SalesTechStar Interview With Hendrik Isebaert, CEO of Showpad
Hendrik Isebaert, CEO of Showpad highlights more about the benefits and importance of revenue and sales enablement in this short catch-up:
Welcome to this SalesTechStar chat Hendrik, we’d love to hear more about your journey and years at Showpad…how have you seen the platform evolve over this time?
I joined Showpad six years ago as an intern in San Francisco. During the internship, I interviewed some of our most important customers – each still thriving as Showpad customers today. It’s from those interviews the idea emerged of expanding our enablement platform to include the Sales Readiness and Coaching functionalities. Sales Readiness enables companies to onboard new sales hires rapidly across teams and geographies, either fully virtual or hybrid with live classes, while Coaching ensures sales teams can apply what they’ve learned and build confidence through practice, role-plays, and coaching. Thanks to these functionalities, Showpad is now widely recognized by analysts as the single most innovative vendor in the space, having led the way on category defining innovations time and time again. Similarly, our Experience functionality was inspired by a team that was experimenting with ways to put content in context, guiding sales teams through a more solution- and customer-oriented buyer engagement.
These examples illustrate how the category of sales enablement is established, but also evolving, and our customers – their needs and pain points – inspire our innovations. They are the business and technology-savvy executives who are transforming the way organizations think about modern selling and delivering superior customer experiences.
By far, the most significant transformations within the Showpad platform have happened over recent years, accelerated by the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Buying and selling will never be the same; the pandemic instigated the shift from traditional in-person selling toward a digital-first mindset for many industries. While there is evidence that the shift is here to stay for some industries, for others, a hybrid approach is the way forward. We’re in an age now where human interaction and building real rapport is at risk. But this is where our solutions add value: Showpad enables sellers to connect better with their digital-first buyers and build exceptional buyer experiences.
Last year, we launched Showpad Video, which enables sellers to record and send personalized videos to prospects all within the Showpad platform. This ensures more opportunities to create engaging content for buyers, and gives sellers a chance to film walkthroughs of content for internal and external use. Additionally, this feature allows for seamless asynchronous communication. Rather than navigating diaries and time zones in order to book a meeting with a prospect, Showpad Video facilitates pre-recorded presentations that can be watched at leisure.
How are you seeing sales enablement as a segment today change the game for sales teams and customer facing teams across industries?
Sales enablement is a comparatively young category in the broader context of SaaS, but its game changing potential is infinite.
The old ways of doing business – slideshow presentations delivered in a stuffy boardroom or handshake deals done on the golf course – no longer cut it. To be successful in today’s environment, sales teams need to meet buyers where they are, drive insight-led conversations, and put buyers at the center of their selling strategies.
Sales enablement provides an immediate solution to key changes in the market by surfacing relevant, engaging content to informed buyers who prefer independent research, hybrid buying, and who are dealing with more complex sales cycles. At Showpad, we’re dedicated to establishing sales enablement as a mission-critical imperative for every organization.
For sales teams to truly optimize output from their sales enablement tools, what should they be doing more of?
Proactively managing your sales enablement transformation is key. Sales teams should build a sales enablement roadmap, connect with peers on what’s working and what’s not, and seek professional advice from the vendor you’re working with. The productivity insights that these tools can generate are only as good as the data input, so use the tools you’re given as they’re intended, and give feedback to the other revenue teams on what’s adding value or not.
The sales enablement experience must be tailored specifically to the people who are being enabled, their needs, their context and their goals. Sales teams must be strategic in their deployment of their product suite; there is no one-size-fits-all sales enablement solution, just as there is no generic customer.
Consider your sales enablement platform as just another platform and it’ll deliver consistent results; consider it as a virtual deal room where the value and volume and deals can be maximized, and it’s a game changer.
Can you talk about some of the most innovative features in sales enablement across global platforms that you feel B2B teams should be excited about?
While new features can be exciting, B2B teams should be most excited about the KPIs the right solution can deliver, such as win rate, days to close, deal size and more. Sales enablement tools exist to make revenue teams more efficient and effective – that includes everything from saving time finding the right content, to creating the most impactful buyer journey through that content, to upskilling and coaching. Basically, the best sales enablement platforms allow B2B sellers to spend less time on the platform and more time speaking to customers and prospects.
More specifically, there are two features and functions that should excite sales and revenue teams.
Firstly: single platform, easy use. Sometimes the greatest innovation of all is simplicity. Today’s sales tech stack is ever-growing, and that can be overwhelming for sales reps. When pitch decks are in one place, sales training is in another platform, playbooks can be found elsewhere, etc., half a rep’s day is toggling between systems to find what they need. The idea of having one single, robust platform for all of your content, your buyer engagement, your training, and onboarding and coaching is ideal for busy sales teams who just want to spend their time speaking with prospects and customers. Fewer systems and less admin equates to greater productivity and more revenue for sales teams.
Secondly: intelligent design, with proactive suggestions. Again, this ties to what all B2B teams really want, which is less time searching for content and doing admin; and more time freed up to speak to customers and prospects. Sales enablement platforms are working to make this a reality to serve up the right suggested content to the right reps at the right time with the help of AI.
For example, what if your deal was at the discovery stage, and the minute you move that deal to the demo stage, your sales enablement platform proactively offered you the pitch decks, a demo playbook, objection handling FAQs, and recordings of other top reps’ demos? This is how Showpad serves up the right learning opportunities, content and information, at the right time, to help progress and land that deal.
Can you explain Showpad’s buyer-led philosophy?
Showpad doesn’t just exist to improve the sales process for sellers; we drive further collaboration amongst all revenue-facing teams – including sales, marketing, and customer success – to ensure all sellers are constantly learning and adapting to the buyer. Showpad ensures that organizations reach buyers in the ways they want to be reached. Exceptional buyer experiences are at the heart of what our platform offers and always will be. We’re not just customer focused, we’re customer obsessed. As buyers’ expectations, needs, and habits evolve, Showpad will also evolve. We work in anticipation of buyer needs and to deliver the right tech advances both in response to their pain points, but also well before those pain points peak.
Showpad will continue to transform how sellers and marketers collaborate to ensure they are following a buyer-led approach.
A few thoughts on the future of salestech and the impact of sales enablement within this space?
The consumerization of B2B sales is already happening as buyers are well down the buying path before they even engage sellers. This trend will only continue and the winners will be organizations that intentionally weave digital and human touch points into seamless experiences for the buyer.
I also believe that there will be improvements in AR and VR tools that further enhance the human part of the buying journey and streamline the overall buying process. These technologies helps buyers to digitally visualize and experience solutions, no matter how complex they may be.
We’re going to see growth in organizations embracing AI in order to guide sellers by drawing from numerous buying signals and collected data points.
And finally, we anticipate sales enablement becoming an integral facet of every revenue-conscious organization’s tech stack going forward.
Any last thoughts, takeaways, before we wrap up?
Without giving too much away, Showpad is planning to launch a new solution to help organizations evaluate sales enablement maturity. This will not only help organizations on their journeys to increasing revenue growth, but will generate more awareness of sales enablement as a whole and the role it could play to enhance organizations’ revenue functions.
Read More: Enterprise Sales Enablement Platforms
Showpad is a global leader in revenue enablement technology, providing teams with a modern selling solution for maximizing hybrid sales.
After joining Showpad in 2016, Hendrik embarked on an extensive business immersion, working in leadership positions across Showpad’s dual headquarters in the U.S. and Belgium.
Prior to his appointment to CEO, Hendrik spent two years serving as the COO, where he was responsible for the full customer journey, from prospect to close to upsell and renewal. He oversaw Showpad’s global sales, customer success, professional services, partnerships, revenue operations and enablement, and refocused Showpad’s GTM strategy roadmap.
During his career at Showpad, Hendrik previously served as chief of staff, managing director for Europe, Middle East and Africa, and SVP of revenue globally. Prior to Showpad, Hendrik held positions at Bain & Company and Procter & Gamble.
Hendrik holds an MBA from Harvard Business School and a master’s in marketing and economics from Ghent University.
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