12/15/2016 Interview with PointForward

Let’s Get Real.

In this series, we interview sales tool providers and get real about the problems they’re solving and why you should care (or not).

This week I interview Ralph Grimse, VP, Sales – PointForward

Nancy: I ask guests to answer the first question using what I call the “You know how…” format. Tell us, what does your solution do?

Ralph: Have you ever been on a ride-along with one of your sales reps and almost fallen out of your chair because you couldn’t believe what your rep just told a prospect? Maybe the rep said something off the mark about your new solution, fumbled through an objection, or just showed a lack of preparation. There’s nothing that can kill a sale quicker than a rep who’s failing to deliver value.

The problem is that many sales organizations fail to prepare their sales teams for the specific selling situations they face and they significantly underestimate the importance of each conversation in the buying journey.

In reality, most sales organizations do a poor job continuously developing their sales teams. Sales training may be done at onboarding or once a year at kick-off and then forgotten. There’s often a lack of structured reinforcement and many managers are too busy to properly coach. Even in organizations with robust training, there may be a lack of effective practice or a poor coaching culture. Even with the best of intentions, research tells us that most sales training doesn’t stick.

Well, we solve these issues head-on with our PointForward solution. PointForward helps sales reps deliver in that “moment of truth” when they need to communicate value to the customer. We enable sales teams to train, practice and coach to real selling situations – not multiple-choice tests. How should a rep respond to a pricing objection? How should a rep position against a specific competitor? These are the high-impact conversations that create value. Second, it ensures that the key learnings “stick.”

It does this through structured learning tracks, scenario-based video challenges, and a peer-collaboration community. By properly preparing sales reps to adapt and deliver in the real world, our clients are winning when it matters the most.

Nancy: That sounds like a problem worth solving (and a worthy solution). But let’s get real, sales and marketing organizations have a lot of challenges and they have to make choices about which to solve first. Why shouldn’t they continue with things the way they are if they’re getting by? What are the ramifications of not solving the problems you outlined?

Ralph: We’re solving the inconvenient truth of modern sales. We can automate so much of the process from emails, dialing, entering data into a CRM, predictive lead scoring, and on and on. Those items are often attractive for a sales organization to solve because they’re perceived as easy (e.g., initiatives that controlled centrally, directed by HQ vs. the hard work of actually engaging reps in the field). But none of these efforts will move the needle until you truly ENABLE your reps to be successful in customer conversations. If organizations fail to do the basics, the rest of the sales system is sub-optimized.

The reason why most organizations limp along in this area is because it’s hard work. It’s not as simple as buying a tool to organize your sales collateral. Training and developing a sales team is an ongoing effort that starts with onboarding and continues through to veteran reps and on to sales management.

Our goal is to make this as easy and systematic as possible by giving an organization a platform and structure to how they train, practice and coach their teams. Our approach uses a simple and proven methodology to engage and collaborate with your sales team. We tap into their motivation, which leads to real behavior change – the HARD STUFF!

Nancy: What types of questions should sellers and marketers ask to decide whether solving this problem should be a high priority?

Ralph: For sales and marketing it’s simple – how well does sales execute on the message? And in turn, what real feedback are you getting from the sales rep about the effectiveness of the message? Our solution helps with both – providing transparency into the effectiveness of both the rep and the message.

Marketing can pinpoint issues that need to be addressed through improved messaging, including sourcing, testing and fine-tuning the message with top performers. Want to know how the field is talking about the new feature set of a competitor with customers? Source it directly from the field in an efficient and effective way.

Sales management sees value by identifying gaps with the skills and capabilities of the sales team to deliver that message. Sales reps now have a platform where they can continue to develop their skills by learning from others and practice on their own.

We help our customers deliver a huge ROI by helping them build an effective message that is well executed in the field – something that should be a priority for every organization.

Nancy: This question is your choice. What do you want to answer that I didn’t ask?

Ralph: These seem like critical issues to get right, so what makes you different in this space?

Frankly, it’s our team that makes the difference. We’re not a technology / product-lead company – we’re a customer-lead organization and we’re very proud of that. Our team comes from the consulting and sales training world – folks that know firsthand the challenge of translating strategy into behavior change with a sales team. We think about sales and sales training every day and bring a wealth of best practice insight to the challenges our customers face.

Our value is more than the just the technology, it’s having someone to connect with to help solve their sales enablement challenge, which is why we put such an emphasis on our consulting service. Technology is simply the tool that helps us do what we love to do, which is to help our customers be more successful in their sales efforts.

Nancy: What should people do next?

Ralph: As you look to 2017, if you need to improve the onboarding of your new hires, launch new products/features or reinforce sales skills – drop us a line and our team would love to share what leading-edge companies are doing to make their numbers.