Communispond, along with their CEO Bill Rosenthal, have an interesting point of view on how to create a winning sales presentation. (Communispond provides communications skills training for interpersonal communications, management and sales.) Get the full document on their website.
1. Put away your trusty old dog and-pony show and start learning everything you can about the prospects critical needs. [...]
2. Create a unique solution to the customer’s critical needs. [...]
3. Build the team, and organize the presentation. [...]
4. Sharpen your team’s presentation skills. [...]
5. Start selling before you begin.
Get to the presentation room early. Stand at the door and greet the audience members as they enter. Introduce your co-presenters and get into a dialogue with the prospect’s people. Make a mental note of some personal information, and cite this in your presentation.
6. Watch for booby traps in the Q&A.
Prepare for the Q&A in advance by anticipating the questions you’ll be asked, particularly the tough ones. Be sure the entire team agrees on how they should be answered. Plan replies that are concise, persuasive, and tie back to one of your major points. For example, if someone asks: “How can you justify such exorbitant prices?” you answer: “Our pricing includes all of the following services.” Then you tie back to the part of your presentation that described your cost-effectiveness. Address the group as you answer questions, but look back to the questioner occasionally to show courtesy.
7. Finish with a flourish. Explain how the information from the previous presenter relates to what’s coming up. Make sure the presentation isn’t dragging on too long. Pre-plan a visual clue that lets a speaker know when to stop. Go out on a strong finish. Look at the audience intently. Smile and express your feelings: “We’d love to work with you.” Pause and drop your hands to your side to signal that you’re finished. Lead your group out of the room smoothly to show that you’re a well-organized team. The final impression you’ll leave with the customer is one of confidence and conviction. You’ll also feel this way because you’ve out-performed the competition.
“Sales Enablement: Where does it live?
Several clients have asked us for best practices in sales enablement – specifically who owns it?
I’d support our marketing colleagues who are trying to align selling messages with product positioning and messaging documents. Others on the training side would say that their training materials are the baseline for sales enablement. Finally, the “sales enablement automation” crowd would claim ownership of the process and fulfillment of sales enablement materials on their web-based or internally-hosted portals.
So I ask YOU – learned Sales Enablement Content Group members: Where does Sales Enablement live?”
Coming from the point of view of someone providing web-based or internally-hosted portals for Sales Enablement, I would not claim ownership. All stakeholders like product marketing, training, CI/MI, the teams for pricing and ROI / business case calculations, the customer reference database, corporate branding, MarComs, etc… should be invited… invited to house their content and – just as important – their contact details in that one joint portal.
A portal… not for the sake of the technology or to have yet another portal… but… a portal to let all these stakeholders see which of their content works and which doesn’t (also which content is missing and which gets insightful comments as a feedback loop from the field or the channel back to corporate).
When there is this one interface that cuts across all team sites and the silos the many regional or functional groups might have built with SharePoint or LiveLink or any of these solutions, your sales people and channel partners can – for the first time – see what is available for the given sales situation they are in. None of the stakeholders “owns” this more than the others and the portal just helps to filter by sales step, region, industry vertical, content type, etc… to make visible whether the sale is being enabled or specific content and contacts are missing.
The single biggest complaint about Sales Enablement, I hear from sales people is missing content… content that is more specific than the generic pitch. A portal, that comes along with all stakeholders agreeing on content governance, a life-cycle duration for the content and responsibilities to respond to feedback & requests, will first of all make these gaps painfully visible and then guide the content planning to invest marketing’s dollars as effective as possible.
To come back to your question, in some organizations it might be the CMO and in others the sales leader or portfolio manager – who is the executive sponsor, who aligns all the stakeholders to feed the new portal and shut down the old ones.
One of my posts on the question “where Sales Enablement lives within an organization” got a comment requesting further clarification of the following graphic:
The comment was asking where to find sales people in the graphic and what the role of sales playbooks is. I have to admit that it is difficult to read, but the sales people are actually represented within the green area as indicated by the words Sales Force. (This is not a reference to salesforceDOTcom.)
This speaks to the point that sales people and the legacy sales portals, that are supposed to enable them, sit in between a highly matrixed organization on the one side and just as complex an organization on the client’s side. These legacy sales portals are one-dimensional (they fail to show content & contact details of subject experts in the context of the highly matrixed organization and in context to which pain point on the client side is addressed) and there are often several portals as there are so many silos of information.
Each sales playbook is a great tool for a small subset of the sales force (as shown in the graphic), but comes out of one of the silos, fed by only some of the Product/Portfolio Marketing teams or one regional team. When all content (e.g. customer references from different regions or specific value propositions per industry vertical…) lives in a multi-dimensional business context like it is made possible in BizSphere (which is a Sales Enablement Solution Suite that was designed to cut across all silos. Full disclosure: I work with them.), a completely customized sales playbook for any given sales situation can be auto-generated.
In contrast to legacy sales portals, BizSphere takes at least three dimensions into account. These could be:
- Where is the seller going to a meeting? (Sales regions, countries…)
- What does the seller want to sell (Portfolio of products, services and solutions.)
- What does the seller need in order to be successful in the meeting? (Content types like white paper, case study, ROI-Calculator, contact details of a subject matter expert, etc…)
You might also want to define a taxonomy of customer pain points and map your products against them or add other dimensions that your company thinks in. BizSphere then lets you filter down by media type, language of the content, and/or the sales step you are in with the opportunity you are working.
- Imagine the 1st orange arrow in the graphic above to be a customer reference from a Canadian client for a specific security solution.
- Imagine the 2nd orange arrow to be the contact details of the sales engineer in South Africa who is the expert for a given service.
- The 3rd orange arrow could be an ROI-calculator for the same service but it is really specific to the mining industry and therefore relevant in Western Australia.
Can you get lost in BizSphere? No way, because nothing is easier than answering: What do I want to sell, where do I want to sell it and what would help me to close the deal? Once you set your context in these three dimensions you will have filtered down from thousands of marketing assets / pieces of collateral to only the relevant ones.
On August 22, 2011, Forrester’s TJ Keitt pointed out…
“…some key differences between Enterprise 2.0 users and the rest of the workforce:
- They’re your highest paid employees. Over half of this group earns more than $60k a year, compared to just 36% of non-users.
- They’re the most educated members of the workforce. Sixty-five percent of this group has completed at least a 4 year college degree compared to 55% of the rest of the workforce.
- They’re the leaders in your office. It’s not surprising to see 49% of this group are managers are executives given management’s enthusiasm about social technologies. Just 31% of non-users are in similar positions.
On August 17, 2011, BDSolutions tweeted that its VP of Sales Enablement, Bill Golder, said:
“Alignment of sales and marketing impacts revenue growth up to 3x.”
In a post by Amanda F. Batista from August 16, 2011, IDC is quoted with the statement that…
“B2B companies’ inability to align sales and marketing teams around the right processes and technologies has cost them upwards of 10% or more of revenue per year, or $100 million for a billion-dollar company.”
inability to get sales and marketing teams aligned around the right processes and technologies costs upwards of 10 percent of revenue per year
On July 21, 2011, IDC hosted a webinar entitled “Setting Your Sales Enablement Strategy”. In the invite for the webinar IDC revealed a very interesting number that really helps to put the financial impact a proper Sales Enablement strategy can make into perspective:
“Is Sales Enablement a new concept? Certainly not. Marketing and some sales organizations have been attempting for decades to equip their direct and indirect sales channels with the right information, at the right time, in the right format, to assist in moving specific opportunities forward. However, companies’ inability to get their sales and marketing teams aligned around the right processes and technologies (or at least consistent ones) has cost them upwards of 10% or more of revenue per year; or $100 M for a $1B company. [...]“
The following chart (source IDG Connect) was also shared during the webinar:
Find below a list of Sales Enablement software vendors (Sales Enablement solution, marketing content management, sales knowledge management) and agencies / consulting firms, as of October 31, 2013.
CRM magazine did a good job singling out the relevant vendors in the article Sales Enablement Tools.
When you shortlist vendors, be sure to look into the following:
- Will they integrate content from existing repositories or upload copies (of what you have in your repositories) into the cloud?
- Can the solution be installed behind the corporate firewall or not? Single-Sign-On?
- Ask the vendor whether the code, that defines how the search weights results, is shared by all customer companies or whether each customer can highly customize it.
- Do they offer a choice between the cloud and on-premise? Do they support the move from one to the other?
- SaaS vs. Licensing: What is cheaper in the long term, to buy the software as a service or perpetual user license?
- Exit strategy for your content and the meta information when you want to change vendors.
- How does the solution support you to meet the challenges that come with doing business globally? (Which languages are supported for the content and for the user interface?)
- Flexibility for customization / your influence on the road map / number of developers at the vendor?
- Can they help to integrate the solution into existing IT infrastructure/processes?
- Does the solution help to manage how you show your complex portfolio of products, services, and solutions to your sales people and channel partners? How quickly can it be updated for org changes? Is it the vendor making the changes or is there an editor?
- Are there social web 2.0 like features that allow for feedback from sales to marketing (ratings/comments) and uploading/sharing of content?
- Is there an intelligent way to maintain the ‘single source’ of content that is being re-used a lot? Can documents be auto-generated in order to be highly customized for the specific sales situation yet look polished?
- What kind of content intelligence is available? (Where in its life cycle is my content? What gets bad ratings? What needs to be retired? What is not being used? What is missing?)
Altus Corp. altus365.com
Attivio attivio.com Unified information access platform: Active Intelligence Engine® (AIE®). Ingests both structured & semi-structured data, Big Data & unstructured content, from a wide variety of databases, document repositories, content management systems, email systems, websites, social media & file servers
AvayaLive™ Engage web conferencing in virtual 3D environment for meetings, training, sales & support. Also allows collaborative web browsing and accessing/presenting marketing material in its on-demand, web-based, immersive collaboration environment. (Full disclosure: I’ve worked on this during my time at Nortel Networks)
Bantam live (acquired by Constant Contact in 2011)
basis06 AG basis06.ch (Switzerland)
BigMachines Inc. bigmachines.com
BizSphere AG bizsphere.com suite of Sales Enablement software solutions for global businesses with a complex portfolio [of products, services, & solutions] and large sales force / channel partners (Full disclosure: I’ve worked here)
Callidus (Callidus Software Inc. purchased iCentera) http://calliduscloud.com/products/enablement/
ClearSlide clearslide.com/marketing With their acquisition of SlideRocket, you can now create & edit presentations in the cloud. Collaborate with sales to develop high-impact collateral: Mix&match content on the fly. Provide your sales teams with updated marketing content. Distribute & refresh collateral to multiple teams. Full control over what content your sales team is using, editing, & sharing. Organize content so it’s easy to find for specific use cases by adding tags. Analytics: Gain visibility into what content your sales team uses. Learn which collateral is effective with prospects&customers. See how long people viewed presentations with slide-by-slide analytics
Combionic GmbH combionic.com Germany/Switzerland based. Combionic collaboration software connects people, processes, and information in context & across applications. Enabling sales people & partner organizations with a slide library. Drag&drop slides to a plug-in right within Microsoft PowerPoint to have all the context/tags captured automatically and the slides are already uploaded / available in the cloud based slide library which works great for accessing/generating on the fly from tablets. (Full disclosure: I work with them)
Compendian compendian.com small US based vendor with a solution named CollaboRate
d!NK dink.eu Sales library on tablets enables customer facing staff to adapt interactions with customers/prospects to what interests them. Makes sales more effective; better qualification, condensed sales process. Belgium based
Direxxis Marketing dmEDGE™ Distributed Marketing Portal direxxismarketing.com
FatStax fatstax.com (Catalog app that helps sales reps embrace the iPad)
fision fisiononline.com (Marketing Automation & Sales Enablement Cloud Platform)
Game Plan gameplanhq.com (iPad app; connects to Box.com, DropBox, SharePoint 2010, Amazon S3)
immer-uptodate (German. “immer” means always) immer-uptodate.net Enterprise Social Network Software. Create closed groups for [sales] people to exchange knowledge & documents. Has iPhone App.
InQuira (Oracle purchased InQuira) inquira.com
Kenexa (an IBM company) kenexa.com/Solutions/Learning Mobile Learning Solution allows to develop, deliver & analyze all types of device-independent mobile content. Save time&money in developing, managing, maintaining & deploying content through the integrated Learning Content Management System (LCMS). The Social Business Software integrates social networking, collaboration & knowledge-sharing technologies in a secure, managed environment. AMD chose Kenexa as the platform for their sales enablement.
KnowledgeTree knowledgetree.com @knowledgetree Right Content, Right Time, Right in Salesforce.com – Sales teams sell more when they use effective presentations, datasheets, & case studies. Makes sales enablement easy by surfacing the best content for any sales process — instantly in Salesforce.com
Kony kony.com/products/apps/enterprise with Kony enterprise apps, you can reach your employees on any channel – phones, tablets, desktops, and more – to deliver a consistent experience that drives enterprise-wide adoption. Enable sales teams to engage with customers in a personalized & informed way – anytime, anywhere. Help field & plant workers quickly execute & close work orders with intuitive workflows & access to pertinent information.
Launch International launchinternational.com The Sales Enablement Content Company
LIA LiberatedIntelligence.com Digital Asset Manager that stores in the cloud, routes/syncs to individual devices, and allows access via desktop and mobile web apps. Claims to be enterprise-class.
LiveHive livehiveapp.com allows channel managers to gain live insight into partner selling activities. iOS app / single destination to get the most current business documents, campaigns and product materials and then analyzes who is using what and which materials are most helpful to channel partners.
LTP Sales ltpsales.com training video solutions for sales & marketing organizations
MarcomCentral marcomcentral.com an online, on demand marketing assets management (MAM) solution
Mediafly SalesKit mediafly.com/product/saleskit ensures sales teams, partners, and customers have immediate and secure access to the latest sales & marketing materials, whether online or offline.
MING Labs GmbH minglabs.com Berlin, Munich, Toronto, & Shanghai based User Experience (UX) Design company, mobile responsive websites & app design&development (iOS, Android, Windows8, BlackBerry, etc). Also Portfolio & Marketing Consulting. The team was also behind the user interface of BizSphere (see above). Full disclosure: I work here
MobilePaks mobilepaks.com “helps sales teams maximize productivity by providing them with short bits of knowledge when & where they need it: Look up the competition, refresh on product stats, or get a quick reminder on how to enter the order.” Started as an idea & product of VIA, Inc. a communications & custom eLearning company
mutualmobile mutualmobile.com/resources/sales-enablement/ Based in Austin, Texas. Create rich user experiences that re-invent how businesses engage the world through mobile. Custom software solutions. Increase the demonstrable value of mobile.
Perperitus Sales solution perperitus.com
Playboox Playmaker Solution playboox.com
PocketWorks Mobile Ltd, UK pocketworks.co.uk Enterprise iPad and smartphones solutions in Leeds, UK
Postwire postwire.com looks like Pinterest for Sales Enablement. “Share videos, photos, links, and documents in a visual way.” Aims to “be the hub of all business content and with a mission to change the business-to-business sales process”. Freemium business model. Lexington, MA, USA.
Qvidian (Sant & Kadient merged) qvidian.com
RO|innovation (RO|enablement) roinnovation.com/roenablement/
Sales Enablement Group (SEG) salesenablement.com provides advisory & consulting services to transform the way our clients sell. Principal Craig Nelson co-founded iCentera in 2003. Today the iCentera solution is part of CallidusCloud (see Callidus above).
Salesforce.com salesforce “Sales Cloud” “files and libraries”
Salient6 salient6.com in Bellevue, WA, USA. Designers/builders of portals/applications that drive business results and a prototype Sales Enablement tool to “increase the productivity of your sales force”.
SAVO Group savogroup.com
Seismic seismic.com app that accesses a cloud-based library of your company’s brand collateral & business materials — all backed by a live data feed — to generate meaningful, integrated content on demand. The single place where all your brand-approved materials are up to date & accessible from anywhere. Based in CA, USA. Partnership with Genuine Interactive. Nu:Pitch became Seismic.
Sendside sendside.net (looks like undergoing restructuring)
Showpad showpad.com Combination of iPad app & online platform; turns each iPad into a sales enablement tool
Solutions for Sales solutionsforsales.com Sales enablement consultancy that helps clients to develop value-based propositions, sales playbooks and sales enablement platforms. Based in Europe&USA
Squirro Squirro.com Harvest content that matters: Revolutionize the way you gather/store/use content that matters
StreetSmarts StreetSmarts(R) Inc. and ELA Consulting Group announced the building of a joint, dedicated Sales Effectiveness Practice
TappCtrl tappctrl.com sales tool composed of two main elements: Online Web Manager controlled by your Sales Manager or Commercial Director and iPad App installed on all devices distributed & configured for your sales team
UpSync UpSync.com Sales Process Empowerment & Presentation Tool for web, iPhone, and iPad
Vivisimo Inc (acquired by IBM) Now, Vivisimo Velocity Platform is IBM InfoSphere Data Explorer
VONICAL vonical.com Ottawa, Canada based full-service agency: Web application development, user experience & interaction design, sales enablement tools & training, gamification & reward platforms, etc. Providing sales enablement as a service / a product.
Yammer yammer.com Founded ’08 & acquired by Microsoft ’12. Now part of the Microsoft Office Division. Extend the collaborative power of Microsoft SharePoint by using it with Yammer — the enterprise social network
zoomstra zoomstra.com Zoomstra workbooks are helping companies to establish ongoing Partner Success Programs by providing relevant & timely information directly to partner selling teams
2 comma sales 2commasales.com Metro D.C.; Sales PlaybookPro: Custom-built web-based application to access, capture, organize & present all necessary product, marketing & sales information that you already have within your enterprise (typically scattered in many different places).
In its February 2010 issue CRM magazine singled out the relevant Sales Enablement vendors in the article ‘Sales Enablement Tools’:
“[...] Scott Santucci, senior analyst at Forrester Research, says he’s seen an explosion of interest in this area over the past year. As with any technology, however, those rushing to buy the hot newness without first establishing a clear strategy are doomed to fail. It’s not that there’s a lack of information—far from it. Instead, it’s hard to wade through the sheer tonnage of information and determine what’s up-to-date, relevant, and in a form amenable to the particular sales conversation. “It’s a very simple, yet really complicated problem,” Santucci says.
[...] Santucci says each of the relevant vendors—including BizSphere, iCentera, Kadient, and Savo Group—cater to slightly different problems. [...]“
In case you have not seen ‘Is Sales Enablement just lipstick on a Knowledge Management pig?’ It is a must read! I will try to discuss some of the aspects here on this blog later.
Gerhard Gschwandtner (@gerhard20) writes:
“[...] let’s take a look how the sales enablement vendors are selling their solution to you, the sales leader.
Vendor Pitches or Marketing Glitches?
Savo promises, “Never sell alone!” Does that hit a hot button for you? I don’t know many lonely salespeople. On another part of the SAVO site I read, “Clone top performers.” Excuse me! Why not promise, “Clone your Swiss bank account”?
Kadient’s Website [Qvidian.com now] isn’t shy about pitching the exact same theme on their home page: “What if all of your salespeople could sell like your top performers?” The promise continues, “With Kadient’s on-demand sales enablement application, you arm your sales team with the knowledge, messages and strategies they need to win at every stage of the customer’s buying cycle.” If they found the key to winning at every stage, how come Kadient isn’t a hugely successful company?
iCentera [Callidus now] bills itself as a sales enablement company. Their pitch is a model of modesty: “Sales Enablement maximizes your sales organization’s ability to communicate through a central messaging vehicle.” The key benefit: “Close more business through more knowledgeable sales people.”
N-tara.com created a special sales enablement site with this teaser copy: “Ever feel like your salespeople don’t get it?” Here is the pitch: “N-tara’s sales enablement solutions equip your sales force with engaging, customer-ready content that is timely, relevant and in context to your customer’s needs.”
The best part of their site is a “Guide to Enlightened Conversations”. It is engaging, interactive and it makes a lot of sense.
BizSphere AG‘s pitch: “Do you want your sellers to minimize preparation time and maximize quality time with your clients?” The key benefits: close more deals, increase average deal size, shorten your sales cycle. It is a clear and concise pitch.
Another vendor in the space is Salesforce.com/content which offers a competing solution to their AppExchange partners Kadient and SAVO.
Other vendors include Avitage.com (marketing automation and sales enablement) [...]“
“Engage early with Senior Execs, or Lose the Deal” (Tom Pisello: The ROI Guy; May 13, 2010)
“[...] Many salespeople are not armed today to adequately engage executives in the consultative strategy phase. That can be changed with Executive Assessment tools, providing a structured way to connect and engage with executives in this crucial early buying phase. [...]“
“In Sales Productivity, Coroners’ Inquests Won’t Improve Life Expectancies” (John Cousineau, CEO, innovativeinfo; AUGUST 27, 2010)
“[...] Today, one of the productivity-improving therapies often recommended in sales operations is Loss Analysis. When a deal’s lost, do a post mortem to determine what happened + what should be done to prevent future deal deaths. In my view, it’s a bit like holding a coroner’s inquest. It accepts that fatalities are unavoidable other than by learning from them after the fact. It’s a strange way to stretch life expectancies. [...]“
“Meet the Chief Listening Officer” (Neville Hobson; August 30, 2010):
“[...] So I wonder how a Chief Listening Officer will do.
In my view, such a role implied by the title is surely and exactly what organizations need today, especially large organizations. It’s not enough just to listen to conversations, analyze what’s going on and interpret the metrics: you need to know exactly, with precision, what the huge amount of interpreted data means to your organization specifically and what the people in their different roles can and must do as a result of the knowledge and insight you’ve gleaned from that listening, from that interpretation of the data.
Above all, you must know who in your organization needs what information, and be able to get that info to those people, on demand, when they need it. [...]“