Lisa Contini is well-versed in the art of sales, and until recently, the sales process was about “98% art,” she says. While the qualitative aspect is still integral to sales enablement, the age of data has ushered in a new phase in sales—one in which art and science coexist. As the vice president of sales enablement at Redis Labs, which provides in-memory database platforms, Lisa relies on both hard data and the human stories that flow underneath those numbers. Her team is tasked with creating customer advocates, developing effective collateral and strengthening the sales and product marketing teams, all of which require providing detailed insights at every step of the way.
Lisa and her team need real-time access to insights into their customers’ sales journeys. Data about the competitive landscape, market, and customer purchasing behavior helps the sales team carry out an effective strategy. This information has become vital in an era in which many people circumvent traditional sales processes.
“One of the challenges I face in my role is that customers no longer need salespeople as early in their purchasing process as they did 15 years ago,” Lisa says.
Lisa was looking for a way to understand when customers want to connect with the sales team, what questions they have, and what obstacles they face in securing internal buy-in—as well as create targeted customer stories to help convert prospects.
Enabling the Sales team with case studies and customer insights
Redis Labs turned to TechValidate to streamline the customer reference process for their advocacy community, Redis Stars, from outreach to case study development, as well as get valuable insights into the customer experience.
Customer references are not just valuable sales tools, but they also often reveal opportunities to find and solve pain points in the sales process.
Automating certain parts of the process has helped increase the size of the Redis Labs community and discover where customers stalled in securing internal support for the Redis Labs platform.
“There is a trend towards consensus decision-making for large purchases,” Lisa says. “If we don’t know what roadblocks our customers are hitting, we can’t help overcome them.”
Redis Labs also conducts surveys of its current customer base to learn about the purchase experience and stumbling blocks—and discover how those obstacles were overcome. By creating targeted case studies in a fraction of the time it would take with traditional methods, TechValidate enables the sales team to speak to specific issues and questions that are likely to arise for prospective customers.
“We want to understand the operational value of what we’re delivering and how we’re helping customers meet their business goals faster,” Lisa says.
Collateral created by TechValidate is migrated into ReferenceEdge, a reference managing tool built into Salesforce, providing instant access for the teams who need it. The approach enables Lisa’s team to work cross-functionally with the product marketing team, ensuring that the right assets are in place for the sales team.
Lisa also uses SurveyMonkey as an important part of the sales enablement team’s professional development. Before completing an education or team-building session, each person receives a “pre-test” through SurveyMonkey on the material to be covered. Post-tests are sent afterward to provide a look at how well the learning goals resonated. Development opportunities can be targeted around what the team is hearing from customers through TechValidate.
“Our team is highly motivated to learn,” Lisa says. “If you let them know where their deficits are, you can direct them to assets to learn more. SurveyMonkey is so flexible for this kind of thing. I can send individual managers a link to just their team’s results.”
Together, TechValidate and SurveyMonkey create what Lisa refers to as “evidence-based sales enablement.” The team doesn’t rely on anecdotes alone; instead, it can track performance and trends over the long term, creating an adaptable, smart sales department.
Translating adaptability to business returns
Adaptability translates to positive business impact. The team has been able to quickly grow a library of customer references and collateral. Many companies try to develop one case study a month; Redis Labs has published over 80 case studies in the last two years using TechValidate.
The boost in collateral has also had a positive impact on the Redis Stars community. A few years ago, the program had about 15 active advocates; today it is about 1800 strong. A thriving reference program has strengthened the partnership between sales enablement and product marketing, enabling the company to use data from both teams to prioritize specific personas and markets to target.
With TechValidate, Cortini sees ample opportunity for Redis Labs to continue to grow their reference base and tell the right marketing stories at the right time. She feels that her team’s success has been due to its access to strong customer advocates and the collateral TechValidate creates.
“The companies that are going to excel in the world will be those that learn how to use tools like TechValidate to capture data and use it to make good, informed business decisions,” she says.