Enablement Meeting Basics and Succeeding as a Team of One

Sally Kim is responsible for Global Sales and Partner Enablement, Google Maps Platform, at Google.  In this conversation with The Collaborator, Sally shared the importance great Enablement meetings and the need to get back to basics, including:

1️⃣Setup monthly or quarterly meetings for reviews of strategic priorities with key stakeholders.

2️⃣Have weekly or bi-weekly meetings to review progress on tactical efforts and review current tactical priorities.

3️⃣Always use meetings for discussion and feedback, don’t waste people’s time with an hour-long walkthrough of a PowerPoint you could have shared with them prior to the meeting.

4️⃣Always set a meeting agenda so attendees know what is being discussed, how they can help, and so they can come prepared and ready to engage.

Audio Transcript

Sally Kim
Doing while doing the best we can during the gravy hour living in and managing our right

The Collaborator
crazy environment. Do me a favor, take

Unknown Speaker
a minute and

The Collaborator
tell everybody about who you are, um, a little bit about all of that who you are what you do?

Sally Kim
Sure. I’m Sally, I currently lead global sales and partner enablement over at Google Maps platform. What we do here is you might already be familiar with Google Maps, I use it all the time to go home, I’m very dependent on it actually, to get anywhere in the world, essentially. But similarly, here, Google Maps platform, we use what we know about our over 15 years of mapping experience, and we help enterprises and other developers build location based services, and experiences for their end users. And we also use some of the insights that are driven by locations to inform businesses on their business decisions and operations. So it’s been really interesting to learn more about the business facing part of the asset. At least I know I use all the time.

The Collaborator
Yeah, that’s really cool. To be honest with you. And I know, geez, I used to pride myself on being able to drive anywhere without a map without anything, but I couldn’t live without maps anymore to you. I need all the help. I can. Yeah. Now, yeah. In your current role, your team of one I believe, is that correct?

Sally Kim
Yeah, that’s correct. I started at the organization about a year ago. And so a team of one as far as I know, how do

The Collaborator
you how do you prioritize? I mean, as a team of one and a lot of enablement. People are teams of one. How do you personally prioritize the strategic and tactical work that you need to get done every day, every week? Every month?

Sally Kim
Great question. It’s the money question, right? Because so many things end up falling on your plate when you’re the one point person for all things enablement. But I think that in terms of prioritization, it’s super important to make sure that what you’re doing is consistently aligned with a lot of cross functional stakeholders that you’ll leverage, right, you’re already short staffed as it is as a team of one. And this has been my experience. Apart from this, this company, as well, but beyond anytime I’ve been in a situation where I’m super short on resources, I’m just trying to get a function listed off the ground. It’s important to have the conversations early with stakeholders and marketing and products and sales, of course and operation and sit down and have a conversation about what are we all trying to collectively achieve. And then it becomes the priorities map becomes much clearer if everybody’s aligned to a singular goal as a business. And then it’s just different inputs to how we achieve or how we work towards those goals. Right. So first and foremost, I would say the ally minute, the different cross functional organizations is super important. And then tactically speaking, you want to be able to communicate out, here’s my point of view, right as enablement based on everything that I’ve heard, here’s what I would put on the calendar, or here’s a cadence of things that I would like to suppose that we do. And then do frequent check ins or have a regular cadence of meetings where people are actually contributing to, essentially your roadmap and your priorities list for the year, the quarter, whatever, your organizational cadences.

The Collaborator
I love that. And I agree. I mean, it makes perfect sense to me to Sally, is there. In your experience overall, are there you know, two or three types of different meetings that you set up in terms of a strategic meeting every quarter or status meeting every couple of weeks? You know, do you do something like that? Or do you take a different approach?

Sally Kim
Yeah, I think that’s spot on. Right? I have a monthly sort of steering committee meeting that says, Okay, here’s sort of what’s on the table, bigger things, longer term things that we need to discuss to stay aligned. And then on a weekly, I have more frequent check ins with for instance, like sales leadership, to make sure we’re executing on the things that we discussed, were priorities so that I have a temperature check on whether we’re on the same page. Right. So I think the more strategic kind of conversations happen at a monthly or quarterly and then the execution focused meetings happen more frequently on a weekly basis.

The Collaborator
I’m always fascinated how people how people navigate the strategic conversations, because everybody thinks that their one strategic task is the most important. Same, same thing with the tactical stuff. But on those monthly or quarterly meetings that you have. Sally, have you found any way of running it that seems to to lead to good outcomes in terms of a lineman on the focus and all of that?

Sally Kim
Yeah, I think this is just an I guess, meeting one on one stuff that I’ve had to kind of refresh my memory on to as I was trying to get agreement alignment, a lot of things but always always having an agenda help done. And I know, you saw Yeah, yeah, I mean, it’s like basics, right? But if you ever running a node stocco At least that’s what’s worked really well for me is having a running node sock and put your bullet points What you’d like to discuss, like a week or so ahead of actually meeting, and then also any sort of primers or pre reads or decks that you want to look to take a look at prior, that always helps to set expectations, because I can’t remember how many meetings have just gone, where you’re just presenting slides that could have done ahead of time. And instead, the live discussion time is about actually getting feedback or inputs or talking about points where we don’t all agree on right, and then you really just opened another meeting to actually talk about things that you actually wanted to talk about in the original meeting. So I think fundamentals wise, that’s what I do, at least in terms of structure, so that I get the most out of the time that is precious for everybody these days. And then in terms of bringing about those strategic discussions is, I often try to bring back with what I’ve heard from the field or some of the latest concerns that have bubbled up because of my assumption of meetings, or just in talking to reps who’ve come to me with, with things. So I think it’s a balance of knowing what’s at the leaders kind of minds as what they’re thinking about. And then also being able to back that up with, hey, that’s consistent, or it’s not reflective of some of the things that your team has, is thinking about, so that we can have a healthy discussion about what should really be the thing that we should work on together.

The Collaborator
I love that. And we all we all see that that disconnect. I hate to call it a disconnect. But sometimes there is between what the leaders care about and what the people in the field are caring about. Are you doing anything formal? Or even inform? I know, you said, Sometimes they’ll come to you and say, Hey, this is what I’m thinking about. Do you do anything else to gather that kind of ongoing feedback? Sally?

Sally Kim
Yeah, I think that feedback channel is hugely important, right. And it used to be a lot easier, because you can just go and have that coffee, water cooler talk or coffee chat with any of the boys that are in the office. But now you have to be much more intentional and deliberate about setting that up, right. So having formal feedback mechanisms are, of course, really important in the form of regular surveys that you send out periodically. And actually, even more than that, I found quick live engagement has been way more helpful for me to get instant temperature checks that got feedback from anything that programmatics that I’m running. So as an example, we do a training session, call it our best practices, sharing session every single week with the sales team. And now with additional tools built into all of our live stream or online conferencing services, right? There’s polls or questions, you can launch live during the training sessions, for instance, and I’ve used that to get instant checks on Hey, is this resonating with you? Or should we change course, right? Or how helpful is this content and helping you get started with something that you had struggled with? Right? I found, despite the countless of times I remind folks to fill out a formal feedback survey, the live engagement is so much more effective, because it’s, you know, you’re thinking about it, then in there, and you’re engaging with that content. And as soon as they leave that training, they’re on to the next thing, right. So I think that it’s become it’s forced me to be a lot quicker on my feet in terms of getting live feedback and quick engagement, rather than the established ways to be doing which is this formal feedback surveys, formal channels, I think those you have to consider new and creative ways to make sure that you’re always listening to the needs of your audience.

The Collaborator
I love that none of that makes perfect sense. Is your role mostly when, when you’re talking about enablement? today and your current role even in past roles? Is it primarily training Sally or is it training, content curation and development? Is it? Is it sort of all over the place like, like many of us have?

Sally Kim
Yeah, it’s funny, right? Because enablement takes on a different lien or a different meaning at every organization. And so far in terms so my formal enable, my experience has been for the past five or so years, where I’ve had the roles of enablement and, and depending on where I go, and the culture of the organization, some of them have led lenda towards more training heavy and some of them are more focused on content building and managing that content. And then the case of now it’s kind of all of the above, right? It’s the end to end being the voice and a bridge between the sales and the partner organizations to the rest of the internal stakeholders, and vice versa, right. So the way that I had sort of talked about what enablement means and what I’m hoping to bring as value to the organization, when I first started was to say, hey, look, I’m looking to be your conduit. I’m sure you’ve got lots of things on your agenda that you’d like to get accomplished this year. And you just having some difficulties trying to bridge silos between marketing or have an engineering or product. And let me help you amplify your voice right. And vice versa. I’m sure that there’s lots of things that the marketing wants to take the salesperson, let me help understand this is what sales want, right? And here’s how we can work better together in collaboration. So I’ve also been in the beginning anyways, establishing the function. It’s been More about being a voice. And being a translator and a conduit for the lots of different organizations that are involved in taking these things to the market and taking market feedback back to the internal organization.

The Collaborator
I like that a lot. Because I’ve always thought of us as like a translator, or use the word that I like a lot to amplifier. How can I help amplify that one direction or another? For you, Sally, I’m curious. Since you have both the partners, which are obviously external and the internal sales teams, are there differences in terms of what you do or how you do it for the two different audiences? And I asked, Well, I asked generally, but then I’ll get to my other question associated with that if it’s okay.

Sally Kim
Yeah, I think that the lessons that I’ve learned in terms of enabling sales versus partners, is that really, there’s not that many differences, right. Because it especially if you’re in an organization, where partners are heavy part of your business, then a support function to, to scale out your operations essentially, right, and be able to support lots of other customers that we otherwise wouldn’t be able to reach alone with our direct sales team. They essentially want the same thing, which is how do we go to market? How do we position your new products and services? How do we, you know, implement this from a technical standpoint, right. So the feedback that we get from partners is largely very similar to the feedback that our internal market teams have. So I actually found that refreshing because I had totally thought the same Oh, maybe we need to have this specialized set of trainings and tracks and resourcing for our partner organizations. But it starts with the fundamentals and basics, which are largely the same. So we just need to make sure that the partner organizations is the right folks, everyone in the room, right, because obviously, there are, of course, the technical counterparts of those partner organizations versus the business facing stakeholders. So as long as you’re catering to your audience accordingly, how we actually train and educate them to help sell and promote our services to is largely similar. I found which, you know, for me, it was a learning for sure. That’s awesome.

The Collaborator
I always, I always think that you need to, and I’m curious if if this resonates with you or not, with partners, I sometimes think you need to somehow also try to figure out how to amplify your message to get their attention, because sometimes partners are selling so many different things that they have time slices. And if you don’t catch that time slice, they just move on to the next thing. Is that true with you? Or is that like, Nah, I don’t see that, john.

Sally Kim
Yeah, I totally see where you’re coming from john, because, especially in the case where partners do have multiple solution offerings, where we’re not the exclusive partner for, for the services that they offer. It’s absolutely right, right. They have a million different customers and a million different types of things that they’re thinking about daily. So we try to go to them with of course, as with any internal business, build trainings, your why should you care, right? What’s in it for me. And we set that expectation the same thing as like the meeting etiquette, stuff I touched on earlier, we try to send an agenda ahead of time, we try to send any resources that they need to read as pre reads up into the portal where they can access. So that expectation setting and why this should be a valuable use of time for them ends up being super helpful, because then we get good engagement, they know exactly what they’re walking into exactly what they’re trying to get out of it. And then the same thing I talked about earlier with in meeting engagement tools I use on the partner side as well. And that’s been really fun, too, because it’s inevitably a larger audience, when you host trainings for external partners, at least in in my case today. And so it’s just up to the engagement level by a ton when you’re starting to do things that you would in in simulates any internal facing training. So I think that a lot of those principles still apply. And the best part in trying to get their attention is, is giving them the expectations early on of what kind of value that they will be taking, by taking time out of their day to attend a training session, for instance,

The Collaborator
I love that just just sticking with the basics, sticking with the basics, over and over. Let me ask you this. And I’m Adam. And I’m being serious here. What I had a conversation once with somebody, and it was around sales kickoff, so slightly different, but they were looking at a cool idea around a virtual bar type event to get, you know, give people something similar to what they had personal. Do you lose anything with the partner training? Because you’re not physically with them? And have you tried to replace anything? Sort of different? Doesn’t mean

Sally Kim
Yeah, I hear you on what you’re saying. And it’s a struggle across the board right the hot topic with enablement over the last several months. we recreate all the experiences that we used to do live virtually starting from like ritual kickoffs and virtual conferences and events and I think Get extended just as much as same in thinking about how you engage partners with what would typically be like a regional roadshow or a live event with partners. And and we’re right in the middle of planning for 2021 for what we would like to achieve with our partner facing audience. And some of the things that we’ve talked about are how do we recreate exactly to that point those what would have been life visits and and training devices that could have been conducted live? How do we turn those virtually? And how do we still make it meaningful, right, and still get partners from different regions to interact with each other in a way that we would only be able to do if we would if everybody was in the same room. So I think the concept of things like breakout rooms, right, and even if it’s not like quite the virtual bar, but allowing smaller group discussion within kind of a bigger training event to have explored a ton this year, at least the second half of the year with internal sales teams, that I feel more confident now trying to do an experiment with our partners to to see if they would react positively to just the best practice sharing that could happen, and just even meet each other, right, that they would otherwise not be able to do if it was just a $1, one to many type training setting.

The Collaborator
Like that. You know, one of the questions I’ve asked people, Sally, and I’m curious, your thoughts in sort of that ideal breakout room size, so you get engagement going in the room. And it’s not simply too overwhelming for people? A lot of people have told me like four or five people in the room, they felt like, Oh, that’s great. That’s perfect. Do you see the same? Or are you experiencing anything at all different? Yeah,

Sally Kim
I think that that’s consistent with my experience as well. Because I’ve, I’ve learned right when I’ve had a breakout room sizes of seven to eight, they just inevitably are any more essentially been four to five, is they just never really folks who they then get distracted or disengaged, because the content is not all relevant, or they don’t have a chance to participate is as much as they would in a more intimate setting. So so far, for me, it’s been similar, where four to five is the ideal number where everybody feels like they have a chance to partake. Yeah, makes sense.

The Collaborator
Cool. Let me ask you this, um, your team of one. As you look forward, if you have the opportunity to add another one or two people, what kinds of capabilities are top of mind for you in terms of wanting to add to your teams?

Sally Kim
Yeah, and you’re gonna laugh when I tell you, it totally depends. needs, right. You know, like, I’ve been in instances where the additional person that we’ve hired in my pastoral was someone to come in handle knowledge management, for instance, because we were at a point in our organization where we were growing quickly, we’re adding a ton of new sales folks to be organization and just knowledge was exploding with no good way to organize it or make it discoverable, which is like the age old question in any company, right? It’s how you handle knowledge management. But that was the most critical piece to solve. If and the most leverage, I could get out of that adding an additional resource right at that time. Sometimes it’s about more training capability, right? We need somebody in fields who could be a coach, if we don’t have that capability, someone to consistently work with the managers to scale manager coaching and support, right. And in other instances, we’ve had more of a programmatic person, a program, additional program manager to manage things like onboarding, right? I’ve been in that scenario where, again, if you’re in a big growth period, and hiring is crazy, you’re taught your entire time could be sucked into just running onboarding as a program with no room for you to do anything else, right? I’ve been in that situation where we had or I was that person. Initially, earlier in Miami, we went career where I was the onboarding Program Manager, running boot camps, right on a weekly basis. So I think it totally depends on that’s why I say like the organization, where they’re at and what you’re trying to accomplish. So that hopefully, the person the additional resource you bring on, helps bring value to the organization, right, and can again, amplify what the organization’s goals are a Make sense?

The Collaborator
No, it makes sense. Let me let me ask you this, Sally, you know, we’ve been talking for 20 minutes or so. Anything that you feel like Geez, john, we didn’t talk about this. And I really would love to share with the audience.

Sally Kim
Yeah, I think that this is sort of what I go back to anytime I’m having any sort of networking conversation with practitioners in the field is, I’m just so grateful about the amount of knowledge that exists in it as an addition, the willingness to share, right with folks within the community. I think even just over the last few months, I’ve encountered several new like enablement, communities, forum groups, where people are all just eager to talk about similar things. And the reason I, we had this conversation earlier, john, about why I wanted to talk about this team of one and a few other topics around how we scale enablement is because I’m not the only one, right there’s a ton of folks who were in a similar boat trying to start up an enablement function or trying to do a lot and wearing multiple hats. And for me, the biggest thing has been just reaching out to my community, right? collaborating with folks like you who are industry experts in the field, lots of practitioners, we’re in a very similar boat, I’m just fortunate to have that community where it doesn’t feel like I’m alone all the time, right, trying to do what I’m doing. And at least I have the support of anybody who’s doing something similar, even just bounce ideas and think that’s just become my source of sanity, especially during this time where I would have had those coffee chats in person with some of these folks that I’m reaching out to. And at least I’ve been lucky to connect virtually with a lot of folks in the field. So I would encourage anybody else to do exactly the same, right, continue to

The Collaborator
learn from each other. I was gonna say, Are there certain communities you’d recommend people look at sort of, with a one or two, they like, Hey, everybody, check out these.

Sally Kim
Yeah, I mean, there’s so many. Yeah, I mean, like, sales enablement, society being was only my Pro, there’s a few others, I was able to squat, right, which is why we connected, there’s probably all iterations of word sells enablement. And I particularly also appreciate groups like women in sales, and they want because I feel like we have a different, you know, perspective. Here, from that perspective, right. There’s so so so there’s so many, right, and then apart from being a part of formal groups, too, I would encourage everyone just to keep in touch with your networks, right? Your former mentors, current mentors, former managers, right, put you in touch with lots of other people and reach out one on one to so that, you know, you can get the help that you need and, and the mentorship that you need to because everybody’s always looking to learn from each other. I love that

The Collaborator
we are in a world where we must continue learning more and more each day. So well said well said Sally, you know, thank you for coming on. I really appreciate you taking time today to share and reminding us all to me the big takeaways, you know, make sure we’re focusing on the basics, especially around meetings, setting, you know, having the regular tactical meetings, the the monthly or the quarterly strategic meetings, and just doing everything the right way. And as long as we’re not losing sight of those basics. I think we’ll all be okay and get through this together. So yeah,

Sally Kim
that’s exactly right. Thank

The Collaborator
you. Thank you so much, Sally. Have a great rest of your day.

Sally Kim
Thank you, that was great chatting with you.