Digital Shift Day One: Envisioning the future of enablement

Today we hosted the first of our two-day conference, Seismic Digital Shift. This year marks the seventh time we’ve hosted the event and the first time we’ve gone entirely virtual. We’re grateful to all of the customers, industry leaders, and other attendees who joined us for the LIVE stream. 

Day 1 of Digital Shift featured sessions from industry thought leaders, motivational speakers, and Seismic leadership. Many of the day’s sessions acknowledged how 2020 accelerated digital transformation, but focused more on how this acceleration will continue to shape the future of sales enablement. From Seismic co-founder and CEO Doug Winter’s keynote address to a fireside chat with Salesforce Executive Vice President and General Manager of Financial Services Mark Sullivan, speakers laid the groundwork for the future of sales, marketing, enablement, and business as a whole. 

Digital Shift is sales enablement’s biggest industry and customer event. If you were unable to join us today, we hope to see you tomorrow. You will also be able to find all of the content on-demand on the Seismic Digital Shift platform website after the event is over. For a taste of what’s in store, check out a few highlights from Day 1.

A unified go-to-market vision

Seismic co-founder and CEO Doug Winter kicked off the event with his keynote address in which he highlighted many of our collective personal and professional changes in the past year. 

On a professional level, the way that we sell has changed significantly. Selling used to be an in-person, selling-driven, and transactional experience. Today’s environment is a buyer’s market and it requires sellers to place a greater emphasis on developing long-lasting relationships with customers and prospects. More than ever, sellers have to embrace digital-first approaches to connect with buyers where they are and on their terms.

Today, those terms are increasingly digital. According to McKinsey, 75 percent of buyers prefer digital interactions and plan to continue doing business this way going forward. 97 percent of buyers are willing to spend $50,000 in a digital environment, while 15 percent of buyers are willing to spend more than $1,000,0000, without meeting anyone face-to-face.

In order to remain competitive in this new environment, companies will need to embrace a future vision that includes a unified go-to-market engine. That means developing synergistic competencies across social, web, review sites, email, phone calls, and face-to-face. Marketers will need to reach further down the funnel, and sellers will need to reach higher in the funnel to nurture buyers and connect them with the right content on the right channel, at the right time. Customer Success teams will also be key to this relationship-building engagement so that the customers of today remain the customers of tomorrow. 

Enablement. Storytelling. Growth

Throughout the morning, leaders in their respective fields delivered keynotes and participated in illuminating discussions with members of the Seismic team. These conversations spanned everything from evolving workplace culture to telling stories that stick, and enabling growth and change across teams. 

John, John, and Jean-Philippe

Microsoft is both a Seismic partner and customer. Today, Microsoft Board of Directors Chair and Seismic Board of Directors Member John W. Thompson and Microsoft Executive Vice President & President of Global Sales, Marketing & Operations Jean-Philippe Courtois joined Seismic Chief Financial Officer John McCauley to discuss business transformation. The trio discussed everything from Microsoft’s hiring process for CEO Satya Nadella to creating cultural change in business, as well as the role leadership plays in driving alignment across marketing and sales. 

“All of us have tried to learn as fast as we can…an appetite to learn it all, all the time, as much as we can—to open your mind to great stuff happening outside of you, beyond you, and just in front of you.”

John-Philippe Courtois, Executive Vice President & President of Global Sales,
Marketing & Operations, Microsoft

Sales enablement game changers

Nintex Chief Marketing & Strategy Officer Dustin Grosse, Deloitte Principal & US Sales Transformation Leader Harry Datwani, and Seismic Vice President of Market Growth Heather Cole joined Seismic Chief Marketing Officer Michael Londgren in a mainstage panel where they discussed their respective visions for enablement, key “lessons learned” driving enablement transformations, and measuring enablement business impact.

Datwani described how Deloitte works with clients to scale the “secret sauce” of their top sellers across their sales team. In discussing measuring the business impact of enablement, Grosse noted the importance of aligning go-to-market teams on common metrics and then driving continuous improvement. Seismic’s Cole emphasized the importance of empathy for buyers and the importance of consistent storytelling throughout buyer journeys.

Kindra Hall

According to Hall, there are three key parts of a story journey: normal, explosion, and new normal. This is but one of many tips and best practices the New York Times bestselling author of Stories that Stick shared during her keynote. She also explained the biological reason why humans are drawn to stories and how our brains produce higher levels of cortisol and oxytocin when we hear stories.

“Storytelling is actually your best choice, not a last resort.”

Kindra Hall, President and Chief Storytelling Officer, Steller Collective

Katie Sowers

In a fireside chat with Seismic Vice President and Head of Enablement Irina Soriano, Katie Sowers, the first woman to coach in the Super Bowl shared her story and how events throughout her life gave her the drive to challenge the status quo and push boundaries. 

“We all have more that we can do—whether it’s improving in an area of weakness that we have. I have the power to create change in myself and in those around me”

Katie Sowers, former offensive coach, San Francisco 49ers

A Most Beautiful Thing

Seismic Vice President of Inclusion Donna DeBerry hosted an open conversation with Vanguard Group Chairman and CEO Bill McNabb and Arshay Cooper, the leader of the first all-Black rowing team about the importance of building trust and relationships, embracing an inclusive mindset, and becoming a change agent in the workplace.

“We have to avoid assumptions…challenge stereotypes and recognize—at times—what privileges we have. Continue to connect…I have a lot of white friends who say ‘I don’t know how to start the conversation at work around race.’ I say just connect with them as humans—ask them to lunch, talk about sports, and if you make mistakes, they won’t get upset because they know you—they know your heart. They know that you’re truly curious.”

Arshay Cooper, Author, A Most Beautiful Thing

Customers on Seismic

Last year, companies across the globe adopted digital-first strategies to engage buyers and customers. Over the course of the past year, we’ve partnered with our customers to improve the Seismic platform with customer experience at its core. We were joined by several customers who shared enablement best practices, as well as strategies for the Seismic platform. A few highlights from Seismic Shift Award recipients include: 

Citrix simplifies content discovery

Citrix Director Worldwide Sales Enablement Tolls & Services Nicole Ward shares how the company’s internal instance of Seismic, Sales IQ has garnered 98.5 percent adoption globally. Her team developed a content governance strategy that boosts sales efficiency through content discovery and ensures that sellers have access to the most up-to-date content to share with the right customer, at the right time. 

Lincoln Financial Group on innovating client engagement

A 115-year-old company, Lincoln Financial Group had an aging tech stack that needed to evolve in order for its wholesalers to share the right message to customers at the right time. Lincoln Financial Group Vice President of Digital Business Phil Armas’ team oversaw a transformation effort that used email templates and email blasts to share compliant content to buyers in different markets. 

Philips is delivering on its promise

The healthcare and personal care company is committed to fulfilling its promise of improving the lives of 2.5 billion people by 2030. When Philips launched its sales enablement function, the company leveraged Seismic customer success expertise to improve sales productivity, as well as customized customer and persona-driven engagements. 

How SAP became the largest social selling company

The company started small with a presence on LinkedIn and eventually expanded its social selling program through Grapevine6 (Now LiveSocial). Its sellers have helped transition the company to a more cutting edge brand—all while reaching 168 percent of quota amid increasing targets. 

More to come

Thank you to everyone who joined us for Day One of Seismic Digital Shift. We’re looking forward to Day Two where we’ll have more can’t-miss sessions and keynote speakers, including Seismic’s Chief Product Officer Krish Mantripragada who will share Seismic’s product vision for the future of sales enablement. 

If you couldn’t join us for Digital Shift, you’re in luck. You can watch binge-worthy content from the event on-demand.

Tony Smith
Tony Smith
Sr. Content Strategist
Tony Smith is a Senior Content Strategist at Seismic where he creates blog and thought leadership content. He has 12 years of experience as a marketing and communications professional, and is passionate about using storytelling to help customers solve their business challenges.