In 2019, Highspot, one of the leaders in the sales enablement product space, received an influx of capital to grow their sales enablement technology to include artificial intelligence and machine learning capabilities. Companies like Salesforce and Shasta Ventures raised $60 million in the capital for Highspot to begin fleshing out these capabilities.
The importance of the Salesforce investment in the Highspot platform
To understand the significance of this investment and growth opportunity, it’s important to first understand the concept of sales enablement. Highspot has its own sales enablement definition. They say, “Some see sales enablement as a role or team, some see it as the technology that powers content distribution and management, and some categorize it as a hybrid of the two — with many degrees of difference along the spectrum…we define sales enablement as a strategic, ongoing process that equips sales teams to have consistently effective engagements with prospects and customers throughout the buyer’s journey. In other words, it’s the teams, tools, and technology used in the ongoing quest to help sales close more deals faster.”
So how will AI and machine learning help in growing the benefits and usability of sales enablement?
The Salesforce Highspot Investment
Salesforce’s AI investment in Highspot will help Highspot remain competitive and keep growing their already substantial features and benefits, including:
- AI-powered semantic search
- In-context training
- Guided selling tools
- Integrations with and over 50 products including Salesforce, Slack, and Microsoft Dynamics 365 to help optimize performance and communication across the board by using existing tools
- Ability to generate playbooks, custom seller and buyer experiences, and deep analytics. Highspot sales enablement can analyze historical data, marketing presentations, brochures, training videos, case studies, and other company materials for effectiveness and use AI and ML to inform recommendations for how selling might be optimized
- Communication tools to streamline conversations, interactions, and closes with current and prospective clients
- Dashboard recommendations to sellers regarding how buyers might interact content; existing Highspot AI can walk them through guided experiences (like interactive sales plays) to help with meetings and pitches
- Insight into about what content the sales teams members are using; it also tracks modified content back to its original source so that company usage and sales engagement analytics aren’t lost despite changes.
Doug Pepper at Shasta Ventures notes that this investment will help Highspot grow into a significant resource for sales teams in every industry. Of why they chose to invest in Highspot, he said, “Even though Sales Enablement software has existed for years, salespeople continue to struggle to find the right content at the right time. According to Sirius Decisions, sales reps at enterprise-level organizations use just 35% of marketing content, yet spend roughly 30 hours a month searching for and creating sales materials. That’s an hour and a half out of their workday — time that could be spent selling. Solving this problem efficiently became possible only with the emergence and adoption of AI and Machine Learning. These technologies can analyze vast amounts of content and data, organize it based on user behavior and effectiveness, and tailor content recommendations for each unique situation.”
Sales enablement AI technology has the potential to revolutionize sales team processes and customer-business relationships. Machine learning will enable marketing teams and sales forces to better understand exactly what a customer needs as a resource, guide, tool, product, or service, creating more personalized content for clients and better, more positive relationships between salespeople and client stakeholders with businesses better able to exceed their client expectations. It will also allow sales teams to better identify potential customers and work with marketing to create customized outreach methods that can better convert leads.
Salesforce, as a CRM entity, has its own AI technology called Einstein that’s meant to help employees be more productive and better equipped to make customer decisions. When paired with a sales enablement tool like Highspot, also powered by AI, businesses would be empowered to take advantage of a lot more data and act on more recommendations. Instead of spending time running reports and trying to identify customer trends, AI and machine learning programs could inform sales teams and allow them to spend more time selling and building relationships. Smarter insights mean smarter sales teams. Continued growth in AI for sales enablement allows marketing teams and sales teams to both have a better sense of direction as they align and work towards their goals.
As the Salesforce CRM is one of the platforms that integrate with the Highspot sales enablement platform, the nature of the investment makes a lot of sense for both parties and can help make both businesses more successful, while offering the tools for success for their customers’ businesses as well. Salesforce’s investment in Highspot will take this startup – already working for companies like Zillow, TripAdvisor, Hootsuite, Starbucks, Monster, and Adobe – to the next level.
Are you confident in your content creation decisions? Do you feel your sales team is empowered with information? Sales enablement software can help and the growth of AI technology with investment dollars behind it will only continue to strengthen sales and marketing initiatives.