Sales Executive Corner

Unleash: A New Cohort of Revenue Innovators Comes of Age

Mary Shea, VP, Global Innovation Evangelist's Avatar

Mary Shea, VP, Global Innovation Evangelist

We have Millennials, Boomers, Boomer Reboot's— of which I am one— “Zoomers”— the cohort succeeding Millennials and preceding Alpha’s— and Gen C's, babies born amidst the Coronavirus Pandemic. It’s difficult to keep up with all of these “goings on.” Whether it’s demographics, business models, sales strategies, or sales technology categories— many are in a state of flux, and I say, let’s embrace change!

So, what are Revenue Innovators? They are a new cohort of revenue leaders who put buyers at the center of their strategies, who arm their sellers with the most innovative sales technologies, and who over-index on data, rather than intuition to inform their business decisions. Are you part of this new cohort? If so, I commend you, and if not, we are ready to help.

I hope you were as inspired by the Unleash Keynotes as I was. Manny said, “the world of buying and selling has dramatically changed” and won’t return to what we once knew. I agree. To succeed in this “new normal,” revenue innovators need a single and unified engagement and intelligence platform— one that automatically captures buyer activity and sentiment data and eliminates the need for multiple disparate point solutions. The better the data— the better the insights. Armed with buyer behavioral data, reps can better understand next best actions to take while marketing and sales leaders can better understand enablement content performance and pipeline and forecast efficacy.

Reps and business leaders need visibility into buyer data not just to illuminate current state, but to provide insights and recommendations on the next set of actions to drive results at scale. These are just some of the reasons I am so excited about the trifecta of new products we announced at Unleash last week. Not only are we extending the value we deliver to our customers by supporting more user personas horizontally and vertically throughout the revenue organization, but we are also providing these capabilities on a single integrated platform.

Those of you who attended Unleash, heard that we are reimagining the sales engagement category. In the past, and even perhaps still today, sales engagement is often narrowly associated with early-cycle reps/activities and high-velocity selling motions. But now 80% of buying and selling activities take place in remote or digital settings, so every member of the revenue team needs an engagement and intelligence platform to better understand the sentiment of their prospects and customers; and to manage and orchestrate their omnichannel interactions.

Back in 2018, well before I “met” Kaia, I had a vision that B2B sellers armed with artificial intelligence (AI) and automation, would finally reach their Consultative Destiny. The future I imagined three years ago is here today. Embedded with artificial intelligence (AI), Outreach Kaia, a voice-and video-enabled virtual sales assistant, surfaces relevant enablement content based on real-time buyer prompts. Kaia’s in-the-moment coaching allows sellers to answer complicated product or solution questions on the spot, leading to faster deal cycles and better buyer experiences.

When I talk with Revenue Innovators, they’re wisely thinking about how optimizing hundreds, or thousands of sellers will impact their results. "Ten percent more effective" doesn't sound like much in the context of an individual seller— but it can be game-changing when you think about the impact at scale within a modern enterprise sales organization. Kaia is just one way (albeit a powerful one) that revenue teams can drive efficiency and effectiveness at scale— and see aggregate top-line and bottom-line impact.

Ineffectual activity metrics such as click, open and reply rates have been around for eons and rarely provide meaningful visibility into buyer intent. Relying only on quantitative ‘vanity metrics’ like ‘reply rates’ alone can actually lead sellers to mistakenly favor lower-performing sequences rather than higher-performing ones 40% of the time. That’s why I am so excited about the launch of Outreach Insights, our integrated reporting and buyer sentiment analytics functionality that helps sellers better understand the level of interest a prospect or customer has in engaging in a sales conversation -- and whether that interest is positive or negative in nature.

From a management perspective— it’s no longer good enough to coach your reps on what they should do. The marketplace is too competitive and buyer expectations are too high. With Outreach Insights, Revenue Innovators can clearly see the types of objections their sellers receive and coach them on how to improve their messaging, tone or approach.

It’s no secret that business buyers’ attitudes, behaviors and expectations have been shaped by their experiences as consumers. These self-directed and digitally activated buyers have lots of options to acquire information and they have no interest in engaging in legacy, linear sales cycles. Simultaneously, “buying committees” have increased in size and expertise— and as remote and hybrid work become the norm— groups of buyers will likely continue to operate in distributed locations.

With these buy-side trends in play, the timing couldn’t be more perfect to announce Outreach Success Plans. Integrated within our engagement and intelligence platform, buy-side and sell-side teams can co-create action plans to stay on task to reach mutually agreed upon business outcomes. Revenue Innovators know that buyers don’t care how their teams are organized— they want a fluid experience; they want to engage with multiple members of the revenue team; and they expect continuity across conversations and channels. These leaders know that using tech to enable a more collaborative buyer and seller engagement model is key to delivering the experience modern buyers want.

While all three of our products enable better seller and buyer experiences, what’s particularly exciting to me is the automatic capture of buyer and seller behavioral activity data. This activity is captured and automatically uploaded to the CRM— giving revenue leaders unprecedented visibility into opportunities and pipelines, allowing them to better prioritize actions and resources and to forecast with greater accuracy.

There is no question this past year and a half has been (and even continues to be) a most challenging time. But as parts of the world reopen, I am hopeful that this difficult time will be followed by immense transformation and innovation. The Dixie Cup , as an example, was invented in 1907 but wasn’t successfully commercialized until 1918 -- when it became referred to as a “lifesaving” technology.

With an innovation mindset, anything is possible!

If you haven’t done so already, I encourage you to watch our keynotes, connect on LinkedIn, and join me and Harish Mohan this summer as we launch our new Revenue Innovators Podcast.