Challenge: Inconsistent Content, Buyer Message, and Sales Performance
Apptio builds SaaS applications that help IT and finance leaders manage, plan, and optimize technology investments. The company grew its business by empowering sales territories to operate as “franchises” so regional sales teams develop individual approaches in order to maximize the local market opportunity within their regions. Because of this complex product-market dynamic with multiple products, buyer personas, and customer segments, it was difficult for reps to know what content to use in any given customer conversation. Without a well-organized content repository, reps were left to either create their own customized content or use irrelevant, out-of-date content.
Without a well-organized content repository, reps were left to either create their own customized content or use irrelevant, out-of-date content.
As Apptio’s growth accelerated, company leadership recognized the need for a dedicated sales enablement team to support, train, and manage consistent, company-wide sales processes and methodology. A critical component of the enablement effort was the need to create a single, unified location where sales reps could find all authoritative, relevant, up-to-date content. After unsuccessfully implementing several tools, including Salesforce content libraries and SharePoint, the sales teams began to complain of “sales tool fatigue.” Sales reps had become increasingly skeptical of “shiny new sales tools,” and their trust in marketing and sales enablement waned. Recognizing the need for a purpose-built sales enablement platform, Apptio decided to invest in a sales enablement solution.
After spending a considerable amount of time and resources attempting to implement a legacy sales enablement solution, Apptio’s sales enablement team found that the outcome was no better than what they had achieved using previous solutions. One of the main reasons Apptio wanted a purpose-built sales enablement platform was to give sellers an easy way to find and surface relevant content based on the buyer scenario and opportunity profile. The legacy sales enablement solution’s basic file and folder organizational approach was no different than what other basic file storage systems provided. What’s more, the legacy sales enablement solution had worse search functionality than SharePoint and OneDrive’s search. After struggling to navigate the legacy sales enablement solution’s complex interface, sellers would download core pieces of content they were able to find, modify them, and then send them to buyers without oversight, depriving marketing of visibility or control. Because of these struggles, adoption of the legacy sales enablement solution lagged significantly.
Poor sales adoption wasn’t the only issue Apptio faced with its initial legacy sales enablement solution. The extensive overhead involved in supporting, maintaining, and administering the solution also proved itself a problem. The legacy sales enablement solution’s limited integration functionality required Apptio’s technical staff to build custom code and encryption to connect it to the company’s SharePoint instance. Administering the product quickly became complicated and difficult, with extensive manual effort needed to update and upload content to the system.
Sales reps had become increasingly skeptical of “shiny new sales tools,” and their trust in marketing and sales enablement waned.
The implementation of the legacy sales enablement solution went so poorly that it further exacerbated the disconnect between the sales, marketing, and sales enablement teams. Apptio needed another solution — and in order to rebuild trust, it had to be one that would work without fail.
It became clear to us at Apptio that we really needed to improve the way we were supporting our sales leaders. We were looking at some technology plays to help with this, that had the ability to make reps live in Salesforce and live within the systems that are there.
Solution: Highspot Intelligently Surfaces Relevant Content
Even though they had more than a year left on their existing contract with the legacy sales enablement platform, Apptio made the decision to bring in a new solution as soon as possible. They chose Highspot due to its intuitive interface, powerful search capability, and proven record of sales adoption. In addition to Highspot’s usability for sellers, the Apptio solution team saw a much better way to organize and manage content using Highspot’s Spot architecture. This, combined with Highspot’s extensive integration support and ability to create context and guidance using Highspot’s SmartPages, made it the clear choice for Apptio to scale its business and align its go-to-market going forward.
Another key factor in the decision to adopt Highspot stemmed from Apptio’s deep investments in other sales and marketing technologies. It was critical that these investments delivered their maximum benefit — which would only happen with seamless integration across solutions. Another major benefit of implementing Highspot is how well the product integrated with Apptio’s other technological investments, including Salesforce, Allego, Outreach, and SharePoint.
When we look at sales enablement success, we look at time to first and second deals. We’re also looking at all of the assets that the rep uses in Highspot, which is our learning management platform and our sales knowledge space. We know that good reps are using it much more than reps that aren’t succeeding. The same is true of our sales asset management. Our successful reps are in the platform and using a much broader variety of content in their deals than our non-performers.
Results: Integrated, Scalable, and Intuitive Sales Enablement
Highspot’s powerful search and automated content delivery capabilities have led to considerable satisfaction and consistent adoption among Apptio’s sellers and other customer-facing roles. As a result, the marketing and sales enablement teams are able to track usage and leverage analytics to continually improve the content they produce and the sales plays they are creating.
Highspot’s powerful search and automated content delivery capabilities have led to considerable satisfaction and consistent adoption among Apptio’s sellers.
Using Highspot, Apptio’s sellers are able to pinpoint their responses to the complex buying scenarios they face. Highspot now does most of the content work for sellers and automates the labor-intensive steps involved with manual content assembly. A seller can input just a few key data points and the system will pull information from Salesforce to produce a custom sales deck tailored to that specific selling situation. Reps no longer have to spend a lot of time and energy building assets themselves that they aren’t sure are on-target.
At Apptio, a key indicator of sales enablement success is how long it takes for a new sales rep to close first and second deals. This is used as a measure of true integration into the sales team and effective adoption of sales training. Highspot was chosen because it could positively impact this KPI, making it possible to deliver sales training more consistently and more efficiently, while also providing reps with easy access to the assets they need to shrink time to deal.
Highspot has played a critical role in creating go-to-market alignment across all customer-facing roles within the organization. Customer services, professional services, customer support, account management, solutions consulting, and partner teams now have access to the same kind of customer-facing content that the sales team does, creating a cohesive go-to-market approach across the company.
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