follow up – Sales Enablement market size and growth rate

sales enablement on the marketing technology landscape march 2016This is a follow-up to my post ‘What is the Sales Enablement market size and how hot is it?’ triggered by seeing that Sales Enablement grew on the Marketing Technology Landscape by Scott Brinker; becoming part of its largest category (by number of solutions included) “Sales Automation, Enablement & Intelligence” (with 220 solutions).

Obviously my own count of Sales Enablement vendors/solutions grew too.

The interest in ‘Sales Enablement’ has continued to increase and left ‘Sales 2.0’ in the dust as Google Trends shows.

Visits & views to this very blog have also been up, but that is obviously not the best reference point for growth in the Sales Enablement market:

As promised in my post ‘What is the Sales Enablement market size and how hot is it?’ I have been tracking the number of LinkedIn users with Sales Enablement in their current job title:

Here a snapshot of what the Google Adwords tools can tell us about people using Google to search for Sales Enablement portal/solutions/tools and related phrases:

 

  • Mar 2015 – Feb 2016
  • worldwide
  • across all languages
  • Google and search partners

Screen Shot 2016-03-31 at 5.22.45 PM

You could obviously take many approaches to use these data points and the number of vendors (with their revenues or simply employee numbers from LinkedIn for example) to calculate the size of the Sales Enablement market.

However, it is obvious: Things are going up and to the right (including the cost of acquiring a customer; see bids for Google AdWords above).

In Forrester’s ‘Vendor Landscape: Sales Enablement Automation Solutions’ [from March 21, 2016] the average annual growth for 18 of the vendors surveyed was 38%.

Q2 2015 Sales Enablement market news and trends

Sales Enablement thought leaders

I’ve been cleaning up / refreshing my work in progress list of Sales Enablement apps/tools/solutions/services.

On April 1, 2015, I was honored to find myself on this list of 30+ Top Sales Enablement Thought Leaders.

I noticed that vbprofiles.com/search?q=Sales+Enablement is an extensive list of experts too.

Should Your Agency Get Into the Sales Enablement Game?, Jami Oetting, March 26, 2015.

Sales Enablement Tools: Keys To Building Trust To Win Sales, 4/21/15:

“Your Marketing team has likely already compiled a number of blogs, videos, and/or ebooks, tailored to different phases in the Buyer’s Journey. However, this doesn’t mean that only Marketing can use them. If, during their ongoing communication with their leads, your Sales reps notice a particular question is being asked again and again by a number of different leads, they can leverage Marketing’s content and pass it along. Again, showing that your company already knows about their concerns and is ready to answer their questions will build trust with your leads. […] By getting to know your leads through tools like LinkedIn, Twitter, and Buyer Personas, as well through conversations, and by showing that they care by delivering relevant and valuable information, your Sales reps can build a relationship with these leads. These relationships can speed up the process of closing leads into full-fledged customers.”

Will sales enablement software replace content marketing? by Alp Mimaroglu, 6/04/2015 with this graphic:

AAEAAQAAAAAAAABLAAAAJDQ5MTkwZjQwLWU2ZjEtNDI3NS1iZGI3LTU2ZWEyYjg0MWY3OA.png12

Alp Mimaroglu also writes:

“[…] Sales Enablement […] cannot work without a backbone of data-driven content marketing. And the most efficient way for salespeople to get the right information these days is to look at the data behind marketing that works using marketing automation software. Both sales and marketing need to share the data their teams are producing. The problem is that this just doesn’t happen in most companies (as shown by commonplace disagreements on lead responsibilities). […]”

A bit older: Content in crisis: Content marketing vs. sales enablement John Koetsier, Nov. 5, 2014 with this graphic:
Image Credit: Content Marketing Institute

Image Credit: Content Marketing Institute

New Study Shows Rapid Onboarding Increases Sales Growth Rates by 10%, Eyal Orgil, May 11, 2015:

“PUT ALL YOUR SUPPORTING MATERIALS IN ONE PLACE – Forcing new reps to hunt around for information that they hope exists somewhere is no way to speed the onboarding process. When all your sales enablement documents – data sheets, presentations, case studies, etc. – are collected and stored in a central repository, new hires can quickly do their homework on any offering. More importantly, they know exactly where to find the value added materials they need to create a more compelling proposal. You can even take this one step further and integrate document management right into your sales quoting solution and automate the entire proposal process.”

Three Big Myths Debunked at SiriusDecisions Summit, Tom Pisello, May 19, 2015:

“B2B marketing is not replacing B2B sales, so more B2B marketing doesn’t equate to more effectiveness. Sales reps are still VERY relevant, however we do need to recognize that buyer’s have changed, and Frugalnomics is in full effect. As a result, you need to enable sales reps to engage effectively throughout the buyer’s journey, especially at the critical early stages of influence. The ability for sales reps to help buyers navigate the journey, gain consensus from committee decisions, and articulate your unique value – all critical for continued relevance and competitive sales success. […] Content is King? Although large amounts are spent every year to develop and deliver content, and these investments are growing YoY, SiriusDecisions reports that almost 2/3rds of the content marketing investment is wasted! In a survey of almost 300 firms, 65% of content spending was wasted. Half of the waste was attributable to sales reps not being able to find the content. While the other half saying the content wasn’t good or useful. More is not more when it comes to content. Prospects and sales reps are all to easily lost in a sea of content.”

Mobile Strategy For Sales Enablement, Shankar Ganapathy, April 30, 2015:

“Sales people are not chained to their desk anymore but they are attached to their smartphones, so it makes sense for them to have everything they need available on their phone. Rather than searching through hundreds of emails, wiki links or dropbox files to find the particular product update memo, a mobile sales enablement app can make updates easy to find in a fraction of the time. With Millenials estimated to make up 75 percent of the global workforce by 2025, you can also make your employees more productive by meeting their preference to consume content on the go. While the majority of companies understand the need for sales enablement, according to research by Adobe less than 30% are actually implementing sales enablement solutions because it can be complex and time consuming to execute. However, mobile sales enablement can be implemented quickly and cost-effectively. This means implementing a mobile sales enablement strategy now could give you a competitive advantage. While other companies grapple with how to keep their sales teams up to date, and their reps spend precious time searching their email box, reading through volumes of wiki pages or searching through files in cloud storage, yours can be having impactful and engaging conversations with customers. When I talk about mobile sales enablement, I don’t just mean replicating your CRM on a mobile app, but rather achieving true sales enablement for both your sales reps and managers. Think about how Whatsapp has replaced email, making communication and sharing photos instant, quick and easy without needing to log-on. Mobile sales enablement can have a similar impact on your sales teams.”

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”

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.

Prospecting and lead generation

On February 7, 2012, Lauren Carlson wrote ‘5 Social Media Strategies for B2B Sales Success’. In her post Lauren presents five ways in which B2B sales professionals can leverage social media to find and win more business. E.g.:

“[…] Try searching social media sites and tools for certain signal phrases, such as “seeking vendor recommendations,” or those that mention specific pain points your company can address. Refine your searches to social media channels your target customers use, such as by relevant industry hashtags on Twitter or industry-specific groups on LinkedIn or Facebook. This method of discovery requires minimal effort and can uncover leads that might have otherwise gone unnoticed. […]”

From my own experience I would add zapier.com and ifttt [both can be set up to search twitter etc], socialmention, and of course Google Alerts [which can be a bit slow] as free tools that allow companies to track their brand, to identify their potential customers, or as Laura writes to “track their competition. They can see what tactics their competitors are using” and when the competition is failing at something. However, Lauren also mentions “that many C-level execs aren’t chatting it up on Twitter and LinkedIn”, but that the people, who influence them or at least have access to them, could be.

Check out Lauren’s blog post for some great examples of how B2B sales professionals can get creative with social media.

Reading List – Middle of September 2010

“Forrester announces Sales Enablement Conference focused on Selling into the New Economy” (Tom Pisello; September 09, 2010)

“Sales Enablement Efficiency?” (Tom Pisello; September 03, 2010)

“Frugalnomics Forces Changes in Sales Enablement” (Tom Pisello; September 03, 2010)

“Social Media and Sales Enablement: Internal Collaboration” (Joe Galvin; September 03, 2010)

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.

Chief Listening Officer – Chief Listener – CLO

One of my past job titles explained by Advertising Age:

‘Chief Listeners’ Use Technology to Track, Sort Company Mentions
Relatively New Role Is Becoming More Commonplace in Major Marketing Companies

by Irina Slutsky
Published: August 30, 2010

“[…] the CLO’s job is one of “broad listening” – as Dell has such a deep penetration globally in so many different markets.

“Our chief listener is critical to making sure the right people in the organization are aware of what the conversations on the web are saying about us, so that relevant people in the business can connect with customers,”

Unlike many social-media jobs, this position is very inward-facing. She’s listening to Dell customers and consumers and giving all the intel to her Dell colleagues internally.

[…] “Dell has been listening for four years and created a position called ‘Listening Czar’ two years ago.

[…] said their companies were driving innovation through customer feedback. […]”

Reading List – End of August 2010

Forrester’s Santucci: Sales Enablement Defined (Kathleen Schaub; August 23, 2010):

“[…] more and more people touch customers along the demand chain. […] extend Sales Enablement constituents to include influencers, as buyers are also extensively socially-engaged. […]”

Enterprise 2.0 › Blog “Is it Knowledge Management or Business Intelligence?” (Rich Blank @sharepointpmp; 08/19/2010)

“[…] Knowledge management – the buzzword of decades past that might be synonymous with other buzzwords like collective intelligence or intellectual capital. Or maybe you’ve heard of tacit and explicit knowledge – differentiating between what is in our heads vs what’s written down. From a technology perspective, KM represents the mounds of documents, information, conversations, blogs, wikis, emails, social networks, knowhow, and expertise …. it’s all the “stuff” that continues to overload us daily and continues to present challenges for individuals and organizations in filtering out what is important vs. what is just noise. KM is also about the way we create, collect, manage, consume, share, and leverage the unstructured information combined with the structured data […]. […] BI has many parallels to KM… and at the end of the day it’s all about being able to filter out the noise, identify all the variables in the equation, and make the right decisions based on what you know and assume to be true – be it structured or unstructured.”

“A Salesperson’s Seven Deadly Sins” (Steve W. Martin; August 23, 2010)

“The Content Economy by Oscar Berg: The business case for social intranets” (Stefan Pfeiffer; August 26, 2010)

“Selling “Naked” & 8 Other Truths About Content Marketing” (demandcreationspecialists.com; August 13, 2010)

“You’ve got to love Jill Konrath’s straight up approach to sales enablement: how to use content to engage with “crazy-busy” executives mired in a multi-tasking swamp. Her popular new book, SNAP Selling: Speed Up Sales & Win More Business with Today’s Frazzled Customers […]:

• Don’t be the “Naked Seller” – woefully unprepared to make successful sales calls because they’re still speaking “seller” when the language has changed to “buyer.”
• Salespeople desperately need content, and they need guidance about how to use it. This is marketing’s job…and marketing has not done a great job at this.
• Your Unique Selling Proposition (USP) is often camouflaged. It needs to be loud and clear, in the form of case studies, white papers, webinars and great content.
• Decision makers today have chaotic lives. They’re overburdened and burned out. Their psyches cry out for “don’t waste my time” sales and marketing content that simplifies your value proposition and makes their lives easier.
• Buyers want to talk to experts. People who know their vertical, its pitfalls and challenges. Good content fills this need, and supports the sales process.
• Whether you’re in sales or marketing, ask yourself: have you aligned with the buyer’s objectives? Does your content reflect this? If not, you’re toast.
• Content must demonstrate value, and be delivered for short attention spans.
• Acknowledge and work within the customer’s process:
1) Allowing Access – takes 8-12 contacts to achieve this.
2) Decision to Initiate Change – where clients break out of the status quo.
3) Decision on which option to choose – Content quality can make or break this.
• The acronym says it all – Simple; iNvaluable; Aligned; Prioritized (SNAP)”

The Importance of Context: Why Enterprise 2.0 Still Fails to Deliver Value (AARON ROE FULKERSON Aug 25, 2010)

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.