Episode 58: Scaling Enablement to Improve Buyer Engagement


Shawnna Sumaoang
Shawnna Sumaoang
Vice President, Marketing -Community, Highspot
Gracey Cantalupo
Gracey Cantalupo
Chief Marketing Officer, MentorcliQ
Podcast Transcript

Research from McKinsey found that only 22% of new businesses launched in the past ten years have successfully scaled. So, how can you successfully scale with enablement?

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 Gracey Cantalupo, chief marketing officer at MentorcliQ, Inc. Thanks for joining, Gracey! I’d love for you to tell us about yourself, your background, and your role. 

Gracey Cantalupo: Thank you so much for having me, Shawnna. I love this topic and I love helping other marketing leaders understand how to manage their content, enable their sales team, and ultimately help us all get more revenue and help us scale. 

As you said, my name is Gracey Cantalupo. I’ve been in marketing for over 15 years. Some B2C, some B2B, so I’ve had both. I’ve been at startups and I’ve been at large companies as well. I’ve been in the beauty industry, entertainment, commercial real estate, and now SaaS, Software as a Service. All this experience gives me a very unique perspective. I love infusing all the fun from my B2C days at MTV and Viacom with the results-driven B2B experience of my SaaS roles. I really try to create a human-to-human approach to marketing, so that it’s effective and also fun because, at the end of the day, we are marketing to humans.

In my role as CMO at MentorcliQ, we help make employee mentoring and ERG management easy for enterprise companies. We help employees at those companies develop their careers, hone their craft, and develop a community at work. We believe that every employee deserves a great mentor to help them thrive in their career and to help them find community and belonging in their workplace. I get to infuse all of that fun and helpfulness from my B2C days to help enterprises make a better workplace experience. 

SS: That’s fantastic. I love the mission of what you guys are trying to do there. Now, I want to focus a little bit on enablement. Thinking back to when you were first evaluating enablement platforms, what were some of the key reasons you selected Highspot, especially in comparison to your existing solution and maybe other platforms that you evaluated?

GC: Absolutely. At MentorcliQ, we did not have a comprehensive marketing tech stack when I joined. I joined MentorcliQ six years ago, so I was able to see a lot and help the team build out a lot of things. When it became time for us to look for a sales enablement solution, it really came down to three things.

Number one, is this going to be easy for our reps? Great salespeople are lazy and we want to make sure it’s as easy as possible for them or else they won’t use it. We also wanted to make sure it was easy for prospects and clients as well. We didn’t want to have to do a password or make them sign into LinkedIn. We wanted to make it really easy for them to see our content. 

Next, we wanted to make sure we could track what the sales team was using and what the prospects were looking at. Last, but certainly not least, we needed some dang version control. I mean, we had some reps that, I swear, must have broken into an old storage unit, scanned old ass PDFs of really bad content, and we needed to make that stop for sure. Making it easy, tracking what’s being used, and version control were really the three things we were looking for. 

SS: I love that. And I’ve definitely lived through those experiences. Now, when you were first rolling out Highspot, your sales team was also in the midst of nearly doubling in size. Can you tell us a little bit more about how implementing Highspot helped you navigate that change while you were also scaling?

GC: I started MentorcliQ again, six years ago, they were a few years in. They had a great product marketing fit and they were looking to scale and over time, the sales team grew from founder selling to real enterprise B2B SaaS salespeople selling. They need structure. They can’t just figure it out. They’re used to resources, they’re used to playbooks, and they’re used to having a process and a sales methodology in place for them to execute flawlessly. We just didn’t have that. 

Consistency ended up being the key for us to help us get these reps onboarded as quickly as possible and Highspot was so great for that. We were able to start to build that blueprint of a playbook. In the first call, you do your discovery, and you send this Highspot pitch with this content. Cool. In the second call, you do your demo, you send this follow-up. Okay, the third call, after you do your proposal, you send this content.

We really formulated it out for them and helped them be consistent. That was the key to being able to scale while we were launching this sales enablement program, and also while we were growing our team at the same time. 

SS: I love that. That’s fantastic. Not only were you guys scaling while you implemented Highspot, but you also had a really fast implementation. How did you ensure that you were able to both implement quickly and effectively? 

GC: This is what we call a compelling event, or in our case, multiple compelling events. Smart Links, which was a product by Sales Navigator, was being sunset and it was supposed to be sunset in January of that year. We wanted to make sure there wasn’t a big gap for our sales reps, and we had deals that might’ve started in Q4, but aren’t going to close until Q1 or Q2. We wanted to make sure there was a smooth transition there. So a big, compelling event there. 

The second big, compelling event is Q4. For most companies and B2B SaaS, Q4 is huge, and we did not want to distract our salespeople. Those two compelling events really motivated us to move quickly and make it as easy as possible for the sales folks.

SS: Now you’ve already seen some great results since implementation. I think you guys are at about 86 percent recurring usage of the Highspot platform. What best practices can you share that helped you drive such high adoption from the onset?

GC: There are really two keys for us. Number one, again, is making it easy for reps. Our reps are working on deals in different stages. They’re getting new deals coming in the door all the time. We just need to make it easy, plug and play. Like I said, great sales reps are kind of lazy so we needed to make sure that this was very easy for them.

One of the things I really loved about Highspot is its integration with Salesforce and within Gmail. It just made it really easy for the salespeople to use it in their own flow of work. I think I’m actually stealing that from the sales pitch from Highspot, but that really resonated with me to get the salespeople to adopt it. It just needed to be where they already were. I didn’t want to send them to another place. It’s right there for them and Salesforce, all the activities in Salesforce, and also there’s that plugin for them in Gmail, they can grab a pitch and send it right away. So number one is just to make it easy for your reps.

Number two, it’s a repeatable, very clear process. After the first meeting, send this pitch. After the second meeting, you get a demo, you add this content to the same pitch. That also makes it easy for your prospects and your clients. They’re just going back to one link and one pitch and that’s where the magic really happens. How do you make it easy? It’s a repeatable process and our prospects actually love our Highspot pitches and they comment on it all the time as well. 

SS: On that very note, another area where you guys have seen amazing adoption is leveraging Highspot to engage buyers, as you said, and you guys are at an 80 percent pitch adoption rate. How are your teams more effectively engaging buyers with Highspot? 

GC: They send it and they keep sending the prospects back to the Highspot pitch. I hear our reps on the phone, oh yeah, so I’m going to add it to the link I sent after our first call so that’ll be there for you when you need it. The proposal will be right there. Everything you need is right there. That really makes it easy for the prospect has be super helpful. 

The other thing, I think, that has been helpful for the sales team in particular, is they get notified anytime anyone engages with a pitch. Maybe that deal went cold. Maybe that deal ghosted us, or they said, oh, it’s budgeting season, I’ll come back to you when we get our budget numbers in Q4. The sales reps can see people engaging with the Highspot pitch and that’s a good flag for them to reach out early and see if they can be helpful. That has really helped the salespeople adopt it not only in the front end of the sales process but using it as a tool to do timely engagement back out to prospects that have gone cold if they’re engaging with Highspots pitches.

SS: I love that approach. Now, your organization also recently launched a new product for a new buyer type, so getting your reps up to speed was essential to engaging those new buyers. Can you tell us how you were able to certify your reps to sell this new product using Highspot? 

GC: We acquired a company called Diversed. That’s our ERG management platform. We needed to quickly train our reps and make sure they understood what the product did, what the value proposition is, and what’s the combined value proposition of MentorcliQ and ERGs. 

Most employee resource groups have mentoring happening organically. Let’s bridge those two things together and offer mentoring to those ERGs as well as smooth management. For them to understand quickly the combined value proposition and how it worked was key. 

We did training on that and we had our reps get certified. They actually had to pass a test do an interview and communicate the value prop back to certain senior leaders in the company. This was all tracked in Highspot using all of the pitches we built for Diversed as well as all the content. To make it easier for reps, the whole Highspot instance of ours was built with spots, which we kind of think of them not as file folders, but as isles of content you can walk down. We have a special spot for Diverse, which is our new product. We make it really easy for the reps. They don’t need to hunt around in the product features and functions problem solutions or any of the customer stories. Anything related to that new product is in one singular spot, one content aisle they get to walk down. That also made it really easy for the reps to quickly go in, grab content, or create a pitch that’s specific to Diversed and send that out as well. 

They didn’t get access to that content, though, until they passed the certification, which was a cool part of it. We had it locked until they passed and then they got access. 

SS: I love that. Use that as an incentive to get them to get through that. That’s fantastic. Just shifting gears a little bit, what metrics or key Highspot to kind of really optimize a lot of these programs you’re running? 

GC: I’ve been in marketing my whole career. I started as a graphic designer. I worked for lots of different companies, and whether it was a real estate company, a beauty company, or reality TV, MTV, there was never enough content. Sales teams always want more content. They are a bottomless pit of need. They always think their prospect needs this thing and their need is special. If it works for them, then everyone should have the thing. 

This list is huge, right? There are never enough resources and there’s never enough time to produce all of the asks that sales think are really important. The thing that I love so much about Highspot is it lets us track what’s actually being used, what’s actually being engaged with by the prospects, and what is actually influencing revenue. That influenced revenue metric was a game changer for us after our first year of using Highspot. 

What we did is we looked at the influence revenue report, and then I narrowed it down to, okay, there are five key pieces of content that are influencing the most revenue. It’s our demo highlight video, it’s our one pager, we’ve got a highlight deck, there’s this one client testimonial montage, and then we’ve got this one very powerful mentoring impact report that talks about mentoring and the Fortune 500. It’s those five. So, don’t F those five up was what I came back with.

It’s like, okay, those have to be perfect. We’re going to review them every quarter. We’re going to make sure they’re up to date. We’re going to make sure those are amazing because those are what’s driving the most impact. You don’t need to get everything perfect, but that helps us focus on the top five most impactful pieces, make sure they’re glitzy, make sure they’re shiny and make sure they’re getting used. 

Sure, there are going to be one-off requests or someone’s going to need a particular case study for one deal they’re trying to close. It won’t kill those requests, but it does help you narrow those requests to a very manageable five that our team can focus on. That’s been the game changer for us, is the focus on the top five and how that influences revenue. 

SS: Wonderful. Last question for you, Gracey. Just as a marketing leader, what has been the impact of Highspot on your top business priorities? Do you have any wins or key results you can share?

GC: I’m a designer at heart. That’s how I started as a graphic designer. I love how flexible the pitches are. I have a graphic designer on my team, so I’m very lucky in that respect. One of the things that we’ve been able to do is not just have a PDF attached to an email that goes to a prospect, but you can design this gorgeous pitch that has your branding on it, it has your messaging and that’s not just in the header. 

In each section, we can kind of wrap our messaging into the background of the pitch so that there’s great context around all the great content, kind of like a friendly contextual hug around all of that great content that we produce. That’s been extremely impactful from a branding perspective and set us apart in the market.

Sometimes people just open that thing and they might see that messaging over and over again. Maybe they don’t go to page five and your slide deck where you like always hit on those messaging points. For me, it’s been wrapping all of that messaging and that value ad into the actual pitch itself. I truly believe it helps us become the vendor of choice faster because we’ve got that branding opportunity. 

So for me, it’s having that brand control, being able to get across that messaging, as well as the thing we talked about earlier, which is being able to track not content that I’m in love with, or that the salespeople are in love with, but the content that actually influences the revenue. Those two things have been the most impactful for us.

SS: I love hearing that. Gracey, thank you so much for joining us today. 

GC: Absolutely. Thank you. 

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 maximize enablement success with Highspot.

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