Allego CRO Erik Fowler: Revenue Enablement Is a ‘Must-Have’
B2B sales has changed dramatically in recent years. For sales reps, it used to be that the more people you called, the more deals you would win. Not anymore. As Allego’s new chief revenue officer, Erik Fowler, said, today’s B2B buyers are vastly different. They prefer self-guided buying experiences, forcing companies to change their approach or watch sales go to their competitors.
Revenue enablement platforms allow companies to provide that type of buying experience. They help customer-facing teams by providing sales team onboarding, AI-powered sales coaching, a centralized learning library, an easy-to-use sales content management system, and team collaboration.
A revenue enablement platform also makes it possible to reduce the number of sales and marketing tools a company must use. That, in turn, reduces the cost of running and maintaining tools and it increases sales productivity, since they don’t have to continuously switch between apps.
“Revenue enablement is going from being nice to have to must-have. You’re not going to be able to compete if you don’t have these types of tools,” Fowler said during an interview with me.
In this Q&A, he discusses why revenue enablement is important, how revenue enablement helps a company scale, his role as Allego’s CRO, and initiatives he plans to accomplish.
Michelle Davidson: What attracted you to Allego? What made you want to join the company?
Erik Fowler: When I look at companies and see where there could be a good fit, I look for three things. First and most important, I look for people. Second, I look for differentiated technology or a kind of visionary. And then third is a vertical, or a place to go sell that technology. What does that look like?
So, when I evaluated Allego, first I heard all these great things about the team and the people and the collaborative culture. And I experienced that through the whole interview process, and even with my first 30 days on board. It reassured me that this is a great company, a great culture.
Second, looking for that kind of visionary or that product differentiator is super, super important because the products in the marketplace can be muddled. Having a visionary like Yuchun (Lee, Allego CEO and co-founder) and an amazing product team is really the second part that attracted me here.
It’s great to have both those, but if you don’t have anywhere to sell, then it doesn’t matter. And the revenue enablement vertical is up and coming. It’s a super exciting time, it’s really being defined, and I think we’re in a great position to help define it.
“Revenue enablement is going from being nice to have to must-have. You’re not going to be able to compete if you don’t have these types of tools.”
—Erik Fowler, CRO, Allego
What is your long-term vision for the company?
Fowler: I think one of the reasons I was brought in is I have a lot of experience in scaling SaaS (software as a service) companies. With my last company, we went from $20 million to $140 million in revenue and went through a public process.
Along with that, you have to recognize that what you did yesterday you can’t do tomorrow as the company grows. So, for me at Allego, it’s about coming in, looking at the processes that we do, and how we can improve upon them. Then, as we get bigger, we’re going to continue to tweak them. It’s an ongoing process to help the company scale because again, there’s so much opportunity within this vertical. And Allego is in such a great position to take advantage of it that we are going to scale, and that creates opportunities and challenges. And my goal is to help the company scale.
What will your responsibilities look like as the new CRO?
Fowler: Well, as with all CROs, your number one responsibility is to grow revenue. So, obviously I’m here to do that. But then there are the many other components within that, that you’re responsible for: the sales engineering team, sales enablement, and the many other components. But number one is to grow revenue for the company.
Will you be taking on any new initiatives?
Fowler: There will be many new initiatives, but primarily—because Allego is doing great, the product is doing well, the team is a really, really solid team— I’m here to tune the engine. If you think about it, the engine is running, it’s racing, and it’s doing really well. Now, with my help, we’re going to make little tweaks, a couple of tune-ups, that all around help the company prepare to scale.
When it comes to major initiatives, it’s about sitting back, looking at the process and the things that are in place, and determining what we need to tweak to scale the company.
What excites you about the revenue enablement industry?
Fowler: The revenue enablement industry is super exciting. When I look back at my 20-plus years as a CRO in the SaaS environment and I look at different industries, what excites me about enablement is this is really about making sales more effective.
If I think about how we used to sell 20 years ago—when it was pick up the phone and dial for dollars—and look at how buyers interact now right—when 80% of their research is done before they even pick up the phone to call a sales rep—sellers must be better prepared than ever. Because when they get that one call, if they’re not prepared, they’re going to miss the opportunity. In the old days, you differentiated by working harder and dialing more and calling more people. But in the new world, the revenue enablement tools are what’s going to differentiate the good sales teams from the great sales teams.
Revenue enablement is going from being nice to have to must-have. You’re not going to be able to compete if you don’t have these types of tools. So, it’s a super exciting time to get into the revenue enablement vertical because it is going to come together and be the differentiator of the future for all sales.
Revenue enablement involves sales, marketing, and enablement teams all working together. How do you see yourself facilitating that collaboration?
Fowler: Going back to your earlier question about why I was excited to join Allego, one of the reasons is the people and the collaboration. I’ve got great partners: Heather (Moses, chief marketing officer) and Laurie (Long, chief customer officer) in the marketing and customer success teams to partner with to make sure we have that synergy to grow. And obviously we use our own technology, so we can leverage the technology. But if you don’t build the synergy between those departments, you’re not taking the best advantage of it. So, I’m excited to partner with this great team to take our revenue enablement to the next level while we take revenue enablement to everybody else.
What are some trends you are seeing in the revenue enablement space that indicate Allego is the right choice for customers?
Fowler: It’s really interesting. Revenue enablement encompasses a lot of different components. Thinking back to my previous jobs and all the different technologies that supported me in a revenue enablement, it’s probably about 12 or 13 different technologies. As companies scale, however, it’s not practical to manage 12 or 13 vendors. Allego brings those pieces under one roof—to pull all of the pieces within revenue enablement together in a really modern technology to help organizations go to the next level.
And again, I think you’ll see as this vertical comes together, you’re going to see a few players that really stand out, and obviously Allego is already one of those players that’s standing out. And you’ll see some consolidation, as well as some people kind of spin off into other things. But that’s where it’s going. And that’s again, one of the reasons why I’m here. It’s a very exciting time.
What is the biggest challenge for a CRO today?
Fowler: The biggest challenge is how much sales has changed. And again, early on if you outworked your competition, you typically won. So, sales reps just worked harder. Today’s CROs have to make sure their teams work hard—that’s still super important—but you also have to work smart, and you have to leverage the tools at your hand. You can’t use 13 or 14 or 15 different tools. So, you have to ask, ‘What tools make the biggest impact on my business, and how do I leverage them?’
I’ll give you an example. I’ve been here a little over three weeks. I’ve had at least 70 companies reach out to me to tell me about all the tools that can help me be more successful. So, as a CRO, you have to really go through this minefield of all these different things to figure out what’s going to work best for you. And at Allego, we’ve done that research and pulled those pieces together for our customers. So, we’re going to allow our customers to take advantage of it—to help them navigate the minefield to get to where they need to be at the end of the day.
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