SalesTechStar Interview with Doug Winter, Co-founder and CEO at Seismic
Doug Winter, Co-founder and CEO at Seismic dives into Seismic’s latest acquisition of Lessonly in this quick chat with SalesTechStar while taking us through Seismic’s interesting road map through the years and what sales enablement will really look like in future:
Hi Doug, welcome to this chat. Tell us about Seismic and what inspired the platform? We’d love to hear about Seismic growth journey through the years, the key highlights!
When I co-founded Seismic in 2010, I hadn’t heard of the term sales enablement! We were focused on aligning sales and marketing teams around common goals and ensuring that they could work together throughout the sales cycle. We’ve led the creation of this category from the beginning.
A decade ago, we never expected that our technology would be used to guide sellers operating in a fully remote and digital landscape. It’s been incredible to see the way sales, marketing, and customer success teams utilize the platform to stay aligned, build relationships, and close deals. As a company, we also adapted our offerings to best fit the needs of remote sales teams, such as introducing Seismic Aura, our artificial intelligence engine for sales content, earlier this year. Our journey will only continue to offer go-to-market teams with the tools and technology that will be most effective for them, and ultimately, help sales leaders hit their numbers with confidence.
Seismic recently acquired Lessonly, we’d love to hear more about this development from you and how it enhances the offering of the platform for end users? What does the near-future for this new unified team look like?
We’ve been partners with Lessonly for more than two years, and due to a number of reasons, we decided to take the next step by officially acquiring them and adding a native training and coaching solution to our platform. Now, we provide a unified experience for sellers where they can access everything they need all from one central location – the Seismic platform.
Along with a unified seller experience, sales, marketing and enablement leaders will have access to the new combined data and analytics capabilities to track lesson usage, analyze training trends, and identify the content leveraged by top performers to close the most deals.
Our teams have been working together to build the native solution for some time now. As for the near-future, we’ll continue to enhance and improve the Lessonly by Seismic product and further integrate the two teams, delivering the world’s most powerful and comprehensive sales enablement platform on the market.
How are you seeing the sales enablement marketplace evolve, can you share a few highlights from global innovators, and a few sales enablement features that are enhancing the overall selling and buying experience?
We’re excited about several technologies becoming more mainstream and integrated into the enablement process. Research we conducted earlier this year from our Annual Sales Enablement Benchmark Report found that 77% of B2B decision-makers see their organization’s enablement journey as constantly evolving, and believe that their organization should continually adapt its processes and add new technologies. One of those new technologies we’re already seeing become more helpful to sellers is artificial intelligence.
Artificial intelligence can guide the sales process by using content analytics from sales enablement and CRM platforms to provide real-time, ultra-personalized recommendations for sellers, giving them actionable steps to take for the right prospect at the right time. And the same research cited above found that 97% of respondents at sales enablement visionary companies anticipate artificial intelligence to be a top capability likely to be added to sales enablement tools in the next two to three years. The ongoing virtual selling/buying environment only further solidified the importance of using AI-guided selling to adapt to the modern sales cycle. Empowering sellers with the right data and actionable steps at the right time enables them to close a deal more efficiently.
With constant innovations in salestech and martech, it is now more crucial for sales and marketing teams to focus on stronger team training and upskilling initiatives, a few thoughts on what sales and marketing leaders need to be doing more of to optimize this?
Sales and marketing leaders need to realize that training and onboarding isn’t a one-time occurrence. In fact, studies show that participants tend to forget around 80% of the information they were taught in their first 90 days.
Instead of cramming unnecessarily long and lackluster trainings into a seller’s first week, leaders should give them the resources needed for continuous training. With bite-sized learning programs, practice scenarios, and coaching plans at their fingertips, sellers and other customer-facing teams can brush up on their skills and refresh their memory on a scenario they’re currently facing. Having these resources ready will better equip sellers to become continuous learners and therefore strengthen their relationships with customers.
What are some best practices that you’d share on optimizing sales enablement platforms for sales and marketing teams?
Our benchmark report mentioned above uncovered sales enablement best practices from high-performing companies. One of the principles all organizations should follow is to position sales enablement as a strategic priority at your company. Seventy-nine percent of respondents reported that sales enablement is strategic to their business. For organizations not quite there yet, having a sales enablement champion in the C-suite makes it easier to establish an organizational environment that reinforces good practices.
Another best practice sales and marketing teams can follow is to apply sales enablement across the entire customer lifecycle. All customer-facing teams should be aligned on the consistent messaging they’re delivering throughout a buyer’s journey. Visionaries have seen how paying attention to pre-sales initiatives up front can lead to greater quota attainment.
For sales teams who are looking to scale rapidly, how can they drive output and ROI with their sales stack and sales enablement systems in a more organized manner, in collaboration with other teams?
Having a well-integrated tech stack is one way to achieve collaboration across all teams. Many organizations invest in tools for sellers, so it only makes sense to integrate them and deepen the technological capabilities. For example, integrating sales enablement tools with Microsoft 365 can keep all of a seller’s documents in a single location, which reduces the time it would take them to search for material. A successfully integrated tech stack should improve a seller’s daily effectiveness, giving them more time to focus on building relationships with buyers and increasing ROI.
We’d love to hear about the road ahead for Seismic!
We continue to believe that there is more room for innovative solutions to our customers’ challenges. Adding native sales readiness support to our platform via the Lessonly acquisition is just one more piece to building the most powerful and comprehensive sales enablement platform on the market.
Seismic is a leader in sales enablement, helping make sales teams better by becoming more productive and engaging with buyers in a compelling way. Seismic’s platform provides continuous guidance to improve behavior, content, and skills to win more deals and deliver better experiences. Nearly 2,000 organizations including IBM and American Express have made Seismic their enablement platform of choice. Seismic integrates with business-critical platforms including Microsoft, Salesforce, Google and Adobe. Seismic is headquartered in San Diego, with offices across North America, Europe, and Australia.
Doug is the Chief Executive Officer and co-founder of Seismic. A veteran entrepreneur, Doug was also a co-founder of Objectiva Software Solutions. He served as COO and general manager at EMC Document Sciences until founding Seismic in 2010. At the helm of Seismic, Doug has been recognized as a top CEO by several media groups and industry associations, including the San Diego Union-Tribune, San Diego Business Journal, Comparably and more.”