6/23/2016 Interview with Highspot

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 Jeff Day, CMO of Highspot.

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?

Jeff: You know how Marketing produces a ton of great content but most of it goes un-used (on average 65% never gets used). And we all know that content is the foundation for our sales conversations with customers—most information about product, solution value, contract terms is passed through content. And yet sales reps spend an average of 4 hours per week searching for the right content for their buyers.

Well, the problem is that salespeople often can’t find the right content, because most content repositories are not designed for sales; or there are multiple repositories to confuse the rep; or the repositories are so painful to use, sales reps don’t use them. On the other side, Marketing may not be producing the “right” content, because they have no way of knowing what content is useful or not. Marketing and Sales are not working together; Marketing is publishing into a black hole, and Sales is just struggling to use what they can find.

Meanwhile, the conversation with the customer is far less effective than it could be, and it’s hurting sales. Studies by SiriusDecisions have shown that companies with good sales enablement practices have 19% faster revenue growth and 15% better profitability.

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?

Jeff: When 65% of marketing’s efforts on sales content are going down the drain and sales is wasting 4+ hours a week away from selling, most organizations want to make sure they are using their existing resources more effectively.

But on the positive side, companies that are applying best practices in sales enablement are seeing 99% team Quota Attainment, 50% faster revenue growth compared to those that don’t, and over 2x average deal sizes, according to a rigorous study by Aberdeen Group. Those are numbers that are pretty hard to match with any other marketing initiative.

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

Jeff: Most important is that Marketing asks a number of salespeople if they (1) have the content they need to do their job well, and (2) can easily navigate the existing sales content systems to find the content that is out there. If not, they have a broken process they need to fix.

Too often, Marketing is focused only on top-of-the-funnel activities. In this case, it is more cost effective to improve Sales’ ability to close existing pipeline than it is acquire net new pipeline opportunities.

The 2nd question Marketer’s should consider is, “Do you know the ROI—or even the impact—of your content development efforts?” I can say with confidence that 99% of the time they do not. And Marketers involved in creating content should want to know what content is working and what impact it is having on Revenue.

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

Jeff: For most sellers, it’s a no-brainer. Anything that helps them be more efficient and more effective should be a priority. If the company can invest just a little to make the whole sales organization systematically 10%-20% better, who wouldn’t prioritize that?

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

Jeff: “How should senior leadership, including the CEO and CFO, think about Sales Enablement?”

The Executive Leadership team should look at all possible initiatives and rank them by their potential ROI and impact on business. In that framework, they will learn that it is hard to find another initiative that can have such a significant and sustained impact on revenue growth and sales force productivity.

Of course, it’s not just the technology that provides the improvement, though.  The Exec. Team needs to support a cross-functional Sales Enablement initiative, with a team dedicated to increasing sales productivity year over year through better systems, training, content, and sales processes.

Nancy: What should people do next?

Jeff: We’ve written The Definitive Guide to Sales Enablement with just that in mind—helping people get started or optimize their Sales Enablement initiatives.  It contains advice on best practices, performance metrics, solution areas, software evaluation guides, analyst advice, and more.

Stop by and see Highspot in action at Dreamforce. We’ll be in booth 1935.