Ask Scott Santucci Anything: What do the different types of sales enablement professionals have in common?



Scott Santucci is Founder and CEO of the Sales Enablement Society. In this new video series, he answers your questions.

What I think is interesting is the more I share what my personal vulnerabilities are and weaknesses, the more I’m hearing about it from our members.

I think what’s super clear for me, at least is, the more you’re honest about what you’re worried about, the easier it is for somebody else to see what your strength is. The more you talk about how great you are at X, Y and Z, well, number one, what you think you’re great at, you’re probably not so great at. Number two is, the things that you are great at, you don’t see. I think that’s the miracle that I’ve seen in the Society, as I watch people engage and I hear people have conversations. The unconscious competence that exists amongst us is palpable. It’s really uncomfortable to just embrace what your unconscious competence is, if you can’t define it.

 So, what the heck am I talking about? What is amazing is when you hear people’s stories about what it is they do. A lot of our members are very willing to go do something, to take action. There are a lot of people, inside companies that don’t take action. What’s interesting is, their drive to take action, has put them in situations where they’ve alienated people. It makes them really frustrated, but the people they don’t alienate are the sales leaders. So, there’s a really interesting observation across our members about the ability to take action.

Another thing that I find really fascinating, that’s common across our members, they actually connect with one another, as people. Where I get this broken drama: We’re people first … We’re people first … We’re people first … It’s not because I’ve suddenly become a hippie. It’s because I’ve seen working groups, once people have broken down the religious debate about Sales Enablement is this, or Sales Enablement is that … It’s like the Catholic versus Protestant argument, since the 1500’s. That doesn’t get our profession anywhere. When we start realizing, and saying, hey, look. You did action and you’re coming at it from a marketing background. You did action and you’re coming at it from a training background. You did action and you’re coming at it from a metrics background. Why don’t you guys share what was in your head, and then maybe, we can combine what was in your head, and your head, and your head. What if we were to combine it differently? Wouldn’t that be great. Once we get there, the amount of collaboration is amazing. It’s unbelievable.

Another observation is, we encourage our members to just pick up the phone and talk to other members. I know, for myself, that’s not always the most fun thing to do when you’re trying to network and don’t know folks. What’s amazing is how receptive one member is to another member. It’s like an acknowledgment that says, hey, we’re in this together. Yes, a little bit of that is therapeutic. It’s when I try to describe this phenomenon with other people, I think, oh geez, it sounds like therapy. A little bit of it is, but really what it is, it’s confirmation. Sometimes when you’re surrounded by a lot of insanity, you question your own sanity. Having confirmation is empowering because it gives you the courage to stick with what you know works. It also gives you the courage to go ask other questions. Eventually, what I hope will happen, is people will start to feel more comfortable asking questions about what they don’t know, or asking questions about how they can take on different things.

 That will come, and I think this is all very natural in a profession that’s evolving itself. I gotta imagine … I’m going way back in the ’90s. I used to work for a tech research firm, Meta Group. If you want to fast forward, they were acquired by the Gartner Group. One of the jobs that I had, as I worked with CIOs … and it was really clear. There’s a difference between a CIO that had pager and a CIO that didn’t. They both had the same title, CIO, but the ones that had the pagers, were just too operationally focused. They would constantly alienate their executive leaders.

The ones that didn’t, sat in and just listened to the executives and just would replay back what they heard and said, this is how we could do things. Those people were much more successful. What emerged, a lot of those executives were able to talk with each other, because it was part of the profession. Now, it is much more common for CIOs to have a business background. What I experienced there was that emergence from CIOs having a technical background, to CIOs having a business background. I think the easiest way to delineate was that pager. The pager people were so hyper, hyper, hyper focused on making sure their router was working, or making sure that they had the right bandwidth, or feeling very defensive about making cases. They didn’t skate ahead of where things were going and none of those people ended up in those more elevated positions.

I think what we can do is, over time, bring more perspective. If we’re able to keep that curiosity going, that works amongst our members. If we can take this unconscious competence that exists of fixing things; and if we can just be more open and recognize that we’re in a massive state of change and there’s a lot opportunity. What’s going to happen is that our members are going to come together and help each other out. It’s already happening in tiny pockets. What we have to do is we have to make it bigger for everything else. That’s one of our goals of our Society, to be able to help create the right kind of culture, the right kind of environment, that will unleash that kind of miracle support that happens when people show up who have a lot of individual skills, a lot of talent, but can take advantage of a diversity of different thoughts. Process it and practice it, and role play it, so that when they go back into their companies they can execute it.

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