TJ Interviews: Showpad’s Paul Saleme

We talk sales initiatives with Paul Saleme, global head of sales enablement at Showpad.

Reading time: 4 minutes.

Why is it important that business leaders buy into sales initiatives?

Having business leaders aligned with revenue goals and the initiatives to achieve those goals is absolutely essential for success. Alignment with the C-suite enables you to establish the discipline necessary to build a consistent, customer-centric sales process.

When company leaders are bought into your initiatives, it creates accountability throughout the organisation. Everyone from the CEO all the way down to your entry-level reps has a role to play in achieving those goals and are accountable for adopting the sales methodologies and processes put in place to accomplish them.

If sales initiatives aren’t aligned with leaders’ expectations or the overall goals of the business, there’s little to no chance of adoption, let alone success.

Having corporate sponsorship for sales and sales enablement initiatives demonstrates that sales is a focus for the company, as opposed to a grassroots effort that may not yield results.

How can organisations best align their sales teams with the C-suite? How can the training function help?

The training or enablement function plays a key role in aligning the sales teams with the C-suite in a number of ways.

First, the training/enablement function must have endorsement and support from the C-level team. Without that, the team won’t have the credibility they need.

Bottom line? Organisations need to align their sales and executive leadership teams now

Additionally, the enablement function needs to align with the priorities at the C-level and ensure all training initiatives cascade from those priorities.

Finally, sales leaders and the C-suite must establish KPIs at the start of a new programme or initiative so there’s a clear roadmap and definition of success.

This ensures the entire organisation can be successful, when all involved parties know what’s necessary to move the needle and appropriately measure impact and results.

Additionally, the enablement team must provide dashboards and metrics against the KPIs on a regular cadence. This gives executives a holistic view of performance against enablement efforts and participation.

How does C-suite buy-in for sales enablement programmes increase productivity and strengthen teams?

C-suite buy-in for sales enablement programmes establishes credibility for the entire initiative.

When sales teams have buy-in from the C-suite, both senior leaders and sales reps take new sales programmes seriously and understand their role in delivering success.

Additionally, C-suite buy-in for sales enablement programmes helps sales reps do their jobs better because it creates defined expectations for success and provides reps with a clear roadmap for how to succeed in their roles.

Too many organisations operate with a loose framework in place for sales processes, and reps struggle to succeed because they haven’t been told what to do or how to do it.

Impact happens when sales managers certify that their reps understand the entire sales process – from how to conduct a good discovery call, to how to push the sale over the finish line and ensure a win for the company.

Having buy-in for sales enablement initiatives from the top-down means that there’s not only support for better training, coaching and content for reps, but that there are defined goals to work toward that the entire organisation is aligned on.

What can collaboration between the C-suite and sales mean for the whole organisation in 2020?

If there isn’t collaboration between the C-suite and sales, your entire organisation isn’t going to be aligned around priorities.

If that collaboration doesn’t exist from the get-go, those goals are not going to be effectively cascaded and won’t be built into how revenue and quota attainment metrics can be met.

While sales and C-suite collaboration can be an ongoing initiative, the earlier organisations start, the better.

The annual sales kickoff (SKO) is a great time to collaborate and align on goals with the C-suite, as the sales team is already working on defining what the road ahead is going to look like for the new fiscal year.

Bottom line? Organisations need to align their sales and executive leadership teams now.

Organisations that fail to do so will end up in a crunch, putting the success of the entire sales team and larger organisation in jeopardy.


About the interviewee

Paul Saleme is global head of sales enablement at Showpad


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