On November 29, 2009, Seth Godin wrote about what we in Sales Enablement for b2b enterprises are focused on:
Wikipedia contains facts about facts. It’s a collection of facts from other places.
Facebook doesn’t have your friends. It has facts about your friends.
Google is at its best when it gives you links to links, not the information itself.
Over and over, the Internet is allowing new levels of abstraction. Information about information might be worth more than the information itself. Which posts should I read? Which elements of the project are at risk? Who is making the biggest difference to the organization?
Right now, there’s way too much stuff and far too little information about that stuff. Sounds like an opportunity.
I couldn’t agree more with Seth that this is an opportunity. Successfully using this opportunity will have to do with web 3.0 (semantic) approaches being applied to the stuff from web 1.0 and web 2.0 as well as understanding what information architecture is and how it can be set up for complex organizations.
For the approach to Sales Enablement I have been working with at a company with 4,000+ sales people you could say:
SharePoint (or similar) has your marketing assets for sales reps.
Sales Enablement – as the layer on top – has the facts about your marketing assets:
- Which assets/links/comments should a sales rep read for a specific sales situation?
- Who is the contributor of marketing assets or comments that really drive sales?
Director of Global Program, Sales Enablement & Communications at Avaya
Job # 35834BR Job Title Global Program, Sales Enablement & Communications Business Group Global Sales Job Category Sales Leadership State/City (US) CO – Highlands Ranch
NJ – Basking Ridge
Country United States Job Description Directs the development and execution of Global programs and Sales enablement tools in support of Channel Partners and Avaya’s Global Annuity Sales associates, and managers to drive increased Maintenance & Managed Services revenue. Accountable for developing, executing, evaluating, and/or managing new initiatives and programs that will involve coordination between the sales channel and other organizations, such as Marketing, Product Management, Services, and IT. Responsibilities may include, but are not limited to, the following: Offer Integration and Execution, Sales Programs, Maintenance sales training and cross team programs/communications. Develops strategic business plans and goals for a large functional unit(s). Work is performed without appreciable direction. Identifies complex business needs and develops cutting edge solutions that require full integration of the company’s strategies. A Bachelor’s degree and 10+ years of related experience is preferred. This job does have supervisory responsibility. Qualifications Bachelor’s degree and 10+ years of related experience
Type: Full-time Experience: Director Functions: Management, Marketing, Sales Industries: Computer Hardware, Computer Software, Information Technology and Services, Telecommunications, Wireless Posted: November 20, 2009
Avaya is a global leader in enterprise communication systems. The company provides unified communications, contact centers, and related services directly and through its channel partners to leading businesses and organizations around the world. Enterprises of all sizes depend on Avaya for state-of-the-art communications that improve efficiency, collaboration, customer service and competitiveness.
Sales and Marketing Management Magazine published Jeanne Hellman‘s (@jeannehellman) article ‘A Sales Optimization Strategy’, on November 16, 2009. Here is the part that takes a historic look at the company where Jeanne and later myself drove the adoption of the BizSphere Sales Enablement solution:
“A Case Study
A global telecom company decided to implement a Sales Enablement strategy mid-2006 as part of a larger business transformation initiative to reduce SG&A (selling, general, and administrative expenses of an operating budget) and to address long-standing complaints from the sales force. It was a heavily matrixed, global organization with approximately 450 products, 30 solutions, and more than 90 different professional services, and every seller was expected to sell “everything on the truck.” Information was spread around 20-plus team sites and the corporate-sanctioned sales portal, which hosted more than 6,000 documents distributed among 185 different document types, not to mention the separate competitive and business intelligence sites; installed base sites; and the mix of ordering, pricing, proposal generation, customer relationship management (CRM), and tracking tools. In addition, there was no federated search (no common search platform).
As you can imagine, it took sellers hours to look for basic information (validating numerous studies from several industry analysts). Seller confidence in marketing was low and complaints were high, as was attested to by the yearly seller satisfaction surveys (or dissatisfaction surveys) that had been conducted.”
Be sure to see the post ‘Case Study of one of the biggest Sales Enablement application implementations’ as it gives you the detailed document on the case above. Here is a slideshow that shows how the vendor mentioned above approaches Sales Enablement:
“I remember when building collateral used to be a large part of a product marketer’s job. A lousy part. I remember the last brochure I worked on like it was yesterday. Getting it done was a nightmare of epic arguments over screen shots, customer quotes and whether or not to include the mailing address for the European office we expected to close within a month. The project went on for weeks and once it was done we didn’t look at again for a year, mainly because we didn’t have the budget to update it but also because we were traumatized.
Old-style collateral was all centered around the product rather than the customer. It was designed to be as generic as possible, making it only mildly relevant to the majority of customers and regardless of what was happening in the market, the brochure only got updated when there was a new version of the product. How backward is that?
Thankfully we’ve moved into a new era where the barriers to creating and distributing content to customers and prospects are coming down and we marketers can focus on the business of creating and delivering content that is relevant, useful and engaging to the customers and prospects that consume it.
I think every product needs a content plan. The content plan should include delivery of the following:
- Web content – I still see a lot of generic web content out there. Different segments and different buyers are looking for different types of information. Informational needs also change as customers progress across the buying cycle. Product marketers need to step into the shoes of each of their customers and create content that is relevant for them. Your content plan needs to include regular updates to this information.
- Blog posts – There is so much great information in your company that doesn’t belong on the web site and isn’t appropriate for a press release. As the product marketer you need to be setting aside some time to plan what themes you want to cover in the blog, and creating content. I often hear younger marketers complain that they don’t have time to write blog posts. That’s when I get all old lady on them, “When I was your age we spent 10 weeks a year making something called a BROCHURE!!” A structured plan for what you want to write about will make it easier to get the job done.
- Video – I’m a huge fan of video and I don’t think startups take advantage of it enough. HD cameras are cheap. With an external microphone, a bit of decent lighting some practice, you can make a marketing video that looks professional without breaking the bank. See below for some resources to learn more about how to make a good looking video but my experience is to just get out there a shoot and edit a lot and it gets easy pretty fast.
- Presentations – You probably already spend a ton of time building presentations. There are lots of ways to make those available as slides alone or with a narration as a slidecast.
- Links – As a good marketer, you are already spending a certain amount of time watching what’s happening in the market. You’ll find posts and articles that support your view of the market or talk about your products that you can share. I used to use delicious for this but now I think Twitter is the ultimate tool for link sharing with your community.
- Screencasting – A screencast lets you capture what’s happening on your screen and add a voice over to it. Chances are you’ve got a killer demo that you use in sales calls and at shows. Screencasting lets you get your demos out to a wider audience. The tools are cheap and easy to use so there’s no excuse not to experiment with these.
- Custom collateral – At one company I worked with they had 2 major segments – retail and insurance – with separate collateral for each. Brochures were assembled with customer quotes, highlighted features and screen shots swapped in and out depending on the audience. Small print runs for this material are pricier on a per-piece basis but they didn’t print often and the sales force and customers loved it. Your company probably doesn’t do many trade shows (if you are, seriously, we should talk), so gone are the days of giving out 100′s of brochures to clog up convention hall garbage bins. Don’t waste money printing where you don’t need to.
- eBooks and White papers – White papers are still a good medium for a more detailed technical topic. More and more I see these published as eBooks which makes them a bit easier to read on an eBook reader. The format works well for content that’s too long for a blog post and too detailed for a web page or powerpoint.
I’m probably missing a couple of other things. The point is that there’s never been a better time for marketers to get compelling content out to the market in engaging ways.
Some further reading:
Whitepapers/eBooks: Search Engine People has a great post on how to Write White Papers Like an Expert with These 10 Simple Steps. If you want to publish on the Kindle, everything you need is on Amazon’s page here. You can also host your eBook on Scribd (often described as YouTube for eBooks).
Video: Hubspot guest poster Catie Foertsch has 6 tips for making a business marketing video. VideoMaker has a treasure trove of information for shooting better video for YouTube including tips on what to look for when buying cameras, microphones and tripods.
Presentations: I use Slideshare for presentations and screencasts but there are loads of tools out there.
Screencasting: WebResources Depo’s 10 free screencasting tools, Mashable’s list of screencasting tools. I’d Rather Be Writing gives a couple of examples of Perfect Screencasts and discusses what makes them great.”
Job ID: 25235
Company Name: Yahoo! Inc
Job Category: Technology; Internet
Location: Sunnyvale, CA, USA
Position Type: Full-Time, Employee
Experience: 2-5 Years Experience
Date Posted: November 15, 2009 (Reposted Nov 16)
Think about impacting 1 out of every 2 people online–in innovative and imaginative ways that are uniquely Yahoo!. We do just that each and every day, and you could too. After all, it’s big thinkers like you who will create the next generation of Internet experiences for consumers and advertisers across the globe. Now’s the time to show the world what you’ve got. Put your ideas to work for over half a billion people.
About the Business Group:
The Sales Enablement team is responsible for positioning and packaging all Yahoo! advertiser products, media solutions, product launches and Search. This includes messaging strategy, customer communications and sales materials and website management. This team is a part of the B2B Marketing organization.
Position: Sr. Web Marketing Mgr, Sales Enablement
The Sr. Marcom Manager, Website Marketing will be responsible for the development, launch, and ongoing management of infrastructure of all Yahoo! trade websites. This includes ensuring the sites effectively articulate Yahoo!’s value to key audience segments, promote solutions designed to drive sales and client adoption for advertisers, agencies and small business partners. These efforts will include coordination with regional teams around the globe to ensure a unified online presence in all regions.
In this role, you will not only lead a small team in optimizing the existing trade sites and launching new sites but you will also be part of the Sales Enablement team within B2B Marketing. The ideal candidate for this position is a motivated, self-starter who understands integrated marketing and accountable, effective communications.
· Manage all aspects of the B2B marketing website (infrastructure, content, visual design, user experience), ensuring the website maintains rigorous quality standards and adheres to all Yahoo! legal, policy, and brand guidelines and B2B marketing best practices
· Develop a content strategy/editorial calendar for the B2B marketing website to ensure that the content is fresh, dynamic and of topical interest to key audiences
· Work closely with internal partner organizations to ensure alignment of B2B marketing website with overall brand messaging and trade marketing communications plan
· Leverage B2B marketing website for promotional campaigns, product and research study launches, and brand campaigns
· Utilize data and analytics to optimize the trade websites and increase their marketing effectiveness on an ongoing basis
· Partner with Brand Marketing and UED teams to ensure trade marketing websites represent the best user experience and most appealing visual design for key audiences
· Oversee integration of other marketing website content into the B2B marketing website, including mapping content to current template structure, making recommendations for new modules/templates, facilitating the development of content and managing the engineering release cycles and deployment to production
· Manage the globalization of the B2B marketing website, including developing a global presence and working with regions to adopt and adapt website templates and visual style guide for localized presence
· Manage the ticket process, and triage/prioritize tickets for incoming requests for updates to B2B marketing website pages; involve UED, Creative and Engineering teams as necessary to execute on necessary changes
· Monitor traffic and conversion data, and provide reports on key metrics to B2B marketing on an ongoing basis
· Minimum of 3-5 years website management experience in a corporate environment, preferably in a marketing-related capacity, preferably with international experience
Strong familiarity with the digital space and knowledge of how to demonstrate the value of online to our clients as well and internal stakeholders
· Demonstrated project management skills, including planning, prioritizing, setting timelines and driving the delivery of work on multiple efforts concurrently
· Demonstrated experience managing tasks across a variety of teams, preferably including Creative and Engineering teams
· Experience managing content via a Content Management System
Excellent verbal and written communication, interpersonal, organizational, presentation and planning skills
Creative, high positive energy and an ability to execute a must
Bachelor’s degree in Marketing or related field
Yahoo! Inc. is an equal opportunity employer. For more information or to search all of our openings please visit http://careers.yahoo.com.”
In September 2009 my former colleague Jeanne Hellman (@jeannehellman) wrote the case study ‘Sales Enablement Implementation & Case Study: Achieving Your Sales Knowledge Advantage’. The link lets you download the full case study for free. Here is the table of contents:
Part 1: Arm your sales force with access to information
Connect the dots between marketing and sales
Optimize your sales force
Part 2: How to gain a “Knowledge Advantage”
Access to knowledge is key to success
The state of knowing
Your typical company-centric approach
Garbage in – garbage out!
Turning company spiel to customer value
Part 3: Setting the Stage for Change
Company snapshot: the summer of ‘06
At no time were we trying to get 100% adoption
Know your sellers
The revolving door
Phases and Work Streams
Part 4: Improving the bottom line
Reduced SG&A by $22M
Specific results: efficiency, time and waste reduction
Part 5: Lessons learned
Buy versus rent
Advice from the front lines
- Do your due diligence
- Build relationships
- Focus on the delivery of content
- Establish accountability for usage – it works!
- Ensure content availability and value
- Single source data
- Auto-generate key customer collateral
- Grow a thick skin
- Choose Wisely
- Adoption, Adoption, Adoption
Food for thought
Once sellers see the value, they will use it
About the Author
Here is a video from the Sales Enablement vendor that was chosen by the company in the case study:
‘The cost of running a sales enablement solution: Is there a need for editorial staff to help create and edit content?’ is my own blog post about topics like Single Sourcing and Auto-Generation of marketing assets / content Jeanne talks about in her case study.
“Kathryn Roy, marketing consultant and friend of The B2B Lead, has a great eBook, Seven Infectious Diseases of B2B Marketing — And Their Cures, [...] download the entire eBook here.
There are seven problems I find so rampant in B2B companies that I suspect they are infectious – passed along as marketing people switch companies or work with contagious agencies. [...] marketing professionals are so focused on execution, they skip the planning stage – and pay the price.
All too often, a glimpse into a B2B marketing department shows a hive of activity focused on meeting deadlines for updating collateral, producing an event, or sending out the next email campaign. In these environments, it is not unusual to find marketers completing projects without having done the analysis that can determine which activities are valuable and which activities not on their list would make a larger contribution.
In some cases, it’s due to a natural tendency to replicate the process and activities from a prior company. Clearly, there is a set of deliverables, like Web sites, that are common to most companies.
However, the relative priority of activities and how they are executed should be based on the dynamics of the target market segment, including the competitive environment.
“Juicing the Orange”, a book by the advertising team that came up with United Airlines’ wildly successful advertising campaign, has a free 15-page workbook (pdf ) with 127 questions to help marketing professionals deeply understand a company’s market and challenge. This analysis is its prerequisite to prescribing messages and mediums for delivery. (Not all 127 questions will necessarily pertain to your situation.)
Inability of marketing professionals to quickly and confidently answer questions such as these:
- What is the biggest impediment to sales growth today?
- What are the different market segments you are pursuing and how do they weigh the relative importance of different product/service capabilities?
- How does your offering compare with competitive alternatives on the key product/service characteristics listed above?
- Can you describe the buying process and buyer roles and specific concerns by role for your top segment?
- What is the target segment’s current perception of your company and your competition?
Measuring output instead of results.
Mismatch between marketing resources and expected deliverables.
Carve out time and resources to do a thorough analysis. If staff is not experienced, bring in outside help for the initial round.
Build new marketing plan based on the analysis.
About the Author
Kathryn Roy is a marketing and strategy consultant with over 20 years of experience helping some of the most successful and fastest growing B2B companies including IBM, Avid, CA, Lotus, AT&T and dozens of other technology companies. [...]“
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