In our last blog, Top 2015 Learnings in Sales Enablement: Part I, we talked about how companies are simplifying the selling experience while moving towards a customer centric sales process– all by collaborating more effectively between departments. However, there has also been a shift in how the market is leveraging technology as a catalyst to accelerate these initiatives and impact revenue. We summed many of these up this year in the eGuide just before Thanksgiving, Top 10 Reasons Companies are Investing Heavily in Sales Enablement. Here are the remaining three learnings from our conversations in 2015.
We have moved past searching for content to delivering context.
Many clients talked to us this year about their strategy shifts to not only give sales content, but also the context in how to engage with customers. It is no longer enough to create or distribute content without the appropriate training, playbooks, and user experience. Russell Wurth, VP Solutions Management at Optiv talked about this shift. “With Showpad, we are keeping our sales team informed on the latest solutions and insights towards identifying client needs and highlighting our value-all in one innovative user experience. We can clearly see that [the solutions] fully represented in Showpad are selling at a much higher rate than those that only have content in a partner portal.”
We also spoke with Tamara Schenk, Research Director at CSO Insights at our customer event Showtime15 on the topic; “The content has to lead salespeople to the context question, enabling them to create valuable perspectives in the customer’s context, helping them achieve their goals.” For more information on the conversation with Tamara, read the blog Content is King, but Context is Queen.
Technology is the new competitive differentiator.
The reality is most companies live in a highly competitive market, and some face complete product parity. Many have refined their competitive messaging, and are now looking for new ways to differentiate. We heard this loud and clear from Graham Leeson, Head of Communications at Fujifilm as he talked about the impact of a Sales Enablement platform; “The biggest impact is we’re delivering a consistent message to customers. It’s transformed the way that we sell. It’s allowed [sales reps] to be more professional. We’re all in a competitive business, and Showpad has given [us] a competitive edge.”
Ying Ho Lee, Marketing Manager at Synthomer echoes those sentiments; “We’ve had sales reps tell us that they believe Showpad is giving them a competitive edge. Their customers now look at them as trusted experts, and are much more engaged during their conversations.” There are many technologies that can give you an edge, and you can read about them in our past blog The 5 Sales Productivity Tools Every Sales Organization Needs.
Customers want actionable, predictive, and trusted analytics.
“You can’t improve what you can’t measure,” is something we’ve heard a lot of this year. Adam Jamison, Global Manager of Web and Mobile Experience at Schneider Electric, is a pro at measuring marketing content usage, but wasn’t happy with their previous portal’s adoption. “Now, sales reps look at content at four times the rate than when content was located on the website - that’s a 300% increase in activity!” His colleague in Marketing, Jeremy McCullough, went deeper, stating that “mobile applications allow reps to share relevant content, track customer engagement and identify follow-up steps regardless of location.” McCullough continued, “accessing information at this rate shows that our sales reps are better prepared to compete with a bid for potential customers.”
Ulrich Nauber, Senior Marketing Manager at Dow, also talked about their challenges from a compliance perspective. “The question was always, where is the right content for our sales force when they meet a customer? Additionally … you have to take care that everything is aligned to legislation, regulation, and especially as we are heavily innovation driven, you have to be sure that they are promoting the right products”. We worked these conversations with Demand Metric, a research firm, to understand The Impact of Content Effectiveness, a report which focuses on leveraging feedback and analytics to drive content and messaging.
The market is still early in moving down these paths to reach a point of inflection, as we discussed in one of our most recent blogs, 4 Disruptions Evolving Sales Enablement, which focused on why all these changes create enormous opportunities for companies investing in this space. There were quite a bit of learnings in 2015, but we are excited to start the year off thinking and writing about how Sales Enablement is going to change in the future.
The holiday music has been on constantly in our office and we just recently had our annual party. There’s a lot to be thankful for as it’s been a great year here at Showpad. We all wanted to wish you all a Happy Holiday. And, if you want to get a jump start on next year and avoid some potholes, read our latest blog The Biggest Risks to your 2016 Strategic Growth Initiatives, or start a free trial.