04I recently spent three days (October 26th – October 28th) participating in the 2016 Seismic Shift user conference. Just like approximately half of the near-200 attendees, I was not part of the ever-growing Seismic family this time last year, and Shift 2016 changed the way I thought about how effective a powerful sales enablement process can be for enterprises.

First, one of the many agenda highlights was keynote speaker Peter Ostrow, research director at SiriusDecisions. His “Sales Content: What Winners Do Differently” presentation provided compelling evidence that sales are won when reps leverage the right content at the right time, diving down into the specific types of content high-performing sales teams are leveraging at different stages of the sales cycle, and comparing them to the content used by their less successful colleagues. For example, did you know that buyers receive and consume 22% more content overall from winning reps? Furthermore, the content the winning reps provide is also more likely to be seen as high impact.

While Peter’s presentation was a tough act to follow, for me, nothing about the event was more compelling or inspiring than the ten customer case study presentations. Topics included everything from how to most effectively create, organize, personalize and distribute content, to how to work together across sales and marketing teams, to how to leverage Seismic analytics to make future content stronger and more relevant.

The message was clear – there are a lot of ways that Seismic can help enterprises align sales and marketing and accelerate sales cycles. Here are four key takeaways from my first Seismic Shift experience.

  1. Seismic customers are using the platform to solve a host of different content problems

There are seemingly countless ways to use Seismic, and customers are putting the platform at the center of every content decision. Allianz, has a webpage that directly feeds content to customers from Seismic, via an integration Sitecore. Illumina uses search terms that sales reps are searching for in Seismic to create new content that matches those terms. Elekta, meanwhile, equates Seismic with display advertising for their marketing team: With Seismic’s Salesforce integration, whenever a rep is researching an opportunity, he or she will be automatically reminded of the content Elekta’s marketing team has created for them.

  1. With a host of different ways to use Seismic, new best practices are developed and optimized every day.

Only 18% of enterprises are equipping their sales teams with content in an effectively organized manner, meaning best practices are still being formed by early adopters, with Seismic’s customers leading the way. From Applied Systems demonstrating how they used LiveDocs® to create custom solution documents, to 361 Capital telling us how mobile, tablet and Outlook integrations have empowered sales teams to work independently, Seismic’s customers are forming a community and informing each other of what sales enablement means in the modern enterprise.

  1. Success with sales enablement is not just about a technology – it’s about aligning to your internal customer

The message was clear from many presenters: When it comes to sales enablement, you must meet your sales reps where they already are. A good sales enablement solution allows content to find the salesperson, not the other way around. Whether this means you’re distributing content in a platform that reps are already comfortable with (i.e., through Salesforce, Outlook, in the mobile space, etc.) or you’re focusing on a feature that will quickly alleviate a major paint point, your organizational process today drives your sales enablement usage.

This speaks to a larger point about sales enablement in that it is more than just a new technology implementation. Success happens when the sales enablement process opens up lines of communication within the sales and marketing teams while also ensuring that sales reps understand the full benefits of great, personalized content. Our customer Bank of the West said it best when she told the audience to, “Stop thinking about Seismic as a technology project – think of it as a people and process project.”

  1. You’re only as powerful as the content you keep – quality is king, and understanding usage will get you far

Both Elekta and Illumina spoke about how organizing content in Seismic has allowed them to uncover flaws in the content itself. Through usage data and analytics capabilities, our clients are getting smarter about what helps their teams and what information is less valuable.

That’s a wrap from me – I encourage you to keep the conversation going by weighing in on what you learned from Shift 2016. For now, let the hype for an even bigger, better, can’t be missed Seismic Shift 2017 event begin!