MTM Ep#18: Win more deals with strategic sales enablement with Noah Berk

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Welcome back to another episode of More Than Marketing. I’m your host, Arsham Mirshah. We’re talking about sales enablement and the clash of marketing and sales. And to do that, I have none other than my man, Noah Berk. Noah is more than qualified to talk about this topic because he is a serial entrepreneur of 20 years and runs OBO agency.


– [Noah] Sales enablement sits on top of the CRM so it enables the sales person to be more efficient and productive at their job by eliminating a lot of the manual tasks that a sales person would generally have to do on their own, which limits their productivity.

– Welcome back to another episode of More Than Marketing, I’m you host, Arsham Mirshah and today we’re talking about sales enablement, and the clash of marketing and sales. And to do that, I have none other than my main man, Noah Berk, Noah good to have you.

– Thanks for having me.

– Of course.

– Noah is more than qualified to talk about this topic because he is a serial entrepreneur, and I didn’t do the math but I think you’ve been entrepreneuring for like 20 years now…

– Well I mean if you count, yeah, all the way back to high school, sure.

– Yeah, high school, yeah, sure.

– I mean we were, yeah, back in high school.

– There you go. So Noah and I are friends, and now, businesses colleagues, business partners, anyway, Noah, tell me a little about your past, so serial entrepreneur, but also enterprise sales.

– Yeah, so I mean I’ve done a lot, I’ve had a career in sales recruitment, had a couple of start-ups, been in, geez, I was back in internet marketing back in 2008, 2009, when it was the wild-west of sales.

– You were selling what then, ReachLocal?

– Yeah I was working for a company called ReachLocal at the time so I was selling digital marketing solutions, PPC, heck helping you guys out with some SEO back in the day.

– Yep, helping us out.

– Clients.

– That’s right.

– And then I had a couple of ventures, entrepreneurial ventures, and then I went back into enterprise software sales, and most recently before starting obo. Agency, specialized in contact data solutions for large enterprises.

– Yeah, so Noah’s been, when you’re the entrepreneur, you’re doing it all right? You’re wearing all the hats, you’re marketing yourself but then you’re also selling, so you know, you’re automatically, sales and marketing, you’re very aligned.

– Yeah, absolutely.

– When you’re an entrepreneur wearing the hats.

– I mean you have to be, you have to know both sides.

– But you also sold, ReachLocal which is marketing but you were the sales person so you were getting leads and, right like, you were like the–

– Full circle, I mean I was using, back in the day I still remember when I was using GoldMine when I was a sales recruiter.

– So, I love it, GoldMine, yeah, what’s the other, Act?

– Act, I never used Act, I have seen it, I actually have a client who I believe uses Act, or had used Act.

– Still?

– I know, I know.

– All right, so let’s get into it. Now, obo. Agency, real quick about obo. Agency.

– Yeah, we’re an agency, kind of similar to WebMechanix but a focus on database marketing, email marketing and marketing technology, so a lot of companies hire us to come in and really help them figure out, hey we’ve got this marketing technology, how do we make the most use of it. We got all this data, plus we’ve got sales and marketing that needs to be aligned and I believe, Arsham you invited me here today to talk about sales enablement, which is something we do for clients all the time.

– Yeah aligning sales and marketing.

– You got it.

– Exactly. And then I guess from your angle you would be taking not just the philosophical approach, but also the technological implementation of some of the tools of sales enablement.

– Yeah, well it’s a lot of it is business process mapping. So you gotta map that sales process and not just understand how the leads enter the system but also understand how the sales person closes deals from start to finish.

– So let’s, what is sales enablement first and foremost?

– Yeah, think of sales enablement as like an all in one tool for sales people, so you have your CRM, and think of sales enablement sits on top of the CRM, so it enables the sales person to be more efficient and productive at their job by eliminating a lot of the manual tasks that a sales person would generally have to do on their own which limits their productivity.

– Yeah, like what manual, like data entry, for example?

– Yeah it could be data entry, it could be simply having the system update records because a deal expired and you wanna make sure that the sales person is notified, the deal expired, please update record or contact.

– Right, right.

– Company, it could be setting up sales automations, where you get off the phone with a client and they say, hey call me back in three months, rather than trying to simply put a task to call back in three months, you set up an automation or an email automatically goes out three months later with a couple of follow up emails, to schedule an appointment.

– I like it.

– Yeah, and then, add a couple more layers to that, you also add a calender link in there so they can pick a calender or pick a time in your calender that’s most convenient for them so you get rid of all that back and forth that slows that sales process.

– I mean, imagine the back and forth, not imagine, we all go through it every day, setting the meeting right? It’s like no this time, no this time Arsham, it’s like six emails go back and forth, just to select a fricking time, like, let’s automate that.

– I mean it’s–

– Let’s enable the sale.

– Yeah, I mean really sales enablement is the force multiplier for your sales team. It means you don’t have to go and hire two or three more salespeople, instead you just made that one salesperson that much more productive.

– Sure.

– On a day to day basis. But it’s really, you gotta think of sales enablement, a lot of people call a lot of different things, but it’s really a combination of tools wrapped up into one application.

– Well so okay, so I wanna kind of push back on that because I hear, I’ve read some, okay tools, I understand where you’re coming from.

– Sure.

– Tools, I know that angle but also there is, this idea for sales enablement to get the right information into the salesperson’s hand so they can apply that to the prospect at the right time.

– Yeah.

– So right information could be like, I don’t know, case studies.

– Sure.

– Applicable to that, whatever, content.

– So you’re kind of marrying the philosophy of account based marketing with sales enablement. So account based marketing, the idea is, you first identity who you want to reach out to, then you reach out to them, and throughout that sales process you send them the right information at the right time. What sales enablement enables you to do, is do that more efficiently and effectively. So you can have all your documents loaded up in the system, people to send out those documents and then you go to track, when that prospect clicks on that link, to know when to call back or what to send next.

– And I love that because, okay, so I buy that, I’m with you, you win the push back on this one. But you still need the information to get into–

– Yeah of course.

– Right, so sales enablement, you said something earlier business process mapping.

– Yeah.

– Can you dig into that a little more?

– So, I mean we do this for clients all the time, we have to understand how does that sales process work, I mean from first touch to close. So how does that lead come into the system, how’s it routed to the salesperson, what are the actions or steps a sales person’s supposed to take, what’s the sales cycle like? Length like, because that will dictate kind of what pieces you’re gonna need within your sales enablement application to be successful. So we have to map that entire process, from first touch to close, and then from there, we can start seeing okay you’re gonna need these type of automations to do follow up after a phone call, these type of automations when a deal is, will call in a holding patter, or not moving forward.

– Stalled.

– Stalled, is a better word for it. These are type of templates and email templates that you’re gonna want.

– Yes.

– How we gonna evaluate these email templates, what documents do you need, how are you gonna organize those documents, so sales enablement really is, why I call it a tool and all in one application is, why it’s not a CRM, it sits on top of your CRM, it’s just all about making your salesperson more efficient.

– More efficient, more deals, better deals, faster.

– More, better, faster.

– I mean that’s the benefit.

– That is the benefit, yeah.

– Right, right.

– And so, you gotta really think about, as an organization, the reason why you ask about process mapping is because if you don’t map your process, adding a sales enablement tool may do you no benefit because no one’s on the same page.

– Because yeah, exactly, thank you, you’re not on the same page, like the business process map that lays out, hey here’s, here’s a lead comes in, I love asking clients this.

– Sure.

– My favorite question. What happens after we get you a lead, because, WebMechanix we’re hired to get leads for our customers, okay great, we got you a lead, well what happens next? We tout ROI all the time but just ‘cuz you got a lead doesn’t mean that that lead has bought, there’s still the sales cycle to go through in a B2B world.

– Sure.

– In eCommerce world, okay now we can see it all but, so I love asking that question because, typically we’re talking to the marketing folks.

– Yeah.

– And they half the time, don’t have the answer, when they do have the answer, I’m like, yay, when they don’t it’s like, that’s a good question, maybe I should go find out. So, who owns sales enablement? I mean, right, because too often there’s this clash between sales and marketing where it’s like, sales is like, hey these leads suck, you’re not getting me enough leads or whatever, marketing is like well wait a second, they are the personas that, we all align to, so what?

– So yeah I mean, who owns sales enablement depends upon–

– How does this, yeah, how does this–

– It depends upon your organization, I mean, if you’re a large organization you may actually have a sales operation person or sales admin who’s really kind of managing the entire sales enablement process, making sure that the templates are updated, you’ve got the automation set up, you’ve got people following through on the deal flows, and that individual’s job is not only to keep the database clean–

– What if they don’t hire that person.

– A lot of companies don’t have that person.

– They don’t have that person.

– And so it kind of falls to one of two people at that point in time, it either falls to the marketing team to support the sales team, where they start filling that function, of giving them the tools they need to be successful or it falls to an outside agency to really help support their sales efforts, so on a regular basis at obo. we are literally providing that back in sales and operations support function because there’s no one inside the organization who’s thinking strategically.

– Are you doing like reporting and analysis on–

– We’ll do–

– Efficiencies of their sales report?

– Yeah, I mean we’ll do reporting and analysis. Efficiently in terms of are they complementing tasks, are they doing records, are they following up in particular periods of time, generally you gotta talk to the sales management leader.

– I was gonna say, that should be like sales management.

– That’s sales management, you’re more or less taking direction from sales management at that point on what they’re looking for.

– But you guys could hook up, sales management, because I was thinking okay, if they have sales ops fine, if they have, if not, maybe marketing, but I was thinking a sales manager should own sales enablement, sales manager should be, hey, I wanna make sure my salespeople have the information, the content, that they need, but also we’re not wasting their time, inputting data, clear a bit, grab some, clear bit, populate your record, you don’t need to…

– In a perfect world, yes.

– Yeah right.

– Sales leaders they should ultimately be responsible for sales enablement but a lot of the times they may not necessarily have the technically chops.

– Sure, they come in different shapes and sizes.

– All sorts, I mean you can come across the sales leader out there who will get his hands dirty with whatever the application is, know it like the back of his hand, and can teach anyone how to use it. You’ll also come across the sales manager who’s the total opposite, they can close any deal that their rep puts in front of them, but ask him to turn on the computer is a challenge.

– Right, yeah, or you come across the sales leader who is the CEO or the founder, who you know is also, washing the dishes at 5pm.

– The thing is, once you get sales enablement up and running for clients, or once you get sales enablement up and running for yourself, I mean, a lot of times your salespeople will start asking ownership over the activities, because they’ve seen how much, how it makes them so much more productive than prior to them not having that type of application. Literally we were just with a client today, showing them the functionality, I’ll give a little shout out to HubSpot of HubSpot’s tool on the sales side, which they got CRM, they’ve got HubSpot’s Sales Hub but it’s really that sales enablement piece in the Sales Hub that just blows people’s minds away when you show them, hey this is how you can automate these activities that otherwise you’d be spending all this time doing.

– I love it, that makes so much sense. So, I hear what you’re saying about sales manager different sales and sizes, but let’s talk more if we can about how marketing can help with this because I think that marketing is who’s out there spending a lot of money on this technology, implementing technology like marketing automation technology and now you’re talking about HubSpot, HubSpot obviously is becoming a platform for sales and marketing and now service, so they’re trying to link–

– They’re trying to marry them both.

– They’re trying to marry them and they once had a hashtag, smarketing, so they’re all about this.

– So marketing people actually play a pretty big role in this, one generally it’s marketing who’s pulling together the reports for the sales leader and the company and the executives, two they’re the one’s that are adding the templates and the documents into the system, three they’re helping to craft the email templates that are being sent on behalf of the sales people, and they’re also helping to craft the actual automations themselves, so they’re looking at the stats saying hey, this automation’s working well, this one isn’t. The other thing you also have to ask yourself, are you a sale’s organization that has SDRs and BDRs who are doing cold-calling and essential appointment generation, or do you have a team of full-cycle sales reps because there’s different applications out there, I mean you’ve got SalesLoft, you’ve got Outreach, all these are considered sales enablement tools.

– Right, true.

– And HubSpot kind of marries both BDR and a full-cycle sales rep so both can do and use the application effectively.

– Yeah and also, I don’t think, going along with your, it’s sales enablement can fit, can fit or doesn’t fit necessarily based on your organization type but also based on where your organization is in kind of its sales and marketing maturity, so for instance, you might not be getting enough leads to be needing to be add efficient to your sales department.

– True.

– Right? If you just don’t even have enough leads then why are you trying to get more efficient?

– Well it’s the same thing when people purchase marketing automation and they get a total of 20 visitors to their website.

– Yeah that makes no sense.

– I mean, there’s a reason why Mailchimp and Constant Contact still exist.

– Exactly.

– I mean, it really is dependent upon your organizational level sophistication, if you get a lot of inbound leads coming in, marketing automation makes a lot of sense, but sales enablement makes a lot of sense even for companies who don’t have a lot of leads coming in.

– Okay, how so?

– Well if you’re looking at kind of two different organizations, if you’re looking at a full-cycle sales rep, and you only have limited number of full-cycle sales reps on your team, you wanna help them automate as many tasks as possible and I’d say probably the biggest one to automate is those sales sequences. So, literally having that follow up sequence being sent out to your prospects–

– But what is a sales sequence?

– A sales sequence would be like for example, you set up, someone says, hey listen, Arsham call me back or send me an email in two months to set up a meeting. Well you can do one of two things, the traditional method is set up a task for yourself, once the task set up, you go back, you gotta remember what you said, look at the notes, write and email, you send out the email, the guy doesn’t respond, you gotta go ahead and send another email, you set up another task, to follow up a few days later when he doesn’t respond, you gotta manually set that up. An automation is whereby, I go that very same day, the person says hey email me in two months, I setup an email sequence to be sent out with multiple emails in that sequence, email one is essentially referencing what was said–

– You told me to reach out to you months ago–

– Yeah in two months, you’re writing it right now, but it’s being automatically, it’s being scheduled to be sent out two months later.

– And you put your meeting link in that–

– Put your meeting link in that particular email so they can pick and choose, because you have no idea what your ability is gonna be like, and then three days later, because he hasn’t responded, or she hasn’t responded, you go ahead and have another email in that sequence being sent out, well let me have this one sent out in the morning because it’s more likely to be seen, and then you say, well I could either A have another email being sent out, or I could set up a second action or third action after that, such as pick up the phone and call.

– Yeah you could set a task, exactly, and so hold on that second email, and or that task, would not be created if they actually clicked through and made an appointment.

– That’s correct.

– All automated.

– It’s all automated so if they respond, the email sequence stops, so they scheduled an appointment or take an action the email sequence stops.

– Absolutely brilliant, love it.

– Yeah, I mean it’s one of–

– It’s so cool, like that wasn’t possible, years ago.

– No, years ago it wasn’t possible, I mean BDR–

– So cool.

– BDRs and SDRs have been using tools like SalesLoft and Outreach for quite a long while, to be able to, automate a lot of this business development activity, but I think it’s becoming something that enterprise sales reps and full-cycle sales reps are beginning to adopt.

– Sure.

– As a mechanism to become much more productive.

– And why I like HubSpot’s solution you mentioned them so let’s talk about them a little bit.

– Sure.

– Is because it marries sales and marketing so now okay, that sequence and that sales enablement kind of automation happens inside the same platform that is also logging the marketing activities and how this lead or set of contacts at a company are engaging with your website or with your advertising, so now you’re marrying those two pieces of data so if that deal goes and becomes closed one, you can do full-funnel analysis to say, where did that come from, how did we pick it up, was it a live chat, did they do it on a form, you can start using this data to make decisions on how you’re going to revamp your marketing or spend your marketing dollars or right?

– Absolutely.

– That’s super cool, to me. To marry the two, right?

– Yeah, I mean, obviously that’s one of the main benefits of companies who have a need on both sales and marketing to consider tools like HubSpot who really are an all in one application, enables you to have those sales enablement features that generally if you bought a separate application you’d have to purchase–

– Integrate in some way.

– Integrate, and figure out how to make the two marry and work together. And then also like within sales enablement tools, there’s ways to kind of maximize productivity so you could set up queues where you put together 50 people you wanna contact and then just one click of the button just goes from next to next to next.

– Next to next, you just knock out.

– Knock out all your tasks for the day and makes it super simple to be able to do. Again when I go back to saying sales enablement an all in one application where you don’t need a bunch of applications to be able to do it, you’ve got calender function, you’ve got automations, you’ve got emails, you got everything such as call recoding.

– Yeah, playbooks.

– Playbooks.

– Content’s there.

– Quotes.

– There’s documents, quotes, eSignature.

– Yeah, everything’s all wrapped up into one, but it’s all about making your sales person more productive and them having to do less tasks, less manual tasks.

– Les manual tasks, yeah, and it’s not that we, yes part of it is, I think, correct me if I’m wrong, is speeding up the salesperson’s, making them more efficient.

– Yeah.

– So removing the manual task because we want to make them more efficient, and have them on the phone or writing emails that are convincing a prospect, right? There’s that aspect but there’s also the human error, what if they forget to follow up on a task, what if they forget to send an email.

– Sure.

– You know, that could make or break, and look, we’re all human and those mistakes happen or, right? So you can, as a sales manager you can ensure that these kind of checkpoints are in place such that no deal, no lead falls through the cracks, for example.

– I completely agree and I think on of the big things, you mentioned sales management, sales leadership, is with a sales enablement tool, that type of in-depth reporting to be able to see what–

– Yes.

– What people are doing inside your sales organization is critical to be able to more effectively coach them, because in the end, the most effective sales leaders are able to hire the best talent, they’re able to train the best talent and they’re able to get rid of any roadblock in their way.

– And maintain the best talent because now they’re making a bunch of sales.

– You got it.

– So let me throw, time’s starting to tick down, I don’t want this to go beyond too far, then I’ve gotta throw a commercial in there and no one’s happy with that, so, let me throw two examples at you.

– Sure.

– ‘Cuz WebMechanix we’re starting to kind of do this, not starting to, we’ve been doing this but I’ve got a couple of examples that I want to tell you, you tell me if it’s sales enablement, if so, all right here we go.

– Go ahead.

– So for one, okay, so we get a lot of leads but they’re not necessarily all like deals that we could follow up on or a process we can follow up on.

– Sure.

– Sometimes college student, sometimes another marketing agency that’s not going to become our, so we set up a list in HubSpot, we use HubSpot, set up a list in HubSpot called our NQL list, right, and it’s got criteria like the company has to be over 50 people, they have to be within the US, the job title has to be certain and certain things, right, so then we’ve created integration between HubSpot and Slack, so now when a new contact hits that list it hits our Slack and lights up that channel and notifies our sales team. Sales enablement or not?

– It kind of blends the world of sales enablement.

– What what else?

– In the sense that you’re automating the activity itself.

– Okay.

– But that’s also some of that functionality is also within most CRM’s capabilities, so lead scoring, stuff like that.

– Right, fair enough.

– That’s more traditional, CRM type capabilities but what you’re doing by automating that activity to notify the sales rep, you’re starting to get more into a sales workflow automation.

– Yeah that’s true, but also it notifies sales management, too because in a world where there’s high enough volume you don’t…

– In the end it is a sales enablement piece, you may not need a separate piece of software.

– Yeah sure.

– To do it, but it falls into the realm of sales enablement.

– All right, I got a new one then.

– All right go ahead.

– So now, so we’re a marketing agency, we have case studies kind of all over the place, some of them are like bigger than others, it doesn’t matter, but our sales team is like, hey, we don’t even have a sales team, it’s like one and a half people, right? But they’re like, hey you know, sometimes it’s hard for us to get to our case sites, so what marketing is doing is putting together like a pitch deck, right? And I’ve seen your pitch decks, frigging beautiful.

– Thank you.

– Really good job representing you. Sadly like, we don’t have something like that.

– I think yours are great but–

– But no, but you know what we’ve done so–

– Sure.

– But it’s not comprehensive like yours, it’s not like in a one deck. So marketing is going, putting this kind of pitch deck together, complete with about WebMechanix, case studies, and awards and etcetera. Is that sales enablement?

– Sales enablement is once you go ahead and you add them to documents and you break them out based on who should be getting what document and put together the folders to make it easy and quick for your salespeople to access it.

– Okay.

– That’s sales enablement.

– Well I would argue that putting all that data into one, instead of having oh here’s our brochure, and then if you want our case studies, then I gotta go to my drive folder.

– Oh no I, in one system, like yeah.

– Putting it all into one.

– You wanna have it within the sales enablement system itself, I mean that is sales enablement. Think of anything you’re doing to speed up the process for your sales team.

– Yeah.

– Even going back to your first example, of setting aside. There’s a difference between what the tool does versus what sales enablement is.

– Okay.

– So a lot of times people think I need to buy a sales enablement tool whereas they may already have a lot of sales enablement functionality in features.

– In their current software stack–

– In their current software stack.

– They’re just not utilizing it.

– Not utilizing it.

– Okay, great, I completely agree, I completely agree with you.

– Awesome.

– Good, yeah, so, so benefits of sales enablement, more efficient, remove human error, more efficient sales.

– More efficient sales.

– Remove human error, make sure nothing falls through the cracks.

– Automate a lot of manual activities and tasks.

– Enable you as the leader, sales manger, or CEO or whatever to, report.

– Yep.

– And analyze not only what the sales teams are doing but also how marketing, what is our efficiently of marketing leads to assign leads to, work leads to, right, NQL.

– Yeah.

– SQLs to close deals.

– You got it. I mean it’s an all in one application that makes life easy for everyone on your sales team to be productive and efficient.

– And to bring this whole episode back round together, imagine your first, remember the staffing, firm right?

– Yeah.

– Can you imagine having HubSpot back then?

– Oh my god.

– Right?

– Unfortunately I have a feeling a lot of people that we brought on board we may not have needed so many because they would have been so much more efficient at what they did.

– Exactly, we wouldn’t of had to, right. We wouldn’t of had to have so many–

– The irony is, the staffing world, if you look at the tools they use in their applications, they actually had a lot of the sales–

– Bullhorn!

– Bullhorn.

– Yeah!

– Bullhorn has and to this day–

– Oh my god.

– Probably still a lot of the sales enablement features that we now are just seeing coming out into the sales enablement world and this was more than 10 years ago.

– But see Bullhorn was tailored for, as an applicant tracking system.

– Yep.

– It was called an applicant tracking system but, but making a hire as a recruiter is very much like a sale.

– It is a sale.

– It is a sale.

– Yeah.

– So Bullhorn was kind of like–

– Bullhorn would have the automated responses.

– Wow.

– They would help set up notifications.

– Nostalgia nostalgia.

– Much more advanced than a traditional CRM at that point in time.

– Right, right, right.

– So yeah, looking back I mean, it existed.

– It existed.

– It just existed within a different universe.

– So now you’re hearing about it because it’s proliferating and there’s platforms like HubSpot for example who have kind of made it such that you can take it, take this marketing automation and now sales automation, or sales enablement tool and apply it to many different industries, as opposed to Bullhorn which was just an applicant tracking system.

– Yeah, absolutely. I mean and companies who are not using sales enablement are really kind of behind the times, at the point.

– Yeah, so it’s coming to a theater near you.

– Essentially, yeah.

– If you’re a CMO and you’re not talking sales enablement with your sales manager, you probably should be.

– Yeah and think about like this, I mean its easy to see 20, 30, 40 per cent more productivity from your sales team once they adopt it.

– There’s the benefit.

– If all of you, I know most people struggle with having their sales team use a CRM, and just be sure to tell them, hey listen this isn’t just a CRM, this is a tool to make you guys a lot more productive.

– Which means, which means.

– More sales.

– More sales, which means.

– More revenue.

– More money. There you go, exactly.

– And also makes you look like a hero.

– That’s added benefit. Thank you my friend. So if you like this episode, then like it. If you don’t like it you’re gonna comment. If you like it you can comment too. Just do something, okay, like it, comment, share. Noah wants to hear from you, just ‘cuz he likes talking to people. TLDR, thank you all out there, until next time.

– Thank you.

– Cheers.

Noah Berk

Noah Berk

Arsham Mirshah

Arsham MirshahCEO & Co-Founder

Podcasts Info:
Creative + UX
News + Business

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