Revenue leaders serve a new kind of customer.

The Alexander Group Executive Forum, a virtual event attended by over 400 revenue leaders, welcomed keynote speaker Cate Gutowski, worldwide head of sales enablement at Amazon Web Services (AWS), and her presentation on the Transformation of 24X7 Sales Enablement to Deliver Double-Digit Growth.

Traditional Sales Enablement Doesn’t Work At AWS

Cate practices that you have to understand from the customer’s point of view in order to reach them. “Traditional sales enablement does not work at AWS. In today’s ‘Attention Economy,’ focus is the new currency. Technology has revolutionized the way we work and live. The “Attention Economy” changes how we go about gaining the attention of our customers,” Cate shared.

Cate speaks with her team that the customer’s favorite channel is “WIFM” – What’s In It For Me? “You have to understand what customer problem you are solving and why they care, or you won’t get their attention,” Cate shared with guests.

AWS incorporates six tenets that drive AWS and how they service the “Attention Economy.”

  1. Embrace new mental models.
    To win in the marketplace, you must first win in the workplace.
    Consumer internet changed everything…when will B2B catch up?
  2. Time is money.
    Treat field time like gold.
    If products and services are growing but the field time is declining, then come up with a way to make time more productive.
  3. Have to vs. want to.
    Training doesn’t have to be boring.
    If your team despises mandatory training, change it up…make it fun!
  4. Complex is easy. Simple is hard.
    Simple is hard, but works 10x better.
    Take a step back and see the simplest path to address customer needs.
  5. Jump in the pool.
    Perfection is a trap.
    Innovate and modernize sales enablement fast because speed matters.
  6. Leaders make it safe to fail.
    Teams need to feel safe to try something new even if it may fail.
    Celebrate failures, share lessons learned, and accelerate progress.

Single Threaded Ownership

Cate shared that the only way to be accountable for innovative decisions is if you own both the process and the technology necessary to get it off the ground. “For me, it means I own the business process around enabling training and communicating with the field, but I also own the technology that supports those business processes.”

Cate also noted that it’s great to take on that responsibility, but set some ground rules of what it’s going to take to achieve them. “I think anyone that’s trying to drive a change or transformation needs ownership of both the process and the technology. If you don’t have ownership of both, you should ask for it. Then when you ask for it, you should explain that you plan on being the one single accountable owner. You’re accountable and responsible for those decisions. It means that you’re getting the ideas off the ground and then you’re responsible for ongoing and continuous innovation.”

Measuring Success

While there are factors that are proprietary to AWS, Cate shared that one of the ways they measure success is through proficiency.

“We’re measuring proficiency through competency assessment. We’ve been introducing things like snackable enablement where we’ve done a lot of testing and we have data that tells us that knowledge retention is graded when we push training in the field that is in snackable bites in 4 minutes or less. If they do 4 minutes or less every day in a week, they learn or retain 50% more than if they did the one 30-minute class,” Cate shared.

Closing Thoughts

“Most companies overanalyze and don’t make decisions because they are trying to be perfect,” Cate stated. “You’re never going to make perfect decisions. The key is to realize that speed matters and oftentimes you’re going to miss big opportunities because of inaction. One of our leadership principles is to have a bias for action so we look for people that move fast.”

Alexander Group’s 2021 Leadership Series

In the coming year, Alexander Group’s Leadership Events will focus on the continued importance of the new type of customer and what’s around the corner under the theme of 24X7 Customer: The Next Chapter. These events will continue the exploration of how companies are reshaping their go-to-customer approaches, with an emphasis on how revenue leaders are taking their learnings from 2020 and using them to build stronger customer relationships and find new pathways to growth.

In addition to roundtables, symposiums and Forums, we are also excited to announce the first Alexander Group Women in Revenue event in April. Be sure to mark your calendar.


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