A decade of tracking the Sales Enablement market and trends

Iris ChanAs my friend & Sales Enablement leader Iris Chan from IBM is announcing 2017’s 1st [and 2nd overall] meeting of the Sydney Australia chapter of the SALES ENABLEMENT SOCIETY @_sesociety for May 2, 2017, I’m reflecting on my journey in this space.

2017 actually marks the 10 year anniversary of me tracking the Sales Enablement market.

I started to research the market players in 2007 and started to blog here on February 25, 2009.

Paul KrajewskiOver time many vendors merged, changed owners or went out of business and new ones keep on popping up. My count is “between 140 – 160 vendors; depending how you count” (for that post I tried out medium.com).

I published a…

… and even a Sales Enablement market deathwatch.

I actually just added a vendor today:

CantoCanto canto.com @canto Digital Sales Enablement: Digital asset management empowers your sales team by improving efficiency & creating new business opportunities. A DAM system makes your valuable media files available where you need them, any time. Sales reps never need to worry if they’re carrying all the relevant documents & presentations when meeting clients — all important sales collateral are accessible from their mobile device, laptop/tablet with fast, meta data-driven search & preview capabilities. Content is always up-to-date & ready to use. Social DAM features make digital collaboration easier & faster than ever. Build .ppt decks from pre-approved slides that are guaranteed to have the latest version. With Cumulus & DAM you can do that & more. Germany & San Francisco, USA

Despite all this, I’m getting something very similar to the following email every 2 months – like clockwork…

“I came across your blog while researching the Sales Enablement space for a company with a sales enablement tool in beta. Would you be open to a quick chat and explore the opportunity of working together for the short term? I’m sure we could use your expertise to understand the sales enablement market and user needs better. Thanks.”

…and I always respond with something like this:

“An integration with salesforce.com is what you will see at the top of the list. If you target startups, then a Slack integration would be a quick win. There are so many vendors & solutions out there from lightweight to enterprise grade, from freemium to million dollar deployments, etc…

I have seen more than 18 vendors enter this market and shut down already [without being purchased]. Many more had to sell or partner to survive. It is a very crowded market, because so many companies & sales experts used to have no tool for their sales people (or too many), then built one for their own use, and are trying to sell it to external customers now.

At this point, I would really warn anyone who wants to enter this market: You can burn a lot of money & never get profitable: The moment you have a customer, they will ask for so many changes & features that you will keep building something that either already exists (but they don’t want to combine many tools & ask you to build one that can do everything) or you will build something that only works for them and no other customer.

There have been sales enablement solutions that became too sophisticated and you needed to train their users. There have been sales enablement solutions that were really lightweight small widgets shown in PowerPoint to add slides into auto-generated presentations, but still did not successfully compete in this market place.

It is a tricky one with more and more 800-pound gorillas!”

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