Sales Enablement companies in Canada – Canadian Sales Enablement solutions

Paul KrajewskiI would like to take a look at the Sales Enablement players in Canada. My world-wide list is here or as a spread sheet here.

This list for Canada was last updated on August 10, 2017:

 

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.

April Dunford the Toronto based founder of Rocket Launch Marketing has a deep understanding of Sales Enablement. See this blog post by her as an example.

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.

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] and 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 (see below).

Brick Street Software, Inc. 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, and develop loyal relationships.” Offices in Toronto, Boston & elsewhere.

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. Free trial for 14 days. Calgary, AB, Canada

Coveo coveo.com @coveo 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

DOOLY www.dooly.ai angel.co/dooly @doolystated Combination of machine learning, natural language processing, & speech analytics as an ear on calls, notes, emails, & other data sources to connect information in the moment & help teams be more productive, close more deals, & find new ways to delight customers. “You’re chasing someone across departments, trying to find that white paper your coworker remembers coming across many moons ago so that you can send it to a prospect.” Wouldn’t it be great if you didn’t have to chase information around, but had that information at your fingertips? Because Dooly is a participant on the call, it already knows that the prospect would benefit from a technology white paper, & because it’s connected to everything else, it knows where to find it. 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 Inc 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.

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 and 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, and 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

Igloo Software igloosoftware.com based in Kitchener, Canada. 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…

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?” Along with their President John Cousineau they are Vancouver based

Inquisitive Marketer Inc. InquisitiveMarketer.com @InqstvMrktr Sales enablement. Lead generation. Messaging. Aldwin Neekon in Toronto, ON, 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 and share other relevant information like team directories. […] features a Yammer-like chat tool. […] integrates with the likes of Active Directory and 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

LookBookHQ Inc. lookbookhq.com @lookbookhq “Increase engagement with your content by 3x!” 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-and-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 and 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.” Toronto, Canada

Lurniture lurniture.com @Lurniture 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 and close rates, Clone your top performers, Track the ROI of your training efforts. Built 100% native on salesforce.com (SFDC), Toronto, Ontario, Canada

MING Labs minglabs.com German User Experience (UX) Design company. Their founders were behind the UX/UI of BizSphere (see above). Mobile responsive website and mobile app Design & Development. Also Portfolio & Marketing consulting. Full disclosure: I’ve worked there.

Nudge Software Inc. neednudge.com a social selling app that helps you grow the right relationships from your network of weak connections. “We Believe That trust trumps content and your network is your net worth. We’re bringing the business world closer together one Nudge at a time.” Toronto, Ontario, Canada. 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.

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, and measurable way. PostBeyond Inc. Toronto, ON, Canada

Pressly hello.pressly.com/usecases/sales-enablement/ @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

ProductByCloud speakfeel.ca/productbycloud/ platform that 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 (mobile, desktop, laptop). Improves sales performance by heightening expertise & connecting team members – even the most remote ones. While clients have done their research and 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 hasn’t evaporated… it evolved: Expert on industry issues, solution details, the competitive landscape & how to best structure a solution. SpeakFeel Corporation, Guelph, Ontario, Canada

SalesChoice Inc 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. Former operators that design and implement sales enablement solutions that grow your business. Tailored project solutions combining expertise from Functional Practices in Consulting, Talent, Data Analytics & Tools to impact business insight, sales coverage and deployment, product/services delivery, sales reporting, account planning, and use of sales talent. Vaughan, ON, Canada Now GrowthPoint growthpoint.io Mississauga, ON, Canada

SalesHub saleshub.ca @sales_hub Inbound Marketing Agency & Gold Hubspot Partner. 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

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

SAVO Group savogroup.com Chicago based, but has people in Canada. SAVO Sales Enablement software provides solutions that improve the sales process, ramp & retain sellers, & ensure consistency in sales messaging. (Investment from SAP)

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, and usability required for real customer engagement, & real sales enablement. Oakville near Toronto, ON, Canada

SwissVBS swissvbs.com @SwissVBS 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 and keep them synchronized & accessible across all your computers & devices. Access your files from any computer or device. Web browser access. Offline access. Selective sync. 5GB storage always free (never expires). 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 and view download stats. Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Uberflip uberflip.com @uberflip 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. Streamline content management, accelerate lead generation, & fuel marketing automation. Toronto, 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. Kitchener/Waterloo, ON, 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.


Paul Krajewski

The author: Paul Krajewski

View Paul Krajewski's profile on LinkedIn
twitter.com/pkralle
twitter.com/SalesEnablement
instagram.com/SalesEnablement

PM / Product Manager / Product Management. German citizen. Permanent Resident in Canada. Masters 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. After working as Head of Training & Senior Sales Enablement Consultant at BizSphere, spent 18 months in Shanghai, China as the first Product Manager at MING Labs & Co-Founder / Product Manager of Shario (mobile app startup). Currently based in Sydney, Australia.

Advertisements

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.

Counting 153 Sales Enablement vendors worldwide

I’ve been tracking the number of LinkedIn users with Sales Enablement in their current job title.

As of August 10, 2017, LinkedIn has 5,296 users like that globally. Above my own graph tracking this.

I keep a work in progress list of vendors / services / solutions for…

  • Sales Enablement
  • B2B Marketing Asset Management
  • B2B Sales Knowledge Management
  • B2B Sales Content Management

…with a focus on improving the intranet & mobile experience of B2B enterprises for all staff / partners who touch accounts.

Several vendors merged, many changed owners or went out of business and new ones keep on popping up. My count is 153 vendors as of August 10, 2017.


Paul Krajewski

The author: Paul Krajewski

View Paul Krajewski's profile on LinkedIn

twitter.com/pkralle
twitter.com/SalesEnablement
instagram.com/SalesEnablement

PM / Product Manager / Product Management. German citizen. Permanent Resident in Canada. Masters 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’ 4,000 sales people world-wide. After working as Head of Training & Senior Sales Enablement Consultant at BizSphere, spent 18 months in Shanghai, China as the first Product Manager at MING Labs & Co-Founder / Product Manager of Shario (mobile app startup). Currently based in Sydney, Australia.

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)

The Forces Behind, and Against, Consumerization of the Enterprise

The Failure of Traditional Intranets

Constant loop of quantitative and qualitative feedback in a Sales Enablement portal

My blog post ‘How the metrics of a Sales Enablement application help you to save sales people even more time’:

Today, I had a look at the usage metrics and statistics report gathered at a large enterprise that recently launched the BizSphere Sales Enablement application to replace more than 35 intranet portals. What I love about the report is that it not only tracks which content sales people view, download, rate (with up to 5 stars) or comment on (We actually also display all of the above in the front-end to show sales people where the good stuff is.), but it also tracks what they were not able to find. An anonymous list of all search queries that were punched in comes with the number of actual results that were displayed. That way the owners of the Sales Enablement application at our customers can take a look at all search queries that led to zero results and specifically address what must be a huge frustration for sales people who are trying to prepare a customer meeting.

Constant loop of quantitative and qualitative feedback lets you improve the experience

Knowing which way people search, what they are looking for, and to analyze whether the content does actually exist or still needs to be created is very insightful. Not only does it direct the content planning process (to invest marketing dollars only for content that will actually be used), but it also helps to focus on the important topics when optimizing your texts and their tags for indexing by the search. What I mean by this is that a search term that led to zero results can be added – visible or invisible – to the content that would had been the perfect match. An example from one of our early customers – Nortel – would be frequent searches for CS1k with the expectation to find content for the product CS1000. It is just fair enough that people search the way they speak and analyzing the metrics and statistics helps you to improve their search experience.

Enterprise 2.0 style collaboration

Besides the quantitative things to look at, you also have the qualitative feedback in form of comments under each piece of content. When people start to…

  • comment on a white paper why it did not resonate with customers in a specific industry vertical,
  • add competitive insight from the field on an internal presentation,
  • applaud or criticize the authors
  • and help each other with lots of comments etc…

…then each piece of content has its own blog.

A word, that is not an official term but keeps on showing up in these comments or in the log files mentioned above, can be added as an alias of a product/service/solution, region/country or resource/document type.

The real Enterprise 2.0 style collaboration starts to happen when your Sales Enablement application allows your employees or even your channel partners to share their own documents or links which they found helpful. When everything can be accessed from one place and is marked as ‘peer contribution’ or as ‘content approved by marketing’, then there might be a chance to ensure that everyone is always using the latest version and does not waste time emailing people for it.

The report – this ‘one place’ should show in real-time – tells you who contributed the content that gets a lot of love and the collaboration around it might reveal insights of the kind only employees touching the customer accounts gather and the marketing department usually finds out about late.

Enterprise 2.0 from a Sales Enablement point of view

Sales Enablement Platforms – needs and benefits

On April 6, 2010, Stefan Broda from posted: “Alan Willis of Solutions for Sales @salesready) wrote a detailed and insightful post entitled ‘Sales Enablement Platforms – needs and benefits’. Solution for Sales is one of our trusted partners in the UK and one of the pioneers of the term ‘Sales Enablement‘. While BizSphere provides technology and methodology to clients so that their sales force is able to access the most relevant information to their current sales situation, Solution for Sales creates this information for its clients. Their interactive sales kits have become an industry standard. Especially through this synergy, we are looking forward to a mutually productive partnership with Solution for Sales.

Thanks to Solution for Sales for allowing us to re-post their article on our blog. It describes the sales enablement theme from a business perspective and greatly compliments the articles on our page:

Sales Enablement Platforms – needs and benefits

Salespeople volunteer for a tough job. The complexity of what they sell and the sophistication of the people they sell to increase year by year. In this environment every sales interaction and conversation is important, which is why the best salespeople spend so much time preparing for their conversations with customers and creating the materials they will use.

But salespeople are often not well served by the resources they are given to prepare for these conversations. The problem resides at two levels: the quality of sales materials is often poor and it is hard to find the right resources, even if they do exist. The concept of the sales enablement platform – a knowledge management tool for sales – has arisen as a solution to the second of these problems. This article outlines the requirements for an effective sales enablement platform and analyses the benefits.

What customers want

Customers have grown out of having products sold to them; they have even tired of solutions selling. Now they want to buy on the basis of business outcomes. The communications company doesn’t want an improved customer loyalty system; it wants customers that stay longer and spend more. The manufacturer no longer wants an improved supply chain solution; it wants lower supply costs and on time delivery. And they want to look at all the options for achieving their desired outcome.

One consequence is that customers expect salespeople to explain how they can deliver outcomes. They are looking for salespeople to share a point of view, not just ask questions. Customers want to work with salespeople who bring business knowledge from a wide range of different situations; salespeople who can contribute new business ideas.

What salespeople need

The sales cycle can be viewed as a series of interactions or conversations with the customer. Each sales interaction has a specific set of objectives: it must change a viewpoint, unearth information, resolve a concern, solve a problem or provide needed information. Knowing this, and understanding the customer’s expectations, it is apparent that the salesperson, when preparing for a sales conversation, needs to be able to marshal a wide range of information and structure it according to the context and objectives of each different situation. Salespeople need better information systems to help them do this, and the sales enablement platform has evolved to address this need.

What’s the problem?

Typically, current tools do not meet the information needs of salespeople – see below “What salespeople say they need”. These shortfalls are damaging because salespeople rely on sales resources to fuel the engine of sales conversations – no fuel, no progress.

What salespeople say they need

  • One source – I don’t want to have to search through multiple, unconnected information silos, arranged arbitrarily e.g. according to product set, department, country
  • The big picture – I need the high level view so I can spot related offerings and cross and up sell opportunities
  • Concise and complete – I want just the resources that are relevant now, not loads of extraneous stuff. But it must be all the resources, from all departments
  • Arranged for me – I don’t want to have to be an expert on the portfolio to get to the resources I need
  • In my language – it must respond to the words I use
  • Responding to the sales context – e.g. the stage of sale, technical vs business
  • Linking me to people who can help – I want to connect to salespeople who have been here before me, and to the expert behind the resource
  • Listening to me – I’d like the opportunity to comment and share information. I’d like to be updated on topics that I choose

The impact – sales efficiency

Much has been written about the impact of these problems on salesforce productivity. For example, IDC research says that on average each week a salesperson spends:

  • 6.4 hours creating presentations
  • 5.8 hours searching for client-related information
  • 2.3 hours searching for marketing collateral

Clearly, if these processes could be speeded up sales would be more efficient. For example, for a salesforce of 500, saving one hour each week is worth over €500k each year in simple efficiency savings. That means getting more sales out of the same size salesforce or accommodating salesperson wastage without loss of sales.

Significant as this is, Solutions for Sales believes that it is the potential improvement in sales effectiveness delivered by the sales enablement platform that offers the most significant gains.

The impact – sales effectiveness

We have argued that customers expect a higher quality of interaction with their sales contacts. They want business advice; they want a balanced view; they want to focus on their desired business outcome not the salesperson’s desired sales outcome. To meet these customer expectations salespeople need to tap into a wide range of resources and quickly find all that is available to make the next sales interaction successful.

This is something salespeople are not doing well according to statistics from IDC, which show that:

  • 33% of all unsuccessful deals could have been won if the seller had been better informed and had acted more client-oriented
  • 57% of customers feel that salespeople are poorly prepared or not prepared at all at initial meetings
  • More than 50% of customers expect salespeople to be better informed about client-specific requirements and goals

If accessing sales resources is difficult or laborious, it is our experience that the salesperson’s patience runs out long before all relevant resources have been discovered. The result is sales meetings that fall into the 57% that customers judge to be poorly prepared and sales opportunities that end up in the 33% that would have been won if the salesperson had been better informed.

The most significant benefit of a good sales enablement platform is that it improves the quality of the sales conversation, which results in more wins. When it comes to quantifying this benefit there are so many other factors at play that it is hard to provide objective figures. Readers must judge for themselves, but if it is accepted that salespeople who are better prepared for sales meetings can achieve a 1% higher win rate, then for a company with sales of €250 million the result would be an extra €1.5 – €2.5 million of sales each year. And there’s another important benefit: the salesperson that demonstrates the ability to talk outcomes with their customer gains visibility of more sales opportunities.

Marketing has needs too

Sales enablement platforms are not just for sales. Marketing has a whole range of requirements in this area. See below:

What CMOs say they need

  • Drive Sales – I need to have better ways of steering Sales in the direction the company wants to go
  • Satisfy Sales – I want to provide the sales resources that salespeople need. I am sick of hearing them say that Marketing is no help
  • Economise on Marketing resource – I would like to know which resources are valued by sales so I can save money by stopping doing what’s not wanted
  • Improve visibility – I want to see who’s using what, which resources are getting old, and what the coverage is of sales resources across the portfolio
  • Develop a broader view – I’d like people to have a better understanding of the breadth of our capability and the positive synergies across our portfolio
  • Exploit all our resources – I want everyone to be able to contribute to selling, including organisations like professional services and delivery
  • Encourage interaction – I need to get salespeople sharing their experience and marketing people contributing their knowledge directly to sales
  • Structured, uniform and global – I’m worried that the ad-hoc social networking and web tools that are springing up will just create confusion. Worse, if they aren’t maintained they will mislead

Producing the best sales resources

People all round the company have information that can help sales. Of course the main producers are Products, Marketing and Sales themselves, but there are others. In some companies Professional Services and Consulting divisions have information on the services they offer, their expertise and their processes, methods and tools. They may produce opinion pieces and white papers. This is valuable material in a complex sales process. Delivery and Operations can provide performance statistics and quality measures that are useful sales ammunition, and customers want to know about the design, implementation and support services available to them.

Products, Marketing, Sales, Professional Services, Consulting, Delivery and Operations will all have their own ways of producing and storing information – this is what created the silos in the first place. The good news is that these don’t have to change. The sales enablement platform spans all these sources, presenting sales materials from all departments as an integrated whole. As well as giving 360° visibility, the sales enablement platform helps producers by providing:

  • Structure: defining the types of resource salespeople need; formats; desired content
  • User feedback: comments from salespeople on how resources can be improved and what new resources are needed
  • User rating: rating and usage statistics allow producers to judge how well they are doing and allow managers to identify the best producers and the most popular types of resource
  • Inventory control: to highlight when resources need updating or are approaching end-of-life, and show where more resources are needed

The result is a continuous improvement cycle that leads towards better quality sales resources which are more useful to salespeople.

Sales enablement in context

The selling process can be viewed as a series of conversations between salesperson and customer, so the job of sales enablement is to make those conversations more interesting and ultimately more rewarding for both parties.

When preparing for a sales call, the salesperson needs sales resources that are appropriate to the specific conversation being planned. Successful companies make sure that high quality sales resources exist, and they make it easy for salespeople to find the right resources for the job at hand. The sales enablement platform solves the second of these problems. It gives sellers access to the right sales resources and information – the fuel that powers the engine of sales. Moreover, it helps improve the quality of sales resources by creating channels for feedback and engagement so that content producers get a better understanding of what’s needed.

Conclusions

The sales enablement platform is a strategic tool that CMOs can use to define the portfolio structure, drive sales behaviour and optimise product marketing resource. It cuts through organisational silos and allows every department to play its part in supporting sales. It fosters business networking amongst salespeople and with other departments that have a major impact on sales, such as Marketing, Operations and Professional Services. It improves the quality of sales resources by facilitating feedback and engagement between users and producers. For all these activities it provides a structure that is uniform, maintainable and scalable.

For the Sales VP, the sales enablement platform facilitates better execution in the everyday work of the salesforce, leading to lower sales costs and a higher win rate. The result is a solid business case for investment, which explains why the sales enablement platform is taking its place alongside CRM and marketing automation as a must-have business tool.

This article was written by Alan Willis of Solutions for Sales.”

Only 53% of B2B marketers have sufficient content to support multiple messages. 47% store and categorize content in multiple locations

On March 30, 2010, Amy Bills, Director of Field Marketing, Bulldog Solutions published ‘Even High-Performing Marketers Struggle with Content, Alignment’:

“Continued struggles in sales and marketing alignment […]

These are the key findings from the Executive Benchmark Assessment (EBA), a survey created by Frost & Sullivan, the Growth Partnership Company, and demand generation agency Bulldog Solutions to measure the efficacy of BtoB marketers and provide benchmark data.

content

The EBA surveyed 250 BtoB marketers between June 2009 and January 2010 […]

Many organizations have heard the call and attempted to move toward better communication, including and SLAs between sales and marketing that spell out key agreements such as how a high-quality lead is defined. Nonetheless:

  • Less than one-quarter of BtoB marketers say they’re generating enough demand to satisfy their sales teams.
  • Less than half (46%) have developed buyer personas to guide communications and sales readiness for their prospects.
  • Slightly below two-thirds, 64%, have defined the stages of the pipeline in order to ensure marketing and sales agree on common definitions.

[…]

  • Only 36% leverage marketing automation or manual processes for message testing.

The custom communications enabled by marketing automation have put significant requirements on organizations to create compelling content. If technology is the engine, content is the fuel. Indeed, the pressing need for content across a range of buying stages and personas was the third greatest challenge identified by the survey group to leveraging marketing automation, behind only people/skillsets and appropriate process. Other findings:
where is content stored and categorized?

  • Slightly more than half, 53%, of marketers said they have sufficient content to support multiple messages.
  • Only 23% store public-facing content in a publically available library or content center. For the rest, content is in multiple locations or an internal set of folders.

[…]”

See the original post here.