Highspot Blog

Elevate Sales Performance with Highspot and ToutApp

Highspot and ToutApp have established a first-of-its-kind partnership that brings together sales enablement and sales productivity to help reps stay focused on the relationships and conversations that matter.  By combining the benefits of these fast-growing software platforms, sales teams can digitize their processes and orchestrate customer engagements more comprehensively than ever before.    

Now companies can dramatically improve sales effectiveness by combining Highspot’s content recommendations, delivery, and analytics with their sales prospecting workflows. Using Highspot, sales and marketing teams are able to manage, find, customize, share, and analyze their content on an integrated platform built to drive faster conversions and higher revenue.  With ToutApp, sales teams are able to align sales workflows, increase their pipeline, improve engagement consistency, and forecast results with greater accuracy.  The result: sales teams are now in better position to scale their activities and outmaneuver the competition.   

Here’s an introduction to the combined features of Highspot and ToutApp:

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Sales Enablement for Marketers

Turn Sales Content into a Revenue Driver

For today’s full-stack revenue marketer, delivering consistent results and measurable ROI impact can feel reminiscent of Sisyphus trying to push that fabled boulder up a mountain, only to watch it roll back down again and again.

The fact is, marketing is pushing a boulder up a mountain. It spends 28% of its budget (not to mention the soft costs associated with headcount) on creating content, but 65% of content produced for sales is never used. Sales teams scream for more and better content, but they often can’t find content that already exists.

This inefficiency leads to a vicious cycle: Deliver more content, only to have sales ask for even more. Push the boulder, watch it roll down again.

For content that is used, marketing often has no visibility into how it performs, and thus has no ability to improve quality or measure ROI. For us ‘Revenue Marketers,’ this is anathema.  Marketers must be able to measure the performance of content in order to improve quality.

And, let’s not forget our entrepreneurial sales reps. They often modify content in order to meet the needs of the customer and  changing market dynamics, and should! But as presentations are customized, marketing teams lose visibility into these changes, and consequently, they lose ability to improve sales content in real time to match the needs of the market.  Tracking these changes immediately, understanding them, making micro improvements and then sharing them across the organization represents a real opportunity to make the sales teams more effective and stay ahead of the competition.

It’s for these reasons (and many more) that Sales Enablement is a necessity for Marketing.

Don’t be fooled by the word “sales” in the name. A Sales Enablement platform should be one of the tools in the marketer’s toolbox. It completes the stack from top of the funnel to revenue and enables closed-loop analysis of content and sales process performance. It starts by providing a better way to organize and manage content for sales, and gives sales and marketing teams the platform to scale and continuously improve content and customer engagement performance.

In fact, one key element that differentiates modern Sales Enablement platforms such as Highspot from outdated solutions is the closed-loop analysis that enables both marketing and sales to systematically improve. Sales can easily tell marketing what content doesn’t work, because it has the data to back up its claims. Marketing can, in turn, just as easily analyze what content and pitching strategies the best sales reps use and optimize based on customer engagement and revenue influenced.

If you’re ready to stop pushing the boulder up the mountain, consider the following sales enablement benefits:  

Recommend the best performing content to Sales.

Highspot’s content targeting and recommendations can deliver “the right” content to a sales rep based on each specific selling opportunity—customer size, industry, go-to-market segment, product, opportunity stage, or whatever you want to configure.  Machine learning measures content performance and scores recommended content so that the sales rep always finds the best content.

But if the rep is looking for something different, Highspot’s “Amazon-like” experience with intelligent semantic search and filter-based browsing helps reps find the content they are looking for quickly.

Anywhere worldwide. Any device.  Your preferred app.

Today’s larger sales teams are distributed across the country and around the globe; working from their laptops and in their cars on mobile devices. Today’s enterprise software must be cloud-based and mobile ready. We also know that sales reps are creatures of habit—they have a favorite work flow and don’t want to mess with it.  Highspot works where sales reps work; in Outlook, Gmail or ToutApp and Salesforce.com. And for marketers, Highspot syncs with almost every enterprise content management or EFSS system, so we can plug into your content collaboration and production workflow.

Improve content quality.

Unrivaled sales enablement performance analytics let you measure what works—and what doesn’t—from content usage and pitch performance to customer engagement and impact on revenue.  Drill in and filter based on any Salesforce field, to better understand performance by sales org or go-to-market segment.  And only Content Genomics™ enables marketers to map the evolution of content customizations and analyze content ‘families’ (including all permutations of an original piece of content) as a whole to give you actionable insight. Powerful analytics are a requirement to assess the value of your content and improve quality and performance.  

Align better with sales.

Multiple third-party studies like this one and this one (and this one) show that companies in which marketing is well aligned with sales perform much better across many business metrics—revenue growth, quota attainment, sales velocity and more. Along those lines, a recent Highspot survey of 400 sales, marketing, and sales enablement professionals uncovered that 50% of organizations with a focused alignment effort in the form of Sales Enablement saw an increase in sales conversion rates of 10% or more, while 23% increased conversion rates more than 20%. 

These are just three of the many reasons why marketers need Sales Enablement, too. If you’re ready to take control of your organization’s content conundrum, I recommend checking out our Definitive Guide to Sales Enablement.  And, if you’re evaluating solutions and want to learn how Highspot can deliver results, contact us to schedule a customized demo.

Faster Sales Start Here: Sales Enablement Best Practices Volume 1

Sales enablement pros encounter fresh challenges and opportunities every day.  At Highspot, we help them make the most of both.

Today we’re launching Volume 1 of our Best Practices series.  The series will provide real-world insights for businesses seeking to improve their sales enablement activities.  Each volume will deliver a range of experience-based suggestions for those new to sales enablement, as well as for seasoned executives seeking to optimize current investments.  At the conclusion of the series, readers will be better-equipped to drive higher sales performance through more effective and efficient sales enablement.  

In Best Practices Volume 1, we share perspectives on getting started with sales enablement, from subject and role definition to responsibilities, strategies, and tactics. The goal of Volume 1 is to equip sales enablement pros to make informed pre-deployment decisions.  Volume 2 will cover multiple phases of solution development and deployment and Volume 3 will focus on optimization and proven leadership techniques. 

Click the image below for direct access to Volume 1:

Sales Enablement Best Practices

Highlights of Volume 1 include:

Definition and Principles

The starting point and core tenets supporting how we think about sales enablement.  This is where we outline the importance of process, teamwork, and delivering the best available sales content to your target audience at the best possible moments in the buyer’s journey. 

Scoping Your Sales Enablement Role

If you’re new to sales enablement, chances are you’re developing a perspective on the role of content in your organization.  If you’re an established pro, you’re likely seeking to optimize your content strategy.  In either case, it’s useful to begin (or return to) the three key questions outlined in this chapter.  They will play an important role in positioning you and your team for lasting success.    

Focusing on Alignment

Best practices companies recognize the advantages of marketing and sales alignment.  In this chapter, we focus on how alignment is achieved and the role of sales enablement in making it happen. 

Establishing a Foundation

This is the heart of Volume 1.  It’s where we outline essential steps for implementing the sales enablement approach that will propel your team to more efficient content usage and faster sales conversions.  Topics in this chapter range from how to make the right technology choice to building a project plan and getting executive sponsorship.

The sales enablement landscape is changing fast, and with it the discipline itself.  Rising investment levels and innovation have brought new tools to sales enablement practitioners and leaders alike.  At the same time, companies are focused more intently than ever on the importance of sales enablement to business success.  It’s clear the bar is rising.  With Highspot’s Best Practices Guides, you’ll be ready.

Resources:

Best Practices Volume 1 is available in the Resources Library at Highspot.com, where you’ll find a wealth of additional sales enablement information. We’ve also made available case studies, product videos, including our Highspot Overview, and much more.

For quick reference, we recommend bookmarking the Highspot best practices page.  It’s our hub for sharing what we’ve learned over hundreds of customer engagements. 

Learn More:

Stay tuned for upcoming Best Practices webinars, during which we’ll elaborate on the topics in each volume.  

In the meantime, to expand your knowledge of how Highspot’s industry-leading sales enablement technology is reshaping sales performance, request a demo.  We’re always happy to chat.  

Deconstructing Sales Enablement ROI

In any new project or technology, one business metric stands above all others: ROI.  It is the ultimate measure of whether or not value is created.  Today we’re illustrating an example of how a modern sales enablement platform generates superior Return on Investment against performance targets we’ve found highly attainable.    

The following infographic, Deconstructing Sales Enablement ROI, showcases the two primary lenses through which customers evaluate their investment: sales efficiency and sales effectiveness.  It also lists assumptions based upon real-world customer experiences, starting with Highspot’s industry-leading usage rate. 

Deconstructing Sales Enablement ROI_Infographic

In the upper half of the infographic, we highlight two metrics at the heart of sales enablement decisions:

Sales efficiency centers on the ability for reps to accomplish more in less time.  The combination of easy-to-find sales content, coupled with time savings resulting from integrated customer engagement options, quickly results in outstanding returns on first year software, services, and headcount spend.  These savings multiply over time, giving distinct advantages to companies committed to best practices in sales enablement.  

Sales effectiveness is all about increasing conversions and driving revenue improvements.  The catalyst is improved sales content quality due to closed-loop market feedback and detailed content performance analytics.  When reps can increase conversion rates as well as transaction value, all while decreasing sales cycle time, sales performance naturally follows.  The larger the sales organization, the more pronounced these growth rates become.

In the lower half of the infographic, we highlight performance targets contributing to the greater than 14x return on 1st year spend and >20% incremental sales growth attributable to sales enablement.

>85% average monthly usage rate by reps.  At Highspot, we’re averaging nearly 90%. 

>50% less time spent searching for content.  Sales teams know time = money.  We give them more time so they can do what they do best.   

>50% increase in content used by sales teams.  The sales enablement platform that’s right for you will equip reps with the best available content for every stage of the buyer’s journey.

>25% reduction in time spent customizing content.  With technology that not only surfaces the highest-performing sales content, but also allows reps to quickly tailor content to specific customer opportunities while remaining on-platform, Highspot gives reps more of what they need most: time.     

>40% of week spent selling.  This is every rep’s most productive activity.  Sales enablement software helps maximize it.   Across organizations we’ve worked with, we’ve seen a 10% – 15% increase in “selling time” due to more efficient sales enablement processes.  That’s an additional 4 – 6 hours per week per rep focused on selling.

>10% increase in sales conversion rates.  Based on our own experience and multiple industry analysts (Aberdeen and CSO Insights) organizations implementing best practices in sales enablement have improved sales conversion rates by 10% or more. 

For additional Return on Investment considerations, check out:

Now the next time one of your colleagues asks “WIIFM?” (What’s in it for Me?), you’ll have an easy reference point.  You’ll also look smart – which is always a good thing.   

If you have additional questions, don’t hesitate to reach out.  We’d be delighted to chat. 

Sales Training Content Management with Highspot

Olympic athletes and leading sales reps know the value of training.  They invest in it heart and soul.  Today we’ll share how Highspot is helping reps outperform the competition with training options mapped to the unique demands of your business. 

In a recent survey of over 400 B2B sales reps, marketers, and sales enablement leaders, improving training was cited by over 60% as among the top five categories positively impacted by sales enablement.  Sharing best practices was of nearly equal importance and just behind easy access to content and increased efficiency.  This is inline with research from Aberdeen Group indicating that 54% of best-in-class sales leaders support standard sales training with additional sales education activities. 

Customer conversations indicate the importance of sales training will only increase, and with it the need to dramatically improve how training gets done today.       

For many reps, training has little appeal.  Often considered a distraction, it is generally treated as a low priority.  A chief reason is that legacy training systems have proven more frustrating than functional.  This underwhelming track record has devalued many training strategies, leaving reps less prepared and competitive than they should be.

We are flipping sales training on its head by giving reps direct access to the content they need, when and where they need it. This is a tremendous advantage for sales leaders, who have long sought a better way to ensure reps have the training content required to win deals.

At Highspot, our sales enablement software delivers training options reps love.  It makes sales content easy to act upon, positioning sales teams with training that’s in-context, easy to consume, and efficiently managed.  For sales leaders, sales enablement pros, and the reps they support, it’s a win-win-win.       Continue reading article ›

Sales Enablement and Sales Operations — One Team.

Sales Ops and Enablement working together

Although it’s relatively new to the B2B scene, the Sales Enablement function has quickly gained momentum and is having a measurable impact on business growth. When done right, sales enablement has the ability to improve sales conversion rates 10%-20%, or more. And as a result, 53% of organizations in our Sales Enablement Practitioner survey have a dedicated Sales Enablement team today.

Because a separate Sales Enablement team is new to most organizations, its hierarchical order within the organization has raised many questions, especially in relation to the sales operations team. There is potential for conflict between these two groups, as the two roles evolve and sometimes overlap. As a business leader, it is critical to clearly define the roles and responsibilities—and opportunities to collaborate—for each group, to ensure all teams work together effectively.

The fact is, both Sales Enablement and Sales Operations are critical to supporting the sales team’s success. So, how should growing companies organize and charter the two teams for maximum effectiveness?

We get asked this a lot, and have seen how hundreds of companies have organized the two teams. A few models rise to the top as the most effective and productive, and they generally start with a logical look at what each group does best. There will always be exceptions and differing models, but a look at their similarities and differences illustrates where division of labor makes the most sense.

Commonalities of Sales Enablement and Sales Operations

  • Overall goals: Both groups are charged with increasing the effectiveness and efficiency of the sales team
  • Reporting structure: Usually the two groups share in their reporting structure; most commonly up to the head of sales. According to CSO Insights, 53% of the time Sales Enablement reports to Sales, and 25% of the time Sales Enablement and Sales Ops are the same group, creating an independent reporting structure.
  • Accountability for Performance: Both groups share a responsibility for analyzing the performance of sales–in their own areas of expertise

 

With their common ground and goals established, let’s dive into the details of how their roles are most commonly defined:

Sales Operations Responsibilities:

  • Sales rep operations: Territory planning, deal routing, account assignment, team design
  • Sales administration: Proposal and contract management, contract governance
  • Compensation optimization and administration
  • Forecasting reporting and accuracy maintenance
  • Systems and data management: CRM, CPQ, SPM
  • Performance analysis related to the above

 

Sales Enablement Responsibilities:

  • Sales training, including content, process and training events (SKOs)
  • Content planning, mapping, management and analysis
  • Sales process, including process performance analytics
  • Sales communication
  • Customer engagement tools, processes and analysis
  • Increasing sales efficiency through process, tools and training
  • Technology in these areas
  • Performance analysis related to the above

 

As you can see from their responsibilities above, there are clear high level commonalities but practical differences.  From this we can draw some broad generalities that may prove useful in organizing the two roles.

Differences between Sales Enablement and Sales Ops

  • When they get involved: Sales enablement is generally focused early in the buying process, focusing on training, content and sales process, whereas sales operations tends to focus later in the buying cycle during the negotiate and close stages. (Sales Ops also covers many areas that are orthogonal to the buying cycle such as territory planning, compensation, and systems.)

Sales Operations & Sales Enablement

  • Specialties: The Sales Enablement professional tends to focus on broader issues such as message and content quality, training, and effectiveness of the whole team. Sales Operations tends to have many responsibilities that are very detail oriented such as ensuring that CRM data systems are accurate, forecasting is done properly, and contracts and closing process are executed correctly. Success in these roles requires vastly different skill sets that can complement each other when properly aligned.
  • Deliverables: Sales enablement provides training, content, sales process enhancements and customer engagement strategies, while sales operations is focused on contracts, compensation (configure, price, quote or CPQ), and ensuring that the closing and recording process is followed properly.

 

As you can see from the below graphic, some overlap tends to remain in the space where a solution is being proposed—and this can be a successful overlap if both teams understand their place in the solution design.

 

Three steps to a high-performance partnership

To be successful—and have the greatest positive impact on sales performance—these two teams need to work in lock step to root out inefficiencies and continuously drive process improvement.

Ready to get some consistency around your end-to-end sales process workflows? Try this:  

  • Talk it out. Get sales enablement and sales operations leaders together to discuss common goals and expectations. Audit deliverables. Is duplicate work occurring? Does one side feel very strongly about why it should or shouldn’t do something? Open and honest dialogue early in the process will lead to better results down the line.
  • Write it out. Create a roles and responsibilities (R&R) document that clearly outlines what each organization does, where there’s overlap, if any, how to provide constructive feedback to each team—and be sure to assign KPIs. Leadership buy-in of this document is critical for long-term success.
  • Roll it out. Share the R&R document with members of both teams: Have a joint meeting as well 1:1 discussions, deliver via email and other company communication vehicles, and be sure to let all other ancillary teams know how you’ve organized. You’ll need to reiterate the message every so often to help encourage teamwork and prevent unnecessarily territory wars.
  • Work it. These are evolving roles as market dynamics and technology are constantly changing the demands on the sales organizations.  These two teams need to work together to enable, support, hone and optimize sales teams to greater productivity. Good communication and collaboration is key, but small gains in sales effectiveness when scaled across a global team can have huge impact on business growth.

 

Teams operate most effectively when they have clarity on their roles and expectations, clear KPIs, and a way to provide feedback to their business partners. Implement these three items and you’ll be well on your way to a positive partnership—and improved sales.

Highspot & InsideView: Aligning Sales and Marketing has never been More Important

While “Marketing and Sales Alignment” has been both a challenge and a worthy goal for some years now, the topic has seemed to crescendo recently as the pressures for performance and accountability on both teams increase. 

We recently did a roadshow with InsideView and other industry leaders on this topic, titled “Drive: Fuel Your Revenue Obsession.”  The thought leader presentations and InsideView’s research, Crack the Code on Sales and Marketing Alignment, showed that while the issue still exists, solving it has never been more important.

Where we stand today

Today, the internet and competitive pressures have increased demands on both functions, as we’re theoretically able to process so much more than ever before: more communications, more leads, more deals. In reality, the role of a sales rep is much more difficult than ever before because the power is all in the hands of the buyer and expectations are exponentially higher. Marketing is feeling the heat, too. “Big data,” the ability to measure marketing’s performance, and the mandate that marketing needs to prove its contribution to pipeline and revenue is forcing a look farther down the sales cycle.

Thanks again to the internet, nearly 70% of the sales cycle happens before sales is even in contact with the buyer[1]. This means marketing and sales must work together to educate and guide the buyer down the path to a closed deal, which makes the demands on sales—once the buyer does engage—significantly higher. Sales must be both educated and consultative. And, to be those things, they need the support, training, and content to effectively compete in an environment where the buyer has all the power.Continue reading article ›

A New Study Links Sales Enablement to Higher Conversion Rates

Sales Enablement Practitioner Survey Report

ABM. Social Selling. Predictive Analytics. Sales Enablement. Which one is most effective at boosting sales performance?  Hard to compare, exactly, as the best practice is to do them all.  But a recent survey found that those companies focused on sales enablement, on average, saw a 10% improvement on pipeline conversion rates.

A new Highspot/Heinz Marketing survey of nearly 400 B2B respondents titled “The Sales Enablement Practitioner Survey” shows a heightened investment in sales enablement teams, initiatives, and technology directly—and in many cases dramatically—increases sales conversion rates for B2B companies.

According to the survey, more than 50% of companies that have committed to sales enablement efforts have experienced improved sales conversion rates of greater than 10%. A full 23% of companies have seen conversion rates increase by 20% or more, and 11% have increased their conversion rate by greater than 30%. That’s a 30% increase in revenue from existing pipeline!

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Sales Content: What Winners Do Differently – Learnings from SiriusDecisions Summit

You’ve probably had that feeling: late for an appointment, you’re in a rush to pull everything together, and at the last minute you realize that you’ve misplaced your keys. It’s panic time to find the one thing you really need.

Oftentimes, sales people experience this panic feeling when they’re trying to close a deal. It’s the last minute, they need a specific piece of material per the client’s request, and simply can’t find it.

Last week’s SiriusDecisions Summit (which just gets better every year), gave us a lot of lessons and guidance on how to help our sales teams be more efficient and effective—in other words, how to give them the keys to close the deals.

Sales Content: What Winners Do Differently

Heather Cole and Christine Polewarczyk’s session on “Sales Content: What Winners Do Differently,” shared some fantastic data from research SiriusDecisions recently published:

  • 79% of B2B buyers report that the content provided by a rep is very to extremely influential in their selection of one vendor over another.
  • On average, B2B buyers consume over 17 pieces of content as they progress through the buying cycle.
  • Similarly, sellers use 10 pieces of internal content to close the deal, on average, with “high performers” using 20% more than low performers.

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Sales Enablement Pro Series: Art, Science, and Choosing the Right Platform

For every sales team, outperforming the competition requires a unique combination of art and science.  Last week’s SiriusDecisions Summit provided insights into how modern companies are operationalizing their strategies to take advantage of both. 

A highlight of the event was Greg Munster’s presentation on how the latest in sales enablement technology is making a difference at Red Hat.  Greg spoke to a packed ballroom of sales enablement, sales, and marketing leaders interested in accomplishing similar goals.  Here are some of the highlights of Greg’s chat:

  • Sales reps are presented with too much content in too many places, making it difficult to parse the most relevant from the relatively lower-impact. Lacking insights into sales usage and content value, marketing will continue struggling to generate what sales really needs.
  • An abundance of pre-existing sales tools makes content management difficult for reps and marketers. This is exacerbated at Red Hat, a company with a unique culture allowing for usage of multiple tools.  According to Greg, “Sales people would go to 12 different places to find content.  That’s 11 too many.”
  • Armed with the expectation that sales enablement software would help them overcome content sprawl and optimize sales performance, Red Hat embarked upon a thorough analysis of their needs and 15+ vendor solutions. Ultimately they selected Highspot, not only because of our robust and flexible feature set, but also because we tightly aligned with their requirements and support Open Source.

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