The phrase “if you’re not early, you’re late” is one of the most familiar pieces of advice passed down from generation to generation and mentor to mentee. So much so that the phrase has over 1.4 billion search results on Google — which is understandable when you consider how often the advice is applicable. From job interviews to product differentiation, it’s always beneficial to stay ahead of the competition.
Sales Enablement PRO recently published the 2019 State of Sales Enablement and the report clearly echoed a similar sentiment — companies without an established sales enablement function are behind the curve and risk falling prey to their competitors.
Sellers Carry a Heavy Burden
The report found that organizations with more formal approaches to sales enablement performed better than those without one. These companies saw increased win rates, quota attainment, seller retention, and collaboration after establishing their formal sales enablement program.
Today’s sellers are burdened with navigating more demanding buyers and more complex sales cycles. More than half of this year’s respondents (51%) said that they noticed buyers conduct more research prior to engaging sellers and 46% believe buyers have an increased expectation of value-added insight.
If sales reps hope to remain competitive in this new landscape, they must capitalize on every buyer conversation and artfully approach each exchange. They also have to be industry, product, and buyer persona experts. This means staying up-to-date on product information, new messaging, and new features and functionality. It’s no wonder that 66% of a sales reps’ time is spent on non-selling tasks, rather than on building new customer relationships or closing deals.
Sellers need compelling content to connect with today’s more educated buyers and move them through the buyer’s journey. Sellers can’t bear this burden alone, though.
That’s where sales enablement comes in.
Sales Enablement Tools Expedite Effectiveness
As sales reps juggle increased buyer expectations and more complicated sales cycles, they need technology that will make their lives easier. Sales enablement technology gives sellers the guidance, content, and context they need to move buyers through the funnel more effectively. Today’s buyers are no longer waiting to be educated by sellers. Instead, they are doing their homework and expect sellers to be prepared when they are ready to engage. It comes as no surprise 74% of buyers choose the sales rep that was first to add value and insight. This has made content the center of the sales conversation.
Reps can use sales enablement technology to quickly find the most effective and top recommended content so they spend less time searching and more time selling. The key is AI-powered sales guidance embedded in reps’ existing workflow that puts all relevant content, training, and tools at their fingertips and in context, making it easy to have effective sales conversations. Ultimately, reps put their best foot forward and buyers have a better experience.
The report also found that while a formal sales enablement program itself can increase sales productivity, there is a first-mover advantage with companies that have used sales enablement for more than two years experiencing 13% higher win rates and 11% higher quota attainment.
Organizations that have yet to adopt sales enablement are not only behind the curve — they are trailing their competitors. Today’s sellers need sales enablement to win over their buyers. Without it, they’re already late and only falling further behind.
We’re here to help sellers and marketers wherever they are. That’s why we continue to invest heavily in Highspot Everywhere, a technology integration program with more than 50 cloud, on-premises, and mobile integrations. Highspot Everywhere makes it easy for sellers to engage with buyers and close deals faster, more efficiently, and in more ways than ever before.
Today, we’re extending our integration investments with a new, comprehensive integration with Microsoft Dynamics 365. Building on our prior Dynamics 365 integration, we now offer the full suite of Highspot capabilities directly within Dynamics 365 — meaning your reps can use the industry’s highest customer-rated sales enablement platform without having to leave their existing workflow.
Let’s dive deeper into four key benefits.
1.) Streamline Reps’ Routines
Anything your sellers currently do in Highspot, they can now do from within their existing Microsoft Dynamics 365 environment. Our seamless integration gives your sellers an immersive and cohesive experience that increases productivity and up-levels buyer engagement. Sellers can find content, view buyer engagement reports, access training, review playbooks, and create new pitches — all within Dynamics 365. Time matters more than ever, so we’ve eliminated the hassle of toggling back and forth between tabs or programs.
2.) Boost Relevance with AI
Highspot’s AI now coexists alongside Microsoft’s “AI for Sales” intelligence system and displays content recommendations alongside leads, contacts, opportunities, and accounts inside Dynamics 365. Content is suggested based on Dynamics 365 attributes like what product you’re selling, which industry your prospect is in, or which competitor you’re up against in the deal. Sellers can skim through content thumbnails, pitch content to prospects, and view engagement analytics.
Over time, content recommendations are refined based on whether content pieces proved effective in accelerating velocity and increasing revenue in past sales. Highspot’s AI identifies the best content so that sellers never have to guess. This reduces the cognitive weight on your sellers and lets them spend less time searching for content and more time selling. It also improves the buyer experience by ensuring buyers only receive tailored, relevant content.
3.) Automate Workflows to Save Time
Our Dynamics 365 integration saves your reps time and helps maintain their account hygiene by automatically logging all activities and shared content to timelines on accounts, opportunities, contacts, and leads.
This allows reps to focus on high-impact work and spend more time with prospects instead of on tedious administrative tasks. This also gives sales managers and other teams insight into activity on the account, what content is being shared, and how deals are progressing.
4.) Implement Sales Enablement Across the Microsoft Platforms
Highspot works seamlessly with your entire Microsoft-based sales platform. We are one of the only sales enablement platforms that integrates with LinkedIn Sales Navigator, Microsoft SharePoint online and on-premises, Microsoft Outlook, and OneDrive for Business, in addition to a dedicated Highspot for Windows application available in the Windows store.
Already a Highspot user? Speak with your account manager about enabling your Dynamics 365 integration today!
Not yet using Highspot? Learn more about how Highspot + Microsoft Dynamics 365 enable your sales and marketing teams to win more deals by scheduling a free demo.
New Release for Microsoft AppSource Delivers AI-driven Content to Improve Buyer Engagement Across Entire Sales Process
SEATTLE, June 11, 2019 – Highspot, the highest customer-rated sales enablement platform, today launched a new integration with Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Sales, which is available on Microsoft AppSource. Joint customers can now leverage Highspot’s full suite of capabilities directly within their Dynamics 365 environment to elevate buyer engagement and ultimately, further accelerate revenue growth.
The seamless integration enables go-to-market teams to optimize the buyer experience by combining Highspot’s predictive AI-driven content recommendations and deep content performance analytics with comprehensive customer relationship management capabilities — all within their existing Dynamics workflow.
“Sales and marketing teams are drowning in tools. Instead of enhancing the buyer experience, all that noise just complicates things,” said Robert Wahbe, CEO, Highspot. “We’ve taken a different approach by creating integrations that work where our customers work. Embedding our platform capabilities within Microsoft Dynamics 365 ensures an immersive experience for our joint customers that cuts out the noise and accelerates sales productivity.”
“Highspot’s many Microsoft product integrations give our shared customers a cohesive system for effective buyer engagement,” said Steven Guggenheimer, Corporate Vice President, AI and ISV Engagement. “AI for sales is a critical investment area for Microsoft Dynamics 365, and Highspot will give our customers actionable insights that help drive revenue growth.”
This integration expands Highspot’s broad Microsoft technology support as one of the only sales enablement platforms that integrates with LinkedIn Sales Navigator, Microsoft SharePoint online and on-premises, Microsoft Outlook, and OneDrive for Business, in addition to a dedicated Highspot for Windows application available in the Windows store.
Improve relevance to buyers: Highspot scores and suggests content to reps that proved effective in driving revenue during past sales within Dynamics 365 opportunities.
Make sellers more efficient: Highspot content and activity are automatically related to Dynamics 365 records, reducing the time sellers spend on administrative data entry.
Optimize selling processes: Highspot enables sellers to find content, view buyer engagement reports, access training, review playbooks, and create new pitches – all within Dynamics 365.
Highspot gives businesses a powerful sales advantage to engage in more relevant buyer conversations and achieve their revenue goals. Through AI-powered search, analytics, in-context training, guided selling, and a broad range of technology integrations, the Highspot platform delivers enterprise-ready sales enablement in a modern design that sales reps and marketers love. With 90% average monthly recurring usage and global support in 125 countries, Highspot is the highest rated solution on G2 Crowd, Microsoft Store, Google Play and Apple AppStore.
Sales leaders are constantly focused on attaining revenue goals, which naturally shifts the bulk of their attention to top performers. After all, they’re the breadwinners who consistently achieve quota and drive revenue. The general perception is that keeping top performers successful will increase everyone else’s performance as they try to keep up.
This is flawed thinking. Core performers, or “B reps,” are a company’s most valuable asset. How is that possible? Get familiar with the 20-60-20 theory. This approach of grouping sellers finds that 20% of a sales team are top performers, 20% are struggling, and the other 60% are somewhere in the middle.
Research done by the Sales Executive Council found that a 5% increase from the middle 60% of performers yielded 80% more revenue than a 5% increase from just the top 10%. If sales leaders want to increase quota attainment and optimize pipeline generation, they have to start by improving the effectiveness of their core sellers.
Sales effectiveness describes the process of finding the right sales tasks to produce the best possible sales output and outcomes. For different organizations, this could mean improved profit, revenue, sales of a new product, or something else entirely — it all depends on how company strategy defines success.
Regardless of how a sales organization chooses to define effectiveness, it can only be obtained by scaling the success of core sellers, and not just the top performers. By focusing on the majority of their sales force and not only the top 20%, sales leaders receive a much higher return for their efforts.
Enablement Tools Help Scale Quota Attainment
How do sales leaders take this process and increase effectiveness at scale? Though it’s great to recognize and reward top-performing sellers, it’s more important to improve the overall effectiveness of an entire sales force. One way to accelerate this change is by investing in technology such as a sales enablement platform that provides analytics into the sales activities that are most effective.
When sales leaders have visibility into the activities that are driving progress, they can discuss which activities should be made into best practices with stakeholders and team members. Utilizing a sales enablement platform that integrates with a sales rep’s everyday workflow uncovers these best practices for everything from sales onboarding to buyer email templates.
With buy-in from sales reps, enablement teams and sales leaders can then replicate high performing behavior across the entire sales force. Once these activities are clearly defined for sales reps and reinforced through practice and technology, it’s easier for them to understand and execute — ultimately helping reps guide buyers more effectively through each stage of the sales funnel.
Core performers are on the cusp of becoming consistently successful sellers, but they need help from enablement and sales leaders to identify and execute on repeatable best practices. This doesn’t happen without an enablement tool to provide visibility into effective activities.
This Wednesday, June 12 at 10 am PST, we will be teaming up with Heather Cole of SiriusDecisions to discuss sales effectiveness best practices and how to “Fire Up Your Sales ROI by Thawing the Frozen Middle.”
In this webinar, we will discuss:
What are the key reasons sales teams fail to meet revenue goals?
What is a high performer and how do they behave differently?
How to drive scalable and lasting change to achieve quota attainment for the masses
What role technology plays in converting core performers into high performers
The last mile of the customer journey is critical — it’s the final stretch that decides if a deal is won or lost and if a relationship is forged or broken. The deciding factor at this critical juncture is simple — conversation.
Human-to-human conversation creates a connection and is the cornerstone of customer experience. And today, when you can get anything with the click of a button, experience is a key differentiator.
Every business-to-business company faces the challenge of delivering incredible customer experiences. Solving the challenge begins with people-centricity. At Highspot, putting people first is in our core. It’s why our sales enablement platform is the highest user-rated technology in our category. It’s why hundreds of companies use our platform to have compelling conversations that lead to lasting relationships. And, today, it’s why we’ve reached another important milestone — we’ve closed our $60 million Series D.
The renowned investment team at ICONIQ led the round, with participation from new investor Sapphire Ventures and all our existing investors. We’re grateful for their confidence and support. Now we can push even harder to uplift customer conversations — across different geographies, deep into new industries — and make enablement the new frontier for customer experience.
Transforming the Way Millions Work
Modern sales enablement is helping go-to-market teams have dramatically better customer engagements than ever before, resulting in increased value for buyers and higher revenue growth for businesses. Sales enablement has moved from nice-to-have to must-have — Gartner predicts that by 2021, 15% of all sales technology spending will be applied to sales enablement technology, up from the 2017 level of 7.2%.
Despite the skyrocketing demand, we’ve only scratched the surface. There are 20 million sales and marketing people around the globe who need sales enablement, and we’re here to help them for years to come.
But we see something even bigger at play. No matter the industry, geography, or organization size, it’s a universal truth that throughout the sales process, sellers are dealing with humans — and those humans deserve an amazing experience, which takes more than sales and marketing alone.
Sales enablement is big. Where the category goes will be huge. We see enablement expanding to help at least 50 million people across sales, marketing, services, and support roles collaborate and deliver on their customer experience initiatives. Enablement technology, practices, and teams will unify everyone who interacts with the customer as holistic customer experience defines business success today and tomorrow.
Taking a People-First Approach
The modern marketplace is littered with tools and technologies that help sellers and marketers work faster and smarter. While the Highspot solution succeeds in helping teams be more efficient and effective, the real power of our platform is in making our customers trusted advisors to their customers. Our AI-powered platform brings together content, guidance, engagement capabilities, and deep analytics to help teams cultivate long-term customer relationships, giving them a true competitive advantage.
What’s exciting is that our core technology can be naturally extended to empower anyone who interacts with a customer. From cross-team alignment to unified analytics, there will be tremendous benefits to expanding what is now called sales enablement to all customer-facing functions in the coming years. As our company and software evolve to advance the category, people-centricity will remain at the root of everything we do.
We also know that products don’t build themselves – brilliant minds do. We’re increasingly investing in growing our team of experts who understand machine learning, AI, and cloud, and who have a deep sense of customer delight. Our employee headcount has doubled year-over-year, and we predict we’ll be 400 people strong by the end of our fiscal year. Maintaining our award-winning culture as we scale is a top priority, and we’re excited to do this in style from our newly leased HQ on the Seattle waterfront—– a space that we feel will energize and inspire our team.
Inventing the Future
In the simplest terms, better experiences mean better relationships, which translates to better business. People value people — whether you’re a seller reaching out to a buyer, a marketer designing content for your sales team, or an entrepreneur creating technology that helps teams be their best.
The next chapter has begun. We invite you to join us as we invent a future where people come first.
Technology Leader in Burgeoning Sales Enablement Category Is More Than Doubling Across Key Business Metrics
SEATTLE, June 4, 2019 – Highspot, the highest customer-rated sales enablement platform, today announced it has secured $60 million in Series D funding. ICONIQ Capital led the round, with participation from new investor Sapphire Ventures and all existing investors including Madrona Venture Group, OpenView, Salesforce Ventures and Shasta Ventures. The investment will fuel Highspot’s global expansion and further extend its technology leadership in the sales enablement category. Highspot’s revenue, customer base, existing customer expansion and employee count are all more than doubling year-over-year. Hundreds of companies are using the Highspot platform to empower customer-facing teams and partners, elevate the customer experience, and ultimately, accelerate revenue growth.
The gap between sales and marketing is a decades-old challenge that traditional technologies have failed to reconcile. SiriusDecisions reports, “65 percent of content produced by marketing for use by sales is never utilized.” Highspot is uniting sales and marketing in delivering personal, relevant customer conversations. Highspot’s platform combines sophisticated machine learning and intuitive user experience to define modern sales enablement. According to Gartner research: “By 2021, 15 percent of all sales technology investments will be applied to sales enablement technology, up from the 2017 level of 7.2 percent.” (Gartner, “Market Guide for Digital Content Management for Sales,” Guneet Bharaj, Theodore Travis, Melissa Hilbert, Todd Berkowitz, 16 October 2018)
“Enablement is the new customer battleground,” said Highspot CEO Robert Wahbe. “Sales technology is moving toward a system of intelligence and collaboration. Now, more than ever, customer-facing teams need a system of truth for content and guidance. This is Highspot. We make our users trusted advisors to their customers, which is a real competitive advantage.”
“Highspot epitomizes our focus on clear product leaders that can make a global impact,” said ICONIQ Capital General Partner Matthew Jacobson, who is joining Highspot’s Board of Directors. “They are poised to capitalize on several powerful trends including the growing importance of sales enablement as a critical pillar of the modern sales and marketing technology strategy.”
Highspot’s Hypergrowth Accelerates
The funding comes during a period of explosive company growth, with the strong performance prompting the lease of Highspot’s new headquarters — a 55,000-square-foot space near the Seattle waterfront. The company will keep its existing Seattle offices, giving it capacity for 800 employees. Highspot also launched its EMEA operations earlier this year with the opening of its London headquarters.
Highspot continues to earn global recognition as both a top product and workplace. London’s Sales Innovation Expo presented Highspot with the Best Sales Enablement Platform award, and the Stevie® Awards recognized Highspot as a winner for Customer Service Department of the Year. Highspot was also named to Glassdoor’s 2019 Top 10 Best Places to Work and LinkedIn’s Top 50 Startups lists, among others.
Defining Modern Sales Enablement
The Highspot solution is powered by the category’s only patented artificial intelligence and machine learning technology. Sellers and marketers are armed with differentiating capabilities including:
A first-of-its-kind approach to B2B content management where content is organized in Spots instead of a traditional file and folder structure
The ability to create dynamic, mobile-ready sales playbooks and customize seller and buyer experiences using SmartPages
Intelligent content recommendations, semantic search and deep analytics powered by AI
Broad range of technology integrations with leading products including Salesforce and Slack
Highspot gives businesses a powerful sales advantage to engage in more relevant buyer conversations and achieve their revenue goals. Through AI-powered search, analytics, in-context training, guided selling and a broad range of technology integrations, the Highspot platform delivers enterprise-ready sales enablement in a modern design that sales reps and marketers love. With 90 percent average monthly recurring usage and global support in 125 countries, Highspot is the highest rated solution on G2 Crowd, Microsoft Store, Google Play and Apple AppStore.
About ICONIQ Capital
ICONIQ Capital is a privately-held financial advisory and investment firm, and a partner of choice for exceptional entrepreneurs, leaders and institutions around the world. The firm invests in technology growth equity, middle market buyout and real estate asset classes and employs a distinctive ecosystem to build enduring businesses. ICONIQ is a trusted advisor fostering meaningful strategic relationships across industries to source powerful ideas, magnify global impact and support a new generation of entrepreneurs and companies.
About Sapphire Ventures
Ventures Sapphire Ventures is a venture capital firm focused on helping innovative technology companies become global category leaders. Leveraging nearly two decades of experience and an extensive global enterprise network, Sapphire Ventures invests capital, resources and expertise to enable its portfolio companies to scale rapidly. Whether entrepreneurs sell to businesses, consumers or both, Sapphire Ventures offers a powerful platform for business development and operational excellence to help them accelerate growth. With $2.5 billion under management via direct growth investments and early-stage fund investments, Sapphire Ventures is positioned to elevate companies to the global stage.
Salesforce Ventures is the fastest growing top five enterprise software company and the #1 CRM provider globally. Salesforce Ventures — the company’s corporate investment group — invests in the next generation of enterprise technology that extends the power of the Salesforce Customer Success Platform, helping companies connect with their customers in entirely new ways. Portfolio companies receive funding as well as access to the world’s largest cloud ecosystem and the guidance of Salesforce’s innovators and executives. With Salesforce Ventures, portfolio companies can also leverage Salesforce’s expertise in corporate philanthropy by joining Pledge 1% to make giving back part of their business model. Salesforce Ventures has invested in more than 300 enterprise cloud startups in 20 different countries since 2009. For more information, please visit www.salesforce.com/ventures.
(1) SiriusDecisions, “Sales Asset Management Technology: A Sirius Perspective,” July 2018
In the past 100 years, the face of tech has undergone a radical transformation. Long before the industry became synonymous with men in hoodies, women like Ada Lovelace and Grace Hopper were inventing the machines and programs that made the tech-driven world we live in today possible.
But by the 1970s, women had become all but invisible in the fields they helped pioneer. Today, they only account for 30% of employees across major tech companies despite comprising more than half of the total workforce.
This imbalance is something we are passionate about changing. And as Highspot’s Head of People, advocating for these causes is central to my role. But our commitment goes deeper than that. Creating an environment where a plurality of people feel empowered to do their best work is in Highspot’s DNA — and our goal is to ensure that this is evident in all our interactions, whether inside or outside Highspot.
Building Community Through Grassroots Events
This goal is one reason why we were excited to join the WIT Regatta. It’s at these kinds of authentic, focused events where we can create positive change.
From Sr. Director of Engineering Jeremy Modjeska speaking on allyship, to Sr. Engineering Manager Fumiyo Conway’s talk on mentorship, to our many employees who attended, the WIT Regatta exposed us to new ideas, continued to build our networks, and, most importantly, showed women in tech that they’re supported.
For us, these programs and events are essential to living our values. We have a great opportunity ahead, but with that comes a responsibility to ensure that the opportunity is accessible to everyone. Being active in our community is critical to this mission.
Committing to Values Through Action
Another primary way we create a welcoming workplace is through our company culture. We strive to incorporate three principles into our daily interactions:
Open and real
Make it happen
These values guide us to examine our actions and explore how we can do better. Often, companies approach inclusion with the best intentions only to have initiatives branded as “legal protection” or “HR checklists.” Being open and real helps mitigate this — it encourages effective, action-oriented dialogues between employees and management.
Our focus on details further emphasizes this point. It’s easy to focus on metrics and forget the bigger picture. For instance, you can go on a hiring blitz and quickly achieve a 50% female workforce. But does that representation span seniority-levels and departments? True diversity is in the details.
Finally, at Highspot, we have a bias for action. There are a million reasons why a company might not invest in diversity and inclusion programs, but if it’s something you truly value, you’ll make it happen. At the end of the day, no matter the size of your company or your budget, there’s always a way to show up for your community and get involved.
Though our work championing different perspectives and backgrounds inside and outside of Highspot will never be complete, the process itself is something to which we’re proud to commit. If you feel as passionate as we do, explore our open positions — we’d love to have you on the journey with us.
In partnership with Sales Enablement PRO, we surveyed more than 500 executives, sales enablement, and marketing leaders from companies of all sizes across the world. What we found validates that sales enablement is becoming the backbone of successful sales organisations spanning industries and geographies.
More than 79% of participants have a sales enablement process or practice in place, or plan on inventing one this year — a 20% increase from last year’s survey. Despite urgent demand and clear evidence of sales enablement’s business impact, clear definitions and best practices are wanting. The 68% of respondents who reported having a dedicated sales enablement tool named more than 150 different solutions when asked to identify the tools in use — demonstrating confusion in the market around what is truly needed to enable reps.
Rapid adoption of sales enablement is creating a strong appetite for category refinement and knowledge — something I’m witnessing first-hand as Highspot’s Managing Director of EMEA. Take for example London’s Sales Innovation Expo, where a packed crowd of thousands came together to explore how technology and modern methodologies are fundamentally changing sales for the better. Sales enablement was a sizzling topic, and not just at our booth, but in many sessions throughout the week.
Looking to the future, we must harness the power of this ongoing sales transformation by connecting with those who share a common mission. Learning from each other will ensure positive returns for all of us. So, we need to ask hard questions and seek out real answers. How can business leaders embrace enablement? Where does sales enablement fit in the organisation? How can a sales enablement charter drive impact? These are the questions that the brightest minds in our space are working to address.
On 22 May, sales enablement practitioners have an arena for these crucial conversations to take place. Sales Enablement PRO has brought the Sales Enablement Soirée, Europe to London. Leaders who live and breathe sales enablement will be sharing tips and tricks in an intimate setting, with sessions on everything from sales readiness at scale to the business impact of sales enablement.
Here’s a glimpse into the keynotes you’ll experience (and if you haven’t saved your spot, it’s not too late):
THE STATE OF SALES ENABLEMENT
James Smee, Bridge
SALES ENABLEMENT GROWS UP … BUT NOT FAST ENOUGH
Tamara Schenk, CSO Insights
SALES ENABLEMENT GETS SOCIAL
Daniel Disney, The Daily Sales
Automation transformed marketing over the past decade, and now modern software is revolutionising sales. It’s a thrilling time to be on this journey with tens of thousands building a category that will ultimately improve the experiences of both the seller and the customer.
Whether you’re a seasoned sales enablement pro or just dipping your toes in the water, we invite you to join us at the Sales Enablement Soirée, Europe in London next week. We look forward to continuing the conversation with you face-to-face at the Highspot booth (and over drinks following the sessions, of course). Cheers to all of you helping transform the world of sales.
How do you guide your sales team to achieve better results? The answer lies in using the right tools and strategies to improve sales productivity.
On an intuitive level, most team leaders and managers understand that the more buyers your team can engage (within a given period of time), the more deals they’ll close for your company. It’s simple enough: if your team used to reach out to 10 buyers per hour in the past, and they now reach out to 20 buyers per hour, assuming that their closing rate remains the same, you’ll get 2x the amount of successful deals.
There are various ways you can go about boosting sales productivity (for instance: setting up training sessions and getting your reps to read the best books on sales), but the most effective thing you can do is invest in a sales productivity tool or sales effectiveness tool for your team.
In this article, we walk you through the different categories of sales productivity tools that can turn your team into a lean, mean, revenue-generating machine.
Lead Generation Tools
Traditionally speaking, lead generation falls under the jurisdiction of the marketing team, but these days, sales and marketing teams are working together more closely than ever, and it’s not unheard of for sales teams to search for and generate leads, too.
While it is possible to generate leads manually, using an automated tool to do the heavy lifting makes much more sense when it comes to sales productivity. With a lead generation tool, you can build a targeted list of prospective buyers by using a database of over 30 million business contacts worldwide, searching for specific companies and contacts, and downloading their contact information (verified in real time!) with a single click of the button.
Sales Intelligence Tools
Once you create a list of buyers, the next step is to use a sales intelligence tool to learn more about your buyers. If you’re wondering how these tools work, they utilize algorithms to sift through and process any data that’s related to your buyers or their company. This helps uncover insights about buying patterns, which the tool then uses to determine buying intent. Some sales intelligence tools aggregate thousands of business-critical signals such as decision maker changes, new company initiatives, and funding rounds, and alerts you on any signals that might impact your sales process; others help you market and sell your products based on your buyers’ technology choices.
With the insights that your sales intelligence tool provides, your team can then decide if it’s a good time to approach a particular buyer and go in for the close, or whether they should nurture the buyer and only start selling further down the road.
CRMs and Pipeline Management Tools
Traditionally speaking, CRMs act as databases where you can store buyer information. That said, they’ve now evolved to the point where they are effective pipeline management tools; as such, you can use them to chart the flow of your sales process and see how you might advance buyers from one stage of your pipeline to the next.
When deciding which CRM to use, an important factor to consider is whether it integrates with the other tools (such as customer service tools or live chat tools) that you’re already using. If that’s the case, your reps will be able to perform various functions seamlessly, instead of having to switch back and forth, export data manually, and engage in other time-wasting activities.
Sales Enablement Tools
Next on our list of sales productivity tools is enablement platforms, which empower sales teams to engage buyers more effectively by organizing and surfacing relevant sales content, sales plays, and training. Using sales enablement tools, sellers can investigate how buyers are engaging with sales content and pitches, helping sellers create more personalized follow-up strategies. Say one of your reps sends your buyer an email, for example, and the buyer goes radio silent. With a sales enablement tool, your rep will be able to track if this buyer opened their email attachments, which pages of the attachment they looked at, and how much time they spent on each of these pages. If the buyer barely glanced at the document, this might indicate that the material wasn’t a good fit, and it makes sense for your rep to try a different approach. If the buyer spent a great deal of time reviewing the document, but didn’t respond, on the other hand, this shows that your rep is on the right track, and the only thing left to do is to continuously follow up.
While it’s possible to choose from standalone social listening and social publishing tools, we find that the best tools combine both of these functions in one. Your reps can use these tools to schedule posts to engage with potential buyers; at the same time, they can monitor social activity and tune into what their buyers are sharing. With Highspot’s social selling capabilities, for example, sellers can leverage powerful integrations to easily insert trackable sales assets anywhere online, such as on LinkedIn, Twitter, or Facebook.
One of our favorite strategies to improve sales productivity is to streamline the process of setting up a meeting. Think about it: there’s a lot of back-and-forth involved in scheduling meetings; in the best case scenario, this wastes precious time, and in the worst case scenario, your buyer might get fed up and decide that they don’t need to speak with you after all.
Now, how do you optimize the process of setting up a meeting? Simple — instead of emailing your buyer and asking if it’s possible to meet on Date X, Y or Z, use meeting and calendar tools to identify which dates work for both parties.
A Final Word on Sales Productivity and Tools
At the end of the day, your sales productivity has the power to make or break your entire company, and it’s crucial to use the right strategies to improve sales productivity. If you want to grow your revenue and bring your company to greater heights, the way forward is simple: invest in the right sales productivity tools so that your reps can do more selling with less work!
Max Benz produces content at UpLead and is a SaaS enthusiast who loves actionable content that provides direct value.
Seventy-six percent of The Extremely Productive (The XP) hold themselves accountable for doing what they tell themselves they’re going to do. Only 34% of The Rest hold themselves to this same level of accountability.
The data is clear: No matter if you’re in sales, marketing, or another field, the importance of holding yourself accountable can’t be understated. If you can master this, you’ll stay focused and achieve greater success.
Here are three ways to improve self-accountability.
Create Weekly and Priority Lists
While you still should have a catch-all list so you don’t forget things, the weekly and daily priority list addresses the key areas that will make your week or day a success.
Where should you be spending your time to reach your goals? Plan your priorities so you can actually get there. Then, for your Greatest Impact Activities (GIAs), put them on your calendar in advance.
At the end of the week or beginning of the next, review your list with someone else (see next point), and reflect on how you did.
Did you achieve all that you had hoped to? If not, what got in your way and why? Do you need to adjust your expectations for the time required to complete activities? Are you truly committed to your priority list? If you are, what will you do differently next week to ensure that you’re able to achieve all that you set out to?
By defining your goals and planning your actions each week, writing them down, reviewing how you did, and debriefing on what happened, you will improve your self-accountability.
Meet with an Accountability Partner
You can take the above idea a step farther by sharing your to-do list with an accountability partner and connecting with them on a weekly basis to review your list together.
When you share your priorities with someone else, you’re much more likely to follow through. After all, none of us like to admit to someone else that we failed to do what we said we would. This is a very powerful self-accountability strategy.
Your accountability partner doesn’t need to be your direct manager. It can be a colleague, a friend, a family member, or anyone who’s willing to check in with you on a weekly basis.
Choose someone as your accountability partner who will push you. It’s easy to make excuses for why you didn’t accomplish certain things. An accountability partner can keep you on target, ask good questions, offer time management tips, and keep you focused.
The simple habit of writing your to-do list, sharing it with a partner, and reviewing what you accomplished will help you achieve more.
Sign a Commitment Contract
If you’re serious about improving accountability, sign a commitment contract. A commitment contract is a signed agreement with yourself outlining what you’ll do by when.
stickK is a free online commitment tool that helps people achieve their goals. When you register, you’ll be asked to define your goal and then check-in regularly to share your progress.
You can even attach a monetary amount to your contract. The company has found that financial stakes increase chances of keeping to your commitments by up to 3X. If you don’t meet your commitments, you pay it to either a friend, a charity, or even an anti-charity of your choosing.
To achieve more, the answer is simple: Hold yourself accountable. The tips shared in the post will put you on your path to success. For more best practices that you can use as a seller or a marketer, explore RAIN Group’s Spot on the Highspot platform as part of the new Sales Acceleration Partners program.
Mike Schultz is a bestselling author of Rainmaking Conversations and Insight Selling, Director of the RAIN Group Center for Sales Research, and President of RAIN Group, a global sales training and performance improvement company. He and RAIN Group have helped hundreds of thousands of salespeople, managers, and professionals in more than 73 countries transform their sales results and unleash their sales potential. Follow Mike on Twitter or connect with him on LinkedIn.