Using the Buying Process to Provide Contextually Relevant Content

On December 14, 2009 Christian Maurer wrote the blog post ‘Using the Buying Process to Provide Contextually Relevant Content’:

“In his post “It is time to think about creating an enterprise context” Matthias Roebel clearly shows that the definition of a stable enterprise context makes information exchange and management more effective. Sharing information is only effective if the shared information can easily be found by others when needed. An enterprise context to me is thus a multidimensional information space, allowing relevant information to be found from various points of view tied to the day in a life scenario of a sales person.

For sales enablement systems, it is of particular importance that the customer view is considered when structuring this information space. As I explained in my last post on this blog (The Need to Understand the Context, B2B Sales People are Operating in) one of the key customer views to be included is the customer’s buying process.

This recommendation is based on the recognition that Buyer/Seller relationships are changing. By staying with the sales process as the structuring element, these important changes might be missed or discovered too late.

Scott Santucci from Forester research in a recent post confirmed this fact of changing relationships. He writes:

“Buyer/Seller relationships are stratifying right before our eyes into a new caste system of strategic, value-added vendors on the one end and undifferentiated, commodity-type suppliers on the other.”

He suggests a

“…new selling model of actually co-creating value with customers and focusing on helping those customers drive business outcome”.

is needed.

In this post, I want to discuss how using steps in the customer’s buying process as one dimension to structure and access content is key to this new selling model.

What are the major steps in a customer’s buying process?

Activities to be carried out by the customers in the buying process might vary according to the size and type of organization. However the fundamental decisions to be made for advancing in the buying process remain the same. Structuring content according to what decision it actually supports, seems therefore a more robust concept. On a high level, there are 3 fundamental decision points:

The buyer:

  1. has to come to the insight that a status quo is no longer tolerable if the business should prosper and a more detailed investigation is needed.
  2. concludes that the ‘cost of the problem’ outweighs the ‘cost of solutions’ than can be bought
  3. decides to buy from the seller offering the best ‘perceived future in use value’ compared to the to be paid ‘cash value’

There are usually minor decision points in between these major milestones. But for the illustration of how to structure content along the customer’s buying process, the granularity of the 3 major milestones appears to be sufficient.

What contents will help the buyer to reach a decision?

Some people might see a deontological problem by the seller “pushing” the buyer over the first decision point. It is however legitimate for the seller to help the buyer already to come to the conclusion that the frustration with the status quo is no longer tolerable; provided it is done with the right mindset: Helping customers to get better outcomes for their business. What kind of content is then needed to help the customer in a non manipulative way to come to this conclusion?

Geoffrey James’ blog post “Neil Rackham: Sales is a Research Job” provides some guidance. In there, he cites Neil Rackham’s second rule for sales research being:

“Prospective customers do not value information about products; instead they value information about the industry and the customer’s competition, providing it is current and up-to-date”.

Standard “Corporate Literature” produced by the seller’s organization will thus hardly be what is needed to reach the first milestone in the customer’s buying process. Imagine yourself in the situation trying to assess the importance of a problem and you do not yet know whether you need a solution and if so, whether it could be bought somewhere. Now ask yourself how you would react to a salesperson rattling down a laundry list of features and if you are lucky maybe even a few benefits You would consider the seller’s pitch as being annoying because it is totally irrelevant to the decision you need to make.

Industry or analyst reports creating awareness about the problem the seller can address are a better suiting tactic. This also means that not all contents in Sales Enablement systems are produced by the seller’s organization. Making such reports available in a Sales Enablement system, linked to this early phase of the buying process, reduces the time sales people spend to research for such content and insures that the best suited content for that phase is used.

After reaching the first milestone, the co-creation of value between seller and buyer takes place. In this phase “educational” content, helping the customer to define the specific cost of the pain (e.g. if I do nothing, my sales continue to lag behind those of my strongest competitor by 1M$ per month) and showing how the seller’s solution can address the problem is to be provided (e.g. canned webinars, white papers etc.) The aim of this content is to help the customer to evaluate whether the cost of the pain outweighs the typical investment in a solution to solve the problem.

Considering this milestone is very relevant. Research shows that 20% of forecasted deals end up with ‘no decision’ (i.e. nothing at all is bought). I consider ignoring this second milestone as a root cause for this phenomenon.

This second milestone also allows for the distinction between value-added vendors and commodity type suppliers. The latter typically start their selling process only when the customer has reached the conclusion that solutions providing a positive return compared to the cost of the problem can be bought on the market.

To help the customer with the final selection of the seller with the highest impact on a business outcome, product literature sometimes helps, success stories and ROI calculations are other content to be used.

Conclusion

Using the customer’s buying process as an additional mean to structure the content to be provided within a Sales Enablement systems can be looked at as one of the “manageable projects” Scott Santucci suggests to address the strategic challenges of being successful in the “new caste system”.

References:

It is time to think about creating an enterprise context (Matthias Roebel)

The Need to Understand the Context, B2B Sales People are Operating in (Christian Maurer)

Its been a while why and what’s going on with sales enablement these days (Scott Santucci)

Neil Rackham: Sales is a Research Job (Geoffrey James)”

 

As a buyer, do you prefer a sales person who talks about your purchase in the context of your use case or one who assumes that the product is right for you just because of your physical proximity?

On December 21, 2009 Lee Levitt wrote the blog post ‘Open for Business or Hoping for Business?’ in which he basically makes the case for investments in Sales Enablement in 2010:

“[…] 2010 is promising to be a challenging year even as the economy slowly improves. Few analysts are expecting a return to robust growth anytime soon; those organizations that wait for calm waters and steady winds in this market will find themselves left on the beach.

The winners in 2010 will continue to hone their market definition, development and selling processes. Market leaders are:

  • Defining markets more narrowly
  • Prioritizing opportunities more systematically
  • Building deeper intelligence about individual organizations
  • Targeting marketing and sales assets more precisely
  • Analyzing the interim and final results more carefully


Measure What You Manage

The net effect of this work is two-fold. First, these organizations are finding higher ROI on their marketing and sales investments. While not all investments provide equal and high returns, the increased inspection of the process and results provides better and faster opportunities to modify and improve. Secondly, the organizations conducting this level of analysis and management are outdistancing their peers. Simply put, the right sales resource delivering the right sales conversation to the right prospect at the right time is vastly more compelling than a rep reading from a script or dragging a prospect through the corporate presentation.

As a buyer, which would you prefer – a sales person who talks about your purchase in the context of your use case or one who assumes that his or her product is right for you just because of your physical proximity?

We’ve all been there – we’ve been in both buying and selling situations in which everybody clicks and the process goes smoothly and quickly to the benefit of both parties. We’ve also suffered through situations in which it’s clear to almost everybody that the conversation is going nowhere.

Some marketing and sales executives have told me that they have chosen not to undertake this work because the underlying data is not available or that the process development and management appears difficult. They’re partially correct – the data is not easily available and the work is hard. This is what separates the leaders from everyone else. The leaders have chosen to take on this work and they are already enjoying the results.

Approximately a dozen technology companies have deeply invested in this work. Another couple of dozen are in some stage of investigation and implementation. These companies will be rewarded with higher top line revenue growth, profitability and customer satisfaction.

What Will be Different?

I’ll leave you with a challenge – what will you do to improve the efficacy of your marketing and sales activities in 2010? Do you still believe that what you did in 2008 and 2009 will work in 2010? What are you willing to do differently in 2010 to improve your results?”

See the full blog post and leave your comments here.

Sales Enablement: Knowledge Management for Sales and Marketing to enable global collaboration

Sales Enablement: Knowledge Management for Sales and Marketing to enable global collaboration – for the International Conference on Knowledge Management (ICKM 2009)

“In this paper, several core team members of BizSphere line out the main challenge of information overload that the organization sees for enterprises in the 21st century. Applying the problem of the explosion of unstructured information and therefore decline of information relevance to Sales and Marketing, this paper describes the discipline of Sales Enablement. In the second part, BizSphere’s approach to Sales Enablement is further discussed with main stress on how to structure information using proper meta-information management (Information Space), keeping track of content production using inventory methods as well as enabling applications to generate documents for its users. For this conference most relevant, two components of BizSphere’s knowledge management concepts are discussed: managing contacts in the information space and connecting them with unified communication.”

Sales Enablement bloggers on Knowledge and Context

On December 1, 2009 Matthias Roebel from MING Labs wrote the following post entitled “It is time to think about creating an enterprise context”:

“Hang on a second! Could the following be happening? By implementing an enterprise social network a company is solving all its Sales Enablement Challenges? Well, I doubt it.

No question, it is extremely important for every company to leverage the social networking and interaction technologies available today. They actually might encourage employees to share knowledge and to connect with each other more easily. However, if a social networking strategy is implemented without addressing some fundamental content management and communications problems within the enterprise, it won’t be successful in the long run.

“Facebook doesn’t have your friends. It has facts about your friends. Google is at its best when it gives you links to links, not the information itself,” says Seth Godin in his recent blog post “Getting Meta“. Technology can just be an enabler, not the solution to existing fundamental problems – social software makes no exception here.

Why is that? Just imagine an international school, where students from all over the world are gathering. All of them are speaking different mother tongues – a lingua franca like English is missing however. Now offer to this crowd of students the possibility to network. What you’ll see happening is them networking within their language silos. Just like on Facebook or LinkedIn: Nobody is having friends he can’t communicate with – like in the real world.

Finding a common language

So, in order to make collaboration and knowledge exchange strategies sustainable and successful a common language within the enterprise needs to be established – a lingua franca, an enterprise context. If this is not happening, Sales and Marketing, Communications and Delivery will keep on misunderstanding each other causing a lot of inefficiencies for the company. And they will keep on producing more and more information without actually creating a knowledge base for the company – the social content additionally created by the masses, even would come on top of this information pile.

You may think: This sounds pretty philosophical and far from reality? Let me proof to you the opposite with two examples. The first example is related to the incredible number of different namings for the same type of document. Take a brochure: It may be called brochure or flyer or customer deliverable or, or, or… I’ve seen companies with 500+ different labels for in fact just over 70 types for content items.

The second example is related to the offerings of a company. Times are changing quickly and so are the names of products and solutions. It’s quite normal in an enterprise, that some people are still speaking about a product using its older name while others are using the new name or an abbreviation – such differences are another source for misunderstandings.

“Right now, there’s way too much stuff and far too little information about that stuff. Sounds like an opportunity,” Seth Godin also states in “Getting Meta”. And exactly this opportunity enterprises need to explore, if they really want to become serious about a sustainable knowledge strategy for their Sales and Delivery, their Marketing and Communications departments. To overcome their existing challenges in the area of Sales Enablement they need to start creating information about information, in other words: meta data. Organizing this meta data in a controlled framework means setting up a commonly agreed on enterprise context, which describes the macro and the micro structures of the companies in a simple, but effective manner.

Once set up, the company’s knowledge base can grow steadily and even socially without causing additional information overload. Marketing can produce content right on target, and Sales reliably receives the information they need to lead valuable conversations with their customers.”

 

On November 22, 2009 Scott Santucci from blogs.forrester.com/tech_sales_enablement/ wrote the following in his post “It’s Been A While, Why — And What’s Going On With Sales Enablement These Days?”:

“[…] Too often people are focused on very tactical, short-term things to boost sales or improve skills, but a year later have very little to show for that effort. Why?

Enterprise selling is complex, and that complexity creates a paradox […] where making things simple for customers and sales requires you to confront the fact that you have a variety of people in your company who each carry different perspectives of who your customers are; and what needs to be done to solve them.

Declaring you need better sales people (or smarter sales people), or focusing on more activity (more leads, more calls); misses the point entirely.

Your customers have access to more information now […] than they have ever had before in the history of mankind. Preparing your sales people with more product knowledge is not suitable today as you are arming your field with the vary information customers can get themselves.

Buyer/seller relationships are stratifying right before our eyes into a new caste systems of strategic, value-added vendors on the one end; and undifferentiated, commodity-type suppliers on the other. Addressing this issue requires a fundamentally different way to go-to-market than we have had in the past and it means we’ve got to confront the mismatch in our business unit construct and product-centric view points with the new selling model of actually co-creating value with customers and focusing on helping those customers drive business outcomes.

[…] you would be very surprised at the number of your competitors who are building strategic programs right now to address these exact issues. The trick is to first understand this is a holistic problem, and then break it down into a set of manageable projects where you can “fix the plane while it’s flying”.”

 

In response to Scott’s blog post Ken Knickerbocker wrote the following on December 1, 2009:

“Scott stated “you have a variety of people in your company who each carry different perspectives of who your customers are; and what needs to be done to [help] them.”

So true. In your presentation Scott you refer to this as blind men describing an elephant challenge. All the blind men see the elephant differently depending on which part of the animal they happen to be touching.

[…] I’ve begun calling it the Mexico Dilemma. How one defines Mexico is largely dependent on where in Mexico they’ve visited. […]

So it is within any sales system. To someone tasked with ramping new sales people, knowledge management is an essential element in helping new recruits find the material and best practices needed to make a c-level call or position the company’s wide portfolio of products and services in the first meeting with that executive. But the Chief Sales Officer, with a singular focus on closing deals and meeting quarterly objectives, objectives the CFO and Wall Street are counting on, may not place the same emphasis on knowledge management. Instead knowledge management becomes just another SG&A line item to that CSO, one that is easily paired back in tough economic times.”

Way too much stuff and far too little information about that stuff – Context matters

On November 29, 2009, Seth Godin wrote about what we in Sales Enablement for b2b enterprises are focused on:
Context matters!

Getting meta

Wikipedia contains facts about facts. It’s a collection of facts from other places.

Facebook doesn’t have your friends. It has facts about your friends.

Google is at its best when it gives you links to links, not the information itself.

Over and over, the Internet is allowing new levels of abstraction. Information about information might be worth more than the information itself. Which posts should I read? Which elements of the project are at risk? Who is making the biggest difference to the organization?

Right now, there’s way too much stuff and far too little information about that stuff. Sounds like an opportunity.

I couldn’t agree more with Seth that this is an opportunity. Successfully using this opportunity will have to do with web 3.0 (semantic) approaches being applied to the stuff from web 1.0 and web 2.0 as well as understanding what information architecture is and how it can be set up for complex organizations.

For the approach to Sales Enablement I have been working with at a company with 4,000+ sales people you could say:
SharePoint (or similar) has your marketing assets for sales reps.

Sales Enablement – as the layer on top – has the facts about your marketing assets:

  • Which assets/links/comments should a sales rep read for a specific sales situation?
  • Who is the contributor of marketing assets or comments that really drive sales?

Context is empowering. It’s a killer sales tool. Use it and your content will be richer

Great post on context from copyblogger.com: ‘Why Content is No Longer King (And Who’s Taking His Place)’ by Larry Brooks (@copyblogger) from October 22, 2009:

“Since the very first blog, written around an ancient campfire somewhere in the moist foothills of Seattle, content has been crowned the undisputed king.

The king ruled over all that was written, be they blogs, articles, ads, fiction, or a killer love letter. All that was copy sat at the feet of the king.

Nothing succeeded without content. Writing without it was cast from the kingdom, banished as self-serving junk mail and the much-loathed “interruption marketing.”

But the king is dead.

Okay, not exactly dead, just appointed Prime Minister. Content still rules, but it’s from a more evolved perspective.

Long live the new king: context.

Because nothing sells, nothing works, without it.

The inherent power that is context

At the center of every effective piece of content is an agenda, an implied pitch residing at the heart of the content.

Content is the license, if you will, to move forward with the pitch. Valuable content gives you the right to go on to sell or promote something. It’s the embodiment of a noble premise — to receive you must first give.

You give with the hope that the prospect will stick around and finally buy something. And that is the context behind content marketing.

A commercial context doesn’t diminish the value of strong content. In fact, acknowledging your agenda can be a very smart strategy. It’s like saying, Here, I have a gift for you. Stick around. Because there’s even more where that came from.

Content creates value, and value builds trust. From trust springs the willingness to part with dollars in return for even more value.

The universal nature of context

Of course, context isn’t something we only find in commercial transactions. It’s the empowering juice of fiction, as well.

In the opening scene of Quentin Tarantino’s current flick, Inglourious Basterds, we see what would otherwise be an overly long, annoyingly irrelevant conversation between a Nazi officer and a terrified farmer.

Why is the farmer terrified? Why is the viewer hooked? Because of the context of the scene. Beneath every seemingly innocent line is a foreboding sense of dread.

Idle chit-chat about milk and neighbors form the content. Fear and unthinkable consequences form the context. Without the context, all you have is a rather dull conversation.

We know something really dramatic and truly horrifying is about to happen. Right after Tarantino teases and torments us into a frenzy of anticipation.

How does he do that? He has mastered the art of context in his scenes.

We copywriters should take note.

Context as strategy

Effective context doesn’t happen by accident. We need to consciously create it.

Context comes from the writer’s clarity about her goals, juxtaposed against the expectations and tolerances of the audience.

In the context of content marketing, first we deliver valuable content, free and clear. As a gift. As a solution. As narrative bricks and mortar. And in doing so we earn the reader’s trust.

Once we’re trusted, we are now able to expand on our own agenda. We get to talk more about the intended outcome of the piece. That outcome might be a sale, a subscription, or even conversion to a new idea.

In a blog, we set out to deliver value. In an ad, we pitch solutions and overcome objections. In fiction, we infuse scenes with anticipation and emotion.

And in each case, when we understand the context we’re working in, we achieve our goal.

And so, too, does the reader. Because their context isn’t what you’re selling, but what they’re seeking to take away from what you’ve written.

Long live the new king.

About the Author: Larry Brooks is a bestselling novelist and the creator of Storyfix.com, an instructional site for fiction writers and those who love them.”

Please read the comments and leave your own at the original post.

“[…] it just means that “Content is still King”, but it also means that internet business should put content into perspective of their larger strategy.

Brilliant reframing of the ‘ol “Content is king” cliche. […]”

Responses to comments from Larry Brooks (@copyblogger):

“[…] content still rules. And to say that context is irrelevant is, well, naive. The point here, and I’m sorry if I contributed to you missing it, is that content without context cheats both the reader and the writer out of available benefit, because context ALWAYS enriches content. Context is point of view, it’s empathy, it’s an unspoken acknowledgement of need and agenda, without apology or intrusion.

TV advertising is almost all context with very little content (that cool little Etrade baby/spokesperson is pure context, as are the Budweiser Clydesdales and virtually every other conceptual approach), and yet it serves both “reader” and writer.

The point is simple, really: context is empowering. It’s a killer sales tool. Use it and your content will be richer. […]”

“[…] Context is what allows content to “sell.” It’s what pounds it home for the reader. You’re right, poor content won’t bring readers back to your page. But content drenched with effective context will not only bring them back, they’ll bring thier friends and their credit cards with them. Because context empowers content to that extent. In today’s highly competitive online environment, we can’t afford to view what we write simplistically. […]”

Do we really want people who earn $150 an hour creating PowerPoint presentations from scratch?

Mike Damphousse’s interview with Lee Levitt (formerly IDC – Sales Advisory Service), from September 2009:

Lee: “[…] We have identified a number of ‘choke points’ in the selling process, mostly in the area of access to information and time spent on activities that (should) support the selling effort. Sales people spend way too much time searching for information, giving up and creating sales assets on their own (assets that typically exist elsewhere in the organization). Do we really want people who earn $150 an hour creating PowerPoint presentations from scratch or searching Hoovers for basic company information about their prospects? [Related post from this blog]

Sales 2.0 empowers sales people with simple, efficient access to information about customers and prospects already in context, usable from the start. Pulling this information together, analyzing it, cleaning it, ensuring that it is relevant — these activities should be done by a centralized group and then provided to the sales person or team at the right time — just before a call planning session.

Mike: Another critical activity right now is demand gen. We all know that b2b demand gen has shifted dramatically in this 2.0 world. Where do you see outbound marketing and inbound marketing impacting the top line in the next 12 months?

Lee: Marketing activities must seek to answer the questions posed by the prospect or customer: “Why are you sitting in my office now? What do you know about my business that has earned you the privilege of 30 minutes of my calendar? What experiences do you bring with you that are particularly relevant to the critical business issues faced by my company today?” All marketing activity must either directly or indirectly support the conversations that ensue from these questions. [All posts on Conversation Enablement on this blog]

Mike: We recently completed a study that showed that with b2b appointments, a third of C/VP execs delegated down, do you see the sales process becoming more of a buying process where the prospects are dictating how we sell?

Lee: I’d look at the issue the other way. Sales people have always been trained to sell up (Selling to VITO), and they’ve overshot their goal. A senior level executive will take a meeting with a rep who brings value to the table. If they aren’t prepared to have that value discussion, they’ll be pushed back down the organization, or as our research shows, thrown out. Reps must work their way up the organization, conducting research, building an understanding of the challenges of the organization, and matching their company’s capabilities with the needs of the organization. In this manner, they earn the right to talk with the senior executive.

Mike: What will you be talking about at the [Sales 2.0] conference? Can we have a sneak peak?

Lee: Sure. It’s all about pipeline hygiene — efficiency and effectiveness of “co-creating” value with the prospect or customer. Selling is dead. The best salespeople today don’t sell, they consult. They’re on the same side of the table as their prospect and they’re working together to create value. This takes deep understanding of the customer’s environment and challenges, and skills that many salespeople don’t have today. It also takes a different set of metrics to gauge the success of the engagement, metrics that most organizations don’t track.”

 

How many emails do your sales people write to find a contact they are looking for?

sales

This post is with regards to cutting down the time wasted by your own employees (and your channel partners) researching who to contact or which contact details to pass on to the customer when it comes to a specific kind of expert for a specific offering in a specific country.

Real life example

Don’t you know these email trails of at least 10 emails which started off like this: A sales rep asking his boss who in product marketing to contact for the product BCM50 when it is about a customer in Poland?

Sales writes to marketing and marketing writes to each other and before there is a meaningful answer you easily have had ten people involved and a lot of time wasted. (Business cases for how much time of information workers is worth here.)

Statistic

70% of all attempts to find an expert by email are unsuccessful
according to thinkbeforeyousend.com

What can Sales Enablement do about it?

Let me show you how the sales enablement application I’m looking after for our 4,000 sales people world-wide cuts down the time to research this kind of contact information. Actually it works just the same if you searched for documents, tools (like ROI calculators), relationships (like cross-selling opportunities), summary descriptions (like updates when a product will be GA) etc.:

contacts

This is what we train our marketing and sales employees to do.

  1. You drill down from ‘Global’ to ‘Poland’ on the top of the screen or by clicking on a Google Maps like map.
  2. In the search form in the upper right hand corner you type in the full name or the acronym of the product/service you are interested in.
  3. In the left hand side navigation you pick the kind of information you are looking for.
  4. Given that you have now set the context you can pick from the list of experts in the middle of the screen and even call them with one click (UC / Unified Communications that is).

How long does that take? 10 seconds for one person instead of ten emails from different people that everybody is then copied on each time.

Why is it possible to save so much time? The reason is we established an information architecture and lots of people are empowered to keep it up to date by just doing a right click on a piece of information to edit it.

For contact details the following happens: Information that is missing will be filled in the moment the contact from the higher level gets all the requests. He/she will be quick to provide the contact details of who should really be contacted for the specific situation. Basically “forced crowd-sourcing”.

The areas where all this helps you can call sales enablement, conversation enablement, channel enablement or just knowledge management.

Finding Sales Enablement information – Why content management systems are silos

finding sales enablement information

“Stop the information overload, before it stops you. Innovative, web 3.0 knowledge management methods and technologies from BizSphere help you to regain control over your content and let’s you find the information you need, when you needed.

Finding what you’re looking for can be a problem at times. Have you ever gone to the DVD store to find a particular movie by your favorite director, but spent way too much time looking for it? The DVDs in the store are all very nicely arranged, alphabetically, by genre. But what you need is a way of searching across the store for only the movies by your director — arranged just for you in one nice orderly rack. Searching across different categories can be tedious. Just like when you’re looking for a certain document in your enterprise environment. Why is that? Because in folder-based content management systems, authors can upload the same physical file into one physical folder at a time. Folders become silos, content management systems become silo farms. Hard to search, and organized in arbitrary ways. According to IDC’s Sales Advisory Practice, sales reps typically spend more than five hours a week looking for information. If they could save just half that, they’d have more time to talk to customers. Think how much more revenue they could generate. Thats why we created BizSphere. Our innovative platform lets you look at content the way you want to. Instead of being organized in a one-dimensional folder structure, content is tagged multi-dimensionally. Sounds complicated? It isn’t. Some people in the enterprise, the Information Architects, are defining a variety of tagging dimensions, so called taxonomies. All uploaded content lives within these taxonomies. The platform does not replace existing content management systems. Instead, its a layer on top of them to make your content accessible easily. Now you can browse and filter all content based on your current needs. Saving your time, your money, and your nerves.”

Nortel had been using this since 2006. It helps especially when you have a B2B sales force in many different countries. Marketing employees are empowered (after a quick training anyone can post content) to enable sales people with the right messaging. No more country specific intranet sites where you need to drill down from scratch with many mouse clicks whenever the kind of information or the product you are looking for changes. Here the tagging and the search engine, that always helps me within the first ten search results, save a lot of mouse clicks.

Definition of Sales Enablement and Conversation Enablement

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.