SalesTechStar Interview with Tom Pisello, Chief Evangelist at Mediafly
Tom Pisello, Chief Evangelist at Mediafly talks about the importance of sales people creating their own personal brand to help them stand out in today’s remote selling environment as he takes us through Mediafly’s latest innovations and his journey and learnings so far in this quick chat:
Tom, Hi! Tell us about your career journey throughout the years…we’d love to hear about your book and, your biggest sales learnings so far…!
I started my career in technology as an engineer and software developer, but I always had an affinity for sales. My first professional sales job was as a Realtor soon after graduating – developer during the week, real estate agent on nights and weekends.
The experience was invaluable and made me realize I didn’t want to be in a cubicle forever, I loved the customer interaction. I then advanced to launching and managing product lines for an enterprise software company that included new products and a whole new set of enterprise sellers. I had to make these complex products easier to sell for the new sales team. I quickly learned what sales enablement was all about, way before it was even a thing.
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One of the most important innovations I created while in this role was a value assessment tool. It would analyze the prospect’s network and storage, identify issues and what these issues were costing by not addressing, make specific recommendations and quantify the value of implementing the proposed solutions. A turnkey value assessment tool to make the economic case for change.
Soon after, I left that position to create my first company and developed similar methods and tools for many other firms across many different businesses over the next 25 years. I learned the importance of not pitching, but being a consultative seller leveraging tools to help aid discovery, tally the cost of “do nothing” and communicate and quantify the potential business value impacts and ROI.
Can you dive into your top observations and takeaways in marketing and sales from this years’ pandemic; how did you see the Covid-19 health pandemic impact the way marketers and salespeople approached their plans (and adoption of tech stack) during this time?
In a moment, sales changed to 100% remote. Presentations that relied on traditional linear presentations, catalogs in binders, printed materials and leave-behinds all didn’t work anymore. Instead, they should be replaced with modern interactive presentations, catalogs and content management systems allowing sellers to find and pivot to the right content to fuel conversations.
We also saw uncertain buyers became more risk-averse and shut-down in the face of complexity. Sellers had to simplify their approach and not add to the uncertainty. Those who were able to be helpers and facilitators, proactively provide buyers with the content they need to streamline the decision-making process saw the most success. Executive approval clip levels were lowered and COVID committees put in place to vet proposals across the organization. The CFO became the CF ”No”. The ability to confidently communicate and quantify Business value and ROI from proposed solutions moved from nice to have to essential.
In a digital selling environment, with every company jostling for the same audience’s attention: how would you advise sales teams and leaders to create more impact and make a difference in the way they craft their sales messaging and sales strategies?
Sellers rely on PowerPoint presentations for in-person meetings. Now, try throwing up a PowerPoint deck in a remote, virtual meeting and watch your participant’s attention vanish. Unfortunately, this is exactly what the organization’s sales reps are doing, relying more than ever on dull, static PowerPoint presentations to drive the meeting. According to a recent report by Forrester, 74% of buyers want sellers to pivot the presentation/meeting to discuss what the buyer wants to talk about, not what the deck portrays.
With B2B buyers more sophisticated than ever before and distracted by work from home environments, remote online meetings require a different approach. Sellers must reimagine traditional content to make it more effective for digital selling, utilizing interactive, inspiring content.
Sales leaders must teach and coach sellers on how to leverage this new content so they can be more effective in selling remotely. Rather than putting buyers to sleep, let’s discuss how to reshape sales presentations and content to help fuel a better customer engagement experience to help better connect, inspire and get to “Yes”. In simpler terms, focus on challenges and business outcomes – don’t start with you and your company, instead, focus on what challenges you see in other companies just like the one you are visiting with.
As sales teams plan for Q1; what are some of the must-have technologies you think they should be armed with?
- Diagnostic assessment
- A new interactive presentation
- Value assessment
Can you share a few success stories in sales from your 2020 campaigns?
A specific success story for Mediafly would be with Okta. They needed to justify solutions into most deals, therefore we moved from selling point solutions to a suite, which made justification more difficult. We had a small group of value engineers who could engage on the biggest deals but wanted to scale value assessment to be delivered on most deals. We built an easy to use Value Discovery tool to help them advance value into almost all deals, not just the ones value engineers could engage in. They advanced the tools to not only be used during pre-sales but also used by customer success to prove value delivered, assure renewals and use on expanding selling opportunities. As a result, we performed over 400 value assessments each month and saw a substantial increase in win rate, deal size and acceleration.
We’d love to hear a little about Mediafly latest innovations and how the team has helped businesses during this challenging year?
In October, Mediafly acquired Presentify, a global visual communication solution based in the UK. Expanding its global presence and adding customers like Barclaycard, Pitney Bowes and Avalara. The acquisition further enforced Mediafly’s commitment to placing content at the center of everything it does, helping customers create an optimal buyer engagement experience that accelerates the path to purchase and drives revenue. As B2B buyers have grown more sophisticated, selling has become more challenging. These challenges are amplified in the COVID economy where sellers have to work smarter to capture remote buyers’ attention and keep it.
While sales enablement technology is the proven medium for sellers to deliver their sales stories in a way that resonates with modern buyers and maximizes return on investment, sales organizations need inspiring content. Mediafly users can now build selling stories using sophisticated visual communication capabilities all through the Mediafly app which natively supports the most advanced content formats, animations and modularized assets for elevated sales storytelling. Marketing and sales teams can feel confident through Mediafly’s leading AI-powered content usage analytics to know exactly what’s working, what isn’t, and their content’s contribution to revenue. By combining the power of Presentify’s visual communications capabilities with its enterprise-grade technology Mediafly becomes the only such multi-faceted sales enablement platform in the market.
Following this acquisition, Mediafly launched Jumpstart Presentations last month, a new offering to help brands accelerate their digital sales transformation and move beyond the traditional pitch presentation. The no-risk, cost-efficient program is Mediafly’s latest, most transformative offering since its recent acquisition of visual communication solution, Presentify, positioning the company as the only sales enablement provider in the market that combines content creation, content management technology, and content usage analytics all in one platform. Jumpstart Presentations boosts companies’ digital selling transformation by providing out-of-the-box, animated, engaging presentations that accelerate the path to purchase and drive revenue – without risk and in less than three weeks.
Mediafly also launched Tool Builder, an interactive ROI application that allows solution providers to evolve the tool more quickly as buyer challenges change and business value impacts advance.
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A few top tips you’d share with sales reps moving up the ladder during a global slowdown?
Build up your personal brand – You can no longer rely on trade shows or networking for leads like before. You have to create your own personal brand and develop a point of view, a catchy moniker or nickname (ie: ROI Guy), a thought leader, share curated content, as well as write and produce your own content.
A parting thought on your biggest marketing/sales/ leadership goof-up and the learning that came from
The biggest marketing/sales mistake this far in my career would be launching a program without the proper enablement. As I look back on this now, my advice would be to build it and they will come. You have to ensure you have thought through the launch and continuously work on adoption, change management and more. The work ultimately starts with the launch of a program or campaign.
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Tom Pisello is the Chief Evangelist at Mediafly