Sales Enablement Manager: Drew Elston of 6Sense Insights

Drew Elston, Sales Enablement Manager at 6sense Insights, jumped onto the Sales Operations Demystified Podcast to share his experience as a sales enablement manager. Check out all the other episodes of Sales Operations Demystified here.

Connect with Drew and 6sense Insights here:

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Key Takeaways

Drew’s motivation and journey of getting into sales ops

Most people who come on to the Sales Ops Demystified podcast have different routes but the same ideas. They come from a startup where they rise through the ranks and eventually get to a position of power where they learn about leadership and sales ops in general. Drew has a similar journey. He started as a BDR (business development representative) at an Indianapolis startup. This was, indeed, a very new startup, and Drew was one of their first BDRs. The startup had just received its series A funding and was trying to find its feet in the industry.

Drew was instrumental in the startup building their BDR motion. Thus, he got the responsibility of leading the BDR team. This was his first leadership experience, something that he would grow in and progress through. He pioneered the BDR team and the culture in that startup. Over time, he moved into the sales ops role and then the rev ops role. Drew always liked the financial side of the business better, so his progression was very natural. The next step in his career was moving to a different firm. Therefore, last year Drew moved on to 6Sense, where he did the same work and took on more of the enablement responsibilities in the company. 

Dealing with the COVID 19 pandemic 

In Drew’s opinion amidst pandemic, the significant part about the rev ops team at 6Sense is that it is entirely remote. The team works solely from home. Thus, Drew and the team did not have to change a lot. However, a myriad of changes is still required. All this remote based setup did was make the task of going remote a bit easier. While rev ops were not affected much, the sales portion did require changes. According to Drew, a lot of 6Sense’s sales work deals with substantial investment. Therefore, many clients want to come in person and review the status quo from time to time. 

The goal, here, for Drew and his team, was to figure out ways for Sales Ops to be completely remote. As offices closed in March and the team realized that this pandemic might be staying longer than previously expected, they took instant measures for team building and prepared their team for the insight of the challenges. This included an online course that covered the basics of presenting online. This was necessary for the sales team to learn, so they can do compelling pitches without in-person interaction. This course covered ideas like how to call on people and how to keep their attention. They explicitly target areas that can be hurt the most by working from home and fortifying them to sustain quality in the operations. Then there were the little tweaks like creating unique zoom backgrounds that helped give the company a very professional look—something minor but so helpful in the long run and in making an impression. 

The perks of remote work

While answering questions about dealing with the pandemic, Drew mentioned how the rev ops team has been remote only for a long time. No one from that team comes to the office. Instead, they work remotely from their homes. Why is that so? It is natural to be very intrigued by this approach taken by 6Sense. They, of course, give up on a lot of benefits by being remote only. The question then arises, “Why? Why would a company do this?”

In Drew’s opinion, going remote removes topographical boundaries within employees. That may seem bizarre, that practically going remote increases topographical boundaries. However, what this does allow is to have a broader scope. 6Sense can pretty much choose the best employees from anywhere in the world and not be restricted by geographical distance. 6Sense does have a robust operation in India, something they only managed to achieve by going remote. Therefore, going remotely only helped quite a lot of situations. Not least when this pandemic hit, as 6Sense already had experience working remotely. 

Simplifying forecasting

Drew and the team have worked on simplifying forecasting. Instead of having a grey area, they created specific zones in the pipeline, and as the deals moved forward, they moved on to different zones. This made the whole process more black-and-white. They can then evaluate data based on the success rate of deals in zones. Drew’s ultimate goal is predictability here. 

#1 sales metric: time analysis

Drew uses two key metrics to judge his team and the employees. Time to first meeting i.e., how much time did it take a BDR to get ramped up. The second key metric Drew uses is the time BDR takes to complete a deal.

Drew’s biggest influence:

The biggest influence on Drew was an indie Sales Ops crew he created at the start of his career. The team and Drew learned a lot together.

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