SBI Podcast

Joining us for today’s show is Ella Balagula, an executive product leader who knows a thing or two about developing revenue-producing products. Today’s topic is focused on how to use the Product Road Map to paint a picture of happy customers well into the future. Ella and I leverage the How to Make Your Number in 2018 Workbook to access emerging best practices as a guide for our questions.  To access the latest workbook, click here to review the Product Strategy section.     

Let me tell you more about our guest. Ella Balagula the Senior Vice President and General Manager of Engineering & Technology Solutions for Elsevier, an information analytics company that specializes in science, technology, and health. Ella manages a product that is an engineering decision support solution that enables engineers to confidently answer technical questions drawing upon more than 130 providers through cloud based platform with powerful search and interactive analytics tool. Listen as Ella demonstrates how to use the Product Road Map to paint a picture of happy customers well into the future. 

Your ability to grow revenue is highly influenced by the quality of the product and whether you are a ‘me too’ or a unique game changer.  In today’s show, Ella guides our audience path to producing a revenue-producing product road map. Ella is uniquely qualified to speak on this topic having a strong background in both strategic planning and product development. Ella is the perfect expert to help connect the dots between the product road map and the functional teams of sales and marketing. 

If you would prefer to watch a HD video of the interview, click here.

Why this topic? Future revenue growth sits in the product road map, use cases and requirements backlogs. Today’s revenue-producing products become tomorrow’s commodities as the competition quickens its development cycle. Building blockbuster products requires moving from legacy market listening techniques to advanced feedback systems. Long lead times starting with robust requirements have been replaced with short lead times starting with use case iterations based on real-time product feedback and analysis. 

In the first segment of the show, Ella describes to process for prioritizing feature requests.  The endless request for features must be tied to customer satisfaction and the path to future revenue.  Our conversation then takes a unique turn as we discuss the drivers that compel changes to the product road map, including what social, economic and industry trends influence a product road map.  This quote from Ella summarizes the emerging best practice approach: 

“We do a deep dive to understand customer use case's workflow. But most importantly, we anchor into, where are we going to play? What are the markets? We get alignment with corporate strategy. Then we look for big meaty problems that drive progress of humanity. It's big issues like health and wellness or energy sustainability or materials revolution.” [p]

“For example, we're developing a product now focused on material selection in the chemical industry. We know that materials revolution is driving a need for people to start selecting the right material and connect research data with environmental data and the prior pricing and all of those. Can we help them? That's when it starts going into product plans or product road map. We start with market. We focus on a big meaty problem and we translate it into what it means to customers.”  

Listen as Ella describes how to take advantage of emerging opportunities created by new technology, and how to navigate the use of third-party partners and technology into your product road map.  

The timing of product releases will greatly impact revenue within a given year.  Listen as Ella describes how to collaborate with sales and marketing to define release timelines.  This includes a discussion into how to employ release schedules to drive a consistent velocity of product releases into your market. 

Decision Gates are used to move products through your product road map.  Watch was Ella describes the gating process and how to determine the right gates to keep your company on track. 

Finally, we have a deep discussion how Ella validates that the new releases on the product road map are delivering value to customers and ultimately producing revenue. 

Have expectations gone up and left you wondering if you have the right product strategy to support your revenue growth goals? Here is an interactive tool that will help you understand if you have a chance at success. Take the Revenue Growth Diagnostic test and rate your Product Strategy against SBI’s emerging best practices to find out if:

  • Your revenue goal is realistic
  • You will earn your bonus
  • You will keep your job
Direct download: AP1733-Ella_Balagula-18691.m4a
Category:Product Strategy -- posted at: 8:27am EST

Joining us for today’s show is Ralph Hawkins, a Senior Vice President of Sales who knows a thing or two about transitioning from direct sales to indirect sales channels. Today’s topic is focused on selecting the right sales channels and exploring the economic models for partner programs. Ralph and I leveraged the How to Make Your Number workbook to access emerging best practices as a guide for our questions. To access the latest workbook, click here to get started now.   

Let me tell you more about our guest. Ralph Hawkins is the Senior Vice President of Sales responsible for partner programs at PGi. Helping companies collaborate and be more productive by using conferencing and collaboration products, PGi is the world’s largest dedicated provider of collaboration software. With over 50,000 business customers around the world, PGi is the platform of choice for 75% of the Fortune 100. Ralph will demonstrate how to cover the market completely with direct and indirect sales channels, starting with how to make the transition. 

So why this topic on this day? Selling to customers directly when they want to buy from partners, is a sure-fire way to miss the revenue goal. Selling to customers through partners when they want a direct relationship with your company, can be equally devastating. Within the direct and indirect channel model, there are multiple sub-models to consider. Coverage model decisions have never been this complicated, for we live in the omni-channel era.  

Listen as Ralph describes how to transition from a 100% direct sales model to a robust partner model. Ralph describes the advantages to cover the market by leveraging channels to broaden the reach of your company. 

What’s impressive is the approach Ralph has taken to think about all the potential channels in a broad manner.  Ralph thoroughly thinks through going from agents, to private label, to classic resellers, and more. That's what it means. Covering the market completely requires going beyond the obvious channels of your competitors.    

Ralph and I discuss the economics of partnering.  Ultimately it comes down to possible partners asking themselves, "How much money can I make?" Ralph outlines two economic models that he's using, and there are several others. The royalty model Ralph describes is that something that you can could possibly take advantage of that's a lucrative model for the channel partner of a manufacturer. Then you think about the wholesale to retail model, your classic B2B sales approach, especially with a software company like PGi. This model is built on the spread between wholesale to retail. Sometimes that's more of a consumer approach to things, but it's applicable in certain market segments with certain channel partners. Listen as Ralph describes the approach to think through for your economic model.  

In the second segment of the show we discuss how to prevent and address channel conflict.  Ralph describes in depth how to classify the channel coverage models based on your unique market based on buy preference and market dynamics.  

Ralph and I discuss how to leverage the various channels to reach certain market segments that the direct sales force can’t reach effectively.  Once a channel is working, we discuss how to scale up resources and we compare this to scaling internal direct sales resources. 

The show is wrapped up with Ralph describing how to select, recruit an onboard the right channel partners.  This serves as a thorough checklist to think through what your channel program may be missing.

Direct download: AP1704-Ralph_Hawkins-18546.mp3
Category:Sales Strategy -- posted at: 3:06am EST

Today we demonstrate how to design marketing campaigns that generate revenue. It is hard to execute a Marketing Strategy to grow revenue faster than your competitors. The Revenue Growth Diagnostic tool will help you assess your marketing strategy to pinpoint keys to your success.  

Joining me in the studio today is the executive marketing team from Polycom, an agile B2B marketing team. With 400,000 customers and 25 years of success, Polycom is the leader in the collaboration space. Our guests include Amy Barzdukas, Polycom’s head of marketing, Maurizio Capuzzo the VP of Americas Marketing, Charles Dunlap the Director of Lead Generation, and Jim Kruger. 

To facilitate the conversation, we will leverage SBI’s campaign planning tool. I am going to walk this team through the steps and get them to share with you how Polycom plans campaigns from their own version of SBI’s planning process. Prefer video?  Watch the interview video that displays the visual flowchart of an emerging best practice campaign planning process. 

Why this topic? Campaign budgets are limited and these campaigns need to generate revenue. In B2B, marketing campaigns generate revenue when they are hyper-targeted, and do not when they are spray and pray. Today, we will demonstrate how to generate revenue and achieve a return on the campaign dollar.

The show begins by addressing the key question of how marketing leaders make the go/no do decision on campaigns. Listen as the process for decision making is described in detail. 

Listen as Maurizio Capuzzo, the VP of Americas Marketing shares with the audience how to pick a target audience, and how do you select the correct media for a campaign.  Maurizio stated; “The target audience will consume the different type of information according to their stage in the buyer journey. Therefore, we need to look at and learn what they like to consume, when they like to consume it and the type of information that they use. Therefore, as part of the process of understanding who they are and what they do, we try to work with the sales team in understanding and interview the customer as well.”

We discussed how to build campaigns based on the buyer persona’s emotional drivers. This is easier said than done. Amy Barzukas, the head of marketing, provides an insightful answer into the approach. Amy states, “It requires a lot of research into really understanding buyer personas; and you need to understand what they value, what they worry about, what they care about – and then build your messaging for them so that you know that what drives them. Then talk to them about the ease of use – about the ways that it’s going to make their life easier.”

The final segment of the show is focused on demonstrating how to pick the activities to use for each campaign, how to develop compelling offers, and lastly how do you measure the effectiveness of a campaign.

To go deeper with Campaign Strategy and Planning, assess your marketing strategy by investing a few minutes with SBI’s new Revenue Growth Diagnostic interactive tool.  This tool will help you pinpoint gaps and opportunities for improvement.

Direct download: AP1719__Polycom-18602.m4a
Category:Marketing Strategy -- posted at: 8:29am EST

Today we are going to demonstrate how to capture the attention of customers and prospects with great marketing campaigns. Campaign budgets are limited and these campaigns need to generate revenue. The emerging best practice for planning campaigns requires a scientific approach to dial in the results. Today’s show provides the definitive guide to campaign planning from the first step through the entire campaign planning process. To assess your overall Marketing Strategy, spend a few minutes leveraging SBI's new Revenue Growth Diagnostic tool to pinpoint keys to your success. 

Our guest is Michael Callahan the Chief Marketing Officer for Firemon, one of the hottest cyber security firms performing enterprise security management. Firemon helps organizations with complex IT environments keep the bad guys out by providing a single view of what's going on in someone's infrastructure. Today we are going to demonstrate how to capture the attention of customers and prospects.

Why this topic? Every market has a “sweet spot.” Campaigns (and their budgets) generate revenues when focused directly at this “sweet spot.” Campaigns that are not hyper-targeted do not. To generate a return on marketing campaign dollars requires a clear objective, timeline, budget, accurate lists, correct media mix and compelling calls to action.

To facilitate the conversation, we will display SBI’s campaign planning tool on the screen to provide structure to the conversation.  

In the first segment of the program, Michael will describe how to develop campaign objectives, timelines, budget and expected results for each campaign. The conversation extends to the approach for defining the addressable markets and how do you allocate campaign resources (i.e., people, money, and time) against the “sweet spot” in the addressable markets. 

Michael demonstrates how to ensure that marketing campaigns have clear value proposition and the process for reviewing creative. 

There are multiple program types that a marketing team can run in a campaign, and Michael breaks down the approach to the different types of campaigns including:  Awareness, Cross sell, New logo, Competitive replacement, Renewals, Migration, and Nurture. The best practice is to focus on one.  Michael outlines the mix of activities and how to sequence them correctly, as well as how to create compelling offers to drive response. 

Michael describes how to assign enough content assets and map the assets to the buyers’ journey. The importance is described in this quote: 

“People simply don't have time to figure things out. You may have rock-solid proof, logic-built message – and there's no way that anybody could ever dispute any part of it. But it's so complicated that no one knows what you're talking about and they just move on, because they have a million things to do – furthermore, there's other people in your space that are saying it more clearly. People have choices, you must give them a reason to choose you, and you can't expect them to figure it out. You've got to be really clear.”

Finally, Michael describes how to create provocative campaigns that are differentiated and drive your campaign message.  This is a can’t miss video for every marketing leader to review and share with your team. 

Direct download: AP1734-Michael_Callahan-18691.m4a
Category:Marketing Strategy -- posted at: 8:42am EST

I am excited to bring you a fellow CEO who made his way up through the function of sales. It’s rare to find a Chief Executive Officer with sales and marketing expertise.  Get ready to take notes of these rare insights from the owner of the corporate strategy who knows exactly how to leverage the sales function to achieve growth objectives.  Today we are going to demonstrate how to fill the funnel with real sales opportunities. 

Our new Revenue Growth Diagnostic tool gives you the ability to test your corporate strategy’s ability to hit the number, and determine if you are likely or unlikely to make your number. 

Our guest today is Henry Schuck, the CEO and co-founder of DiscoverOrg, a sales and marketing intelligence platform. DiscoverOrg solves one of the biggest problems facing sales and marketing teams, and that's getting great data on the companies they're targeting. This includes the prospects at those companies, getting that flowing through their CRM and marketing automation systems and making it actionable for their reps to call on for their marketing teams to send campaigns on and to really drive the funnel. 

Why this topic?  Marketing is going to contribute ~30% of the pipeline, which means sales needs to generate ~70% of the sales opportunities. Pipeline per rep varies too much without a standard prospecting process used by all. Lead quality and lead-to-opportunity conversion rates suffer when prospecting is left up to each individual sales rep. 

We begin the show by learning about Henry’s sales and marketing team.  The marketing team at DiscoverOrg contributes 50% of the leads and 52% of the revenue, which is well above the benchmark of 40% for world class marketing organizations. 

The sales team at DiscoverOrg is 100% inside sales. We discuss the organization structure and approach to drive revenue.  Listen as Henry describes the prospecting process that SDRs use at his company to drive qualified leads. 

“At a point last year, we brought in a sales ops person who went through the entire prospecting process and really dialed it in. The prospecting process today starts with data that flows into Salesforce, leads that come from marketing that flow into Salesforce, get distributed to the right SDRs, go inside their queues. We use FrontSpin as a dialer. We use Outreach as an outbound email system. Leads sort of flow through that process and get followed up on and then go to an account executive. Each SDR, whether inbound or outbound, is responsible to hit a certain number of demos each day, really over the month, but each day. We're tracking that every single week.” 

Henry demonstrates how to fill the funnel with real sales opportunities by executing a prospecting methodology that helps sellers facilitate the investigation of their problems early in the purchasing process.  Listen as Henry share his team’s recipe for success, and provides a comparison view on how his team compares to the competition in terms of sales cycle length, lead to opportunity conversion, and average pipeline per rep.  

In the final segment of the show we discuss what resources the sales team needs to successfully execute the prospecting process. Henry describes how his team leverages technology to make the prospecting process easy to execute. 

Finally, we conclude the show by outlining the key metrics to track to indicate success and/or failure of the prospecting process.  This is a show you will want to take notes and forward to your entire leadership team. 

Direct download: AP1740__Henry_Schuck-18733.mp3
Category:Sales Strategy -- posted at: 3:36am EST

Joining us for today’s show is Finn Faldi, a Partner Revenue Officer who knows how to go to market with the right channels. Our show today is focused on selling through partners, one of the hottest and most consistently requested topics from this audience of executive decision makers. 

Our guest is Finn Faldi, a Partner Revenue Officer for LifeLock.  The Partner Revenue Officer title is new and reflects the growing importance of channel to making your number.  Today’s topic is focused on the emerging best practices for selling through channels. It’s difficult to grow revenue faster than your industry’s growth rate and faster than your competitors. The Revenue Growth Diagnostic interactive tool will help you determine if you are likely or unlikely to make your number. 

I have the Partner Revenue Officer from LifeLock joining us to share with you, the audience of B2B marketing and sales leaders, the emerging best practices from the B2B2C world for B2B partner selling. Finn will demonstrate how to cover the market completely by utilizing indirect sales channels. I sought out the top expert on selling through partners to share emerging best practices. To do this I looked to business-to-consumer companies with a heavy partner mix in their sales motion. The reason being is that business-to-consumer companies almost always lead B2B industries in the adoption of new emerging best practices by several years.  

So why this topic on this day? Selling to customers directly when they want to buy from partners, is a sure-fire way to miss the revenue goal. Selling to customers through partners when they want a direct relationship with your company, can be equally devastating. Within the direct and indirect channel model, there are multiple sub-models to consider. Coverage model decisions have never been this complicated, for we live in the omni-channel era.  

The first segment of the show identifies the economic model required for each unique sales channel.  Finn walks us through the approach he uses at LifeLock, and how he splits the market between direct sales and channel partners. 

Finn describes the channel coverage model he deploys and the level of conflict among individual partners. In the final segment of the show, Finn describes how channel partners can reach market segments that his company could not reach without their selling efforts. The channel partners help LifeLock scale up sales resources to meet customer demand and cover the market completely. 

Finally, Finn summarizes with his proven approach to selecting, recruiting, and onboarding the right channel partners.  This is a great opportunity for you to listen to a Partner Revenue Officer describe the steps required for success and perform your own gap analysis on your own company.  

Would you like help with the channel approach of your company?  Come see me in Dallas at The Studio, SBI’s multimillion dollar, one-of-a-kind, state-of-the-art executive briefing center. A visit to The Studio typically results in getting three months of work done in three days. The immersive sessions accelerate everything, dramatically reducing the time it takes to diagnose a problem, develop a solution, and create an implementation plan. 

Direct download: AP1728-Finn_Faldi-18691.m4a
Category:Sales Strategy -- posted at: 7:54am EST

Joining us for today’s show is Brad Reynolds, an executive who knows a thing or two about running a strategic sales operations function that supports aggressive revenue growth. Today’s topic is focused on how Sales Operations improves the efficiency of the sales team to increase revenue per head.  During our discussion, Brad and I leverage our workbook, so flip to the Sales Operations phase on page 314 of the PDF to follow along. 

As the Director of Sales Operations and Enablement at Kimberly-Clark Professional, Brad is going to demonstrate how to improve the efficiency of the sales team. Kimberly-Clark Professional is the B2B arm of Kimberly-Clark Corporation with global brands such as Kleenex, Scott, WypAll, and Kimtech. Brad has been with Kimberly-Clark Professional the past eleven years, serving the past four years leading sales operations and enablement.   

Brad is uniquely qualified to speak on this topic of sales operations. The Kimberly-Clark Professional sales team targets segments around the world such as industrial, office buildings, health care, and education with hundreds of thousands of end-users that we deal with daily. Listen as Brad demonstrates how to improve the efficiency of the sales team.  

Why this topic on this day? Sales ops has become a catch all phrase. The sales ops leader gets assigned all the work no one else wants to do. Often underfunded and understaffed, sales operations leaders fail to deliver a meaningful revenue contribution. Yet, the best growth executives understand that sales ops are the most strategic sales function in the entire company. They understand that when deployed correctly, sales ops can impact revenue growth in a very meaningful way. Do not starve this vital department. If you do you're going to miss your revenue goal. 

In the first segment of the show Brad and I discuss the business outcomes his team is charged to deliver.  We dive into the strategic focus areas of the sales operations team and Brad shares how he guides his team with a strategic focus to keep from becoming a reactive catch-all.  To operate strategically, Brad works closely with other functional leaders in HR, product management, finance, IT, and marketing to interlock sales with the overall corporation. 

Listen as Brad outlines the roles and the responsibilities of the sales operations team to demonstrate how to improve the efficiency of the sales team.  As a strategic function, we discuss the executive reporting requirement to provide the right level of information on sales performance at the right time to make decisions.  

To power the sales operations team, Brad describes the systems architecture required power the team.  Brad describes in detail the forecasting approach and process to provide accurate forecasts.  

We wrap up the show with Brad demonstrating a best practice approach to pipeline management.  Listen as Brad describes the process and how pipeline management reports are released; “We have district managers meet with their teams, our directors of sales have the same meeting with their district managers, the VP of sales meets with the directors of sales and yesterday, our VP of sales had his pipeline report with our North American President. We start at that level and we ladder the metrics and the measurements all the way down so that we're all looking at the same things.”

For your next QBR, bring your sales leadership team to come see us in Dallas at The Studio, SBI’s multimillion dollar, one-of-a-kind, state-of-the-art executive briefing center. A visit to The Studio typically results in getting three months of work done in three days. The immersive sessions accelerate everything, dramatically reducing the time it takes to diagnose a problem, develop a solution, and create an implementation plan. 

Direct download: AP1722__Brad_Reynolds-18661.mp3
Category:Sales Strategy -- posted at: 8:12am EST

Today’s topic is focused on how to match the capabilities of the executive team to the objectives in the requirements in the corporate strategy. Our guest is Kelley Steven-Waiss, the Chief Human Resource Officer for HERE, the company leading the charge on autonomous driving technology. Kelley is a leader who knows how to build an executive team to Make the Number.[p]

During our discussion, Kelley and I leverage the annual workbook for our conversation. Turn to the Corporate Strategy section and find the Talent phase on pages 100 – 106 of the PDF workbook.[p]

Joining us is Kelley Steven-Waiss, Executive Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer at HERE Technologies. HERE was formally owned by Nokia and, at the end of 2015, broke away as a separate company owned by a consortium of automotive OEMs, BMW, Daimler, and Audi, plus new investors, Intel, Navinfo, and Tencent. HERE is an open Location platform company, leading the charge on autonomous driving technology. Kelley will demonstrate how to match the capabilities of the executive team to the objectives of the corporate strategy.

Why this topic? The revenue growth objective, which is what we're about, is heavily dependent on having superstar executive talent. Field an average team, and you're going to miss the revenue growth goal. At times, this revenue growth strategy calls for a new set of competencies that the existing team might not possess. Sometimes, the competitors have a talent advantage that results in them winning more than they should, so mismatch talent and corporate strategy and suffer from significant execution problems.

Listen as Kelley describes how to match the capabilities of executive talent to the objectives and the requirements of a corporate strategy.  We begin the show discussing what sales and marketing leaders need to be best-in-class and to thrive in HERE’s innovative industry.  Kelley states that the number one attribute is adaptability. The markets are moving quickly, so the ability to adapt to different customers and market segments is required. Having high levels of business acumen comes next.  Being self-aware enough to adjust your style based on your customer, or even the sales talent underneath you.  Finally, consultative selling skills, because today it's about understanding the customer's ecosystem and competitive landscape, and if you cannot connect the dots at a high level, you're not going to be as successful.

Expertise in technology is obviously important. Particularly for a sales or marketing executive, it's crucial to be articulate, well-versed in the business, and have the ability to inspire and motivate teams underneath the buyer. Because at that level, you're not the one selling necessarily, you're really selling to your own people underneath you. Sales and marketing leaders can inspire teams and as markets shift and evolve there's more opportunity for executives to demonstrate their own adaptability, to ensure their teams are really following them.

Kelley and I also discuss the role of talent when thinking about your routes to market, and if they are changing.  If routes to market are changing, then take a fresh look at your leadership team and ask yourself the question, "Have I matched the capability of my leadership team to the requirements of my corporate strategy?"

Would you like to spend some time with me and my hand-picked talent experts on this topic? Come see me in Dallas at The Studio, SBI’s multimillion dollar, one-of-a-kind, state-of-the-art executive briefing center. A visit to The Studio increases the probability of making your number because the sessions are built on the proven strength and stability of SBI, the industry leader in B2B sales and marketing. 

Direct download: AP1720__Kelley_Steven-Waiss_Chief_HR_Officer.m4a
Category:Corporate Strategy -- posted at: 8:56am EST

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