Who: Director of Analyst Relations at a mid-sized enterprise software vendor
Situation: The vendor’s previous CMO would not permit AR to interact with Sales so there was no outreach to the field on analyst impact and how to leverage positive analyst commentary. After a change in both the CMO and AR director positions the situation changed. The new AR director proactively sought permission from the new CMO to start interacting with Sales, which was granted with enthusiasm.
Process: The AR director teamed with the VP of field sales support to determine the best venue and outline for an initial presentation about the impact of the industry analysts. It was determined that slotting the AR director into one of the regular sales training calls was the best approach.
The AR director and VP of field sales support collaborated on the outline for the presentation. The goal was to come up with content that was interesting, compelling, and would impact how the average sales rep works. It took several rounds of drafts and reviews to lock in the outline.
After the outline was completed, the AR director started work on the presentation. Using her client status, the AR director leveraged a number of SageCircle AR-Sales Partnership slides as the core of the presentation. She added a number of slides specific to her company and the analyst situation they faced. The presentation also went through several rounds of review and wordsmithing. Because the sales reps had a reputation for not asking questions on these training calls, a number of “seed” questions were created to encourage reps to ask questions.
Outcome: There were two teleconferences scheduled on the same day, morning and late afternoon, to provide maximum scheduling convenience for the globally-distributed sales force. Attendance was very good, higher than normal for these regular training conference calls. As anticipated, there were few questions during the call. However, immediately upon completion of the teleconferences, the AR director started receiving phone calls and e-mails from the sales reps with questions about how analysts work, requests for research to use as sales collateral, requests to review deals in the pipeline, and questions about the analysts’ positions on the company and trends in the industry. Other outcomes include:
- Within 24 hours, the AR team was working with three reps on substantial deals
- The VP of field sales support expressed surprise that the AR director had already received so many questions and asked to be forwarded any e-mails. Based on the success of these first sessions, the VP now wants to incorporate AR-Sales content into new sales hire training
- The CMO was very pleased that AR was directly impacting the company’s ability to close business and drive revenues.
Finally, in a very innovative move, the AR director invited some sales reps to sit on some interactions with analysts, both inquiry and briefing, to get a better feel for how analysts work and think.
Content creation: The AR director originally decided to use SageCircle content to jumpstart the process of building the presentation and save time by using standard content. She said that having the SageCircle slides saved her about 16 hours of work or approximately 50% of the project. An unanticipated benefit was leveraging the graphics and other visual representations of concepts and information. She said that the graphics really livened up the presentation which could easily have been relentless slide-after-slide of text-based bullet points. The AR director said that while she is smart and experienced enough to create the basic AR-Sales content the process of creating the graphics would have been totally impractical. Overall, she credits the SageCircle content with saving her time (always a precious commodity in AR), while enhancing the quality of the presentation and improving the “stickiness” of the content.
Bottom Line: Using the sales training teleconference, the AR team has positioned itself to be a go-to resource for helping the Sales force close business. This position will permit AR to demonstrate the ROI of investing in AR as well as give the team access to real-world, real-time data on which analysts are impact sales deals and how.