Showpad Transform 2020 review - why sales and revenue enablement must be part of your customer data strategy

Profile picture for user barb.mosher By Barb Mosher Zinck October 22, 2020
Showpad Transform 2020 is in the books, but the lessons carry forward. Showpad customer stories brought data challenges to light - and showed how sales and revenue enablement factor into an effective CRM strategy.


The Showpad TRANSFORM virtual conference took place recently, with two days of discussions about sales enablement. I listened to a case study from Greg Kunst, the VP of Global Marketing at Glaukos, as well as Showpad co-founder and president Louis Jonckheere's talk on closing the gap between revenue teams. 

Jonckheere started his session talking about customer experience. He spoke about the need for convenience, delivering personalized value, and how COVID-19 has forced companies to push into better experiences faster than maybe they had planned. He also said many companies still don't provide experiences their customers really deserve. Why not? 

The two gaps driving poor customer experience

The first gap Jonckheere talked about is customer knowledge silos across systems and teams. Customer information is stored in CRMs, marketing automation systems, market research, even excel spreadsheets. He said each silo has its own truth, and there's little knowledge exchange between Sales, Marketing, and Customer Success. 

Then there's the question of how accurate is the customer knowledge you are using. Jonckheere quoted TOPO research, "95% of what happens in a sales conversation gets lost." What is the result of all this? Marketing messages and content are off the mark, sales can't articulate unique values, and customer success can't show unique value. 

The second gap is the ability to deliver a consistent experience across all channels and enable every person in the company that touches the customer in some way. 

Revenue enablement is the answer, says Jonckheere

Jonckheere defined revenue enablement as:

"The strategic process of equipping revenue teams with the right knowledge, skills, and tools to acquire and grow customers efficiently and effectively."

To achieve revenue enablement, you need four pillars:

Knowledge. Knowledge about your customers, products, competitors, the market, what analysts are saying, and so on. Not only do you need this knowledge, but you need to ensure it's easily findable. 

Showpad does this in a few ways, but one I liked was what Jonckheere called "plays," but most of us call "playbooks." Plays are guides for Sales or for Customer Success, which offer content, tools, training, and other things to help them achieve a specific goal (upsell this type of customer on a new related product). 

Engaging with Customers. What makes a great conversation, asked Jonckheere. Storytelling, providing value, collaboration. One of the biggest challenges today is the inability to meet and talk with customers in person; we live in an almost virtual world. Jonckheere said that virtual storytelling feels more like broadcasting, and we need to figure out the right combination of virtual and in-person selling. He expects to see a lot of innovation in this area in the next few years; one thing he mentioned was the concept of buyer portals. 

Buyer portals are portals or microsites containing all types of information a customer might need to help them make a purchase decision. These aren't new; I've worked with customers who create secure microsites where they store content for a prospect going through the purchase process. They are also like content-driven experiences that we talk about in marketing where we send customers, not to a single content asset, but a group of assets.

Coaching. Another area hit hard by COVID, coaching use to be very informal, Jonckheere said. Chats at the water cooler kind of thing. In a virtual world, coaching must be more structured. It also needs to be dynamic. Jonckheere talked about role play, practicing pitches, and presenting using marketing content in a virtual environment where the salesperson can get feedback. Recording customer meetings was another idea, sharing the best ones with others to hear what works.

Revenue Intelligence. The final pillar is all about capturing the metrics and information that inform all the other pillars.

How Glaukos built a scalable, compliant approach to content

Greg Kunst is the VP of Global Marketing at Glaukos, a medical technology and pharmaceutical company worldwide. Glaukos is in a highly regulated and competitive industry. It offers different products by country, and each country has different marketing laws. 

Kunst said that regulations make the sales enablement process much more difficult. For example, all their products must be approved by the FDA (or other regulatory body), which means they can only promote and market based on the reasons their product was approved for. If they market or sell outside that approval, they could be subject to hefty fines. Also, product and marketing information is frequently changing, which meant that paper materials were often outdated and inaccurate, leading to the potential of selling using non-approved messaging or content. 

Glaukos went public in 2015. They were small (primarily in the US and with a small German office). Two and half years later, they grew across more markets and hired over one hundred more sales reps. Very quickly, they went from a small experienced sales team to a mostly inexperienced team, and they needed a way to get tighter control over the messaging. The company also launched five-plus new products over an eighteen-month period, and they needed a way to manage all the content around these new products. 

Showpad, a sales enablement solution, has helped them handle their content and help their sales teams stay on message. To support each country's needs, they set up channels and uploaded specific content into each channel. They also provide specific messaging, which they update continually. 

Kunst talked about how Showpad helps them drive consistency in product message delivery. He said the tool allows them to define the selling experience. It also provides intelligence on how the tools (tools mean things like datasheets, calculators, and so on) provided in the platform are being used. 

He also said that Showpad has enabled them to support all their teams equally, even though some groups and countries are a larger part of their revenue. It shows their sales teams that they are important. 

The other thing Kunst noted was that Showpad isn't only used by their sales teams. They have also set up channels to support other groups within the company that need a place to store and manage content. He talked about the channel for the Clinical Relations Team. This team helps find patients for clinical trials, and they use Showpad to manage their content and tools.

He finished off his session with a little advice. It's critical to understand how aggressively Sales is using the tools with customers, so you need to review performance regularly. Find out why specific tools aren't being used. Is it because they aren't relevant? Is it a training issue? Or is the salesperson not technically savvy and can't figure out how to use the tools? Finally, he said that you should connect your sale enablement technology to other technology like your CRM or MA to get even richer analytics around your messaging. 

My take

Kunst shared a lot of good information about his company's challenges as it grew in size and needed better ways to manage the messaging and content his sales teams used. Sales enablement solutions help when they allow you to set up the environment that matches how your company works. It didn't sound like Glaukos was using Showpad to the extent that Jonckheere described in his talk, but you could see the company's potential to build on the tool even more. 

What I appreciated about what Jonckheere said was that it's not only about enabling Sales. Consistent messaging, content, and other tools - like ROI calculators - are required across the entire customer lifecycle. Many companies still struggle to do this because their divisions work in siloes with their own technologies. Integrating sales enablement (or revenue enablement) technology with CRM, marketing automation, ABM, and other customer-focused technology isn't easy, but it is the only way to build that seamless view of the customer that allows a company to create a consistent customer experience.