Brittany Manopello is the Director, Global Sales and Customer Success Enablement at Glassdoor.  She joins The Collaborator to discuss the her Enablement role, thoughts on Enablement change management, and more.

Here are a few important thoughts if you want to create lasting change in your business.

1️⃣ Enablement needs to be involved as early as possible.  For example, if you are developing new features, Enablement will not make an impact if they learn about the features the day they are released.  If they are involved early on when features are getting specified, change can be built into the roll-out to the go-to-market team, to customers, and to partners.

2️⃣The power of three is critical.

  • Build awareness of the WHY behind changes.  Get executives involved to explain the WHY.
  • Execute the the change
  • Reinforcement — an area where we all need to improve.  Don’t run too quickly to the next cool thing to do, make sure you have a plan to reinforce the change and stick to that plan!


Enablement change management requires early involvement, executive support, and a recognition of the value being created by your team.

Audio Transcript

The Collaborator
John, the collaborator, and I’m so excited today to be with Brittany Manopello.

The Collaborator
Brittany, welcome.

Brittany Manopello
Hello, john, welcome. Welcome to you as well.

The Collaborator
Thank you for having you. Welcome to everybody. This is a wonderful day. Hey, do me a favor. Yes. You tell us a little bit about yourself. If you don’t mind. What do you do where you work or whatever you want to share? Yeah,

Brittany Manopello
absolutely. Well, I am based here in beautiful Chicago, it’s sunny as ever. And I have been here with Glassdoor for about five years. And so I’m currently with Glassdoor. But I spent a year and a half in San Francisco when I first joined the organization, I lead our global sales enablement efforts, which I’m sure I’ll tell you more about over the course of this session. And but I am I’m currently based in Chicago, which is where our largest sales headquarters is. So I actually helped to launch that office. And I guess at this point, now, almost five years ago,

The Collaborator
well, that must have been an interesting experience. I mean, a little bit off topic. But what was that like? That must have been madness to the nth degree?

Unknown Speaker
Yeah, yes, one way?

Brittany Manopello
Absolutely. There were lots of adjectives. That No, it was honestly, it was an incredible experience. It’s been such a wonderful ride with Glassdoor we’ve, when I started, we were a sales organization of about 50, we grew it to over 500. And so that in and of itself was a ride. And then you add in the expansion across different global market. So we we started in the Chicago market, there were I think, maybe 11, or 12 of us that kind of came to plant the office and go round from San Francisco. And we started in a we workspace until we were about 40 people, then we expanded into a second temporary space until we were about 100, a third temporary space until we were about 20. And then we moved into our final location at 1330, wesselton. And about two years ago, so it’s been from the scale of the company to be, you know, nomadic lifestyle we’ve had to it. It’s been a really, really unique ride.

The Collaborator
of That’s awesome. Yeah. How, if I can ask, and you can use general generalities in your answer if you if you don’t, if you draw for comfortable going specific. How big is your enablement team, though? And how many people do you support? You know, roughly?

Brittany Manopello
Yeah, absolutely. So my team at the point where it was the largest, because we just, we just went through some restructuring. Yeah, he was at 10 people, including myself. And that was supporting an organization of just over 500. So we support all go to market, that’s sales, development, sales, customer success, and kind of the full lifecycle on all sides. Wonderful. And so yeah, it was it was a definitely a strong ratio from where we started. As I mentioned, I’ve been with the company for six years, and that certainly is not where the team started. One, we first first, you know, kicked off our enablement efforts. And it’s kind of grown from there, as we’ve, you know, showed the organization what enablement can look like and kind of, you know, be able to champion champion for additional resources to support the growth.

The Collaborator
That’s so awesome. That’s awesome. Well, let’s dive into it. So I was looking at enablement as a form of change management. And I and I think you’re probably similar in terms of your thinking and your thought process. How does that how does change management in general fit into how you approach your job? Yeah.

Brittany Manopello
Yeah, that’s a great question. Um, it’s interesting because I, I’ve been in enablement, now for about a decade. And prior to that I, you know, carried a bag, as they say, sold for about seven years and a few different industries. And it when I first left the function to join functional enablement, emphasis on functional enablement, because obviously, there’s lots of learning development professionals that are org based. You know, what resonated with me most was the forward facing onboarding, and, you know, training or sales kickoff. And so I think when I first joined, that was the understanding I had of enablement, which now looking back after, you know, the years of experience I’ve had now there’s a pretty big difference between training and enablement. And I think now, you know, you hear terms like effectiveness or, you know, Reb ops enablement, whichever way you want to kind of put it I think it’s because training is like it’s almost like the icing on the cake, if you will, and not to discredit training. It’s such a credible you know, change management cycle. But at the end of the day, if you We aren’t plugged in earlier on in the process to help define, you know, the way that it’s being, you know, taken to market or, you know, looking at the the broader ecosystem of soup, you know, tools and systems or incentives in place to drive the right behavior are really only, you know, affecting the tail end of of any form of initiative or rollout.

The Collaborator
I think that’s a smart point.

Brittany Manopello
Yeah. And I think that’s something that that has required education on my behalf. And it’s certainly an ongoing process to educate the company around how to tap enablement, more effectively, and how we can layer on to any of the the initiatives that we’re rolling out, whether it’s product or process, procedure, tool systems, etc. So I think it’s, it’s really important to show how enablement can be a strategic thought partner, all the way through conception of a new idea, and the actual execution, which oftentimes is training.

The Collaborator
Yeah. I’m curious about that. Bernie, because I agree with you. 100%. Where do you typically get involved? Where does enablement? Yeah, if they get involved, I know, you know, transparently, I do this show, and I learned 5 billion things from people. So I’m not gonna pretend we’re perfect. We’re not we’re growing and improving just like everybody else. Yeah. For us. You know, like, when I think about product updates, we’re working our way back further and further towards concept. But we’re not there yet. And when I think about many different things that we do, we’re working our way back. Where are you guys in the process?

Brittany Manopello
So I think it depends. Because when we think about the initiatives we support, it could be anything from, you know, brand new monetizable product releases, it could be new feature rollouts. And it could be new tools and systems that we’re launching, as I mentioned. So it really depends on the cross functional team that we’re partnering with. It depends on kind of the size and the scope, all of you know, probably the things that are obvious. But um, you know, I have a unique perspective on this, because I don’t think that enablement is always considered to have a seat at the table as early on, as I believe we’re able to make an impact. And I think that it’s, it’s, for us, at least, it’s been a combination of demonstrating our impact as a strategic partner to those different cross functional partners in, you know, optimizing whatever it is that they are attempting to execute. Yeah, burning your, your, your seat at the table earlier on. Right. So there’s, there’s kind of a couple things happening simultaneously, I think one is, is building those relationships, showing the added thought partnership that you can provide earlier on in those conversations. And then I think, honestly, it’s it’s making sure that you are just inserting yourself and asking the right questions to have a seat at the table earlier on. And so I know that didn’t exactly answer your question around, we’re in the process. But if we talk about products specifically, we’ve actually set up a really nice process at the moment where we used to look at things on a quarterly basis, which was proactive ish.

The Collaborator
And it was still we all live in the world of Vish Brittany.

Brittany Manopello
Yeah, I love that I think this, this audience will understand that perfectly. But we’ve really, you know, I thought really hard to try and move into an annual planning process last year. And while my wonderful cross functional partners, you know, indulge me in that that great attempt, I think it was very clear through the process, that there is an element of reaction that is needed in any business that is growing and scaling, because, you know, we’re figuring some of these things out along the way. So right now, we’re somewhere between a quarterly and annual planning process where we plug in with our key cross functional partners and understand what their roadmap is, and discuss early on, like, where does it make sense for us to insert enablement, whereas in past instances, it was, you know, cross functional partners would work on those efforts. And then when it was ready to actually bring to the go to market organization is when they would loop enablement in. So

The Collaborator
yeah, that’s Oh, no, I love I love how you said that to printed because I think that’s a, that’s a great step forward. You brought up training as it’s it’s enablement, more than training. And to me these sort of tie together in the sense that if you haven’t yet demonstrated your value, a lot of times people think of you as training because they come to you at the last second and say, here, show everybody how this works or talk to the go to market team about this. And you haven’t been involved so you’re struggling at the last Second, too, and I’ve seen that I’ve lived that just like everybody else has. And you’re like, crap, how can I train on it? I don’t even know what the hell this is built for, you know, how are we selling? And why we build it all that?

Brittany Manopello
Yeah. And I think it’s a great point. And also, how do we know it’s set up to be successful. So it’s one thing for us to take it over the line. But if you’re rolling something out, and it’s not properly baked into the, you know, the tools and systems refuse, or it’s not being incentivized properly to drive the behavior, we can have the most amazing training in the world, but that’s only going to get us so far. So it’s, I find that it’s kind of an insurance policy on everyone’s efforts to make sure that, you know, we’re all part of that earlier conversation. So we can make sure that we’re, you know, poking holes in the plan to take it to market.

The Collaborator
If you’re, if you’re releasing a new, not releasing, let’s say, let’s say you’re trying to make a change in either your messaging or, or part of the sales process or something. How do you, and I hate to use the word typical, because we’re all evolving so quickly? Or right now what, you know, what does that tip, what does that typical scenario work? Like? And how do you approach it so that the chain steps? Hmm, because I know, we’ve all had these great ideas. They last for 27 minutes, and then nobody uses them? Yeah. If we don’t be if we’re not thoughtful about this. So how do you approach that? Yeah, yeah. I

Brittany Manopello
mean, I, I’ll start by saying, I don’t think we have it all figured out by any means. And I love the caveat you put to the word typical, our jobs will be a lot easier if there was more typical happening. I know, it’s never difficult, though. Right. Exactly, exactly. Um, but we, you know, there’s, there’s kind of a very real application that comes to mind for me right now, because we are adjusting some of our of our messaging based on some strategic shifts in the business that we’ve made. And so there are some new value narratives that we’ve been rolling out. And while they’re not wildly different than our core positioning, they’re nuanced based on this, you know, shift in the business. And so there’s a couple things that we’re thinking about. One is, how can we present this new narrative? Or additive elements of the narrative? Whether it’s, you know, new collateral, a few, you know, positioning points, whatever, it may be change?

The Collaborator
It’s a change?

Unknown Speaker
Yep. Yeah,

Brittany Manopello
absolutely. I think part of it is building awareness of where this change exists within their existing mental model. Where does this new set of updates or, you know, positioning data points fit within what they already know, to be true? And sometimes, it’s a full overhaul, right? It’s like, this is a brand new story, you throw out your old mental model, and we’re gonna build you a new one, but more often than not, it’s it’s kind of triage and parts of it as we continue to optimize our positioning and our, you know, our messaging. So I think the kind of the first step is, how can we build awareness of where this change exists? within what they already know, to be true?

Unknown Speaker
And then,

The Collaborator
and is that typically, a mix of training content? executive sessions? Or, you know, What kinds of things do you use? That there?

Unknown Speaker
Yeah,

Brittany Manopello
yeah. So I would say, I’m all about the power of three, I try to keep myself organized. So if I were to say the way we think about this, I like the

The Collaborator
way you did it, too. Right?

Brittany Manopello
Yeah. Digital, I’m coming out with my hand. And I would say, you know, the, the first piece is, is building, you know, awareness. The second is, is, you know, implementing the change. And then the third is obviously really reinforcing. So there’s nothing necessarily, you know, groundbreaking around those things, and double clicking Hmm. So building awareness. Yeah, I think we, you know, we really try to leverage our executive sponsors. When there is an important change happening, we need to show that this is aligned across the organization. And then oftentimes, it’s not best suited coming from enable, it can certainly be reinforced by enablement, it can even be executed by enablement, messaging, the why the how the how enablement can handle the why, you know, the when and some of the other important contextual elements we find to be very successful when we’re pushing that out through our executive leadership that can be us both writing emails, that could be us orchestrating a video or, you know, producing some type of live communication. And so we’re behind it, but but we are oftentimes not the ones that are actually pushing that piece out as far as executing. It’s a combination especially in this new virtual world. It You know, it could be a combination of video trainings or live virtual trainings depends on, you know whether or not there’s application. So again, if we’re talking about positioning, it could just be a small update to your collateral, you know, we would attack that one way, or it could be a, you know, adjustment to the way that you’re communicating Now that may require more hands on roleplay application, and so the execution will look a little different. And I don’t think I’m saying,

The Collaborator
Oh, we get that. Yeah,

Brittany Manopello
that’s true. Um, but honestly, I think, I think on the back end, which candidly, is something we need to continue to develop and, and kind of stick to our guns around is the reinforcement. I think, for us, we’re still, you know, a relatively small agile organization, and things are changing constantly. And so it’s really easy for us to go and look at the next shiny, you know, thing that needs to be supported on the horizon, instead of really making sure that we’re reinforcing the crux of the last meaningful thing that we pushed out. And I don’t think that that is something we have have nailed by any means. I’m actually going through a series of interviews with reps at the moment, as we kind of think through our our strategy for next year. And the resounding theme I’m hearing one of is like, less is more, less is so much more, give us one thing to focus on, let us nail that. Now it’s funny because you do that, and oftentimes reps will come back and say, this is boring, we’ve already hit it so many times. So it’s a little bit of like, you know, we got to kind of find

The Collaborator
a way, of course, it matters. Yeah.

Brittany Manopello
Yeah, exactly. But it’s funny how, you know, keep it simple, stupid is kind of something someone told me a long time ago. And I try to remember that, and kind of all facets, because sometimes we can overcomplicate the reinforcement, but keeping it small, keeping it bite size, and just making sure that that people are really comfortable with incorporating one, before we move to the next.

The Collaborator
I love I mean, I love a lot of what you just said, said there, Brittany, because it’s so tempting for all of us to go chase the next cool shiny object, because like you said, yeah, if we do that, we’re going to have a lot of fun. But guess what, we’re not actually going to make a hell of a lot of difference to the company to the business. But it probably is a bit of a balancing act, we need to always, we need to find ways to move forward while also reinforcing all the old behaviors. And I also love and respect the fact that you said, Look, we haven’t got it all nailed down. I don’t think many people really have. And that’s that’s the honest. Like,

Brittany Manopello
send me an email, because I would love to know.

The Collaborator
Exactly. I looked at it other than what you’re hearing in the interviews, though, as you as you look ahead and look to improve upon that next year. Are there some other things that you’re thinking that you could share, that you’re thinking about to better reinforce those changes? Mm? Yes. Okay. If the answer’s no,

Brittany Manopello
no, no, I’m just trying to think of that, because there’s a handful of things that come to mind. But there are some that are probably more business specific versus, you know, structural, or, or, you know, instructional efficiency. So I’ll focus on the latter. Um, I think that there’s such a natural transition occurring with, you know, blended learning and small group dialogue, creating community. There’s a handful of things that I think we’ve we at least at Glassdoor have tried to champion for a while now. But there is this level of comfort that I see. Companies have around a live training, or like communicating all of the information, right? there’s just there’s some habits that we need to break and show how small bite size contextual discussion based application base like these things are actually what’s stickier, and will ensure that whatever it is, you’re trying to accomplish sticks. But I think there is sometimes this inherent belief that you know, we want to kind of get all the information out, we want to do it in a certain type of way. That’s changed, right? Our world has changed. So everything needs to be rethought, reimagined. And, and I think it’s lending itself to us. You know, subtly helping with the change management of the way that we, you know, enable the work. So we’re thinking about, you know, more creative ways with videos and you know, podcasts. We’ve got a newsletter that’s got great traction. Yeah, now we’re trying to think about can we put that in more of a video or excuse me, an audio format where people can listen to it as a way to step away? From the computer and I have to look at another video or beyond Zune. So So I think it’s kind of breaking the box of the way that we’re communicating and getting in front of our audience. I also think that there’s such a need for, you know, community and connection right now. And it’s, it’s how people learn best anyway, is from peers is from, you know, hearing struggles and challenges and best practices from from peers and leaders. And so we’re really trying to facilitate that. Right as as enablement. You know, practitioners, we are facilitators, and we need to facilitate this connectivity in a new way by, you know, leveraging zoom and small group breakouts, and, you know, slack groups, and just different ways of keeping things engaging, but also right, sizing them for this insanely digital world, that we’re all living in that I think it’s a break from,

The Collaborator
how hard I mean, you touched upon a couple of things there that I just don’t want to lose sight of the many great things but the couple things that really resonated with me was, we still want to do these big bang trainings, even though we all know that the micro learnings are more powerful, more appropriate. I had this conversation yesterday with someone who I honestly think is much smarter than I am. And and and I said, look, I think I think the training that we do half the time is a waste of time. Because I think half the training we do and we do it, because we’re still trying to figure out the balance between a bigger piece and then the reinforcement versus just the smaller pieces. Yeah, but half the time, I think it’s a waste of time to do the big pieces. And and, and I need to do more research and hear from smart people like yourself, and we all need to figure out what the right things to do is because it’s so hard. Um, but the other thing I want to ask you about that you mentioned is you are getting good traction with newsletters. And I think that’s interesting. How are you using them? And, you know, both How are you creating them? What’s the kind of cadence Are you are you using? Yeah,

Brittany Manopello
so I have an amazing counterpoint counterpart on my team who leads the communications efforts. So he’s he is part of the enablement organization, that group of previously 10 that I had mentioned. And he, he owns our weekly newsletter, it is something that honestly started as an effort to capture all of the different information that everyone across the organization wants to get to the go to market organization. Yeah. And truly, we were trying to streamline that at first. So a few years ago, when we kick this newsletter off, it was, you know, I think it’s a natural evolution, we want to make sure that we are streamlining all the information, so things don’t get, you know, lost in the crowd. And that we can centralize this information. So reps don’t have to try so hard to, you know, synthesize it themselves. So where it started is, you know, a repository of news, it’s really grown over time, and I credit, my communications manager to this, he has made it so interesting to read, he’s very light hearted with with the way that he handles parts of it, obviously, there is, you know, a more professional tone to the business critical information that we’re rolling out, and he doesn’t necessarily mess with that a whole lot. But you need to try and make things more interesting. You know, and, and I hate to say it, but like a lot of these business updates, they’re mission critical,

The Collaborator
and boring as hell, let’s be honest, sometimes they’re boring as hell and nobody wants

Brittany Manopello
boring. And so it’s really exciting to hear reps say like, this is a weekly part of my, you know, of my day, or a part of my week, like I should say, and we roll it out on Monday mornings, the process, I guess more tactically, on Thursdays, my Communications Manager will send a essentially like a request across the business for any communications that need to go out. And that Monday newsletter, we always give a preview to our sales leaders to make sure that they’ve got advance notice. And actually, a lot of them are now incorporating it as a standing part of their team meetings to make sure that they’re talking about these, these updates together. That’s a one little more of that. No community sense. You’re not just read. Oh, oh. And then Monday is I mean, I think people just make this part of their their Monday routine, where they dig into it’s called grit, our newsletter. But yeah, I think it’s I think it’s, it’s making it more interesting, and finding ways to make it more lighthearted. Making sure that the information that you have in there is truly what’s mission critical, although I think ours gets a little, a little wide in terms of how much and then I think the other is, is making sure again, it’s interesting, it’s relevant, it’s timely, and then asking leaders to, to make this a part of their team routine. Right, it’s kind of a habit that we’re asking leaders and reps to adopt. And our commitment to them is we will give you the most important, most relevant and in the most interesting way we can, what we need from you is your commitment that you’re going to read it, you’re going to action it otherwise, we’re gonna have to go back to this old world where everyone is sending you information. And it’s kind of chaotic. So if we try to create it, where it’s like a win win experience,

The Collaborator
I really love that though, too. I mean, any way that works for your business, for the majority of your people to get information. That’s awesome. And it sounds like you’ve found one that works really well for you. For you For the business now. For now, yeah. And that’s the other thing we need to keep in mind is, and, and you’ve touched upon it, the world is moving so fast. What’s working today may not work three months from now, Brittany, I have learned a ton from you. Oh, good. I’m

Unknown Speaker
so glad I appreciate that. Oh, my gosh,

The Collaborator
what happened? Is there anything that you like you’ve done, I really want to just touch upon this, before we come to the end?

Unknown Speaker
Um,

Brittany Manopello
yeah, I guess this is this is a little less tactical, a little less functional, more of maybe, I guess, kind of, from a place of personal philosophy. This is just such hard times that we are all in and it is one shared experience. Which in some weird way, I guess, is somewhat comforting. And, you know, I just I am trying to remember that we are humans first. We are not machines. You know, and it’s and, and adult learning and tools and technology and communication and change management plans. And all this kind of stuff is great. But at the end of the day, that people are going through hard stuff right now, in so many ways that that we can both understand and not understand. And, yeah, work is so important. And it can be so meaningful. But it’s one piece of our world. And I think for me, remembering that when I get caught up in how much training, we’re pushing out and communications, and we want reps to do that this and we want them to do that. It’s like, this is just one piece of a very big puzzle everyone is trying to manage right now. So um, you know, I guess this is I’m kind of declaring this to myself, how can we make the lives of those around us? easier and more efficient, more effective? And how can we allow people to put meals on the table for you know, their families or themselves by giving them the information, the tools, the skills that they need, but not doing it in a way where it is, is kind of, you know, tuned down to the bigger picture of what’s going on around us? Because it’s just one piece.

The Collaborator
So a man I love that Brittany, I really do, you know, enablement role is that of a service organization. We really are, we’re there to help. Yeah, we need to remember that it’s not about that three weeks that we spent building that kick ass learning course, right? Or the two days we spent on a piece of content. It’s about if it’s helping people do their job more effectively, and at the end of the day, help our customers and our shareholders and everybody else involved in getting a little more value out of what we do. But doing it with the full understanding that there’s really people behind all this is so important. And I think we’ve opened the windows into each other’s lives a little bit more broadly because of this. My personal hope. And my my big, sincere hope is that we continue to leave those doors open, at least some, even when we get out of this insane world that we’re living in because I think it makes us all just a little bit better, both as people and as employees, so,

Unknown Speaker
amen. back to that.

The Collaborator
All right, Brenda, you are a rock star. Thank you very much.

Brittany Manopello
Oh, of course. Thank you so much for having me.

The Collaborator
Anytime and thank you everybody for listening as always. I will talk to you again soon. Take care of Brittany Bye Bye bye.

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