SKOs keep sales leaders up at night. Or at least they should.
Creating agendas, securing budgets, choosing themes, selecting speakers, planning team-building exercises — the checklist for a sales kickoff can rival a royal wedding.
And at the end, after the motivational speeches, branded t-shirts and open bars have faded into memory, sales leaders must be able to confidently answer a business-critical question: Did they do all they could to enable their teams to succeed in the year ahead?
Sitecore, a leading provider of web content management and multichannel marketing automation software, is one company that can respond with a resounding “yes.”
Two members of the Sitecore team, Vice President of Sales Enablement Katie Musselbrook and Senior Manager of Sales Enablement Stacey Box, shared why at TRANSFORM 2019, the world’s largest sales enablement conference.
With the help of Showpad, Sitecore reimagined how to engage, educate and excite its sales organization during its SKO. Here’s how.
Starting with Showpad
Like many enterprise companies, Sitecore’s sales organization is complex, comprised of hundreds of salespeople across different disciplines and departments. Unfortunately, it lacked the people, processes and systems necessary to deliver effective enablement.
Content was disorganized and difficult to find. The company’s learning management system was inflexible. In short, a sales enablement overhaul was in order.
Sitecore first put together a team of sales champions, including the company’s top sellers and managers, to review existing content. Next it mapped out the Sitecore customer journey to ensure alignment with future marketing efforts.
“It allowed us to start designing enablement material and content in a way that was aligned completely to the buyer’s process and to the sales process as well, making that a lot more relevant and actionable,” Musselbrook said at TRANSFORM EMEA.
Unfortunately, the technology Sitecore had in place would not support this new approach.
“Showpad came along, we evaluated it and it really fit all of the needs we had at the time,” Musselbrook said. “We made the decision to roll it out at the same time as we rolled out our new sales enablement framework.”
Showpad was intended to be the single source of truth for all collateral, supplying sales representatives with an easy way to access and leverage the right content at the right point in the sales cycle.
“We never witnessed an embrace of a technology or new process like this ever before,” Musselbrook said. “We had about 90% user adoption in the first month, and we’ve leveled out at 85% every month since then, so we’ve not seen it waver, which is just mind-blowing.”
The Sitecore team soon realized Showpad could be an invaluable tool for its SKO as well.
After all, as the Sitecore team said at TRANSFORM US, a sales kickoff is ultimately one massive enablement event.
Kicking Things Off
The idea was simple: Turn Showpad into the primary destination for all things related to the kickoff.
Not only would Showpad be the source of all SKO information, from logistical details to high-level messaging, it would act as the official event app.
Showpad’s mobile-first app makes it easy for sales reps to brush up on messaging on the go or present in the field from their smartphones or tablets. Sitecore simply leaned into Showpad’s mobile functionality for its kickoff.
But first it was essential to get buy-in from executive leadership. Salespeople are bombarded with information on a daily basis across multiple channels, leading to information overload and a tendency to tune out non-essential communications. With the blessing of Sitecore’s executive team, Showpad became the only source of information related to the SKO, encouraging platform adoption among the sales organization.
Sitecore also knew a successful SKO isn’t a one-and-done affair. The company built out pre-work for the event in addition to custom content and training featuring applicable exercises related to real-life accounts — all housed in Showpad. There were also plenty of follow-up assignments to reinforce key takeaways after the event had ended.
Finally, Sitecore worked with Showpad’s Customer Success team to turn its vision into a reality, getting expert insight into the best ways to utilize the platform’s features in service of an SKO.
“Don’t be afraid to push the boundaries of the platform,” Box said at TRANSFORM US. “Just because that’s how you use it today doesn’t mean that’s how you have to use it tomorrow.”
Rallying Around Results
Sitecore’s sales kickoff took place over three days in July 2019. During that time, the company recorded 19,000 interactions within Showpad, half of which occurred using the mobile app.
Besides a successful sales kickoff, using Showpad reignited reps’ excitement for the platform. Although it had been implemented six months prior, using Showpad as the official SKO app reawakened interest among salespeople.
Suddenly team members had lots of questions about Showpad features, such as Shared Spaces, which allows quick creation of branded microsites and collaboration with stakeholders.
In fact, Musselbrook and Box soon started receiving questions about Showpad from other departments. They gave stakeholders from marketing and customer support limited access to Showpad as part of the SKO, and now those teams wondered how they could use the platform for their own initiatives.
So what’s next for Sitecore and Showpad?
The Sitecore team told the TRANSFORM US audience that the company recently launched a new hire onboarding program supported by Showpad, utilizing the platform’s training and coaching features.
Showpad Coach provides field and inside sales reps with bite-sized learning experiences that follow customizable training paths featuring both required and elective courses, as well as real-world assignments. Sales leaders can then evaluate impact through quizzes, tests and surveys.
Meanwhile, it also enables salespeople to build confidence through features such as PitchIQ, allowing them to record practice sessions and submit them for assessment, or watch recordings from top performers.
In short, Showpad has become critically interrelated with Sitecore, from seller preparation and buyer engagement to strategy optimization.
Crushing your SKO isn’t easy. But as Sitecore knows firsthand, with the right tools, you can make it look that way.