The Areas That Benefit Organizations Who Take a Transformative Approach

In this series, we ask Sales Tech Executives to describe how their solution can transform sales in a significant way.

This week I interview Brendan Cournoyer, Vice President of Marketing at Brainshark.

NANCY: WHAT ARE THE TOP AREAS OF FOCUS IN THE NEXT 12-24 MONTHS FOR ORGANIZATIONS THAT WANT TO TRANSFORM THEIR SALES ORGANIZATIONS?

BRENDAN: In most cases, this is going to depend on the organization in question. A sales transformation doesn’t just happen for the heck of it; there’s going to be some specific challenge or weakness driving that change.

With that said, there are certain areas in which most organizations could benefit from taking a transformative approach:

  1. Onboarding – everyone does it, and almost as many wish it was more effective. There’s real value here. Not only does more efficient onboarding have the obvious benefit of getting new hires selling and closing deals more quickly, but it can also have a huge impact on rep retention. With advancements in sales readiness technology and fresh approaches such as agile onboarding gaining popularity, now is a great time to transform your new hire training strategy.
  2. Sales enablement – if you don’t have a dedicated person or team to lead your enablement strategies, now is the time. Seriously; put together a job description. CSO Insights reports that more than 60% of companies now have at least one sales enablement manager, which is triple what the number was just six years ago. This is no time to be left behind. The benefits of a formal sales enablement approach stretch across a number of critical areas, including no. 1 above.

NANCY: HOW SHOULD COMPANIES DECIDE WHICH APPROACHES TO SALES TRANSFORMATION ARE RIGHT FOR THEM?

BRENDAN: Typically, there are ‘triggers’ that lead to a transformation: entering a new market, a significant new product launch, a merger or acquisition, an influx of new hires (perhaps as a result of a new round of funding), and so on and so forth. Of course, the ‘trigger’ could also just be a lack of productivity and performance by the sales organization that could require a rethinking of the sales process, methodology, organizational structure – you get the idea.

All of these examples could lead to changes that would transform the way the sales organization sells. Identifying the ‘triggers’ facing your organization is important for prioritizing your needs in support of the transformation – as well as helping to decide which of the many technology offerings to invest in.

NANCY: WHAT ARE YOUR TIPS FOR ENSURING THAT TECHNOLOGIES CONTRIBUTE TO SALES TRANSFORMATION IN A MEASURABLE AND IMPACTFUL WAY?

BRENDAN: First, I’d focus on identifying the right metrics to track in relation to the technology that’s been chosen. With sales technology, the knee-jerk reaction is to tie everything to revenue attainment, but this is a lagging indicator that can be impacted by a variety of different things. Even metrics like quota attainment can be problematic. (As a former colleague of mine used to say, if all of your sellers hit 100% of their quota, the numbers were probably too low to begin with.)

Instead, focus on ways to track leading indicators that represent the behaviors that lead to that long-term success. Let’s use the onboarding example. If you’re using a sales readiness or training tool for new hires, a metric like Time to First Sales Call could be relevant to measuring how you’re accelerating time to productivity for your latest sales class. You should still monitor quota attainment (etc.) as well, but these types of leading indicators can tell you much earlier what type of impact your technology specifically is having on the team.

Second – once you’ve identified the right metrics – you’ll probably want to baseline. Calculate how you’re currently tracking against those metrics, so you can compare and show improvements one month, three months, and six months down the line.

NANCY: HOW IS YOUR SOLUTION TRANSFORMING YOUR CUSTOMERS’ SALES ORGANIZATIONS?

BRENDAN: Brainshark is a sales enablement platform designed for the ‘always-ready’ sales team. Clients use our solutions to better prepare their reps with the skills, knowledge, and resources they need to make the most of every selling situation.

Those investments in tech-powered sales enablement and readiness lead to real-world results, including (but of course not limited to):

  • Faster onboarding – clients have decreased ramp-up times for new hires by as much as 73%.
  • Lower training costs – ‘always-on’ learning has helped clients with larger sales organizations see annual savings reach well into six-figures.
  • Increased revenue – one client recently launched video coaching activities to improve seller competency around a particular struggling product line. In just three months, sales for that product line had increased by 100%.

Of course, transformation isn’t just about the numbers; it’s also about behavior. With Brainshark, companies can make enablement and readiness part of their sales culture in a number of ways:

  • Create and curate their own memorable content quickly; get it out to the team faster; and keep it updated easily
  • Elevate learning with everything from formal courses to just-in-time updates
  • Drive message consistency and knowledge sharing with video-based coaching, practice, and assessments
  • Simplify access to key sales resources from the same systems reps use every day (CRM, mobile devices, etc.)

NANCY: WHAT ARE SOME GOOD RESOURCES IF SOMEONE WANTED TO LEARN WHAT QUESTIONS TO ASK, WHAT OTHERS ARE DOING, OR OTHER FACTORS RELATED TO SALES TRANSFORMATION?

BRENDAN: There are now numerous tradeshows and conferences that are dedicated to transforming sales enablement and readiness specifically, including the Sales Enablement Society Annual Conference and the Sales Enablement Soiree (to name two). These are great opportunities to connect with others in the enablement space, hear from industry experts, and learn about new technologies.

Of course, there are also lots of great digital resources that cover the latest trends in sales enablement tech. Smart Selling Tools and Vendor Neutral certainly fall into this category. There are also technology reports from firms like Forrester, Gartner, and Aragon Research that are worth looking at.

As for Brainshark specifically, anyone interested in a closer look can visit our website to view a short platform demo video or contact us directly with additional questions. There you can also find several customer testimonials, not to mention a host of resources and ideas for improving sales enablement and readiness. If you’re already a Brainshark customer, be sure to enter the annual Sharkie Awards. The Sharkies recognizes individuals and companies that exemplify the very best of what Brainshark customers can do to power their businesses forward.