- Tata Communications recognized that it needed to align marketing and sales to enable a continuous conversation across the buyer’s journey.
- Tata Communications has witnessed a 32 percent year-on-year growth in pipeline and moved the win rate from 27 percent to 39 percent
- By moving to focus on sales enablement as well as lead generation, there has been a step change in marketing’s contribution to the business
At this year’s Summit Europe, Tata Communications was awarded a Programme of the Year award in the area of sales enablement. This organization’s transformation from a small isolated team to a fully functioning sales enablement hub team managed to provide sales support, account insight and active pipeline acceleration programmes that resulted in an increase in win rate from 27 percent to 39 percent.
Tata Communications is a substantial subsidiary of the Mumbai-based Tata Group, which posted $103 billion (U.S.) last financial year. Tata Communications offers networking, security and mobility and cloud services; approximately 25 percent of the world’s Internet traffic utilizes the Tata Communications network.
Carl Robertson, VP of segment marketing, took on a major challenge with respect to marketing’s role within the business and in the building of a function that offers support and enablement of the global sales team. The win ratio, from SQL to closed/won was average, but not where the business needed it to be. The marketing function needed to become more business driven and accountable. From a cost perspective, Carl wanted to see customer and market engagement become both more effective and efficient, with the latter relying keenly on the use of digital and took the opportunity to introduce company-wide standards and best practices.
A best-in-class sales enablement service should consider the areas of methods of enablement, the interlock of related company functions, the ability to deliver insight, the development of skills, and finally, a recurring attention to sales productivity. The efforts taken by Tata Communications can be described using these pillars:
- Methods. A proactive outreach to sales rather than waiting for the phone call became the norm, KPI measurement moved from measuring MQLs to looking instead at active sales opportunities. An investment in technology to support the sales team directly was undertaken. An app provided sales with instant access to event and launch information. Moreover, in the move to make the sales team more self-reliant and productive, the app allowed for the efficient distribution of sanctioned and updated content.
- Interlock. Support and Interlock agreement from a number of functions was required – finance, IT and of course, within the sales function itself, set about transforming from a small team acting reactively, to becoming the hub and source for all sales enablement requests for content, insights, pipeline acceleration support and most importantly, the feedback bridge to the rest of the marketing function. Defined roles, responsibilities and agreed deliverables enabled the sales enablement desk to proactively provide the right content and insight to sales at the right stage of the pipeline.
- Buyer insight. This was seen as an area the enablement team could potentially provide great value. Being able to offer insights into the key markets and accounts was more than just welcome – it enabled sales to be more prepared. The team set up a digital customer community to provide a credible and constant source of the required insight. The process began by defining key personas that were seen as pivotal for Tata Communications. The gathering of information and the creation of the persona details was undertaken by Carl and his team.
- Skills. This undertaking required a lot of skill training for both the enablement team and process training for the sales force. Proving the correct content and support at the right stage required an understanding of the modern buyer’s journey and the culmination of persona information. Buyer and customer journeys were mapped and Tata Communications then added the sales enablement deliverables as an integral part of the overall buyer’s journey mapping framework.
- Productivity. By adopting pipeline acceleration programs, the chances of success and improved speed through the sales pipeline were enhanced. Standard templates to improve sales task efficiency were delivered. For large bid proposals, direct budget and human resources support was put in place. On one level, the overall professionalism of bids delivery was improved. However, in order to go the extra mile, bids were split into two categories based on contract and strategic value. Those most deserving were given budget for insight and bid specific content and those with a lower status benefited from pooled resource and a predefined content budget.
- Critical success factors. Marketing became a credible partner by its ability to understand the priorities of sales and support all stages of the sales funnel from opportunity to close. Secondly, the marketing team moved away from activity and traditional marketing metrics to being accountable for more business contribution-oriented results helped drive the modern mind set within the team. Finally, the setting and achievement on the goal of understanding the buyer, the sales process and mapping appropriate content to the sales process at the right time.
- Results. Since the adoption of the sales enablement team in its new format, Tata Communications has witnessed a 32 percent year-on-year growth in pipeline and have moved the win rate from 27 percent to 39 percent. The team has become the central repository for all insight and sales related support thanks to standards compliance and, according to a recent 93 percent score in a sales satisfaction survey, the value of support being offered.
This very comprehensive and well-thought-through sales enablement hub now provides sales with the ability to have a continuous and successful conversation with prospects across the buyer’s journey. Congratulations to Carl and the entire team at Tata Communications!