Episode 36: What Good Product Marketing and Education Looks Like

Speakers

Shawnna Sumaoang
Shawnna Sumaoang
Vice President, Marketing -Community, Highspot
Michal Sever
Michal Sever
Senior Director, Product Marketing & Education, Nayax
Podcast Transcript

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that productivity decreased by 2.7 percent in the first quarter of 2023, but hours worked increased by 3%. With productivity needing to be top of mind for many organizations trying to do more with less, how can sales enablement scale what good looks like to drive productivity?

Shawnna Sumaoang: Hi and welcome to the Win Win Podcast. I’m your host, Shawnna Sumaoang. Join us as we dive into changing trends in the workplace and how to navigate them successfully. Here to discuss this topic is Michal Sever, the senior director of product marketing & product education at Nayax. Thanks for joining Michal! I’d love for you to tell us about yourself, your background, and your role. 

Michal Sever: Hi. It’s amazing to be here. Thank you for having me. I’m actually working in this amazing high-tech industry for more than 17 years, practicing innovation at amazing companies. I used to work at Amdocs, Microsoft, Gentrack, and now at Nayax. Nayax is actually a FinTech company, we are specializing in payments addressing retails from all sizes, segments, and regions. We are present in more than 80 countries. 

Now, post covid and with self-service on the rise, we are positioned in an amazing place to serve our customers best as we place cashless payment at the center of our gravity, enabling our customers, the merchants, the retailers, the operators to focus on their business, while without hardwired software, they can forget about the hardships of chip payments and just make sure that with our solutions they can increase the revenues and reduce their operational expenses. 

At Nayax, I’m leading the product marketing and education team. I have an amazing team and we are at the core of business here. We’re actually the missing link between marketing, market, sales, and product, and we are keeping everything aligned, tackling challenges as they come along, since challenges are inevitable. What drives us, Nayax and I, and my team are learning. We are learning all the time. We have a learning ecosystem and dealing with challenging situations, we find that learning is one of the easiest ways to bridge these gaps. This is what drives me, and my team, and each day it’s a new day here at Nayax we’re learning a lot. That’s me, my role, the company I work at. 

SS: Fantastic. Well, one of the things that I love about your background is you have a lot of experience in brand advocacy and storytelling. How does that background help influence your approach to product marketing and product education?

MS: I’m very a strong believer in storytelling. I believe that behind every narrative there are a gazillion stories, but it really depends on the person that you are telling the story to. Eventually, the basis of storytelling is understanding the narrative, and behind these narratives are emotions. Our ability as product marketers and product education leaders is to tell the narrative of our customers or let’s say our prospects or everyone that we want to deliver a story to understand their pains, the challenges of each person that is standing in front of us. This is our superpower. The storytelling, understanding the narrative, understanding the pain behind each act. Once we build the story around these narratives and pains, I think it’s a great capability for each product, marketeer, and product education leader.

SS: What does good product education look like to you? Maybe said another way, what are your best practices for creating effective product education programs? 

MS: I think this completely relates to the storytelling aspect and the emotional narrative, again, and I’ll explain. What we do at Nayaz, we are constantly trying to learn about our customer’s journey. The journey doesn’t have to be confronting only us. The journey can start anywhere and at any time. Our customers have their journey that they’re dealing with their businesses with their operations and sometimes even with us. They have a very comprehensive day in their lives each day and in order for us to create the best practices and effective product education programs, we need to really know our customers and to understand their journeys, let’s say across the board. 

As I said at the beginning, it’s a learning ecosystem. Each day we learn something new about our customers and about their journey. Once we realize how our customers are looking and what their journey is, only then when we know them, we can set our program into action. This is what we are constantly doing and we call this entire framework the engagement cycle. This is our best practice. We are making sure that we are engaging with our customers in every phase of this journey and in every phase, and it doesn’t matter if it is at the beginning of the cycle before he becomes our customer, and he is still in the marketing or pre-sale phase, or if he’s moving on to the order to activation process after he said, I do, and he decided, let’s say, to get married to us, or if it’s afterward when he wants to upscale or to get more knowledgeable and maybe even to upsell or, or to cross-sell. 

In every phase of this engagement circle, we need to understand his problem, his pains, and his emotions in order to address him with the right messaging, the right story, and the right content, which is very segmented. From pre-sale through activation to growth, we always need to make sure that our customers are happy. I think this is like the baseline or the root of best practice in our domain from the bottom up and top down. Keeping a marketing umbrella also gives us air coverage to remain top of mind of our customers and prospects, and eventually maintaining transparency and knowledge, all the time, knowledge about our customers and maintaining the knowledge within the customer’s space is about us. It’s like a road from us to them and from them to us in order to maintain transparency, knowledge, and understanding of each other. I think this is the basis of effective product education programs. 

SS: I love that. I think that’s fantastic. Help me tie that back to what we were talking about in the introduction around sales productivity. How can effective product marketing and education drive sales productivity? 

MS: The basis of sales productivity that is being affected by our activities, the PMMs activities, first, it really depends on the good relationship between the sales and the marketing teams. Sales and marketing have to go together, especially to make the PMM work. It has to go hand in hand. We need to dance well together in order to be effective and productive. One of the main focus areas for marketing and product marketing and specifically is to create successful and segmented sales enablement kits. By enabling sales in the right manner and with the right content, sales can be more productive, save time, and successfully drive closed-won opportunities. I’m going back to storytelling and emotion and connections. Product marketing managers are in charge of creating the sales kits that will be driven by emotions and driven by relevance in terms of the segment vertical and even the specific timeframe within the touching point.

In order to build a productive sales kit that will affect productivity within sales, all the collaterals, the presentation, the product guides, and other materials have to equip sales in a segmented way. They need to be effectively communicated to the sales from within the PMM team. These materials eventually can empower the sales representatives to deliver constant and persuasive messages during their interactions with the prospects. 

I’ll give two examples. The first example in these, let’s say collaterals, that needs to be built is first is creating a relevant value proposition. One of the main focuses within the sales enablement kit is to communicate a unique value proposition and benefits of the specific product that the sales will want to take to its prospects. The sales teams need to articulate the value position to potential customers because when a customer understands how a product can solve their problem or fulfill their needs, they’re more likely to make a purchase, which means that the sales process or the cycle will be more productive.

Another example is, of course, the messaging. Product marketing can ensure that the sales team has targeted and compelling messages that will resonate with specific customer segments because each message relates to another customer. There aren’t two customers or two personas within customers that will agree to the same approach or the same tone of voice. The message can be created in many ways. Tailored messages can enable the sales representative, again, to connect with the customers in a more deep emotional manner or level in order to drive more productivity to their activities. Of course, there is the outbound perspective as well, which means that effective product marketing can help build a strong product or a brand reputation, establishing the top of mind and trust and credibility within the customer’s domains and of course everything that has to do with lead generation throughout the entire customer journey. 

I think to sum it up eventually if product marketing and the sales community are working well together and dancing well together, as I said before, there are four main aspects that can be determined as productive and also can be measured because it’s really important to measure success all the time. First, I think by working together, we can give time back to sales that they can either use to approach more prospects or they can just sip a coffee at the beach, whatever they want to do more. No, I’m just joking. Second, everything has to do with a better customer experience. If a customer is happy and satisfied and we are approaching him with relevant messaging and the relevant tone of voice, he might purchase more. He might cross-purchase, et cetera. Third, pipeline creation. If we are delivering the right messaging and the right value proposition in the right channels, we might enlarge the pipeline. Last, we bring a higher, faster win rate, messaging, value proposition, and accurate sales kits. I think all of them, while working with sales, can definitely drive higher productivity for both departments. 

SS: Now, prior to implementing Highspot, what challenges were your reps facing as it relates to sales productivity, and how have you been able to solve those challenges since implementing Highspot?

MS: Nayax has massively grown in the last couple of years. We also experienced a very successful IPO and our sales community grew a lot. We became bigger than we used to be, and it became a little bit hard to manage from afar. Our headquarters is in Israel, and it was really difficult to maintain a single tone of voice for everyone. That was a really huge challenge in order to maintain consistent selling. Now that we serve more than 80 countries, just think about the consequences of sales kit creation and the need to create so many different messaging for different personas in different verticals, segments, and countries and, of course, languages, but still keep one unique value proposition and similar brand reputation.

It became messy and the need to bridge between what headquarters wanted to say about the brand and its product and how it was translated to the field became challenging. We had to find some kind of a solution, not only for maintaining one tone of voice but also to have like a single source of truth in which all the content resides, like a content repository that is all the time updated and true to what we are selling. What happened is we saw a lot of people from the sales community just using content from many years ago and not accurate content. We are working in a very rapid environment, everything here is microservices, the ICD and we are all the time continuing to invest and develop, and promote. 

We saw that people are not utilizing the most accurate and relevant and latest content, and therefore not maintaining even the transparency and the knowledge that is required for customers. It was a big problem, so we were actually searching for a platform that will solve all of these situations, a platform that will maintain a single source of truth for everybody that will communicate in one voice and eventually, most importantly, solve the content chaos that we had. I know that you guys call it content chaos at a Highspot, so we search for it, and then we find a Highspot. I think the rest is history because the problem was solved almost completely. 

One last thing we also wanted to search for a platform that is completely data-driven. It was really important for us now that we have such a large sales community, to make sure that all the sales are working in the right direction. It’s not a matter of trust, it’s a matter of aligning and having productive sales cycles. We search for a system that first will be completely connected to our CRM system, which is of course Salesforce, and that we’ll be able to connect between the marketing collaterals or the product marketing collaterals to the opportunities or leads themselves. We also wanted to save time for our representative. We didn’t want them to search for the right content while they’re in a sale opportunity while they’re on a call, we wanted them to save time and to find the collaterals they need swiftly and without having the headache of messing around. 

SS: Well, I’m glad that Highspot could help. I’d also love to understand, we’ve been on this topic of sales productivity, what is an example of an initiative or program that you’ve implemented to drive sales productivity, and how have you leveraged Highspot to support this?

MS: By the way we call Highspot “Nayax Win”, we changed the name in order to fit our community because we call our sales community winners, so we called Highspot ‘Nayax Win’. Which everybody loves. If I’m confusing and saying win instead of Highspot, excuse me, but it’s burned to my head already. 

Relating to your question, we love the fact that Highspot is embedded into Salesforce you click on one button and then it opens up and all SDRs and the sales community can see the marketing collaterals that are relevant to a specific opportunity. The fact that it’s just in front of them with the collateral that they need to use within a specific call or within a specific opportunity is really helpful, but it’s not enough. One of the main features that we love about Highspot is the ability to pitch from within the system. We have created many pitching templates according to specific customers, specific verticals and segments, and of course, relating to specific products. The fact that you can be in Salesforce, working on a specific lead, for example, for our product, and then seeing just in front of you the relevant FAQs, frequently asked questions, or objection handling, and then the relevant one page that can close the deal.

Once you finish the conversation with the lead, you tell him I will send an email with all the relevant material, and you just click the pitch button, and then it opens up a screen where you can either record yourself, or you can just send the collateral through to your customers. That’s amazing. Eventually, the customer receives a very nice landing page in which they can see the collaterals, and the summary of the conversation, and I think for both ways, for sales representatives and also the customers, it creates a feeling as if they’re all working on the same page. 

For us, the ability to connect the CRM to our Highspot or Nayaz win to ease the journey for our customers on one hand and the work of our SDRs was amazing. We see that it really drives sales productivity from the timesaving perspective, but it’s not enough. What we are reaching to see, and I suppose we can talk about it afterward in more detail, but we want to see the correlation between Highspot usage and the closed won. I’m sure that there is a high correlation between using the right messaging and the right collaterals and right messaging and it eventually leads to fewer touching points.

For us, let’s say, a successful program or to show complete productivity will be the ability to show higher numbers in the closed wons that our collaterals that are pushed into Nayax Win, or Highspot, as opposed to those who didn’t. We can see it all because Highspot is completely data-driven, so we can see the names of the reps who used it and who didn’t. Therefore we can definitely see who is driving productivity utilizing Win, and we see the difference, which is amazing. We are only three months into the process and we already see the difference between a closed won of reps that are using Highspot and those who are not.

SS: I love that. That is fantastic. Now, you also recently hosted your company sales kickoff event a few months ago. You mentioned that your team exceeded your KPIs for engagement from the sales team. I’d love to learn a little bit more about that. I know some of us are heading into kickoff season halfway through the year, what were some of your best practices for delivering an engaging event that really motivated your sellers?

MS: We had an amazing SKO. Actually, at Nayax we do not call it SKO, we call it Connect because our selling model is indirect and direct. It means that we are selling a lot through distributors and partners, so we call it connect because we connect all the groups together. We had a very successful SKO in January after three years that we haven’t met each other face to face. It was really emotional and happy. It was really amazing to meet again after so many years, but when we brought everybody together, we had a lot of content to deliver.

I think the two most engaging sessions, one of them, by the way, was driven by a Highspot, but one of the two most engaging sessions that we had was inspiring. The first one was an expo. We created an exposition of everything that we sell. As I said about Nayax, we are focusing on payment as our center of gravity, but the payment is actually part of a complete solution that is based on hardware and software. What we have first is our integrated point of sale with software that is embedded within the point of sale. Then we have the management suite behind it that can manage all the operations with our services, and of course, all our loyalty and engagement programs for increased revenue and recurring customers.

What we’ve done at SKO, is we brought a lot of our devices that are connected to the retail devices themselves, the unattended machines, the retail machines, and we asked our sales to play with them and to see how it works as if they were consumers, the operators themselves that are having the consumers use their machines. I think they learned a lot about new features and new functions, how to use them, which problems occur, and if they occur, and we had the product managers decide on each solution and product explaining to the sales community once they’re practicing and utilizing the machines as if they are our operators or the consumers of the operators so they can touch it themselves and feel it themselves. It was a true engagement and they loved it. 

The second one was actually a role play in which we chose real-life examples of situations in which our sales representative needed to sell something to operators and explain the valuable position and the benefits behind our solutions. We created 10 different situations, which were very complicated, and we had a panel of judges, which was our two CEOs, and our entire c-suite. We asked the sales representative to show how they are planning to manage the sale. How many touching points, which content do they want to deliver in each touching point, and how are they planning to manage it? In the sales plays themselves, what we tested was not what they sell or how they sell the specific product, but also how they are selling in terms of sales soft skills, which was a combination of training and coaching.

I think the combination of coaching on top of the training on the solutions themselves was very engaging and successful because they learned a lot with regard to not only the capabilities of the products but also their capabilities as salespeople and sales representatives on how to leverage their soft skills to better places. These two sessions were incredibly successful, but the entire SKO was amazing and it was so much fun. I can’t wait for the next one. Seriously. 

SS: I love that. Now you also have a 92% active learner rate in your training and coaching programs in Highspot. How have you leveraged Highspot’s training and coaching capabilities to really develop engaging product education per programs, and how has this motivated productivity?

MS: I must say it wasn’t easy and I feel as if we only started, but the entire team was really engaged. It’s the sales team and the product team, the product marketing team, and the marketing team. We had a hackathon to build all the materials and we really built it all in order to make sure that we are not neglecting any segment, any vertical, any line of business, any geographies. It’s still a work in progress. I mean, it’s not finalized at all, and we still have a long way to go, but there are a few things that we did that were really important in order to achieve such a high score in a lower period of time. 

I think the first one is to have a sales enablement champion that will drive the entire development and engagement and will be like the missing link between sales and product marketing, sales, and headquarters. I think this is definitely something that raised the bow for us. Once we had our sales enablement champ listening to sales pitches and A/B testing scripts and reviewing everything that we’ve done, it really leveraged our training and coaching capabilities. This person from my team really bridged the gap, and once she spoke with the sales teams, she came back to us, to the marketing team on what to fix and what to do better, and this is how we better ourselves. I think it was really important. 

In order to motivate usage and engagement, everybody used the programs and system we needed to package it alongside sales enablement sessions. We have a team that we are managing as if it was a WhatsApp team within Microsoft Teams. We are constantly sharing information with it. I think eventually, we are only at the beginning, we still have a long way to go in order for me to feel that we are completely bringing in the productivity from the system, but we are in the beginning, we are already saving time for reps. Let’s say the end game will be to show the complete correlation between closed won and the usage of the collaterals, and then we can definitely speak about complete productivity. We still have a long way to go, despite the high score that you gave us.

SS: Yeah. I love to hear that though. Well, last question for you. What are some key business results that you have been able to achieve since implementing Highspot, especially as it relates to sales productivity? 

MS: Each month we see an increase in the usage of salespeople within the system, and we see a correlation between the usage and the revenue from closed won. The first month that we started utilizing the system, which was March, we were standing on zero engagement. Now, in the sales community, we have about 100 users. We already have 35% of engagement. From this 35% of engagement of active users that are actively using pitches and our sales plays and are visiting the various spots on a daily basis, we see an increase. I don’t want to state a number because it’s constantly changing, but we have an increase in there, let’s say closed-won capabilities.

I will be happy to share the numbers, but only in a few weeks because we are still sharpening our analytics there. As I said before, it’s already beginning and we did establish a single source of truth, which is 100% success. We do not see people using any materials from their desktops anymore, which means that this KPI was 100% achieved. In terms of a single source of truth achieved in terms of one tone of voice. This was also, in my opinion, let’s say 90% or 95% achieved. 

We see that everybody is using the messaging that we want them to use. We see a clear path in the change and how people are speaking about Nayax in the same messaging, as I said at the beginning, the story that we wanted them to speak about and to tell, we see it and we hear it across the globe from the United States, from Europe, Australia, New Zealand, China, Japan, everybody is utilizing the same tone of voice, which is amazing.

We still have a long way to go. There is a saying, by the way, which I love. I suddenly remembered from Robin Shama that he said that change is hard at first, messy in the middle, and gorgeous at the end. I think eventually the adoption of Nayax win or Highspot, it’s all about behavioral change for the salespeople, and from that perspective, from that KPI of a behavioral change, I think we have at least 85% completion because we see the usage and we see people are adopting it.

It’s hard to adopt a different way to utilize content and to consume content, and a different way to pitch after 15 or 17 years that you have been pitching in the same way suddenly to have somebody come in and say, no, do this, do that. It’s hard, but we are on the way and we want to influence the increase in closed won with the system. I believe we will get there. I think the end game for us will be to see a complete correlation between Highspot usage and closed won. In order to do that, we’ll keep pushing and it’s not easy, but eventually, it’ll be gorgeous, so we have patience. 

SS: I love that. Thank you so much for sharing your story with us today. I appreciate the time. 

MS: For sure. It was lovely being here and thank you for having me. 

SS: 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 maximize enablement success with Highspot. 

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