Avner Baruch, Regional Host of Coffee, Collaboration, and Enablement in Israel, chatted with Eyal Tocker, VP, General Manager EMEA & APAC at CHEQ about how to build a great enablement team based upon his experience building great teams, and businesses, for years.

While the conversations are focused on building a business, the lessons apply to Enablement professionals seeking to build great Enablement teams.  For example:

1️⃣The right team with the right people, is key (have a focus on recruiting and, once hired, coaching and mentoring).

2️⃣Maintain focus.  You cannot tackle every project, every market.  The key to winning is to focus on excellence.  Focus on the activities that you can deliver with excellence and avoid, as much as possible, anything you cannot do to the highest level.

3️⃣Proficiency of Efficiency.    Key is not to let your teams burn out by working overly hard.  Do things in a professional, scalable manner.

Give a listen and remain curious.

Audio Transcript

Avner Baruch
Hey everyone, I’m truly excited to start today, a new series of podcast interviews and great conversations on behalf of the global and growing network of coffee, collaboration and enablement. Where I shall be hosting these sessions with Israeli leaders, practitioners or simply people, I think you ought to know. The series of podcasts will be mainly dedicated for the Israeli market, or great startups and technologies were born and led best to others. And today, I wanted to invite a very special guest who I regard one of my one of the first and most professional leaders I’ve worked with. And also he happens to be a very close friend of mine. Please welcome me out talker. Yeah, just simply start by you telling us a little bit about yourself, your career, your role, and what are you passionate about?

Eyal Tocker
Hi, so thanks for inviting me for for your first podcast. It’s It’s an honor. We know each other so many years and truly exciting. And so I’m a big talker I’ve been doing my professional life is was always around high tech. And most of them are startups been doing this for 20 years already. 21 years to be specific.

Avner Baruch
This is when we started to know each other when we started working

Eyal Tocker
together exactly enough in the first company. I’ve been born and raised in Israel, I live here all my life, like this place. And, and been doing, I’ve been fortunate to do a lot of a lot of stuff being in very different companies from corporate to very small startup, early stage startups starting in a very small room as part of accelerator with seed money to do high growth startup and an end to unicorn be part of two companies that became unicorns. And now hopefully the third one, the latest one that I’ve joined my passion in life, I have three boys, very energetic boys. That’s the best thing that happened to me in my life. So I like doing a lot of stuff with them. And I like sport a lot. I like this competition. I like the adrenaline. Like the oldest part, my favorite sport is basketball. And I like to play that. And that’s part of my that’s my part of the things that I really like and want to miss.

Avner Baruch
I totally connect with that, you know, I got married just recently, just a few years ago. And I have accomplished some milestones in my career. But I think that is the the most important factor, the most important ingredient of success or in life, his family and kids, I’ve got three of my own. And I think this is this makes me actually wake up in the morning and with a smile and energy, energy and motivation. And focus on my job, you know, the the tailwind that comes my family, and wife and kids definitely, you know, a source of energy and motivation. So going back to your amazing career, given your experience in the areas of building sales and channel functions from the ground up. Could you share a little bit more about you know, what does the process look like? What are the core ingredients to a successful design and execution?

Eyal Tocker
Yes, absolutely. So I’ve built a few of the companies that I’ve joined, I started from scratch and built the, the teams and the and the entire activity from almost from scratch or something from scratch. And there are the few important ingredients in in making to make this happen. And there’s many but I can focus on on the few of them. So so the first thing is, is people is people is the number one thing not talking about the product now or other things with the market, it’s the people because you can have a great product and and not the right people to do that. So the people are that you hire and that work for you are extremely important and and something you cannot succeed without the right people. It’s a it’s about working first with foot for the right people. It’s always been a very important criteria for me when joining a company, about the colleagues about the CEO about the the main partners and and I like to build the mighty from scratch, I’ve done it a few times, now I’m doing it for I don’t know what number of time I’m doing it and and bringing the right people that I can that I can trust that that I know that they will be there and do the right thing. have very, I mean, the secret sauce is bringing people that are very, very intelligent, very smart, that will think about something, you don’t need to tell them everything, every time hungry, they will have a very high work ethic. You don’t need to motivate them, you don’t need to ask them to do one kind of things, they will motivate themselves. And of course, people with some track record of success that shows that they that they’re coming with the with the with a lot of success in their path, no matter what they did, it could be even if they did roles in McDonald’s, but they were the best one there. It shows about success, success in their youth or they had they got some good degree with excellence or good scores in sport, those who got gold medals or had one competition, everything that show about success, people that are looking to succeed. The second thing is, is focused. lot of a lot of people, a lot of companies tend to try to do everything from everything. And then they don’t have the right enough time and

Avner Baruch
go to market

Eyal Tocker
resource to handle so many things. So you need to choose your battle, you need to choose what exactly are you going to focus on, whether it’s the which product, you’re going to focus whether which market, you’re going to focus whether which kind of customer is enterprise mid market, is it just at small customers, you can do everything, I mean, sometimes like to say less is more, do less thing, but do it right? Do it, do it really good. And don’t do a lot of things and do everything. Like very average or less than or less than this, it won’t be effective. Third thing is, is what I call efficiency and proficiency efficiencies that if we don’t expect people to work hard, 12 hours a day, every day, it’s not really scalable, it’s not something that could last for a long time. So you need to find a way to have the entire work very efficient, with the right people doing everyone who will contribute contribute his part. And so nobody will need to do everything, and work too hard, and get burned quite fast. And proficiency is this course do it in the most professional way. That that you expect anything, if you’re doing a sales, do it professionally, if you’re doing a marketing campaign, doing very professional, whatever you do, do it as a professional. So that’s like the main, I would say tips.

Avner Baruch
Because I agree more. And I’ve been in a situation areas where, you know, some businesses may actually, you know, cut corners or for some reason not in hired the know the most perfect fate and then you end up you know, focusing or wasting time on damage control. And then you start the whole process again, from scratch without actually, you know, applying lessons learned whatever. So longer onboarding or hiring process, more detailed process, making sure that you go with the right fit, and you spend you invest the the right, you know, time and efforts in recruiting the right person can save you a lot of trouble as a leader, as a manager down the road. That’s definitely something I strongly connected. So going back to those three, four points that we just discussed, would you say, you know, what were the biggest challenges or maybe just one, you know, top challenge that you faced and know how exactly did you overcome that specific challenge? Any tips you might be able to share with us?

Eyal Tocker
Yeah, so one thing is, is, is we talked about people so it’s recruiting people, some many people are very busy with the business And they leave that to lowest priority, like we need to handle this deal and that deal and handle this thing and this thing and we’ll have some time. We’ll handle this and it’s a mistake recruiting should be your number one focus, sometimes you can scale without that. And you need to write to find the right people. And some people just don’t take it too seriously. And sometimes compromise on the wrong people because they can find someone that exactly fits what they want. And so recruiting is a job is exactly like selling, I mean, you need to find people like find leads, instead, you need to qualify them like you close qualified lead. And, and you need to do it very, very professional, you need to close them as well. Like you close deals. And and that should be the number one priority for every leader, no matter in sales in other business. And some people tends to focus first on the thing that people asked him to do, or no handle the their their backlog or inbound requests, whether it deals whether it’s in product, any bugs or something like this and forget about that. The second thing is, is lack of focus in sell, for example, some salespeople tend to jump on every opportunity that they have. And sometimes they’re like, several, opportunistic, with great leads from giants, great logos. It could be Suddenly, a lead from Coca Cola is interested in your product or status or, or any, any huge and, and the product is not exactly the right fit to what they’re asking. And they’re

Avner Baruch
fascinated or overwhelmed by the logo. So they just Yeah,

Eyal Tocker
they put everything they had. And it’s it’s exactly the in some cases, it’s I just gave an example. It’s a it’s not part of their focus, not product focus, not go to market focus. But they will do that, because hey, we cannot refuse to do this kind of company. And if they asked to stay, they are interested, maybe we can get them in this kind of a logo. So that can really promote us. So no, eventually those that ends with over a year of working hard on something and not getting it because it was the from the beginning it was the wrong feet. So why going to that product feet or, or a customer feet are not in the right stage. And I’m not saying this is not a suggestion not to work with those kind of companies. But just make sure that you’re starting to work on that. Because it’s right, because it’s something that fits your strategy because it fits your go to market and in your product.

Avner Baruch
So, you know, the purpose of this series of podcasts is to talk about enablement and how it can help you know, every every team, every business unit, everyone who takes part in the process of selling, starting from marketing and moving through sales to other teams that come next. So given that cost context of the interview today focusing on enablement. What are your thoughts around sales enablement? How do you perceive the enablement scope of work?

Eyal Tocker
Yeah, so first of all, sales enablement is something very close to me. As you know, I was among the first people in Israel who implemented this kind, of course, and into companies when people didn’t really understand why what is exactly enabling what is I mean, there wasn’t even kind of position back then. I think I, I use this name with there was no one else, no one else to use that. I didn’t know any kind of fun name back then. First time, like seven years ago, or eight years ago. And so, so this, this is coming from a very, this is a very close thing that I I know how it’s empowering for me. So why he says it’s important when, when you are we talked about efficiency, we talked about people we talked about doing things that the most professional thing, and we talked about scale, like every star for many startup and many other companies that are scaling. You can’t do it without enablement. It’s a You Can you maybe you can do it for a short term for some short periods but for the long run, if you want to be like a machine I called the sell machine. And it is exactly, it’s exactly like if we’ll take an example in the army every soldier that is joining the army is going through some kind of training camp. There is people who train him how to shoot weapon how to do what exactly how it works in the in the army. It doesn’t go exactly to fight, immediately fight. He needs his doing His training or enablement, by a special training camp, that that’s what they do, they train soldiers and then they hand it over to the, to the right unit. And to do that exactly the job that he was trying to do, and that this is a very big organization and the army, the youth organization, and they do that. So even in smaller organization, and in very different life. So, it’s about the same thing if you hire a sales guy. So first you need to do you need to teach him about the product and and what exactly how to speak the right language and the terms and underneath, analyze,

Eyal Tocker
exactly and understand the competitive benchmark, and D and the USPS and everything. And, and you need someone really good to do that. I mean, with with a lot of knowledge to do that, like product, product marketing, you would like to product level, bracket manager level or, or that’s not not less than this. And, and you need to do that. It takes time, nobody was just joining me within a week can just talk about the product, or you do the pitch perfectly. And you need to train him how to work in the what how to work in the company, what which what system do work? What’s the process that we’re working? According to them? What’s the I mean, learn a little bit about the culture? How do we do things what, what is common, what is not common? What are the expectation, there’s a lot of very trivial things you want the guy to be first, I would say, product enabled and sales enabled, knows the product and understand how the entire sales process. And and you want to have this bi professional that that what he’s doing, I mean, having their direct manager like sales directors or VP sales doing that their sales executive, but they are not professionally trained. Not everyone who’s executive knows how to do the training, and is, and this is, this is busy with many things

Avner Baruch
on it doesn’t scale. This doesn’t.

Eyal Tocker
Yeah, he’s busy with a lot of things on his plate. He’s working on deals he’s working on recruiting people he’s working on, on a lot of other stuff, he doesn’t have time to focus on this. And here you have someone who do that, and make sure that the person who’s certified is doing it like every day, starting from morning to afternoon, every day, there is a certification review and reviewing the materials and that the person is getting real train the most professional way. Second thing is that that helps to reduce the ramp up because everybody wants you to business and you’re aiming to have people join and start selling in sales as quickly as possible. Everybody said, Hey, when can this guy started selling when we recruited him, and we don’t want him to just sell in six months from now or a year. So going to this camp, it makes the ramp time actually much, much weaker.

Avner Baruch
And proportional to the cell cycle, you want it to be proportional to the cell cycle, you don’t want the onboarding to be longer, or to be to to be exactly as the cell cycle, you want it to be much faster and shorter.

Eyal Tocker
It was so so so that I don’t see any way to any organization was looking to scale and grow fast. And and without having this person without having this position. It also eventually reduce attrition. Because people are, if they don’t sell to people who do not have a proper enablement and proper ramping, they will not succeed and and they will leave because they are not selling and sometimes it’s not because the market or something is because they haven’t been trained well. And they didn’t get the right training and whatever they get in the beginning, usually that’s the level that they will have. It’s very important to I mean, of course they will improve but it’s so important how you start and do it right. I also usually push to do longer enablement period than shorter. I mean, do it right, even if you take another few weeks, let’s do it right, let’s do it properly. It’s It’s It’s, it’s it makes much more things. And and the last thing is, is I call it keeping shape since I’m coming from, like sport and I mentioned that, you know, in sport you have to practice all the time. It’s not just you teach someone Something and that’s it and you train and you don’t need to do any training every every basketball team they train on the entire year. So same is for enablement. There is an air all the time, there’s new things, there are updates about the product, about competitor competitors about the market. A lot of things and you want the people to keep in shape, you wanna like the trainer, to keep and do that for them. And have periodical sometimes I used to do it even monthly on a monthly basis, and sometimes to do every time to take some a project and talk about it also. For for everyone, for the new people, for the veteran people. Also, as like, we all know that in any training, people don’t really get 1% of the material they get out of it. And you need to repeat about some things because then after you repeat that after a few months, they then it’s becoming more you help them to shape this, and they better understand what you taught them in the beginning, sometimes they have no context to understand what is exactly that that’s mean, but then. So so it’s a, it’s not only for the beginning of the cycles through the entire cycle, it’s a it’s a, it’s really a

Avner Baruch
it’s a long term program, in order to keep in shape everyone to make sure that they are aligned to whatever changes introduced to the go to market playbook. So whatever you need to execute on, you need everyone to be aligned, avoid multiple versions of messaging, competitive battle cards, whatever it is, you want everyone to be able to execute on a short notice.

Eyal Tocker
Exactly. And I see that now. enablement became, became like, default, like a mandatory, almost so many companies are recruiting people. And now it’s like to see that I’m the Pioneer will do that. And it’s becoming like a system for everyone. It was an honor to work with the professional IQ in three companies. And I see that you do that. Now. Everybody’s following the same thing.

Avner Baruch
Yeah, like we can share, maybe we can Well, we’ll see about that. But I’ll remember what it took like to create that space sales enablement for you, like, you know, you’ve been, you know, as the pioneer, introducing the idea of sales enablement for that certain company took like, it took him more than a year to come up with the idea. And I clearly remember that process, you know, bringing me on. Water is something that you mentioned before, and I want to touch that area again. You know, as you said, we see sales enablement, here in Israel, gaining more popularity and more and more leaders and managers, and even CEOs, C levels, understand the importance of having, you know, side by side, a trainer side by side to the sales organization. I see that that point in time is, is guys like becoming more. I mean, businesses realized sooner than before, that they need the enablement or sales training function. And if in the past six, seven years ago, or maybe five years ago, that point in time was around 400 employees give or take. Today, it’s becoming even smaller, like companies around 200 employees. And some even reached that point around 100 employees understand realize that they need something in order to help them to scale their business. Is this something you agree or? No? Do you see that as well?

Eyal Tocker
Yeah, absolutely. I can share with you something very. I mean, my I’ve joined a small startup called check recently. We’re we’re less than 100 people we’re soon we’ll be with about one people. And one of the open position Oh is is an advocate. So so we don’t have that many salespeople yet. But we understand that this is the important thing to invest already starting from now. As we’re doing some as we scale as we are building a lot of new, bigger new teams and bigger teams. And at some point we’ll start working with channels and partners and we need that guy or person to to do that. It’s it’s part of we can do that without it to to run all this business and, and we’re and we need this guy to recruit him as soon as possible. So you can start building everything, it’s just it doesn’t happen within a day you just bring the person and he’s doing that, you need to build all these things, you need to gather all the material, you need to build LMS you need to build certification plans, you need to do a lot of things,

Avner Baruch
constantly processes infrastructure system,

Eyal Tocker
it takes time. So I recommend to have this as part of their most important position. When when you’re thinking about scale.

Avner Baruch
So I’m sure that now that we’ve got some listeners listening to you, you’ve got you’re gonna have your inbox full of candidates. So you just got yourself busier now. So that actually takes you into the next question I have prepared for this, for this interview, probably one of the most important ones. You know, once you you know, you hired the right person to help you to scale your business to build an enablement program. You’ve got, you know, know that mechanism, the system, the content, the processes, working, etc. can you advise other leaders and managers, you know, what are these? What does it take to measure the contribution of the enablement function for your organization? What are the key points or KPIs? Or how do you measure success in general,

Eyal Tocker
so, first of all, I, for every, every one, every new joiner, whether it sells pre sell, you do a lot of certification along the enablement. And, and before you let him start working on business, you expect also the manager, the direct manager, to certify him to have a pitch for him and see that he’s really, he’s convinced that the guy’s ready to go to the field, and

Avner Baruch
he’s able to act as a salesperson, basically.

Eyal Tocker
Exactly. And so you, you do a lot of certification, that’s the reason for the certification first, for the, for the new employee to understand what he knows, and what he doesn’t know. Because sometimes you you have training about something, but you don’t really know whether you got it or not. And the second part is for, for the, for the company to understand whether the person is, is ready or not. So that’s one thing. The second thing is you, you see, I mean, you review his result, all the time, we’re doing a lot of believing in a data driven organization that measure all the time that salespeople about their conversion about their many other metrics that they have. And a lot of control, listen to their calls later on, see how they’re doing, using a lot of methods like Gong and others. And, and it’s not only to, to have good control, but also to understand where the person may be missed something or what are the things that we need to help him to, to improve all the time. And you measure that and see the result and the best and the best way to see that a good enablement is someone who makes these ramping quite fast and starting getting results. And that’s, that’s a good way to and to see very easy way to add to see that he had a very good ad. And

Avner Baruch
I totally agree and even if I may have my own advice when you start as an enabler as a trainer, as someone who’s about to build an enablement system from the ground up, so when you join the company, and you start ramping up and learning the the industry, new language, new KPIs, everything is actually brand new. Whatever you do every action you take every presentation that you read every clip that you see, every note that you take, think about this as your enablement program you’re going to use when you hire people. So you work in parallel, you’re basically training yourself, and whatever you do for yourself, you’re going to be reusing for others. And that’s going to save you a great deal of time. So that’s my tip. And that’s this is basically what I do when I start from scratch. So y’all, this has been a very, you know, interesting conversation. And I’m truly excited because that’s our first podcast of this great series of podcasts that we’re planning for this year. And you’re you’ve been my first guest and I’m very happy for that. Any tip, any, any, any other advices you want to share with us or if someone wants to reach out to you can you share, you know, contact details, LinkedIn page, whatever.

Eyal Tocker
First of all, don’t try to reinvent the wheel and talk with people who did it and get some good advices and learn how, what’s the best way If this is the first time that you’re rolling enablement

Eyal Tocker
process, that’s one, and I’ll be happy to help and you’re all invited to reach out. The best way is LinkedIn. Very easy. Docker to ckr. And so it’s very easy to find me and send me a message and I’d be happy to assist.

Avner Baruch
This is amazing, awesome conversation. Really appreciate you being here. As my first guest, I really enjoyed this conversation, the owl and everyone else. I’m looking forward to be spending time with you on our next session. Thank you, everyone. Thank you.

Eyal Tocker
Thank you very much. Have a great day.

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