Q4 2014 Sales Enablement market news and trends

As my list of Sales Enablement solutions has grown, I would like to take a look at some recent Sales Enablement market news and trends:
Continue reading “Q4 2014 Sales Enablement market news and trends”

Sales Enablement companies in Canada – Canadian Sales Enablement solutions


A look at the Sales Enablement companies in Canada. My world-wide list is here or as a spreadsheet here.

This list for Canada was last updated on 19-Jun-2021:

Scrimmage wescrimmage.com @wescrimmage mobile learning platforms & sales enablement software to help reinforce training, improve speed to competency, & enhance sales productivity. Minneapolis, MN, USA based mobile learning company Scrimmage has been acquired by Canadian software company ACTO actoapp.com @acto the companies announced 11-SEP-2020. “Disrupting Education & Enablement For The Life Sciences” / Omni-channel Education ecosystem for education in healthcare & life sciences. ACTO Technologies Inc. Toronto, ON, Canada

Ada Inc / Ada Support www.ada.support/ @adasupport Chatbot platform that makes artificial intelligence accessible to non-technical support teams. It operates through both web & mobile machine learning engine that reduces support volume, empowers customers to find answers on their own, & automatically learns how to better serve customers in the future. $2M in estimated revenue annually & competes with Pandorabots, Dexter, & Passage AI. Toronto, ON, Canada

Allocadia allocadia.com @allocadia Marketing Performance Management: Planning, budgeting, & analysis software built for revenue-driven marketing teams. Every marketing organization wants to better understand investments & returns and measure how they impact the business (how marketing drives revenue). Typical organizations start with managing their marketing budgets, then they align to corporate objectives & plans, set targets, track actuals, and eventually measure & optimize their return on investment. By connecting to your finance, corporate budgets, CRM, resource management, marketing automation, & social media systems Allocadia gives you the most complete view of your marketing performance. Vancouver, BC

Amacus see Innovative Information Inc.

Amity getamity.com @GetAmity Customer Success software. Mitigate risk early. SmartPlaybooks™ enables your team to provide the right action at the right time.Improve Conversions: Understand what success looks like to your customers and how your product can help them get there. Drive Upsells: Understand your customer’s motivation for the upsell and be perfectly positioned to expand it. Toronto, ON, Canada

April Dunford aprildunford.com @aprildunford Toronto based founder of Rocket Launch Marketing with deep understanding of Sales Enablement, B2B marketing & Positioning. See this blog post by her as an example. So what is positioning? Her new book, Obviously Awesome, shows you how to find your product’s “secret sauce”—& then sell that sauce to those who crave it. Having spent years as a startup executive (with 16 product launches under her belt) & a consultant (who’s worked on dozens more), she speaks with authority about breaking through the noise of a crowded market.

Atomic Reach atomicreach.com @Atomic_Reach a content optimization platform built to help marketers create high quality content. Helping marketers gain a better understanding of what makes their content, emails, & ads perform & how to perfect it; using AI. $1M in estimated revenue annually & competes with Kapost, NewsCred, & Uberflip. Toronto, Ontario, Canada

AutoKlose autoklose.com @autoklose sales engagement, email tracking, outbound sales automation platform. Features automated lead generation, drip campaigns, calendar scheduling, & CRM integration. Toronto, Canada / USA. Owned & operated by ExchangeLeads Inc. doing business as AutoKlose. Plano, Texas, Oct. 20, 2020: VanillaSoft, a sales engagement technology company, announced that they acquired email automation & sales intelligence platform vendor AutoKlose.

AvayaLive Engage web conferencing in virtual 3D environments for meetings, training, sales & support. Came out of R&D / incubation at Nortel in Ottawa, but is owned by Avaya. Allows collaborative web browsing & accessing/presenting marketing material in its on-demand, web-based, immersive collaboration environment. (I worked on this during my time at Nortel Networks.) AvayaLive Engage service ended 2016.

basix.ai basix.ai @basix_ai predictively target the best leads, automate everything, & uncover deep sales insights with the help of machine learning & AI. When reps perform 100 activities daily, & you factor time in between, it’s no wonder less time is spent selling & no time personalizing. It’s not just about activity but quality activity – What activities drive sales forward? Make more sales conversations happen: Turn your sales organization into a repeatable revenue machine. Massively increase your revenue per rep: What if your winning sales strategies were used by everyone all the time? Align your sales team to go after prospects with the highest potential. Whether you are a team of 2 or 100+, get on the same page, & start executing. Basix Concepts Inc. Toronto, Ontario, Canada

1611871552686Beehivr beehivr.com @beehivr empower sales forces with a platform to enhance client meetings, facilitate employee training, & gather valuable insights. Adaptable mobile sales app allows sales teams to transform traditional presentations & client meetings, into interactive experiences. Allows for flexible flow of information & the possibility to adapt content, as the conversation unfolds. Assembles all sales collateral & client information in one app, to save preparation time & focus on more value added tasks. New team members benefit from a rapid & easier onboarding process with instant access to all pertinent information, offered on an interactive & intuitive interface. Up-to-date content allows your team upsell & cross-sell & ensure that brand message is delivered more consistently across the market. Montreal, Canada. Beehivr Technology Inc.

BizSphere: The Sales Web & Content Landscape by BizSphere were initially developed for IBM & Nortel Networks. Is Was a suite of Sales Enablement software solutions for global businesses with a complex portfolio [of products, services, & solutions] & large sales force / channel partners. Let 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. The team behind core concepts & the UI of BizSphere moved on to MING Labs

Brick Street Software brickstreetsoftware.com more on the marketing automation side of things: Their solution called CONNECT is multichannel marketing for carrying on conversations with customers & 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, & develop loyal relationships. Offices in Toronto, Boston & elsewhere.

BrightStarr brightstarr.com @brightstarr Is Now Unily (See Unily unily.com). Brightstarr has rebranded as Unily. Please follow @WeAreUnily for the latest updates. Design, build & deliver people-first business solutions that empower employees to do their best work. Surrey, British Columbia, Canada. Bright Market, LLC dba FastSpring

Briefbites briefbites.com @briefbites bite-sized actionable intel for B2B SaaS teams. IDEA FRIDGE MEDIA, INC. BC, Canada

CleanPix Corp cleanpix.com @CleanPix digital asset management accessible directly from the cloud via your web-browser & designed with PR/marketing & brand managers in mind. Deliver your assets directly to your network & partners from CleanPix via email without the use of attachments or forcing them to sign up for their own account. Calgary, AB, Canada

Content Camel contentcamel.io all your sales content, in one place. No more insane drive folders. Search, find, share, & track content from one place to enable sellers. Content Discovery & Sales Enablement: Organize your content database according to the nuances of your sales cycle & organization. Content Camel – with intelligent search & sales-aligned funnel identification – makes sure the right content is found & offered at the right time to better connect content marketing teams to sales teams & beyond. Today, most marketing teams struggle to catalog & effectively deploy all the awesome content they are developing while sales often complains the right content isn’t being created. Portland, Oregon, USA & Toronto, ON, Canada

Corel Corporation corel.com on 12-Dec-2017 Corel Corporation, a Canadian (Ottawa, Canada) office & design software company, announced it acquired ClearSlide, a sales engagement platform. ClearSlide clearslide.com had acquired SlideRocket to let you create & edit presentations in the cloud with slide-by-slide analytics. Then on 23-Dec-2020, @bigtincan announced that its wholly owned US subsidiary, BTC Mobility, LLC has entered into a binding Stock Purchase Agreement with Corel, Inc where Bigtincan (ASX:BTH) has agreed to pay $22.6M for @ClearSlide, the sales engagement technology platform with hundreds of customers across three continents. The company has estimated annualised recurring revenue of $5.2M. Bigtincan completed a $35M institutional equity raise to support the purchase. ClearSlide’s customers include The Economist & GoDaddy. The acquisition will add 32 staff members to Bigtincan’s books. Shares in Bigtincan (ASX:BTH) are trading 2.24 per cent lower at $1.09. This sale of ClearSlide might mean Corel has exited the Sales Enablement market.

Coveo coveo.com @coveo combines “unified search”, analytics & Machine Learning (ML) to deliver relevant information & recommendations across every business interaction. Transforms businesses by improving customer engagement & upskilling employees by providing the best information, every time, everywhere. AI-powered Search for every Salesforce community & app. Immediate access to all the content, wherever it resides. Québec, Canada

1617113759797Docebo docebo.com @docebo E-Learning. Create, manage, deliver, & measure the impact of learning for external & internal audiences with Docebo’s AI-powered Learning Suite. Docebo’s multi-product learning suite helps enterprises around the world tackle any learning challenge. Create & manage content, deliver training, & understand the business impact of learning experiences. Tackle learning challenges & create a successful learning culture. Docebo Inc. Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Athens GA, USA. Biassono (MB), Italy. Docebo UK Limited, London, UK

Docsie DOCS Docsie.io @likalo_llc SaaS platform. Helps businesses write better product documentation. Craft web knowledge portals via a documentation platform that simplifies the way your team does docs. Customized Documentation Hubs: Use Docsie Manager to create & publish custom product documentation hubs that mirror your brand’s look & feel. Likalo Limited, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

DOOLY www.dooly.ai angel.co/company/dooly @DoolyHQ close deals faster with sales enablement software that adapts to what your customers say. That time you felt flat-footed on a sales call because your prospect brought something up that you hadn’t anticipated… yeah, that wasn’t fun & we felt your pain. Dooly’s real-time playbook engine keeps your conversations as sharp & on-point as the buyer you talk to, matching their every move with sales tools that answer even their toughest questions. Update Salesforce 10x faster. Dooly automates your CRM busywork so you can focus on selling. Sell more with less admin work slowing you down. dooly.ai/roles/sales-enablement/ Ramp your sales reps faster at scale: Empower all of your sellers quickly to be as confident on day 1 as day 100. Feed relevant talking points and tools to your teams live during their sales calls based on the flow of the conversation. Your buyer doesn’t wait. Dooly surfaces the gaps in your sales process giving you essential insight into where your playbook needs improvement. Stop with the guesswork. Know what talk tracks & content perform best allowing you to continually optimize your enablement strategy. Quantifying the results of your enablement efforts isn’t easy. $2M in revenue annually & competes with Chorus, Gong.io, & Conversable. Vancouver, BC, Canada

elandas elandas.com @elandasnow Flexible sales & marketing solutions for the regulated life sciences industry. Deliver customized, regulatory-compliant sales materials into the hands of your sales force within days, not weeks. Adapt to rapidly changing trends with tools that give you flexibility & control. Coordinate efforts of disparate & cross-functional business units for more efficiency – allowing you to sell more sooner. With elandas sales reps will: Learn about access changes that provide growth opportunities in a given territory sooner. Create relevant & compliant materials for digital presentation or print to get to the point quickly during sales calls. Enjoy more realistic sales goals set by management. Get the control needed to hit the ground running & be ahead of the game. Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada

Enable5 former VONICAL vonical.com full-service agency that spun out its enablement software as a service under the name ENABLE5 enable5.com (HQ Ottawa, Canada; also Japan, Ireland, London UK, San Fran USA) (Last tweet was Feb 20, 2016)

Envisica 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.

Grapevine6 grapevine6.com @Grapevine_6 Relevant content to build your personal brand at digital selling. Enterprise social & digital sales engagement platform. Personalized content that allows your sales force to start valuable conversations & build relationships with the right buyers. Get your sales team working smarter & faster with AI. It analyzes the interests & posts on their personal digital profile then picks the best content on the web based on that profile. Your sales people choose which of the selected articles to share. Grapevine6 automatically schedules the content to post on their social accounts & digital channels or they can share it one-to-one. Toronto, ON, Canada. On 1-Dec-2020, US based Seismic (Nu:Pitch became Seismic) acquired Grapevine6 (a social & digital sales engagement platform / a way to engage with buyers on social media). As a result of the acquisition, Seismic launched a new integrated offering called Seismic LiveSocial, a social engagement solution for sales & client-facing teams. It leverages the AI engine built by Grapevine6 to help sellers become advisors by authentically engaging with their prospects & clients across the social media landscape. Sales teams can share timely & compliant content from 11k+ third-party publishers across 6 different languages, targeting the right buyers across multiple social platforms. Additionally, brand leaders can measure the ROI of their social engagement strategy.

Hoppin’ World hoppin.world/business/ @HoppinVr THE FUTURE OF REMOTE GROUP TELEPRESENCE: Want to meet remotely in real world locations? Allow your prospects, clients & collaborators to get a live face-to-face guided tour of your real world location without anyone needing to be physically present. Avoid unnecessary travel, saving time & money with our VRaaS Platform. Remote group telepresence into real world locations using 360videos. Upgrade the way you do business with Hoppin’. Hoppin’ World Ltd. Montreal, Canada

hubba hubba.com more focused on fast moving consumer goods than any other vendor on this list. Helps with sharing of product information between brands & retailers. Managing product information sucks. You are faced with more information to manage, more digital channels to oversee & more demand for product images, descriptions, videos, & more. Hubba’s B2B Product Information Network gives brands the ability to generate a hub of comprehensive product information while providing retailers with real-time access to this accurate, up-to-date content. Toronto, Ontario, Canada 1-Feb-2021: Just over ten years after its founding, Toronto-based retail startup Hubba will shut down operations, BetaKit has learned.

Igloo Software igloosoftware.com They don’t use the term ‘Sales Enablement’ but it is a social intranet (Enterprise 2.0 style) for small, medium or large businesses who want to work better – with their employees, partners or customers. Cloud-based platform, so you can work from anywhere on any device with a web browser, inside or outside your firewall. […] blogs, calendars, file sharing, forums, microblogs & wikis… Kitchener, Canada

inboundli inbound.li @inboundli Content curation platform. A curation platform that automates content search & distribution. We use AI to help multiply content output on key marketing channels. Berlin, Germany. Halifax Data Labs, Inc., Halifax, NS, Canada. Out of business since 2019? Website down since 30-Mar-2021.

Innovative Information Inc. amacus.net 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? Vancouver based (Founder is taking a break since the end of 2017)

Inquisitive Marketer InquisitiveMarketer.com @InqstvMrktr Sales enablement. Lead generation. Messaging. Emergencies mid-funnel cause deals to fizzle. But your marketing team can help save the sale. Let’s talk about how. Aldwin Neekon in Toronto, ON, Canada

Screen Shot 2021-05-02 at 10.21.35 amIntrohive introhive.com @introhive relationship intelligence platform for CRM that drives user adoption & proactively delivers insights about clients & prospects. Insights: Build business with insightful relationship mapping – where & when you need it. Productivity: Accelerate sales cycles & arm your team with data-driven strategies to liberate them to do what they do best – deliver results. With Productivity Intelligence, custom-built AI models leverage your company’s historical data to quickly navigate future opportunities & accelerate sales cycles, arming your team with data-driven strategy & liberating their ability to deliver. Deal Coach: Arm your sales teams with next best actions to expedite deal velocity & improve the likelihood of success. Ensure your team is working smarter by maintaining focus & accomplishing more, with less effort. Enable sales people with a clear path to navigate complex sales. Shorten the sales cycles and increase win rates with AI-guided ‘next best action’. Decrease ramp time by equipping every seller with AI-identified next steps on deals. Predictive Deal Scoring: Equip your sellers with AI-backed predictions surrounding the likelihood that an opportunity will be won and increase the accuracy of deal forecasting. Introhive Services, Inc., Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada

Jostle jostle.me techcrunch writes wants to put a fresh face on intranet software. Aims to make it easier for companies to publish news stories & announcements, host online discussions & share other relevant information like team directories. Features a Yammer-like chat tool. Integrates with the likes of Active Directory & other directory services to make onboarding easy. It also supports most popular single sign-on solutions & offers Google Apps integration, too, with support for Google Docs, Gmail, Google Contacts & Drive. Vancouver, Canada

Kiite kiite.ai AI for Sales Enablement kiite.ai/sales-enablement/ @kiiteHQ The future of work is being built today. Supercharge your workforce with Kiite, the world’s first Intelligent Sales Coach. Streamline Sales Enablement: Let’s face it, there’s too much company knowledge & it’s impossible to train reps on everything. Knowledge is scattered among applications & websites, making it difficult for sales reps to access & leverage to sell more. Dec 27, 2017, raised undisclosed amount / Seed from Xfund. crunchbase.com/organization/kiite Waterloo, Ontario, Canada. Seems to have pivoted to focus mostly on uvaro.com

Klue klue.com @kluein competitive intelligence software that helps Marketing & Enablement teams collect, curate, & deliver intel to Sales to close more deals. Track Competitors: Stay on top of the competition. Klue tracks relevant news & data and combines it with internal sources. Deeper competitive intelligence gives you the edge. Centralize Competitive Content: Update sales battlecards, collaborate, & deliver consumable competitive strategies in the tools your Sales reps use every day. Improve Sales Performance: Arm reps with sales strategies to be more effective in closing deals. Easily searchable sales battlecards give tactics to handle objections, deposition competitors, & leverage strengths. $800K in estimated revenue annually & competes with CI Radar, PlainSight Intel LLC, & Digimind. By KLUE LABS, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

KLYCK klyck.io @klyckio (from the founder of SKURA Sales Enablement solution skura.com) Sales enablement app built for manufacturing solution sellers. Improve the way you publish, present, share, & analyze content! Founded on the belief that solution sellers need the right tools to create memorable sales conversations. Our mission is to help sales & marketing teams around the world improve the way they publish, present, analyze, & deliver content. Make every conversation count: Redefining the way companies manage, present, share & analyze content by providing teams with the skills, & tools to make every conversation count. KLYCK is redefining the way companies manage, present, share & analyze content by providing teams with the knowledge, skills, processes & tools to make every interaction count. Less searching, more selling: Easily publish content, update existing collateral & organize your content library. Measure the impact of your content with detailed & customizable analytics to understand how your workforce & prospects are engaging. Also known as Skura Corporation, used to be whut Inc.; Legal name Klyck.io Corp. Toronto, Ontario, Canada

LevelJump leveljumpsoftware.com @LevelJumpS built on the Salesforce platform. Correlate all of your enablement efforts to real CRM metrics & milestones. Improve your onboarding process, maintain ongoing sales training, & drive revenue. Launch prescriptive & interactive programs that include videos, calls, articles, & coaching materials to continuously onboard & train your sales force in an engaging way. Provide a modern enablement experience with onboarding, on-going training, new product launches, pre-event, & pre-campaign programs your teams can complete on the go. Practice with video-first coaching rooms assigned to your managers & teams for role play, pitches, & objection handling. Align sales & marketing message consistency by reviewing pitches, providing scores & feedback, & certifying your reps. Centralize training videos & coaching content in a library directly in Salesforce, & categorize by themes, win stories, or use cases. Accelerate deals with recommended content based on stage, products, competitors, or any custom fields on leads, contacts, accounts, & opportunities in Salesforce. Save reps time by linking additional resources to videos, from your CMS, to PDFs, & any other tools. Ramp reps faster by publishing training videos & coaching collateral to help them at any stage of the sales cycle. Toronto, ON, Canada

LookBookHQ lookbookhq.com @lookbookhq rebrand from LookBookHQ to PathFactory (see below). Increase engagement with your content. Create compelling & personalized content experiences with drag & drop simplicity. Personalize the content experience with data that flows automatically back to your marketing automation platform. Nurture with the right combination of relevant content whenever & wherever you generate a click. The intersection of content, data & channel, LookBookHQ converts interest into deeper content engagement by empowering buyers to self-educate at their own pace. Shift from scheduled, One&Done programs to behavior-driven, always-on marketing that capitalizes on your buyer’s attention while you’ve got it. Toronto, ON, Canada

Loopio loopio.com @loopioinc Proposal & RFP Management Software: simplifies the process of developing proposals & responding to RFPs. Automation engine to populate your RFP with the best answers from your Loopio Library. “Produce brand compliant proposals in seconds: Don’t spend countless hours formatting documents. Leave it to Loopio to export your content into a beautiful, custom branded proposal.” $3M in revenue annually. Competes with RFPIO Inc., RFP365, & Proposal Software. Toronto, Canada

Lurniture (see LevelJump above) lurniture.com Accelerate your sales by delivering the right sales training at the right time — right within Salesforce. Develop your team’s selling skills faster, Increase deal sizes & close rates, Clone your top performers, Track the ROI of your training efforts. Built 100% native on salesforce.com (SFDC). Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Mark Evans markevans.ca a B2B marketing consultant who drives client success with positioning, brand storytelling, strategic planning, & amazing content. His latest book, Marketing Spark, is a how-to guide about the power of story-driven marketing. ME Consulting. Toronto, ON, Canada

Nudge Software neednudge.com nudge.ai @nudgeai a social selling app that helps you grow the right relationships from your network of weak connections. “We Believe That trust trumps content & your network is your net worth. We’re bringing the business world closer together one Nudge at a time.” Their Co-Founder & CTO is Steve Woods, who was Co-Founder & CTO of Eloqua from its inception in 1999 through IPO & acquisition by Oracle in 2012. “Find + nurture relationships, generate + accelerate pipeline, & build revenue growth.” Used to have $310K in estimated revenue annually & used to compete with Datanyze, Clearbit, & InsideView. Out of business as of 21-Jan-2020. nudge.ai @nudgeai a social selling app that helps you grow the right relationships from your network of weak connections Toronto, ON, Canada. NUDGE.AI ASSETS ACQUIRED LESS THAN TWO MONTHS AFTER COMPANY SHUT DOWN: SAN FRANCISCO, CA; 11-Mar-2020, Nudge has been acquired by Affinity affinity.co. Affinity’s new Relationship Intelligence product for sales teams due out later 2020; Affinity expands to open Canadian office. Affinity relationship intelligence platform, announced the acquisition of Nudge, a revenue intelligence platform designed to build relationships & grow sales. Affinity (founded in 2014 just like Nudge) offers a platform that (using AI) collects & analyzes data to build better network relationships. Similarly, Nudge had developed an AI-based revenue intelligence platform for sales teams, used to identify gaps in stakeholder relationships, with the goal of finding & increasing pipeline attrition.

PathFactory pathfactory.com @pathfactory LookBookHQ is now PathFactory! The Content Insight & Activation Platform uncovering a new class of data for B2B marketers. “Accelerate buyer education on every channel & understand the impact of content on the buying process!” Understand how content moves your prospects through the buyer’s journey, & the impact it has on pipeline & revenue. The path to better marketing decisions begins with better insight into content engagement. THE PATH TO ALWAYS-ON CUSTOMER EXPERIENCES. Content Activation: Your buyers live in a world of Netflix, Spotify, & Amazon. They expect to get the information they need, when they need it, on-demand. Put your buyers on the path to purchase by delivering personalized content experiences at scale. PathFactory Inc. Remove friction from the B2B buyer’s journey STOP MARKETING. START ENABLING YOUR BUYERS. Today’s consumerized B2B buyers self-educate more than ever, spending 67% of their journeys researching independently. But buyers are experiencing a frustrating amount of friction along their path to purchase. PathFactory fixes that by enabling buyers. $10.5M in estimated revenue annually & competes with Uberflip, Contently, & Kapost. Toronto, Ontario, Canada

PostBeyond postbeyond.com cloud-based Employee Engagement & Advocacy Platform that enables employees & partners to post approved brand content to their personal networks in an efficient, consistent, & measurable way. $9M in revenue? PostBeyond Inc. Toronto, ON, Canada

Pressly pressly.com @pressly Empower your team with a new kind of sales enablement platform. Supply your sales team with engaging content that drives measurable business results. Surface useful content: Generate a constant supply of relevant content company-wide with the help of your research, marketing & product teams. Share suggested original & 3rd-party content into a private hub Alert sales to new content with regular newsletter digests. Let them choose content that relates best to their customer audience, then republish it to personal sales & private advisor hubs. Share new content to all levels of your sales funnel with newsletter updates & updates via social media. useful metrics derived from customer & sales advisor behaviour, helping you to optimise content even further. Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Sep. 7, 2017, Vision Critical @visioncritical announced its acquisition of Pressly @pressly a Toronto-based software company. Vision Critical provides customer relationship intelligence software that improves customer relationships to grow customer lifetime value. Vancouver, Canada

ProductByCloud by speakfeel.ca speakfeel.io connects the entire sales side of the business in real time. Gives reps access to the most important information on your solutions & how to sell them, anywhere on any device. Improves sales performance by heightening expertise & connecting team members – even the most remote ones. While clients have done their research & planning, what they still require is an expert partner to challenge their assumptions, provide real insight & guide them to a good decision. The role of the Sales Rep evolved: Expert on industry issues, solution details, the competitive landscape & how to best structure a solution. SpeakFeel Corporation, Guelph, ON, Canada

Proposify proposify.com @proposify helps you write & design stunning proposal documents, collaborate with team members, & keep track of new business you pitch. By combining robust design tools with a user-friendly interface, it’s easy for everyone to create gorgeous, professional proposals – no design experience required. Over $4.5 million in annual recurring revenue. Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada

SalesChoice 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.

Sales Enablement Centre salesenablementcentre.com member of the FD Centre Family of Corporations. Tailored project solutions combining expertise from Functional Practices in Consulting, Talent, Data Analytics & Tools to impact business insight, sales coverage & deployment, product/services delivery, sales reporting, account planning, & use of sales talent. Vaughan, ON, Canada Then “GrowthPoint growthpoint.io Mississauga, ON, Canada”. 18-Dec-2018: Accounting & consulting firm Grant Thornton LLP purchased Mississauga, ON–based GrowthPoint Advisory Services.

SalesHub saleshub.ca @sales_hub Square 2 Canada (Formerly SalesHub) Data-driven digital marketing & sales agency obsessed with driving revenue for our clients. Inbound Marketing Agency. Helping companies acquire & retain the right customers through effective inbound marketing. Content creation: We will generate content including website copy, blog articles, white papers, case studies, videos, email content, social media, & more. We take the headaches out of managing your online presence & optimize your website & social assets using our managed services platform. Toronto, ON, Canada

SalesRight salesright.co @SalesRightCo helps SaaS sales teams close deals faster through Interactive Live Quotes. Developer of a cloud-based platform designed to allow SaaS sales teams to deliver pricing & close deals faster. The company’s platform is an interactive quote delivery software that accelerates the quote creation, delivery & close process. The software’s Interactive Live Quotes increase conversion rates for SaaS sales teams while reducing time spent per opportunity. Quotes provide prospects with interactive buying experiences backed by sales psychology, while serving up the analytics sales teams need to accelerate the deal to close. Sales reps save 10+ hours a month by replacing pricing spreadsheets, slide decks & proposals. Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. 19-Nov-2020: Acquired by FastSpring; Bright Market, LLC dba FastSpring, USA

SalesWedge saleswedge.com @SalesWedge like eHarmony for sales. Account executives can instantaneously find their counterparts in an alliance to get insight & referrals into accounts. Executives can measure partner engagement & impact. Alliance enablement tool. Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Scopify AI scopify.ai @Scopify_ai Google your next customer! No more email, phone number, job titles, firmographic data based spray & pray. Scopify’s AI gives you Budget, Authority, Need, Timeline (BANT Intel) on leads & prepares outreach scripts which get you more qualified meetings. Platform that gives you the intelligence that pre-qualifies your leads for you. Decision Maker engagement with on demand personalized sales outreach scripts. Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Trapit trap.it @trapit platform for employee advocacy & social selling. Empower employees on social media with content. Organize your advocates into teams, discover original content, optimize your content for social networks, & analyze your results. Type in a keyword or point us to a URL to create a trap & we’ll quickly deliver you content that’s relevant. Your traps are updated constantly with fresh content, so you’re always up-to-date. Looking for something more specific? Our robust search feature will give you the precision you’re looking for. San Francisco & Portland, USA. May ’17: Trapit acquired by ScribbleLive scribblelive.com @scribblelive empower your sales team with the content they need to support stronger sales conversations. By adding sales enablement solutions into your content marketing mix, sales teams can amplify lead generation & lead quality efforts, providing better insights to marketing. Armed with relevant, useful content, your sales team is empowered, which allows them to have better sales conversations that lead to more revenue & quicker sales cycles. Toronto, ON, Canada (Rock Content has acquired ScribbleLive on 10-Dec-2019. Rock Content: SaaS, Marketplace. Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais, Brazil)

ServiceNow acquired Attivio IP, core technology, & select R&D talent; announced October 2019. With the addition of the⁦ @attivio ⁩search engine ⁦@servicenow moved beyond keyword-based search to deliver conversational AI & search experiences at scale to customers. servicenow.com cloud-based platform & solutions deliver digital workflows that help people do their best work. Santa Clara, CA, USA. ServiceNow, Inc. acquired Attivio, Loom Systems, Passage AI, Sweagle, Montrêal Canada based Element AI elementai.com @element_ai (on 1-Dec-2020).

SKURA SFX Sales Enablement solution skura.com Adaptive Sales Enablement platform built for the sales rep & company of the future. Puts the salesperson & the customer at the center of the equation by providing the capabilities, features, & usability required for real customer engagement, & real sales enablement. Indegene Acquires Skura! indegene omnipresence omnipresence.io Life Sciences Customer Engagement now exeevo.com & WHUT Inc. whut.com (Offers manufacturers a powerful Sales Enablement that is a complete content, presentation, & engagement platform to help manufacturers sell more. Specifically designed for manufacturers’ field salespeople to operate at their peak, & for managers & marketing to have the visibility you demand.) WHUT out of business or rebranded to klyck.io & moved to Toronto (See above) Oakville near Toronto, ON, Canada

Slack acquired by Salesforce 1-Dec-2020. Combining @SlackHQ with @Salesforce Customer360 “will be transformative, creating the operating system for the new way to work. Together, we’ll enable companies to grow and succeed in the all-digital, work-from-anywhere world.” Slack shareholders will receive $26.79 in cash & 0.0776 shares of Salesforce common stock for each Slack share, representing an enterprise value of approx. $27.7 billion based on the closing price of Salesforce’s common stock on 30-Nov-2020.

Snaphud snaphud.com @snaphud engage all stakeholders in one professional deal space & close more sales. Brings inside sales reps & all decision makers together in one deal space where they can engage in the sale. Lose your champion & your deal/account dies! Need a highly effective way to grow from single to multi-threaded in your sales? We’ve got you covered. Toronto, Ontario

Spinify spinify.com @SpinifyApp Sales Gamification Software used by both Small Business & Enterprises to motivate & drive sales teams. Leveraging Spinify’s Sales Leaderboard & Sales Screens, results in growth, an increase in sales, KPIs exceeded, high levels of employee motivation, & customer satisfaction. We empower sales management & sales leaders with a secret weapon that integrates with all major platforms such as Salesforce, Pipedrive, Hubspot, Google Sheets, Excel, Slack, SQL, Zapier & more. WE HELP SALES TEAMS CRUSH THEIR TARGETS: Motivate & drive your sales team with the gamification software. Gamified competitions: Competitions are easy to setup & maintain. Drive engagement with fun competitions that boost performance. Collaborate & compete: Work together on team based goals & measure progress in real time. Giving real visibility of the task. Coaching tools: Understand teams strengths & weaknesses to create smarter KPIs. Integrate your data: Automation competitions with taking data from almost anywhere. Canada, Toronto

SwissVBS swissvbs.com @SwissVBS a bts company (BTS is a public company traded at the OMX Nordic Exchange Stockholm under the symbol BTS b) Designed from the ground up to meet the needs of enterprise B2B sales teams: SET (Sales Enablement Tool) is a marketing & sales app that aligns salespeople to their organization & empowers them to meaningfully showcase their products & services to clients. Push up-to-date organizational messaging to sales representatives simply & quickly. Gain insight into sales activity & customer engagement. Align learning content to the point-of-sale – bringing learning closer to performance. Access to the latest product information in a client-ready format. Customize & share content to meet specific customer needs – both during & after the sale. Access relevant just-in-time training, tied to the client interaction. St Gallen, Switzerland. Toronto, Canada. Munich, Germany

Sync sync.com @sync Sync & storage: Save files & keep them synchronized & accessible across all your computers & devices. Access your files from any computer or device. Web browser access. Offline access. Selective sync. Sharing & collaboration: Improve productivity with file sharing designed to make internal & external document collaboration fast, secure, & 100% private. Send files to anyone – even if they don’t have a Sync account. Send large files fast. Allow anyone to securely send files to you. Create shared folders, & invite clients or team members to collaborate. Set custom passwords for viewing shared content. Set expiry dates. Set permissions such as “read-only” or “read-write”. Set download limits & view download stats. Toronto, ON, Canada

Tier1CRM (former name) tier1fin.com Tier1 Financial Solutions @tier1fin Global relationship management software for capital markets, corporate & investment banking, & investment management. It augments the Salesforce platform with a capital markets grade security engine, coverage management & accelerated web & mobile workflows to support requirements of Research, Sales & Trading, Corporate & Investment Banking & Investment Management professionals. $7M in estimated revenue annually & competes with SugarCRM, SingleTrack, & CRMNEXT. Toronto, Ontario, Canada & NYC, USA

Uberflip uberflip.com @uberflip digital content experience platform. Helps marketers create, manage, & optimize content experiences at every stage of the buyer journey; without relying on IT. Use Uberflip to power your company blog, resource center, content library, sales enablement, etc. Streamline content management, accelerate lead generation, & fuel marketing automation. Goal: Content can be fully leveraged by all company stakeholders at every stage of the buyer journey. By providing marketers with the tools they need to boost engagement, generate leads & fuel demand generation they can better leverage content to meet their goals. $15M in estimated revenue annually & competes with NewsCred, Kapost, & Alinean. Toronto, Canada. Uberflip acquired SnapApp@Snap_app on 3-Dec-2019. SnapApp (We empower marketers to create interactive experiences that activate buyers, accelerates leads through the funnel, & unleashes growth. Boston, Massachusetts, United States) SnapApp joined Uberflip to help marketers create better content experiences, accelerate pipeline, & gather audience intelligence that can drive business ROI. Uberflip launched a campaign tool designed to help marketers personalize their digital content to empower their ABM & demand generation campaigns. The Uberflip Campaign Essentials tool aims to customize digital campaign destinations for target accounts in real-time & at scale, improving pipeline, revenue generation & retention of ABM & demand generation campaigns at scale.

Unily (BrightStarr) unily.com @WeAreUnily (“BrightStarr Is Now Unily“) “full digital workplace solution uniting the very best of Microsoft Enterprise Technology”. Intranet-as-a-service that empowers workforces to communicate & collaborate from any device, anywhere. A Sales Enablement Platform from Unily has the power to help your sales team sell better, giving them the information they need to do their job. Improve sales performance & productivity by providing an integrated platform for sales people to ensure that they have everything they need at their disposal to engage with a prospective buyer & sell more effectively. Support your sales team with a fully integrated Sales Enablement Platform. Sales teams need to have the appropriate tools at their disposal to do their job effectively. EFFECTIVE DOCUMENT MANAGEMENT: Acts as a central hub, providing easy access to all files required by your sales team to carry out their role effectively. Marketing documents can be created by the design team & easily shared with the sales team. Similarly, a template that’s been created by one salesperson can easily be accessed by other members of the team to reduce file duplication, save time & provide consistent documentation across the company. Advanced search functionality allows users to quickly find the documents & files they need to do their job, helping to improve efficiency & productivity. $25.5M in estimated revenue annually & competes with ElevatePoint Intranet, NGenious Solutions Inc., & Beezy. Godalming, Surrey, UK. Bright Market, LLC dba FastSpring

Valuize Consulting valuizeconsulting.com @valuizeco We help B2B SaaS companies sustainably grow. Increase your sales & renewals through advanced SaaS strategies & tech enablement: Gainsight & Salesforce. Your B2B SaaS business is losing revenue through misalignment & lack of integration between your Sales & Customer Success Strategy. Vancouver, BC, Canada

Vidyard vidyard.com @vidyard video solution to help you close even the toughest of deals more quickly & easily. Tools & data you need to maximize audience engagement, convert prospects through the sales funnel, & measure the true impact of video. Access all your video content from mobile or desktop; Hand-pick the ones that are perfect for the specific lead; Create a custom video playlist; Record a friendly, personalized video greeting if you wish; Create & send an email using well-designed layouts; Track who is watching what to gain insights on leads & close them more quickly & easily. Acquired Switch Merge 7-Oct-2015. Buildscale, Inc d/b/a Vidyard, Kitchener/Waterloo, ON, Canada

Vision Critical @visioncritical announced its acquisition of Pressly @pressly a Toronto-based software company, 7-Sep-2017. Vision Critical provides customer relationship intelligence software that improves customer relationships to grow customer lifetime value. Vancouver, Canada

VONICAL vonical.com Ottawa, Canada. See ENABLE5 above.

Woople woople.com Hosted video-based sales enablement platform. Target content to staff & measure its adoption. Woople was developed by the Canadian company Big Bang Technology.

WHUT Inc. whut.com Offers manufacturers a powerful Sales Enablement that is a complete content, presentation, & engagement platform to help manufacturers sell more. Specifically designed for manufacturers’ field salespeople to operate at their peak, & for managers & marketing to have the visibility you demand. WHUT is out of business or was rebranded to klyck.io & moved to Toronto (See above)? Oakville near Toronto, ON, Canada


Paul Krajewski LinkedIn
twitter.com/SalesEnablement

Permanent Resident in Canada. Currently based in Sydney, Australia. Product Manager (SaaS Software PM / Product Management). Master of Media Management from Curtin University of Technology, Australia. Spent 2007-2009 at Nortel Networks in Toronto in Global Marketing looking after the implementation of the BizSphere Sales Enablement application for Nortel Networks’ 4000 sales people world-wide. At the same time – as part of a Leadership Development program sponsored by Nortel’s CMO – rotated into different marketing roles for 4G wireless technology, Unified Communications (UC), virtual 3D environments for web conferencing with 3D spatial audio, etc… After working as Head of Training & Senior Sales Enablement Consultant at BizSphere, Sr. Product Manager at Pivotal Labs from Jan-2015 to Jul-2019.

Developing and rolling out apps for b2b sales people

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.

Integrate successfully.

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

[…]”

You can download the full document here or follow their blog, where they discuss each step in more detailed blog posts.

define a taxonomy of customer pain points and map your products and solutions against them

One of my posts on the question “where Sales Enablement lives within an organization” got a comment requesting further clarification of the following graphic:

The comment was asking where to find sales people in the graphic and what the role of sales playbooks is. I have to admit that it is difficult to read, but the sales people are actually represented within the green area as indicated by the words Sales Force. (This is not a reference to salesforceDOTcom.)

This speaks to the point that sales people and the legacy sales portals, that are supposed to enable them, sit in between a highly matrixed organization on the one side and just as complex an organization on the client’s side. These legacy sales portals are one-dimensional (they fail to show content & contact details of subject experts in the context of the highly matrixed organization and in context to which pain point on the client side is addressed) and there are often several portals as there are so many silos of information.

Each sales playbook is a great tool for a small subset of the sales force (as shown in the graphic), but comes out of one of the silos, fed by only some of the Product/Portfolio Marketing teams or one regional team. When all content (e.g. customer references from different regions or specific value propositions per industry vertical…) lives in a multi-dimensional business context like it is made possible in BizSphere (which is a Sales Enablement Solution Suite that was designed to cut across all silos. Full disclosure: I work with them.), a completely customized sales playbook for any given sales situation can be auto-generated.

In contrast to legacy sales portals, BizSphere takes at least three dimensions into account. These could be:

  • Where is the seller going to a meeting? (Sales regions, countries…)
  • What does the seller want to sell (Portfolio of products, services and solutions.)
  • What does the seller need in order to be successful in the meeting? (Content types like white paper, case study, ROI-Calculator, contact details of a subject matter expert, etc…)

You might also want to define a taxonomy of customer pain points and map your products against them or add other dimensions that your company thinks in. BizSphere then lets you filter down by media type, language of the content, and/or the sales step you are in with the opportunity you are working.

The dimensions of Sales Enablement

  • Imagine the 1st orange arrow in the graphic above to be a customer reference from a Canadian client for a specific security solution.
  • Imagine the 2nd orange arrow to be the contact details of the sales engineer in South Africa who is the expert for a given service.
  • The 3rd orange arrow could be an ROI-calculator for the same service but it is really specific to the mining industry and therefore relevant in Western Australia.
Can you already see how here the regional teams can have as much of say in “which content is relevant for specific sales situations?” as the product marketing team?

Can you get lost in BizSphere? No way, because nothing is easier than answering: What do I want to sell, where do I want to sell it and what would help me to close the deal? Once you set your context in these three dimensions you will have filtered down from thousands of marketing assets / pieces of collateral to only the relevant ones.

The Importance of Context

On September 7, 2010, Matthias Roebel from BizSphere wrote “The Importance of Context for the Enterprise 2.0”:

Just a few days ago Joe Galvin from Sirius Decisions wrote about how important Social Media – as an approach for better internal collaboration – is as part of a Sales Enablement strategy. I think he is absolutely right. What used to be the informal coffee corner chat before nowadays is mimicked in Social Media platforms. Over time, people will learn that even within an enterprise the sharing of information is beneficial for everyone in the end. Yes, there may be a lot of sceptics around, especially in sales teams, but with the right programs and incentives offered, they will make the jump to the new social collaboration paradigm.

However, the flip side of extensive social collaboration might be the appearance of new information silos as well as growing information overload. Without the social collaboration being moderated to a certain extend, it might lose some of its potential impact on the overall performance of the sales teams. Aaron Roe Fulkerson discussed this in a recent blog post: “The importance of context: why Enterprise 2.0 still fails to deliver value”.

web 3.0 with BizSphere

 

A company might use a lot of different types of social collaboration platforms – the challenges is: How can they be orchestrated in a way, that actual knowledge exchange is taking place across existing team and functional structures? And how can the content generated be aligned to some generally agreed upon enterprise structures? What companies, that are serious about implementing a Social Media strategy for sales, should think about, is to create and maintain an enterprise context.

Enterprise 2.0 from a Sales Enablement point of view

Then collaboration can take place within this context and will add greater value to a broader audience. Ideally, the enterprise context should constantly evolve based on feedback gathered during the ongoing social collaboration.

Reading List – July/August 2010

Not all written in July/August 2010, but discovered/read by me during that time frame:

‘Am I the only one not on board with aligning Sales & Marketing?’ by Maureen Blandford

‘When it comes to Social Media, CEOs and CMOs should lead from the front’ by HARISH KOTADIA, PH.D. (NOVEMBER 9, 2009)

‘Who Knows What? – Finding in-house experts isn’t easy. But most companies make it harder than it should be.’ (OCTOBER 26, 2009)

Who Knows What?

Finding in-house experts isn’t easy. But most companies make it harder than it should be.

By Dorit Nevo, Izak Benbasat And Yair Wand

October 26, 2009

Every big company has in-house experts. So why don’t they use them more?

In-house experts, with their specialized knowledge and skills, could be invaluable to both colleagues and managers. But often workers who could use their help in other departments and locations don’t even know they exist.
[…]

The Forces Behind, and Against, Consumerization of the Enterprise

The Failure of Traditional Intranets

An Enterprise 2.0

I just found the following graphic in the blog post ‘The hyper-social organization’ by Joachim Niemeier @JoachimNiemeier from June 29, 2010. I’m not sure who the author of the graphic is. When this is an Enterprise 2.0, then I can’t wait to see how an Enterprise 3.0 looks like (with everything being semantic).
Hyper social

Relating this to Sales Enablement, I would like to point to my post ‘Information Architecture?’.

Graphic from Dion Hinchcliffe but altered with regards to ‘Sales Enablement Application’ instead of ‘online community’.

Also of interest to you might be my posts ‘Constant loop of quantitative and qualitative feedback in a sales enablement portal’ and ‘Without a guiding context you can never be sure how a word used as a tag was meant’.

How Enterprise 2.0 Sales Teams Will Use Social Networks

On Mar 24, 2010, on cmswire.com Len Rosen wrote: How Enterprise 2.0 Sales Teams Will Use Social Networks:

“Are private social networks becoming entrenched in Enterprise 2.0 businesses with sophisticated sales forces? “We’re not there yet,” states Jennifer King, Director of Sales, Central Region for SAS Canada, the leader in business analytics software and services, and the largest independent vendor in the business intelligence market. SAS is one of many software companies involved in complex solution selling. “Our sales teams are knowledgeable with many years of experience,” states King. “They are just getting their feet wet when it comes to understanding public social networks.”

SAS in many ways is an Enterprise 2.0 business. But it is still getting its head around the tools of social networking. King states, “We have invested in a lot of communication tools including email, bulletin boards, internal chat, blogs, and SharePoint for document sharing. But we have yet to embrace social networking internally.”

At Avnet, an international distributor of electronics, computing and storage products, and a company that is embracing Enterprise 2.0, Charlie Babb, Vice President of Sales and Marketing states, “the answer to every single sales challenge we face already exists somewhere in our company.” Babb recognizes that mining that information is critical to sales success. He asks, “How do we go get it? How do we synthesize it? How do we improve it? How to we get it out to the field? How do we update it?”

SAS and Avnet have been using technology to support sales for many years. They along with many other companies have embraced today’s CRMs, software tools that are great at capturing lead demographics and tracking sales cycles. Knowledge sharing tends to be vertical, that is, sales managers can see what is occurring through report roll ups usually to some kind of dashboard. But CRMs are inherently clumsy when it comes to cross-fertilizing knowledge from one member of a sales team to another.

When Social Networks Interact with Sales DNA

Think about the social networking experience on a public platform like Facebook. Information can be shared in many conversations whether you create a discussion, post something to your wall, or respond to someone else’s posting, view a friend’s video, write your own blog or comment on a friend’s blog. Now translate this functionality into a sales department. Are sales people willing to be a friend to others? When I entered sales 37 years ago it was clear to me right from the start that I was in competition with every other sales person in my company. This competition was company fostered. Rewards were never given for sharing. Every year the best of us survived the “cut” to continue selling. The worst of us got “pink slipped.” Knowledge sharing was not in our sales DNA. But every sales manager wants answers to the questions that Charlie Babb posed, and one way of fulfilling that goal is through the deployment of a private social network.

Two years ago I was approached by a company here in Canada that had 400 locations coast-to-coast, a central office in Winnipeg, and regional offices in all 10 provinces and the 3 territories. The sales force was 4,000 strong. Imagine creating a network for knowledge sharing and cross-fertilization of ideas for such a distributed army of individuals, many of them working from home offices with their only connection electronic using the phone and Internet.

I sat down with the VP of sales and asked him what were the challenges within his organization. One was harvesting the knowledge that existed within the staff. Another was spreading the knowledge wealth. A third was retaining staff. The company had web resources, email and other means of electronic communications but they didn’t have a social network. The company had a tradition of rewarding peak performers, not just for sales success but also for attaining levels of certification based on taking company-sponsored programs.

This is the perfect scenario for deploying a private social network framework with all of its communication attributes. enableconsultants.com Enable Consultants, a Toronto-based software developer, encounters many of these types of companies. Faith Exeter, President, remarks, “Organizations need a way to harvest collective wisdom that is friendly, informative, engaging and fun, and serves to meet revenue and other business objectives.” Enable builds many different types of private social networks, each meeting particular industry or market niche requirements. “We find when we talk to marketing people, who tend to be younger and digital natives, they immediately grasp the value inherent in implementing social networks inside the firewall.”

However, Exeter goes on to state, “getting sales departments to buy-in takes considerably greater effort largely because they tend to rely on past experience as their model. And experienced sales people tend to be digital immigrants, not as savvy or accustomed to social networking and its uses.”

In an Enable sales social network every sales person has a profile, a personal calendar, a bulletin board for receiving short messages, a blog, a place to store documents, a place to upload videos and pictures, chat, and receive and send email. Every sales person can be partnered with a team. Interaction is encouraged and rewarded through a point system with points given for online participation and group interaction. Knowledgeable sales people acts as content experts and through sharing information with knowledge seekers receive rewards.

Sales 2.0: The Rise of Social Capital

The adoption of social networking in sales organizations has recently been given a new name, S2.0 or Sales 2.0. The implementation of a private sales social network changes communication. Company sales knowledge gets quickly disbursed. When a knowledgeable sales person answers a question the information is not only read by the person asking the question but is captured for all letting other sales people view the results or enter key search words to see the answer and other answers of similar relevance.

In a sales social network answers can come from unlikely sources. Employees who may be quiet in a meeting may feel empowered when in a virtual space, sharing knowledge that is uniquely held. These are the hidden gems within your organization that a social networking application can mine.

Insights from known knowledge workers can be flagged by the application with automatic system alerts going company wide whenever they post something new. Instructional videos can be posted online, accessible anytime, anywhere. Sales departments can build best practices wikis, or industry-specific documentation shareable company-wide. The knowledge shared internally can be made available to externally, giving selected customers and prospects access to important information to help them make buying decisions. Postings can go mobile as well making any cell phone a knowledge resource.

For companies who have sales teams that are multi-generational, facilitating communications using the media that is most comfortable represents a real challenge. Baby Boomers get email. Digital natives, those in their 20s and early 30s, use instant messaging, texting and social networks. For young workers email is communication for old people. Social networking and all its many communication tools is where it’s at.

In the Miller Heiman report, “Megatrends That Will Impact The Way We Manage Sales Organizations,” it states:

“today’s young social networkers are tomorrow’s salespeople. Having grown up with social networking, they’re likely to continue relying on this way of communicating and collaborating throughout their careers.”

The report refers to the collective value that social networking provides as “social capital,” almost as important to an organization as intellectual capital. They conclude, “Organizations with rich social capital enjoy access to venture capital and financing, improved organizational learning, the power of word-of-mouth marketing, the ability to create strategic alliances, and the resources to defend against hostile takeovers.”

About the Author

Len Rosen is a Toronto-based consultant working with companies on the use of technology to enhance small business productivity. He has a particular interest in the business application of social media and social networks. Len has been at it for 36 years. He is a contributing author to a number of web sites and publishes his own small business technology blog.

Does The Enterprise 2.0 Emperor Have No Clothes?

On June 15, 2010 Sandy Kemsley wrote

Does The Enterprise 2.0 Emperor Have No Clothes?

“[…] I’m not saying that standalone Enterprise 2.0 initiatives have jumped the shark, but there’s only so much rah-rah about enterprise collaboration that I can take before I fall back on three thoughts:

  1. Collaboration is already going on in enterprises, and always has: all that Enterprise 2.0 does is give us some nicer tools for doing what we’ve already been doing via word of mouth, email, and other methods.
  2. Collaboration is just not that interesting if it doesn’t directly impact the core business processes.
  3. The millennials are not going to save us.

People collaborate inside enterprises when they care about what they do…

[…]
To wrap it up: enterprise collaboration is good when it has a business purpose, and anyone can do it.”

What helps sales reps to achieve their targets? Case studies, case studies, case studies, questions and answers, customer testimonals

On March 1, 2010, Lilia Shirman (@B2BGuru) wrote the post To reach the moon, match enthusiasm with (sales) resources. These 5 really help! on her blog revenueorchard.com:

“[…] Setting big goals at a sales kickoff and barraging reps with information about the newest products just isn’t enough. The top reps will deliver the numbers in any case. The rest will struggle without extensive resources and support.

Sales reps report that the following are especially effective in helping them achieve their targets:

  1. Case studies, case studies, case studies. Repeatedly and consistently rated as the most useful sales tool. […]
  2. In-account deal support from subject-matter, industry, or technology specialists. This is especially critical in larger companies, where account managers must be relationship experts, but cannot possibly know the details of every product, business process, or industry (unless they are vertically-aligned). The very fact of bringing in an expert who is perceived as more senior by the customer is often enough to move a deal forward.
  3. Business-level messaging and sales tools targeted at the high-level decision makers and budget holders. These should complement detailed product-focused content, which is necessary but insufficient bu itself.  Business messaging targets the audience evaluating the investment rather than the people evaluating your product.
  4. Training & tools that enable sales reps to ask great questions and have intelligent conversations with customers at multiple organizational levels and functional roles. Asking great questions accomplishes three critical things: Positions the sales person as an ally and advisor, demonstrates that they can listen, and provides valuable information about the customers that can guide the rep in structuring the deal.
  5. Quantitative results achieved for other customers. While compliments (customer testimonials that discuss how easy you are to work with) are good, hard numbers about specific improvements they achieved are always more powerful. Numbers in the elevator pitch get attention and meetings, and numbers in the business case  help close the deal.

[…]”

The two links above have been added by the author of this blog. In relation to point #4 above: In a Sales Enablement solution with rating, commenting, uploading of user generated content and similar web 2.0 (enterprise 2.0) features all employees not only sales reps can ask and answer questions. At the same time, marketing can benefit from the feedback from the field. This created a closed-loop knowledge management in the enterprise where new industry trends or customer needs which sales people hear about get shared and addressed. Through content audits (content intelligence) areas for which no marketing assets have been developed yet get a red flag and so do areas where content is outdated.

sharing around content experiences with peers in BizSphere