Enablement Without Empowerment Is Impactless

with Chris Jackson,

Field & Channel Enablement and Strategic Initiatives, Genesys

If you’ve ever wondered how enablement can best happen through partnerships, this episode is for you. Pete is joined by Chris Jackson from Genesys, who shares eye-opening enablement moments and challenges from his personal experience so you can better lead your team.
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Key topics in today’s conversation include:

  • How Chris got his start (1:27)
  • Defining partnerships (6:33)
  • What Chris does today (10:26)
  • Eye-opening enablement moments (15:03)
  • Challenges of big-company enablement (18:35)
  • Activation and how to improve it (31:17)
  • Advice for aspiring managers (36:02)


The SaaS(ramp) Podcast explores how tech leaders scale from product adoption to enterprise success. Learn more at www.saasrampmedia.com.


Pete Thornton 0:00
All right, welcome everybody to The SaaS(ramp) Podcast. I’m your host, Podcasts Pete. Awesome guest today. I cheated already know him very, very well. We’re gonna try to pretend like we don’t know Chris Jackson, Field and Channel Enablement and Strategic Initiatives manager at Genesys. Welcome to show, Chris.

Chris Jackson 0:23
Thank you. I’m excited to be here. So it’s been a long time coming long.

Pete Thornton 0:29
We had the precast. As always, I talked about this all the time. It’s like where you have like an episode before you film an episode. And like, it’s just as enlightening, but nobody gets to hear about it. So I just another plug for the pre-pass for anybody out there doing a podcast who wants a differentiator on it. That’s your free idea of the day.

Chris Jackson 0:46
That’s my new business idea to start a pre-fast ultimately played the beginning.

Pete Thornton 0:52
Watch his LinkedIn profile to change here shortly, folks, Chris Dawson at Genesys. So I know Chris for a long time now, like when I moved from education into technology, we had started at the same organization in the same role, similar timeframe. He had a lot different background, of course than I did coming out of education. But maybe that’s the place to start, like letting everybody know, like you being in partnerships at this type of organization. And then they’ll understand a little bit more about what to do later in the life. Where do you get your start? How’d it weave?

Chris Jackson 1:25
Absolutely, yeah, so if rewinding come today, and so you mentioned education, so I will go back that in 2011. I was a technology teacher at a K to five elementary school. So I would say my first real Tech experience was teaching kindergarteners about true or false in the North Carolina lesson plan curriculum. But using computers, it’s sort of like the, you know, the, the gold mag, it’s you listen, we can play our computer. So. But anyways, yeah, that was my first tech job in Charlotte, North Carolina. So from Charlotte, we’re now in Chattanooga, Tennessee. So I moved back from Charlotte, originally from Alabama, but moved back from Charlotte, North Carolina to Chattanooga, Tennessee. And probably two years after being here, I knew I wanted to get into technology just from interest. And so I was able to get a job as a sales engineer at sine x. And sine x was digital signatures. So electronic signatures, but they kind of focus more on heavily compliance. So financial services, healthcare, anywhere, there was more red tape, to have something be considered for technology around digital signature, especially at the time DocuSign was plugging along. And so was like EchoSign, and all those, but we kind of a little bit of like a niche around heavily compliant industries. But there I was a sales engineer. So I was the demo guy. And through doing all the demos, you get more, I guess, shots on go talking through APIs and integrations. And instead of me wanting to be more technical, I was more interested in what we could do through integration with partners. So that’s kind of where my partner I guess, passion for partners, if you will, but as for that first started to, to grow, so I was way more interested in what our product looked like when it was plugged into another technology it just did. What it did to my brain was like, it made work really, really fun. And so after probably a year and a half being a sales engineer, our company was growing. And they said they need somebody to go work with partners. And that’s when I made the official jump into the Carter organization. And assign X was really more partner account management. So the joint marketing clarens Little bit of partner enablement, but a lot of like the like with any integration partner, a lot of its working on the integration, kind of acting like a project manager to make sure their dev team has what they need, our dev team has with the heat and then working with the business development side to start Creek planning, marketing and business development.

Pete Thornton 4:06
It’s really ended like the way that all comes together because it is like there are the marketing aspect development aspects. And then you actually have like, kind of like the business developments. He’s like all these things like it’s very, like multifaceted wear that shirt knows.

Chris Jackson 4:20
And it’s funny, too. There were obviously things that I really wanted to be doing with partnerships, but because of where we were in the process, a lot of that initial build work is it’s tough, like it’s, you know, because it’s a lot of contingent upon other people’s bandwidth. And so you want to go out and just start demoing the joint solution but you have to be patient and make sure one gets built is really good and sellable. But, but it was still great partner experience because I’m talking to huge companies like I remember going out to Washington State to meet with walk them. Now. They were like sort of the leader in tablets at the time. I think they were the first Technology in the Microsoft Surface, it like the technology to draw with your finger. And so they were the innovators in that sense that I’m, you know, meeting with their VPS at a table talking about how we integrate our technology into there. So it was those discussions and experience was priceless to get to do that.

Pete Thornton 5:22
Was that a different conversation than the kindergarteners? You just level it up a bit.

Chris Jackson 5:25
Like, I mean, it’s very similar. And it said that it but yeah, it’s just a bit more, a bit more technical, I would say.

Pete Thornton 5:32
I forgot about your education, tech background and stuff like that. And like, the last two people I spoke to, in the enablement space, regardless of whether it’s like, go to market or like, kind of like, well, they’re both in the market, but like, the different takes on it like yours through the partnership lens, for sure. They’d have an education background and stuff. And they’re like, do you know, it’s surprisingly shockingly similar? But yours is just like the, you know, when you take it all the way to kindergarten level, you’re like, I wonder how close that becomes? That’s a different podcast. It’s very similar. So you transition and that’s where we pick up a little bit more, because you came straight from sine x into square. Maybe, what’s the, what’s the squid partnership ecosystem look like? Because that’s a bit of a different take on it. Partnerships is like enablement. It means so much to so many different people. So, yeah, the next reason these experiences and probably important.

Chris Jackson 5:33
Yeah, so moving to squid really go in there. So the opportunity to work with partners at some point, but I know when I first got there was some distance development. But then seven months later, I got to sort of run with the partners. And so we had so much activity going on. And the type of partners, squid was running into the most was consulting partners that were really building businesses, around services, implementing Salesforce. And so at the time, squits product was sort of a good catalyst for them to plug in and build services around it as well. So it was almost like another tool they could play in for a customer to help them build better experiences. But also it would sort of uncover more services, ancillary work they could start doing. And they really wanted those services ours. So when we first started working with those partners, a lot of it was trying to understand what makes a good partner, because you’re at that point, when you’re that small, you’re almost like, we just, we need volume, we need more partners in our ecosystem, just so we have, you know, more feet on the street, promoting our product and things like that, I think in hindsight, I would have focused more on who should get in, like, what’s the ideal partner profile, things you do either with your customer, sometimes it’s you don’t want to sell a customer, your technology, if they’re gonna sail and not be successful. The partner program should have been saying when. And so what we were doing read the beginning was really focused a lot on like business development, like, Let’s do account planning, let’s do all this. But I would say, four to five months in life, pretty soon after, because it’s a tough one-person job to manage. I think at the time, we had 30 partners, and it was just in meetings all the time. But what I sort of uncovered really quickly was like, Oh, the only way this will work, it’s third enable, like, we can do the best business plans that you could think of, we could do marketing together, we could do joint parties, which we did, like at Dreamforce, and stuff like that. But if they’re not able to, you know, a sell them position our product, but then, you know, be more importantly, it’s Glue as technical enablement, as they can implement it correctly and set the customer up, you know, not only for like, initial success, but ongoing, how can they continue to realize innovation in the future? If they’re not set up to do that, then I’m wasting my time with business plans. So it kinda like unearthed itself to me that I was like, oh, man, like enablement is the thing. Like, that’s what’s gonna make or break this thing.

That’s interesting. So that’s how you backed into enablement. Everybody seems to here and that was one like the mechanism right there.

Yeah. I think literally, like the next two years that I was at squid-like, that’s what I was doing. I was meeting with TFS team to talk about what should the ideal enablement journey look like? Because I think from a sales perspective, when I found that you always, there’s more low-hanging fruit from a sales perspective. Because, you know, they need the right message. They need to be able to qualify and assess customers, but it’s quick, particularly because the product was so technical, a lot of what they needed, I would say 70% of the need was around the post-sale, how do they implement correctly integrated, all that good stuff. And so a lot of my time was cross-functional meetings trying to get the support to build out the ideal partner very enable To enable them correctly. And so, yeah, once that became once I saw it, I couldn’t unsee it, if that makes sense.

Pete Thornton 10:08
This way, in a good way this time, it’s good way. Yeah. Like it was sort of the lightbulb. Yeah. enablement journey. Okay. Yeah. Very familiar with that. And then it’s, and then maybe that brings us into present day. So yeah, I’d love to know what you’re doing. Now, I know, that’s been sort of a journey. So anything you want to share?

Chris Jackson 10:26
Yeah, and I’m really grateful to for all the sort of the funny moments at the companies where I look back and be like, That was silly, we did that. But I am, like, truly grateful for the things I’ve learned at every place. I just want to, because I can make fun of my whole company, sometimes just to be like people you could have this way. But at the time, it’s like, it’s like business school, like free business school. And so present day and the Genesys. And so Genesys is customer experience software. And so you think, like a contact center that has agents that handle large call volumes, they need a system, a screen, a good software to manage calls, coming in chats, on the website, all of these different interaction points. But then at the same time, they want to provide a super simple, easy customer experience to hopefully delight customers and not make them feel, you know, exhausted, like I just gave this person my information, not meant to do that again, right? Genesis is all about making that customer journey, just a seamless experience. And so, so yeah, so I came to Genesys from squid as a partner enablement manager. And so joining the global partner program team, I was the only per se focused on enablement. As like my, sort of my pillar of focus now is my initiative was to understand first, what are we doing globally, because Genesys today it’s close to 7000 Floyd’s and they’re Yeah, they’re all the major Geo, so APAC, amela, Tam, North America. And they have a lot of partners across the globe, I think. Back in 2019, I joined close to 1200 farmers at the time, and we have way more than that today in 2022. But so my first sort of approach to enablement, cuts, doing it at squid over 170 person company is very different here, because it wasn’t that people were waiting around for somebody to say how to do it. Everybody was going. So every region had different enablement, sort of flavors, if you will, which some of that is good because we need to localize content, certain processes. Like you have certain regulations that certain countries, certain clouds aren’t available, you know, things like that may dictate different enablement, processes, but my sort of initial finding was that 75% of this enablement journey for partners should be consistent. Okay. You should know, the stages they’re in from near from for onboarding to what the, you know, the letter looks like. And yet when you join the program, to you know, identifying salespeople, pre-sales people, you know, picking out all the percentage and then putting them on their journey to make sure they’re on a good path to becoming naval that that was sort of the initial take Flood’s. There needs to be a consistent partner, the woman journey. So that enablement becomes more predictable. And it’s not the sporadic, you know, let’s see where you are. Okay, next, let’s do this. Right. So I think that that was kind of a theme that came out of that was this predictability of it helps partners to know what to expect to say, Hey, this is how we’re going to start. This is, you know, here’s a milestone to know that we’re doing the right things from a sales perspective. And these are the trainings you take, this is the deal registration number, we should kind of see, here’s your pipeline number we should see all that stuff sort of helped. Some of the stuff like you talked about with like job done and stuff, there was little markers to know, yeah, we’re on the right path to enable a partner.

Pete Thornton 14:07
What that is actually looking like. So you had to kind of like, like smaller hypergrowth like SaaS startup experiences, followed by like a more mature it’s not like it was SAP at whatever, 150,000 employees but it’s certainly a different experience moving into Genesys at 7000 A lot of the go-to-market leaders that are in these kind of getting into like our audience here is is around like they almost go the opposite direction they’ve seen you know what it looks like at this and then they’re coming back to see if they can grow it to that point again. Yeah, maybe at the series B level or something like that. So when you flash forward, like what were your—especially in this first role at Genesys—what were the big eye-opening moments like Oh, I was doing this here at this place? Like what is the difference in the challenge when you flash forward like that?

Chris Jackson 14:58
Yeah. I like question because I definitely when I was, within my first year at Genesys, that was like something I kept thinking about, I kept looking back. And like I wish I had known, even in the first six weeks at Genesys, I was like, wish I’d known these three things. They could have been game changers over Yeah, even something operational and not even like, flashing. But yeah, I think the amount of technology and systems that were at our disposal at Genesys versus smaller. Now, it’s such a big deal at a small company to pick a solution. That’s like an enablement solution. So whether it be an LMS, or a CMS, or even a CRM, right, those are such big company, why everybody seals it, I was thinking about getting software. And then I come in to Genesys, and it’s like, oh, we have four project management tools, pick the one you want to eat, like just project made it right. So you, we had all these things, but from their neighborhood perspective, what was amazing is that we, we found out pretty sad, in your in 2019, that we didn’t really have our own sort of partner LMS lens, you were sort of sharing the internal training academy with partners where it made sense. So we were because we had the right technology, we could No, we could Ida and create this partner experience to create a training platform for them based on the roles that were created in the program. So like sales, pre-sales success, PS support, and we could create role-based training.

Pete Thornton 16:33
Was that just a change in content that you wanted to create? Or was it like, like, literally a different portal, like another way like you gave them another door to come into, like it was more externally facing versus internal?

Chris Jackson 16:47
Yeah. So it was more externally facing. So it was essentially leveraging the same LMS we had, but just essentially creating like a new profile with dinette that was partner facing with a totally different experience that came in because we knew, and I guess to go back to your question, like, that was just one of the really, I guess, big positive things was yes, we have sort of more just having the more resources to do more, like being able to get technology. And honestly, in my case, already having it in the door, it’s just being able to look at, you know, what are the actual needs of our partners from an e-learning perspective. And then we already had the tool to do it. And so, you know, my, my past smaller companies, it would have been, it’d be great to do this in a technology, but this just, it’s gonna have to be a keynote, you know, and I’m going to be the one delivery, which is scary and awesome.

Pete Thornton 17:45
Okay, so that’s cool. So like it set up, it just needs to be like you have tools that you’re you have the clay in just gonna mold it a slightly different way. But then, as I recall from certain transitions I’ve made from again, similar smaller companies into a much larger organization. I used to walk over and tap on somebody’s like laptop or something like, what are you doing there? Can you explain that, and all of a sudden, I was finding myself in like teams or slack, almost like internally prospecting and trying to find answers within your own company. So that was one of the challenges I experienced when I went to advise a company. What challenges did you find at Genesys that were going to be different than these previous companies? What did that look like at a big company?

Chris Jackson 18:30
Yeah, I think my brain was starting to go there before you said that. There was a lot of challenges. I think one because I was in person at a small company, and then went remote at a huge company. And so just being self-motivated, as a person kind of saves you. Right. But to your point, yeah, lets you do a lot of internal prospecting, new, almost cold chat. People are. In addition, because unluckily like our systems, you can see org charts to figure out, you know, like, a good example is I pretty early on needed a report created. And this is before I knew, hey, when you need to because in my onboarding, there was no session on the report, she will go to this team. So that was just like one of those things that aren’t an onboarding, but I needed to know. And so probably one month, two months, then I’ve tried to get something created to show partner data, what they’re consuming, what the taking all that stuff. And I think I spent a full business weeks going and getting passed around, only to come back to lay on the actual team. And we had a team of five Like, it wasn’t like, I had the source to like, hundreds of people on my team. So that was one of those realizations where I was like, oh, yeah, that’s what people talk about where it’s, it’s hard to navigate a big company. But I will say like, firstly, I need to know that I’m being helpful. And so as we have grown On the company onboarding, I always reach out to let the new people know my case, you need help setting up your cell phone. I have the stuff saved on my laptop later and send it to me really, I’ve struggled with getting my cell phone connected. That’s I mean, you know, it’s not a big deal. But it was, you know, I’m alone in Chattanooga, this big company, and I’m like, I can’t even figure out cell phones anymore. Like, how am I going to be good at it? Like, that’s the self-talk I had, you know, right. Feeling that way. Now, when new people start, I always bring in cell phone thing.

Pete Thornton 20:34
That’s a very simplistic thing. But like, when you want to talk about culture, or something like that, or even like your personal brand of what kind of culture you want to bring to somebody else, like even that little thing, like, Hey, I found this to be very difficult. Are you is RingCentral uploaded appropriately? Like, however, like, what a high res it? Yeah, that’s a nice little tip as well, something like makes just make sense. And lightning is more needed. Because, you know, previous organization was sharp, they won, everybody’s right there. And then outcome, the business cards as you like, walk through the gauntlet of love and things like that. Now, all of a sudden, you’re like, in your guest bedroom, you know, four cities away, at closest chef? For sure house? What about your like the kind of people you’re engaging with your actual customers? Again, small company, like we would have those partners come in, we would host we would jointly market parties, like at Dreamforce, like you mentioned, and now there’s going to be many, many more of them. You’re more disconnected from it, even though you have more tools and momentum and headway kind of moving in favor of the company. But like, what are some of these places? Like how do you connect with these folks? Like how do you actually offer out the content and make it make sense?

Chris Jackson 21:43
Yeah, so now I have kind of in a unique position now, because if you fast forward to today, I do still help enable partners, I’m filled in channels. So it’s also internal. But my main customer is one of our cloud business units. So I support them as an engagement manager. So it’s kind of the weekly, you know, Cadence looks like me meeting with product managers to understand the innovation of things that are coming out on releases, things that will impact the way we position and sell the product, things that will put us in a good position with competitors. So part of my audience is PMS. So I’m supporting his product manager. I also depend on product marketing, because they’re essentially trying to filter through of you 160 product releases going on? What are the ones that are really going to impact sellers? Where’s the terminal and how they sell a product? And also any commercial impacts like this has changed? Or price? Could sellers make money off of this thing? So PMM helps filtered through a lot of that. And that’s who I align with to understand what are the priorities. And so then my end customer, if you will, is our field sellers. Right? Over 700 of those and our partners, which the mentioned 1500 Plus partners with multiple sellers, the one and so that that’s really who I’m thinking about what we’re trying to create not just what enablement topics are needed, right? Because as an engagement person, as part of my role is to engage the business unit and understand what are the enablement priorities while also bouncing known gaps, right? We need to update existing elearning Zoar. A pitch deck is outdated because we’ve changed best, right? There’s always that light cycle of refreshing content that’s in there, no one’s new. But the big thing our team is looking at is what’s the end experience look like for sellers. And so not just creating a pitch decK, because there’s a need that we have a consistent message Oh, and talked about our stuff. But how should that pitch decK show up? And sellers daily work? Right? If it’s hidden away in a system that they rarely go to, then it’s not super helpful, right? So it’s kinda like, we’ve talked about this before, I think in the pre-meeting, right? It’s, it’s kind of trying to move away from quarter-taking enablement to say, oh, there’s a need for this asset, let’s create it and put it where it goes, whether that seismic high spot wherever, right? Like, that’s not really enabler, right? That’s, that’s taking it or somebody needs this created, let’s do it and put it where it goes. So the enablement is really going to happen, you know, as you activate that asset. And I think activating that is just like an awareness level of that right? sellers need to be aware that there’s a new enablement asset, but that’s not all that right because I think a lot of times we stopped with an email, Hey, cells, don’t forget new pitch deck, click this link to go to wherever, you know. Definitely I feel like is some of what we’ve done in the past, not just where I’m at now, but other companies. So it’s like the next step is started to provide more context around the content. Talk about that constantly.

The LTC. It no longer means carbon copy on an email.

Yes, let it be known. And so contact context is I think a lot of times what’s missing like in our system, you know, we have an area where when you’re looking at an asset, see a description, or you can see instructions. And that’s good, right, because you can not just see a pitch deck, but you can see when you might use it, because it and my company now, we may have 12 pitch decks for the same product, because you may start at a high level, and then you find out oh, this is more of an IT persona. So you may then branch off to another deck, and then you find out oh, they’re really interested in our API’s, or they’re really interested in a specific use case. So there’s this branch that sellers have to follow. So to just dump those pitch tags out system, it would never work, especially at a company our size with complex products that have that sort of hierarchical messaging that slows down and who you’re talking to. So we have to focus on seller experience. And so one of the people I work with a lot, is that enablement Experience Manager. So their focus is really looking at modality, who’s, and how should that show up? Sort of in the larger picture for the seller, right in their journey. So not just that it lives that seismic, we’re another CMS. But you know, what, how many clicks does it take them to get here? Oh, have they? How do they know when to use it and how to use it? Those are the types of things that we’re we’re focused on not just taking in the request, but then how do we build it into an experience and it may end up that this is something that should integrate into their CRM, and be more predictive. If you think about a seller going through the sales cycle, continue to bring in content for them the right time, based on the industry based on opportunity details, that to me is getting more into the thinking like a seller instead of thinking about a seller.

Pete Thornton 26:55
So this is has blown my mind. It’s not because it’s so you just like to say of course, like this is so practical, it makes so much sense. It’s like it’s taking whatever you typically do for your external customer journey, and you’re bringing in, and even the term seller experience like, it’s like, I mean, you’ve heard this as user experience like UX. So this would be self-experience like SX, and then the fact that there’s an enablement, Experience Manager, but like, who’s looking at like, when they need it? Where will they find it? And how will they what is their journey to get there in that digital world? And even the whole Steve Jobs like one click, like you used to have somebody like, trying to see what that journey might look like, all the way through? Yeah, that’s such an interesting piece. And then I guess, just to summarize a little bit further because it’s got such a good ring to it to content context, like, there are 12 decks here. Which one will you need, when and why? And like, not just having access? Because access is the first challenge, like when you’re moving zero to one, and hyper. And first of all, there are three decks, two of them are there just because they’re old? And the challenge is, which of these three should I use? Oh, use this one. And sorry, I forgot to give you permission to the Drive folder. Like that everybody is randomly creating, it’s such a different experience. Now you have 12, they’re all honed their smooth product, product marketing, put them together, but like, when would you use it? And why? And so those, those become the higher level questions, it sounds like, at a more mature org.

Chris Jackson 28:31
And we really start to say that context is really the enablement part. Right, because the other thing, the asset without it is really just an asset. Unless you’re going to make a seller feel empowered to go take that asset, use it, and leverage it, it’s just not going to have the impact that you want it to. And so I think that’s, that’s the key word I think we are focused on is, is empowerment, what is going to, how will this thing we just created, build confidence, and give a seller the ability to not just see the message and slide right but really feel like, and it doesn’t have to be slides, it could be a podcast, and Microsoft, right, any modality, whatever. But it’s, it’s really giving them that confidence to feel empowered to take like they’re, you know, they have personal selling skills they bring to your company. So give them the other stuff, right? empower them on the message to be able to qualify, assess the position, and do that with confidence. And you can’t do that with just blindly making them aware of an asset.

Pete Thornton 29:36
That’s interesting, in like a world that we you know, both previously lived in and kind of like more of like a, like a surfacing data type world like these would be actionable insights, perhaps Oh, for sure. We kind of love for that. And this is the idea of just making, like empowering users to utilize that asset whenever they when they’re actually, I guess, looking to do it. So because I hear this thing about enablement. drives me nuts. It’s obviously true. But it’s so tough to hear. Because you’re like, what does that mean? Can you break that down? Can you make that practical? And it’s like, enablement is giving people the right things, the right place the right time you like, Good? How’s about like, it? Course it is, but like, what does that look like? So this kind of like content context for the seller experience and then empowering them to go out and utilize it. That’s a little bit more of an understandable journey moving forward, for sure. You go through one more thing, too. And it was that round activation. So activation, the example you gave was trying to send out the email with the hyperlink. So yes, because that’s what happens, right? You’re like, or you’ll have a better system. And it’ll be a knowledge share, knowledge alert comes out, and it’s new. But there’s, there’s, there’s hardly like a funnel that you’re taking them through. Like, if it was a sales journey, it might be a top-of-funnel through sales stages, however, you’re meaning it. So in enablement, there’s usually just like a UVL that you’ve yelled at that we had because you creating the asset has taken all your time and effort. And you giving it to the field might be in one meeting or in one hyperlink. So what does that activation piece look like? How can we get better at that?

Chris Jackson 31:15
Yeah, I think that the email with the lake, so it’s like the poor man’s activation, it kind of feels like the minimum viable activation, if you will. And there could be some things like, Oh, the pricing list got updated, right. I know, it’s not like a perfect blanket statement. But I’m thinking like, you know, like a pitch deck with new messaging that marketing’s invested a lot of time in experts et Cie. So there’s some validity, it’s a message, an email saying this is our new pitch deck, check it out today is, you know, thinking about all the time and effort that went into creating that, and you know, it’s not, that doesn’t empower everybody. So one example of activation that we have now is we do have a new modality channels, it’s almost like sales, television, and Genesys. And so the whole claim is to have a real conversation with somebody from the field. And this is for both partners and internal sellers, and actually talk them through how something makes you money, and give real-life examples. So we may take the new pitch deck with messaging and break down a conversation with a prospect to talk about, you know, this was an IT buyers. So we, you know, we shipped it to this pitch deck. And they really liked we made the reference on this slide. Right. And so it’s hearing from your peers who actually adopted that asset. Right. So I think it kind of goes back to what I just said it quickly. Shifting from thinking about sellers to trying to think like them. So actually talking to partners, talking to sellers to learn like, when a new pitch deck comes out, what would be helpful? Do you want to hear marketing give an overview of how they did or do you wanna hear a seller who’s actually tried it out and hear their feedback? You could start to get the— And I’m gonna say every team is different, but generally talking to a handful of sellers on both sides will start to give you not just guesses. You can start to create that experience just a lot more geared towards what they actually want, not what you think they want. It’s also kind of your chance as an enablement person to sell your enablement. Your customer is the seller. You wouldn’t just send an email being like, ‘Here’s my product.’ You wanna demo it. You wanna make sure they understand the context, like we talked about.

Pete Thornton 33:46
Okay. So understanding that it’s like activation is like a sales cycle in itself. Like you mentioned discovery, now we’re demoing and we’re kind of like when you’re hoping to close that’s like whether they’re going to utilize the asset and then close themselves, for example.

Chris Jackson 34:01
And, and I think at most companies, you’ll find somebody who, just like, the life has left their eyes because they’ve created so much content. And it’s like, they’ve probably said 100 times it’s in the CMS. Yeah, there’s not cells just as a click on it. Right, I got some version of that quote, at a lot of companies where we do all this work, or whatever. And they’re almost like jaded towards us stuff, because we’ve tried, you know, but so I think, yeah, it’s I think it’s activations. A key, I think, usually a missing element. And I don’t think it takes a ton of effort. I think it just takes like, knowing and understanding who you’re enabling, how do they want to be communicated less when they see new types of movement, like new assets, what we’ve helped them start to take that and implemented and how they’re doing or they’re selling.

Pete Thornton 34:54
I love it. So you touched on a lot of things even from way back talking about priorities, like prioritization should come in through and then following up with some like how these assets might look and might be generated? And then how to activate like, these are these, you know, like, what is the Northstar goal? What are we trying to go for? Like, what? What mechanism might we want to create or offer in order to do that? And then you know, how can we empower them moving forward? So love the three-step. It’s man, we do this. And of course, it’s, of course, it’s that time only have one more for you. And maybe it can kind of like, like, encapsulate a little bit just because of this journey that you’ve gone through, like, personally, professionally over the course of your career. So and this, again, this could be in any realm whatsoever, whether it’s just like, oh, yeah, eat more vegetables, or all the way into some kind of like, professional like, you should have done this tip for yourself. 10 years ago, knowing what you know, now in your current role, or your current being, like, what would you have told yourself 10 years ago to kind of help you get to this point?

Chris Jackson 35:58
Yeah, great question. I wish I had been training for a marathon then before three kids because my time was my own the Bash time and start doing that. That’s personal. I think professional to it’s kind of like, the mindset I have now, I could take it but not even like the knowledge that just like the mindset, and like the starting place is just coming into work every day, if I could have taken that back, because I think my personality was like, I need more shots on goal. Before I can speak off Omega recommendations. This kind of not hesitancy to know. Like, my brains been the same 10 years ago today, the way I approach problems and think creatively. But I think I yeah, now I’ll make a recommendation about enable there. And I feel like oh, it’s because I’ve had 10 years of teaching to this, but I wish I’d had that, like, shot taking ability back then. Just because I think it’s kind of like trust your own unique perspectives, right? Don’t just feel like, Oh, well, I haven’t been doing this, like this other person in the room for 25 years. Yet. I mean, there’s some of that, yeah, it’s the type one versus type, whatever, you know, personality things, but it’s kind of that your unique perspective and viewpoint of it, he’s saying isn’t needed. And that’s what makes companies awesome is when they have more diversity of thought and idea, right? Yeah, I think I wish 10 years ago, I would have had is confident too afraid to have brought up certain ideas, approaches and strategies. But you know, me 10 years ago thinking I had a go to market strategy. worth anything was like, Ooh, not yet, Chris, get it? And we didn’t talk about it. Because like, yeah, you’re no money’s got her thoughts that you so the company needs.

Pete Thornton 37:58
Okay. So you gave two pieces of advice there. You’re like, hey, train for a marathon before you have three kids was the first one. And then the second one is like, take your shot, like trust your gut, essentially, like even early on, you could kind of say that those are the you can kind of say that those are the same thing. You’re like, hey, look, I’m doing this now. And it’s, and it’s like, it’s the same or harder than doing this, then I guess they’re on she’s like you screwed up. But I liked that. Because it is it is one of those things like you have this like intuition and a gut feel for things that I guess the confidence grows by experience. But like, and the skill set, of course, will but if you’ve got a gut instinct on maybe what you should be recommending, just go ahead and speak up. Just go ahead and put it out there to see if you can gather some feedback on it, or at least know you took your shot.

Chris Jackson 38:46
For sure. And I think like you coming in for education. I was the technology when I first joined I think that’s the hot I just got here. I could surely I don’t have an idea yet.

Pete Thornton 38:58
I can’t even set up my cell phone. So guys, I don’t know if you’re gonna get help to him as well. So yeah, two weeks later. Yeah. That’s fantastic. Yeah, appreciate it. It’s just a pleasure. As always, I get these insights to decide left, right and sideways. This is the person within a group of really close colleagues from the former organization here was like, tell me something. It’s a good idea and smart. And so we’ll come to CJ, we’ll come to Chris Jackson. So thanks for sharing the audience today.

Chris Jackson 39:28
Yeah, man. It’s great talking to you. I hope to be back. I hope I earned a spot back someday, Pete’s Podcast.

Pete Thornton 39:37
The next one, I’m secretly turning it on at the beginning. And then when we finish talking about what the podcast should be about, I’m gonna turn it off and like, Trisha, it’s all over. That’s the free cast. We’re airing it. Take out all the curse words.

Chris Jackson 39:50
All right. You have to beat me to it though, because that’s my business ideas.

Pete Thornton 39:54
All right. Thanks so much. Fantastic.

Chris Jackson 39:58
Thanks, Pete.