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

Posted in:  Sales Enablement Strategy

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.

  • Over 13 Red Hat teams and 7 individual workstreams were involved in the Highspot implementation. By the time of the May 10, 2016 rollout, over 3,000 pieces of content had been organized. The Highspot solution became the Red Hat Content Hub and everyone using the platform was trained and up-to-speed.
  • Readiness was pointed out as central to the success of sales enablement at Red Hat. From raising awareness via engagement with sales leadership to field validation, web-based training, train the trainer initiatives, internal promotions, and grassroots rallying, Red Hat went to great lengths to ensure it would be well-positioned to generate a positive return on its investment.
  • Keeping the benefits of sales enablement top-of-mind is another critical factor in the company’s success. This centers on finding the right content at the right time, creating an analytics-based feedback mechanism, removing barriers to entry such as VPN-protected content, and providing a centralized gateway to identify and use the best content for each opportunity.

Greg recapped his session with a short list of key takeaways, including:

  1. Do your vendor analysis and don’t assume the big names are the right fit. Start broad and try to go fast.  Many vendors are aggregating features that were at one time a collection of niche offerings.
  2. Depth and breadth of discovery drives user engagement later. Really devote time to this.
  3. Identify areas for improvement throughout the process.
  4. Readiness and training are paramount.

Of the many gems in Greg’s presentation, his suggestion to “streamline process before implementing tools“ was surely etched in more than one notebook.  We agree.  A thorough, highly strategic and rigorously followed process will remain the surest way to capitalize on technology designed to support it.

The Highspot platform is a perfect example of art and science in action.  From a beautiful user interface and easy-to-follow experiences to powerful analytics and content management, we’re dedicated to driving the sales enablement industry forward.  As we do, we will continue building what reps and marketers demand, all while serving the needs of forward-thinking customers like Red Hat.

Big thanks to Greg for joining us in Nashville.