Research from Gallup found that engaged employees are more productive, resulting in a 21% increase in profits. So how can you deliver engaging enablement programs to drive sales productivity?
Shawnna Sumaoang: Hi and welcome to the Win Win Podcast. I’m your host, Shawnna Sumaoang. In the quest to drive sales productivity for your business, you’ve likely asked yourself: What does good look like? This month on the podcast, we’re helping you answer this question by exploring best practices on how you can deliver strategic enablement with Highspot.
Here to discuss this topic is Evelyn Velasquez, the director of training and sales enablement at Hyster‑Yale Group. Thanks for joining Evelyn! I’d love for you to tell us about yourself, your background, and your role.
Evelyn Velasquez: Thank you. I’m glad to be here. My role plays a critical role in supporting and enabling sales teams and channel partners to achieve their sales targets and drive business growth through effective training, enablement resources, and optimising sales processes at Hyster‑Yale Group.
SS: Wonderful. We’re excited to have you join us, Evelyn. I’d like to just start off by understanding from your perspective, what are some of the ways that sales enablement can impact sales productivity.
EV: I think one of the ways that our team does that effectively is by building out the content, the calculators, and the tools necessary to have an effective conversation with customers. When I first started, a lot of our dealer sales teams were creating their own, and we were able to centralise that function by providing one spot to access these tools. We were removing a lot of that effort and work and really focusing that salesperson on learning about the customer, their business, and their needs and not worrying so much about building content.
As you know, creating content requires specific skill sets that generally salespeople don’t have all the necessary tools to build the most effective content to give to customers. That’s one of the things that we do with our teams is to help streamline that process so that salespeople can just focus on selling.
SS: I love that that focus on selling is absolutely critical these days. Now, prior to implementing Highspot, what challenges maybe were some of your reps facing as it relates to sales productivity?
EV: One of the challenges was just finding content. We had this website or this tool, and you would do a search for a specific topic or item, and you would get a thousand results, but you had to go in and click on each item to identify if it was the item that you were looking for. At some point, salespeople stopped going to that tool and reaching for content because it’s just not an effective tool, and this is in the era of Google where you can search for anything and the first three items are usually what you need.
Well, this site was not providing us with that type of support, so we were doing a lot of great things with content, but not a great job in delivering that to our salespeople effectively. That was one of our major challenges. How do we create an ecosystem where it’s easy to use, similar to Google, and they can find what they need within a few steps?
SS: I love that you guys are making it so much easier for your reps when it comes to findability. How have you maybe started to solve some of those challenges since implementing Highspot?
EV: One of the things that we did was we worked with all of our content teams and we deployed Highspot and created the sales play. We started utilising that for product releases, but now, instead of having to go and know what something’s called to find it, the search bar within Highspot is amazing. Even if you didn’t know what exactly you were looking for, it gives you suggestions and other options and related material, which is great.
You can also just go directly to the sales play for that product, and anything that we’ve created to help you drive those effective conversations is centralised in one area across different teams. That has been very powerful as well because it’s so easy to find all the tools, images, videos, and calculators that you need to be able to position whatever your proposition is for your customer in one spot, so you’re not having to spend hours searching for content.
SS: I agree. You definitely pick up some efficiencies by removing that from your rep’s day-to-day workflow. I’d love to understand, Evelyn, what is an example of an initiative or a program that you’ve implemented to help drive sales productivity, and how have you leveraged Highspot to support this?
EV: The first step was like finding the content. How do we make that easy, and then the second step is the content good enough? Are we driving the right messaging and the right tools? The last thing that we did was how do we create an ecosystem where the salesperson doesn’t have to go to another site to get content because their day-to-day is in Salesforce or a tool like that for their CRM process.
The last thing we did was integrate Highspot with a CRM tool, and that has been magical because we’ve been able to pull relevant data like the sales, productivity, and activities within an account and serve up the specific content and whatever stage they’re at in the sales process. If they’re in the discovery stage, they get specific tools and content, and coaching guides. If they’re on the product side, they get the product training, product, brochures, and technical information that the customer will need.
All they have to do is just work in Salesforce and they get served up everything they need when they’re in this specific stage. Our dealers have been very pleased with that because they don’t have to leave that tool and then go to another tool to go find the relevant information. It’s all in one area.
SS: Fantastic. So as I mentioned in the intro, one thing that we’re trying to understand is what does good look like? From your perspective, what does good look like when it comes to rep productivity at your organisation?
EV: That’s a good question. Before, things weren’t integrated and the systems were not integrated, it was really difficult to measure the effectiveness of our sales enablement efforts with sales performance. People can argue, well, this person is just overall a good salesperson, it’s not your tactics or your strategies that are helping them sell more. What the integration with Highspot and Salesforce did for us specifically was give us the data to now correlate how we’re actually impacting the sales team, and we were able to generate a report that showed a direct correlation between if a salesperson is going into Highspot, going into that specific sales play for that product that we just launched, they took the sales product certification that was associated. We see a correlation between their ability to have more quotes in the system and their ability to close more deals.
When you see the salesperson’s report and they didn’t go into Highspot, or they didn’t take the training, or they’re not visiting that sales play, or they’re not closing as much or having increased quotes with that specific product line. That’s something that we’re able to do now with the support of the Highspot tool that we didn’t have before. It was very difficult to measure sales enablement and whether that’s our performer, if we’re helping them or not, being able to close more or get more quotes.
What that helps us do is identify those people, meet with those people, and then get more information about what’s working, and not working, change our strategy, and redeploy. It’s all about agility. Always being current with the trends and what they’re seeing in the market helps us to be the most effective, and be able to share that with other teams.
SS: I love that. I think that’s a great example of what good looks like. You talked a lot about top performers. How do you identify what good looks like amongst your top performers and in particular, the behaviours that are leading to success?
EV: As I mentioned, the behaviours that we’re seeing, the direct correlation is they are utilising the tools, they’re taking the training, they’re leveraging all the content in the Highspot platform and taking advantage of that. The top performers are the ones who are sending out pitches.
What we did at Hyster‑Yale Group is we created pitch scripts with trends and relevant data, and there’s a lot of effort and work to put these pitch templates together. Top performers are using those and leveraging them to be able to get in the door with accounts or able to move to the next level per decision maker. It’s extremely important for us to be able to support these top performers, and again, like making sure that what they’re focusing on is selling and building their relationships and learning the accounts, not necessarily finding and creating content. We’re seeing that their behaviour is leveraging the things that we create.
SS: That’s fantastic. Now, how do you then take what you’re seeing as what good looks like and then scale that across the sales teams in particular amongst maybe middle or lower-performing reps?
EV: You definitely have to have a sales methodology in place. What’s the standard and a coaching program in place as well in order to be able to scale? What we do is we create focus groups, so we do have data and metrics to show us who is performing with what product lines solutions, who are able to get quotes, and who is able to close those quotes. We’re able to create these focus groups and have tailored conversations with these individuals and look through their sales process, such as what tools they’re leveraging.
We are then able to then get those tools, such as if they’re embedded and they’re like on the bottom of the sales play, we move them up and then we deploy them. We do have one of our VPs of marketing, she will send an email out to the entire dealer community with these tools that are working and the strategies that top performers are deploying so that others can learn from these individuals. I think that’s really critical.
It’s not just creating content, but also making sure you’re communicating back to the business. This is how you can do it, how you can leverage it, and what works well, especially if you can see the same methodology being deployed and that person getting success. It’s important to be able to train others on how to do those same steps so that works out really well.
Highspot has enabled us with the pitch functionality, with the reporting, enabling us to be on the training side right of the system to be able to do all that very effectively and seamlessly within one platform. In the past, we used to have a separate learning management system, a separate communication tool to pitch and communicate, and then in a separate content repository and then another tool for reporting. I think all these things are now in one system, and that really helps us focus more on learning the agility to get that learning and submit it back to the dealership, versus focusing on six different platforms and deploying through those because it’s just so easy to use and deploy things through Highspot.
SS: I always love hearing that. Now, obviously, with enablement, it is critical, especially when it comes to what good looks like to be able to share the results of what enablement’s impact has been. What are some of the key business results that your enablement team has been able to achieve since implementing Highspot?
EV: We have a few programs and we’re able to show that people who utilise our tools and our training are able to close more deals. That’s one, and the second piece is it has enabled us to create the training certifications and build consultative skill sets while using the platform. This specifically has shown us that people who have gone through these more in-depth training programs and are using the tools are also selling more.
It’s like a two-way reporting structure. One is through the training arm and building specialisation, and the other one is through the agility of just getting content and support. We’re seeing that again, whether you’re going through the training arm and getting specialised or just using the tools that you’re able to get more quotes and sell and close more deals.
That has been very impactful for us because we’re aiming to get into specific niche markets, so we need this data and reinforcement to make sure that we’re learning if our strategies are working. Essentially, at the end of the day, the target is for our salespeople to achieve their sales goals, so if they’re meeting those, then we know that we’re doing a good job.
SS: Fantastic. Last question for you, Evelyn. I’d love to hear your advice for other enablement leaders that are looking to drive sales productivity at their organisation. What is the most important action that they can take to get started?
EV: Simplify, simplify, simplify. I mean, sales rep today has a lot that they have to perform, whether it’s entering items in the CRM, tracking various accounts, or knowing where they’re at in different stages. It’s so important to simplify the process for them and make sure that whatever tools you’re using are sales-centric. I’m gonna say that because we did investigate a lot of different platforms and they still didn’t integrate the training, and then another tool, and it just, again, it just wasn’t a simple process.
Salespeople still needed to go to three or four different places. If you can simplify access, simplify the ability to get things mobile through their mobile apps, even their journey if they’re in the CRM system, be able to simplify that and make sure they’re getting what they need through that process that’s going to help salespeople be productive.
Really put yourself in their shoes and their day-to-day and ask yourself like, are these too many steps to get to your document? Are there barriers to access or are there 20 passwords to get to it? I mean, that’s not effective. My advice, everyone, is really look at your current state and simplify your steps and look for a good platform that can help you drive the things that you want to drive more efficiently.
SS: I couldn’t agree more. Evelyn, thank you so much for joining us today. I appreciate your insight.
EV: Thank you for having me.
SS: To our audience, thank you for listening to this episode of the Win Win podcast. Be sure to tune in next time for more insights on how you can go beyond what good looks like with Highspot.