Ping Identity: Powering Sales Enablement with Hip-Hop – #SDSummit 2017
“The first thing you need to know is – I love rap music,” said Christi Wall, sales enablement manager at Ping Identity, to an audience of sales and marketing professionals at SiriusDecisions 2017 Summit in Las Vegas.
Wall was on hand to speak about Ping’s sales enablement journey and the organization’s creative approach to setting its sales force up for success.
“If the mission of sales is to make money, then the mission of sales enablement is to provide reps with the training, content and information they need to be successful in that goal,” she said.
Back in 2015, however, the company lacked a dedicated sales enablement function to support those objectives – and the results were less than stellar. As Wall explained, this all started to change through a combination of a more formalized enablement strategy, the right technology – and a fair amount of hip-hop.
2015 – The Lil’ Bow Wow Era
Less than three years ago, sales enablement was not a formal thing at Ping.
“Like Lil’ Bow Wow, we were young and immature,” Wall explained. “We had a lot of ‘random acts of sales enablement’ by various groups. They were well-intended, but didn’t achieve the results we wanted because they were done sort of ‘one-off’ in all these different siloes.”
That wasn’t the only problem. The company also lacked a formal selling methodology (“We didn’t have a consistent way to talk about Ping with customers,” said Wall) and an easy way for salespeople to find the content and resources they needed to support their sales conversations.
At the time, sales content was dispersed in a variety of places (from Google Drives to individual laptops), so salespeople were spending a lot of time searching for the resources they needed. Ping had deployed Brainshark to help solve this challenge, but without a dedicated sales enablement leader to manage it all, adoption was lacking.
To address these challenges, Wall stepped in as Ping’s sales enablement manager. She tracked down and centrally organized all relevant sales content in the Brainshark portal, and the company worked with GrowthPlay to help with their selling methodology.
Things were looking up, but the company still needed a way to raise awareness across the sales organization to ensure reps were accessing the powerful resources that were now literally at their fingertips. “So, I started rapping,” said Wall with a smile.
To get the attention of Ping’s approximately 130 salespeople, Wall began crafting short rap videos that talked about the latest content and resources reps could find using Brainshark. (Some were parodies of classics like “U Can’t Touch This,” while others were wholly original compositions). The videos were a hit, and adoption spiked. In a year’s time, the company saw an 85% increase in views of sales content via Brainshark.
2016 – 2017: From Drake to Dr. Dre
By 2016, Ping’s sales enablement function had graduated to what Wall described at The Drake Era (“We were established, but still a little awkward”). The company needed to continue to hone its strategy, especially on the heels of two acquisitions and a slew of new product releases. The organization knew sales enablement would need to play a critical role to keep reps prepared and effective in the face of so much change.
“We want to scale our organization and make sure our processes are able to grow, and that we have the [sales enablement] infrastructure to support our growth,” Wall said. In other words, they needed to become the Dr. Dre of sales enablement programs – totally legit.
To get there, the sales enablement function at Ping has placed an increased emphasis on training, continuous learning, and (soon) coaching.
“We are rolling out Brainshark for Coaching to ensure that our sales team has not only the info they need, but that they are truly mastering it,” she explained. “We want to make sure that our salespeople are absorbing the content that comes their way, and can then apply it. As we continue to add more people to our sales team, I think this is going to be really important this year and next year.”
Dropping beats – and closing deals
As the sales enablement function (and its use of technology) has grown and evolved, so has Ping Identity. The company achieved 45% year-over-year growth in 2016, closing 7 of its 10 largest deals ever – an impressive feat for a 15-year-old organization.
Wall credits the success of sales enablement at Ping in part to the team’s creative approach and having the right technology in place to support it.
“Sales enablement looks different in every organization. It can be really fun! Make it your own, make it unique, and you’ll find that reps will be very engaged,” she said.
To get a closer look at Brainshark in action, view a short demo here.