Transforming Sales: Why B2B Sellers & Marketers Need to Add Value to Each Buyer Interaction

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

This week I interview Ed Calnan, President and Co-Founder of Seismic. You can follow him on Twitter or connect with him on LinkedIn.

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

ED: Adobe recently discussed the concept “business-to-everyone” (B2E) in the cloud industry to encapsulate the convergence of the B2B and B2C buying experience. In the next 12-24 months, the ways in which a business sells to an end user versus a consumer will continue to blur, and businesses that haven’t yet started to adapt their go-to-market strategy to accommodate this shift are going to be in trouble.

Even if a business’ product doesn’t look or work anything like Netflix, B2B sellers and marketers must figure out a way to accommodate buyers’ demands for highly personalized experiences. Consumers expect brands to know who they are and what they prefer, in the same way Netflix does when a customer signs in to their platform. If they haven’t already, in the next 12-24 months, companies must align sales and marketing on how they can use technology and data-driven insights to deliver tailored messages and content at-scale that add value to each buyer interaction, and appeal to a prospect as a person with specific pain points and needs.

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

ED: The right approach to sales transformation is going to look different for every company depending where they are on the maturity curve. High-growth SaaS companies should build up their modern sales and marketing infrastructure now while they’re still small and agile, which will allow them to more easily scale their go-to-market strategy as they grow. As they accumulate content and sellers, sales enablement allows these companies to ensure their reps are accurately communicating messages that may be changing rapidly based on their industry, brand, or new products, and it helps marketing get rid of content that no longer applies.

Older, more established companies will be coming at sales transformation from a different POV. There are still hundreds of thousands of sellers across the globe who arrive to meetings with trunks full of paper! Luckily, 11 percent of companies say that improving sales technology is their top priority, and using sales enablement technology to adapt old school B2B sales practices to fit the demands of digital-savvy buyers is a great place to start.

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

ED: My tips are:

1). Saving Sales and Marketing Time

Sellers can spend as much as 35 percent of their time searching for the right content to send a buyer or to use in their next prospect conversation. This is time that’s not spent engaging with prospects and selling. Meanwhile, according to a new Seismic-commissioned Forrester Consulting study that will be released next month, 70 percent of marketers are spending too much time policing sellers’ asset use to ensure brand and regulatory compliance.

Determining the amount of time saved for both sales and marketing on menial tasks like search, ad hoc content customization, or content management, that take them away from more high-value activities, is a great way to determine if new technology implemented during a sales transformation is working. This technology should provide easy access to content, so sales can spend less time searching for content and customizing materials on their own. Give any good sales person the gift of “more time,” and they’ll use it to go sell more.

2.) Eliminating the Guesswork

One reason a company might be undergoing a sales transformation is a lack of control and knowledge of how buyers are consuming their content and messaging. Transformative tools with sales asset analytics offer a clear picture of what’s working and what’s not.

Analytics offer an invaluable way to track the engagement and revenue impact of sales and marketing materials. Marketing then has the data insights needed to eliminate content that sales isn’t using or buyers don’t care about, while optimizing, and making more of, the content that is working.

3.) Winning More Deals

Today’s knowledgeable, self-directed buyers expect sellers to be hyper-knowledgeable and offer advice throughout their buyer journey, beyond the research they’ve done themselves. Personalization is the most effective way to do this, but it’s challenging to achieve at-scale.

Another “must” for any major sales transformation, is automation that allows for content to be easily adapted and automated, and content intelligence that allow for recommendations on which content makes the most sense for each selling scenario. Personalization is an invaluable way for sellers to establish themselves as an authoritative industry source or consultant, thereby strengthening each relationship and the chances of making a sale. Revenue is always a tried and true metric to determine whether sales transformation efforts are working.

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

ED: To continue to engage buyers during a time when B2B and B2C buyer demands are converging at a rapid pace, personalized, relevant content has become king. Sales enablement solutions are built to help facilitate a more productive buying and selling experience by ensuring the right content is available at the right time.

Seismic offers the most powerful and complete solutions to help solve these problems. By using Seismic, sellers can find content on any device or platform they use, be it their mobile device, their CRM, email, or Slack. And within each of these locations, content is recommended based on what will be the most effective within any specific situation.

Further, the analytics capabilities of Seismic are unrivaled. Each time a seller sends a piece of Seismic content, they receive data regarding exactly when a prospect is interacting with that content, and what within the content got the most attention. Meanwhile, marketers receive this data in aggregate, allowing them to make more intelligent improvements to their sales enablement efforts.

Ultimately, Seismic allows salespeople to become smarter than the competition overnight. They’ll be quicker, more adaptable, more relevant, and better prepared in every customer interaction.

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?

ED: The Sales Enablement Society is a great group to turn to for sales and sales enablement advice.

I also invite you to dive into Seismic’s blog. Check back on August 20th when Seismic will be launching the results of a study conducted by Forrester Consulting about the present and future of enablement.