Shifting How Salespeople Serve Buyers: A Look Back at Past Seismic Shift Events

Next month, Seismic will host Seismic Shift 2016, our third annual customer conference geared towards customer appreciation, sales enablement best practices, and celebration of another year of success! We’ll be congregating in San Diego for three days of training sessions, panel discussions, and what’s sure to be an exciting keynote presentation from SiriusDecisions’ Research Director of Sales Enablement Strategies, Peter Ostrow.

With over 20 speakers and plenty of breakout sessions, (and San Diego in the fall), there is plenty to look forward to from October 26-28. But today we’re taking a look back on past Seismic Shifts, including valuable takeaways from our last two keynote speakers.

Seismic Shift 2014: Scott Santucci, Director, Alexander Group

In 2014, Scott Santucci was the Research Director of Forrester Research’s sales enablement practice. Now a director at the Alexander Group and the Founder of the Sales Enablement Society, Scott’s focus on optimizing organizational growth hasn’t changed one bit. Scott presented the keynote at our inaugural Seismic Shift, where sales-centric content management was a major theme. Scott discussed the massive transition from 20th century sales—where a product and its promotion was the keystone of the selling system—to today’s complex, buyer-focused sales model. “The customer conversation is the design point for the 21st century selling system,” Scott shared with Shift attendees, “and to have a meaningful conversation, salespeople must clearly show they understand the business issues and can articulate how to solve them.” Forrester’s research at the time found that only 26 percent of buyers could say that salespeople understood the buyer’s business, role and what was valuable to them. This number may be higher today thanks to sales leaders’ adoption of a buyer-centric sales process and implementation of sales enablement technology, but there is still plenty of work to do. Consequently, Scott’s current work is focused on promoting the values of the newly formed Sales Enablement Society, which aims to connect enablement practitioners and elevate sales enablement to a more strategic role and organizational function.

Seismic Shift 2015: Jon Miller, CEO and Co-Founder, Engagio

Last year’s Seismic Shift introduced attendees to account-based marketing, a hyper-targeted alternative (or supplement) to inbound lead generation. Jon Miller is no stranger to enterprise marketing trends, as the current CEO and Co-Founder of ABM company Engagio and previous Co-Founder of Marketo. Jon shared ABM’s “fishing with spears” approach to lead generation with Shift guests, which involves marketing teams working closely with the sales organization to identify large key accounts and target specific potential stakeholders or decision-makers within the account through content and sales outreach. The goal is to strategically coordinate sales and marketing efforts to deepen engagement at specific accounts where thorough attention is beneficial. As Jon shared, sales and marketing alignment, great customer knowledge, and personalization at scale are imperative for ABM to work. Jon’s presentation was a perfect follow-up to Scott’s 2014 keynote, as both illustrated just how important a buyer-centric sales approach has become. And this trend shows no sign of slowing down: SiriusDecisions found that ABM is the hottest technology for B2B marketers in 2016, with 58 percent of organizations piloting or testing an ABM program, and 41 percent reporting a full ABM program in place.

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