- Sales Enablement
- Marketing Asset Management
- Sales Knowledge Management
- Sales Content Management
- Enterprise 2.0 / Sales 2.0 / web 3.0 players
- consulting firms / design agencies
…with a focus on improving the intranet & mobile experience of b2b enterprises for all employees/partners touching accounts.
So far, several vendors merged / joined forces, many changed owners, at least 6 went out of business, and new ones keep on popping up.
The current count is 75 vendors (as of March 10, 2014). Please find the constantly updated list here.
This issue of CRM Magazine singled out the relevant vendors in the Sales Enablement software market.
Find below a list of European Sales Enablement software vendors (Sales Enablement solution, marketing content management, sales knowledge management) & agencies / consulting firms from Europe, as of March 10, 2014.
When you shortlist vendors, be sure to look into the following:
- Will they integrate content from existing repositories or upload copies (of what you have in your repositories) into the cloud?
- Can the solution be installed behind the corporate firewall or not? Single-Sign-On?
- Ask the vendor whether the code, that defines how the search weights results, is shared by all customer companies or whether each customer can highly customize it.
- Do they offer a choice between the cloud & on-premise? Do they support the move from one to the other?
- SaaS vs. Licensing: What is cheaper in the long term, to buy the software as a service or perpetual user license?
- Exit strategy for your content & the meta information when you want to change vendors.
- How does the solution support you to meet the challenges that come with doing business globally? (Which languages are supported for the content and for the user interface?)
- Flexibility for customization / your influence on the road map / number of developers at the vendor?
- Can they help to integrate the solution into existing IT infrastructure/processes?
- Does the solution help to manage how you show your complex portfolio of products, services, and solutions to your sales people and channel partners? How quickly can it be updated for org changes? Is it the vendor making the changes or is there an editor?
- Are there social web 2.0 like features that allow for feedback from sales to marketing (ratings/comments) and uploading/sharing of content?
- Is there an intelligent way to maintain the ‘single source’ of content that is being re-used a lot? Can documents be auto-generated in order to be highly customized for the specific sales situation yet look polished?
- What kind of content intelligence is available? (Where in its life cycle is my content? What gets bad ratings? What needs to be retired? What is not being used? What is missing?)
basis06 AG basis06.ch (Switzerland)
BizSphere AG bizsphere.com suite of Sales Enablement software solutions for global businesses with a complex portfolio [of products, services, & solutions] and large sales force / channel partners (Full disclosure: I’ve worked here) Germany & Netherlands based
changeBEAT changebeat.com (UK)
Combionic GmbH combionic.com Germany/Switzerland based. Combionic collaboration software connects people, processes, and information in context & across applications. Enabling sales people & partner organizations with a slide library. Drag&drop slides to a plug-in right within Microsoft PowerPoint to have all the context/tags captured automatically and the slides are already uploaded / available in the cloud based slide library which works great for accessing/generating on the fly from tablets. (Full disclosure: I work with them)
d!NK dink.eu Sales library on tablets enables customer facing staff to adapt interactions with customers/prospects to what interests them. Makes sales more effective; better qualification, condensed sales process. Belgium based
MING Labs GmbH minglabs.com Berlin, Munich, Toronto, & Shanghai based User Experience (UX) Design company, mobile responsive websites & app design&development (iOS, Android, Windows8, BlackBerry, etc). Also Portfolio & Marketing Consulting. The team was also behind the user interface of BizSphere (see above) and Combionic’s slide library (see above). Full disclosure: I work here.
Perperitus Sales solution perperitus.com (UK)
PocketWorks Mobile Ltd, UK pocketworks.co.uk Enterprise iPad & smartphones solutions in Leeds, UK
Salesframe salesframe.com Sync latest materials, videos & other content via web-based management system. Integrate Salesframe with your existing systems such as Salesforce CRM, Microsoft Sharepoint, & IBM Notes. After meetings, quickly create a branded PDF of the materials & notes so customers have something to take away. Make winning pitches wherever you are with the app for iOS&Android. Finnish company; client base so far mostly Finland-originated B2B companies.
Scepos scepos.com Netherlands based / Dutch
Solutions for Sales solutionsforsales.com Sales enablement consultancy that helps clients to develop value-based propositions, sales playbooks and sales enablement platforms. Based in Europe & USA
Squirro Squirro.com Harvest content that matters: Revolutionize the way you gather/store/use content that matters. Switzerland based
Given that I (about me) moved back to Toronto, Canada, I would like to take a look at the Sales Enablement players here in Canada. Sorry for all the self-promotion. My world-wide list of players is here. This list for Canada was last updated on February 14, 2014:
AvayaLive™ Engage avayalive.com is web conferencing in virtual 3D environments for meetings, training, sales & support. It came out of research and development / incubation at Nortel Networks in Ottawa, but is now owned by Avaya. It allows collaborative web browsing and accessing/presenting marketing material in its on-demand, web-based, immersive collaboration environment.
BizSphere Sales Web and Content Landscape by BizSphere AG bizsphere.com were initially developed for IBM and Nortel Networks. A suite of Sales Enablement software solutions for global businesses with a complex portfolio [of products, services, & solutions] and large sales force / channel partners. Lets them access the right person or the right information in the right format, in the right place at the right time to move sales opportunities forward. Full disclosure: I work with them and can do demonstrations here in Canada.
Brick Street Software, Inc. brickstreetsoftware.com more on the marketing automation side of things: Their solution called CONNECT is multichannel marketing for carrying on conversations with customers and prospects over multiple devices as they go about their day. “With its single platform architecture, you have unified views of each consumer—across all channels to engage, drive sales, and develop loyal relationships.” Besides being in other countries they have an office in Toronto.
Combionic GmbH combionic.com German company with collaboration software connecting people, processes and information “in context” and across applications. Enabling sales people and partner organizations with a cloud-based slide library and other solutions that benefit from a very deep integration (via plug-ins) into the Microsoft Office world. Full disclosure: I work with them and can do demonstrations here in Canada.
Envisica Inc. envisica.com Alberta, Canada based firm more on the “consulting for Sales Enablement” side of things. Wayne Regehr, President at Envisica Inc. used to be Vice President at SAP Canada, Inc.
Innovative Information Inc. http://amacus.innovativeinfo.com Makers of Amacus, a selling solution + coaching application that improves B2B sales productivity by revealing Return-on-Effort in Business-to-Business sales. “prospecting radar that could tell you who to talk to, when to talk to them and what to talk to them about, would that give you more time?” (Along with their President John Cousineau they are Vancouver based.)
MING Labs GmbH minglabs.com German User Experience (UX) Design company. Their founders were behind the UX/UI of BizSphere (see above). Mobile responsive websites and app design&development (HTML5, iOS, Android, Windows8, BlackBerry, etc); also portfolio & marketing consulting. Full disclosure: I work with them and can meet customers here in Canada.
SalesChoice Inc. saleschoice.com a lot more on the CRM system side of the definition of Sales Enablement than I would normally go. Co-Founder Cindy Gordon is also the founder of Helix Commerce and Toronto based.
SAVO Group savogroup.com Chicago based, but has people in Canada. SAVO Sales Enablement software provides solutions that improve the sales process, ramp and retain sellers, and ensure consistency in sales messaging.
SKURA SFX Sales Enablement solution skura.com worldwide headquarters is in Toronto / Oakville, ON, Canada. Skura SFX is a next-generation Adaptive Sales Enablement platform built for the Sales Rep and Company of the future. A first of its kind platform, Skura SFX puts the salesperson and the customer at the center of the equation by providing the capabilities, features, and usability required for real customer engagement, and real sales enablement.
VONICAL vonical.com Ottawa, Canada based full-service agency: Web application development, user experience & interaction design, sales enablement tools & training, gamification & reward platforms, etc. Providing sales enablement as a service.
I still keep on refreshing my work in progress list of Sales Enablement vendors and would like to share some stats from this blog. They show where in the world there is an interest in Sales Enablement, that there is demand for a figure that gives this market a size, and what people google for.
Most viewed posts (excluding outdated job posts) for 90 days ending April 2, 2013:
Search Terms for 90 days ending April 2, 2013:
|channel enablement definition|
|global sales enablement|
|mobile strategy for sales enablement|
|sales enablement market size|
|sales content enablement chart case study|
|sales enablement kpi|
|sales enablement companies|
|sales enablement portal|
|sales enablement training|
|sales enablement software market size|
|sales enablement plan
Over the course of the year 2012 my list of Sales Enablement vendors grew to 62.
I wish you a successful year 2013!
Here are some statistics WordPress summarized for my blog:
This blog got about 10,000 views in 2012.
The busiest day of the year was April 16th with 82 views. The most popular post that day was A look at the user interface of the BizSphere Sales Enablement Solution Suite.
These are posts that got the most views in 2012.
- Work in progress list of Sales Enablement vendors July 2011
- Sales Enablement is the top investment area for 2010 – Who owns it inside an Enterprise? February 2010
- Developing and rolling out apps for b2b sales people June 2012
- define a taxonomy of customer pain points and map your products and solutions against them March 2012
Given my background in using Sales Enablement solutions inside large complex enterprises or helping enterprises with their Sales Enablement challenges, quick and light solutions for very small companies, with only a few products and a small sales force, have not been the focus of this blog.
However, I have always tried to cover even vendors that target small companies in my list of Sales Enablement market players.
That list had 59 companies on September 28, 2012.
In the responses to the following question on quora, Tobin Harris wrote a good one:
[...] you can get good mileage out of the iPad using apps like this:
Low cost sales enablement apps
- Prezzi mobile for presentations / slide shows
- DropBox [or Google Drive or box.com etc] for storing images, PDFs and videos
- iBooks for PDFs (without needing WiFi)
- Apple Notes or Evernote for capturing meetings notes
- Paper app for drawings and scribbles
CRM integration will become more important for sales teams. Who wants to double enter their meeting notes via the laptop?
The fact that the iPad is instant-on, lightweight and has good battery life makes it a very viable replacement for paper based sales aids [...]“
Of course, sharing many different Prezzi / presentation files, PDFs, forms, documents, images, and other media files across a sales team of more than one person will require a lot of discipline in order to achieve that everyone presents a consistent story / look&feel as well as only the most up-to-date version. As this becomes a problem, the more sophisticated Sales Enablement solutions, that sit on top of document management systems with “version control”, “tagging from controlled vocabulary”, and “user access rights management” or can integrate with all kinds of sources, come in.
FatStax Mobile Apps just published a document with 8 steps on implementing iPads for your sales force. Of those 8 steps I would like to share steps 3-6 below. You can download the full document here or follow their blog, where they discuss each step in more detailed blog posts. For me many of their recommendations make sense even for app developers who target enterprises or corporate employees who need to plan the rollout of a particular app on a number of different devices. I have added http://fatstax.com to my work in progress list of all Sales Enablement vendors.
Step 3: Legacy systems—know the users and the owners.
Build a cross-functional team.
Think about existing software systems and business processes that will integrate with the iPad. The owners of those systems—on the technical, operational and business sides of the organization—should get involved early in the process. Build a cross-functional team that connects internal stakeholders with external consultants and developers.
Get key people in IT, marketing, sales and other relevant areas involved early by creating a cross-functional team. It will show others that the idea has broad-based support. Finding allies now and keeping them throughout the iPad rollout will make it easier to navigate company policies, and it may inspire a broader mobile strategy for the organization. Involving stakeholders certainly will help with the development process and ensure a more relevant outcome.
The added expense of integration should come with higher returns, including better workflow efficiencies, more satisfied sales teams and the slick look and feel of a made-to-order solution.
Step 4: Set a realistic budget.
Engaging other departments may reveal additional ways to use iPads for sales, which also may reveal additional expenses. Use the input of others to create a realistic budget. Remember to look beyond the cost of purchasing an iPad for each person. In addition to purchasing the hardware, common iPad-related expenses that may get overlooked, include:
iPad cases Sales people need an easy-to-hold case that keeps the screen clean. Data plans Talk to current and competing data plan providers. Support What can the company absorb and what needs to be outsourced? What support can vendors provide? Provisioning Make the internal app accessible from the iTunes library or an enterprise-based “store.” Programmers Internal or external, programmers are expensive. Use them to custom-design apps or assist with integration. Security Invest in encryption and wipe functionality for when an iPad is lost. Distribution Account for the cost of shipping “loaded” iPads to team members. VPN Check to see if VPN access apps are included in current services. Integrators Decide if CRM and ERP integration is required for success. Apps Plan a budget that encompasses business and pleasure. Pilot program Identify a subset of the budget for a one- or two-phase pilot program.
Step 5: Find or make apps that work for sales.
Unless a company has the desire and budget to build its own mobile development and support team, the fastest, easiest and least expensive way to keep pace with changing hardware and software is to rely on external developers. Developers that specialize in designing all-inclusive apps for enterprises live and breathe everything related to the iPad. These specialized vendors have worked with other enterprises, giving them a great deal of exposure to user experience preferences. They may have additional advice and ideas on the best way to securely deploy iPads, as well as their product, their product to enterprise sales teams.
Whether working with internal developers or outside consultants, make sure the people designing or customizing apps for the sales team understand what sales people need. Their understanding can make all the difference in the ultimate sales force adoption of an app. For example, does the team understand the following?
- What do sales people in their company do on a daily basis?
- How do they interact with customers?
- What does the sales process look like?
- How can sales be improved and enhanced with new tools?
Learn, adapt and deploy.
No developer team will code the perfect app the first time. An app’s success will grow over time based on user experiences from the field. The iPad is so flexible that apps can, and should, evolve with feedback. Use caution when an over-zealous IT department or developers tell the sales team what it needs or how an app “should” work. For example, sales people may discover that “standard-sized” app buttons don’t work well during customer encounters. If they need big buttons, give them big buttons!
Step 6: Test assumptions in a pilot.
A great way to test assumptions, uncover missing budget items, and reveal enterprise software integration needs is to conduct an iPad pilot. Phase 1 of a pilot might include a small group of enthusiastic users. Consider tapping people who already own the iPad for personal use or who have been especially vocal about adding them to the sales team’s tool box.
Define pilot goals.
Clearly define goals for the pilot participants, and consider how much time it will take them to provide pilot feedback. If necessary, compensate participants for lost opportunities so they can attend weekly meetings or log experiences. Let participants discover what they need to make the iPad an effective part of the sales process and daily workflow.
Don’t pilot more than four apps at a time.
Sales people have the job of closing sales, so don’t plan for users to test more than three to four apps in a pilot. Starting simple with a mix of everyday apps and one custom app is much more manageable.
Sales people often look for app-based solutions to help:
- Manage e-mail
- Connect to the VPN
- Organize and access literature
- Navigate product catalogs
- Participate in training
- Update CRM systems
- Log expenses
- Track compensation
On April 24, 2012, BizSphere AG announced that it includes new dashboard and multimedia functions in its Sales Enablement Suite:
Higher efficiency through focus on knowledge transfer and a more individual, target group-oriented information supply
In the new release of its Sales Enablement Solution, BizSphere has incorporated an enhanced dashboard and an additional multimedia function. Whilst previously searching for information and finding knowledge were the priorities, the two new modules now enable a more individual supply of information and a more effective transfer of knowledge. The new release concentrates on the requirements of each individual user, providing further opportunities for a customised information supply and an instructive visual presentation of results.
The new dashboard function facilitates access to information relevant to the individual user, on the one hand assembling information selectively with their interests and activities in mind. The content supplied is defined by the user through bookmarks or subscription. On the other hand, the system monitors past user activities, supporting sustainability in the use of this information.
The new dashboard function improves content governance capabilities of the BizSphere Sales Web. There are clear responsibilities for all contents (resources), so that an owner of a specific subject area can constantly monitor his content responsibilities and the need for update or rework.
The new release focuses heavily on context-driven knowledge transfer. The structure of the BizSphere Sales Enablement Solution allows information to be cross-referenced, thus facilitating cross-selling and upselling potential to be displayed. Now, these relations can be specified more extensively. The user is able to determine, for instance, whether the cross- selling opportunity offered is actually relevant to the specific client situation.
The new multimedia function within the BizSphere Sales Web reduces the sales representatives’ preparation time for client meetings. Information packages can be prepared in such a way that users can easily understand and hence use the information provided on a certain topic. This graphical layout aims to provide the best possible knowledge transfer by using text and multimedia elements. Such an information package may, for instance, include information on a product or solution release or on a client reference. The information provided in such a package is structured consistently, so that each product release or customer reference has the same agenda which determines how the information is made available. Governance and social functions are also made available to the user in this new multimedia view.