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The Consumerization of Sales

This article originally appeared in MarTech Advisor 

Three weeks out from #SDSummit and my mind is still reeling from my week in Vegas. Sure, I could blame it on the grandeur that is the Venetian (and how I didn’t leave the building once until my last day), but that isn’t what keeps distracting me from my coffee. After spending years at an organization that doesn’t attend conferences, my memory of them became fuzzy. Stale booths with stale conversations and stale food — that’s all I remember.

Sirius was different. Sirius was electric. Sirius was about the people. Emotionally intelligent, genuinely engaged people. So, here’s what’s racing through my mind on this rainy Boston morning.

Adoption is not the same as utilization

This is a topic I’m constantly obsessing over. I run this seminar from time to time for executives and leaders called Mobility in Reality. For years, I’ve watched organizations operationalize the concept of mobile technology by focusing solely on the systems, deployment methodologies and measurements of productivity that they feel indicate a collaborative and successful sales or service culture.

The problem is, they never talked to their employees about the pain. What stalls the sales cycle or makes them feel unsuccessful? What makes them want to push harder? These are key considerations when attempting to gain utilization of a new solution. But, here’s the real clincher:

Your workforce knows the difference between a native mobile experience and an HTML5 web app. 

Think about the last time you downloaded an app from a bank or a credit union and just knew the second you opened it that it wasn’t going to be a great experience. We’ve all been there.

To quote Apperian’s CEO, Brian Day:

“We are finally starting to see more and more native apps being built. For a while, people were saying HTML5 is the way they will solve a problem, but HTML5 doesn’t give anywhere near the same rich user experience that people want. It all comes back to usability. If the graphics are good, it’s fast, it works [and] it fits my device screen perfectly, that’s the app I’m going to use. And the only way to get that is for it to be a native app.”

Walking around #SDSummit, it’s hard to see how so many of these “platforms for success” are thinking through this vital problem. More and more work is being done on mobile devices every day and we can’t continue to ignore these vital triggers to gain utilization, as that’s where the ROI really comes from.

Anyone can adopt technology. Utilization comes from understanding how your people want to work. If the solution you’re looking at isn’t native mobile, take a second look around. Trust me.

A brand is not a buzzword

Here’s the thing — all this sales and marketing technology, it’s trying to solve the same problems that have been around for centuries. How do you identify your prospect before your competition? How do tell the difference between a window shopper and a buyer with intent? How do you prepare your sales team with the resources necessary to win the deal, in the meeting?

Walking around #SDSummit, it’s hard to tell one solution apart from another. Sales enablement, asset management, account-based marketing –  everyone is trying to solve the same problems, at different points in the customer journey. Whether it’s pre-sales or post-sales, it’s the nuance of each that really defines the fit .

Bigtincan is a Sales Enablement platform. It’s what we do, but I’ll be honest — it’s a broad brush. What the term doesn’t speak to is the deep engagement analytics we provide to marketing, helping them understand how content impacts the sales cycle and win rate, how it correlates to top performers in SalesForce and how the conversation inside the organization shifts between sales and marketing. In fact, one of the key champions in many of our deployments is a VP of Marketing or Chief Marketing Officer. They want the evidence of how their work impacts the bottom line, the same way your Sales Director does. We’re all fighting the same battle, right?

What I learned at #SDSummit is that curiosity goes a long way into understanding this space . By simply stopping to talk to representatives from organizations I was unfamiliar with, I got a very full picture of the persona of an attendee, and all the prospect and partnership opportunities that lay before us.

Final thought: Stop Compromising

It takes an army to pull together a week this culturally rich. From Jewel’s stunning opening keynote, highlighting the origins of her immense career and how she overcame obstacle after obstacle through self-development and positive thought, to the Counting Crows gala performance where one very kind SiriusDecisions employee found a way to get me backstage with the band, so I could get a picture for my dad who fell ill recently. It was a powerful experience that left me with one overwhelming instinct: stop compromising.

Not just me, all of us. Leaders, salespeople, marketers and IT — we see the culture we want to work in, don’t we? We know how we want our work to make us feel but it’s always the path that evades us .

Don’t let that stop you — invest today in solutions that will bring you closer to your work nirvana. Take partnership with organizations that understand your pain, not just your budget. Slow down and truly listen to your people. It’s not about your ERP system or how your Sharepoint is organized. It’s about making sure that every single employee drives home with a feeling of self-worth and accomplishment . When they show up the next day, they’ll do the best work of their lives, and that is something you can’t put a price on.

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