Sales Tech Simplified: Combating Poor Sales Productivity & Improving Customer Experience

April 20, 2017 Jennifer Wyne

In this series, we ask tech executives to describe the why and how of their solution. We call it Sales Tech Simplified.

This week I interview Jeff Schmidt, SVP, Worldwide Sales & Services at ClearSlide.

Nancy: Why does the industry need your solution?

Jeff: In the last few years, I’ve seen an explosion in the number of enablement tools available. Despite increased investment in sales and marketing technologies, Accenture and CSO Insights find sales productivity has actually dropped 12% in the last 5 years.[1]

New investments have yet to make a dent in the challenges we face every day:

  • 58% of forecasted deals never close[2]
  • 94% of sales leaders lack confidence in sales and activity data[3]
  • 70%+ of reps are unprepared for questions or don’t have relevant content[4]

I hear similar challenges echoed from the sales and marketing leaders that I work with. They all talk about the lack of visibility into what is really happening between sellers and buyers in the sales cycle. I’m sure that you have seen activity on an account and asked a rep how the deal was going – what happened in the last few meetings, how did the customer respond to the latest outreach? You may check the opportunity in CRM or get an email from your rep saying the deal is on track.

But you don’t have a clear picture of what was presented to the prospect, how the buyer responded, or even which contacts are most engaged to help you make an informed decision on next steps. You don’t actually know how buyers are engaging with your account teams or how those interactions add up across emails, online meetings, and in-person meetings. And solving this lack of visibility is what ClearSlide is all about.

ClearSlide creates amazing customer experiences — by bringing content, communications, and analytics together in a single platform to make every customer interaction successful. For sales leaders, ClearSlide provides engagement dashboards to improve deal visibility, coaching, and forecast accuracy.

For marketing and sales enablement teams, ClearSlide guides sellers to the right content, at the right time, in the right context – and provides the insights to maximize content ROI. For sales reps, ClearSlide delivers an intuitive and end to end experience that allows reps to prospect faster and real-time buyer engagement analytics to anticipate and respond to needs.

Nancy: Why should ClearSlide be prioritized above other options?

Jeff: Simply put, ClearSlide customers recognize value quickly. Our customers report amazing results – including a 10%-20% increase in closed deals and 25% decrease in time to on-board new reps. Why are our customers so successful?

  • Easy to use and highly adopted. ClearSlide is optimized for sales reps— their behavior and needs — making adoption almost “viral.”
  • Most complete and integrated platform. ClearSlide can replace the disparate tools and point solutions that sales reps currently navigate to do their jobs.
  • Works with existing tools and processes. ClearSlide integrates into the workflows that sales teams use every day – whether it’s email, CRM, or mobile.
  • Highly secure and reliable. The ClearSlide platform delivers enterprise-class reliability, advanced compliance and security, and open APIs.
  • Most actionable engagement analytics. Real-time, detailed, and cross-channel analytics differentiate ClearSlide engagement data from any other offerings in the market.

Nancy: Where does your solution fit in the Hierarchy of Revenue Needs™?

Jeff: As a complete Sales Engagement Platform, ClearSlide delivers value across the Revenue Hierarchy. Here are some examples:

  • Developing, Coaching, & Onboarding —Insights Dashboards, call recordings, and best practices library support sales rep skill development.
  • Managing, Forecasting, & Analyzing —Engagement and Insight Dashboards help manage team performance and improve forecast accuracy.
  • Knowing Who to Sell To —Engagement analytics identify which prospects are engaged and what they’re focusing on to target and tailor outreach.
  • Engaging with Prospects — Integrated communications and single sales library make outreach across channels simple.
  • Communicating Value — Aggregate engagement signals across communication channels and contacts into a single view to hyper-personalize follow-up based on what buyers actually care about.
  • Closing Deals – Account Based Engagement Reports provide all activities and engagement across teams to provide a single view of account health.
  • Repeating & Up/Cross-Selling — Account Based Engagement Reports help identify new contacts to target or help prioritize/rank contacts and accounts.

Nancy: How mature is a typical organization’s sales stack before adding your technology?

Jeff: We know that reps are using between 5-8 tools every day to do their jobs.[5]

Stitching together disjointed tools is confusing for the reps, hard for enablement and operations teams to manage, and may actually end up hampering rep productivity. A Sales Engagement Platform can help streamline an organization’s tech stack and support the entire cycle — with content management, integrated communications, and advanced analytics.

At the same time, detailed activity and customer engagement data feeds into your marketing and sales teams’ existing workflow and processes (including CRM, custom tools, and marketing systems). Organizations of all sizes have built the foundation of their sales tech stack on CRM and ClearSlide. They are able to replace antiquated conferencing tools, content repositories, and email add-ons with a single, complete platform.

Nancy: In what ways is your solution complementary to others that might be in someone’s sales stack now or in the future?

Jeff: Sales reps love ClearSlide because it is tailored for them and how they want to work – whether from the web app, Outlook or Gmail, CRM, or mobile apps. All activity and engagement data is auto-logged back to CRM, saving valuable time and improving data quality. Mobile apps give field reps access to recommended content and ability to instantly start online meetings — even while remote. Even more importantly, CRM will capture activity and engagement data from on-the-go field reps.

ClearSlide integration with Salesforce and Microsoft Dynamics allow organizations to move beyond simple activity tracking to measuring actual buyer signals (how customers respond and engage to your content and messaging). Combining ClearSlide’s unique, cross-channel engagement with CRM opportunity data provides actionable insights to improve deal visibility, coaching, and team performance.

Nancy: What are some of the challenges your solution solves for Marketing/Sales?

Jeff: I hear 3 key challenges across sales and marketing leaders:

  • Continued declining sales rep productivity, with reps only spending 35% of their time interacting with customers.[6]
  • Lack of visibility into deal progression, resulting in 58% of forecasted deals never closing.[7]
  • Marketing teams are under pressure to deliver more content, with less budget (70% of marketing teams created more content than the prior year [8]), but 55% of sales reps report that they create their own content.[9]

Every day, I am fortunate to talk with about the results that they are achieving with ClearSlide’s complete Sales Engagement Platform.  For example,

  • Athenahealth reduced time reps spent on non-selling activities by 70% and improved forecast accuracy by 50-60%
  • LiveIntent increased conversion rates by 25% and reduced sales cycle by 22%
  • Autodesk improved conversion rates by 10-15% by delivering the right content at the right time

Nancy: What are some good resources if someone wanted to learn what questions to ask, what others are doing, or purchase considerations?

Jeff: This guide based on a report from 451 Research will help you understand how systems of engagement such as ClearSlide can complement your existing investments in CRM. That said, I think the best way to identify the value of a solution for your business is to see it in action — and try it yourself. Try ClearSlide for 30 days and experience the platform firsthand.

[1] Accenture and CSO Insights: 2016 Sales Performance Optimization Study
[2] Accenture and CSO Insights: 2016 Sales Performance Optimization Study
[3] Forrester Research: Sales Leaders Need Improved Sales Activity Visibility
[4] Forrester Research: Why Buyers Don’t Want To Meet Your Salespeople And What To Do About It
[5] Aragon Research: Digitize the Sales Force — Leverage Sales Engagement Platforms to Gain a Competitive Advantage
[6] Accenture & CSO Insights: 2016 Sales Performance Optimization Study
[7] Accenture & CSO Insights: 2016 Sales Performance Optimization Study
[8] Content Marketing Institute: 2017 B2B Content Marketing Trends
[9] CSO Insights: 2015 Best-in-Class Company Research

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