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This week we were in Austin for SiriusDecisions Technology Exchange. It was a great opportunity to learn about new tech trends in the sales and marketings space from the many sessions from SiriusDecisions, as well as the case studies that were presented with vendors. Here are the highlights from the week:

Creating the Business Justification for Technology

Gil Canare, Senior Research Director at SiriusDecisions, went over the steps to creating the business justification for technology investments. In the live poll from the presentation, over 80 percent of attendees said that their organization’s most common purchase driver is capabilities related. The need for new capabilities and to do more with technology is an ever-present issue for today’s fast-changing buyer needs.

Gil noted that with each technology purchase, there are there are internal and external purchase drivers, impacts to the business the technology will introduce, and ultimately a justification for the purchase. Internal and external drivers can help you to paint a picture of why you need a certain solution at a given time. Are there new capabilities that the company needs? Is there competitive pressure and your organization needs to implement new tools to keep you? Outlining exactly what the drivers of the purchase decision are is the first key step to justifying a new technology purchase.

Knowing the impact of a new technology will also help to clarify what exactly thow that technology will affect the business and different groups within the business.

“Every purchase you make must have an impact and will have an impact.” – Gil Canare

Understanding what this impact is to the business and any associated parties will help you to prepare leadership for the potential positive and negative consequences of a new technology.

There are a few key guidelines to justifying a technology purchase:

  • Get consensus on the justifications for the purchase across all stakeholders.
  • Apply consistency in the way you’re evaluating solutions, so all decisions made are rational and accurate.
  • Establish baselines for impact measurements, so all conclusions are consistent across purchases.
  • Review and optimize what your forecasts were and compare to your actual results in order to optimize your purchase.

Alignment and consistency are key in comparing solutions, so you have a clear view on why a particular solution will work for you. Identifying these drivers and impacts will help you to justify why this particular solution, and why now.

How to Implement the SiriusDecisions Demand Unit Waterfall

We learned back in May that the Demand Unit waterfall shifts the focus from individual leads to buying groups, or “demand units.” Terry Flaherty, Senior Research Director at SiriusDecisions, and Mark Levinson, Vice President and Group Director of Sales Services at SiriusDecisions,  walked through the process of implementing this process in your organization.

Implementing the SiriusDecisions Demand Unit Waterfall starts and ends with marketing and sales alignment. Both teams need to play a hand in determining what your organization’s demand units are. These buying groups and market segments are the basis for what you will build your waterfall on, so identifying these as a team is the only way to make sure you’re selecting the right ones for your organization.

Next, you have to define the go-to-market process. This includes identifying a primary owner and any other supporting roles. Mapping out the groups, the program stages, and the infrastructure so that you can ensure that all necessary parties are involved in this new process for your organization.

Then you need to have hand-off definitions for how buying groups will be handed off from marketing to tele to sales. Defining each of these processes will help to ensure that your internal groups know exactly how to hand off to the next group as a buying group moves through this process.

And finally, you have to define goals. These goals and measurements should center around conversions, velocity, coverage, and distribution. You should also be able to measure performance and attribution so you have a clear picture of what is working and what isn’t working.

Dun & Bradstreet’s Path to Sales Enablement Optimization

Erin Osman, VP/Leader Marketing, Global Sales Enablement, and Michelle Cox, Marketing Manager, Sales Asset Management, walked through their sales enablement journey in Highspot’s case study session.

The first step in their process was to map out the workstreams and determine the executive sponsors and project owners. It was important not just to identify the different groups that need to be involved, but also to identify who the leadership and owners were who were champions for the project.

They then went through their content audit, with the goal of including as much content as they could so they could ensure high adoption rates. This involved kick-off meetings with central teams, and and an audit of existing assets to gauge and categorize the content they currently had. They received audit recommendations, which they then edited and implemented. Content was then mapped, so that each area of content had accompanying owners, descriptions, types, and next steps to ensure the project kept moving forward.

Dun & Bradstreet then deployed and launched the platform, which they called the “Sales Spot” to their team. Creating excitement with videos, hands-on training sessions, and reinforcement with continual communication and guidance on the platform for their sales reps.

One theme that ran through their entire presentation was teamwork. And not just teamwork within marketing or sales, but teamwork throughout the entire organization.

“If you’re just starting out with this, the biggest piece of advice I have is to think about it as a team play.” – Erin Osman

Sales enablement does not just affect the sales team. Marketing, product, services, and beyond are all affected by your sales enablement solution, so they need to be involved in the entire sales enablement journey.

Learn more about how other companies are approaching sales enablement in SiriusDecisions 2017 State of Sales Enablement.


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