A Q&A on Data-Driven Enablement and the Power of AI

By Vivian Batman

Teri Long's headshot on a gradient blue an orange background

In a recent Q&A session with Teri Long, VP of Revenue Enablement at Mindtickle, we talked sales enablement, onboarding, and the power of AI in shaping the future of the industry. With 17 years of experience as an enablement leader, Teri shared valuable insights on the challenges faced by organizations in 2023, the importance of data-driven views in sales, and her passion for creating impactful onboarding programs.

Q: Tell us a little about your background before you got into an enablement role.

Teri shared that she spent years as a quota-carrying representative and how it’s shaped her perspective on sales enablement.

“I was in the trenches as a BDR, AE, and a CS rep. It has given me a unique perspective when it comes to how we enable the field,” Teri explained. “In a leadership role, I have incredible empathy and conviction for our sellers having walked in their shoes. That drives credibility with the field. I am thrilled to apply my expertise here at Mindtickle, which takes enablement to the next level for me, being at the epicenter of enablement.”

“I was in the trenches as a BDR, AE, and a CS rep. It has given me a unique perspective when it comes to how we enable the field."
Teri Long
VP of Revenue Enablement, Mindtickle


Q: What are the biggest challenges faced by sales enablement and revenue leaders and their teams in 2023?

Teri said one of the most significant challenges in 2023 is the lack of a data-driven view of what makes sellers successful and what doesn’t. Organizations struggle to predict each seller’s performance and maximize their potential for driving revenue growth.

“Not having a data-driven view or having the ability to maximize seller performance to drive revenue growth is the most important conversation that’s taking place right now. [Leaders] are concerned about not having the ability to predict every seller’s performance and being able to maximize the potential so that we drive revenue growth.”

The absence of an integrated platform to provide actionable insights creates difficulties in extracting and using valuable data effectively.

“Many organizations today have multiple platforms that live in disparate locations managed by various teams, or people, and the ability to consolidate the data in a meaningful and actionable way is incredibly difficult,” Teri said. 

“When you look at what Mindtickle brings to the market, having a fully integrated revenue productivity platform that can optimize all of those data inputs, and provide actionable insights you can act on to drive predictability – it’s a whole new game. That puts enablement and anybody in the suite C-suite in a position to drive predictable conversations.”

Q: Everyone is talking about generative AI and how it’s impacting their work. How do you see it impacting the enablement function?

“Coming out of Forrester B2B Summit, we spent a lot of time actually listening to the analysts talk about AI,” Teri said. One of the biggest takeaways is being aware of the security elements of AI and making sure to take a security-first approach. That’s going to be key.”

Teri then talked about four immediate impacts of generative AI on enablement. Here’s how she sees it changing the way work gets done:

Streamlined program operationalization, offering specific guidance to sales reps and optimizing enablement content

Enhanced selling efficiency by aiding meeting preparation, deal navigation, and pipeline prioritization, leading to higher-quality engagements.

Optimizing deal management by providing valuable team insights and improving coaching conversations, driving higher quota achievement.

Playing a vital role in forecasting, helping to identify risks, making adjustments, and providing more accurate revenue predictions, addressing a major challenge faced by C-suite executives


Q: What is the most prominent “sin” committed by leaders in onboarding, and how can they prevent it?

“Onboarding is often confused with orientation,” Teri explained. “Orientation is absolutely necessary, the paperwork, some of the routine tasks, Teri explained. “But onboarding is a comprehensive, integrated process to enable new hires with the knowledge, skills, product, process, and tools necessary to be successful. Time to productivity can vary greatly based on the organization, industry, and role. In some cases, we’ve seen programs running for up to 12 months.”

"Onboarding is a comprehensive, integrated process to enable new hires with the knowledge, skills, product, process, and tools necessary to be successful."
Teri Long
VP of Revenue Enablement, Mindtickle

Teri continued to explain that in order to understand if your program is successful, you need to determine success metrics.

“Measuring the success of the onboarding program can be incredibly ambiguous without the right systems and data,” she explained. “It requires determining your success metrics for the program. What – as an organization – indicates that your seller is successful by X time?”

Teri also emphasized that another common mistake is the belief that there’s only one Ideal Rep Profile (IRP) for all selling roles within an organization. This misconception can lead to hiring the wrong people for specific roles and negatively impact performance.

To prevent this, organizations must establish unique competencies for each selling role, allowing for targeted onboarding and hiring strategies. By defining and following IRPs, companies can drive more predictable revenue outcomes.

Q: What are the key metrics for evaluating a rep’s onboarding progress and performance?

Teri said that quota attainment comes first but there are other metrics that can indicate if a rep’s onboarding is complete.

“Ramp time, time to first deal closed, time to 4X pipe coverage, deal size, conversion rates, to name a few,” Teri explained. “Onboarding is a great opportunity for leaders to partner with enablement. We can help us drive different or correct behaviors that are impacting a seller’s ability to exceed productivity expectations.”

She continued to explain that various organizations have a wide range of success metrics and data points to measure their performance against, and these metrics may vary depending on one’s job title and the specific programs being implemented. However, some fundamental metrics remain crucial across the board. These include quota attainment, win rates, sales velocity, and conversion rates, which are vital in today’s market.

For teams working with segmented customer bases, cross-selling, upselling, and renewal rates, Teri said NPS scores play a significant role. They involve not only acquiring new customers but also expanding and retaining existing ones by introducing additional products or upselling to larger packages.

Q+A recap

In this Q&A, Teri shed light on the current challenges faced by sales enablement teams and shared actionable strategies to overcome them. Emphasizing the importance of data-driven views, strategic enablement, and personalized onboarding programs, Teri demonstrated how organizations can unlock their sales team’s full potential for driving revenue growth. As AI continues to evolve, it promises to revolutionize the sales enablement landscape, creating more efficient and successful sales teams.

Want more expert advice?

Watch videos from other Mindtickle experts to get advice on how to build a revenue-generating sales enablement machine. 

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