Sales Reps Are Like Puppies | Patrick Wall – CE Show on the Road

Pat Wall is the Head of Competitive Intelligence at Imperva. Adam and Pat dive into why enabling your sales team is like training a puppy, how to make intel simple and digestible for your reps, and how his priorities have shifted to focus on customer retention. Here are three takeaways from their conversation

1️⃣ Enablement is about training not telling 1️⃣

You can’t just tell a puppy not to pee in the house, walk away and expect them to learn. You have to show them the right way to do it and then reward that good behaviour.

Moreover, keep in mind that sales reps are not going to be invested in broader compete efforts as you are. Just like the owner has a biggest interest in keeping their carpets urine-free than the dog.

“Enablement should be a way of doing that that you can actually help them to build that repetition. They have a lot of stuff on their plate. And so having that empathy for sales is important.”

A heavy-handed approach to competitive enablement will never work. But if you deal in empathy, repetition and positive reinforcement, you’ll greatly increase your chances of success.

Download our ultimate 9 step guide to launching your competitive enablement program to learn more about measuring the success of your compete program

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2️⃣ Make intel simple and digestible 2️⃣

If you’re worried about being overly prescriptive in your compete content, you can go ahead and forget that. Veteran sellers are going to do what they do best: take the information given to them and turn it into a sale.

New and old sellers alike though will benefit from clear and simple direction around what to do, when and why.

“These are the three things to say and know when you hear this competitor, and here’s the reason why.”

Lean into diffentiatiors, strengths and weaknesses. And don’t forget to tee them up with those masterful talk tracks you’ve built.

Watch Economics Professor John Horn break down how he advises companies to get inside the competitor’s mindset

3️⃣ Enabling CSMs with competitive intel 3️⃣

Customer retention has become one of Pat Wall’s biggest priorities this year. (You probably find yourself in a similar boat.)

Enabling CSMs with competitive intel is a different muscle to flex. First you need to deeply consider the differences in your internal stakeholders (sales vs CS). And then you need to consider their different audiences.

“With sales, they’re very aggressive — give them the hits. With customers though, it’s more about like finding common understanding them and working with them to train them a little bit more.”

Most enablement principles (clear communication, timely and accurate information) apply across the board.

However, when it comes to enabling CS and focusing on retention, you’ll need to shift your mindset to accommodate the different users and audiences.

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