I recently had the opportunity to talk to John Tintle, Director of Content and Communication at Highspot this week. We talked for about 45 minutes and had a great discussion around sales enablement. First, we discussed what is sales enablement. I like to start out all my discussions with providers on this topic. I find the term a little loosey goosey and am trying to firm it up in my mind. My thoughts on it.
What is sales enablement?
First off, Highspot has a pretty cool little guide to “what is sales enablement.” I definitely recommend reading it. After you finish reading this blog entry, of course. John and I explored the topic further. Sales enablement focuses on equipping sales to have meaningful conversations with customers. A modern sales enablement platform helps companies more effectively organize, find, share and analyze their content. This enables reps to be able to find and share the right content at the right time. It also enables marketing to organize the content in an easy to understand manner. Then determine content usages and effectiveness.
This is definitely a bit more focused than I have read or heard previously. Content is the focus, whereas other definitions look beyond content. The most notable thing excluded here was training. As such, I queried Tintle on the role of training.
Tintle explained, “We see in context training as essential to sales reps productivity.” He added that in-context training, both how to sell and what to sell, should be considered an essential content category. He also was emphatic in his distinction of this being sales training versus learning management systems (LMS). LMS are meant for core employee training, whereas tools around sales training are more narrowly focused. Tintle also added that they offer an integration and partnership with Brainshark for in context training.
Artificial Intelligence and Sales Enablement
The rest of the conversation turned to AI and sales enablement. It is something that definitely piques my interest, and I have written about it before. The first thing that Tintle explained was about Highspot’s capability around content search and recommendation. Highspot has AI capabilities that help improve the search process and make recommendations. This is done within SalesForce, the tool reps live in to complete their jobs. Furthermore, AI extends beyond search and recommendations, and into performance management. It provides insight into how reps use content, and in turn the ideal structure of content. This is not to say that humans are not involved in the process. Effective and efficient content requires the heuristic intention that only humans provide (at least for now).
Tintle emphasized that this is just the start of AI and Highspot. They are going to continue to invest in this area for the foreseeable future, and expect iterative functionality in the next 12-18 months to completely change the landscape of sales enablement. He closed by stating that customers expect every touch with an organization to be high value. Sales wants this too. Marketing also desires this. And sales enablement is the method to achieve this, and AI is the future for how this will happen.
My Perspective on Highspot
This was my first conversation with anyone from the product side of the house at Highspot. While I disagree with their definition of sales enablement, we aren’t that far apart. Furthermore, I liked their view of critical functionality, and especially the role of AI in sales enablement. You can easily see why they just received $15M in Series B funding. They have a competitive product, good vision and are focused on things I think are important – analytics, AI, and integration.
With that said, we didn’t get a chance to go into the roadmap and there wasn’t time for a demo. So I look forward to further interactions with the team so I can learn more about the product’s offerings.