October 9, 2020

Here’s What You Missed at TRANSFORM 2020

Showpad just hosted the world’s largest sales enablement conference. Completely virtual. Completely free. 

This post will recap TRANSFORM 2020 keynotes, breakouts and sessions and give you some new ideas about sales enablement you can put into practice right now. So if you happened to miss out on TRANSFORM, there’s no need to worry. We’ve got you covered.

Customer obsession = a great customer experience

Showpad Co-founder and President, Louis Jonckheere, spoke about creating an easy B2B customer experience. 

Customers are not just buying based on price anymore; they’re buying based on the experience they have with a company. In fact, 77% of B2B buyers feel that making a purchase is too complicated and time consuming.

The only way to provide value to the buyer is to be customer obsessed and know your customers deeply. Collecting and documenting customer knowledge can help your reps tailor the buyer experience to each customer. 

Don’t let disorganization kill your seller/buyer relationship

Customer knowledge lives in your CRM systems, surveys, meeting notes, market research and excel sheets. This disorganization leads to every team thinking differently about the customer. 

One of the first touchpoints your customer has is with your marketing team. If the messaging and content are wrong from the start because they started from a wrong opinion, that’s a problem. On the other hand, sales could also be ineffectively prepped and unable to articulate unique value. These things affect your customers and the overall buyer experience. 

Your customer expects a consistent experience with you, regardless of the department they interact with. This is why sales enablement is a crucial piece of the puzzle. Investing in enablement will ensure that you’re equipping all teams with the right knowledge, skills and tools to acquire and grow customers effectively. 

Selling touches all departments, not just sales

Showpad Co-founder and CEO, Pieterjan Bouten, discussed his thoughts on why the term “sales teams” is outdated when speaking about the buyer experience. 

“The process of creating a seamless buyer experience has become much more collaborative. It’s not only salespeople who drive revenue; it involves services, customer success and marketing teams. On top of selling, retaining customers and strengthening that bond has become equally important.”

Your salespeople, marketers, account managers, professional services specialists and customer success coaches all need to be able to deliver the best buyer experience. Buyers have an average of nine human interactions before they make a purchase and these interactions span anywhere from three to 11 different roles.

How Showpad is evolving to support our customers

VP of Product, Gaurav Kotak, touched on where the Showpad platform is going. 

“2020 has seen us shift to full remote work and tweak go-to-market strategies as the buyers’ needs are changing.

We noticed three customer trends as they adapted to these changes:

  • Customers rely on technology more than ever.
  • There’s been a change in some of the usage patterns on the Showpad platform.
  • Focus on alignment and collaboration across teams has increased.

We’ve made changes to the platform to support our customers better. For example, we release a new product every two months to encourage collaboration with our customers and better serve their needs.”

So, what’s coming for Showpad?

  • We’re focusing on ensuring that all customer-facing employees have access to the knowledge and tools to do their jobs, assisting them in having productive conversations with buyers across the buyer journey and coaching workflows that reinforce the knowledge at scale.
  • We created a platform search for web and mobile, making it easier for reps to find relevant content. 
  • We’re making the course creation experience significantly easier.
  • We’re developing a new way for sellers to submit private feedback when looking at a piece of content, giving the content creators more qualitative feedback rather than just tracking analytics. 

With these developments, we’re aiming to not only serve our customers, but the broader sales enablement community.

In branding, authenticity is essential

Two of our speakers spoke about the need for authenticity and humanity in marketing.

Market like a human

Omar Johnson boasts an impressive career. Founder of ØPUS United and formerly working with Coca-Cola, Craft, Campbell’s, Nike and Apple, Johnson’s vision is simple: Listen as offense.

Find the human problems in marketing and advertising. You should always solve the human problem, then the business problem. Doing so sets you up to inspire whoever you’re marketing to rather than just introducing them to your product.

Brand does not always equal marketing. Brand consists of product, people and storytelling. Johnson focuses on people. He believes in building a team that resembles a diverse consumer base. People create great products but they also create great stories.

Johnson also shared his set of rules to live by:

  • Product is king. Before logos and branding, showcase the product. 
  • We are young. The spirit of being young is in everybody — try to find that in everything you do. 
  • We find authentic moments of storytelling.
  • We live in a leader mindset. Telling your team that they are leaders makes them act like leaders, make calls like a leader and break the status quo.
  • We move culture. Find ways to push and create the culture we live in. 

“Storytelling only gets interesting when it’s emotional and connected to humans. You can create whatever you want, but how do you articulate the story of that product in an interesting way? How do we create big ideas? “

Johnson shared perhaps the most valuable insight at the end of his session:

“Listen to your audience. Hear what makes them happy, what makes them mad. What are they proud of? What are they celebrating? What makes them them? The best way to tap into the consumer’s heart is to put yourself in their shoes and listen to as many diverse perspectives as you can.”

Lead from the heart

Cynt Marshall, CEO of the Dallas Mavericks, stressed the value of leading with heart, intent, inclusion, insight and inspiration. This is what she calls all in leadership.

In 2018, Marshall got a call from Mark Cuban asking her to change the Mavericks culture. Right away, she developed a 100-day plan that consisted of four main pillars:

  • Zero tolerance for inappropriate behavior
  • To develop Mavs Women’s Agenda to educate, empower and embrace the women in the organization
  • Institutionalize an inclusive and supportive culture
  • Develop best-in-class employee complaint process and operations infrastructure

This plan branched out into a value-based playbook that promised to make the new values clear, own any mistakes along the way, encourage asking for help, invest in employees and create supportive communities within the Mavericks organization. 

All of this being said, Marshall’s vision was that by 2019, the Dallas Mavericks would set the NBA standard for diversity and inclusion. She first focused on gender pay equity and changed the leadership team to be made of 50% women, 47% being people of color. 

“We invested in people and began practicing the business case for diversity and inclusion. We knew we’d make better decisions when we had a diverse group of people at the table.”

Every effort that Marshall made was focused on improving the diversity and inclusion of the Mavericks organization. The most succinct takeaway was shared at the end of her session:

“Diversity is being invited to the party, inclusion is being asked to dance.”

Where is the industry headed in the midst of COVID?

Two of our speakers shared thoughts on where they predict the industry will go during and after the pandemic.

While conducting research, Mary Shea, Principal Analyst at Forrester Research, found that buyer preferences and engagement have been accelerating at a faster pace than many B2B selling organizations can keep up with.  In fact, 38% of B2B professionals said that in-person sales meetings have decreased in value. 

The traditional setting of sales meetings and pitches is no longer the way businesses exist. As buyers have become more independent, there’s been a blurring of inside and field sales. Because of this, companies have started majorly investing in remote sales models.

How to succeed in a COVID and beyond world

Shea shared two thoughts on how companies can set themselves up for success well beyond COVID: 

  • Working from home (WFH) should extend indefinitely. Assume that your meetings will take place remotely. 
  • Make sure you have tools that allow every member of your revenue team to engage in a multi-channel digital capacity.
  • Sellers should refine their skills (authentic interactions online, create and share videos, pull data to gain insights, engage in active listening).
  • Sellers should adjust messaging (emails with < 300 words, leave 30-second or shorter voicemails).
  • Combine formats and channels to create a personalized post cadence. 

Shea urges all professionals to prepare themselves for a very different landscape. 

“The only way out is through. You have to change how you think about B2B sales and adjust your processes to reflect our current remote world.”

Check out Shea’s session

Orchestrating a cohesive buying experience

Scott Santucci, President of Growth Enablement, shared how orchestration of teams and processes can help achieve a seamless customer experience.

“Ask yourself if you’re making things simple for your customers and if not, assess how you can change processes across teams to do so.”

He states that enablement leaders are orchestrators because they:

  • Are mission and goal focused
  • Prioritize the right goals at the right moment
  • Guide the narrative by confronting reality
  • Drive results by design, not effort
  • Unlock energy and create momentum
  • Catalyze change through collaboration

Sales enablement orchestration is not about completing tasks within a silo, it’s doing these things cross-functionally and holistically. 

The culprit of miscommunication between teams is “productitis” and every role blaming each other. By attacking this miscommunication before disorganization reaches your customer, you can avoid a negative experience that leaves them with more questions than answers.

Ultimately, you need a process that loops in all relevant departments so that the buyer experience is seamless. Assign roles, meet with stakeholders, keep tabs on projects and over communicate to ensure that you’re delivering impactful messaging. 

Check out Santucci’s session

Why we should change our approach to training and coaching

Frank Cespedes, Senior Lecturer at Harvard Business School, states that historically across industries, sales turnover averages about 20-30% annually. Most organizations will have to hire and train their salespeople every three to five years on average. 

The data shows that it took companies an average of three to four months to hire a salesperson and an average ramp up time of nine months. This means that most organizations don’t have a fully productive salesperson for over a year. 

So how can you change your approach to shorten ramp up time and train reps quickly? 

“Sales hiring is more expensive than some of the biggest capital expenditures but it rarely gets the same attention. It’s not about how much money we spend on training, it’s about how we actually do the training.”

Cespedes says that feedback that points in a certain direction assists your sellers rather than just telling them to sell more. Additionally, sales managers completing inadequate performance reviews will only perpetuate a lazy culture. 

Coaching sellers is immensely important. Organizations that implement a coaching platform see a massive quota increase. Technology, specifically sales enablement software, is the sales managers’ best friend. 

Selling is tough enough on its own — don’t do it without the right tools. 

Check out Cespedes’ Fireside Chat

The 2020 Enabling Excellence award winners

TRANSFORM being virtual didn’t stop us from celebrating extraordinary achievements by our customers. Our Excellence Awards are divided into 6 categories: 

  1. Best Sales Enablement Platform: Delivering exceptional sales enablement and business impact through collaboration 
  2. Best Enterprise Deployment: Driving sales enablement impact globally using the power of Showpad across the enterprise 
  3. High Impact Coaching Machine: Driving impact by revolutionizing the sales coaching experience
  4. Account-Centric Engagers: Driving account-centric engagement through account-specific initiatives
  5. Most Interactive Sellers: Finding innovative ways to interact with buyers and drive lift in the sales pipeline, bookings or revenue
  6. Sales Enablement Superstar: Having a bold vision to drive sales enablement forward and successfully driving and implementing an enablement project across the organization

Best Sales Enablement Platform award winners

  1. Unilin Flooring
  2. PerkinElmer

Best Enterprise Deployment award winners

  1. DuPont Water Solutions
  2. Clariant Corporation I Avient

High Impact Coaching award winners 

  1. Abbott Molecular
  2. Shaw Industries

Account-Centric Engagers award winners 

  1. TVH Parts
  2. Spectrum Enterprise

Most Interactive Sellers award winners 

  1. ThyssenKrupp
  2. J&J Medical Devices I Ethicon 

Sales Enablement Superstar award winner

  1. Sue Petersen of GE Healthcare

Check out Petersen’s session

Congrats to all of our 2020 Enabling Excellence award winners and thank you to all of our incredible customers!

Catch up on TRANSFORM sessions

As we close the book on TRANSFORM 2020, we want to share a selection of sessions you can replay until October 31st. From the likes of Sue Petersen of GE Healthcare to Edward Millington-Jones of British Airways, each session is packed with sales enablement best practices that have contributed to the success of dozens of organizations. 

If you’re ready to attend a session, click through to watch TRANSFORM replays.