important characteristics of how typical sales reps at large organizations roll

On February 25, 2009 Sameer (@sameerpatel) from pretzellogic.org wrote a great blog post with some important characteristics of how typical sales reps at large organizations roll:

  • “Media watching is not a sport for sales reps. Feed them the good stuff & they’ll consume it.
  • Data/Intelligence extraction over collaboration. “Give to Get” doesn’t fly with most sales reps.
  • Good reps know exactly which 8.75 data types help them bust quotas. No more, no less.
  • In spite of the above, don’t expect them to dig for it. They’d rather use the time to cold call a lead.
  • Sales often ignore a lot of what marketing might offer or recommend.
  • They don’t personalize portals & intranets.
  • They rather search than browse; they want answers, not search results. (ok, who doesn’t!)
  • CRM apps often morph into reporting mechanisms that sales reps are mandated to use.
  • Pre-sales engineers (in the case of High Tech) often do most of labor intensive tasks in the sales cycle (assembling proposal components, finding SMEs and references, etc).

[…]

Here’s the beginnings of a framework to identify what works for a sales organization at large organizations:

An information management architecture that can surface the good stuff as well as support a 90% consumption / 10% contribution model.

Traditional collaborative systems and social networks are built to enable…well, collaboration and being social. As a sales rep what I need is aggregation around news and information (person, customer, prospect, industry news) relevant to my customers that show up in SalesForce or HighRise. User and topical tags help me drill deeper and find authorities or stories on topics that can help me engage a new lead, up sell a customer, build a more compelling proposed solution, or deflect a customer satisfaction train wreck that’s about to hit. The kicker is that I shouldn’t need to browse too much or worse, contribute to be able to extract.

Augmenting or if necessary, even by-passing some of the traditional marketing qualification processes by providing a direct contextual lens into prospect and customer activity

New qualified opportunities are just as likely to show up on these social platforms as they are via traditional marketing programs such as events, email and webinars. Based on accounts I manage or territorial prospects, as stated by my CRM system, dynamically assemble a direct, real-time view into customer and lead activity. Examples are customer activity on support and developer forums, prospects commenting about specific products on blogs, or lead activity on LinkedIn, Techmeme and Satisfaction that might help me spark a conversation.
Federated, persistent search that folds social discovery into SFA/CRM processes and technologies, thereby enrichening the data available at each step of the sales cycle
For instance, say I’m in the proposal creation phase of the sales cycle: Let me look up preset searches and tags on specific content sources (e.g. specific wiki spaces where SMEs hang out, highly rated solution white papers, links to relevant online demos that everyone’s raving about) so I’m putting my best foot forward.

A push architecture so the critical intelligence can find the sales rep (not the other way around)

I’m not going to keep revisiting content sources (blogs, wikis, forums) to see if there’s anything new that I might care about. Make it easy for me to filter and subscribe to specific events on blogs, support and community forums, wikis etc., (e.g. a new white paper emerges or my customer comments on a blog) via Email, RSS, SMS, IM. Let the information find me.

The ability to broadcast a question and receive an answer

Sales reps want answers. Search functionality provides results; people, however, provide answers. The ability to ask questions to groups of relevant people and quickly crowd source the best solution or identify experts that can credibly address a solution is imperative. This needs to be both open ended as well as around an existing topic (a bookmark, link, comment, video, etc.)
There’s certainly other technologies or components to consider when trying to conceptualize how Sales can benefit from an Enterprise 2.0 enabled world. For instance, ESME is designed to let globally disparate users easily huddle around tasks at hand and the recently announced lifestreaming capabilites from Yammer is trying to bring Friendfeed-like capabilites to the enterprise. […]”

 

Finding Sales Enablement information – Why content management systems are silos

finding sales enablement information

“Stop the information overload, before it stops you. Innovative, web 3.0 knowledge management methods and technologies from BizSphere help you to regain control over your content and let’s you find the information you need, when you needed.

Finding what you’re looking for can be a problem at times. Have you ever gone to the DVD store to find a particular movie by your favorite director, but spent way too much time looking for it? The DVDs in the store are all very nicely arranged, alphabetically, by genre. But what you need is a way of searching across the store for only the movies by your director — arranged just for you in one nice orderly rack. Searching across different categories can be tedious. Just like when you’re looking for a certain document in your enterprise environment. Why is that? Because in folder-based content management systems, authors can upload the same physical file into one physical folder at a time. Folders become silos, content management systems become silo farms. Hard to search, and organized in arbitrary ways. According to IDC’s Sales Advisory Practice, sales reps typically spend more than five hours a week looking for information. If they could save just half that, they’d have more time to talk to customers. Think how much more revenue they could generate. Thats why we created BizSphere. Our innovative platform lets you look at content the way you want to. Instead of being organized in a one-dimensional folder structure, content is tagged multi-dimensionally. Sounds complicated? It isn’t. Some people in the enterprise, the Information Architects, are defining a variety of tagging dimensions, so called taxonomies. All uploaded content lives within these taxonomies. The platform does not replace existing content management systems. Instead, its a layer on top of them to make your content accessible easily. Now you can browse and filter all content based on your current needs. Saving your time, your money, and your nerves.”

Nortel had been using this since 2006. It helps especially when you have a B2B sales force in many different countries. Marketing employees are empowered (after a quick training anyone can post content) to enable sales people with the right messaging. No more country specific intranet sites where you need to drill down from scratch with many mouse clicks whenever the kind of information or the product you are looking for changes. Here the tagging and the search engine, that always helps me within the first ten search results, save a lot of mouse clicks.

creating content for the salesforce

From BizSphere:

“Why re-creating content again and again? Why ending up with multiple versions of the same content across your enterprise? There’s a way to create a sustainable content base for your enterprise. BizSphere content re-use and single sourcing technologies allow you to plan and execute your content production in an organized way enabling content consumers to auto-generate the documents they need, when they need it – instantly and on-the-fly.”

This goes well beyond slides libraries! Basically brings it to the next level by breaking up slides into what they call ‘content nuggets’ and using web 3.0 concepts to auto-generate customized files out of a mind-bobbling number of possible combinations. Saves real dollars / time normally spent on designing PowerPoint or other doc types. No more outsourcing to graphics agencies. Just pick the template and hit “generate”. The result will be polished and include cross-selling opportunities and case studies from the chosen country…

document generation

document generation feature tour

 

‘Six issues that content and inbound marketing technology fails to address’ from Wednesday, April 15th, 2009:

“[…] Generic content does not work anymore, you need to address each stakeholder, if you are selling to a CIO, CFO, HR, you need specific content to address their business requirements.”

Sales 2.0 Technology – Real Opportunity or Sales SOS? March 21, 2009 by Darren Cunningham, Director of Product Marketing at LucidEra.

“[…] make my sales team more effective, not just efficient?

According to a recent IDC study (Don’t Understand Sales Enablement? You’re Not Alone!, 2009) 57% of customers feel that sales reps are not sufficiently prepared about the solution they offer, the country they are in and the industry the customer is working in. Therefore, by providing the seller with the latest and most specific content and experts within the organisation can help him prepare faster and better before his/her pitch.
Cross-Referencing the own offering portfolio (this product can be sold with this service, logistics say that this product is often shipped together with that product, etc) can enable up-selling as well.”

Interview with David Thompson

Interview with David Thompson, CEO – Genius.com, on web 2.0 based tools for marketing automation to improve sales productivity. April 1, 2009 by beyondsnakeoil.com:

Real-time Marketing Automation Connecting Marketing & Sales

Genius.com is the first SaaS solution that delivers the benefits of marketing automation to both Marketing and Sales, embodying the principles of Sales 2.0 that make it easier and more efficient for Sales and Marketing to close more deals “in the cloud”. Our powerful, intuitive and instantly available demand management software automates marketing workflows and provides real-time sales alerts on qualified lead activity so Sales can provide immediate, informed follow-up. Genius delivers a complete sales and marketing solution including: email marketing, lead nurturing, lead scoring, website tracking, instant alerts, and closed-loop reporting capabilities to manage and qualify sales leads, shorten sales cycles, drive revenues and prove marketing ROI.

Straightforward brochure on Sales Enablement

Brochure on Sales Enablement

A slideshare on Sales Enablement by BizSphere published in October 2009 is getting a lot of attention on Twitter, on SlideShare and amongst Sales Enablement experts.

Gerhard Gschwandtner (@gerhard20) from SellingPower.com commented on it:

“Great presentation! I think that this solution is head and shoulders ahead of some of your competitors I’ve written about recently in this post ‘Is Sales Enablement just Lipstick on a Knowledge Management Pig?’

Even SlideShare recognized its success:

“BizSphere Sales Enablement – 2009Q4” is being tweeted more than any other document on SlideShare right now. So we’ve put it on the homepage of SlideShare.net (in the “Hot on Twitter” section).

That is what I call a dashboard for marketing folks who want to enable sales

That’s what I call a dashboard!!! (for marketing folks who want to enable sales)

The vendor BizSphere calls it ‘Content Landscape’.

  • Here marketing can stay on top of sales enablement resources in their lifecycle and track how sales rates them.
  • In a different user interface the sales people look at only those resources that are set to ‘published’.

Content Lanscape

Definition of Sales Enablement and Conversation Enablement

Definition of Sales Enablement

This blog follows IDC‘s Michael Gerard’s definition of Sales Enablement as posted on his blog ‘Musings on the Science and Art of Selling’:

“The delivery of the right information to the right person at the right time in the right format and in the right place to assist in moving a specific sales opportunity forward”

John Neeson also has an excellent definition:

“Channel and Sales Enablement. Provide sales (direct and channel) the tools that will give them access to the knowledge assets that support in-process sales pursuits. Foster sharing of information on a two-way basis as information learned in the field can be used to tune, refresh, and continuously improve the knowledge base. […] focusing on “searchability and findability” of information.”

Definition of Conversation Enablement

Building on Michael Gerard’s definition of Sales Enablement, Conversation Enablement can be defined as:

The delivery of the right knowledge(=information provided in context) in the right format
and the right questions to ask (“Conversations are about discovery”)
to the right person at the right time and in the right place
necessary to move a specific conversation forward.

Alignment of sales and marketing organizations

Over at her blog “MarketSense” Pamela Hudadoff wrote about Success in a Sales 2.0 World – a Marketing Viewpoint. Alignment of sales and marketing organizations is one of two aspects of Sales 2.0 that she believes are essential for marketing’s success in today’s web-based business climate:

“[…] Alignment of sales and marketing organizations.

The customer’s buying process crosses the boundaries that exist between marketing and sales organizations. Sure, there are problems of transferring information about the customer from one organization to another. But more important is the creation of a seamless buying experience that builds persuasive momentum from the first customer touch. That seamless buying experience can only be achieved when marketing and sales tackle the design and implementation of the buying experience together. […]”