Case Study of BizSphere Sales Enablement at Nortel Networks

matrixed organization

Thanks to twitter I was just reminded of a great case study Jeanne Hellman wrote about the implementation of the BizSphere Sales Enablement Solution Suite at Nortel Networks in 2006 and the following years.

It was published in 2010 by salesandmarketing.com

“Jeanne Hellman is a published subject matter expert on Sales Enablement strategies. […] she has focused on the implementation and adoption of a Sales Enablement strategy in a global $11.2bn telecom equipment and professional services company. […]”

For a complete copy of the implementation Case Study and her other articles and presentation slides, contact her through LinkedIn.

Before

Nortel…

“[…] decided to implement a Sales Enablement strategy mid-2006 as part of a larger business transformation initiative to reduce SG&A […] and to address long-standing complaints from the salesforce. 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 6000 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, CRM, and tracking tools. In addition, there was no federated search (no common search platform).

[…] 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.

After

[…] the Sales Enablement efforts contributed to the reduction of the SG&A. Looking back to the 13 Top Initiatives from the CSO Insights’ Survey, we decreased the SG&A by approximately $22m dollars just by “improving rep access to knowledge to sell effectively” and “more closely aligning sales and marketing.” These were measurable, impactful savings from improving the productivity of the selling resources and support staff and eliminating waste (unnecessary tasks and content duplication). […] It’s ultimately up to your salesforce to find relevant content, digest it, interpret it, fill in any missing gaps, and then adapt it to match their customer needs. While the topic of the actual content is a different discussion that needs to take place, Sales Enablement can successfully help your teams convert your messaging from company spiel to customer value and deliver it more intuitively and efficiently.”

Here is a list of all other vendors I know of.

recent numbers to show the return on sales enablement software

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:

too_much_content_that_is_not_useful

Chief Listening Officer – Chief Listener – CLO

One of my past job titles explained by Advertising Age:

‘Chief Listeners’ Use Technology to Track, Sort Company Mentions
Relatively New Role Is Becoming More Commonplace in Major Marketing Companies

by Irina Slutsky
Published: August 30, 2010

“[…] the CLO’s job is one of “broad listening” – as Dell has such a deep penetration globally in so many different markets.

“Our chief listener is critical to making sure the right people in the organization are aware of what the conversations on the web are saying about us, so that relevant people in the business can connect with customers,”

Unlike many social-media jobs, this position is very inward-facing. She’s listening to Dell customers and consumers and giving all the intel to her Dell colleagues internally.

[…] “Dell has been listening for four years and created a position called ‘Listening Czar’ two years ago.

[…] said their companies were driving innovation through customer feedback. […]”

We don’t just need more information – we need more information organized in a way that helps to get the job done faster

web 3.0 with BizSphere

The following is a collection of posts from around the blogosphere that make the case that we need to improve on how we organize the firehose of information every B2B enterprise aims at its sales reps (especially in times of web 2.0 / sales 2.0 / enterprise 2.0). BizSphere thinks that semantic search (web 3.0) and providing context in which you can filter down to what is relevant to you, are the approach to take to overcome information overload.

‘Winning in the New World of B2B Sales’ by Sham Sao, CMO InfoGroup’s OneSource:

“Before you can win over your prospects with your charming personality and deep knowledge of how to address their business needs, you need to first open the door by getting in contact with them and holding their attention long enough to get them hooked – or at least hooked enough to continue the conversation. Sure it’s true that effective sales professionals need to be persistent, knowledgeable and confident, self-motivated and good listeners. But these qualities alone are not enough.

They also need accurate information that helps them get to the right person and gives them something valuable to say right out of the gate.

In a recent B2B SalesPulse survey conducted by Infogroup’s OneSource, sales professionals responded that they are relying on business information significantly more today compared to a year ago. It confirms that business information is becoming more and more critical for B2B sales. Using accurate, timely business information is especially important for sales professionals today who are under pressure to raise their quotas while sales staffing and resources remain tightly constrained, or are even being cut.

While sales teams need to access every relevant piece of information they can get from every source they can tap, they don’t just need more information – they need more information organized in a way that helps them get their job done faster. When sales teams spend inordinate amounts of time browsing the web and searching for those tidbits to help them get into the right company or to make a compelling pitch, they spend less time selling. The key is making this information actionable so sales reps can spend more time selling and less time researching.

This includes information from Social Media sources. Respondents to OneSource’s B2B SalesPulse survey rated LinkedIn as the most useful social networking tool, followed by blogs, Facebook and Twitter in that order (and closely grouped together). LinkedIn also showed the most growth with 48 percent of respondents saying they are using it more now versus a year ago. Surprisingly enough, even though LinkedIn showed the most growth, nearly a third of respondents are still not using it. […]”

 

Sort of along these lines is the post ‘#6: Focus on Internal Sales Enablement and Cutting to the Chase’, from March 25, 2010:

“Keep the emphasis on quality of collateral and programs, not volume. By providing Sales with top-notch materials and in-depth brand knowledge, they’ll be better positioned to do their job successfully and bring in new business.

Some companies, as the Senior Director of Services Strategy at one large technology corporation points out, have implemented a whole playbook program – internal prospecting, packaging content together, streamlining messages – to deliver content succinctly.

Better organization of what is already out there makes it more usable and digestible in the field,” allowing Sales to get to the point quicker and, in turn, touch more prospects and generate more sales. […]”

I have not double checked the following numbers I found in the post ‘Sales people who research cost you big time!’:

“[…] So, what is the actual hourly value for a B2B salesperson? We’ve developed an excel calculator to help do the math. Let’s use a typical experienced B2B enterprise salesperson at a software company and apply these sample figures:

  • Annual compensation (at plan, or meeting quota): $200,000
  • Benefits Paid (20% of a 70K salary): $14,000
  • Annual Quota: $2 million
  • Include 2 weeks vacation and holidays

This salesperson’s true “hourly value” is $1,198!

For companies with higher quotas (I’ve seen annual quota’s as high as $14 million), this figure is even higher!

If you’d like to figure out your own salespeople’s hourly value, send me an email at silvia@industrygems.com and I will email you the calculator.

The next time you see your salespeople doing research, take interest. Using salespeople for anything other than selling, negatively affects your bottom-line. Find ways to remove those activities from their daily to-do list. It could be costing you over $1,000 an hour! Your sales people must focus on the thing they do best… selling!”

You can’t manage what you don’t measure

Craig Klein (@craigklein) wrote ‘8 Metrics You Must Know about Marketing, Leads and Sales’, on March 9, 2010:

“[…]

#1 Metric You Must Know about Marketing and Sales
Total number of leads coming in.

Simple right? Well, it is but, it means you need to know about all of them. All the referrals your sales people get that they never mention to you. All the call-ins that come in but, never get called back by a sales rep, etc.

#2 Metric You Must Know about Marketing and Sales
Where does each lead comes from?

How did they hear about you? What ad did they respond to? Where did you meet them? Who referred them to you?

Again, simple stuff but, the key is to be sure you get this information for each and every lead you talk to. If you get 100 leads a month and fail to collect this information for 5 of them, it could really throw off any analysis you do.

#3 Metric You Must Know about Marketing and Sales
How qualified is each lead?

This one is tougher. The reason is that you have to decide on objective criteria that makes a lead qualified. Do they have a need for what you sell? Do they have the money for it? The answers don’t necessarily need to mean that are absolutely going to buy from you. Just that there is a basic fit between their needs and situation and your company. They’re worth your time. Choose the 4 or 5 questions you have to ask every new lead and start capturing the answers for each and every lead. I know, you won’t be able to get all that information for all of them. That’s OK. If you don’t get it all, they’re not qualified.

#4 Metric You Must Know about Marketing and Sales
What’s the value of the sales opportunity?

Best case scenario, what can you sell them in the near term? What is this opportunity worth to your company? Pretty simple.

#5 Metric You Must Know about Marketing and Sales
What market segment do they fit in?

In every business, you have a few segments you have developed unique solutions for. It might be business vs. residential or small vs. large. You’ve got to know where they all fit.

#6 Metric You Must Know about Marketing and Sales
Product you propose to them.

This could be a direct one to one relationship with the segment they fit in but, it’s usually not that simple. Some customers will request certain solutions even though it’s not what you’d recommend for them given the segment they’re in, etc. Again, you’ve got to track this for each lead.

#7 Metric You Must Know about Marketing and Sales
Won or Lost

Did they buy or not? Simple right? What about if they just say “call me later”? (that’s a No if they don’t buy within a reasonable amount of time BTW)

#8 Metric You Must Know about Marketing and Sales
Did they give you a referral?

Why do you need to know this? Well, you need to know if they were asked for one thing. Also, this is a great measure of the satisfaction of that client. Let’s face it… You can value customers by how much they spend but, a customer that gives you referrals is much more valuable than one that spends the same and doesn’t give you any referrals.

[…]”

 

Sales Enablement means a clear value proposition for each of the audiences: business lead, their researchers / support in the deal, and technical folks who implement

On February 10, 2010 Andy Hasselwander (@ahasselwander) wrote the very insightful post ‘Cascading detail for sales enablement’ on his blog b2bmarketingconfidential.blogspot.com:

“I’ve been working on a lot of sales enablement kits lately. My biggest learning on sales enablement came about ten years ago, when I did a study for a big enterprise technology company on marketing effectiveness. We looked at three marketing objectives: Generate demand, drive awareness and comprehension, and enable the sales force. In hindsight, it was ultra-simple. But, we came up with a really powerful conclusion. The most effective programs, in terms of ROI, were sales enablement programs. However, when we spoke to reps, they complained about 90% of the content they were provided. What really mattered was the 10% “really good” stuff that made the deals.

So, the recommendation had two parts: First, invest more in sales enablement. Second, only produce 1/5 of the material. This sounds like a “duh” recommendation, because we’ve all heard the trite adage about the CMO who says “I know I could cut 50% of my marketing spend, I just don’t which 50%”… but there was more to it. The number one thing reps needed, it turned out, was cascading detail about the solutions they were selling. Reps selling into complex organizations need to be enabled with at least three levels of detail–one for the business lead, one for his or her researchers / support in the deal, and one for the technical folks that will actually be doing the implementation. Without a clear value proposition and component model for each of these audiences, reps spend hundreds of hours spinning their wheels. In most cases, these levels of detail don’t exist, at least not in distilled form.

Another interesting observation I’ve had is that companies are usually really good at selling into one of the above audiences, but lousy at selling in to the other two. For example, Microsoft seems really good at selling into the implementers, but not so good with the decision makers and researchers.  They’re ok, don’t get me wrong, but every company has its strength. So, if you can figure out how to make selling into role a strength, you’ll outcompete your rivals and win.

Each level of detail should also cascade. If we’re focusing on a value proposition, it might cascade like this:

  • Decision Maker: Acme helps me realize my performance targets by providing my teams with the best possible productivity tools, while functioning flexibly with my existing systems.
  • Researcher: Acme provides superior performance management tools across the finance and HR functions, at a superior value / price ratio to the competitive set; Acme’s core APIs are best-in-class and can be integrated with a minimum of effort compared to the competitive set.
  • Implementer: Acme’s integration services are flexible and best-in-class, and can be installed on any of my core systems using its easy-to-use customization kit; Acme’s load balancing services make it the least impactful to our overall operating environment

The idea here is that the value proposition builds from one level to the other. Researchers and implementers will still be interested in the “core” business value proposition, but the value we can provide them needs to be more specific to be sufficient for them to be comfortable.

The same concept applies when we get to component model. For a decision maker, a component model should be purely functional, but should show exactly how the solution in mind meets their business needs and enables the value proposition. The component model would then be filled in with detail and potentially blown into a few pages for the researcher. Finally, when it came to implementation, the component model would turn into a full-blown technical design. The key is that it’s translatable top-to-bottom and bottom-to-top. An example is shown below:

cascading component model

Thoughts about this topic? What are some examples of cascading sales enablement / core content that have worked for you?”

Please leave your comments on the original post ‘Cascading detail for sales enablement’.

Case Study of one of the biggest Sales Enablement application implementations

In September 2009 my former colleague Jeanne Hellman wrote the case study ‘Sales Enablement Implementation & Case Study: Achieving Your Sales Knowledge Advantage’. Here 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

  1. Do your due diligence
  2. Build relationships
  3. Focus on the delivery of content
  4. Establish accountability for usage – it works!
  5. Ensure content availability and value
  6. Single source data
  7. Auto-generate key customer collateral
  8. Grow a thick skin
  9. Choose Wisely
  10. Adoption, Adoption, Adoption

Food for thought

Once sellers see the value, they will use it

‘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.

Is the expertise of your sales and sales support people harnessed and enabled to have a ROI?

‘Is the expertise of your sales and sales support people harnessed and enabled to have a ROI?’ by Jeanne Hellman (author of case study ‘Sales Enablement Implementation & Case Study: Achieving Your Sales Knowledge Advantage’):

“McKinsey says: 47% of US workers are paid up to 75% premium. Are you getting your moneyʼs worth?

When companies look to measure the ROI of initiatives, they tend to focus on the obvious usual suspects. But if the definition of what McKinsey is measuring across all US workers here was, “all those employees who contribute and create information, provide knowledge or expertise, and tailor or deliver this knowledge/information to gain clients, win profitable deals, and retain customers“, then in many organizations, the percentage of people who are paid up to 75% premium might as well be double the 47% McKinsey has. You have to consider all the supporting roles found within large enterprises.

However more to the point, any challenge so broadly affecting the company and potentially so tied to the top and bottom line has to be seen as strategic, especially in particular, at the large, global Enterprise. Why? The inherent challenges of a complex global organization [heavily matrixed, many regions, multiple product groups, etc. = many silos] – they sell complex solutions in a complex selling environment with complex processes in multiple markets with a complex set of competitors. (Get it? Its complex!)

For the majority of these companies their comparative advantage is how well they can leverage their expertise:

  • Expertise in the clientʼs situation/context;
  • Expertise in any aspect of the available solutions;
  • Expertise in the market and competitors.

With the increased speed of all markets today, changes in the competitive landscape and unforeseen macro-events, technical disruptions and innovations can impact entire industries and regions. How quickly your organization can respond, shift and adapt will determine if you lead/win or follow/lose.

Manage the complexity of your environment (lots of data sources and business processes): When we define the term Sales Enablement portal as “the place on your intranet where employees contribute and create information, provide knowledge or expertise, and tailor or deliver this knowledge/information to gain clients, win profitable deals, and retain customers” then my advice is to make sure the technical aspects of your Sales Enablement portal fits into your landscape and you do not create some over-simplified new one (e.g. yet one more place to put and get information for each business unit or country).

Do not see the statement “We are in the information age” as just something regarding the broader world we live in, but make it an important part of your corporate culture: The lesson of web 2.0 for companies is that people=expertise. There are a lot of innovations that can streamline peopleʼs collaboration and leverage their expertise (social networks, wikis, SharePoint like platforms, micro-blogging, instant messaging, Voice over IP, etc.). But they all are not right for every company, and you can spend more time trying to manage all of the technologies than getting any value from them. Just because they all exist doesnʼt mean you have to use them.

Some tips for selecting a new collaboration technology for your large, global enterprise to help get you on your way are:

  • Find the right few technologies to support your culture of collaborating. (No culture of collaborating? You better get one – fast)
  • Manage your technologies: donʼt let them dictate your strategies
  • Focus the development and deployment of technologies to specific groups and goals
  • Be iterative in the process to use success to build momentum – leverage quick wins
  • Develop and understand the personas of your sellers or other end users: define their needs and any benefits gained – whatʼs in it for them?
  • Create a Sales Enablement road map that includes all four legs of Sales Enablement (People, Technology, Processes and Content).

Best of luck circumnavigating this brave, new (collaborative and technically advanced) world.”

 

See your sales asset development cost drop by an order of magnitude

In response to ‘Is Sales Enablement just Lipstick on a Knowledge Management Pig?’ by Gerhard Gschwandtner (@gerhard20) Lee Levitt (former Director, Sales Advisory Practice; IDC) wrote the following comment on July 29, 2009:

“[…] Sales enablement is a recent phenomenon, at least from a branding standpoint. At IDC we’ve been researching and publishing sales enablement best practices since 2007, the same year that the phrase first started showing up in Google searches.

However, sales enablement as a business process has been around for a long time. As a field sales engineer at Texas Instruments, I implemented a sales enablement function on our internal network, using hardcopy terminals for information entry and retrieval. This was in 1985.

Social media at its best, given the constraints of the existing technology. Rapid sharing of tribal knowledge for those that had or needed it.

I’d suggest that Patterson’s Solution Selling Primer, written for the National Cash Register business, is an earlier example of sales enablement. Patterson’s Primer certainly meets the IDC definition for sales enablement, and Patterson absolutely reported results with it. In the 1880s.

Companies are reporting results with sales enablement. American Express, for instance, indicated that Time-to-Revenue for new reps dropped from months to weeks after they implemented a leading SE environment. They reported this at an IDC Sales and Marketing summit in 2008.

For another large IDC client, we identified a 15% increase in sales productivity after the company implemented some basic sales enablement processes, a small subset of the possibilities in that multibillion dollar organization.

While it’s still early in the sales enablement game, virtually every midsize or larger company today does something in the area of sales enablement, typically based on internal processes and maybe some intranet or SharePoint support.

A very small handful of companies, maybe a thousand in total, have taken a focused approach at moving their sales enablement activities to what IDC refers to as the third generation of sales enablement.

In these early markets, innovators and early adopters don’t care about ROI. That’s for the late majority to worry about. They’re looking for competitive advantage…and they’re finding it. When companies seek to address specific business challenges (new rep support, competitive response, customer intelligence, campaign support, etc), they find substantial improvements in sales productivity and customer satisfaction.

We’ve only scratched the surface with sales enablement. We believe that the potential for sales productivity improvement is on the order of 30-50%, or more, particularly if employed with the other four levers of sales productivity and properly measured.

And the net savings to the organization may be substantial. The typical technology firm spends more $12,000 per rep per year in marketing collateral development, with the vast majority of that expense going to waste. Firms that take an outside-in approach in sales asset development will find this cost dropping by an order of magnitude.

There’s ROI for you – higher sales productivity and lower costs.”