In this fourth and final part of our interview with Brian Kardon, Chief Marketing Officer at Fuze, we discuss Fuze’s marketing technology stack, approach to sales enablement, and a key part of their sales process called “Business Value Analysis”.

Technology Stack

We asked Brian to describe their technology stack: “Among the top tools are Eloqua for email and marketing automation, Salesforce for CRM, Full Circle Insights for attribution, Allocadia for budgeting, and Engagio for Account Based Marketing to see what accounts are engaging at any given time – opening emails, coming to the website etc. All the stages of the sales process are mapped in Salesforce, so at any given point in time we know where every deal is, what’s been done and all the relevant documents are in one place. We have a marketing stack of about 23 products and a sales stack of about 20. The easy part is buying the technologies, the hard part is making them all work together and training the users. Its relatively easy to overbuy, and then be too busy to deploy. The scarce resource is time – being able to deploy the technology and enable everybody.”

He described how they use technology to identify surges in intent: “We have very good technologies to see when surges happen, we can see how many people from a prospect have gone to our website, have opened emails, have watched videos, or are searching for certain terms. What we learn from this intent data is that the people doing the research are usually a couple of levels down from the CIO. So the CIO will often go to a manager in the department and ask them to do some research in our category, and we will see surge activity on our website that people from a particular company are starting to look. We even monitor searches for more indirect terms like ‘alternatives to Skype’, ‘cheaper voice’, or ‘my phone service went down’. A surge may indicate they are in a buying cycle and there may be a project emerging. In this category, people are not in the market every year, they only change every 3-10 years. So that’s why we carefully monitor surges, there are big switching barriers and there is a kind of lock-in effect with communication vendors.”

Sales Enablement

We asked Brian about sales enablement and how they prepare the sales team to engage with C-level executives. He said: “I think sales enablement is generally an underfunded resource for many companies. You hire all these expensive sales reps, give them quotas, and then miss that key piece of enabling them with everything they need to be successful. Its like putting a 15-year-old in the cockpit of a jet fighter plane with all sorts of switches and dials, and all they want to do is turn on the radio! You have to simplify – a mistake that many marketers make is to overbuild the dashboard. I would rather give fewer tools but enable them completely so they have complete knowledge of the tools. A typical salesperson now has about 20 different tools on his or her desktop, they just can’t deal with that many disparate systems.”

Brian described how they will train sales reps using simulation: “We found that classrooms and Powerpoints don’t work very well, instead we will bring in actors who will role-play as the CIO of the company being sold to. The sales reps will call an actor on the phone, and we have four other people from the company listening on the call who provide feedback to the rep.”

He said the sales team will do a BVA (Business Value Analysis) before an important meeting, which can take an average of 50 hours of preparation. They will research the prospective company, their locations, what they are likely paying in carrier charges, office moves, infrastructure costs, and security issues. He said: “When we present all this research back to the C-level prospect, our sales person will be joined by a more technical resource such as a sales engineer. Since we have large contract sizes, we want to have more people in that meeting and make sure it’s very good. We will never leave a salesperson in a room alone with a CIO, the CIO wants to talk to a peer that can speak their own language. We can’t expect a salesperson to have the technical depth to have a very long conversation with the CIO, but what the salesperson has to do is the background research to understand the environment of the company. For example, retail is a great industry for us, because retailers are always opening up new stores, so we want to make sure the salesperson understands the key points to convey to the CIO of a retail company, such as the inefficiencies of having a separate data center and box with wires for each and every new store.”

As you can see from the last four posts, we covered a wide range of interesting topics with Brian. We would like to get your thoughts: What do you think of the future of sales? What has been your experience with using predictive intelligence to identify your ideal customer profiles? Have you been able to leverage this into ABM strategies? If so, what effect has this had on your sales and marketing teams? Please share your comments; we look forward to continuing the conversation.

Originally posted on MarTech Advisor, written by Jeff Leroux (Head of Sales & Business Development, Ziff Davis)