An overview of Business and Enablement in South Africa

Sibusiso Msomi is the Managing Director at The Sales Enablement Company.  In this session, Sibusiso and The Collaborator will explore Sales, Business, and Sales Enablement in South Africa.

1️⃣Sibusiso shares insights on the growth of business, and the opportunities available to business, in South Africa.  Also, while there are 13 official languages  in South Africa, english is the prominent language.

2️⃣What concerns do CEOs have in South Africa today?  How can their businesses be more effective and get more from their existing teams.

3️⃣In South Africa, very few people understand what sales enablement even is (same as most of the world).  So, instead of discussing sales enablement with businesses, they talk about their challenges, identifying gaps, and then they share enablement as a solution for many of the gaps identified.

Audio Transcript

The Collaborator
Hey, everybody is John Moore, the collaborator here today and I am here with my new friend. And let’s see if I get this. Well see, we’ll see. We’ll see So, Masami, not bad, not bad. So is wholly located in South Africa. But he’s the founding member, or at least one of the founding members of the sales enablement society chapter there. So when we connected, I knew I had to have you come on and just share some of your insight with all of us. So I appreciate you so much. Can you give us a little bit of a background about yourself and what you’re doing these days? Oh,

Sibusiso Msomi
great stuff. JOHN, thank you very much for having me. Yeah, it’s a it’s a privilege to bring your wife sauce to my wife, that I watch you watch the show a lot. So when I got an email as I was sitting here, I must be doing something. Right. So thank you very much.

Unknown Speaker
Yes.

Sibusiso Msomi
So I mean, I’ve been involved in sales for over 17 years now, in different roles, you know, I move from it. And I chose to go to sales. And the last few years have been mostly in in in leadership in terms of sales. And you know, and and haven’t done that. So I’ll say about three years ago, I picked up a book by guys who are not my friends, human and inquiry about sales enablement. And, you know, I fell in love with the book, I actually resigned from my job. And I, I sent them an email. Hey, guys, I love your book. And I want to partner with you, can I come meet up with you and I flew down,

Sibusiso Msomi
flew down. And I had a meeting with you want to stay there for a week. And when I returned, I had a new company called the sales enablement company, based in South Africa. And that’s what I’ve been doing for the last three years now.

The Collaborator
That’s amazing. The passion and the just the, the unbridled enthusiasm you demonstrated in doing that is inspiring, my friend. It’s inspiring. So tell us you share with us a little bit. Because, you know, a lot of the people that listen to this show are not in South Africa. Yeah. Tell us a little bit about we know, what’s the state of business? What’s the climate? In terms of business there in South Africa? How is it changing? What’s it look like?

Sibusiso Msomi
No. Question. So I mean, looking at South Africa, and I mean, any country, every country has its own issues. So we we all have, you know, but having done that, having said that, I think one of the things which excited me about the country, and in terms of looking at the climate and the opportunities in the country, is is the people and if you look at what’s been happening, the trend up and seeing in South Africa now, in terms of business, I see more and more companies outside the country, wanting to invest in our resources, a ton of human capital in South Africa. You know, for example, I saw a company based in in the US, I think they had about 400,000 people employed by the company, but they were looking for an empty base in South Africa. quite exciting for me, you know, when I look at those things, it just, again validates and it just shows me how much of a people we have here. I think our guys are, are really smart. They’re really passionate. And, you know, so what I’ve seen tons of opportunities is really that a lot of people that are here, are smart and are able to give value to other companies outside them. I think, looking at the next few years, we might be the next hopefully, the next China and the next, you know, Japan in terms of of the economy, looking at who we have as human resources, quite exciting.

The Collaborator
Inspiring too, because Africa, and I apologize, but the let the main languages are English and Afrikaans.

Sibusiso Msomi
Is that true? That’s correct. So we’ve got we’ve got 13 official languages in South Africa, our team, that’s your official, correct? Absolutely. And I mean, I won’t even name the ones which aren’t official, but you’re at any given time when you walk into any business, you can communicate in in those ones English is the prominent one. Because, you know, looking at the history of the country, that’s how we were taught mostly Then followed closely by Afrikaans, then I’ll sit in Zulu. But at any given point, those 13 are the ones where guys, we, you know, would communicate with. And five of those, by the way,

Unknown Speaker
I do

Sibusiso Msomi
have those correct.

The Collaborator
So you’re five times smarter than I will ever be my friend. Come on lot to learn those like to learn any language takes a lot of effort. So that’s your coffee. So I mean, it sounds like there’s a lot of growth taking place in South Africa. And and you’re clearly in a position where you’re probably talking to a lot of different businesses, a lot of CEOs, what are you hearing in South Africa from a, from a concern? At that higher level? You know, what are the CEOs in South Africa thinking about or worried about? Yeah,

Sibusiso Msomi
so so john, when I talk a lot to the CEOs knows, my clients and non clients, the number one concern is, is is a concern, which I think is across the world whereby they want to know how much they could do, or how much more they could get with what they’ve got. So no, no one wants to no one has some budget later around there, to to spend to get more resources or, you know, to to move into different markets. Yeah. And, you know, so a lot of them want to know, what can they do with what they’ve got. And it’ll get more, you know, to, to your point whereby last year, one of our biggest fliers that we had, and when we took them through the holes, sales and a woman, you know, functions from beginning to the end. And no one was in sales in any business, not even once in person was in sales. And, you know, it’s we’re all consultants, lawyers. So what he does is that listen, guys, I need you guys to become sales, once you do your job. And, you know, he spent a lot of time getting these guys who are normal guys just to be in sales. And so those are the calls that I see a lot of times, what how can we get more with what

The Collaborator
we have? And it makes a lot of sense. I mean, even though South Africa is growing, and and there are certainly places in the world doing well, right now, there’s a lot of businesses struggling, we’re all worried about the economy, COVID, and all this other stuff. So it makes a lot of sense. When you talk to people about sales enablement, which is, which is where your focus is? How, what are the conversations look like? How do you explain to them how it can help them how it fits into the company? Yeah.

Sibusiso Msomi
So one thing you have to remember as well, but South Africa is that whenever I say sales enablement, everybody, like, what is that? Because I know, it’s, it’s a nice term to know. But when you get down to that, and understand you, and maybe this is true for everywhere, but you know, wherever you speak, you speak to will give you a different definition altogether.

Unknown Speaker
It’s true.

Sibusiso Msomi
Absolutely, you know, so so we try, we try and then move away from talking sales enablement, we, we then look at company goals versus your ecosystem. And then we say, how enabled is your ecosystem to attain once you’ve got your goals in the business long

The Collaborator
way, I love that sequency. So I love that approach.

Sibusiso Msomi
And what it does then is it starts opening up all the, you know, all the doors basically, to everyone who could speak to because suddenly, the CEO understands how important it is, you know, for the SDR to know what’s going on with marketing. Suddenly, everyone is well aware how much how many gaps they they they’ve got as a business, and how much work they must do. And from that instance, we then able to take a look at what you need now is a sales enablement function. And of course, we know that it can come in different formats with a combination of a job, or a function. But let’s do something which really enables this business to become better.

The Collaborator
That’s a great way to approach it. Sorry to interrupt you, my friend. But that’s a great way to approach it cuz we know what enablement is. Because we’re we’re living in that world, but so many people around us have no idea of what enablement even means, and to your point. If they do it means different things to different people. So that’s just one of the comments if you look at sudo Su, Su please

Sibusiso Msomi
Sorry, sorry, yeah. You know, actually, on the same topic, I was having a chat just today with one of the biggest companies in the country. They are they they do software development today, you know, a an AARP. And you know, they put adrp, they have a job out the current job spec out now, for the head of sales enablement. They’ve had it for the last two months. And today, I was talking to the recruiter and I said, Listen, you’re not gonna find somebody like that in this country. You know, what do you what do you go look for a title like that? The first guy I found as the sales movement head was Dave now, because his company was when they had the foresight to know this, one other guy moved to the US, amazing guy as well. Also, who was a new person, and equipment. So I was saying, if you look for somebody like that, most likely you will not find. So let me help you spec something different. And we can then build what you want to get. Because you’re hoping to get a finished product. And the finished product doesn’t exist in this country as yet.

The Collaborator
What you’re looking for, I mean, how do you start to build that because you’re in a great position, you’re you’re able to shape what enablement even means in South Africa, you can have some great impact on that. So what how do you how do you find somebody who can start to fill that role in the country?

Sibusiso Msomi
So I’m not sure whether it’s a good a good position or escape position? Well, we’ll see maybe the guys wouldn’t blame you for South Africa. Although Thank you, we’ll see.

The Collaborator
We’ll have to hide somewhere. But

Sibusiso Msomi
you know, what I do, you know, when we’re looking at that. So, I mean, we know this. And, you know, sometimes I think we as petitioners, sometimes we forget to do this, where we really spend time to assess and analyze what the requirements are. And, you know, so one is that, guys, I know you’re looking for this, but let’s look at the priorities that you’ve got at the moment. Where is it, where we can make the biggest impact at the moment for what you’re looking at. And then let’s get that out and find someone who could fit in that role. But also looking at somebody who has the potential to grow to what you want to get. And, and that’s how we don’t change the role, we will we’ll look for that path, I’m looking fit this and be able to show progress to be able to show this to the shareholders that Okay, guys, we hired somebody, and the needle is moving. Once we doing that, then we can quickly get the whole picture. And, again, it is important to know, especially in this country, and I’m pretty sure also in the US. But here it’s true, more than ever, sales enablement here is really a journey. It’s something which will will change for each business this month to the following month. Yeah. And all we want is that we need people who are going to be keen to walk the journey with us. If you can talk the journey with us when it comes to sales enablement, then you will win. And that’s why we find it, it’s really the CEOs, the companies who are really keen to walk the journey with us. Because, you know, all we have now. And we like in our because we basically not now into the market to try and ascertain what other companies in se know about sales enablement. So we can have something that’s you know, driven by numbers. But at the moment, whenever I look at the state of sales enablement, I must go to the US and look at the stats, you know, what you’ve got there, what has been the growth every single year. So we use those stats and we say, listen, guys, look at what they’ve achieved. This is what you can achieve when you’ve got a proper working enablement function. And we use those steps to influence what we could do here in the country. And the CEO CEOs which have good foresight are the ones are saying, Okay, let’s do it. Let’s try it. And I’m happy that so far everyone we’ve worked with, they’ve been keen, and they’ve seen the failure rating.

The Collaborator
I think one day they’re going to have you on the money in South Africa. Yes, that’s my view. Ah, are you seeing except you except I know. Whatever does the most popular bill is in South Africa face. Talk to me, my friend. What are you seeing? I know, I agree with you. First off that enablement is a journey and it’s going to be Be a little different for each company. Are you seeing any common commonality, though, in terms of the immediate needs? Like when you talk to a company? Do most of them need help on onboarding? First, do they need help on contact? You know, where are you seeing? If you are seeing any commonality?

Sibusiso Msomi
Yeah, good question. When I look at the companies in the country, at the moment that we were working with, wasn’t we busy now. It’s on the skills, you know, skills, it really on the skills whereby you’ve hired somebody to do a job. And because things now a bit different, buyers don’t buy the same way as they used to buy, you know, as salespeople, you know, as much as your buyers know, by the time you walk into your room, your buyer knows a whole lot more than what you know. And so the skill set to be able to sell that, in a human form, is what’s been missing a lot. And, you know, we really try and spend time to our company, we would our clients, were excited. So what does it mean to me, if I’m a human being, you mentioned all those things. You’ve got all these nice things, but what does it mean, for me? So it’s really on the skill site? You know, so whenever we go to clients, we try and have a look at four things. One would be the skills, which becomes the main thing, then the other one will be, we will look at the stuff which they’ve got. So do you have the right people doing the job, and that’s why we don’t deal with onboarding. And we have the right systems in place to support what you’ve got, as your resources. So you know, you might have somebody great, but do you have the right systems to support that? And number four, do you have the right strategy to actually execute what you want to do? And so far, you know, looking at this four pillars, we’ve been able to get the results with clients as you can add those four ones, we just changed what needs to be changed them to fit the overall goal, but it’s always along those four things.

The Collaborator
Those are great. Those are four great things for anybody to look at, whether you’re in South Africa, the US, Europe, Asia, that those are just really good starting points. So that’s, that’s great. And I love that. Let me let me ask you a question. When i, you and I were chatting before we went live. And and we were chatting briefly about the maturity of business and enablement on the continent of Africa in general. And you were sharing with me, you know, when you look at the country, what was it Nigeria, Kenya, what are the other countries in Africa where you think, either enablement could start to play a role or, or will soon start to play a role? You know,

Sibusiso Msomi
so I mean, gains on looking at the different countries within the continent. And you’ve mentioned Nigeria, Nigeria, Kenya, Ghana, Tanzania, and maybe Egypt, when you look at how the faster markets are moving in terms of technology, especially, those are the countries that are moving fast. You know, so how enablement comes into the country at the moment, in terms of a job is, is when john who has a company in the US wants to expand into the African continent as a reason I want to expand now. And I know what works in the US. So therefore, when I go to this continent, I want to have a sales enablement specialist. And, and, and because those countries are the ones who are growing fastest when it comes to technology, we then have a lot of Western companies who are joining those ones, and then suddenly, in need for sales enablement happens. And that’s a movement I’m seeing now. In the last I’ll say six months, you have seen about 2020 posts, which which it will say sales enablement in South Africa, you might think it is nothing, because no, we have a huge population here. But last year, Around this time, when I was ambitious, to grow this sales enablement, and I went to sales enablement jobs, there was zero. But suddenly now is a exactly exactly. So and and, and for muslin happening now and this is changing. In the past, South Africa has been the powerhouse of the continent. You know, it’s been like, Whatever happens in sa, they’ve got to happen in all the other continents. It’s changing. Now because now we’ve got other players who are moving as fast and, but sales enablement is moving with those players, especially in Kenya, I think we’ll see some guys moving there.

The Collaborator
No, I love that. I didn’t mean to interrupt you sequences, what were you gonna say?

Sibusiso Msomi
No. So I was gonna say, so I hope that there’s some crazy person out there in Kenya and Ghana as well, who’s going to say, let’s grow this, as much as you know, it’s growing in the country. And so we, you know, we want to grow it here in South Africa. But also, we want to see how what we can do in all the other African countries where we can grow sales enablement. And I’m pretty sure that somebody out there already was looking in, say, we want to go his profession, across the continent as well.

The Collaborator
So if if they if somebody’s setting in Ghana, or Kenya right now listening to this, I’m sure they give you a call, please do.

Sibusiso Msomi
You know, give me a call, drop me a message on on LinkedIn, I know, this, let’s grow this, you know, ultimately, maybe this is why I’m gonna have my face on on the money for South Africa. Because if, if, if we get sales enablement, right in, in this country, we can really grow the economy in the the way that it should grow as fast as how we want to grow it. It’s, it’s just beyond me, it’s really about what we need to get as a continent to be where we want to be. Without goals.

The Collaborator
Well, let me ask you, you know, I’m taking I’m going off track of the questions that I share this Do, do I if I’m looking at bringing a business to South Africa, and I’m not, but if I were, what’s the state of the infrastructure there? You know, energy, internet, all of that? How is it? Is it on? You’ve been to the US? How does it compare to say the US?

Sibusiso Msomi
I will say it’s almost on par. And you know, so I mean, depending on where you are, of course, in the US as well. And, but, you know, we’ve got good connection, we’ve got great infrastructure, and we’ve got great tax brackets for anyone who wants to come into the country, if anyone from the government guys I’m coming from from the country or so. But on a serious note, there’s really value for anyone to bring in their country. I mean, the company here in sa, and wanting to terms of your human resources, we know what you pay for in the US. And what you pay for in South Africa, is possibly 123. And, you know, possibly, exactly and you know, and what you get is, is quite amazing, because remember that in South Africa, we have a lot of people who have got degrees and master’s doctorates, just just sitting at home because they can’t get you know, their jobs. So when you come through, and you’ve got a business you how you’re getting highly skilled people who are motivated to do well in their job so that they can keep this job all the way. So it’s a win win all the way.

The Collaborator
That’s awesome. That’s awesome, my friend. Let me I’m gonna ask you two more questions. If I can keep you a couple more minutes.

Unknown Speaker
Go ahead.

The Collaborator
You founded the chapter of a sales enablement tidy. I’m Dave Nell, who was on the podcast last week, and you guys know each other, how big is that chapter today? And and what are you thinking in terms of how you’re going to grow it? What What are you planning to do as a chapter? Yeah,

Sibusiso Msomi
so it’s not as big today? We had our first meeting only last week. Okay. And, and, you know, I’ll take blaming that myself, and, and Dave, because when I think it was only last year, when we will finalize that we’re going to have a chapter here in the country, you know, but things got in the way. So we really just began last week. And the goal here, and this is where things become difficult for me. Because I don’t want to be, I don’t want to be the guy that when they look at, you know, I make my money through sales enablement. And I don’t want that. The two things tied to that. I want to

The Collaborator
I respect Absolutely.

Sibusiso Msomi
It’s, it’s important, you know, and, and what I told the guys in the middle of last year wasn’t guys. I’m only here as a starter. As soon as this thing gets off the ground. I want to leave the leadership because I don’t want ultimately people say, No spoilers here because he’s making money from But I really believe in the profession. And our goal is one to get companies to understand what is sales enablement and what it means for each company. Number two, how they can benefit themselves. You know, so the way that we’re looking at now in our next meeting, so we plan on having meetings, every single month, our next meeting, we will be inviting sales leaders just to come through and get stories from people who are involved in sales enablement, you know, so if we get somebody who’s busy practicing in the sales enablement, team, woman practitioner in a company in the US, they’ll come through and explain the benefits which they’ve realized in their own company, which our guys here can learn from that and grow from there. Absolutely.

The Collaborator
Oh, no, I love everything. You’re up to my friend. I love it. Let me ask you this. What did I ask you? What didn’t we talk about that you want to share? That’s either about sales enablement, about South Africa, about your business, anything my friend. Super.

The Collaborator
You kind of froze there. Did I lose? You see, we’ll see. So

The Collaborator
I think we have a little bit of a network lag right here. If you’re okay, with holding on for a minute, we’ll try to see if it corrects. And we’ll have one. And we’ll close this out.

The Collaborator
Oh, I’m so disappointed. I was having a blast talking to CBC. So. Um, we’ll give him a minute. If he comes if he’s able to get back network connectivity. Before we break, we’ll let him answer that question. Otherwise, thank you, everybody, for listening. And thank you CPC. So thank you for all you’re doing for sales enablement in South Africa. Are you back? You’re back my friend.

Sibusiso Msomi
back? back? Yes.

The Collaborator
All right. All right. Let’s close that out. One more question. Give me something

Sibusiso Msomi
super embarrassing. After I was telling you how amazing our interface is, then suddenly, you lose it for a second

Unknown Speaker
happens everywhere.

Sibusiso Msomi
So you know, the one thing which you haven’t asked me about a woman, which I’d love to share with you come through to the country and sales in woman, I think, I really believe that our guys are gonna catch on what it is, it’s one of those things where I feel like when the fire just catches on, all the companies will behave and will move the right way when it comes to enablement. One of my biggest drives is to have a speaker from South Africa, in the sales and women’s event next year, but the you know, the function and so I really want to drive our goal is to be able to be at that level already. Next year. So quite exciting. And I’m pretty sure it’s gonna happen.

The Collaborator
I know it’s going to happen. You know, the right approach the right mindset, and you’re trying to make good things happen. So it’s going to happen. It’s going to happen. All right, my friend. I thank you so much for taking time out of your busy day. Seriously, to join us and share with everybody. You are going to be on the money in South Africa. Yeah, I want one of those bills when it happens.

Sibusiso Msomi
Thank you very much for time I feel appreciated.

The Collaborator
Thank you so much. And thank you, everybody for listening in.