Highspot Blog

Marketing and Sales: Connecting the Dots Between Perception and Reality

Sales and marketing often hold different worldviews.  Left unreconciled, they can flatten innovative ideas and the career-making opportunities that accompany them.  Today we’re investing a few minutes in how to identify differences between perception and reality, and use the results as a launchpad for revenue growth.   

The Other Side of the Lens

At one point or another, we’ve all perceived a sales and marketing reality that didn’t exist.  We anticipated a behavior that fell short or an opportunity that didn’t materialize.  In the final analysis, chances are you, too, vowed it would not happen again.  This is about minimizing the probability it will.  

A recent study by Highspot and Heinz Marketing captured the points of view of 586 marketing, sales, and sales enablement leaders.  The purpose of the study was to learn more about how businesses are using sales enablement to drive sales performance.  Among many notable results, differences in perception were among the most interesting.  Here’s a snapshot of the importance and self-rated performance of respondents in five key activity areas: 

As indicated above, importance-performance gaps vary by team and category.  For example, marketers noted relatively small gaps in their ability to make sure the sales team can find needed content, as well as in producing content for sales (15% and 11%, respectively). On the sales side, relatively large gaps were noted in training and coaching the sales team (31%) and producing content for sales (the same category in which marketing perceives a small gap). Among sales enablement respondents, making sure the sales team can find needed content and refining the selling process for greater effectiveness emerged as significant gaps (22% and 20%, respectively).

Knowledge is Power

Though walking in the shoes of your colleagues might lack practical application, the spirit remains valid.  Here are five recommendations for identifying content initiatives with the greatest impact on sales, marketing, and sales enablement teams:

  1. Know your colleagues’ KPIs.  When you do, you’ll have clearer context on their incentives, top strategic priorities, the seasonality in their business, their approach toward specific audiences, and more.  How?  Simple: Ask them for their scorecards and share yours.  (And repeat as necessary.)  This is the first step toward testing your perceptions, regardless of which side of the lens you see.
  2. Know your colleagues’ pain points.  Identify what they’d rather live without.  From misguided content and lack of customer insights to technology overload and fragmented systems, there’s room for improvement in every execution plan.  Find it, act on it, and reap the ROI.  It all starts with candid conversations.
  3. Know which pain points can be solved with technology.  Sales and marketing have been promised a solution for every ailment, often with underwhelming results.  Fortunately, times have changed.  Modern sales enablement technology is now capable of driving results that render predecessor versions irrelevant.  A little research on the best of what’s currently available is a great place to start.    
  4. Know what’s working.  It’s not uncommon for solutions that work perfectly for marketing (or sales) to be either invisible or ineffective for sales (or marketing).  If you value high-performing content made possible by a shared technology, language, scoreboard, and feedback loop, you’ll need a strategy for achieving it.  And that strategy begins with (what else?) direct communication and informed analysis.  The ball is in your court.
  5. Commit and measure.  One-off meetings tend to be well-intentioned but lackluster in long-term impact.  Sales and marketing leaders who have enacted real change have established a durable, recurring framework for exchanging data and ideas.  We want this to be you.  Monthly performance reviews of content strategy and execution, sales technology, and processes are a great starting point.

Hard Work + The Right Technology = Higher ROI

Armchair clairvoyance will never replace hard work and on-the-ground understanding.  Many of the best sales and marketing pros have indoctrinated these essentials into their sales enablement routine.  As proof, each day we hear from marketers using sales enablement to drive higher content ROI via improved content quality and relevance; and from salespeople who are now better prepared to demolish quota using the power of content.  It’s a win-win if ever there was one.  

To realign your own sales and marketing teams (and technologies), we recommend downloading a copy of State of Sales Enablement 2017.  It might be just the silo-busting, revenue-generating, perception-versus-reality intelligence your business needs.  

New Research by Highspot and Heinz Marketing: State of Sales Enablement 2017

Sales enablement is giving businesses the competitive edge they need.  As illustrated in this year’s State of Sales Enablement Report, critical performance advantages have emerged at companies investing in this high-growth category.

Fundamental sales enablement strategies and tactics are now in place among a broad cross-section of companies.  From smaller sales teams just getting started to larger and more complex organizations, sales enablement has become a strategic commitment with significant upside.  Continue reading article ›

Connecting Your Sales Process to The Buyer’s Journey

Road trips are a great way to get to know someone.  They reveal compatibilities, interests, and perspectives on everything from the best route to worthwhile stops.  These rites of passage are similar to shared expeditions of buyers and sellers.  Both require clear understanding of the ultimate destination, open communication, and eagerness to engage.  

Still, buyers and sellers are different.  On one side there are needs to fulfill and benefits to derive; on the other, revenue goals and customer satisfaction.  What is a journey for buyers is a process for sellers.  Successful sales and marketing teams manage both paths to mutual advantage while accelerating the results they care about most.

From then to now

We hear many stories about how the buyer’s journey is changing.  How it’s becoming more fluid and dynamic, and how buyers have more control than ever before.  All true.  What’s not true but remains broadly perceived is that the journey is now a random walk.  That buyers are less likely to follow a well-worn trail and more apt to advance from one stage to another with little predictability.  High-performing sellers know better.  Today we’ll share how they remain proactive – and how sales enablement helps establish strong links between the sales process and the buyer’s journey.   Continue reading article ›

Want Your Sales Team to Crush Quota? Remove Information Overload.

highspot-sales-information-overload-blog

Recently, CEB posted about a little-discussed correlation in selling organizations—the more burdened a sales team, (in terms of content, disparate tools, complex internal processes)—the lower their sales conversion rate.

As it turns out, more isn’t always more. According to research, the more we overload sales teams with content, tools, and processes, the worse they have a tendency to perform. CEB reports that 62% of perceived seller burden can be attributed to overly complex internal processes and procedures. In other words, the majority of sellers attribute their job frustrations to their own sales (and marketing) organizations.

Odds are, I don’t have to sell you on this correlation. We ask today’s sales reps to do a lot, and by weighing them down with more, more, more, we restrict them from delivering more of what they really need: sales.Continue reading article ›

From Content to Close: Removing Friction with Sales Enablement

Salespeople are acquainted with the phrase Always Be Closing.  The faster they can reach quota, the better their business will run.  Modern sales enablement helps reps accelerate conversions by streamlining processes and saving time. Today we’ll describe how advances in fully integrated content management and customer engagement have made this possible.

From extra clicks to added steps and mistimed syncs to incompatible platforms, friction in the sales process is expensive.  It creates distance between reps and prospects, delaying productive conversations and interrupting the flow of information among sales, marketing, and customers.Continue reading article ›

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:

Continue reading article ›

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.Continue reading article ›

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.  Continue reading article ›

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. Continue reading article ›

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.       Continue reading article ›