Key topics in today’s conversation include:
The SaaS(ramp) Podcast explores how tech leaders scale from product adoption to enterprise success. Learn more at www.saasrampmedia.com.
Pete Thornton 00:00
All right, welcome back rampants to The SaaS Ramp Podcast. Got a great one for you today. I think you’re really gonna like this person, I think you might already know them most likely. Stephanie Middaugh is on the show today. Stephanie has a lot of different organizations she’s founded enablement motions for and you may know her as the co-founder of the enablement squad. She is now founder and CEO of Phoenix go to market consulting. And so today we get to dive in and know a little bit more about doing more with less because that is the theme of the day. If it’s not sales efficiency, similar, or if it’s not skills, gap analysis, all things that kind of roll together, then you’re gonna want to hear from Stephanie today. Welcome to the show. And quick word from the sponsor rampant rampant is a gong certified services firm solving the challenge of revenue disparity among sales team members. So maximize your existing investment in revenue intelligence to achieve measurable increases in deal size, deal velocity and or win rate. Learn more, connect with Pete at the rampant.cloud. Now back to your regularly scheduled program. Welcome back to The SaaS Ramp Podcast. I’m your host podcast Pete welcoming Stephanie middle to the show today. Stephanie is the founder and CEO of Phoenix go to market consulting, and co founder of the enablement squad. Welcome to the show, Stephanie.
Stephanie Middaugh 01:36
Thanks, Pete. I love podcast feeds. Can I call you that throughout the entire episode? No.
Pete Thornton 01:41
Please like more of my own, like, alter egos. I can squeeze in the I Will
Stephanie Middaugh 01:46
Hey, love it. Podcast. Pete. I’m gonna remember that for the rest of the day.
Pete Thornton 01:49
Now. It’s my favorite part. It’s this show. Yeah, you just get to give yourself. Yeah. So good. I’m so excited to have you on the show. We’ve been talking about it for quite a while. And then of course, all your stuff popping out and everything to a woman squad and what you’re doing now and what you were before. So yeah, I mean, it’s a good one and a good point in time it feels to kind of catch you and pick your brain a little bit. Hell yeah.
Stephanie Middaugh 02:16
i It’s, I’m, I just end up everywhere. People are like, I’ve seen you all over the place. I’m like, I know. I’m sorry. But no, it’s fun. Yeah. And for some reason, nobody’s told me that they don’t like what I’m saying yet. So I’m still waiting, maybe, like, still waiting for somebody to do that. But that’s the imposter syndrome and me coming out.
Pete Thornton 02:36
As the clever memes that are rolling. They’re just like waiting for the next one. Like, all right, I don’t feel alone in this, you know, they’re like,
Stephanie Middaugh 02:44
I know my main game. And I don’t know what it is like, all of a sudden, I just got this spark of inspiration. We’ll see how long it lasts.
Pete Thornton 02:50
You do it and I’m just gonna repost it or something. Because like, mine is not. So like, I’m just gonna ride the coattails drag on hoping we have a few differences. Yeah,
Stephanie Middaugh 02:59
If it can help you in any way, shape, or form, please do. I’m happy to.
Pete Thornton 03:03
Well, I did want to find out your thoughts because you’ve been speaking to a bunch of different types of organizations and like doing an interesting new thing now too. And then we can transition to like this if anybody’s listening later on. We’re in April 2023. So we’ve had quite a couple quarters in tech and everything. So I wanted to ask his opening question, biggest challenge you’ve noticed in the market in the last six months?
Stephanie Middaugh 03:28
Oh my gosh. So Pete, am I allowed to Am I allowed to curse?
Pete Thornton 03:32
Yeah, yeah, this is all the way. Okay, okay.
Stephanie Middaugh 03:37
What a shit show for the past like six months that we’ve been in. So I feel like we went from it was like a great resignation. And that was on everybody’s mind. And I was getting hit up on LinkedIn twice a day by recruiters just wanting enablement talent to like, join in, it was just insane. All of a sudden, now everybody’s getting laid off and Texas is taking a big step back. And people are just tightening their belts in their pocketbooks. And I mean everything right now. So the biggest shift in the past six months, like I, I lived through, like the 2008 kind of craziness. Like I was just starting out, like I just got out of college. But this happened so fast, like just like a slap across the face. And it was like, it was COVID. And then we saw this giant, massive growth of companies and then all of a sudden it was just like, nope, everything came to a screeching halt. And I mean, that’s the biggest change in the past six months is we went from exponential growth of tech companies and just like different positions kind of popping up everywhere to oh my god, we need to cut way back and we can’t just bleed money anymore I think as like a company so now it’s companies reverting to we need to our goal is profitability instead of like growth necessarily. So it’s insane. The rate Bentley.
Pete Thornton 05:00
Yeah, you’re not lying about that. It’s like overcorrecting on the highway. I don’t even know if it is an overcorrection. But it’s like you’re like, Oh, I bust the side of the, you know, they try to swing back in the other way. Yeah, you’re right. It was like it was so fast. Everyone I spoke to on the show, like, because we’ve been doing this for a year as they’ll be episodes like 6364 I bet maybe 65. And everybody, tripling headcount tripling, like, it was like, it might be double, but there’s a plan for triple. And then they went away to some board meetings. In this q4. They’re like, Yeah, we have this board that may come out and be very exciting. And they came back like flatlining, we’re gonna we’re gonna remain stuck and stay. And that was how big it felt like for that. So you’re not Oh, my God, you’re saying it’s just totally I mean, I know everybody’s experienced it. But I’ve never seen anything quite like that before.
Stephanie Middaugh 05:54
Well, even in my last, the last position that I was in, we were getting ready for, like a new onboarding swing, you know, like, how many people should we be expecting in the next year? And it was like, Yeah, we’re gonna, we’re gonna double our sales team, we’re gonna double our go to market team. And then all of a sudden, it was like, well, maybe it’ll be like, 50% growth. And then it was like, 25%. And then it was no, we’re not growing anymore. No, we’re not backfilling anymore. Like, it’s just like, all of a sudden, it just like, worked. Its way back. It just happens so fast. So fast.
Pete Thornton 06:29
Yeah, yeah. Good point and call out because it’s so noticeable in light of that, then so like, knowing that’s the backdrop for this. And who knows, for the
Stephanie Middaugh 06:39
final Debbie Downer over here.
Pete Thornton 06:42
It’ll be relevant. You know, it’s like, looking, we talked to where people are at right now. Yeah, then what? What should orcs be thinking about doing right now? If so, And because look like it’s so multifaceted. If you could narrow it down to one thing? What should these orgs be in your, you know, enablement? professional opinion, be kind of focused on? Yeah.
Stephanie Middaugh 07:03
So the term like doing more with less is being thrown around a lot. And I there was a point in time, I’ve been at a couple of organizations over the past several years where we didn’t really take like, and I’ll preface this with just like, a warning, like ahead of it is like, I never want anybody to be like laid off or like removed from their job in any way, shape, or form, like ever. However, if people aren’t performing to the level that your organization needs them to perform, like, I know, organizations were hesitant to put people on like pips like sales reps, on pips of like, oh, well, no, we can’t, you know, we don’t want to lose them, we’re doing just fine. As an organization, we don’t need to push them out. So I think one of these items is, if you do need to downsize your organization, first and foremost, like, that sucks. And that blows just like, Absolutely it does. But the people that you’re keeping within your teams, making sure that they’re kind of up to date on what they need to be doing, like, in a matter of the six months that we just talked about, selling became astronomically harder, and it’s not even selling, it’s keeping and retaining your customers, because they’re not necessarily even looking at other competitors. They’re slashing budgets, like there, if you’re not a need to keep the lights on kind of tool or function, they’re probably looking at, do we need to cut this line item do we need do we even need this system or this tool, so it’s not even like status quo, it’s not competitors, like you’re fighting against the market. So like, sales teams are fighting to get business in the door upsell business to like existing customers, CS organizations are trying to fight to retain customers, and maintain kind of like all of that revenue that’s supposed to be kind of, you know, reliable, on the back end of things. So doubling down on your people and making sure like, you can say this, like, oh, we need a learning culture, or we need, you know, reduce, like skill development or whatever, like, take it out of the like the ether, if you will, like the metaphorical kind of philosophy of we need to invest in our people. And actually do it. Like, are you taking a baseline of where they’re at? Are you actually putting programs into place to make them better and achieve the business goals that you need? And are you actually tracking all those things on the back end of things like investing in your people, I would say is like, the number one critical thing and it can’t just be, yeah, we’re giving them like a zoom training. It’s not, it’s not investing in your people. So that’s it that’s boiled down. That’s what I would say is like, the key part right now is helping everybody in your go to market.
Pete Thornton 09:43
Yeah, yeah. It seems to like it because it’s going to end up being something that kind of helps retain who you’ve got internally because you’re helping to retain customers. And if you’re not going to be going and doing the doubling tripling then you probably need to take those same sets of energy or like, if it’s not going to be external growth then bring it right inside? Yeah. So I do love that kind of thing that makes sense, probably need to expand on that a little bit because that sounds so fundamental and necessary, there’s a lot to dig in there. So, alright, then let’s do it, let’s do a little switch of change Oh, before we do, because that’s probably going to be the rest of this. You have made the transition. So like you are doing something new, we’d like to hear about it. Because we basically like to hear the path like personal professional experiences that have led to where you are today. Because this is always a former teacher. And I always get annoyed with him. Like, there’s not my college course for what you are doing today, or how to say you were seeing. And so like, so what’s the path to get there? Like? How did it move and shape and sculpt?
Stephanie Middaugh 10:53
Yeah. Okay, gosh, let’s see. So I, first of all, I love that you actually like being a teacher. I was going to be a teacher when I was going to college. That was my major, I was going to teach high school English. And then I had a quarter life crisis, or maybe even like a pre quarter life crisis flipped out like a year before I was due to be a student teacher. And I was like, I don’t think I can do this anymore. I didn’t know what the hell I wanted to do. So I moved back home to Southern California, found the first job that would take me which was the receptionist job. That’s the only experience that I had before I had gone to college. And it was like an ERP software organization. I knew nothing about tech, I knew nothing about anything. So I just didn’t negotiate my salary. I just took the first number they threw out. It makes me not know any better. And it was so like after that it just all of a sudden, I just, I just went with the waves of kind of everything. I went into the deal desk like order processing. I was doing that for several years. And then I found enablement at a startup company in Southern California. And it was basically marrying kind of all of those operational stuff with like this teaching bug that I still had kind of like in my soul. I loved it. Like I can’t, I couldn’t have wished for a better start into enablement. I had an amazing manager, the culture of the organization was phenomenal. Like, I mean, everything was just like a checkbox, like check, check all the way down. I ended up back into sales operations of that organization just because they were likely to put more money in a higher title. And I was like, hell yeah, I do. I’m so young in my career, of course they do. And I moved into what I did like territory planning and Salesforce. And like, I mean, I did all of it. And I was good at it. And it made sense to me. But just as I was coming home, at the end of the day it was so draining. And it wasn’t fulfilling to me as much as enablement was. When there was actually a moment that I was doing sales kickoff, they had asked me to come back in and facilitate, will you and it was just like, it struck me I was like, I’m supposed to be doing enablement for my career. Like, that’s where I’m meant to be. And ever since then it’s been me chasing kind of the enablement dream. There’s lots of things like the enablement dream. So I’ve been at a number of startups, I’ve started enablement functions from the ground up, it’s through organizations now, which has been really rewarding. Unfortunately, a couple of months ago, I was also hit by the layoff bug at the organization that I was at. And now I’m going full steam ahead into consulting and enablement contracting, which is why we were talking about this Pete like earlier, it’s exciting and terrifying. All in like, a minute, like, every minute of every day, like I am excited to tell.
Pete Thornton 13:41
Yes. You’re the edge for sure. Like for sure.
Stephanie Middaugh 13:45
Yes. So a condensed version of my journey there.
Pete Thornton 13:49
That’s awesome. So, so interesting. Hey, you’re good at teaching. You found your teaching experience without having to have that teaching, like, like down the rabbit hole and stuff like that. Yeah. I kept on thinking it was either me or the students. And I was like, oh, no, this is just gonna be what this is for 30 years. Yeah. Like, so. And now, they still pay me like every now and then like, coach, what’s going on? And I’m like, that’s all I needed. I got my teaching moment for the quarter. Literally, that happens. And it happens like once a month. So like, that’s good.
Stephanie Middaugh 14:19
I’ve had that like, obviously not with teaching, but I actually had, I’ve had like a couple of sales reps from past enablement lives and organizations that have messaged me out of the blue on LinkedIn, like the past couple of months or weeks or whatever. And I don’t like writing. It sounds ridiculous, but I haven’t written on my wall just to like those down moments that you have that I need kind of that boost. Like somebody just messages me and like, all everything that you taught me when I was first starting out as like a BDR. And like now where I’m at where I’m at right now, like, I still think about those things that still stick with me. And like those are the moments like the moments where you’re banging your head against like a brick wall because enablement can be so frustrating. Those are the moments where like years later you’re like Okay, I actually did something good. Like I put good into the universe, and I did something amazing. Like those are. That’s what sticks out.
Pete Thornton 15:09
That’s cool. That is cool to have that moment. I had a former, like, you know, in this I had some way different types of students. This was very good. Okay, so like, Yeah, like that, in fact, most were not. And they tell you on the same show, but he helped me Snowflake data modeling. Oh, wow. Sitting in my freshman, physical science class. Oh my gosh, Coach, what are you doing now? And I told him and he was like, Oh, you want to show me? I was like, yeah, why would I do that? And he’s like, and he’s like, as I could. So he’s super helpful. And it cracks me. Gosh, yeah. So anyway, so those kinds of folks like that somebody can come steal your Phoenix go to market consulting. Know something you’re
Stephanie Middaugh 15:54
like, I’m waiting for the day. Yeah, I’ve got a I’ve got some, like sales reps in my back pocket that I’ll be like, what’s up? Work for me?
Pete Thornton 16:02
Come on, come on. Yeah. Okay, so that’s amazing. Do anything else on like, again, Phoenix go to market consulting, but like, what’s the what’s the value prop? Or like, what are you waiting for folks, just to kind of make sure that everybody understands.
Stephanie Middaugh 16:20
Totally, yeah. So basically, I, we can come in as an organization and help you from a high level perspective all the way into like the tactical getting into the weeds actually creating the content. So my brand of enablement is that there’s no one version of enablement that fits kind of everything, or everyone. So there are times like, I’ve had clients where they had everything all mapped out, and they just needed help executing and creating training content. Great. We can help you with that and we can come in and do that. I’ve had other clients that I’m in conversations with where they’re like. We know there’s a problem, but we don’t know what the problem is, like there’s something missing. And we just need somebody to come in and maybe poke around, ask the right questions, somebody who’s been there, done that kind of situation, great. Like, I can do that too. Like we can come in and just identify what’s going on, and make recommendations for you moving forward. And then they can go and execute with the teams that they have. So like, everything in between, like if you’re enabling your teams in any way, shape, or form, give us a ring. And even if you don’t know what enablement is, or but you know that there’s some kind of issue or problem with my background and like operations and enablement, I can help you kind of identify with what’s happening, where we might be able to plug in and assist you. So that was definitely not an elevator pitch. But yeah, but there you got, like, that’s what I would say is we’re Yeah,
Pete Thornton 17:46
It’s because it’s a broad offering. Yeah, there’s a lot of things you can do after, after an initial conversation. It sounds like, Absolutely,
Stephanie Middaugh 17:53
I’ve done a lot in my career thus far, like my albeit short career thus far. So my areas of experience are pretty broad. But they also go pretty deep, too. So yeah, if you check out my website, which I’m sure will link at some point, kind of like the podcast or whatever. And if you don’t see anything that you need help with, let’s still have a conversation. If anything else, like I can maybe even point you in the right direction with my being kind of like the co-founder of the enablement squad. I’m very lucky with such a broad network that if I can’t help you, or if I don’t know what’s, you know, what’s kind of going on, I can for sure point you in the right direction to somebody else who might be able to assist you. So either way, I love connections no matter what.
Pete Thornton 18:35
Yeah, very true. Okay, that is cool. So mentioned about kind of like the one thing that you think most organizations are in need of, and then a little bit of what you’re doing right now, would you unpack what that might look like? Or, you know, like, how to go, maybe an overview of step one, step two, step three.
Stephanie Middaugh 18:58
Yeah. Yeah. So I’ve been, I’ve had several conversations now with potential clients where they’ve come to me and they say that, like something’s missing, either. Like, they’re, they know that, like, their team’s skill gap isn’t quite there, or their product knowledge isn’t quite there. But they just can’t put their finger on it. It’s, I mean, I know that we’re like, not on video or anything like that. But it’s kind of like flicking your finger and putting it up to the wind and just guessing which direction everything is coming from. And when you’re a VP of sales when you’re a CRO and you’re kind of at one of those executive levels, boiling it down to Okay, well, what’s actually missing? Is it that we didn’t hire the right people? Is it that we didn’t train them or we didn’t onboard them properly? Is it we’re not giving them enough ongoing enablement? Like, what is the missing piece? Like what are the links there that are kind of missing and it’s not a new concept by any means this idea of competencies and a lot of organizations that I’ve been at we’ve started kind of dabbling in the idea of competencies. So one like I would say, like the ability to identify that maybe something is off? That’s great. Like you’ve already made the first step as a leader, something isn’t clicking, my reps aren’t quite getting it. Like, they’re not able to put two and two together, like, what is it? So that’s step one is like admitting that you have a problem, like identifying that something is wrong, right? That I would say is like, that’s key, which I think in to go back to our initial, like, kickoff conversation, when things when leads were just coming in, when people were closing deals, it’s easy to overlook that stuff, those little pieces of like, cogs in the wheel, basically, that aren’t quite going the way that they should be going. It’s easy to ignore those when your company is doing really well. But when the economy slows down, when you have to kind of start making difficult decisions, that’s when all of these greasy wheels start kind of popping up. And you have to take notice of them. So I would say step one is recognizing and identifying like, something is off, something is wrong. And then step two is identifying what you have to actually like, before you can identify what’s wrong, you have to actually define as an organization, what should be correct, like, what should be right? Like, what is the baseline that we need? So before you can fix anything, you need to actually know what your goal is, you need to know like, what are we fixing to like? What are we trying to get them to like at what point and that’s where I think a lot of leadership ends up struggling. And I’ve worked through this kind of impasse, two positions of, well, what does good look like? Like, let’s define that before we identify what’s wrong? What’s, quote unquote, bad? What does it look good on? What does good mean? What are the metrics associated with that? What are the skills, the background, the experience that goes along with that? And it seemed like, well, we don’t have time don’t we need to, like fix what’s wrong? Now, like, if you it’s a, that’s a band aid fix, and that’s what I see a lot of organizations, oftentimes, even like, before this craziness and like now, it’s, well, we just need to like, we just need a training, we just need to bring in a new methodology, we just need to like, quickly gloss over what’s happening. And it’s like, no, you need to take the time to define what you want, and what your business actually needs. Because every organization that I’ve been at, has a different ideal rep, like profile as far as what is needed from a skill set experience, you know, kind of angle. And that’s like, take a breath, pause for a minute, and do some deep diving like, it can be really difficult. And it can be kind of ugly, but what does your company actually need from your teams and each individual team from a BDR from an AE to an implementation from a CS? Like, what does that look like? Then only then can you actually go and start solving for any underlying potential issues that are in place? So like, benchmarking and figuring out what’s first, then identifying with your teams? What skills do they have, figuring out the gaps between where you need to be and where you are right now, and then putting a plan in place way down to like, address all of those things? I like skimming through the last little bit really quickly. But
Pete Thornton 23:22
yeah, the point that you’re bringing up, because everybody knows that there’s problems and I can find them. In fact, you look super smart, if you’re willing to be very critical all the time, by the way, that’s a thing. We’re like, well, there’s the problem here, but like, well, you are a genius, like that is a bit of a pet peeve of mine in organizations, because like the more negative somebody is sometimes the higher of a thinker, they must be. But yeah, I really do love to collaborate with the people who are like, I think if we could do like this, or they saw an example of something that was correct, a lot of times just show like falling one or two top performers and understanding like what is it that was so what are those little ad 20 pieces that are making that person so successful? Like, that’s how you can come into an organization as a new hire or as a, you know, an enablement person in the first few months and actually get a little bit of a leg up as finding out what’s already working there. And seeing if it’s applicable and moving it back. But I love that about trying to slow down and then find out what direction you’re headed in. I learned this really the hard way from a bunch of screaming kids, like it’s a science. This 34 Is the lab cut off because it’s an allowed class, they can’t give you 40 But they can give 34 insane loads of students. And so every so often, whatever the bell schedule is, they’re pumping through and you’ve got to get started. Like you have to move them into the realm of what we’re going to learn today pretty quickly. Otherwise, it’s just all over like you’ve lost the room. It’s amazing how fast it can happen with kids. Yeah, if you tell them they’re wrong, like they already know that they shouldn’t be standing on their chair like they know Nothing special about what you’re telling them right now. And everybody’s gonna tell them all day. But it’s like, Hey, what are you supposed to be doing right now? And if you’ve trained them, they’re supposed to start my warmup and write that sentence right there. And so that we can answer it in five minutes. Yep, you know that thing. And like just pointing them towards what’s right. And having that established, it was the only way to get like, control the classroom, learn that like six years into a tenure. What’s your, what’s your unpacking seems like, yeah, it makes sense. But it’s a fusion of it. That’s the right thing to be able to do.
Stephanie Middaugh 25:30
And that’s kind of a great point is like, you don’t know what you don’t know, right? And you can, like, keep doing the same thing over and over again. And that’s how that’s okay. But it’s that moment of like, wait a minute, maybe I should actually change my approach on things of like, well, now I wonder I understand, like, the routine and my kids or, you know, whatever that like, kind of looks like, of my reps of whoever it is that you’re talking about? Like, don’t be afraid just because you’ve always done it the same way for the past six years, and you haven’t had great results doesn’t mean that you can’t try something different, you know?
Pete Thornton 25:59
Yep, yep. Yeah, I really like it. You know, I’ve read a book that was basically like for elementary school teachers, because they need it so badly. And you can kind of get away with it in high school, because they’re older, a little bit more mature, but bringing it down to a really basic level. And there was a resource that I had to kind of create myself very simple for teachers. And then like, how to get that process started. Is there any, like an enablement framework or methodology or any kind of procedure that you follow? When are you going through? Is there any regular pattern to what you do with each organization? Regardless? Or is it so custom that you just have to be like, talk to me? We’ll figure it out from there.
Stephanie Middaugh 26:37
Yeah. I think if you so if an organization is looking to kind of like, just get in, like, get their hands dirty. First and foremost is like, do a SWOT analysis just to identify like, see if you can identify and narrow down like, okay, what are some of the things that we’re missing? And if it’s, our reps don’t have enough product knowledge? Like, if that’s what they work into, and they identify, great, okay, then how do we solve for that, so like, my process is always like, let’s identify kind of what we need to fix quote, unquote, and then back into it with a plan, like, you can’t just go into a be like, we to fix product knowledge, great, we’re gonna like, we’re gonna have everybody on a Zoom meeting for an hour. And that’s gonna fix the problem just like that? Probably not. So like, let’s identify, like, where’s everybody kind of ad? And I’d say, like, if my method for everything is to take a benchmark first. So understanding the knowledge of your existing teams first and foremost, like, what are you trying to solve product knowledge? Great. Let’s spin up with subject matter experts, like products SMEs, internally, have fairly basic products, quiz, test, whatever you want to call it, let’s get a benchmark for where everybody’s at. And identify like, this is the area that maybe like these folks, they’re experts, they don’t need to go back through or maybe they just need kind of like a one, once over, like refresher course, or something like that. Get the benchmark, identify what pieces are like that quiz is also going to tell you, what are they struggling with the most? So if it’s product knowledge, is it? Are they struggling with one -to -one knowledge, like a foundational kind of stuff? Or are they struggling with more technical kind of information, that’s going to give you kind of the guidance of like, okay, well, we need to focus on 101, everybody’s like failing at that they can’t even understand at a very basic level what our product does, or they know enough to be dangerous, they just need kind of that extra layer of information on top of it. So it’ll give you the baseline, it’ll give you where you need to focus kind of your training or education on and then develop some kind of plan basically, to address it. And it should not cannot be a one hour, 30 minute, whatever you like, it can’t be a once in a moment kind of activity. And tada, all of a sudden, everything’s great again, and everybody knows everything. It’s not the way the adult brain works, especially in this post COVID era, like you’ve got too many other things floating around, like there’s too much craziness happening, guaranteed one of the things that are on your like company’s mind, am I going to be laid off in the next like, month or so. So like, you have to combat all of these external kinds of noises in people’s brains. So it needs to be like a well thought out plan, and then measure it afterwards. So like after you’ve trained everybody then send out a similar or maybe even the exact same quiz that you benchmarked on. And then it’s like, and then you just figure out the delta between the two of them. And then taught like, there’s your Tada, moment. Like, we trained them. We got them to this point, like we saw an x percentage increase basically, and knowledge. That’s your impact, right? That’s where you’re starting to like feeling things. So I would say like, obviously, like, I don’t want to talk myself out of business by any means. But if those are like, the couple of steps that people could and should follow, that’s my process when I go in there.
Pete Thornton 30:00
Yeah, that’s fantastic. There’s a couple things. By the way, before I even there’s two things, and I’ll forgive them by doing this little side trail. But, but I’ve heard, you know, like you can you, you can give away the expertise and sell the execution, because that’s they, you know, because we have, we have all this information it’s ever rewear like, I’m really curious what’s gonna happen with AI? Because AI is like, cool, more data, and it is really cool data. Yeah, I think we’re gonna be in a world like six months or a year even where everybody’s like, Oh, that was amazing. But like, did anything change? Because were the actions taken? Because even though it seems simple to you, and the way you explained, it is very straightforward. Like it’s a fundamental like, but it’s not easy to do that. And the two things that were takeaways for me, were you did the benchmark assessment. I know you’re supposed to do the benchmark assessment. Yes, yeah, we are supposed to do that. It’s so hard to do that when you are trying to run to fix a problem to do the two cases mentioned. Yeah, one, find out where you’re running towards. I mean, that’s so fundamental. But again, difficult, because you do have to slow down to do it, and create something and get a benchmark before you, you know, so you can show an impact. So you can show the chasm app shows why
Stephanie Middaugh 31:17
that would be easy to overlook, like you just kind of like, you trip over your feet as you get running. And it’s very common, and I’ve seen it at a bunch of organizations that I’ve worked at, it’s like, we just need to solve the problem. Well, yes, I agree. We do need to solve the problem. But that problem like that underlying issue is going to bubble up in some other kind of way. If we don’t take a moment to like, just for like a second pause. And oftentimes leadership is so especially right now, and I get it, like, my heart goes out to them. And I understand why. But if you don’t solve the underlying problem, if you’re just solving the symptom, it will bubble up in some other way, shape, or form. And it’ll be worse, guaranteed, it’ll be worse when it bubbles up again. And it’s then you have to spend more time than you would have if you actually just took a second to just calm down, like, you know, solve the, like condition, like not the symptom, like the actual like, what’s going on? What’s wrong?
Pete Thornton 32:24
Yeah. Yeah, it makes sense to me. The third thing, I guess it was the third thing, maybe it was only the second thing, we want to talk about the one time training, and I was like, Yeah, I saw a stat fairly recently, and I was blown away by it. Because you know, that, like, if you teach something one time, a lot of it will go away, because it’s just one doesn’t matter. Like with students I had there, they call it Bloom’s Taxonomy. You have to like, yeah, teaching like six, seven different ways to forget what it was, thank goodness, I’m forgetting. And but it’s like so many different ones for every single contract. Like, the mitochondria is the powerhouse of the cell classics. The one thing I remember, but you needed, they had to, like, do a little diagram, they had to like create their 3d thing out of Styrofoam. They had to like, what kind of candy would mitochondria look like? If it was a candy, right? And I’ll take like, these kids are driving and stuff like these are
Stephanie Middaugh 33:16
like to do like seven times or something like that before? And they’re Yeah,
Pete Thornton 33:20
and they’re locked in the classroom all day, you have a captive audience. You’re not doing it remotely, you’re not doing it and all these other mechanisms. So yeah, the one time training anyway, the statistic was 87% last 30 to 90 days later on a one time 87% Mattis. Yeah. So how do you combat that piece of, you know, update? Oh, right there because I again, that blew my mind.
Stephanie Middaugh 33:46
Yeah, it’s like 100%. So if you haven’t, you haven’t heard of it before. It’s called the forgetting curve. And it is basically exactly what you’re talking about, or even 24 hours after, like, you give a training or something like that, like, it’s the drop off is drastic of the amount of knowledge that people just like forget. So for me one thing that I tried to do, and like I am by no means perfect at any of this, like I’m always getting better. And I’m always striving to do better but like one micro learning or just kind of like bite sized learning is important. I’ve been referencing it. It’s kind of like a marketing drip campaign almost for learning as well or just kind of like, it should have it depending on the initiative. It should have been like a big kind of Yes, like a shake moment of you need to pay attention to this methodology product really like whatever it is, if it’s big enough that you need to require a behavior change from your reps. You do need some kind of large training event, but then you need to follow it up with reinforcement. So you need to do some kind of Bite Size training. You need to do kind of the like the marketing drip campaign like I just referenced is kind of this idea of Have in Slack and an email newsletter in a sales weekly all hands in the managers like Team weekly team meeting with their teams, it’s just like, a little like little nuggets dropped kind of on these and we get we all get those emails from different companies that we sign up with, they’re keeping you warm, they’re keeping their brand top of mind for you so that when, like I get, I get these emails from Michael’s like craft stores all the time. So when I know I need to like, oh, I need to get something kind of crafty, I’ll just go to Michael’s because they’re top of mind. For me, it’s the same kind of idea of just like, keep your learning if you will top of mind for them, and deliver it in different kinds of ways so that people can absorb it and different in the ways that they learn best written format, auditory, and like a podcast, he kind of format like we’re doing here, video, you can send like a video on Slack. So like you can do it in a couple of different modalities. And then the other thing that I’ve also leveraged in my past is I call them like memory anchors. So doing something kind of corny, something kind of fun with the learning to where they may not remember exactly what I said, however, they remember like Stephanie had me do this weird puzzle game or something like that. That was kind of stupid and fun. Oh, yeah. And she was also talking about methodology and because other than just kind of like breadcrumb trails that together. So like, if you’re able to incorporate a number of different things, and don’t make it a heavy lift for them. You know what I mean? Like, so break it up, make sure you’re delivering it in different kinds of formats, make chunk it out for them as well. But make it as impactful and as important as you possibly can basically.
Pete Thornton 36:46
Yeah, that’s fantastic. All the terminology. It’s so funny, because it does, like I’m having a flashback just because you’re saying like, Oh, is that was an education major, or whatever it was. And then like, even when you say don’t get out and like to chunk it out, they love that they love that education. Yeah, yeah. It’s because it’s a great idea.
Stephanie Middaugh 37:03
Yeah, and make sure that you’re actually making it that’s one learning that I’ve actually had just like really quickly too, is that make it applicable to what they’re doing to so like, take it out of the methodology, the principal, and say like, okay, so if you put this process into place, right now, like in this account that you’re working, this is what it looks like, like, don’t be afraid to serve it up to them on a silver platter. Because to be honest with you like, yes, sales reps should know better. Like, that’s the term I keep here. And I usually just use quotations with my fingers on that one. They should know better. They’re experienced, they’re mature, they’re professional, like, yes. However, if you want something to stick well enough, like some people do need that example. So like for me, if you hand me like a blank canvas, and you tell me to build something or create something, I am lost, I am completely lost. Like I don’t have that kind of ability. But if you give me an example of what it looks like, I can actually take that and bounce ideas off of it like, Oh, I didn’t like the way that this truck was structured. But I liked the format or the layout or something like that. And then I can go and create my own thing. That’s what you’re doing. You’re not necessarily doing the work for them. You could be sparking creativity in how they can actually apply it to their own routine.
Pete Thornton 38:16
Yeah, I’ve got a practical thing to add to that. Because it plays like Yeah, as far as a resource goes. And this is always plugged in for Gong just because it kind of saved my hide at a specific juncture when I could not keep up with other resources, nor could my team work on hiring fast enough. And we’re able to kind of take Gong snippets and backtrack them into things and create ongoing snippets. Yeah, even in training bits, you can get so much from a 32nd to like, 92nd Gong snippet of customer interaction with a good rep and point towards like, hey, that’s kind of what we’re looking for. You can do it in bad ways like, Hey, don’t do this, although so scathing. It’s just like, don’t make a live video, right? So on that part, what could have been done better? Like,
Pete Thornton 39:02
The examples are so foofy. It’s like, like, Alright, here’s how a cold call should go like even roleplay, even though it’s better than nothing, for sure. And definitely a good practice, like seeing what happened on a customer call. And knowing what that persona was. That’s a cool way. So we started embedding those things into the trainings and it could just be one little blip and it always kind of like, got the head nod after that, like, oh, that’s Yeah,
Stephanie Middaugh 39:24
we actually we did that the gal on my team at my last organization, we took over the sales team meeting and we did that exact thing of every single week she had, it was like max of a 32nd Gong snippet that she would pull out she would like scrape through Gong every single week. God bless her she spent so much time on it and then she would break it up into like 5-10 minutes like even that 30-second clip she would break it up into like these little even these little snippets within that short clip. And she plays it and then pauses it and then asks for the reps to like, give some feedback and then like to play the next piece. And then pause it, and then she would give her take on it. And it was. It’s just a moment in time, but it is so valuable if you’re no longer just giving them kind of the frameworks, you’re actually giving them real stuff that they can implement.
Pete Thornton 40:17
Yeah, it’s so cool. It’s cool. Because it’s like a coaching film at that point like you’re working with. Yeah, yeah, absolutely. Okay, I still do for way too long. Like, I’m looking at the time right now going like, oh, yeah, this is probably gonna go over. But it’s so I’ll knock them off. And let’s just do the good one. Yeah, we’d like to know, because this is, for some context before the question. folks that come on the podcast are typically like sales and enablement leaders. Now you are a founder, and you have founded enablement organizations. Now you’ve got your own organization. So it’s kind of an interesting bit about this. So if you had to choose one, what would your favorite leadership moment be?
Stephanie Middaugh 40:58
Yeah. So I’m actually going to pull like, for me, it was a leader who I had admired. But then luckily got the chance to work with like twice. Hilary Hadley, who most recently worked with her for a brief moment at zoom. When I worked with her during my time at all tricks. She is just a guru when it comes to sales operations. Anyway, I met up with her for dinner one night, when we were kind of like, in between organizations. And she, I had said something about wanting to just kind of like, get my brand out there. But I wasn’t quite like, who’s gonna listen to me? Like, what do I have to say, I don’t have a lot of experience. And she had offered to have me included if she was speaking at a conference, she’s like, Well, do you want to speak at this conference with me? And I was like, Are you serious? Like, why would you do that? Like, I’m no buddy. And she’s like, Well, why would you think that what you have to say isn’t worth anything to anybody else? Like, you know what you’re talking about? Do you have good insights to share? Like, why wouldn’t you kind of believe in yourself. And it was just this moment of she was at that point, like a previous pry like prior leader to me, but I admired her and looked up to her so much, and I still do. It’s just one of those moments where she just gave me permission to believe in myself, which sounds so weird, but it was, it was this incredibly well done, like just, she’s an amazing woman and amazing professional. And she was like giving me permission to like, believe in myself. And it was the best thing that could ever happen to me. And like, honestly, like, that’s what propelled me to, like, go out on my own and believe that I can actually stand up enablement functions. It’s what just propelled I would say, like, it changed the direction I would say, or the trajectory of my career, and like, how I saw myself as a professional woman. Oh, that’s my favorite leadership moment for like me personally is like, getting kind of like that. So don’t ever believe that what you say to other people, like doesn’t matter, because you never know the impact that something that you could say has on somebody or like the profound kind of, you know, whatever. So long winded. There we go.
Pete Thornton 43:07
That’s cool. That’s cool. And you need that? Oh, my gosh, you need that whenever you go into new uncharted territories, yes. That they don’t have college courses for that. You’re sitting there like, oh, I tried to fire like, you can’t like it. At some point. You just have to like, yeah, stop and believe in it. So it’s really nice when somebody who you trust says it, because your brain can turn off the filter that says Do I need to interrogate this statement or not? When it’s somebody right, that it passes, right through to like, I don’t know, whatever it is that actually makes you act and feel good about it. And it’s just, it’s just that trust in them. So okay, Hillary Headley. Thank you. I think we’ve gotten a lot. A lot from your pat on the back on one dinner or whatever. That’s awesome.
Stephanie Middaugh 43:50
Yeah. Awesome. Well, thanks for having me.
Pete Thornton 43:54
Yeah. Thank you so much. Thanks, Stephanie. This is amazing. Can’t wait to roll this out to your audience as well. And then, and then I can’t wait to kind of like take some of those things you’re talking about and like, Yeah, remember, don’t forget, get that assessment in there. Remember where we’re headed? This was not just a good 16 year old science student like these are good ideas. Yeah, SWOT analysis, the whole nine. Anyway, this has been a blast. I love it. Thank you very much on behalf of the SaaS ramp audience as well. Yeah, thanks.