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



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


How to extend the lifespan of your Webinars?

If I ask you what’s your content marketing plan for the upcoming quarter, one of your answers will probably be doing a few Webinars.

The situation

Here is how this goes …  Full of motivation and energy, you want to launch a Webinar. You have found an interesting topic with great content, you have convinced external co-speakers (e.g. partners or customers),  you’ve built up the presentation and worked with your marketing operations team to set up the Webinar registration page, sent over the invitations by leveraging your contact database. You’ve monitored registrations during the one-month lead time you thought would be enough for proper promotion and you feel pretty satisfied because you got 30 registrants, which you feel is not too bad in the over-crowded B2B market.

But when the D-day for recording your Webinar arrives, the disillusion takes shape: only less than 10 people show up, with among them two customers, three partners, one competitor, a couple of university students and a hand of internal employees …

What went wrong?

Let’s try to analyze what happened.

1/ First of all, you didn’t think ROI. I mean that, unless you expected dozens of qualified participants, the cost of producing this Webinar would randomly be compensated by the generated marketing-sourced or influenced revenue.

2/ The poor result shows that your contact database might not be qualified enough, you will need to clean it up and create better segments. In some bad situations, your outgoing emails might even been considered as SPAM and land directly into the Junk folder of the recipients.

3/ The people you invited are busy, they might register for your Webinar with the true intent to participate but life catches them up and there is some high probability that some urgency comes up the D-Day.

4/ People’s mentality has evolved. They know that your content won’t disappear and will then be available on-demand. They create a task in Outlook to remember to check out the recording someday. Unfortunately this day never happens, leading at some stage to the deletion of this reminder task …

So why do I continue doing Webinars?

Personally, I believe Webinars are a good way to go deep with a topic. This is also an interactive format, especially if you are several speakers and have a Q&A at the end of the session.

A Webinar demonstrates thought leadership and creates a more personal relationship with the audience than simple white papers and solution briefs.

Youtube videos are great, I actually prefer Youtube videos to Webinars but unfortunately, there is no way for you to display a registration form on Youtube and capture the lead before watching the video. We’ll see actually below that my strategy consists in combing both approaches.

What’s my strategy to extend the lifespan of my Webinars?

My strategy consists in considering that the Webinar is not an event but an asset. This means that I don’t rely on the live Webinar broadcast to generate leads. I rather set up a traffic acquisition strategy to promote the Webinar as on-demand.

+++ The first strategy is to leverage my product Youtube channel. If you have a few minutes, you can also read a previous article explaining why your Youtube channel is so important.

1. I cut my Webinar into 3 video teasers of 2 to 3 minutes each, publish them on Youtube and fill their metadata properly.


2. 20 seconds before the end of each video teaser, I add a “Call to Action” to watch the full Webinar. I use a specific tracked link that indicates that the source is Youtube.


3. 10 seconds after popping up the Call to Action, I also suggest to watch another video teaser of the Webinar.


4. When clicking on the “View the full Webinar” call to action, people land on a page on our website domain. Youtube doesn’t allow to redirect to a Website we don’t own. Since our Webinar, is hosted on the ON24 platform and we don’t own it, we display a strong “Call to Action” on the web page that links to the ON24 Webinar registration page.


5. Here we are. The lead has already watched one or more video teasers of the Webinar and is willing to watch the full recording now. This a highly qualified lead that is directly injected in our marketing automation tool.


+++ Once this is in place, my second strategy is to leverage my product blog to publish several blog posts around the topic of the Webinar. I will add a few links to both the Youtube channel and the full recording, which will improve the SEO ranking of both the posts and the videos. When pointing to the full Webinar registration page, I use a second tracked link that indicates that the source is the product blog.


+++ Ultimately, I track this campaign activity by using our marketing automation tool. I use following metrics:

  • number of views
  • split by source (direct, youtube, blog)
  • number of registrations

Those leads feed our contact database and flow then directly into specific nurturing campaigns that might be global or local.

This is how I turn a one-time online live event into a lasting marketing asset that will drive me traffic for the next 2 years. With this approach, the ROI naturally increases significantly as I cover the cost of producing this Webinar over 24 months.



How to turn your ABM Strategy into a success?

Understanding ABM – Account Based Marketing – is one thing, succeeding with it is another one. I wanted to share with you a few guidelines on how to turn your ABM strategy into effective dollars.

Work closely with sales

This is extremely important. You need to develop this initiative together with sales leaders because your success will depend on the good alignment between marketing and sales.

Identify target accounts

Identify with them the list of key accounts and determine specific goals for each of them along with tactics to achieve those goals. Be clear on responsibilities and define who is responsible for what and how you will measure the impact of combined efforts.

Prepare your team

Make sure your team is properly trained on the methodology and knows how to actionate it. ABM is in many ways different than classic marketing and you need to make sure your team understands the goals and challenges and is ready and able to execute efficiently.

Define your ABM activity calendar

ABM is powerful but leading associated activities takes a lot of resources on the marketing side. You need to prepare targeted messaging, supporting assets and build specific Web pages along with dedicated tracking and reporting. Pick up a few strategic key accounts – where you have the largest potential for additional business – and schedule relevant activities in a calendar shared with your sales peer.

Research everyone on the buying committee

Work with sales to understand their key account planning and identify the right people who influence and participate to the buying decision.

Regularly check alignment with sales

Before launching any ABM activity, make sure the goals are still valid and the needs from the sales team haven’t evolved.

Create content to target accounts

Develop compelling, engaging content that speaks to each person on the buying committee and the larger strategic business initiative they share.

Equip your sales team to engage accounts

Hand over to sales all insights, information and guidance about each account, including which content assets to use when. You can also train them on content engagement tools such as Highspot to better track efficiency of those assets in the targeted accounts.

Measure the impact of your account-based marketing

Your reporting dashboards should have been set up upfront, before starting the initiative. A common mistake is to think it won’t take much time to build and can wait until the ABM activity is launched. Discuss the performance with sales and compare the effectiveness across the different target accounts and across the different activities. Success is above all a matter of measuring, correcting and iterating.

Why is your Youtube channel so important?

In 2017, I’m still very surprised to see so many companies with either no or a poor Youtube channel and that’s why I decided to write a few words about the importance of considering your Youtube channel carefully in your marketing mix.

Videos have become the new way to consume Web content. To get convinced of this, you can search for statistics on the Web – there are plenty of them – but you can also introspect yourself and analyze your own behavior: when you search for information, look at when you use Google and when you use Youtube … I would assume that like me, you prefer watching a short 2′ – 3′ video rather than reading a long article.

Moreover, when we look at the level of engagement, the engagement is much higher with a video: according to recent research, while 80% of the web users watch a video, only 20% read a text.

In terms of content type, Forrester predicts that 90% of data worldwide will be video in 2019 and Google and Facebook have anticipated that by ranking up video results in their search engine results.

So, let’s introspect myself and list some of the key topics that I prefer search on Youtube rather than Google:

  • Entertainment: game tutorials for kids, humor, cartoons …
  • Retail: product presentation, review and testing …
  • Culture:  history, geography, economics, media and politics …
  • Home: handy work, fixing things at home …
  • Arts:  learning how to play music, watching amazing musician performance …
  • B2B: company presentation, offering presentation, product demo, expert talks, event coverage.

And you, do you think your activity can still afford not being visible on Youtube?

Ideas to scale your sales enablement activities

As product marketer, part of your job is to develop sales enablement tactics and activities.

The problem is that your time is limited and your worldwide role makes it difficult to address each region separately. Moreover, in the digital word, organizing face-to-face training sessions are no longer the most efficient way because:

  • The sales force is mostly distributed across the different countries, which makes it difficult and expensive to organize global face-to-face group meetings.
  • Sales reps have their own business agenda and this is always difficult to get them into the same room.
  • Their attention span is also limited, especially if this is about pushing new information requiring limited interaction.

So what tools are good for your sales enablement activities?

First, put in place a Sales Portal on your Intranet or internal social network. This point is crucial to me, as a good sales portal will have a tremendous impact on the quality and efficiency of your sales enablement. Make sure your sales portal is easily accessible from outside the company and via mobile – as sales reps are often on the move. Define activity tracking dashboards with KPIs such as number of views a day, user engagement, ratio of returning visitors, number of asset views and downloads ….

Then, implement a LMS – Learning Management System – with help from your marketing ops team. Once again, select a LMS  that is accessible from outside the company and via mobile. You will upload there a sales certification program for new hires, release update trainings, market and competition updates … My strategy is to upload there only long-life assets and prefer the sales portal for more ephemeral assets. The advantage of the LMS is that you are able to enroll sales teams and track course activity at the individual level, resulting  in some good reporting for sales Executives.

The last sales enablement tactic that scales well and that I love is your product blog. This blog can be internal but I prefer the public one. Why? Because we live in a connected world where communication is king and the role of Product marketer has evolved to a thought leader and evangelist role. My recommendation: write blog posts on your public product blog and share them with your sales teams for them to read and improve their skills. That’s actually what I’m doing on the ApiFriends blog.

And you, what’s your strategy to scale your sales enablement activities?

The value of Customer Experience Networks

There is an interesting concept emerging on the market, named “Customer Experience Networks“.

This terminology is made of two parts that everyone understands – “Customer Experience” and “Network”. But what does the whole expression mean? Let’s spend a few minutes discussing the concept …

The backdrop is we leave in a world where digital technology has revolutionized the way we communicate, consume and buy. The interactions through mobile devices and other connected devices have been booming and this is not about to stop. Digital interactions have become the new norm and force now companies to differentiate by providing a unique experience to grow customer retention and wallet share.

But customer experience becomes rapidly poor if companies just limit their offering to their core services. There is a need to onboard partners into the experience to create additional value to the customers. A Customer Experience Network consists in creating more value and better experience to the customers by delivering new services made possible thanks to flexible and dynamic interactions with a large panel of business partners.


What does it imply to create a strong digital customer experience?

  1. Delivering mobile apps with a powerful User Interface (both nice, intuitive and consistent) and strong performance (no data latency and high availability).
  2. Regularly enriching the app with new services to capture new business moments and increase the wallet share.
  3. Collecting and analyzing customer data to adapt dynamically to their needs.
  4. Leveraging mobile messaging capabilities to keep customer attention and create stronger engagement.

Which tools are required by IT ?

  1. A mobile application development framework that accelerates the plumbing part and helps focus on the quality of the User Interface rather than the technical aspects.
  2. A strong API Management layer that allows to create new backend APIs easily and manage the different lifecycle stages of the APIs, while enforcing a strong security level.
  3. Cutting-edge analytics technology to measure the performance of the app and the backend systems but also the behavior of the app users.
  4. A solid MBaaS module that accelerates mobile backend development and offers push notification capabilities.
  5. An API-based integration platform that allows to connect efficiently to internal services but also with external partners to create additional services.
  6. Big data technology to harness the large volume of data coming from all digital interactions and customize the delivered experience

What challenges do IT face to deliver those Customer Experience Networks?

IT are under ever increasing pressure from the business while their resources remain limited. Building a Customer Experience Network is not a short term project but a journey IT organizations need to go along. This journey is paved with different important milestones that can be grouped into 3 categories:

  1. Adapt: engage discussions – internally and with partners – on customer experience networks and the business moments you want to capture and start adapting your organization to take this journey.
  2. Engage: focus on major interactions with key partners and start embedding a differentiating service within your app. Leverage this opportunity to keep adapting your organization and grow your learning curve.
  3. Scale: leverage your success and extend to new initiatives.

Exposing legacy services to digital channels and addressing the omnichannel experience are key topics but visionary IT and business Executives will go further down the road and explore new opportunities by investing in a new generation of integration platform enabling Customer Experience Networks.


What is a Business Moment and why you should care?

As companies start gaining stronger maturity in their digital transformation strategy, I think it’s time to think forward to what Gartner calls a “Business Moment”.

A Business Moment is a “transient opportunity, exploited dynamically”.

A transient opportunity means that this is only for a limited period of time. Consider for example a passenger stepping off the plane at the airport. This is transient opportunity as he will leave the airport shortly. There are a lot of uncovered opportunities there :

  • a taxi company can ping the passenger to offer a ride with a premium service or a coupon
  • a bank can inform the passenger on their closest ATM nearby
  • a food chain can offer a special welcome menu

Life period of a Business Moment

We can see that this Situational Awareness offers many great opportunities that need to be seized in a very short time period. Picture below shows how the value of a Business Moment diminishes over time. We can see that the Business Moment is worth nothing after a short time. If we take our previous example, there is no more value in the mentioned services once the person leaves the airport.

The 3 actors of a Business Moment

To participate to a Business Moment, companies need to think how they can exploit the connection of people, business and things in order to innovate for entirely new scenarios.

  • People: What are the scenarios which consumers or employees are involved in?
  • Business: What businesses – both the company and external business – are involved and how are they enabled with technology?
  • Things: Which technology can be leveraged to to generate the data needed to capture the Business Moment and provide a contextualized response?

How to exploit a Business Moment?

Exploiting these Business Moments requires first that you know about the context: how do I identify and reach out to travelers arriving at the airport?

There are in my opinion two ways of doing it:

  • either you have a partnership with the telecom provider and push a message once the person has just been roaming and is now localized as new in the area.
  • or you partner with a mobile app provider whose app is massively used by travelers – such as Uber – and own the customer relationship.

In both cases, your system will receive a notification and you will be able to process it in your system to correlate it with information in your CRM in order to issue the right offer.

As opposed to many, I believe companies don’t need complex event processing technologies to seize opportunities of business moments. Complex technology consisting in collecting tons of events will be owned in the future by just a very few, the ones owning the customer relationship when the Business Moment occurs.

The magic of the Business Moments is that no one can claim owning the customer relationship permanently. Once the traveler arrives at his hotel, the hotel will start owning the customer relationship thanks to the interactive TV in the room and the complimentary Wifi network. And once he will arrive at the office, his business calendar provider could own it in turn …

There are plenty of opportunities just there waiting, it’s just up to up to seize them first.