Interview with Seismic 5/2/2016
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 Daniel Rodriguez, VP of Marketing at Seismic.
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?
Daniel: You know how marketing spends a ton of time and money on creating content that is used by sales? And you know how 60-70% of content created by marketing goes unused by sales?
Well a portion of that is due to the fact that content is too difficult for reps to find, and the remainder is simply because of bad content. Seismic provides a centralized place for marketers to put content and for sales reps to find content, but it also helps ensure content is being used effectively in the right situations, and increases marketing efficiency along the way.
Also, you know how marketing has increasingly more technology to help personalize top-of-funnel efforts and interactions with prospects? When those leads get passed over to sales, there has traditionally been an inconsistency in that experience. Personalization in sales has been a more manual process, and sales often underperforms as a result of this. Seismic helps reps automatically personalize and update content on the fly, which helps reps more effectively sell and increase win rates.
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?
Daniel: When technology comes along that allows you to automate what was previously a manual and inefficient process, results improve. And it quickly becomes very obvious to the adopters of that technology, that using that technology earlier than your competitors, was a really good idea.
Over time, more and more people start using the technology that was originally giving early adopters a point of competitive differentiation, and the relative benefits begins to flatten out. So if you have a product like Seismic early on, you will likely have the advantage over your competitors. But if you wait too long, things even out, and you could even find yourself left behind.
And this happens with new technologies all the time- there’s disruption, adoption is pretty rapid because people see the benefit, and then there’s a saturation point where you NEED to be using it. Because if you aren’t, you’re going to be left behind. Once everyone has gotten up to speed with the technology and it becomes a foundational piece of your sales and marketing stack, similar to what we have seen with CRM and marketing automation technologies, they eventually become “givens.” Then, it’s on to the next big thing that will give you that competitive advantage.
We are seeing the sales enablement space evolve. It’s becoming that next big thing
Nancy: What types of questions should Marketers ask to decide whether solving this problem should be a high priority?
Daniel: The first thing that marketing should be asking is “how do we make sure we are spending our time most efficiently?” and as part of that, “how do we measure our overall impact?”
As marketers, how do we even know if the content we create is being used? Think about that- you’re doing a key function of your job, and you have no idea if it’s having any impact on the organization. Not only that, but you could be wasting valuable time and money. The old advertising quote is something like “half the money I spend on advertising is wasted, I just don’t know which half.” The same largely holds true for content. I would challenge marketers to ask, what metrics are we measuring to determine whether or not what we are doing is working, and also how can we tie our efforts more closely with revenue and sales performance.
Nancy: What types of questions should Sellers ask to decide whether solving this problem should be a high priority?
Daniel: I think sellers and sales leaders should be asking: How much time are my reps actually spending in a productive sales capacity? And more importantly, how much time is being spent on trying to piece together their own collateral? Even more so, is the content being presented to prospects really putting our best foot forward and how do we know?
What’s typical of sales teams, and we’ve heard it from customers, is that you have your top 20% of reps who will always perform no matter what. You could give them sticks and stones and they’d still do well. The benefit of Seismic is that it helps ensure that the sales conversations of the other 80% are dramatically improved, and that their average performance is elevated.
Nancy: This question is your choice. What do you want to answer that I didn’t ask?
Daniel: The question I was hoping you’d ask is “why is sales and marketing alignment so important?” The reason it is such an important concept is that, as the data shows, organizations who have strong alignment generally outperform other organizations in terms of sales and profitability. According to a report by Aberdeen Research, companies that are best-in-class in sales and marketing alignment experience an average of 20%
Nancy: What should people do next?