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Inside Sales (Jun 25th, 2019)

As part of what we're planning as a regular feature for Inside Sales, we'll be conducting interviews with industry leaders in the sales realm. Our latest installment is a Q&A with Isabelle Papoulias, CMO at Mediafly.The Chicago-based company offers a sales enablement platform that provides content management and advisory services for sales professionals. 

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Q: Your background is in marketing -- what brought you to the startup world?

I worked in large corporations for the better part of my career. It was important to me to transition into a smaller, more entrepreneurial environment. I wanted to experience more closely the business impact I could have and was interested in building something from the ground up. The corporate world was a great experience for me. However, it was time for a change. I do well at making order out of chaos, so the startup world seemed like a good fit.

Q: Why is sales enablement so huge right now?

Simply put it is getting harder and harder to sell. Regardless of the industry whether its B to B or B to C, all organizations are trying to be more competitive as buyers are now more discerning and demanding. The need to effectively stand out in front of buyers combined with the fast pace of technology innovation has made companies realize there is a lot more they could be doing to arm their sellers for stronger interactions with customers. For those of us who work in sales enablement, it might seem like it is everywhere. However, while there is clearly a lot more light shined on the category, it is not a mature category.

Q: What does Mediafly do as far as a sales platform?

We help sellers be more effective every time they are with a customer or prospect so they can generate more revenue and not leave money on the table. Our solution provides sellers with tools like content management, sales readiness, interactive presentation tools, enabling them to have customized interactions that are all about the needs of the prospect. Rather than walk in with a generalized one size fits all PowerPoint pitch that is completely generic, sellers can conduct conversational, interactive and sophisticated presentations that quantify the value they’re are going to bring to that customer in terms of ROI.

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Q: What sets your company apart from the competition?

To start, we are the only sales enablement platform that marries advisory services along with technology. Additionally, we are the only sales enablement solution that incorporates value-based selling tools like ROI sales calculators and TCO calculators. To set ourselves further apart from our competitor set, we take the time to understand that not every customer has the exact same sales challenges to start. Each of our customers has a unique vision of how they want to solve their sales challenges and where they want to go. For this reason, we look to ‘meet them where they are’ and build a journey map that is customized to them. From there we help them execute their personalized plan. 

Q: How do you and your company deal with the often siloed sales and marketing teams?

Our technology helps our sales and marketing work closely together. At a basic level, marketing creates content, distributes it through the platform. Sales reps use the content allowing the marketing team to see who uses what and what content works or not to close deals. By having a platform that shows this ebb and flow of information in one place drives transparency between the two teams allowing for more collaboration and more candid conversations. Technology cannot and should not replace human interaction but it can foster it. We use our own platform internally at Mediafly, so we have experienced first hand the challenges of marketing and sales alignment and how the platform helps bridge the gap.

Q: What's your ideal prospect and buyer role?

We work with companies of all industries and sizes. Our ideal prospect would be a Fortune 1000 company with hundreds or thousands of sales reps globally that are looking to create consistent sales execution so that all reps are performing like the top performing sales reps. Our buyers are typically in marketing management, sales operations or an enablement role.

Q: What does the future of sales enablement look like generally and specifically for Mediafly?

The sales enablement space will continue to be a competitive market with new players emerging as well as existing ones merging into bigger. In just the past two years, a lot has changed. I see this as a positive as the tide lifts all boats. For Mediafly, we have sophisticated, customizable technology for progressive companies that embrace digital sales transformation and have truly innovated their sales practices with the help of our solution. In other words, we have worked with many early adopters. Next for us is bringing this value through new product features and acquisitions, to all the other companies that have perhaps less advanced, less aspirational needs but still very real sales enablement needs.

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Do you know an up-and-coming sales leader who we should talk to? Hit reply to this email and let us know. 

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William Wallace is a sales veteran and journalist with years of experience in such diverse realms as High-Performance Computing, Big Data, education software and SaaS products. When not hunting for the next sales/business opportunity, he is a self-professed foodie and published writer with an abiding passion for all forms of expression.

Editing team: Kim Lyons (Pittsburgh-based journalist and managing editor at Inside), David Stegon (senior editor at Inside, whose reporting experience includes cryptocurrency and technology), and Bobby Cherry (senior editor at Inside, who’s always on social media).

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