In the latest instalment of our Ringside series – which shares telecoms industry insights from our own leaders and external experts – we catch up with RingCentral’s Ben Purton, Senior Director – International Enablement.
Ben has been in the UCaaS space for over a decade now, and has been involved in enablement for the past eight years. He recently won the 2023 Enablement Leader of the Year award from the Sales Enablement Collective and has also been elected as General Secretary of the Revenue Enablement Society.
Ben, can you tell us about your role and what you love about it?
Yes, so I work in RingCentral’s Revenue Enablement Team. We support all parts of the organisation when it comes to revenue and CRO. With enablement, you are like a biologist of revenue in the company – you forensically study the people and the environments within the company and are the glue that sticks things together to drive results. What I mean by that is you have a marketing team, a sales team, a sales operations team – but you need to make sure that they all work together in order to give your revenue-generating staff the best possible chance to be successful. And, more importantly, to give customers the best experience possible.
It used to be called sales enablement but it changed its name to revenue enablement because the thinking matured. Previously, we imagined sales like a circle with the ultimate end goal being a close. But most people have realised – with the birth of renewal models and the recurring revenue models – that the circle often starts again as soon as the customer has signed. You have to deploy the products or solutions, keep them happy, make sure they’re getting value out of it – so enablement has expanded into teams like CSM, customer service, tier support, renewals, and customer advocacy. Enablement touches every part of the business really in some capacity.
As an example, we’ve recently enhanced our UK team by bringing in more entry level sales roles and they’ve been focused on making sure our customers are happy – actually ringing them up and getting to know them. This has increased our customer advocacy and they’re leaving us positive Google and Trustpilot reviews.
How did it feel to win the award from the Sales Enablement Collective? Who or what inspired you to achieve this?
Well firstly, the Sales Enablement Collective is a global community that connects and empowers sales enablement specialists. They’re amazing at what they do. Of course it was a huge honour to win their Enablement Leader of the Year award, but the fact that I was even on the list was incredible, with some amazing people working for massive brands – Nate Vogel from Databricks, Whitney Sieck from Demandbase, Kira Pollard-Lipkis from LinkedIn, and Lisa Barber from Sigma Computing.
What touched me the most was being nominated by so many people – people who have worked for me at RingCentral; clients of mine; my mentor, Imogen McCourt from The Economist Group; my former leaders, including Sheevaun Thatcher, who’s one of the most famous names in enablement. There’s a plethora of people that nominated me, which made me very emotional!
It was great that they recognised a UK-based enabler too. Sometimes people see enablement as a US thing but it’s not any more – in fact, growth is greater outside of the US than in the US now. So me winning this award shows that enablement truly is for global businesses and is a global function.
In terms of inspiration, my three biggest influences have been my mentors, Sheevaun Thatcher, Sarah Gross (who now works for Procore) and Imogen McCourt – all female, which is refreshing in the tech space! They’re all amazing and I wouldn’t have got here without many people, but especially not without these three powerhouse professionals.
What three pieces of advice would you give to budding enablement leaders?
I think the biggest one is to start by identifying quick wins – there’s no shame in this. You need to have as many stakeholders on your side as possible, who trust that you bring value. It could be something very easy like adding a button that takes away some sales drag, but it will have an immediate impact and win you credibility.
Secondly, be prepared to ‘run to the fire’ and quantify everything. You need to be prepared to tackle problems and difficulties head on and don’t be afraid if projects don’t always work out the way you had hoped.
Also, quantifying is really important because let’s say you do a product enablement – you help your sales staff understand a product better, you work with your marketing ops team to campaign it properly and get the data properly, and then you work with sales operations to make it easy to execute. After all that you’ve got to make sure that you track the outcomes, because if there was a significant uplift in sales for that product afterwards, you need to be able to say “look, we were a critical part of that.”
And then finally, never be afraid to borrow ideas from others. Join or follow societies like the Sales Enablement Collective, Revenue Enablement Society – and people prominent within them – so you can learn from others. I would say the majority of my successful programmes have either been ones that I’ve directly borrowed or made a Frankenstein version of. But then about 15% of my work has been quite innovative stuff that I’ve created myself and put out there for other people to borrow. The best enablers I know are the ones that are involved with the community – they give to the community but also take from it too.
And what about business communications – how do innovations like AI help sales or enablement teams?
I think you’ve got to embrace new technology innovations and make them work for you. For example, as an enabler, I’m really excited about our new product, RingSense. It’s going to be such an important tool because in any organisation, your biggest investment is your people, so making sure that they are as fit, prepped, productive and professional as possible is crucial.
RingSense is at the heart of all of that because it can find and surface patterns and insights from all your video and phone calls. For instance, it will score each interaction, highlight concepts and keywords that the most successful reps say, highlight common sales objections, and create interaction summaries and then load them into an integrated CRM and schedule follow-ups. It will save sales teams, enablers, and customer success teams so much time and will provide completely new insights that people would struggle to find manually.
Away from RingCentral products, things like ChatGPT makes my world so much easier. Say I need to put a business case together for investing in enhancements to reduce ramp time (the time it takes for a new sales rep to become fully trained and productive). A few years ago I would have to spend hours searching for the best stats to support my case and demonstrate the benefits. With ChatGPT, I can get that done in minutes. Not only that but I’ve got the most relevant stats and reports.
Some people are phobic of AI. They think it’s cheating. The way I see it is, if you’ve just wasted time for no benefit, that’s cheating yourself.
Many thanks to Ben for giving up time to share his insights and advice. If you’d like to hear more from Ben, you can follow him on LinkedIn. In the meantime, look out for more episodes in the Ringside series.
Originally published Dec 04, 2023