Sales Enablement is the top investment area for 2010 – Who owns it inside an Enterprise?

On February 5, 2010 IDC’s Michael Gerard (@michaelgerard) postet the following on Twitter:

“Preliminary IDC data – Sales Enablement is the top investment area for 2010! More at IDC Directions #dir10”

That is obviously very exciting for us in this field, who for years now have been saying that Sales Enablement is going to be huge one day. Let’s take a look again at the term Sales Enablement in order to understand in detail what’s all included in what is projected to be a top investment area for 2010:

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 [often forgotten] and in the right place to assist in moving a specific sales opportunity forward”

Sales Enablement as per IDC
http://www.slideshare.net/lml999/idc-sales-enablement-jan-2009-presentation

IDC_Macro_SE_Framework
http://techmarketingblog.blogspot.com/2009/09/idcs-sales-enablement-framework.html

In its February 2010 issue CRM magazine looked at Sales Enablement:

“Scott Santucci, senior analyst at Forrester Research, says he’s seen an explosion of interest in this area over the past year. As with any technology, however, those rushing to buy the hot newness without first establishing a clear strategy are doomed to fail. It’s not that there’s a lack of information—far from it. Instead, it’s hard to wade through the sheer tonnage of information and determine what’s up-to-date, relevant, and in a form amenable to the particular sales conversation. “It’s a very simple, yet really complicated problem,” Santucci says.

IDC’s Gerard says the first step is to figure out who owns sales enablement in your organization. While the prevailing view has the niche bridging both sales and marketing, no one seems able to agree on exactly who owns which pieces of the pie. (See “The Shotgun Marriage of Sales and Marketing.”) Marketers lay claim to 69 percent of sales enablement, according to IDC, while sales pros estimate they control 60 percent. It’s not hard to imagine the damage caused by that disconnect, Gerard says: “There’s confusion amongst companies, some misalignment as to who’s doing what.”

These are nuanced problems, and Santucci says each of the relevant vendors—including BizSphere, iCentera, Kadient, and Savo Group—cater to slightly different problems. […]”

In the comments of the article quoted above Tamara Schenk (@tamaraschenk) from T-Systems International GmbH (Portfolio & Offering Management, Head of Special ICT Innovation Projects) wrote the following on February 4, 2010:

“[…] The discussion on “who owns sales enablement” is really interesting – from my point of view this question brings as back to the “functional silos”. Didn’t we want to overcome the functional silos by implementing sales enablement? We had a similar discussion when we started our sales enablement project. Now we have a cross-functional team which is lead by portfolio & offering management, in our approach the “backbone” of sales enablement.

[…] If an organization has a complex offering portfolio with different kinds of relationships within the portfolio you will need a lot of taxonomy features – but make sure that your first step is the consolidation of your portfolio and the second step is implementing sales enablement, including working on content quality, governance, processes, change management etc. The better you design the portfolio structure the easier you can analyze the content quality later on. From our experience that’s one of the critical success factors – and the other one is change management – how do I motivate sales reps to use the sales enablement platform and to use the collaboration features? Communicate, communicate, communicate… and you could give the sales user groups the responsibility for a successful change!

The objectives of sales enablement initiative could be different, e.g. one collaboration platform instead of ten different portals, get consistent messages, optimize go-to-market, deliver right information to the right person at the right time and in the right place, break functional silos, reduce applications, reduce ramp-up time for new hires, improve sales efficiency etc. […]”

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