Amy Noack is the Field and Customer Enablement Director at InsightSquared.  In this conversation with The Collaborator, she shared her experiences as a team of one Revenue Enablement practitioner, supporting customer success and the rest of the organization.  She included insights on:

1️⃣ The common approaches she is using for sales and customer success teams.

2️⃣ How she is leveraging conversation intelligence to provide examples for all teams to learn from.  A key point here to consider is that conversation intelligence is becoming table stakes for enablement teams.  If you are not. yet using it, add it to your 2021 tech list.

3️⃣ A reminder for enablement teams to align with all stakeholders on what enablement is, what it supports, and to build your charter to codify this.

Give a listen.

-The Collaborator

Audio Transcript

The Collaborator
For the people paying attention, Amy wasn’t able to join us last week because you lost your voice.

Amy Noack
Yes, we we get really bad allergies here in Central Texas. And they were extremely terrible last Friday. So I have my voice back, I would have been more of a Darth Vader than, than a normal person speaking. So

The Collaborator
if you’d want the helmet and all of that it would be wonderful. But otherwise, yeah. Do me a favor, tell us a little bit about who you are, where you work, and so on.

Amy Noack
Yeah, poor. So I’m, I’m the field enablement director for insight squared, I came to insight squared through an acquisition. So I worked for a company here in Austin called lono. We specialized in automated activity capture and guided selling. And we were acquired by insect squared as part of a broader strategy to develop a comprehensive robots platform. So our architecture is designed to scale and very quickly, we’re able to expedite our development. And so we’re innovating pretty quickly. And with that, you can imagine enablement is also moving at lightning speed. You know, so we really have to prioritize where where our field, you know, needs the most support. And the the platform has itself has evolved from a dashboarding tool to a six on one platform that includes things like forecasting and conversational intelligence. And so these are new and new areas for our team. And, you know, again, it’s kind of driving this swift movement to make sure that everybody is experts, when it comes to all of these different things.

The Collaborator
It’s wonderful, because we get to be at the center of all these crazy changes in whatever this is, we’re working fine.

Unknown Speaker
Yeah.

The Collaborator
You your background was in customer success, right? It was,

Amy Noack
um, it’s been a bit of a journey through through through different various various roles in software, but I do have some experience and customer success.

The Collaborator
Yes. How has that shaped, you know, sort of your approach to enablement there, that word?

Amy Noack
You know, I’m having walked in their shoes, I’ve experienced what it really feels like to be disconnected from a sales team or, you know, just go to market activities in general. And so it can become easy to find yourself in a more reactive place where you’re simply pushing renewal paperwork, or, you know, putting out escalations. And our CEO has really instilled this concept of one learning curve, and in fact squared. And so we’re all sellers, you know, we all receive the same level level of enablement.

The Collaborator
So that’s an interesting concept. I like that. I like that. Yes, yeah. I love that one learning curve. That’s right. And And literally, it just means everybody’s going through the same journey together. Is that is that really what it is?

Amy Noack
Mostly? Yes. Wonderful. Yeah, there are certain certainly going to be things here and there that are, you know, maybe more operationally focused to a specific function. But in terms of our go to market messaging, our value prop or the outcomes that our product solves for the entire company is going through the same enablement.

The Collaborator
Kudos to your CEO. I love that. I love that. I love that concept.

Unknown Speaker
Now, you’re a team of one. Yeah. Yeah.

The Collaborator
How? Which is, which is so common out there.

Unknown Speaker
Yeah. As I as I’ve seen, yeah, there’s

The Collaborator
so many enablement teams have won. And, and it makes it both fun and challenging and crazy, and all the other things that we all know so well, right. How do you support at where you are now? customer success?

Unknown Speaker
Yeah.

Unknown Speaker
Um,

Amy Noack
well, first and foremost, all training. You know, like I said, All training related to selling insight squared includes our seasons as well. Yep. So you know, logistically that makes things easier to scale enablement across both groups. But it also ensures that we’re all speaking the same language when we’re working with customers throughout their journeys with us. And so that’s one The second thing I do is I host a recurring meeting every week where I am only meeting with the CSM. So in those meetings, we’re doing things like call reviews, you know, role plays, objection handling. And although we do promote that one learning curve, like I said, the reality is that there are gonna be some things that need to be addressed a bit differently with CSM and so that our each week allows us to do that. And that’s

The Collaborator
interesting. So you do like IDs. You use the call recording technology to record the CSM calls as well and review them with them or with the sales calls or how does that actually

Amy Noack
work? So we’ve reviewed sales calls in CSM meetings. And vice versa, we’ve reviewed calls that our CEO has had with customers, anytime there’s a learning opportunity, even at some of our implementation kickoff calls. And you know, anytime there’s an opportunity to learn from a call, we we share it with the group.

The Collaborator
That’s really, really cool. Now, one of the questions I have for people using conversational intelligence tools, you know, the call recording and stuff like that, is what percentage of that and I know I didn’t prep you for this, but it always sparked my curiosity, how do you record enough of them, that you can capture enough information to share out and learn about what’s really going on? I really don’t know, Amy, I’m not using conversational intelligence tool by itself.

Amy Noack
Sure. So the way we do it, with our platforms, we automatically record all calls with customers. Yep, of course, you know, disclosing that, that we’re doing that in case any customer prefers that we don’t? Yeah, of course, the from there, what the tool does is it picks up the transcripts of those calls. And so if there are certain, you know, key words, topics, and questions, you know, things that the transcripts pick up, I can easily identify those calls and start there. And same thing in turn. Right, right. So like, it’s integrated with Salesforce. So I can focus on calls that are for opportunities there are in a specific stage. And so it allows you to be a little bit more targeted, and where you begin your kind of call reviews. And then we just pull snippets from the calls. And I’ll say, call reviews, it’s an investment when it comes to the amount of time you know, you spend doing that, that but at the same time, there are ways that you can scale it so that you’re really prioritizing which ones you’re listening to. I

The Collaborator
love that. Do you bring that into your onboarding program to do you have like, here’s our 50 best calls of all time. Hmm, yep. That’s cool. How do people react to that? And how do you actually use it? Do you do literally just play it back? And then break it down with them? Or how do you do that kind of,

Amy Noack
you know, the program itself is something that we’re currently kind of building out. But interestingly,

Unknown Speaker
yeah,

Amy Noack
yeah. The the last, you know, handful of people that have started at insight squared have actually asked for this. I just got an email a few days ago from a new rep, that’s going to be working with us effective next week asking for calls he can start listening to. So I think it’s, you know, becoming a little bit more standard as part of the onboarding process.

The Collaborator
Yep. Acting and now. Yeah,

Unknown Speaker
yeah.

The Collaborator
Talk to me a little bit. So what I love the fact that everybody’s on the same learning journey more or less, I love the fact that you’re breaking down different calls with all the teams are your CS, or your customer success managers responsible for the upsell, cross sell all of that?

Amy Noack
Yeah. So we’ve recently shifted into a model where our CSM are owning more upsell, cross sell opportunities. Interesting.

The Collaborator
Yeah, always a religious debate when I talk to people.

Amy Noack
Let me let me tell you kind of where, where our our thinking is. So we’re very focused right now on not selling a product for features alone. And what I mean by that is we really want our prospects and our customers to understand the outcomes that our platform can solve for. Yep. And those conversations don’t stop when the paperwork is signed, right, discovering customer pain, and helping them solve those challenges is something that’s ongoing, which is why we really want our CSM to own the retention and the growth of their customers. You know, of course, that does drive some additional enablement that has to be prioritized, which we’re doing. But but at the same time, we feel like it’s the most effective strategy to ensure that our customers are seeing value from the tool.

The Collaborator
That’s cool. Have you had any feedback from the customer base itself, since you’ve made that shift? Like we’re getting better information? or different or

Amy Noack
good question, we the feedback that we’re getting right now is more suited around the unique positioning that we’ve got as part of our go to market, kind of, you know, starting up conversations about things that people maybe weren’t thinking about before. So we use the term advanced sales math, but you know, are you thinking about your sales math? Are you thinking about, you know, the profile of a perfect opportunity, and then taking whatever happened to close that deal? and reinforcing and across your organization? And so, you know, I think that that having those types of conversations right now, more strategic conversations are where we’re getting the most feedback. And to my knowledge, we haven’t received any feedback. Around, you know, my CSM didn’t really know how to sell, you know or already

The Collaborator
my CSM will stop calling me more like well let me ask you this so because I’m really curious if it’s okay me when you do those hour long CSM, you know, weekly meetings, you talked about call recordings. What other sorts of enablement activities do you do for the team? nausea yonder?

Amy Noack
Yeah, yeah, call reviews and role playing. And we’ve we’ve done role playing where we we actually have our CEO calm and be a CEO, you know, are playing the part of the CIO and, you know, have our citizens practice. And things are moving so quickly that if if we roll some sort of new message out, or we will, you know, anything out, and where we feel like there’s a lot of questions or, you know, reinforcement that’s needed, we’ll use that opportunity to kind of discuss as a smaller as a smaller unit. And objection handling,

Unknown Speaker
you know, so

Amy Noack
here’s some objections you’re coming up against,

The Collaborator
you know, let’s walk, I love that I’m hearing the dog back there.

Unknown Speaker
No, that’s part of the

Amy Noack
living working from home. It’s so common, we’re

The Collaborator
living with reality.

Unknown Speaker
Yes, yes. Yes.

The Collaborator
Let me ask you this an opinion question. Um, if CES and sales are both doing primarily sales functions, what’s different in terms of those CS conversations versus the sales conversations? One? on one?

Amy Noack
Yeah. So I mean, I think the sellers are really responsible for uncovering the customer’s challenges. And then helping the customer understand how our platform can help them with those challenges. When we transition it to our implementation team, they’re responsible for customizing the deployment, so that it’s unique to that customers challenge, and that we’re setting them up to start seeing, you know, results. And then the conversations that our systems are having our, you know, check ins. So here’s what you told us your challenge was, here’s how we set you up to solve for that challenge. Are we seeing improvement? If not, do we need to iterate? And

The Collaborator
I say, support them? Do you enable them with training and content, that have those conversations? Or do they do that work themselves? Yeah,

Amy Noack
we’re doing a lot of enablement with that type of content. And it’s more strategy focused, you know, so how do you have a conversation with a customer? Where you, you know, uncover whatever their desired outcomes are? And then how do you help the customer understand how they can use the product to achieve those outcomes? How do you get away from being super feature focused, you know, click here, click here, click here, to helping customers see the big picture of how a platform like this can, you know, solve problems

The Collaborator
so important, and it’s so important to be able to do that? That’s awesome. How many people? If I can ask roughly anyway, Amy, how many people are you supporting? Um,

Amy Noack
oh, gosh, that’s a good question. I, I don’t know the exact number. I probably should because it’s we don’t have a huge team right now. But it’s around 20. Maybe? That’s

Unknown Speaker
Yeah.

The Collaborator
I mean, look all enabled, and people that I know, are drowning with possible work with a backlog of work. But yeah, one person supporting 20 isn’t a bad ratio.

Amy Noack
Yeah, no, it really isn’t. And, you know, there There are, of course, as an enablement person will probably tell you, there’s so much more that I want to be doing, and I’m having to prioritize the things that matter the most right now. Um, but at the same time, it certainly doesn’t feel like I can’t, the to your point, the ratio seems, you know, totally fine. Well, let me ask you

The Collaborator
this. And I’m going way off track, and I apologize. Oh, that’s fun. You’re keeping up? It sounds like you’re doing great. It sounds like your business is making some great moves and all of that. If you had if you had the luxury of having one more customer, one more enablement person. Yeah, maybe working on. I’m curious if I had one more hire, what would I do?

Amy Noack
Yeah. Um, can I answer with two different things?

The Collaborator
27 if you want,

Amy Noack
yeah, so I mean, for us right now. We’ve got customer enablement and field enablement, kind of rolling into one function. And so my priority really has been the field enablement component, given where we are with our go to market. However, we’re very, very soon going to have to start really supporting the enablement of our customers with our new platform by offering more content, more tools, things like that. So that would be one you know, I you know, just having somebody who was solely focused on that piece. Yeah. And, and then to just having a somebody who can build Kind of curriculum around the enablement. So we don’t do a great job right now of assessing, you know, the retention of the content. That piece is missing. You know, it’s happening, but it’s anecdotal. You know, how are you doing? Did you use that this week? Did it go? Well, and I think we could be more strategic about it and bringing somebody you know, in that could focus on kind of wearing the lnd hat, if you will, I think would be another another thing. Yeah.

The Collaborator
No, and that’s, and honestly, I mean, that’s what I see a lot of people doing, because they start off with one person who’s doing it all, like you. best they can to cover it all check. And then you bring in somebody who’s an l&d expert, somebody who can focus on this team or that team and those sorts of, of next steps. That’s what everybody’s doing. So it’s awesome. That’s awesome. Let me ask you this, if you were to walk in brand new insight squared, or any new business, and they said, Amy, you’re the very first enablement person. We want you to do, though. So you tell us, how do you Yeah, well, yeah,

Amy Noack
you know, I mean, that’s kind of where I am right now. And, and I really feel like, it’s pretty simple, you know, I, my first priority is to help my team remove barriers to selling our product, and to successfully retaining our customers. So I want our CSM to feel confident when they have sales oriented conversations with customers, and really feel like they’re set up, you know, to deliver a best in class customer experience.

Unknown Speaker
I want to be their

Amy Noack
advocate across the organization, there’s a aspect of our product that’s making it difficult to have conversations with customers or an aspect of our service, you know, I want to champion a solution to that. And so I feel like first and foremost, you know, kind of crafting your charter around removing the barriers, identifying what they are, and starting taking steps towards removing them, you know, is is at least the approach that I have found to be effective so far.

The Collaborator
No, I think that’s smart. I know, I’m, you know, one of the people that I’ve chatted with a couple of times is Whitney Sikh, she she runs, enablement over at outreach. And she talked about when she entered that role, that outreach, one of the things she did is she spent a lot of time just doing almost a listening tour, yes, walking around and listening to what the pain points are, much like you said, Yes. And then crafting admission that to really get those down.

Amy Noack
Lots of listening, lots of content auditing, you know, what are we using today? Do we know how to use it? Is it still the best content? You know, going back having those conversations with marketing, but there is a lot of listening, certainly, that goes into, you know, starting any enablement function

The Collaborator
with the content, because that’s always interesting to me without sharing the names of tools you use. If you want to, I don’t care. How many different places do people have to look for content that your organization, so it’s

Amy Noack
not terrible. And so we use, we use Confluence, and we use Google. So we’ve got a Google Drive or content lens, and then we’ve got Confluence, where we do we outline our playbooks and things like that. No, it’s not. Yeah, what I will say is, as as is with probably most companies, it’s very easy for that stuff to get out of hand quickly. And so one of the things that I did as a quick fix was kind of went through it all, and created a place where it lives just one place. So if you’re looking for the most recent thing, you don’t have to just keep searching and opening and searching and opening it. I promise you it lives on this page.

The Collaborator
No, and that’s awesome. Because one of the biggest problems sellers have is finding stuff. Right, exactly. If you simplify that for them, which is exactly I mean, again, a barrier, you know,

Amy Noack
and maybe it’s a minor one, but if it saves you half an hour a day, either creating something, because you don’t realize it exists, or you know, spinning your wheels looking for it through our wiki or Google Drive. But you know, it seems like low hanging fruit.

The Collaborator
No, exactly. And I think coming into a new organization or starting up, finding that low hanging fruit and knocking it out and just getting it fixed is always a big win. Yeah, I’m going to shift gears entirely before we come back to enablement though, because I love that I saw this on your profile. Okay. They you started your career in special education. I did. And I love it because my wife spent seven years working in special ed, my youngest daughter works in a very intense special ed school system, not not, not a public school system, but a a private setting where she works with young students. And I’m always in the story she comes home with and the patient she of what she needs to deal with to really get back and help. I think as a mazing Yeah, what prompted you to go into that? And did it in any way relate to how you ended up in enablement?

Amy Noack
Yeah, I really think it did. And I didn’t realize that. At first, you know, at first, I think my past felt a little bit random. But it’s, it’s interesting how it all tied together. So my undergraduate experience was going back and forth between wanting to be a teacher or wanting to go into business, I had an interest in both, and I kind of just, you know, anybody who can go to college at the age of 18, and in four years, you know, have a degree that is perfectly suited for what they want to do as a career is amazing to me, I is an exception, right, I had a, I had a hard time with that I wasn’t ready to decide yet. And so I kind of just kept my options open. And as part of my curriculum, I took a class in communication for people with disabilities. And that’s kind of what brought the two together. So I ended up getting a special ed teacher certified postgraduate and spent about five years in the classroom. When I was ready for the next thing, I went into educational software. And then that kind of began the whole software, it’s the journey that has now I feel come somewhat full circle to enablement, because I’m able to kind of marry the software experience with the teaching experience and apply it to my to my job,

The Collaborator
Why think the level of empathy is such an overused and under, and mean so little to us, because it’s overused these days. But I think the empathy that it requires to be really good at special needs and educating young people with additional challenges that Plays Well With sellers, and I’m not making some corny joke about have additional needs, I just think you need to have that patience, you need to be understanding, listening to all the cues, and knowing how to deal with that so early.

Amy Noack
And you can’t assume that everybody is going to pick up content the same way me it’s just the reality of it. You know, some of us can sit through a one hour training, walk away know what to do, some of us completely forget what we learn when we walk out of the room, because we actually don’t have to hands on do the thing in order for us to retain it. You know,

The Collaborator
as soon as the next shiny object pops up, I’m done. So something to allow me to retain it, keep to keep hitting me up with it. Let me ask you this to me. And I appreciate you sharing that to that story. Because I do have a tremendous respect for that. So So what didn’t we talk about though? Is there anything around enablement, enablement for customer success or otherwise, that you like, john, I really wanted to share this?

Amy Noack
Gosh, you know, I think I don’t I don’t know if this is something that’s going to be just monumental for others. But enablement can be a lonely place, especially as a team of one. But also, there are a lot of people who still don’t really understand what it is. And and so I think investing time up front, really getting your your sellers, your CSM, or leadership aligned on what it means for your company is so important. And I think it’s something that I didn’t do a good job of. And I’m trying to kind of backpedal and do that now. You know, we should all share this vision, I will implement it, but we should all believe in this in the same vision. So that’s kind of one and then two, just not forgetting how many opportunities are out there to network today. There, gosh, that you know, the enablement squad, slack network. I mean, it’s just been a game changer for me being able to bounce, especially as a team of one being able to still have a community where you can, you know, not reinvent the wheel, but instead share what’s working. And that That in itself has been also just very helpful.

The Collaborator
Yeah, no, and those are both tremendous points. And just to remind people, you know, what Amy just said there is so critical in terms of getting alignment right from the beginning with the business enablement means both everything and nothing depending on who you’re talking to. Yes, 10 people would have means you’re going to get 15 different responses. And I do mean that. The other thing that you know, I’ll give a plug out to reinforce what you just said. Stephanie midata, Matt sheitel and and, and that Whitney C are running that enablement squad, Slack channel, look forward, reach out to those books. It’s a great resource. And the sales enablement society site itself has a wonderfully active form. But look for these resources. People want to help out there. They really

Amy Noack
do. I mean, I just have all the different roles that I’ve had in software, the you know, this is probably why we’re enablers, right? But the amount of support that people are willing to give and help that people are willing to give. I mean, I’ve already had two one hour phone calls with people I’ve met do enablement because they’re just so open to helping anybody who needs it. So very refreshing and something to certainly take advantage of.

The Collaborator
Yeah, amen. And I love that last bit of advice. So thank you, Amy so much for listening. Amy I’m seriously I’m glad we caught up and chatted.

Unknown Speaker
Likewise. And I apologize about Ah,

The Collaborator
no, I’m depressed I missed the Darth Vader voice was lovely. I do I do these almost every day. Yeah, there’s always dogs or cats. Yesterday I was at the sales enablement society at one of the one of the panels or whatever it was, and and a wonderful gentleman took the time I’m like my cats being a pain in the ass. And he’s like, well look at my peacocks and he literally peacocks outside. So a dog barking not that

Amy Noack
it is one of the great things about you know if we can be optimistic about what what this whole you know, work from home thing is doing for us the grace, I think that people are giving each other that maybe we didn’t before, it has been very fresh, right?

The Collaborator
wonderfully. All right. Well, you take care and I’ll talk to you right, you might help

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