The Forrester Wave™ Sales Content Solutions, Q3 2020 report has been released, and it contains some significant findings to help guide your sales enablement transformation.
For those who haven’t yet leveraged a Forrester Wave report, these unbiased assessment reports are invaluable when trying to evaluate and decide which solutions to consider and which solution providers to partner with.
In this latest analysis, trusted analyst Forrester takes a deep dive Into sales enablement and sales content solutions, evaluating the nine most significant sales content solution providers against 40 criteria.
Up and to the right is where you want to be, as the Forrester team scrutinizes and plots each firm, in one dimension on their current offering and strategy, and the other on market presence.
In this latest report, Mediafly advances their position up and to the right more than any other provider, elevating to Strong Performer. To accomplish this, Mediafly received the highest possible score in 14 criteria including asset assembly and management, personalization, content ROI, guided selling, content recommendations and digital experience creation, and was ranked the highest in the content activation and predictive capabilities/AI criteria.
With Forrester indicating that 80% of B2B sales is now digital and remote it is key to evolve the toolset, skillset and mindset of sellers to perform in this more challenging environment. This is the lens through which the Forrester team scrutinized the sales content solution providers the most.
This reveals the key to successful sales enablement: empowering evolved sellers to create a more engaging, inspiring and differentiated experience for buyers, especially when remote and virtual.
To address the digital and remote challenge, you can leverage the right sales content solutions to improve and differentiate the buyer experience and create a more evolved seller, especially delivering the following four key elements:
- More Inspiring Sales Content
- More Consistent, Personalized and Influential Content Experiences
- A Value-first Approach
- AI / ML Driven Automation
- Agility Borne from Intelligence
#1: More Inspiring Sales Content
Forrester indicates that 74% of buyers want sellers to pivot the presentation or meeting to discuss what the buyer wants to talk about, not what the seller has pre-prepared to present.
Presenting big, traditional linear PowerPoint decks and static sales collateral just won’t cut it for your virtual sales calls. With short attention span buyers, you need to rethink the traditional look-alike sales content and create more visually stunning, animated on-line experiences for your customers.
Our advice: Rethink the presentation content to be more dynamic, leveraging visuals and animations to create a more dynamic experience to grab buyer’s attention each and every 8-10 seconds.
Next, take your big presentation decks and decompose the slides into vignettes, groupings of a few slides into short stories to address each specific business challenge, solution segment or customer hero story.
Next tie the vignettes all together into a “ “create your own adventure” story. with click to explore hierarchical (not linear) navigation from “day in the life” or “solution map” images, guiding sellers to precisely the right stories to match the buyer challenges, right solution and right customer hero stories. Instead of linearly going through the deck, or struggling to find the right content, this allows the seller to quickly pivot and present the exact content to fuel wherever the conversation goes.
And don’t stop with just your presentations. You can also take your traditional sales content such as infographics, white papers, product brochures and data sheets and make these more dynamic, animated and interactive. This can include dynamic charts and graphs that draw as presented (to grab attention), hierarchical navigation, to guide the seller and buyer to just the content they are interested in (versus a linear read through multiple irrelevant topics), and personalizing the data and content presented to precisely match specific industries, locations, challenges and solutions.
Checkout some great interactive presentation capabilities here, and see why Mediafly was ranked so high in helping you and your sellers deliver more inspiring interactive content to fuel better remote customer meetings and inspire buyers to take action.
#2: More Consistent, Personalized and Influential Content Experiences
According to Forrester, 77% of buyers expect sellers to help them learn something new and share customized data insights, and 86% of buyers take the time to listen if their salesperson can provide meaningful insights about their business. Unfortunately, 65% of sellers can’t find the content they need, and this shortfall means they often fall far short of heightened expectations.
Nowadays selling is not just being engaging on a 13” screen but being a good concierge. An evolved seller helps facilitate the buyer’s journey, proactively providing the right insights, advice and content at the right time to get the decision-making team to the next step in making the right decision. But we have to provide them with easy ways to find and share this content to be effective.
Our advice: As you begin to evolve your content to be more dynamic and personalized, you should also be evolving a method for sellers to more easily find and be guided to just the right content for their selling situation and step in the buyer’s journey.
First, provide your sellers with a personalized workspace, a customized portal which promotes the latest campaigns and important content they should be leveraging for high impact. The workspace can be designed to reinforce the steps in the sales playbook and connection with buyer challenges, helping to provide important guidance and boost the use of important approved content.
Second, provide sellers access to the wealth of good sales content with intelligent search, so each seller can quickly and easily find, present or share the right content at the right time. This includes direct search results along with smart content recommendations for any content being viewed and shared.
Third, automatically recommend the right content especially within the CRM account and opportunity view, so the seller has specific recommendations on what to share or present next with the buying committee.
Finally, ahead of the meeting, or once the virtual meeting is complete, making it easy to gather and share the content via a share link(we call it a collection) can assure that the customer is prepared, and what was presented in the virtual meeting is reinforced.
The sales content solution can enable easy sharing of the sales content gathering the presented or related interactive vignettes, demo links, videos, success stories and other customer content in a customized collection, sending to all attendees.
Sharing is tracked so the seller (and you) know who opened the collection, how long they spent interacting with each element and page, and who they shared the content with on the customer’s ever-expanding buying committee.
Checkout recommendations for consistent and personalized and influential content experiences.
#3: A Value-First Approach
Unfortunately, according to Forrester, 80% of sellers still predominantly pitch products / services, while only 20% are focused on what buyers really care about: personalized help assessing their challenges and a focusing on the business outcomes that can be delivered. And with the current uncertainty, budget freezes, spending cutbacks and COVID review committees, the focus on economics is higher than ever before.
In order to get the attention your initiative deserves and priority for constrained and locked-down budgets, you need a solid business case to provide financial justification. This is the only way to go from CF”No” to CF”Yo”!
Your sellers should be empowered to co-create a business case with every customer, to clearly communicate and quantify the cost of “do nothing” new and the business value your proposed solution can uniquely deliver.
Fail to proactively provide the financial justification and your proposal will likely end in “no decision” or get postponed until the dust clears and certainty returns. This could be months.
So many turn to leveraging a spreadsheet-based tool to provide financial justification, but sharing a complex spreadsheet in an on-line virtual meeting and working interactively with the customer through all the rows, columns and fields is clumsy. Data from every engagement is difficult if not impossible to capture. Adoption by more than a few value specialists won’t give you the scale you need to get value into all the deals where it’s needed.
Our advice: The good news is that you can evolve from spreadsheets to an interactive business value assessment tool to help all sellers take a value-first approach, with:
- Interactive discovery of the prospect’s challenges, current state and opportunities
- A tally of “do nothing” differently costs
- An estimate of the potential business value benefits from your solution – a tally of the cost savings / avoidance, productivity / process improvements, risk avoidance and business growth your solution can help provide
- A quantification of the cash flow your project could generate, comparing potential business value benefits versus required investments, risk adjusted to account for implementation and adoption optimization, and summarized into the key financial measures of ROI, NPV savings, and payback.
- Relevant success stories, to show how others just like your prospect have achieved similar significant benefits.
The seller can use the business value assessment tool with the customer to drive virtual interactions to gather data, review and refine results. Assessment reports can be combined with other content, and the collection sent to the buying group, tracking views, time spent and sharing.
And this is not just for sellers anymore. If you are selling “as a service” solution, the justification has to continue post the initial purchase. Renewals are not guaranteed and expansions more than difficult unless you can prove the value delivered from investments already made. Prior to renewal, and hopefully on a regular basis, an evolved approach means you are providing a tally of the realized ROI that your solution delivered, so that come renewal time, or better to fuel expansion selling, you have quantifiable proof on the savings and business value delivered to work from.
Click here to learn how Latane Conant, CMO from 6sense leverages Value selling and marketing tools (powered by Mediafly) to reduce sales cycles and drive incremental opportunities in a tough environment:
Click here to learn why ROI / TCO spreadsheets don’t work –
Learn more about ROI tools here.
#4: AI / ML Driven Automation
Every seller I connect with is more strained than ever, jumping from virtual meeting to virtual meeting with little time to prepare for and process each customer call, keep up with the additional internal meetings, and manage the new sales processes changes and steps.
Estimates are that less 60% of selling time is spent on overhead related tasks compared to actual selling time with the customer. Not too many other resources face such a poor ratio of overhead vs. on-task.
If we are to get the most productivity from our sellers, it is vital that sales leaders and enablement automate as much as possible, and eliminate as much overhead as possible with automation.
As well, without good data, it is hard to have the intelligence you need to act, refine and optimize. Relying on strained sellers to manually enter data was tough pre-crisis, and more so strained now.
Our advice: Leverage Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) to automate key sales tasks, especially those related to data entry, helping to reduce the amount of time sellers squander on overhead to maximize selling time and to dramatically improve data quality.
For example, a Meeting Assistant can intelligently leverage information from your calendar, CRM and sales enablement platform, recognizing that a meeting is occuring, and automatically recording key information about the event into the CRM system, including attendees and the content presented and shared all within the virtual meeting, eliminating post meeting note taking and tasks, as well as assuring CRM data quality.
#5: Agility Borne from Intelligence
All eyes are going to be on marketing and sales to deliver despite the tough environment.
You’ll be asked every week (if not every day) if the new campaigns, sales plays and content are delivering, and that deals are progressing as planned.
All this while the environment and market are casting a fog and obfuscating what is real and what is fiction.
Our advice: This is where digital engagement insights come into play, to clarify the truth from real data.
First, you’ll need to get everything you can from your new campaigns, sales plays, sales content and tightened marketing budgets. As a marketer, you’ll need to quickly assess and prove that new campaigns, plays and content are being leveraged, consumed and driving the intended actions and sales impacts. And, as revenues tighten, you’ll be asked to refine your marketing budget overall, and quickly identify any waste.
- Evolving to leverage insights will require you to leverage intelligence on:
- Opportunistic campaign success – For new marketing campaigns and sales plays, it is essential that you know as soon as possible what is working or not. Are sales reps viewing and leveraging the content as intended? Is the buyer-centric content you provided being shared with prospects? Are your prospects consuming and sharing the content? Did the content contribute to moving the needle (driving wins, shortening sales cycles, increasing deal size)? Tracking and intelligence on your new sales plays and related campaign content will help you and your team fine tune the approach and assure success.
- Sales content spend – You know that up to half of your sales content spend is wasted, but without the right insights, you don’t know which half it is. Knowing which sales content is being viewed, used, consumed and driving business outcomes can help clarify the content that should be retired, and informing which content warrants more future investment
Knowing how deals are progressing and what sales process is working best is difficult to begin with. Throw in additional uncertainty and providing a predictable view of which deals will close or not can be impossible. However, if you know more precisely which customer stakeholders and roles have been engaged, which content has been shared and consumed, and how engaged each customer is, you can have much greater visibility.
- For sales leaders, this intelligence helps:
- Sales visibility – Relying on sellers to manually indicate what they have done with clients and what stage each deal is at can be troublesome to the integrity of deal forecasting. Sales enablement can be leveraged to automatically tally what meetings occurred, and what was actually presented, sent, consumed and shared by who and when in each opportunity, improving the visibility into how engaged each customer is, and providing truth as to the integrity of forecasted close estimates.
- Sales coaching – Customer engagement insights will let front line sales managers know what they need to do in each deal in order to-help move the opportunity to the next stage.
Learn more about how to leverage insights to track and optimize your content and sales performance: Sales content analytics
In the two years since the last Forrester Wave report on sales content solution providers was published, Mediafly was able to substantially advance the sales content solution set to create a more evolved seller and grow market share with acquisitions and organically.
As others fell back, Forrester recognized our solution, strategy and success, as we advanced the score and derived value from our solution.
We anticipated the growing need for more inspiring interactive content to reshape the customer experience, improving the use of sales content to drive better last mile engagement, focusing on value-first, and the importance of intelligence to drive agility.
It is an honor to have our evolved selling approach recognized, as we continue to accelerate “up and to the right” in the wave.
To learn more about Mediafly’s sales enablement and sales content solutions, contact us or request a demo.
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