The Inbound conference in Boston was where I first came across Highspot, they were a vendor who was in the exhibit hall there. I put a card into their fishbowl, and one of their marketing people contacted me to tell me I’d won a $500 Apple gift card. Highspot was one of the companies I was intrigued with at the conference, so I asked if we could do a blog interview. And Jeff Boissoneault, VP of Sales at Highspot kindly agreed to be interviewed. Here’s the result.
John: Jeff, well, please tell me about your background?
Jeff: I’m a small company startup guy; I’ve worked for 8 companies, and had 8 events, so a pretty good record of working at great companies. After larger companies buy the start-ups I move on to the next opportunity. I prefer the startup environment, as I’m too impatient to stay around with the larger companies. I started in sales as an individual contributor, and moved to regional manager and into sales leadership.
John: What’s the background to highspot?
Jeff: Our founder and CEO is Robert Wahbe. He was a corporate Vice President at Microsoft; he held a number of leadership roles and his final one was as the Corporate Vice President of Marketing for the large Server and Tools division. His team had responsibility for creating a great deal of content for sales people. Robert never really had complete visibility into what content was being used effectively by sellers in deals. As a result of that experience, he wanted to develop a solution that closes the loop between marketing, sales and customers. Highspot was developed to solve this challenge.
John: Listening to some of the thinking here, have you consulted with Sirius Decisions?
Jeff: Why yes, Sirius Decisions approach aligns with the Highspot solution. We are a customer of Sirius Decisions, have exhibited at their summit and briefed their analysts; so there is a relationship between the organizations.
John: How has the buyer’s journey changed in recent years?
Jeff: The buyer’s journey has gone through many iterative steps in recent years, first driven by the internet, then by software being offered in the cloud. Prior to the internet content was only available from selling companies. The internet created a place where buyer’s could download content and research prospective vendors and solutions. This fundamentally changed how buyer’s and sellers engage. Solutions being available in the cloud has once again changed the dynamic by providing buyer’s with an easy way to work directly with solutions, in POC’s or Pilot’s, at a very low or no cost way. It’s been written that as much as 70% of the buying process is completed before vendors are engaged – this means that sellers must be ready to quickly engage buyer’s with the most best and most effective content and that’s what Highspot is built to do.
John: How do you see content influencing sales in the buying process?
Jeff: It has become incredibility important; however it’s becoming increasingly difficult to find the best, most effective content in the vast sea of what marketing develops. To reinforce the point, I was recently reading that there is now more content created every two days than all of history up to 2003. We leverage deep machine learning to help surface the content that sellers need to have the most effective engagement with prospects.
John: What’s the content at the right time?
Jeff: Highspot helps organizations close the loop between Marketing, Sales and Customers. The first part of closing the loop is to ensure that content is available at the sellers fingertips. Once the content is available, sellers need to see the content in the context of the prospect – the characteristics of an opportunity. Highspot can surface the content with salesforce.com, complete with effectiveness scoring, or natively in the Highspot solution. If a specific opportunity requires more or different content sellers can easily and effectively search, browse or discovery the piece they need. The final step in closing the loop is to get the content into the prospects hands. Highspot helps here by enabling direct pitches to the prospect. Sellers can email or send a link to content or start a live pitch to present and demo to the prospect. Underlying all this are alerts to the sellers when prospects open content and analytics to help marketing and sales understand usage patterns and content effectiveness.
John: Thanks Jeff. Sounds fascinating!