74: How Brainshark CEO Greg Flynn is Helping Companies Improve Sales Productivity
I have a great guest on tonight from a company called Brainshark. They are a provider of sales enablement technology which is basically technology that improves sales force effectiveness. Essentially to help companies boost sales results, Brainshark provides sales based solutions, improve sales training, coaching and buyer engagement. They have been around since 1999 helping organizations improve business communications. But in the last two years they have really nailed the sales enablement space and this is their exclusive focus. So tonight I invited the co-founder and CEO Greg Flynn to talk to us.
Can you tell us a little more about yourself and your role at Brainshark?
I’m currently the CEO of Brainshark and I’m one of the co-founders. We started the company just over 17 years ago with the goal of helping companies create content for the purposes of training, selling and communicating with our clients. Over the years I’ve had various roles within Brainshark. I started off in business development then went into sales and then product and engineering. Over 17 years I’ve ran the various disciplines of the company.
One of the reasons you guys caught my attention was after reading how Brainshark won the People’s Choice Stevie Award at the American Business Awards. The Brainshark Sales Coaching Solution was essentially honored for helping companies improve sales readiness and results. Can you tell me a little bit more about that award?
The Stevie awards recognize outstanding organizational performance and we’re really honored to be part of this, specifically the People’s Choice award. It’s where the general public, including industry experts, market followers and sales leaders all vote. They voted on our Brainshark for Coaching solution as the best corporate learning and workforce development product. We’re very proud to be honored by that.
Most companies would admit to struggling with sales readiness, sales marketing, and sales productivity gaps. Are these challenges that you have seen first hand?
Absolutely. The selling environment has changed dramatically, especially over the last 3-5 years. If you look at the challenges that many companies face, nearly half of their sales people are missing quota. This is from CSO Insights. If you look at the reasons for why they are missing quota the number one reason that’s quoted is the inability or failure to articulate value to their customers. It’s not enough to know your product anymore, you have to understand the customer’s business problems and how your product is going to help solve those business problems.
You guys seem to have a strong focus on the sales enablement space as well. Can you tell me a little more about this and what that means?
Sales enablement is a systematic approach to increasing sales productivity. It starts off with hiring the right talent and then how do you on board them properly? How do you provide them with a continuous learning experience throughout their careers? After they are on-boarded and trained how do you give them the tools that help them sell and the analytics to basically measure their performance?
Do you find that technology and innovation-based solutions are now becoming paramount and companies that don’t invest in that side of things are going to get left behind?
We do see that. Especially because this is a technology-enabled world where your buyers are already technology enabled if you will. So they are walking into a buying situation knowing a lot more about you and your products and your competition so the sales reps have to be better prepared.
I recently read that Brainshark has helped General Electric’s five billion GE digital division operationalize sales and marketing alignment and enjoy year after year growth. Can you tell the listeners a little more about that?
We are very honored to be a part of GE and part of their transformation. GE Digital is in a significant transformation from one of the largest industrial companies in the world to being a leading technology company. They are looking to revolutionize the whole digital industry. For GE Digital this means they need to empower their sellers with a new focus, evolving from traditionally product centered into outcome based selling. In order to get to outcome based selling they have to be highly prepared to be able to deliver that value conversation at every engagement.
It really seems that managing and improving the customer experience is the key to maintaining loyalty and increasing revenue. To anyone listening, how can Brainshark help with that?
If you get back to that statistic that 81 percent of sales conversations are ineffective this is why sales enabled technology is so important. It really comes down to three critical components which are training, coaching and engagement.
I recently read that you’re able to integrate into Outlook. Can you tell me a little about that?
We recently announced the Outlook integration for Brainshark with the goal of helping sales reps improve their prospecting effectiveness. What this essentially does is integrate Brainshark content or any content they have for marketing. Reps can instantly find and send this sales content right from their outlook environments.
If anyone listening wants to find out more what’s the best way of reaching out to you guys?
You can find us on the web at www.brainshark.com. I’m happy to speak to any customer prospects so if they want to reach out directly to me they can as well.