Highspot is the industry's most advanced sales enablement platform, helping organizations close the loop across marketing, sales, and the customer. Using Highspot, sales teams are connected to the most relevant content for each situation, have flexible ways to present content to customers, and gain real-time visibility into whether customers find the content engaging.
You know you are doing something right when customers advocate to adopt Highspot when they move to new companies! Recently, I had the opportunity to speak with Sean Goldie, Director of Sales Enablement at Apptio. For several years, Highspot worked with Sean while he was at SAP Concur — one of Highspot’s oldest customers. I was exceptionally excited when Highspot brought on Apptio as a new customer because 1.) Apptio is another awesome Seattle-based company and 2.) it meant I got to reconnect with Sean!
Here is the video interview, as well as the interview transcript, below:
Shawnna: Hi, Sean! I’d love to have you provide insights into why you see the sales enablement trend and momentum continuing in the market.
Sean: Sales enablement is a fantastic investment in my eyes because it’s kind of a new realm. The last ten years were really focused on the evolution of marketing technology, from marketing automation through the full marketing funnel. And now we’re starting to focus on sales velocity and how we make reps more efficient and effective. The investment time is now for sales enablement. The practice is completely changing. We’re migrating from a group of folks that used to do corporate training in classroom settings to a group of folks that have spent many years in sales management. And we’re combining a real-world skill set with the ability to teach and develop our reps, as well as integrating technology into the mix.
Shawnna: What are your top sales enablement initiatives?
Sean: Our sales enablement initiatives for the next 12 to 18 months are going to be focused on win rates. How do we increase those? What are the levers we can pull to win more? We have a finite group of companies that we sell into, so increasing win rate is important. We’re also looking at technology plays, such as the ability to enable reps to live in Salesforce by ensuring they have access to all of the tools they need from one centralized spot.
Our most important initiative this year is leadership enablement — working with sales leaders and finding ways to support and enable them better because they are really the frontline enablers and the frontline coaches. At Apptio, we are looking for ways to improve the way we support our sales leaders. That’s really my top initiative for the next 12 months.
Shawnna: How do you measure sales enablement success?
Sean: The way we measure sales enablement success is by looking at the sales numbers and the sales velocity equation. All of those factors apply to the way we look into the success of sales enablement. For example, we look at pipeline created, the number of “at bats,” win rates, stage rates — all of that. We also look at a first indicator: time to first deal, which is when a new rep comes on board, how fast can we ramp them and how fast can they close their first deal. The second indicator, which is equally important, is how fast they can close their second deal. If you just look at that first deal, there’s the potential for it to be misleading — it could have been a “blue bird” that came in quickly, or an account that was already developed — and the rep could have gotten lucky. Time to second deal is an important metric for us at Apptio.
We also factor in all of the assets that a rep uses to close deals. Within our sales learning and sales asset management platforms, we see a correlation between content usage and close rates among our successful reps. Ultimately, we look at sales-driven measurements.
Shawnna: What is within the scope of sales enablement?
Sean: That’s a fantastic question. Generally speaking, it’s important to understand what is the next wave of sales enablement. What’s the next generation, because why build something that will quickly become outdated, right? Start with understanding your landscape and where the sales enablement function is going to fall within your org. Then decide what sales enablement will cover. There are sales enablement groups that just cover sales training. There are other groups, like at Apptio, where the sales enablement group owns technology, all programs, sales kickoff and the mid-year events, as well as onboarding and all sales coaching. At Apptio, that also includes sales processes and sales methodology. That’s really a large scope compared to a lot of sales enablement teams. So, first understand where sales enablement fits within the org, and then decide what sales enablement’s charter is. For Apptio, it’s all about productivity, efficiency, and effectiveness.
Then, it really boils down to the brand of enablement you’re trying to create. Are you going to be corporate trainers? Fine, own your brand. For me, it’s really about reimagining sales enablement and all the areas we actually do impact, because we’re really the hub for marketing, product marketing, sales operations, and sales. We meet right in the middle as a very strategic function.
Shawnna: How does sales enablement get elevated into a strategic function?
Sean: That’s another great question. In order to elevate the sales enablement function, you have to understand the business more holistically. For example, I spent most of my career in sales carrying a bag. Then, I went into sales training and built the programs, coached the reps, all that. I decided I had some weaknesses in the marketing area, so I went into a marketing role for a couple years to understand marketing, the funnel, and what is involved in marketing initiatives. I also owned the tech stack for a year and a half as well.
Once I became interested in sales enablement, I knew I didn’t want to be just a corporate trainer, so I went through the business and was able to work in various functions to make myself more well-rounded. I know that’s not possible for everyone. If you don’t have the opportunities or you don’t want to take the risk of jumping into a different part of the business, you could also mentor with people in other functions. Find a marketing leader, find a sales ops person, and really get your arms around the business and learn what it takes to drive revenue. Ultimately, it’s your job to drive revenue and drive the creation of revenue by supporting the sales and marketing teams.
Shawnna: What advice would you give to new sales enablement practitioners?
Sean: Align yourself with sales and marketing. Understand where the gap is between these departments, because you’re going to be right in the middle. Then, start to understand what those people do each and every day. If you don’t know what a field marketer does, spend a day with them to understand what they’re doing. If you’ve never been in sales, then you need to get out on the field with the reps. You need to spend time with your sales leaders. You need to actually sit on calls and fully understand a day in their life. That’s the fastest way to learn. I would even recommend that you set aside dedicated time to understand these functions and say, “I’m going to shadow five calls a week. I’m going to shadow this job function and really understand what they do.” If you don’t do that, you’re really sitting in a vacuum. You’re sitting in the ivory tower of, “Here’s what my role is and here’s how I’m going to direct it,” but you have no true understanding of how those other folks do their job. Understanding — that’s the most important thing that you can do.
When best-in-class enablement software meets best-in-class engagement software, you get a powerful combination designed to elevate the experience for both sellers and customers. That’s why we are excited to celebrate the introduction of our new integration with Outreach.
If you’re wondering why this latest integration has us popping bottles, let’s rewind and review.
In the world of sales, it’s not uncommon for sellers to bounce back and forth between different platforms and tools. In fact, according to SiriusDecisions, 64% of sales reps’ time is spent on administrative tasks. That’s two-thirds of a seller’s day burned by non-revenue generating activities. Fewer hours spent selling means unmet quotas, less revenue, unhappy teams, and customers that are likely engaging elsewhere.
This challenge inspired our mission to make Highspot part of every seller’s day-to-day workflow, leaving more time for the activities that matter. The outcome was the introduction of Highspot Everywhere, the most comprehensive sales and marketing technology program with more than 50 cloud, on-premises, and mobile integrations. Highspot seamlessly integrates into existing sales and marketing apps, devices, technologies, and platforms—and now we can proudly say that Outreach, one of the top sales engagement platforms on the market, is one of them.
So, what does the Highspot and Outreach integration mean for sellers? Reps can now leverage Highspot’s AI-driven platform to bring relevant sales assets and content to Outreach’s top-of-the-line customer engagement and communication engine. Let’s take a closer look at three distinct benefits the integration gives sales teams:
Content lies at the heart of customer engagement, which is why Highspot is designed to surface effective assets on time, every time. Highspot applies advanced machine learning to infer relevance from the way sales content is used by a seller’s co-workers, how it is engaging your customers, and how it is driving revenue. As a result, Outreach users can engage prospects with the right content at every stage of the buyer’s journey, providing the personal touch modern buyers expect.
One-Click Content Integration
It’s as easy as 1, 2, 3—sellers can insert any content managed in Highspot, including slide decks, datasheets, case studies, videos, and more, directly into Outreach emails, sequences, templates, and snippets. With integration into Outreach sequences, sellers can be confident that they have the best, most-relevant content ready to engage their prospects. Worried about cumbersome downloads? Don’t be—Highspot makes content accessible via the cloud both online and offline, no downloading needed.
What’s content without analytics? Sellers can leverage the power of Highspot’s end-to-end analytics to track how each unique buyer engages with every asset, providing insight into necessary optimizations and data that guides the best next steps in the sales process.
Fueled by these new capabilities, teams will become more efficient and effective revenue-driving powerhouses.
“We expect that the integration between Highspot and Outreach will be a powerful tool for our sales team,” said Sean Goldie, Director of Field Sales Enablement at Apptio. “From boosting productivity to reaching buyers with the right content at the right time, we are always striving for efficiency and excellence when engaging our buyer. This new partnership supports that strategy perfectly.”
Seamless integration between best-of-breed sales technology is an important part of every successful sales enablement strategy. Curious to see how Highspot makes integrating with your existing sales and marketing investments a breeze? Connect with our team today.
In today’s competitive market, buyer behavior is constantly changing in response to new technologies and buying processes, and smart sellers must evolve to keep up. Even the highest performing sales teams have to stay alert and on the lookout for new ways to boost sales productivity to keep their competitive edge — or risk falling behind. According to our 2018 State of Sales Enablement report, nearly 70% of respondents reported that their company’s sales process was becoming more complex, and 55% reported that the increasing level of sales process complexity impacted their sales performance. With these new sales process challenges, it’s more important than ever to regularly take time to focus on optimizing sales productivity. After all, productivity means profit. When a business improves its salesforce’s effectiveness and productivity, it makes it easier for sellers to close deals that drive revenue.
What is Sales Productivity?
First thing’s first: let’s define what we mean when we talk about sales productivity. Think of sales productivity as the baseline factor in the success and health of a company. Sales productivity is calculated according to the rate a rep increases revenue for a business. Put another way, optimal sales productivity is maximum sales results with minimal resources (such as time, money, or effort) expended.
When you are looking to improve sales productivity, you will usually need to deal with these three main obstacles:
Time needed by a new seller to become effective (on average, 7 months)
Seller turnover (typically 30%)
Time wasted searching for and creating selling materials (3-4 hours per week, per rep)
But how do you influence these factors and improve the productivity of your sales team? We’ve put together six questions to ask yourself as you work on your sales productivity strategy. Use these questions as a guide to help you identify areas of improvement and opportunities to achieve greater productivity.
Onboarding and training successful reps is a massive investment from a business perspective. Improving sales productivity rep by rep in this continually evolving sales landscape can waste time and negatively impact productivity. Companies need a scalable, customizable process, created and managed according to specific personas. If you don’t have one yet, read this SiriusDecisions report, Best Practices for Increasing Sales Productivity, for some ideas on how to get started.
2.) What insights can your reps offer?
Get ideas on how to improve productivity right from the source — from your sales reps! Sit down with your reps and ask them about what constitutes a successful sale. Consider posing the following questions:
What do they implement for managing and creating accounts, fostering prospects, organizing plans?
How do they pitch and nurture leads?
What are their main pain points?
Where do they feel misunderstood or undervalued?
What do they consider valuable assets of a successful proposal?
How do they navigate the ins and outs of daily content needs?
Combine all of the feedback from sales reps across tiers of expertise and map out a clearly defined, step-by-step playbook of your rep’s sales processes as they currently stand. Make sure to note any pain points or areas that sale reps highlighted as areas needing improvement, which indicates what you’ll likely need to tackle to improve sales productivity.
3.) Does your organization have a sales playbook?
Like your company and the individuals within it, sales processes are always shifting, growing, and changing. What works today may not work five days from now — let alone five months down the line. Consider your playbook a live entity that morphs to fit the forever-changing sales landscape. As a targeted tool used to pinpoint customers during their buying journeys, a sales playbook offers insights to reps as well as leaders and stakeholders, and ultimately equips reps with the necessary materials and know-hows — at the right time. Here are some best practices for ensuring your playbook has the freedom to breathe:
Train and enable all sales reps via your playbook
Revisit your playbook on a regular basis to tweak, edit, and alter accordingly.
Ensure the plays that were built for certain markets or accounts are still accessible and relevant
Continue to streamline processes — especially as your teams grow and your sales processes continue to evolve
4.) Have you integrated a sales enablement solution?
Once a playbook is in regular rotation, a flexible, digital infrastructure can streamline and improve productivity even further. In addition to offering real-time visibility into sales reps’ performances, a sales enablement solution connects sellers to relevant content, offers scalable ways to showcase content to customers, measures what content works (and what doesn’t), and empowers sellers to get the training they need.
5.) Are your sales and marketing teams aligned?
Another method for dramatically increasing sales productivity (and one that reps often don’t want to hear): align with marketing. Too often, there’s a breakdown between both sales and marketing. Often due to one side having led the charge regarding goals, processes, and defining the methods deemed successful. From there, information isn’t correctly, or efficiently communicated to following teams, resulting in communication breakdowns and unhealthy assumptions.
Despite their differences in approaches, and too-often misunderstandings, it’s important to remember that marketing and sales teams are striving for the same end results. Getting both sides synced via the same strategy, and communicating effectively is a surefire means of improving sales productivity.
Evaluate where each piece of content is stored within your organization and determine a home for each set of materials. Consider the following:
Does your sales team have a sole, established place for sales-related content and training?
Are all materials aligned according to buyer persona, buying stage, etc.?
Where can these be accessed (e.g., online within a CRM system, inbox, via mobile)?
Conduct a sales training and content audit
Establish if and how sales reps have the tools and know-how to successfully land sales. Delve into the following:
Have reps completed assigned sales training?
Does your sales team fully understand and utilize core company concepts?
Are reps making use of the ideal kind of content – and at the correct time?
6.) Does your company culture encourage sales?
Sales complexity hinders performance — an impact that’s even greater for larger sales organizations. A full 77 percent of companies with sales organizations of more than 101 representatives reported that their sales performance has been negatively impacted by the increasing level of complexity, resulting in friction within the sales process. A powerful means of decreasing this friction is building a company culture that fosters communication, trust, and integrity.
Given the increasing competition of the sales landscape, it’s easier than ever to allow competition and paranoia sneak into your team’s culture. But when management builds a culture on trust and empathy, reps better learn from mistakes, support each other’s successes, and operate more transparently. An environment of trust enables reps to embrace change as well as loop others, and management, in when deals prove especially tricky. Creating and upholding a culture of trust ensures sales productivity stays a constant — even amid difficulties.
Together, strategies such as playbooks, sales enablement solutions, aligned teams, and a healthy company culture can vastly improve sales productivity. Integrating these methods for success arms reps with the right tools at the right time, ultimately increasing sales, upping profits, and creating a company-wide win-win.
I love Highspot—but, of course, I’m biased. So one of my favorite things to do is get out in the field and chat with customers about how much they love Highspot, too. While I was at SiriusDecisions Summit, I had the chance to check in with Joe Andrews, Vice President of Marketing at InsideView, on the current sales enablement efforts there with Highspot.
Here’s the video interview, as well as the interview transcript, below:
Shawnna:Hi, Joe! I’d love to have you provide insights into why you see the sales enablement trend and momentum continuing in the market.
Joe: I see a lot of momentum in sales enablement around only one purpose, which is helping make sales reps more effective. Companies have different definitions, but at InsideView, we look at how we make reps achieve quota at a higher rate and how we make them more efficient in terms of their time. Sales reps spend a lot of time researching information about accounts they’re selling to; how can we put information at their fingertips? How can we make it easier for them to solve a task? And most importantly, how can we give them more time to sell? We look at how we can we help them improve win rates and also achieve their quota.
Shawnna: Why is sales enablement an important investment for companies today?
Joe: Sales enablement is an area of increasing investment for companies — SiriusDecisions has some great data on that. Companies are looking at how best-in-class companies have bridged the gap between marketing and sales. It used to be that marketing teams pushed a lot of content to sales — “threw it over the fence,” so to speak. Sales would have to catch that and then they would have to train. But companies are starting to take a more holistic view that encompasses processes, people, and technology including sales enablement platforms like Highspot, which are helping companies become more efficient and effective at enabling their sales reps.
Shawnna: What are your top sales enablement initiatives?
Joe: InsideView is really focused on increasing customer retention. We measure that with two metrics: renewal rate and upsell rate. As InsideView is bringing new products to market, being effective at selling those to your existing customer base becomes a priority. From a sales enablement perspective, we’re very much focused on helping our reps serve those existing customers and improve their upsell rate to those existing customers.
We’re also equally, if not more importantly, focused on customer success to serve the customers that we have and to continue to make them happy with InsideView and ensure that they’re customers for a long time to come.
Shawnna: How does your team measure sales enablement success?
Joe: Great question! When we started down the path of sales enablement, we were looking at activity-based metrics such as content consumption — the use of specific content pieces when sales outreach was done at various stages. Another example is sales development through a new logo account to renewal through upsell. But now that we are two years into our Highspot engagement, we look at results metrics such as win rate and quota attainment. We believe that any sales enablement initiative needs to show results in terms of both sales performance and the tangible business results.
Shawnna: What did your sales process look like before implementing a sales enablement solution?
Joe: Our sales process has evolved over the last few years. We’ve evolved in terms of the market segments that we go after. We now have a direct and indirect business. On our direct side, we’ve changed how we tiers accounts, how we segment by size, and also changed back to that retention focus. We’ve also taken dedicated focus with account management roles that are really focused on driving expansion with customers. And that complements our CSM role, which focuses on keeping customers happy and making sure that they are successful in adopting our product.
Shawnna: Do you take an account-based approach to sales enablement?
Joe: We take an account-based approach at InsideView. It’s been an evolution, as well, over the last few years. InsideView started by looking at the top-name accounts that sales wanted—and it was definitely a process of identifying and agreeing on those accounts at the start. Now we are taking a more scientific approach using our own tools, where we look at which accounts have the best potential. Then, we refresh that once a year to look at the accounts we’re having success with and how they map to our ideal customer profile (ICP). We also take into consideration what we are hearing from the field—what’s changed in some of these accounts, and how we can engage them better. Then, we adjust our marketing tactics to better the overall experience.
Shawnna: What are the top ways that sales enablement has helped you?
Joe: Sales enablement is responsible for several areas. One of them is training, and we did a survey with our field to understand what topics they needed in terms of training. The other area was around content delivery. Both of these are where Highspot has really come in. We’ve helped our reps become more effective at using their content, and the data shows that there’s a strong correlation between good use of content and quota attainment. Those have both been key areas for sales enablement.
The third area for sales enablement at InsideView has been around a deal desk and focusing on how the entire go-to-market team can help our sales team win key deals. Those three areas of sales enablement are the current focus for InsideView.
Shawnna: Why is sales enablement critical for marketers?
Joe: Any marketing person today should spend time in a sales role or get very close with sales reps. You know that old saying about walking a mile in someone’s shoes. It really helps to understand the challenges that they’re facing. Marketing, as a function, needs to help improve sales. Sales enablement is a bridge between marketing and sales. There are a lot of shared priorities that we’re focused on in terms of content development, training, and supporting key deals. More marketing efforts, like messaging and go-to-market launches, need to be done in collaboration with sales. Sales enablement is key to that.
Shawnna: What advice would you give to those breaking into to sales enablement?
Joe: If you’re brand new to sales enablement, the first thing you should do is get informed. You can do that in a couple of ways: talk with the sales reps, go on customer calls, and observe key challenges. With that intel, you can start to develop an opinion around how you can help as a sales or marketing leader. The other thing you can do is look at the data in terms of your sales process and everything from the marketing funnel down through the sales stages of execution. There are a lot of benchmarks out there. Talk with analysts at SiriusDecisions, Forester, etc. Talk with other companies, benchmark with similar companies in your industry, and get a sense of how are they performing on key metrics. What are some of the challenges that they went through? What are some of the solutions that they would recommend? Be a sponge when you are new in the role, and learn. You’ll form opinions on your own, but you’ll also get a lot of good guidance to help you spring ahead and not have to reinvent the wheel.
For more insight into how InsideView successfully implemented and continues to optimize their sales enablement efforts with Highspot, check out the full case study.
In the old days, a sales playbook may have been nothing more than a fat 3-ring binder with some tabs in it. While talking on the phone to a prospective buyer, a salesperson could tuck the receiver under his ear, grab the playbook off the shelf, and flip through the tabbed sections in it to find the play he was looking for. Then, as now, the sales playbook was a source of cumulative knowledge from the sales team and guidance from sales management, gathered together into a single resource. It spelled out best practices and diagrammed the required steps to lead the prospect through the sales cycle to the desired finish: the sale.
The sales landscape has transformed drastically since then, and yesterday’s playbook won’t cut it anymore. Sales has become more complex than ever. In fact, 64.5% of sales reps report that they are experiencing more complex sales processes. The buyer’s journey has taken the place of a more rigid sales cycle so that sellers need to be able to react as the process unfolds and provide personalized responses to prospective buyers at a moment’s notice. In the age of the modern buyer, they come to the sales interaction better prepared and better informed than ever, with expectations for a fully digitized and seamless experience.
Like the sales landscape, sales playbooks have evolved and are now a crucial component of sales enablement strategies that serve to make sellers more efficient and effective. According to Aberdeen Research, this is why 42% of best-in-class companies use sales playbooks (versus just 14% of laggard firms), resulting in better attainment of quota, higher rates of customer retention, and higher lead conversion rates.
Today’s sales playbook has to be practical and easy to use. It must be adaptive and interactive to keep up with ever-changing content needs — therefore, it must be digital. It must be targeted to today’s buyer throughout his or her journey while providing insight and value to the sales team and across the organization.
Today’s digitized sales enablement platforms are the best means of accomplishing effective collaboration. Modern tools can bridge the gap between sales and marketing, allowing sellers to effectively connect to the buyer’s journey and take the lead in the sales conversation. This creates a win-win for all parties — for the seller when she closes the deal, for the marketing team that works to support the sales effort, and for the buyer when he finds an effective solution to his business problem.
The key to this process is a modern sales playbook built on today’s technology.
Define your sales methodology. 51% of sales playbook users follow a specific, named sales methodology, versus 36% of all other firms.
Map your sales process to your buyer’s buying process.
Design clearly defined plays, making it straightforward for the seller to take effective action in a given specific scenario.
Emulate your “A” players and harness their knowledge within the playbook.
Keep it succinct and don’t make the seller have to sift through and consider which content is most pertinent.
Start laying the groundwork for successful sales playbooks with these five steps. For more on sales playbook best practices and tactical steps on getting started, read the How to Land the Modern Sales Playbooks whitepaper today.
Innovation is the lifeblood of success in evolving industries.
The medical device space is one such industry, and changes are happening at the speed of femtosecond laser pulses. Sellers and marketers are rightfully questioning what lies ahead and how teams can meet the shifting demands.
Following the 2018 MedForce Summit and our conversation with Enrico Vietri, Director of Digital Strategy at Aetna, a Highspot customer, four clear takeaways emerged:
1.) Stay Aligned, or Be Left Behind
You love them, then you hate them — the complicated relationship between sales and marketing is very much alive in the life sciences field.
“Sometimes we may be in a situation where we are chasing too much on both sides, and the objectives overlap minimally,” Vietri said. “We need to come together and streamline down to a few and agree to do our parts.”
How are modern companies uniting their sales and marketing teams? Holding them both accountable for the numbers. When working toward achieving common metrics, everyone feels the same pressure and shares in the same excitement over wins.
Leveraging the capabilities of singular solution is another way innovative leaders are leading the charge when it comes to providing teams with a powerful way to stay communicative and aligned. Marketers can see what content sellers are using and assess its success, sellers have content that prepares them for every conversation, and both teams can track and optimize against shared goals.
With the right tools in place and the attitude of “if you want to go far, go together,” sales and marketing become a formidable force.
2.) Delve into Digital
Gone are the days of traditional selling. The digital era has dawned, and with it has come the digitization of today’s healthcare. Younger generations are venturing online to find physicians, companies are providing services via mobile, the web and apps, and patients are requesting medical devices seen on social media.
Sellers and marketers need to be equipped with new technology to meet modern customers where they are and plug into the way their new world works.
“One of the challenges is finding the right information to share at the right time,” Vietri said. “As marketers, we need to adapt to selling to different segments, to different kinds of accounts, and to who we’re talking to on the other side.”
Healthcare professionals expect their reps to bring more to the table than ever before. To meet this expectation, marketing and sales teams need to harness the power of technology to ensure they are not just selling products, but are showing the value of the complete solution and the vision of how it will positively impact a customer’s day-to-day.
Complications often arise during the quest to digitize when companies adopt too many platforms, tools and technologies at once, making it nearly impossible to source information and materials at a moment’s notice.
Vietri explained the importance of “not only having the right people in place, but also enabling them with a simple process and the right content on just a few key platforms.”
3.) Empower the New Modern Seller
At today’s forward-thinking medical device companies, it’s not uncommon to find that their top sellers have prior experience as teachers. Leaders are conducting studies to determine the personality traits and innate talents of best performing reps, and are seeking out new hires who exhibit these characteristics. In this field, experience doesn’t measure up against inborn ability.
Because the reps coming in the door often lack prior knowledge, high-quality training becomes even more essential. It needs to be accessible, consistent, and manageable, equipping reps with the guidance they need to ensure accuracy, provide value, and succeed.
4.) Keep Customer-Centricity at the Core
No matter how the industry evolves, the customer relationship remains at the heart of everything. Like arteries in a body, all sales and marketing channels work to deliver what’s needed keep the relationship strong and healthy.
Companies would do well to develop methods that consistently foster positive experiences that over time turn customers into advocates.
“We should be able to come out with the right, simple processes where sales and marketing join on the same platform in order to materialize this customer experience,” Vietri said.
Modern medical device companies are looking to Highspot as a solution that addresses all three needs: sales and marketing alignment, digital transformation, and enhanced customer-centricity. In a space that promotes technological breakthroughs that change lives, this is the technology bringing positive change to the lives of sellers and marketers.
As a first-time entrant, Highspot debuted in the top 5 of the midsize companies category. This is a proud moment for all, especially being located in the nation’s fastest growing city this decade.
So, what has us loving life at Highspot? It goes deeper than the MacBook Pros and a dozen LaCroix flavors. Let’s take a look at a few things that make facing the weekday alarm clock no big deal:
Work Hard, Play Hard
In between developing new software capabilities and giving product demos, engage in a heated game of ping pong or putt-putt on the indoor green. For the sideline-inclined, pour a beer from the tap during Highspot Happy Hour and venture to the Mariners game with friends. While it’s true we spend hours grinding on projects that make Highspot the #1 sales enablement solution, these projects are fueled by passion for the product and the motivation to do our best for a company we know is going big places.
Know what’s also going big places? Our Highspot Underdog Sports team—look out, Emerald City.
Walk into every meeting no matter your level, age, or experience knowing your idea will be heard. Highspot was built upon a foundation of what our co-founder and CEO Robert Wahbe refers to as “Most Respectful Interpretation” (MRI) of every interaction.
For all employees, MRI serves to provide an environment where people feel comfortable expressing themselves and are free to think outside the box. Our fearless leadership team is always accessible, involved and ready to take suggestions to heart. Realizing your thoughts will be respected means more collaboration, more ideas, and more innovation.
I Left My Heart in San Francisco Seattle
Welcome to the land of strong coffee, local farmers markets, and a music scene out of which emerged Nirvana. Does it rain? Sometimes. But take our word for it, you don’t notice the grey skies when you’re living in one of the country’s most stunning cities. Surrounded by snow-capped mountain ranges and the deep blue waters of Puget Sound, there’s nowhere like Seattle.
Highspot sits in the center of it all, located in the vibrant Belltown neighborhood with views of the iconic Space Needle. Rooftop bars and Tom Douglas restaurants are footsteps away. If you need to stretch your legs, head to one of the many CrossFit gyms, yoga studios, or waterfront running trails nearby. There’s never a shortage of concerts, speakeasies, and sporting games—the only dilemma is choosing what to do.
Too Much Free Food (Said No One Ever)
Forgot your lunch? No problem. Stay nourished with hard-boiled eggs, bagels, veggies and hummus, PB&Js, yogurt, avocados—and that’s just the beginning. From flavored lattes in the morning to crackers and cheese in the afternoon, you can snack until your heart’s content. For the “hangry” monsters of the workplace (you know who you are), this is your paradise.
If the everyday buffet isn’t your cup of tea, you can count down the days until the Friday catered company lunches. Barbecue, vermicelli bowls, burritos and your teammates coming together to share exciting updates is a sweet way to end every week.
You’ve Got a Friend in Me—And 100 Others
We’ve all had that moment when your jaw hits the floor after learning the colleague you’ve been sitting next to for three years once lived a secret life as a Cirque du Soleil performer. At Highspot, moments like these are the norm, because here your colleagues are more than just engineers, sellers and marketers —they are pianists, cocktail connoisseurs, world travelers, marathon runners and so much more.
We’re incredibly grateful to be surrounded by positive and authentic people who bring their zest for life into the office. One of our recent Glassdoor reviews says: “I’ve never worked with a team where there is such a high baseline of excellence—people are inquisitive, creative, and empowered.”
And it’s true—our Highspot team is made up of people who not only give their best to the job, but who inspire and support each other every day.
Ready to experience life at Highspot for yourself? Come join us!
As a medical device sales rep, you work to change lives for the better every day — but who is helping change yours?
When your long hours are filled with scheduling appointments, device demonstrations, and navigating the field, daily life can cause aches and pains. Our current life sciences customers including ERT, IQVIA, and Phenomenex have provided insight into the challenges that medical devices sales reps regularly encounter. The good news is that as the industry’s most trusted sales enablement platform, Highspot has the solution.
Here is how Highspot is the prescription you need to thrive:
You are constantly on the go. With multiple shared drives, storage solutions, and file types, you lose precious time switching between technologies. The Cure:
Highspot is a end-to-end sales enablement solution that allows teams to organize, find, customize, share, and analyze all content in one place. Overwhelmed with the thought of adding a new technology to your life? Highspot works where you work. With more than 50 certified technology integrations, Highspot naturally fits into your day-to-day workflow and integrates into the apps, devices, platforms, and technologies you already have in place. Access content on your mobile device with our intuitive UI, add a deck to your Outlook email outreach, or share content during a Zoom web conference. Highspot plugs into all major technology areas like file storage, CRM, email, SSO, sales training, and more, simplifying your routine tasks and saving more time selling.
With your potential customers, every minute matters. Poor Wi-Fi connection or time wasted searching for content could cost you an opportunity—and a million-dollar deal. The Cure:
Highspot provides quick, convenient access to the content you need, anytime, anywhere. Confidently walk into hospitals throughout your territory knowing the information you need is at your fingertips no matter the Internet connection quality. When a doctor asks an impromptu question, easily locate the datasheets and infographics that provide the answer. Highspot helps you take advantage of each selling moment with the most effective client-facing content, even offline. Our semantic search employs machine learning to customize search to each individual’s trends and preferences so that you can instantly find the best content for every scenario that brings value to the table.
One word: competition. The medical device market is crowded, and standing out is difficult. The Cure:
In a noisy space, be heard by delivering what your prospects really want, every time. Highspot’s advanced analytics allow you to measure and optimize the performance of your content across the sales cycle, providing visibility into what is working and what is not. With insight into content usage, effectiveness, and customer engagement, you can learn what content to use at each stage of the buyer’s journey and how best to customize it before presenting it. You may think research reports are the most effective to close, but in reality, the data shows that fact sheets are the content type most likely to win you the deal.
In your industry, sharing out-of-date information resources could not only lose business but impact lives. The Cure:
Reduce risk with current and compliant content. Highspot provides a single source of truth for sales and marketing teams. With our version control and content sharing capabilities, you will always have the latest approved client-facing content. Not only can you send out the most up-to-date content confidently, but you can rest assured knowing that if that material needs to be updated at a later time with more current (and compliant) content, that you can go back and modify your pitch with the latest and greatest material with ease.
You deserve the same level of care that your customers give their patients. Relieve work-related pains and improve your day-to-day with a long-term solution that not only addresses symptoms, but cures the problem. Ready to thrive with Highspot? Request a demo today.
ABC: The motivational sales shorthand for “Always Be Closing” might as well also stand for “Always Be Communicating,” because sales runs on communication. From opening pitch to closing deal, effective communication supports every step in the buyer’s journey and provides a critical link between sellers and internal teams such as marketing.
But sales communication can be a double-edged sword. While its importance in providing sales with critical connections is undeniable, it has the potential to overwhelm or distract sellers from their goals if there is no strategy guiding it. Quality, not quantity, is the key for sales leaders looking to create effective sales communication strategies for their teams. After all, sending more email updates won’t make your sales team any more informed if they aren’t finding the content relevant, valuable, or easily accessible. The guiding goal of any successful sales communication strategy should be to provide salespeople with the right information, in the right place, and at the right time.
Read on for the who, what, when, where, how, and why of developing a sales communication strategy. With these best practices, you’ll have a framework for communicating with your sales team that will keep them informed, prepared, and focused on the goals that matter.
Sales communication is the process and messaging that keep sales teams informed, engaged, and productive while encouraging their feedback. In some companies, sales communication is a centralized function that acts as editor-in-chief and publisher for all messaging that goes to the sales team.
Whether you have a separate function dedicated to sales communication or not, the key to any successful sales communication strategy is to construct it like the foundation of a house. Strong sales communication fits naturally into the workflow of your sales team to keep them well-prepared and informed without wasting their time. As you begin to scope your strategy, you may want to conduct an audit of current sales communication practices and gather feedback from sales reps. Define efficiency and effectiveness metrics to establish a baseline. Your primary aim should be to create a sales communication strategy that has these two goals:
Reduces the amount of time it takes to create and consume sales communications
Improves understanding, retention, and following of sales communications
2. Why is sales communication important?
Creating a sales communication strategy is important because it establishes guidelines to keep sales reps informed of product changes, company news, or industry trends and guards against communication requiring reps to waste time sifting through internal resources or hunting down missing information.
As you begin to outline your sales communication strategy, keep in mind why it’s important. Having the big picture in mind will help you later explain and justify the decisions you’ve made to sales reps and other stakeholders. Once they understand the rationale behind the strategy, they’ll be more likely to participate and give you buy-in, which greatly improves the chances that your strategy will succeed.
Sales communication itself should also always show why it’s important by relating back to overarching sales themes and company goals. No matter the communication channel, these themes and goals should appear across media in a variety of forms — whether they’re newsletters, company intranet pages, email subject lines, weekly calls, coaching huddles, and other sales communication media.
3. Who is involved in sales communication?
An effective sales communication strategy should define owners for different channels and set processes in place to collect and disseminate information from sources other than these channel owners. Occasionally, subject matter experts such as executives, product managers, or partners could contribute directly by speaking on relevant topics during sales meetings.
If you’re defining communication strategy ownership for the first time, you may at first encounter resistance from those who have gotten used to communicating with the sales team directly without any limitations. This will require you to get their agreement on the rules of engagement laid out in your strategy. Take care to underscore why you created these guidelines: not to stop the flow of information, but to control and coordinate it to make it easier for sales reps to digest.
To make it easier to categorize and prioritize messaging, every communication request should contain these components:
Source: The creator of the communication request, but not necessarily the final sender. For example, the chief sales officer may initiate a communication, but first-line sales managers deliver it to reps during weekly meetings. The source should not solely determine whether and how information gets delivered to the sales team.
Audience: The primary intended audience. For example, both the sales team and service team may receive a communication about software revisions, but the information only impacts the work of the service team, which is the primary audience. The intended audience can determine priority and delivery. If the sales team is not the primary intended audience for a communication, then the information should arrive via a less direct messaging method, such as a sales enablement platform where reps can review news at their convenience without having to sift through their email inbox.
Purpose: Communication should always meet a specific goal, align to sales themes, and contain a deadline if possible. An email about a new sales training class may be informative and relevant, but if its purpose is to order reps to take the class and earn certification by a specific date, it needs to be clearly communicated.
Immediacy: The urgency of a communication. Does the sales force need to know this information immediately, or can it wait? This can inform when and how the sales team receives the communication.
4. When does sales communication happen?
Sales communication happens on daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, and yearly cycles, and the content and delivery channels should change to reflect the different timescales and priority level. Broadly, sales communication should correlate with the rhythm of the business and support company goals.
As you define your sales communication strategy, decide on a regular cadence of communication with the sales team that takes urgency into account and routes to the appropriate delivery channel. Common communication cadences and channels are as follows:
Daily: The most common daily sales communication channel is email; 70% of organizations that SiriusDecisions surveyed use email to provide reps with both core and non-core selling information. The problem with email is that it does not communicate priority very well. Every email, whether it’s a time-sensitive notification of a buyer’s trigger event or an invitation to next month’s company outing, carries the same weight.
Weekly: The live all-sales meeting is the most popular weekly communication vehicle, according to SiriusDecisions, with 37% of survey respondents reporting that they hold weekly meetings. Weekly sales meetings often include pipeline reviews, important industry or company news updates, and team-building and cheerleading content. They’re also effective as vehicles for information from different sources in the form of guest speakers or presentations. The tradeoff is that weekly meetings require a non-insignificant amount of time and space, and traveling reps miss out on content and discussions.
Monthly: Monthly communications are likely a good fit for channels that allow for asynchronous engagement, such as video, social, and mobile-oriented content that can be consumed anytime and across different devices. Organizations that cite video roleplay as a highly effective training delivery method report a 57% higher rate of rep quota achievement, says SiriusDecisions.
Quarterly: Messaging delivered quarterly or less frequently tends to be event-oriented. Podcasts lead the category at 13% of SiriusDecisions survey respondents. Unlike email or live meetings, recorded videos and podcasts can be available for sales reps instantly at a point of need, depending on the progression of their buyers’ journeys.
Annual: Annual communication tends to focus on sales plan elements including coverage models, quota assignments, and compensation plans. They are best delivered through a cascade of messaging that ensures consistency but still allows for dialogue.
All of the above: Sales enablement platforms allow for asynchronous sales communication, content consumption, and activity-based enablement. They fit into the daily cadence of individual reps’ workflows without cluttering inboxes or interrupting learning and selling processes.
5. How should sales communication get delivered?
Sales communication delivery should differ depending on content, urgency, and priority. These elements will determine the channel of communication and the cadence used to inform the sales team. A sales communication strategy provides guidelines on the channels and cadences for delivering information.
Some of the most common form of sales communications include:
Electronic newsletter: Often delivered to sales reps at a set frequency, typically weekly or biweekly, on a particular day and time. You’ll want to establish a publishing calendar specifying the contents of every issue with deadlines for contributor submissions, and use a marketing automation platform to track engagement and gauge effectiveness. Create a mobile-friendly template and stick to it so sales reps become can familiar with the layout and navigate it quickly and easily. Keep articles short with descriptive titles and subheadings, and insert a mix of media to accommodate different preferences for consuming information.
Web conferencing session: A regularly scheduled web conference can replace or complement the electronic newsletter. It should last less than an hour (30 minutes is ideal). Like the newsletter, it should employ a consistent format and include visuals and other interactive elements, such as chat, polls, and Q&A. Make sure to record it so that reps who missed it can watch it later.
Video and audio broadcast: Communications delivered via video and audio on a biweekly, monthly, or quarterly basis. They’re sometimes used to augment the newsletter or web conference and can allow reps to listen while driving. Keep them short (15 to 30 minutes) and use a talk-show format to make them engaging.
Internal social platform: Social communication tools such as Chatter, Jive, Yammer, or Slack can augment other sales communications and deliver specific types of information, such as competitive intelligence. They provide the ability to search and create a communications history.
First-line managers: Sales managers can deliver information one-on-one or as part of regularly scheduled sales meetings and can facilitate dialogue or gather feedback from reps. Encourage managers to call on reps during sales meetings to provide a summary of key messages and test for comprehension and compliance.
6. Where should sales communication primarily happen?
A successful sales communication strategy should provide the sales team with a solution that fits into their workflow and naturally draws their attention to the information they need when they need it. A sales enablement platform like Highspot can accomplish this task effectively.
Unlike other sales communication solutions and channels, a sales enablement platform provides the just-in-time information your sales team needs without cluttering their inbox or distracting from their sales workflows. Here are some of the reasons to incorporate a sales enablement tool into your sales communication strategy:
Delivers communications where sales reps spend their time without compromising their ability to find correspondence with prospects easily
Provides analytics to measure engagement with sales communications to identify who is reading them and who is not
Encourages sales and marketing to work together to manage content, pitch and message buyers, and collaborate on projects
Offers ability to communicate priority and urgency through dynamic layouts and eye-catching design that drives higher engagement rates
Intelligently integrates with other sales tools to customize experience based on what sales reps are trying to accomplish at any point in time; for example, could highlight opportunities in Salesforce at different stages and provide relevant information on next steps
Coordinates and manages incoming communications so that sales reps get the information they need and don’t need to dig through internal messages to get critical information
Analysts also recognize the advantages of placing sales communications within a sales enablement function. For example, SiriusDecisions recommends creating a “centralized sales communications function that acts as editor-in-chief and publisher,” with guidelines and governance policies that make it clear that all communications to the field force must be channeled through this function. “We see this function residing with sales enablement,” SiriusDecisions concludes.
Now that you’ve defined the who, what, when, where, how, and why of your sales communication strategy, you may think that your work here is done. But it’s not — and it may never be! A successful sales communication strategy should evolve to meet the changing needs of your sellers and their buyers. Be sure to regularly gather comments from sales reps, marketers, and other internal stakeholders. With their feedback, you’ll be able to keep a pulse your sales communications strategy and gain valuable insight into how to continue improving it, leading to even better sales communications in the future.
Learn more about how Highspot can strengthen your sales communication strategy and take a demo today.
The word is out — on the evening of June 12, Highspot earned recognition as the Best Sales Enablement Platform and Best Content Management Platform by the Software & Information Industry Association (SIIA) as part of the 2018 CODiE Awards, the industry’s only peer-reviewed awards program.
A night of good cheer and champagne ensued at the award ceremony in San Francisco, where the team celebrated with companies at the forefront of business innovation.
Looking back on how Highspot rose above the competition to join past winners including Cision, Cisco Systems, and Pitchbook Data, the journey began with a product demonstration in front of expert reviewers, including software and business technology experts, analysts, media, bloggers, bankers, and investors. In the second round, SIIA members voted on the finalist products. The scores from both rounds were tabulated to select the winners.
What set Highspot apart? With judges providing feedback such as, “able to integrate into a company’s workflow on multiple levels in multiple ways,” the platform clearly made an impression.
Here are three reasons why Highspot rose to the top:
Strong Technology Integrations
Highspot is a complete end-to-end platform specifically designed for sales and marketing needs. Knowing that sales reps would only adopt a tool that naturally fit into their day-to-day workflows and existing systems, the Highspot team launched a technology integration program with more than 50 certified cloud, on-premises, and mobile integrations — the most comprehensive sales and marketing integration capabilities of any sales enablement platform. Today, Highspot has integrations with major file systems including SharePoint, OneDrive, Dropbox, Box, Google Drive, Nuxeo, Jive, Adobe Experience Manager, Alfresco, and more.
This advancement enables users to access Highspot on all of their devices, create and share content in more than 40 file formats, engage buyers on any channel, and eliminate time spent on admin tasks by automatically tracking CRM sales activities.
The result? A 90 percent adoption rate and the #1 sales enablement software ranking by customers on G2 Crowd.
User-friendly. Indispensable. Game-changer. These are just several words customers have used to describe Highspot and how it makes a difference in their daily routines. With a sleek interface and intuitive navigation, Highspot makes it simple for sellers and marketers to find, organize, customize, share, and analyze all content.
Highspot’s customer testimonials speak to why the platform has a 90 percent average monthly recurring usage. Because content is easy to locate, sales reps save up to five hours per week per person, leaving more time for developing relationships and closing deals.
For marketers, SiriusDecisions estimates 65 percent of all content created by marketing goes unused by sales. The problem arises from marketing teams being unable to effectively track true content usage. Highspot provides a straightforward and accurate way to analyze which pieces of content sales teams are leveraging, resulting in unused content budget being repurposed for higher return on marketing investment.
Accurate, powerful analytics are key to unlocking successful sales cycle optimization. By providing insights on content usage, effectiveness and customer engagement, Highspot helps teams analyze and refine the way content is used throughout every stage of the buyer’s journey.
With the critical nature of strong measurement capabilities in mind, the Highspot team developed a unique, revolutionary technology — Content Genomics. Without this feature, marketers are only able to see the original, unmodified content. Because 80 percent of marketing and sales presentations are modified and remixed before they are delivered to a customer, marketers need insight into how content is being used in the field in order to efficiently create effective assets. Content Genomics tracks the DNA of content as it evolves across an organization, making it possible to measure the holistic performance picture and systematically increase sales effectiveness.
Between the company’s explosive growth and the expanding market, Highspot is already setting sights on achieving future innovations and industry recognitions. To see the award-winning platform in action, request a demo today.