SalesTech Star

SalesTechStar Interview with Haley Katsman, VP of Revenue Enablement at Highspot

How should revenue leaders and customer-facing departments reevaluate how they approach challenges and market pain points in today’s B2B selling environment? Haley Katsman, VP of Revenue Enablement at Highspot shares some viewpoints in this quick chat:

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Hi Haley, welcome to SalesTechStar! As a revenue leader in a time when a global pandemic has transformed a lot of fundamentals about B2B marketing and sales, what are some of the ways in which you and the team has handled the challenges of the past year at Highspot?

The past year presented both people challenges and business challenges – but what we came to recognize is how intertwined these areas truly are. Leaders have come to terms with the important role they play in caring not just for their people as employees, but as whole individuals. The more the company can focus on putting their people first, and creating a safe, inclusive, and equitable environment, the more they will be able to collectively push through the tough times and slingshot out the other side.

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In times like we’ve just experienced, from the pandemic to the racial injustice to the political turmoil,  I don’t think you can underestimate the importance of recovery. If you look at the top performing athletes in the world, recovery is as important as the training. Businesses are now realizing that employees, just like athletes, need time and space to breathe, reflect, and recharge. At Highspot, we introduced meeting-free “Focus Thursdays,” along with “Recharge Fridays,” where every second Friday of the month is a day off. Supporting our people in this way is not only the right thing to do, it’s also what enables us to come back to work with fresh perspectives and new ideas that lead to great innovation and progress. Setting your employees up for success is an investment in both your people and your business.

What according to you should business leaders in tech today be doing to differentiate how they sell and generate ROI from sales and marketing plans in a remote first virtual selling environment?

Revenue leaders need to rethink the buying and selling milestones. How buyers buy, and how sellers sell, is vastly different than it was a year ago. Embracing this new reality is critical to determining what each team needs to do to move the buyer through the journey, and specifically what reps need to do to execute on each of those selling milestones and how to continue those milestones through the post-sale process. In the current environment where generating revenue from existing customers may be more feasible than net new acquisition, thinking through expansion milestones is more important than ever.

Where leaders get hung up is when they try to use their old playbook – it’s no longer relevant in today’s virtual selling environment. Instead, you need to bring together your to go-to-market teams – your marketing, enablement, sales, and operations leaders – to align on these new milestones and determine how to achieve them. Once your leadership is on the same page, the work begins to drive behavioral change, helping your customer-facing teams adopt the new behaviors that will set them up for success today and in the future.

Can you share a few interesting thoughts or examples you’ve come across of creative ways in which sales and marketing teams for leading global brands have responded to the pandemic crisis?

In a remote reality, successful companies are connected companies. Your people need to be united under a shared mission, working collectively to push the business forward. The way this happens is primarily through internal communication. Written communication does not replace the ability to articulate vision and connect with people in the same way that being in person does – and now that we’re no longer in the office, leaders are having to get creative with how they share their message and connect with employees.

Today, the masters of connecting with others while not being in the same room are modern day “influencers” – whether they are chefs, fashion bloggers, or stock market gurus, these people have perfected the craft of sharing content in such a personal way that you feel like you truly know them. Forward-thinking companies are adopting best practices employed by influencers, such as videos, to communicate in a relatable way. The end result is a more engaged employee base, approachable leadership, and a message that resonates.

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As revenue leaders prepare to adapt to the new normal and work on their 2021 structures and plans, what are some of the top thoughts that come to mind?

It’s all about quality over quantity – revenue leaders would do well to prioritize a set of key initiatives that they want their teams to focus on to grow the business. In the midst of remote work, there is significantly less communication and tribal knowledge sharing, making it even more challenging to “wing” an initiative and have it be successful. Now is the time to double down and invest in your revenue engine – made up of enablement and operations. Having a structure in place, along with dedicated people focused on driving the success of your initiatives, is absolutely critical to ensuring consistent performance.

We’d love to dive a little into your favorite sales technologies / revenue generation tools that have helped you in your business efforts; what are some of the must-have tools you feel revenue leaders of today should be adept with?

More than 67% of strategic initiatives fail. Revenue leaders need a clear line of sight into where their initiatives are falling short – and what to do about it. This is where sales enablement technology comes into play. With Highspot, revenue leaders can answer the three foundational questions:

  • Does my customer-facing team understand the strategy?
  • Are my customer-facing teams executing the strategy?
  • Is the strategy driving business results?

The holistic view of the impact go-to-market initiatives allow leaders to pinpoint what’s working and what’s not, and then take action in real-time. In our rapidly changing reality, this kind of business agility is crucial. What’s more, our sales enablement platform brings together all the essential capabilities to get the most from customer-facing teams – content, guidance, training, coaching, customer engagement, and 360-degree analytics. The end result is the ability to consistent revenue performance and a direct line from go-to-market initiatives to business outcomes.

What are some of the biggest takeaways sales, marketing teams and business leaders should keep in mind from this experience of working and living through a global pandemic?

The pandemic changed everything – there is no longer a go-to playbook for how to achieve success, we’ve lost historical data and frame of reference, and many of the methods we previously relied on are now archaic. As business leaders look to evolve, one of the best things to do is listen. A company’s ability to tap into their employees and customers to learn and iterate faster in a rapidly changing environment is a key factor that will determine if your business survives or thrives in the year ahead.

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Listening involves more than just keeping an ear to the ground – it means actively soliciting feedback. It is a leader’s responsibility to open lines of communication. You cannot assume that employees, regardless of level, will give open and real feedback up the chain. And when it comes to your customers, often they are too focused on their own priorities to stop and provide valuable insights to their vendors. Seeking out this feedback early and often is one of the biggest tools you can use to navigate a changing business landscape. By listening to these groups, you will be able to deliver better value, and ultimately, build trust.

Highspot

Highspot is a sales enablement platform that sales reps love; the platform empowers companies to elevate customer conversations to drive strategic growth.

Haley is the VP of Revenue Enablement at Highspot

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