One might compare the new product strategy at sales enablement company Showpad to Optimus Prime from the Transformers franchise.
Optimus Prime, a semi-truck, can reassemble its existing parts to transform into a butt-kicking autobot that saves the universe. Showpad’s product strategy has undergone a similar transformation.
“It’s a good metaphor, but the pieces of our product did not start as a car in a junkyard — that’s an important distinction,” joked Director of Product Management Neil Dean.
He went on to explain: “We had all of these components available before, but you don’t see how strong their capabilities are until you put them together the right way.”
Showpad Chief Product Officer Tony Grout, who joined the company in 2022, has helped transform those existing features into a cohesive sales enablement product suite with its new Showpad eOS, which launched in November 2022. The company also debuted a new Partner Ecosystem and is rolling out an App Studio.
New Showpad Product Offerings
Showpad eOS: Provides enhanced functionality through sales content management, seller effectiveness, buyer engagement and analytics and insights.
Partner Ecosystem: Features technology integrations — such as CRM, marketing automation and digital asset management — and professional services, such as app development.
App Studio: Will deliver applications on top of Showpad’s foundational operating system.
“The app ecosystem, as part of our Showpad eOS, is customizable and modular. We have a library of apps,” explained Dean. This library allows customers to access pre-built applications, such as accelerator apps, which help customers move through go-to-market plans faster. “But, it’s hard to exhaustively meet every single customer’s needs since the spectrum is so broad,” he said, “so we have the ability for customers to build apps themselves. If they have a new solution they want to build out, they can do it themselves or hire a partner. It makes it a more sustainable option for customers.”
“Showpad eOS has the ability for customers to build apps themselves. If they have a new solution they want to build out, they can do it themselves or hire a partner.”
What makes this post-transformation product strategy stronger than its predecessor?
“It’s a natural progression from the strategy we’ve been successfully delivering for over a decade,” said Vice President of Product Marketing Grace Bacon. “So this isn’t like a radical reinvention, but a sharpening of our product vision and our strategy.”
“It’s an evolution, not a revolution,” added Dean. “We started with the areas where we were strongest and made it more modular and customizable, and ultimately more customer-centric.”
The State of Sales Enablement
Sales enablement focuses on ensuring that resources are used as efficiently as possible to get the best performance — a must-have for sales professionals right now.
“In a down economy, you’re focused on getting stronger performance out of your team,” said Bacon. “Marketers want to know the ROI of resource allocation, and how engaging the content is. We’re able to help marketers and sellers understand where and how to invest in a time when they need to be careful.”
For sales people, the value is evident. Sellers are up against tight budgets, and need to optimize their efficiency to ensure they are focusing their efforts wisely.
“Buyers are still buying in a tough economy, but there is massive pressure on them to spend it wisely. Our tools give the seller the ability and confidence to guide the buyer through that. For example, it’s helping qualify buyers early to prevent wasting time and energy on a deal that will never happen,” said Dean.
“For example, our tools help qualify buyers early to prevent wasting time and energy on a deal that will never happen.”
“The tech industry is going through its own challenges, but we’re energized because the sales enablement space is continuing to grow,” said Bacon. “It was new when we launched over a decade ago and still nascent five years ago. We’re proud to be at the forefront of an industry that’s continuing to mature.”
Sales enablement is particularly necessary in the increasingly complex sales environment, which is scattered across virtual spaces while tapping into more targeted buyer journeys.
Sales Enablement by the Numbers
23% of sales executives are planning to keep their sales roles virtual permanently
16% of a seller’s time in the sales cycle is spent managing internal complexities
A company with a simple sales enablement system often starts with a content management challenge, where the marketing team is producing various types of content to engage buyers — but it’s not helping the sales team perform better. The sales team might not even know where the content lives.
A more sophisticated company might have some enablement practices using the right content at the right time for the right buyer journey. They are coaching their customer-facing teams — showing them the tools and practices for better, more cohesive seller effectiveness.
An advanced company might have a complex journey that goes beyond the average pitch deck to draw buyers in. In a hybrid-virtual environment — the new normal in today’s workplace — they are going above and beyond to create an interactive experience to connect with their prospects.
Showpad can help all of these customers.
“Out of the box, we solve for the core sales enablement use cases that are most important: sales, content management, seller effectiveness, buyer engagement and analytics and insights. We provide a place for marketing and sales to come together as a unified front in their approach to the buyer,” said Bacon. “We have the foundational functionality for revenue teams to be able to deliver the best buyer experiences right off the shelf. However, our flexibility makes us unique. We know that every go-to-market team has really different strategies.”
“We have the foundational functionality for revenue teams to be able to deliver the best buyer experiences right off the shelf. However, our flexibility makes us unique.”
Showpad’s own sales team is a proof of concept for the product.
“We use our own tool, our go-to-market team is certified on the pitch,” said Bacon. “All of our onboarding and training is run from Showpad, and we have a phenomenal enablement team. It’s easy to see how well the new positioning is being adopted, and how it’s resonating with prospects. It’s not a massive reinvention, it’s a strategic evolution.”
On the horizon, the team plans to double down on its analytics and insights features, to take the guesswork out of the effective use of time and resources for its customers.
“We’re building a new infrastructure. Lots of tools have essentially static data with visuals attached, but those aren’t really insights. There aren’t instructions or prescriptions for what to do with that information,” said Dean. The new analytics and insights tool will be “question-based.” Which means the data will be dynamic and identify the questions the customer is looking to have answered. “We can identify the question and make the reports more intuitive and scalable, and make the data actionable.”
Off-site, All-Hands Innovation
The team recently held an off-site meeting in London, where Showpad has a major presence. “Engineering leaders, product marketers and sales enablement folks were shoulder to shoulder with our executives,” said Dean. “There was a lot of collaboration and brainstorming, working groups, pubs, dinners. I left knowing that what we are doing is true and right. The vision came to life there.”
The team is distributed, with strong hubs in EMEA and the United States. “The PeopleOps team is thoughtful about ensuring we have opportunities to come together. I’m a massive fan of remote work, but moments when you are in an office together are highly productive and great for building relationships,” said Bacon.
“The technology gets me most excited,” Dean concluded. “We’re leaning in, we have a close relationship with AWS and we’re leveraging cutting-edge technologies like OpenAI, chatGPT and AI and ML. And you can see the direct impact of your contributions.”