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Ep26: Roderick Jefferson, Vice President, Field Enablement at Netskope

"It always starts with the data"

Episode Summary

Roderick is an expert in the enablement space & organizational alignment through high quality data. In episode 26 of our Datavana Podcast, Roderick Jefferson (Vice President, Field Enablement at Netskope) and host John Kosturos discuss the intricacies and powerful potential of Field Enablement. Translating data and interpreting insights in department-relatable lingo, Enablement permeates and centralizes company processes, tools, departments and strategies to orchestrate complete alignment on all fronts by utilizing high quality data.

"Enablement has to be woven into the fabric of the company. And how do you do it? There is no better way to do it than with hard line data and metrics." Enablement aligns and works within Marketing, Sales and Rev OPs to ensure the provision of consistent customer deliverables for engaging experiences. "We get the right content to the right people at the right time so that they can have conversations at the right level."

Also covered in this episode, Roderick and John discuss ICPs, IEPs (Ideal Employee Profiles), Sales Marketing handoffs, and territory management.

Ep26: Roderick Jefferson, Vice President, Field Enablement at Netskope
Name: Roderick Jefferson
What he does: Vice President, Field Enablement
Company: Netskope
Noteworthy: Honors and Awards
- Sales Enablement Lifetime Achievement Award (2021)
- Sales Hacker Top 10 Award (Sales Enablement and Operations, 2019)
- Leading Sales Enablement Consultant (2018)
- Sales Enablement Program of the Year (2015)
Where to find Roderick: LinkedIn

Episode Highlights

Sales Enablement.

"How are we making sure that people are more productive in a faster manner and in a long-term manner? And what are we doing to ensure that we're getting the right content to the right folks at the right time, at the right level? One size no longer fits all. You can't just peanut butter things anymore. So we have literally become kind of tacticians and what I call the translators of dialects and languages. We sit in the middle of marketing, product marketing, product management, HR sales, et cetera. And we have to make sure that the content that's coming from each of those is translated into sales speak. And then from sales speak back to each of those organizations so that we can ultimately serve our prospects and our customers."

How Enablement Improves Alignment.

"What we do is actually work along with Ops, Rev-Ops, and product marketing. We make sure that as they're putting these sequences and this messaging together in sales speak. Because they're putting it together for folks in the mindset coming from where they are. We have to be that API, if you will, right between Marketing, Ops, Rev-Ops, and out of Sales and then back into Sales. I think there's a second step and that is not just about the content and the delivering of the sequences, but the tools and the way that it's delivered. I believe that there's kind of a holy grail of how we align all of the technology resources so that the content and the data that's being moved along is moved at the right time in the right phase."

Aligned SLAs.

"We are partners in this thing and we are both going the same direction and we're rowing together. This is what you asked for. We'll get it to you. We met our SLA and not just for a tick box, but as a partner, we met our piece. Now you hand it off to Sales and Sales says, ‘Great! We'll run with it from here.’ And by the way, we've got some SLA’s on our side that we have to uphold, because we've promised that to you guys, that you get us what we need, we're going to follow up on it. When that happens, then you've got an incredible workflow that shows high value."

The 5 Ps of Optimization After COVID.

"The role of Enablement makes sure that we can enable folks differently. I called it The five P's of optimization. When COVID first hit, the first thing that we got was an initial Pause. Because it was a shock as everything had changed and that whole amount of change dominated everything we talked about. Then we went into Panic. And a part of that was because of the media and the part of it was because of information that was being shared. Now we're in the Planning stage. And that plan is goals, deliverables, metrics all back to data and content again has shifted. I think we have now shown that we can advance in a virtual environment, but it still requires some hand to hand because sales is about relationships. And that's the next piece, Progress: I'm seeing more excitement, more optimism. And I'm seeing budgets start to open up and more conversations are happening. And then that final P is Prosperity. And that's where success, expansion and growth. All those things start to happen."

Onboarding Tool Alignment.

"We have ongoing bi-weekly meetings with both marketing operations and sales operations, and enablement in the same meeting. So we know what's going on from a tools perspective. We've got the hiring plan all put together. We understand now when folks are coming on board, what kind of tools are needed. So we've actually worked with Sales Ops to actually put together a streamline tool stack of anyone that comes in. We're in hyper-growth mode. So anyone comes into the company in particular roles, BDR or AE, or SE they get a certain set of tools. Sales leaders all the time go to ops first and they say, ‘We want to bring this new tool in.’ Ops says, ‘Before you do that. We need to talk to enablement because we want to make sure that we're not having double tools. And we want to make sure that there is an enablement and a reinforcement plan for each of those tools that come in.’ So we are, hand-in-hand."

Key Insights

  • What is an IEP? Every company has a fundamental understanding of their ICP in order to effectively sell. Roderick highlights the benefits and advantages of using in depth customer insights to match customers and prospects with an IEP (Ideal Employee Profile). “As the company continues to grow and mature, we're looking at the IEP so that we've got the right kind of seller that's able to match the profile of our buyer.” By matching the buyer with a more suitable seller the customer experience is improved and the likelihood of a successful purchase increases. “I had someone tell me recently, 'I love this sales kid because there's so much energy, but I've got belts and shoes older than them. How can they possibly understand what's important, what's top of mind and what my pain is?' So that's where as an enablement practitioner, I go back to sales and I say, "We need to readdress that IEP. We may need to start bringing in a more mature and senior person".
  • Orchestration Through Sales Enablement. According to Roderick, Field Enablement acts as the translator- of data and languages between the different levels of business, ensuring all processes run as smoothly as possible. Enablement acts to increase communication, collaboration and alignment to meet the objective of providing superior customer experiences for clients and prospects. "That's how we make sure that messaging and positioning is accurate. We make sure that all of our lines of business are aware of what's going on in the outside real world. And then we move that back and forth to make sure we can give the best experience possible to our prospects and our customers."
  • The 3 Cs to Ensure Alignment. Field Enablement is designed to holistically align all teams and departments on all strategies, technologies and goals. This alignment permeates all processes and methodologies to ensure complete consistency in projects, messaging, and targeting of the ICP. According to Roderick, there are three parts that he follows to streamline alignment. "Communication: Communicating in that meeting. What's happening and that everyone is on the same page. Collaboration: Making sure that everyone has their deliverables and understands what all the coordinated milestones and deliverables are and what success looks like. Coordination: Making sure it happens not just one time but that it's a rinse and repeat. Enablement is an ongoing occurrence, not a single event. And what it does is it kind of coordinates things."
  • SLAs between Sales and Marketing. Due to the friction points that can often arise between Sales and Marketing, particularly when it comes to handoffs, it’s important to have bilateral SLAs in place. Roderick is a staunch supporter of alignment strategies to bring sales and marketing closer together. Roderick ensures his sales and marketing meet and work together regularly so that both sides have a thorough understanding of qualified lead definitions, workflows, and objectives. "The problem is that too many times we don't come to the same table. Enablement comes to the table, looks you both in the eye and asks, ‘Here's the definition of MQL and here's the definition of SQL, but how are we going to get there collaboratively?’ Right. And I think the best way is having an SLA in place that everyone agrees to and signed off on, and then putting a value to it. Let's go with quality over quantity. And that's what that score is."

Top Quotes

[10:40] "If you've got 10 salespeople, you need someone that's overseeing sales enablement that can, again, can be that API or conductor in between the different lines of business."

[11:12] "In that SMB space, when you get to that point, or if you're in growth mode, at least one person should be responsible for Enablement to make sure that you're not herding fleas."

[12:13] "It always starts with the data."

[14:31] "Enablement has to be woven into the fabric of the company. And how do you do it? There is no better way to do it than with hard line data and metrics."

[20:19] "“Enablement is an ongoing occurrence, not a single event."

[32:27] "I think we have now shown that we can advance in a virtual environment, but it still requires some hand to hand because sales is about relationships."