Ogi Kavazovic, Vice President of Strategy & Marketing
Jeremy Kirsch, Senior Vice President of Worldwide Sales, Regulatory, & Business Development
Roderick Morris, Senior Vice President of Marketing & Operations
An innovative software company, Opower is the worldwide leader of customer engagement solutions for the utilities industry. Opower combines a cloud-based platform, big data, and behavioral science to give utilities tools to promote energy efficiency.
New Hire Onboarding and Scaling for Growth
Establishing consistent enterprise messaging
As a young company with lots of experts, Opower needed to define a single and succinct company story everyone could get behind. This story needed to be carefully crafted so the core messages would be relevant to a range of decision makers and influencers beyond the Energy Efficiency Department to include heads of Marketing or Customer Service.
Equipping sales reps to sound like experts —quickly
Opower’s selling world was typically defined by long, sophisticated sales cycles that meant a lengthy time to productivity for new hires. As Opower expanded its sales force, many of the new associates had excellent credentials and experience –but not an energy-industry background. In order to shrink the time to productivity, Opower needed an onboarding process that would help new hires gain the confidence and ability to lead executive level conversations and deliver the Opower story.
“A challenge for Opower was how to help our sales team sound like experts in our industry as quickly as possible. We needed them to sit face to face with a utility executive and really understand the customer’s world and get the executive’s attention in a way that differentiates Opower.”
Ogi Kavazovic, VP Strategy & Marketing
DSG worked with Opower to establish a playbook approach to driving consistent sales messaging, onboarding new hires, and aligning the company’s solutions under an over-arching enterprise story.
Enterprise Messaging: Cross-functional development of messaging that distilled Opower’s story into a succinct enterprise message for targeted decision makers and influencers.
Executive engagement: Co-founders’ involvement in the messaging design workshop and content validation proved key to the project’s success.
Whiteboarding Model: Collaboration on a visual framework for the Opower value proposition that equipped the team to lead executive conversations and challenge the customer’s typical view of their situation.
vPlaybook Creation: Conversion of the content and tools into an interactive digital playbook utilizing DSG’s vPlaybook web app.
Training: 2-day messaging training for the global sales team which included application of the Playbook content in simulation exercises focused on real accounts
“The rich media nature of the virtual playbook allowed us to capture video and to capture all the nuances of our business and conversation best practices in a way that it is easy for a new salesperson to get up to speed. Our sales people will often watch the videos in the vPlaybook before a big sales presentation to get a quick refresher on the content and gain some added confidence going into the meeting.”
Specific contributions by DSG accelerated the transformation at Opower:
DSG brought fresh ideas for increasing sales confidence and competence in delivering sales messaging at a high level. DSG guided the sales team in understanding what messaging was most relevant for each target audience and how to tailor the talk track and whiteboard framework.
As an objective 3rd party with industry experience and insights, DSG was able to serve as a catalyst for getting the sales team on one page relative to core messaging for prospects and customers.
DSG provided a playbook approach to packaging and communicating sales messaging for busy salespeople that was easy to use and easy to retain.
“We have found whiteboarding to be a highly effective way to run customer meetings and we’ve seen our customers be more interested in what we’re doing based on leading more interactive conversations that create dialogue around Opower insights.”
Jeremy Kirsch, Senior VP of Worldwide Sales, Regulatory, & Business Development, Opower
DSG was a key part of a larger initiative to scale the sales organization and take advantage of market demand. During the quarters following the initial playbook launch, Opower was able to accelerate new hire on boarding. Initial training for new hires used to take several months and can now be completed within a single month. The company has shaved around a quarter off of sales reps’ time to productivity. Sales reps regularly reference the vPlaybook before meetings and whiteboarding has become a part of the company culture. With these new messaging tools, management is more confident sending new sales reps into executive level meetings.
“We had a great year in 2013 from a sales perspective and one of the contributing factors was the creation of the enterprise messaging playbook and training. A critical outcome was the clear acceleration of new hire on-boarding as our new hires quickly learned how to deliver the Opower story.”