Highspot boosts engagement with your content

I’d like to talk today about Highspot, a tool I’ve been introducing this year at Axway to help sales teams be more efficient in their outbound communication to their customers and prospects and sell more deals faster.

Solution description

Here is a description of the solution and its benefits:

  • Highspot is a SaaS solution that can be directly accessed from Salesforce and gives instant and intuitive access to all available existing assets.
    • Assets are grouped per product line, both sales assets (sales play, sales presos, battlecards) and marketing assets (datasheet, white paper, ebook, customer video …)
    • Those assets can be mapped to the sales process (we can see which assets to use at every stage of the sales cycle)
  • The tool allows to easily send the desired assets to a contact and be instantly notified when they open the email or view the asset.
  • Its integration within Salesforce facilitates its adoption and offers easy content spotting and activity history tracking directly from Salesforce.

The content library

Highspot offers a content library that is organized into “Spots”. Each spot contains a specific set of assets on a specific topic. For example, at Axway we created a spot per product line and per vertical solution.

highspot library
Highspot library, called spots

When you enter a spot, you can see the list of assets in an elegant manner. To view the asset into a viewer, you simply click on it.

Highspot spot content

There are different ways to upload the content. You can either upload a file directly or add a link to an external asset, such as a video. You can also synchronize a file from a location on your internal Jive portal. At Axway, we have all our sales assets available via a Sales Portal on Jive and we didn’t want to upload them a second time in Highspot, this would create different versions difficult to maintain. The Jive doc synchronization feature is very helpful because we simply need to point to the Jive asset and it’s automatically surfacing into Highspot, with automatic update every time the original document is updated on Jive.

Once your spot starts to contain more content, you can easily use the list group filters. The ones I created for my larger Spots are:

  • Industries: banking, insurance, energy, manufacturing, media, public sector …
  • Sales assets: prospecting emails, sales plays, sales presentations, battlecards
  • Marketing assets: customer case studies, webinar links, analyst reports, checklists, white papers, datasheets, RFP templates
  • Product assets: product demos, product documentation
  • Sales stage: 1-Create, 2-Qualify, 3-Develop, 4-Prove, 5-Close/Negotiate, 6-Win

The pitch concept

One of the key features of Highspot is the “Pitch” feature. A “Pitch” is the action of sharing a message and one or several documents with a contact (either prospect, partner or customer).

There are 3 different types of pitches:

  • The Email pitch: this is the most common one, this consists in sending an email with different documents attached.
  • The Link pitch: this consists in sharing a link pointing to a web page containing the message and the attached assets.
  • The Live pitch: this consists in a WebEx conference for example

highspot pitch

Here is what en Email pitch example look like:

Highspot pitch

I personally like a lot the images embedded into the body of the message. You can also see on the screenshot above that I could leverage the “Highspot plugin for Outlook” that displays an additional menu when creating a new message.

Highspot offers a powerful notification mechanism. Every time the content I send is viewed, opened or downloaded, the sales rep is informed via a notification email and gets better visibility on how its contact engages with the content he sent out. There is no worries about any privacy violation here, this is just a simple tracking mechanism like the ones you have on the public Web.

Mapping with Salesforce

An interesting feature from Highspot is that it can be integrated into Salesforce. The sales rep can directly access from Salesforce:

  • the Spots’ content
  • the best content to use to move their opportunity forward
  • their pitch activity history

 highspot integration with salesforce

 

Analytics

The last piece of the puzzle is the Analytics feature. Highspot offers powerful analytics that give a great insight into the level of usage of the solution by the sales team but also the level of engagement of the contacts with the content we send them out.

Those Analytics are a great tool:

  • for sales reps to monitor their own performance
  • for sales teams’ leaders to monitor their team’s performance
  • for product marketers to analyze the content that is the most leveraged by sales and prospects. This is a great benefit to me, especially when you know that 60% of the content created for sales is never used.

Highspot analytics

Calculating the ROI for the investment

If you plan to evaluate the solution, you will most probably need to build an internal business plan to justify the ROI of the investment. The illustration below will help you with that.

Deconstructing Sales Enablement ROI

 

Why do marketers feel overwhelmed with technology?

As Cloud and mobile technologies are highly disrupting the consuming habits and the market, marketers need to take this new paradigm into account. This comes with a huge number of new tools marketers need to compare, select and adopt to keep up doing their job right and cope with those new challenges.

According to ChiefMartec.com, the number of marketing tools in the past year alone has grown by 87% over the past year, up to 3500. This definitely reflects the technology tsunami we are going through.

marketing_technology_landscape_2016

The 5 main categories are:

  1. Sales Automation, Enablement & Intelligence: 220 solutions
  2. Social Media Marketing & Monitoring: 186 solutions
  3. Display & Programmatic Advertising: 180 solutions
  4. Marketing Automation & Campaign/Lead Management: 161 solutions
  5. Content Marketing: 160 solutions

In addition to the tedious tasks of making the due diligence work to select the right tools and the effort needed to adopt those tools, marketers face another nightmare: “how do I integrate those tools together?”

In a recent article published on MartechAdvisor.com, Mark Geene, Founder & CEO at Cloud Elements states that, “as businesses become more digital, they must address the critical challenge of making sense of the magnitude of customer data flowing in and out of marketing automation apps. This can be made all the more difficult with the wrong approach”.

While marketing team prefer leveraging SaaS applications, pay for and run them by themselves without IT interfering in their operational needs and contributing this way to the development of shadow IT, this integration issue becomes a big challenge: “how the hell can I integrate my different marketing tools to leverage my investments and be more efficient ? Do I need to spend my time exporting and importing files manually from one tool to the other? And how do I leverage information from my existing CRM or marketing automation systems?”

Asking IT after deciding choosing a solution in their back would be an awkward situation for sure; but assuming they might be willing to do the job, how long do you think this is going to take them to make the integration right ? They will need to build multiple API-based connectors that require by definition a lot of monitoring and maintenance effort to make sure they keep working over time – yes, Cloud apps evolve all the time and their APIs too …

That’s why, when it comes to connectors, a “buy” approach is much more efficient than a “build” approach. Better rely on vendors specialized in Cloud app integration, commonly called iPaaS vendors, such as Cloud Elements. There are also vendors like Axway who are offering more limited iPaaS capabilities on top of a leading API Management solution and this might sometimes be enough to do the job right with no need for multiple investments in integration technologies. If you want to learn more about it, check out what is iPaaS

Software trial: how to leverage your marketing tools?

Do you plan to promote your software with an online trial version ?

In a previous article, I shared my experience on the 15 tips to build a successful software trial.

The ultimate goal for this trial is to generate qualified leads for your sales team and I would like to provide today with a few recommendations on how to integrate the trial with the existing marketing automation tools of your corporate web site.

 

1. Plug your trial behind the contact form of your web site

Your contact form is a privileged time with your visitors because that’s the time when you ask them to trust your company and give you their contact details. Don’t use it systematically. Why ? This is a matter of psychology, i.e. understanding the motivations leading  visitors to provide you with their name, email and phone number.

Usually, I recommend:

  • to keep your articles, news and global datasheets public
  • to activate the contact form before accessing the most appealing content such as thought leadership white papers, ebooks, trials.

 

gateway_form

 

2. Configure the form handler

Upon form submission, two actions are triggered:

  • An API call to your marketing automation platform – e.g. Pardot or Marketo – to create the new prospect and be able to analyze the navigation path of your prospect.

pardot-marketo

  • An API call to the trial user provisioning system. This system is in charge of creating a trial account for the prospect.

UserProvisioning

 

3. Send a welcome email 

Upon contact creation, your marketing automation tool sends a welcome email to the prospect. This email is very useful if the visitor wants to access the trial later on. Polish the template with your corporate branding.

Your email should contain:

  • a clear and professional welcome message
  • a link to click to access the trial
  • additional links to:
    • documentation (link to a documentation portal for example)
    • sales contact information

All links are automatically tracked by your marketing automation system for optimal performance measurement.

The credentials – login and password – to access the solution are generated by the user provisioning system independently and will be sent in a synchronous but separate email.

 

4. Display a confirmation page

A confirmation page is important because it explains your visitor that his/her request is being processed. There is so much to say about how to write an optimized confirmation page that I think I will let it aside for a next article.

At this stage your visitors are the most receptive to any information you might give to them. Take this opportunity to engage further and provide them with relevant information:

  • sales contact information
  • link to interactive product presentations such as videos of which impact is much greater than more classic materials.

Don’t bother your prospects with irrelevant information. They want to test the product, so they simply expect content that would help them better understand it, nothing more.

contact-sales

 

5. Integrate with your CRM

Now that the prospect is registered in your marketing automation system, you can use an automatic rule that will assign a high scoring and trigger an automatic import into your CRM, Salesforce for example.

pardot-salesforce

 

 

6. Define your lead nurturing mechanism 

It is extremely important to define the lead lifecycle and how you want to interact with it according to a precise timeline.

If you take the generic example of automation timeline below, you could consider following steps:

  • D: “welcome” email
  • D+1: “additional information” email
  • D+5: “Reminder” email due to inactivity or “Satisfaction” email due to activity.
  • D+[duration of the trial] – 5: “end of trial period warning” email
  • D+[duration of the trial] – 1: “end of trial period warning” email

email_automation

 

7. Define and follow your metrics

When it comes to online performance, it’s important to monitor it through automated reports that would be generated out of your marketing automation system. Reports could contain for example:

  • Number of trial requests
  • Number of trial activations
  • Number of login attempts per user

And for your upcoming marketing campaigns, you will also be interested in those numbers per campaign.