Definition of Sales Enablement
This blog follows IDC‘s Michael Gerard‘s definition of Sales Enablement as posted on his blog ‘Musings on the Science and Art of Selling’:
“The delivery of the right information to the right person at the right time in the right format and in the right place to assist in moving a specific sales opportunity forward”
John Neeson also has an excellent definition:
“Channel and Sales Enablement. Provide sales (direct and channel) the tools that will give them access to the knowledge assets that support in-process sales pursuits. Foster sharing of information on a two-way basis as information learned in the field can be used to tune, refresh, and continuously improve the knowledge base. [...] focusing on “searchability and findability” of information.”
Definition of Conversation Enablement
Building on Michael Gerard’s definition of Sales Enablement, Conversation Enablement can be defined as:
The delivery of the right knowledge(=information provided in context) in the right format
and the right questions to ask (“Conversations are about discovery”)
to the right person at the right time and in the right place
necessary to move a specific conversation forward.
This has been said about Google and might be said about Twitter soon: What you can’t find via its search doesn’t happen
Believe it or not, but recently I find myself using the search on Twitter or looking at RSS feeds of certain keywords’ searches on Twitter more often than I google. Maybe that is due to my current projects but it might be a shift that many people will experience to some extend.
Being able to tap into what people are saying right now is just as much of a revolution as the first good search engines were. Obviously checking what the industry is saying about your company, your product, your competitor, etc… the second before walking into a sales meeting prepares you for questions and delivers great conversation starters. It is Conversation Enablement.
A lot has been written about the value of real-time search since the Twitter search became popular. I’m sure if Google ran the Twitter search a “TweetRank” (or however the equivalent of PageRank would be named) that ranks by number of followers, re-tweets and external links to your tweets and Twitter account would be a great option next to the simple real-time search.
In terms of a revenue model for Twitter (“The Twitter Gold Mine & Beating Google to the Semantic Web”): If Google doesn’t buy Twitter then and I don’t see why Twitter wouldn’t be able to either licence Google’s AdWords algorithm and auction platform or built its own.
What ever happens, for now we can use this Greasemonkey user script (that displays the most recent 5 tweets for the query that you are searching for, giving both real-time Twitter search results and Google results on the same page) or check out the new social media search engine http://surchur.com.
Without sales enablement, there are inefficient processes, communication flows, and more required rework
Over at “the SALES 2.0 Network” Brian Lambert posted on Sales 2.0 impact on Sales Process, Sales Enablement, Sales Development.
From July 15, 2008:
“[...] There is much discussion today about Sales 2.0 technology and it’s impact on sales process, the buyer-seller relationship, and sales management practices. Much of the discussion focuses on the individual and team impact of these technologies in various areas such as knowledge management (CRM, etc.), prospecting (LinkedIn, etc), and industry knowledge (portals and discussion boards). This technology focuses on the sales process and helping sales teams cope with the rapid change they face in their market. Certainly, there is an impact for Sales 2.0 technology in this space, and I wonder how much more we have yet to see. As more knowledge is provided to buyers through the Internet, opinion sites, and more research oriented sites, the power-shift from the seller to the buyer will certainly continue as international competition increases creating new and emerging markets for many industries.
The changing landscape of the sales environment is not only found in the buyer-seller relationship, it’s also found within the sales team. Turnover continues to be high and the talent shortage continues to create challenges for even the best and most-reputable sales teams. Sales managers sit at a critical junction point between sales execution and sales strategy — yet many are not provided resources, tools, and (perhaps most importantly) the time necessary to ratchet performance over the long term. To compound the issues, the system’s approach required to address unique customer challenges, respond to the competitive landscape, and create an agile, responsive sales organization involves more people than just the sales manager and sales team. It requires the alignment of sales development and training efforts as well as Sales Enablement and operational execution. [...]
Sales Process Execution (SPE) requires the complete alignment of company resources to facilitate a responsive and agile customer relationship. Without sales process execution, there are no sales. SPE is enabled by Sales 2.0 largely through CRM, SFA, Knowledge Management Tools, and customer-driven communications such as knowledge bases and wikis. [...]
Sales Enablement improves sales capacity of the firm overall. Without sales enablement, there are inefficient processes, communication flows, and more required rework. While Sales Process Execution is mostly focused on the external relationships and buyer-seller interface, Sales Enablement (SE) is mostly concerned with the internal efficiency of the company. SE initiatives are most impacting when optimizing existing work flow, processes, and administrative tasks. The goal of SE therefore becomes is to “substitute” as much of the sales team member’s work as possible. By providing adequate task substitution as a primary goal of Sales Enablement, sales teams are more free to spend time with customers. Sales Enablement in Sales 2.0 is largely the world of large-scale CRM tools, company intranet tools, and peer-to-peer sharing tools. There is more room for Sales 2.0 to support the internal working of the organization especially on critical inter-departmental communication and alignment. [...]
Sales 2.0 tools can help organizations synchronize to individual buying organizations while freeing up sales team members from routine administrative tasks. In the quest for improved selling effectiveness, most companies focus their Sales 2.0 strategies on SPE and SE. [...] yes, revenue could equal SPE x SE. However, the impact of sales development would probably not be realized. [...]“
Over at her blog “MarketSense” Pamela Hudadoff wrote about Success in a Sales 2.0 World – a Marketing Viewpoint. Alignment of sales and marketing organizations is one of two aspects of Sales 2.0 that she believes are essential for marketing’s success in today’s web-based business climate:
“[...] Alignment of sales and marketing organizations.
The customer’s buying process crosses the boundaries that exist between marketing and sales organizations. Sure, there are problems of transferring information about the customer from one organization to another. But more important is the creation of a seamless buying experience that builds persuasive momentum from the first customer touch. That seamless buying experience can only be achieved when marketing and sales tackle the design and implementation of the buying experience together. [...]“
I especially enjoyed his post “Sales 2.0: Does It Enable Effective Selling Or Is It Yet Another Decoy?”
from February 2, 2009:
“[...] Is Sales 2.0 real? Yes. Are Sales 2.0 applications actually helping salespeople to win business? Yes. There is no question about that. But we believe in numbers significantly less than some would have you believe. I expect the Sales 2.0 vendors will be all over me about this. Yes, I know they can provide compelling case studies, references and testimonials. The issue is much broader and quite serious.
Before I go any further, I want to acknowledge that there are highly effective sales enablement (Sales 2.0) apps on the market. …“
Job Title: Senior Sales Enablement Marketing Officer
Company: The Bank of New York Mellon
Location: New York, NY
This position is responsible for the development and delivery of both internal and external sales tools and senior-level support services designed to increase the effectiveness of the Client Executive in his/her key account relationships, drive client loyalty, convert sales opportunities, and develop/implement MIS to track sales and opportunities. This position requires the ability to identify a problem(s), reach to a coherent resolution and execute on the solution. The nature and complexity of the problems addressed is typically related to resolving conflicting interests/priorities of multiple internal and external constituencies, through the use of diplomacy, influence and negotiation. Successful issue resolution requires thinking outside the box and encouraging others to do so to create value-added solutions. This position requires superior research and communications skills and demands a seasoned marketing professional capable of interacting with senior-level executives and collaborating cross company.
The position requires initiative, agility and resourcefulness, as well as business and segment acumen. B.A., M.B.A. preferred. 5-10 years progressive marketing or sales/sales support experience preferred.
Found via http://twitter.com/nymarketingjobs
Here are his answers as published in his blog post “Conversation Enablement” from February 3, 2009:
“Commenting on my earlier post “Can We Talk”, Paul agreed that “conversation enablement is the way to go” and asked some great questions. They were so good that I’m going to use them as the structure for this post. Hopefully they will spark further comments … and perhaps a conversation.”
Who is a thought leader in that space?
“I actually haven’t seen many thought leaders on real conversation enablement in sales situations. There are a number of thought leaders on conversational marketing, but they don’t really address what happens one-on-one with a buyer, nor how to enable conversations that a buyer has internally with stakeholders. Some of the sales training companies like The Complex Sale or Executive Conversation cover the conversational dimension of selling, but they tend to focus on sales skills, not what needs to happen to enable the conversation. [...]“
Where can I find an approach for Conversation Enablement that works?
“Unfortunately, I don’t think there is a systematic approach yet for conversation enablement. Or at least I haven’t found one. I think one of our companies, Truman Company, knows as much about it as anyone, but it isn’t yet systematized. Perhaps we should start a stub on Wikipedia?”
Are we talking wikinomics and opening up of enterprise social networks to our customers to get the voice of the customer in our organization?
“I think this could be considered in a broader definition of conversation enablement. In some sense, even the scripts used in call centers could be considered conversation enablement — whatever helps employees hold productive conversations with customers and buyers.”
Or are we talking about our internal sales enablement application having more web2.0 components and providing the sales force with more food for thought for better conversations?
“This is where my interest has been: in B2B settings, enabling better conversations among sales people about how to sell, enabling conversation among customers, and enabling better conversations by sales people with customers.”
Should the conversation with the customer happen online more often and face to face less often to leverage the collective conversation skills of more of my employees?
“It depends on the level of the customer in their organization. As you move up into the managerial and executive ranks, you need to have a much greater focus on face-to-face.”
Or are we looking for more dynamic client presentations that can be generated customized by audience, industry vertical, type of meeting, country, etc…?
“This is necessary but not sufficient. And it leads to my main point. A conversation is not a presentation, no matter how customized it might be. A presentation can help to provide context and be a catalyst for a conversation. But it is not a conversation. In a presentation, you know where you are going. In a conversation, you don’t. Presentations are about delivery. Conversations are about discovery.
We are having a conversation about conversation enablement because I don’t know the answers. If I did, I could just give a presentation. But for now, we’ll need to discover the answer together in the context of a conversation.”