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.
“[…] 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.
[…] 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.
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:
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.
Please see the full post and leave your comments here.
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
“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:
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’.
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
- 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 [BizSphere] that was chosen by the company in the case study [Nortel Networks]:
‘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.