Kadient Is Serious About Sales Effectiveness

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The more I know about them, the more I’ve been impressed with Kadient.  I really like their playbook approach, the people I’ve met on their team, and their straightforward, no B.S. approach to sales effectiveness.  After receiving an email from Rich Berkman, Vice President, Sales Enablement Strategy, about his new eBook, Dive Deeper into Your Sales Metrics: 4 Ways to Discover Hidden Sales Treasure (registration required), I asked whether he’d be willing to do a virtual interview with me.  So Rich got together with Karen Meyer and Sue Murray, two sales enablement experts from Kadient to answer my questions.  Sue is VP of Sales Practices and Processes and Karen is their Team Lead, Customer Experience.  Because Kadient is so on-track with their approach, I’ve allowed them a bit of a platform to explain what they do and how they do it.  Here is the interview.

Dave Stein: Proponents of employing a formal sales process in B2B selling say it’s the key to winning.  Opponents say it inhibits the creativity that salespeople need to get the job done.  What is Kadient’s perspective on the importance of sales process?

Kadient Team (KT): Kadient is a proponent of employing a formal sales process (the science) and believes that in doing so, there is still plenty of room to allow a salespeople to be creative (the art) in how they engage and deliver within a formal sales process.  Deploying a sales process will allow an organization to identify (and learn) what the successful, repeatable sales activities are and what the quota-achieving reps do to succeed in specific selling situations. This information is what will help drive improved sales results across the board.  If a company is not working to formalize its sales processes, they are simply being negligent as there is widespread proof from analysts that deploying a formal sales process drives significant improvements in overall sales performance compared with those who do not.  We embrace a concept that our Sales Playbooks are “guardrails” for the sales reps and not a set of “handcuffs.”  This allows the new sales rep in an organization to use and follow as much of the sales playbook that they need to become revenue producing as fast as possible.  And, for the experienced sales person, the Sales Playbook is designed to give them the key activities and content they need to move their opportunity forward faster and allow them to take on more opportunities in their pipeline.

DS: Explain to us what sales playbooks are.

KT: While sales playbook is not a new term, traditionally they are synonymous with a pitch book, champion kit or the 25 lb. binder provided to a sales person following a sales kick off or sales training. They contain all of the information used to educate sales for delivering a company’s products and solutions. Some have moved to delivering them electronically on a CD, DVD, Thumb-Drive, or through a smattering of links on a company’s intranet.

Kadient has taken the notion of the traditional sales playbook and made them interactive, dynamic and embedded them within the CRM system. Kadient’s Sales Playbooks align situation-specific sales and marketing strategies, content, tools, and coaching with the customer’s buying cycle / company’s sales process. They maximize sales productivity by delivering this information contextual to the selling situation that a salesperson is working, all within the system where they work their opportunities—their CRM.

DS: How do they help salespeople win business?

In today’s technology enabled world, information about a company, its products, value proposition and competition are readily available and buyers are more knowledgeable than ever before.  Kadient Sales Playbooks spotlight what a salesperson needs to do next to advance an opportunity and reinforces the sales process/sales training with proven sales strategy and tactics. Salespeople are able to drill down into specific activities they need to execute, and complete them, right from within their CRM and in doing so, they are provided with the right information they need to have the meaningful conversations required to advance and close opportunities. Specific competitive sharp sticks, the precise value statements for the products they are selling, and the exact proof points they need for a particular type of opportunity are served up to them—when they need them.

DS: Would you share with us a customer success?

KT: Polycom, the world leader in unified communications, has enabled their global sales force with Kadient Playbooks. In just 6 weeks, Polycom rolled out 12 vertical based playbooks whose use has resulted in significant productivity increases across their salesforce.  Experienced and newer salespeople have been using these playbooks to get to the information they need to work their opportunities much more efficiently than in the past and they have the confidence that the content they are being served up through playbooks is relevant, correct and current.

It’s not just about time savings, though, it’s about changing and improving the way salespeople sell.  Larry Ball, Senior Director of Global Sales Enablement, says, “We have a vast array of products reps are expected to sell. If reps aren’t comfortable with the products or solution positioning, they default back to what they know. Playbooks give them the confidence to have conversations about all our solutions and not just stick with what they know.”

Polycom is leveraging the playbooks analytics at all levels of their organization to  deliver to the bottom line and get a better handle of forecast, “The forecast metrics are key – specifically, knowing if a deal is over or understated,” says Larry. “This information is tremendously useful for every sales manager who doesn’t have the time to go on sales calls but does have to forecast. This way they can know if the numbers they are getting from their salespeople are real or not.”

Note: ESR published an ESR/Brief™ on Kadient entitled, Kadient—A Helping Hand in Sales Process.  It can be downloaded for $29.95 from ESR’s website.

Photo credit: Fotolia.com

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Dave Stein
Dave specializes in helping his clients win critical B2B sales opportunities as well as helping them hire the best sales talent.Dave is co-author of Beyond the Sales Process. He wrote the best-selling How Winners Sell in 2004.

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