization of certain functions is going to be critical to figuring out how people are going to drive the next organizational structure around revenue.


Britt Erler

What advice would you have for companies that are really starting to just build this relationship between sales and marketing?


Hang Black

I would say, clearly defined swim lanes. There’s a gray area, instead of building dual structures, which is where you start getting the friction, really define how can we get as specific as we can in order to diminish those shades of gray. For instance, where does the marketing ops tool end? And where does the sales ops tool begin? What’s the third enneagram around sales enablement? It could be that there’s specific racy responsibilities around certain tools, but somebody’s got to be the single owner of that one tool, of that one function, and other people are secondary. What are you primary for? What are you secondary for? What are you tertiary for? And vice versa between those three organizations?


Britt Erler

Yes, I couldn’t agree more. I think that’s fantastic insight for a lot of these companies that either were hit hard during the pandemic, and are trying to pick the pieces backup and rebuild their departments, but also for companies that are just getting started during this time. I think that’s a great place for them to start. For other leaders like yourself that I’m sure during the pandemic, their roles have expanded, they’ve had to take on a lot more people on their teams as they continue to grow. What final pieces of advice would you have for them?


Hang Black

I’m going to go the cheesy route and say, have fun with it. Times are difficult. times. Sorry, I’m actually recording the webinar. I would say, make sure that,` again, sorry, I got distracted. This environment is kind of like, what’s small noise can I get away with versus—


Britt Erler

Sometimes, [inaudible] at home and every now and then you’ll just see like a cat walk across your screen—great. I haven’t been in the studio today.


Hang Black

I appreciate your patience, though.


Britt Erler

You’re fine. No problem. Let me re-ask the question for you.


Hang Black

Yes, please.


Britt Erler

Based on all of the experience that you’ve been through last year and this year. Obviously, your role has probably expanded as well as the team that you’re managing, what advice would you have for other leaders that are in a role similar to yours?


Hang Black

For enablement, it’s really important for us to each define a mission, and what are the boundaries of that mission, and do you have the executive support as far as influence, but also resourcing and budget underneath it. I’ve actually become really good at ensuring that if it’s not in my swim lane, I will tell people to stop, and redirect them to the right organization.


Hang Black

For instance, when that happens, marketing is very appreciative of it. To be more efficient, I always say I’m much more efficient if I’m spending 90% of my time getting stuff done versus 50% of my time running in front of trains and saying, stop doing that we already have it, or you stop doing that, or I’m duplicating work, or unwinding stuff. The more we can be thoughtful about the approach in a very collaborative space with the other teams that we’re working with, the more we’ll be able to get done. I actually love crises, I think crisis is where innovation is born, where you can create amazing escape velocity, and create that competitive advantage. Because while everyone else is disoriented, that’s when you can move.


Britt Erler

Exactly. It gives you the ability to make mistakes and learn, as opposed to other situations. I think that’s a beautiful way to look at it, and very different from I think how most people view it. I think that’s fantastic advice and great insight for people right now, whether they’re leaders in sales or marketing or in other industries, as well. Thank you so much for that. For any audience members that are interested in learning more or getting other resources from you, what are some ways they can reach out?


Hang Black

I definitely have written some thought leadership on LinkedIn regarding sales enablement. In general, the best way to connect with me is on LinkedIn. You can also go to my website HangWithHang.com.


Britt Erler

Oh, I love that. I know that you mentioned. at the beginning of our interview, that you have a new book that is just about to be released as well?


Hang Black

I do. Thank you. Again, as I mentioned, I love crises because it gives you opportunity. I don’t know about you, Britt, but COVID has made me—I’ve never been more simultaneously bored and busy at the same time. Of course, what do I do? I wrote a book, and my book is called “Embrace Your Edge” with the subtitle of “Pave your own path as an immigrant woman in the workplace.”


Hang Black

I think we often overlook these populations who have been, who lived a life of scrappiness. Hiring these folks in, and understanding how to attract them can bring a competitive edge into your community, especially in the workplace, we’re missing cognitive diversity. It’s just an area where it’s meant to help support those women, and also meant to kind of educate other people who are interested in learning about them.


Britt Erler

Fantastic. Congratulations—what an achievement during this crazy time. I think that’s amazing. For everyone who is watching as well, if you have any questions or need more details on how to get in touch with Hang, we will also have a discussion forum underneath this presentation where you can comment and ask questions, and she will be checking in throughout the week. Thank you, everyone, for joining us. Thank you so much for taking the time. I know it’s been a crazy start to the year, but positive things are to come. Thank you again for joining us. Please stay safe, stay healthy, and enjoy the rest of the summit. Thank you.


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