Allego Customer Spotlight: Wind River Evolves Sales Enablement
Welcome to the Allego Customer Spotlight, where we share insights from conversations with customers who rely on Allego to help transform their sales learning and enablement.
This month we spoke with Mathew Hill, CISSP-ISSAP, CCSP, CCSK, Senior Director, Head of Global Enablement at Wind River, a global leader in delivering software for intelligent connected systems. The company’s technology has been powering the safest, most secure devices in the world since 1981 and is found in billions of products.
Mat spoke about the evolution of sales enablement and his advice for getting buy-in from senior leadership.
Allego: How is your role and sales enablement in general evolving?
Mat: “I’ve been in sales enablement for fifteen years. When I started it was simply a training function. It was run out of marketing, usually, and the approach was, “We’ve got a new widget. We need to train sales reps on how to sell it.’
“Then we started bringing in more adult learning theory and put it together in formal courses that became a very heavy lift. If you wanted to learn something, there were six hours of courses on it.
“Not only has the way people learn changed, but the sales process has changed. And so we had to change with it. We had to think about agile, mobile, and just-in-time. We had to think about the ability to rapidly transition, the ability to pivot a conversation, and to be able to support that.
“We’ve seen that globally, especially over the last three years, sales enablement has evolved from a tactical back-office function into a strategic change agent.
“As enablement transitioned into this much more strategic function, we began asking, ‘What is the business trying to accomplish and how did we do that?’ Also, what does that mean for sales? What does that mean for our customers? What do our customers need to know? How do we get that information to them? How do we have a reasonable expectation that reps can actually have that conversation? Do we have the right sales force in place to be able to change the way that they’re selling?
“These are things we weren’t doing as enablement leaders five years ago. Now we’re much more intimately involved in forward thinking. It’s much less about the tactical ‘get stuff done’ and much more about the vision, strategy, and direction.”
Allego: What was Wind River looking for in a sales enablement platform?
Mat: “We were trying to bridge the gap between what a traditional LMS does and the coaching that we wanted to do, as well as make it easier for us to deploy a sales methodology.
“We had a very small staff and a lot of our initiatives were very hands-on. We knew that there was a new set of enablement technologies and we decided to take a serious look at that investment.
“This was driven by the evolution of sales enablement and a desire to transform the sales force. We knew that we needed a new tool set to do that.
“We stack-ranked our top twenty technological needs and looked for a solution that would meet those. We settled on two or three vendors that would really be competitive in the space and chose Allego’s sales enablement platform.”
Allego: What were your priorities when evaluating these technologies?
Mat: “One of the key things for us was the ability to simplify the learning process in the field from a coaching perspective. We needed a platform to help sales managers coach their teams.
“Then we started to look at the other capabilities that we need to support that—the ability to put things in a logical learning format, to make it mobile, make it agile versus the stodgy, traditional LMS. The only one that really truly met all those was Allego.”
Allego: Why is coaching so important at Wind River?
Mat: “We’re having to rethink the traditional sales methods. The way that people learn has changed. The way that we want people to sell has changed. The sales cycle has changed, so reps are getting involved much later in the process.
“We’ve always felt that the route to support that is through frontline management and frontline leadership. If you’re a frontline manager, you have the most difficult job in any tech company. The number of things you’re required to do, the scrutiny you’re under, the KPIs you have, the quota you’re carrying—all of these things take a toll.
“What we’ve looked at from an enablement perspective is to stop thinking of enablement as a training mechanism and start thinking of it as a way to help sales sell more. One of the ways for us to do that is to supply support, coaching, and teaching to the frontline managers so that they become the mechanism to go out and have that conversation with their teams.
“They see their teams up close and personal more. They have more relationships with them. They usually know exactly what the individuals on their team need, but don’t often have the answers. And so they’re looking for answers.
“We put all of our focus around frontline leaders and providing them with everything they need so they can pull things off the shelf for coaching, onboarding, or skills development.”
Allego: How do you build a strong relationship between sales enablement and sales leadership?
Mat: “At my last couple of companies, I was standing up the function from scratch or taking it from a very tactical back office function and turning it into something more strategic.
“The number one way to do that is to ask what the objectives of the company are for the next three years. From that, we determine the priorities for sales leadership. How are they going to drive towards those priorities?
“Then we identify how we’re going to accelerate those priorities and align to that plan. When a sales leader sees that they’ve got an enablement team that’s going to drive toward the things they’re being held accountable for by the CEO or the board, and a plan to do it, they buy in.
“My advice is to understand what the business is doing, understand what sales leadership is being measured against, and put together a plan that says you’re going to do that. It can’t be a list of twenty things. It can be a list of three or four objectives with twenty different activities, all driving toward those objectives.
“We’re fundamentally changing not only what we sell, but how we sell it. This is a big transformation for a company that has been around for 40 years. Now we’ve got this great new platform. This is game changing.”
Get your copy of Sales Enablement Evolved: How Rep-Centric Technology is Unlocking Sales Potential to learn how to take your sales enablement initiatives into a new era of success.
Check out our Customer Stories to see how other companies use our sales learning and enablement platform to drive success.