What you need to know about sales innovation: Tiffani Bova, Gartner distinguished analyst

Tiffani Bova, VP and distinguished analyst at Gartner, is passionate about helping her clients grow and increase competitiveness through sales innovation. She discusses that and why she believes the most disruptive thing in the market today is not technology, it’s the customer.

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(41:31)So there’s nobody you can blame except yourself right. And if it’s a canned message that comes from marketing and they’re saying to you, just send this out – canned message, that goes back to what I said right product, right customer, right message, right sales model. Then there’s a disconnect between the contents not right and you’re telling me what to do and as a sales rep I’m just doing it. So you have to get that control back yeah.

Michael:         (41:55) So Tiffani, we’ve just a few minutes left and you’ve given some advice to enterprise buyers. Now, what’s your advice to technology companies to the enterprise sellers?           

Tiffani:            (42:08) To their own sales reps?

Michael:         (42:11) To the sales reps or to the people who are developing the strategy. You’ve actually just given some advice to the sales reps, so how about to the sales management and even to the marketing department who are formulating the strategy. Just your advice and wisdom for those folks.

Tiffani:            (42:27) So I’d say this. I’d say that unfortunately sales management still manages the seller – their individual rep with the same metrics and tools that they’ve always measured. How many calls did you go on, and how many emails did you send, and how many phone calls did you make and how many proposals did you give. You know, what percentage is in the pipeline, why isn’t this deal moving, pipeline calls every Monday and Friday and have been the same for 10 years.

(42:56) Yet, we just spent 45 minutes talking about how technology has changed, how the buyers changed, and how the buyers journey has changed. So how is it possible that the metrics can stay exactly the same? So as a sales manager, you’ve got to start to look at the way which you manage your sales force. To accommodate the buyer is on a different journey.

(43:15) So I like to give this example all the time and I say, if I were your sales rep and you were my manager, and a customer calls me and they were 50% through the buyer journey already, and I had to enter that into my CRM system. Would I put that deal at 10% probability to close, or 50% probability to close?

(43:33) Unfortunately, today a sales rep would put it at 10%, because if they put it at 50% I like to say it’s like second grade soccer, it’s like the soccer ball. Everybody runs to the soccer ball, we’ve got to close this deal and my god, it’s 50% let’s get all the executives. And it’s not reality. So management has got to start to give some freedom and space to manage their sales reps differently and in the way that they measure them, with the pipeline meetings, with the way in which they have those calls, and in the way which they get trained. And I think it’s really important, because until that happens sales will as I like to say, sales will always manage up.

(44:11) Right, I want to manage to my manager, who manages to their manager and who manages to their manager, and the pipeline makes its way up. And if every sales rep puts a deal at 10% when they are really at 50%, how accurate is that pipeline? Is not accurate.

(44:29) Right, and it also isn’t helping marketing realize is what we are doing working – are we getting better quality leads, are we driving the customer further down the buyer journey. Well, it won’t appear so if you get the pipeline and everybody says 10%. So I think sales managers have got to start to figure out how they can balance that. Once again, until that seller’s dilemma get solved, if I’m a manager and trying to hit numbers, I’m not worried about trying to think about how do I re-imagine my sales funnel and pipeline right now. I’m just trying to hit numbers.

(44:59) And it’s really raw for them, you know especially the managers that have to manage up and manage down. Difficult.

Vala:               (45:06) Michael remember I told you before the show started that we were going to have the blogger’s dilemma of taking this wisdom and narrowing it down to only a 2,000 word blog. I have no idea on how I’m going to do this.

Michael:         (45:19) I know because writing these blogs is tough you know. We have guests like Tiffani who…

Vala:               (45:26) …is just crushing us and you drop so much science on us in 45 minutes.

Tiffani:            (45:31) I hope not. I don’t think I’ve ever been accused of dropping science on anybody, I hope that’s not the case.

Michael:         (45:40) How about if we call it scientific selling.

Vala:               (45:42) Scientific selling.

Tiffani:            (45:44) Alright I’ll take that.

Vala:               (45:45) It’s unbelievable, thank you so much Michael do we have time for another question or are we close to the end.

Michael:         (45:54) We’re pretty much done, but go ahead Vala, and Tiffani answer it quick.

Vala:               (46:01) What are your views on segmentation from account segmentation to buyer segmentation, so that you can not only understand the persona of your target buyer, but also to develop a buyer journey map. Is segmentation key to precision sales and marketing?

Tiffani:            (46:22) Yeah, I’d say this. You know I think every vendor in technology has a segmentation map that looks like a triangle. At the top of the triangle is big accounts that they sell direct and under that is the (global size? 46:33) and then below that is their value added reseller, and below that is just with value added resellers – that segmentation strategy I like to call it the Bermuda Triangle of segmentation because it’s adding no value.

(46:47) So, in the one minute we have left I think I’ll just leave it that marketers have got to go on sales calls with their sales team. And I want to stress that marketers need to stay quiet in that sales call and act like they are a new sales hirer and just there to listen. Because the moment they say they are from marketing, the conversation will totally change. And they can actually hear how well the content and segmentation and buyer journey mapping is doing live in this field whether it is via phone or face-to-face. I challenge marketers to go out on a sales call at least once a quarter and I don’t care which way, right over the phone or not.

(47:19) And then you can start to challenge and validate your segmentation strategy. But that triangle is doing good.

Michael:         (47:29 On that note is with the triangle of sales, I think our time together here today is done.

Tiffani:            (47:39) Well it’s been a pleasure. I so appreciate you guys giving me the opportunity to speak on your segment, and be part of a library of some really fantastic names and big hitting executive CIOs, I appreciate the opportunity.

Michael:         (47:54) Well thank you we’re grateful that you would take the time. Vala, I hope you stay warm.

Vala:               (47:59) I’m warm now.

Michael:         (48:03) And we’ve been talking on episode number 99 of CXOTalk, we have been speaking with Tiffani Bova, who is the vice president and distinguished and I have to say I like that word, distinguished analyst at Gartner. She is genuinely one of the top enterprise technology sales analysts in the world authorities on this topic, and Tiffani, I hope you will come back and join us another time.

Tiffani:            (48:30) Any time and I’m looking forward for the jib-jab marketing sales between Vala and I.

Michael:         (48:34) It sounds like too much of a like fest between you to.

Vala:               (48:39) I just didn’t want to be TKO’d by a world renowned expert, so next time maybe.

Tiffani:            (40:45) Thank you guys.

Michael:         (40:47 Thank you, and everybody subscribe to our newsletter, that’s the good deed for the day. See you next time for episode 100 of CXOTalk. Vala take care. Stay warm.

Vala:               (49:10) I will.

Michael:         See everybody, bye bye.

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This story, "What you need to know about sales innovation: Tiffani Bova, Gartner distinguished analyst" was originally published by CIO.


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