Low cost sales enablement apps

Paul KrajewskiGiven my background in implementing Sales Enablement solutions at large complex enterprises, quick and light solutions for very small companies – with only a few products and a small sales force – haven’t been the focus of this blog.

However, I have always tried to cover even vendors that target small companies in my list of Sales Enablement market players.

List of free or low cost Sales Enablement apps:

Kbee kbee.app @tryKbee Knowledge Base Software. Kbee lets anyone create a searchable & branded knowledge base straight from Google Docs. Turn your content into a fast, searchable space for you, your team, or your customers. Create instantly: Turn your existing Google Drive folders & files into a professional knowledge base. Find answers quickly: Full-text search across all of your content. Match your brand: Customize your domain, logo, color schemes, & layout. Horatio, Inc. San Francisco, CA, USA

  • Prezzi mobile for presentations / slide shows
  • Canva
  • Zoho
  • Slack (Salesforce)
  • DropBox for storing docs, images, PDFs & videos
  • box.com for storing docs, images, PDFs & videos
  • Google Drive (works for PDFs & presentations) and the stand-alone apps for docs & spreadsheets etc
  • Microsoft Office apps
  • iBooks for PDFs (without needing WiFi)
  • Apple Notes or Evernote for capturing meetings notes
  • Evernote for other use cases like scanning business cards and connecting on LinkedIn with one click
  • Paper app fiftythree.com/paper for drawings & scribbles
  • Immediately immediatelyapp.com cross-platform email tool for sales people
  • AnyDesk as a free (for personal use) alternative to TeamViewer for remote desktop at a better performance & sharper displaying of graphics (at the moment Windows only)

AnyDesk.com
http://anydesk.com:

AnyDesk is the world’s most comfortable remote desktop application. Access all your programs, documents and files from anywhere, without having to entrust your data to a cloud service. Your perso­nalized AnyDesk-ID is the key to your desk­top with all your applications, photos, docu­ments and files. And your data stays where it belongs. On your hard drive, and nowhere else.

Update November 5, 2014:

immediatelyapp.com is was a cross-platform email tool for salespeople designed to enable closing deals from anywhere, as opportunities happen. From both your phone & computer, you can track when your emails get opened, get reminders to follow up with leads, offer suitable meeting times in a couple taps, and use email templates for sales pitches. Automatically syncs your prospect emails into Salesforce, and pulls relevant contact information from LinkedIn, so that you always know who you’re talking to at-a-glance.

Sales enablement is a huge space with a lot of players and fragmentation.

If you’re a salesperson, you most likely use a CRM system, lead gen software, a campaign tool, and a bunch of email tools. Email is where the action happens, and there should be no need to have five apps opened to be able to reply to a sales prospect’s inquiry.

Sales, or closing deals in general, is no longer a 9-to-5 job. You’re always selling, always closing. If you don’t, your competition will. And so having perfectly-timed actionable information, and the right tools to take action, is the winning formula. We give you both, as opportunities happen, immediately. […]

Currently, we are free for individual users, and have a paid tier for enterprises. Very soon, we will be coming out with a ‘Pro’ version of the product, which will have a much deeper integration with CRM systems, and which will require a monthly subscription to use.

Update November 04, 2014:

Dropbox partners with Microsoft to offer Office integration in the next few weeks. iOS & Android users will be able to edit Office docs from Dropbox. Office for iPad users will access Dropbox files within apps and share via Dropbox.

Access Dropbox files from the Office app and save new files to Dropbox. You can now sync your docs and keep them safe without leaving the Office app.

Update October 6, 2014 on the evernote blog:

Scannable
[…] mobile app called Scannable […] For the on-the-go experience, our goal is to transform business cards and receipts into something immediately actionable and sharable. When you’re back at your desk, the app lets you control the desktop scanner and allows others on your network to scan, turning the ScanSnap Evernote Edition into an Evernote-friendly office scanner.

Presentation Mode
Evernote is making meeting faster and more collaborative by eliminating the need for slides. Connect your computer, click on presentation mode, and the same note you’ve been working on is now beautifully displayed on the big screen. As you talk your team through your work, the note stays open on your computer allowing you to immediately take feedback and make changes. Of course, you may want to control how text and images flow on the screen, so we’re adding handy tools to define breaks so that just the right amount of words and images appear per screen. […]

Penultimate
[…] handwriting app for iPad is getting a complete redesign. […] the app is rebuilt and reconsidered with a focus on creating the most lifelike writing experience […] also enhancing the connection between Penultimate and the Adonit Jot Script Stylus.

Continue reading “Low cost sales enablement apps”

List of Top Sales Enablement Tools 2014

On April 9, 2014 docurated.com now quark.com/products/docurated/ published their list of Top Sales Enablement Tools.

It takes a slightly different approach than my own work in progress list and has some good details on each vendor.

I’m happy to see that BizSphere (a company I used to work with and a product that was designed by the team at MING Labs I have worked with) made docurated‘s list.

 

Case Study of one of the biggest Sales Enablement application implementations

In September 2009 my former colleague Jeanne Hellman wrote the case study ‘Sales Enablement Implementation & Case Study: Achieving Your Sales Knowledge Advantage’. Here the table of contents:

Part 1: Arm your sales force with access to information

Connect the dots between marketing and sales

Optimize your sales force

Part 2: How to gain a “Knowledge Advantage”

Access to knowledge is key to success

The state of knowing

Your typical company-centric approach

Garbage in – garbage out!

Turning company spiel to customer value

Part 3: Setting the Stage for Change

Company snapshot: the summer of ‘06

At no time were we trying to get 100% adoption

Know your sellers

The revolving door

Phases and Work Streams

Part 4: Improving the bottom line

Reduced SG&A by $22M

Specific results: efficiency, time and waste reduction

Part 5: Lessons learned

Buy versus rent

Advice from the front lines

  1. Do your due diligence
  2. Build relationships
  3. Focus on the delivery of content
  4. Establish accountability for usage – it works!
  5. Ensure content availability and value
  6. Single source data
  7. Auto-generate key customer collateral
  8. Grow a thick skin
  9. Choose Wisely
  10. Adoption, Adoption, Adoption

Food for thought

Once sellers see the value, they will use it

‘The cost of running a sales enablement solution: Is there a need for editorial staff to help create and edit content?’ is my own blog post about topics like Single Sourcing and Auto-Generation of marketing assets / content Jeanne talks about in her case study.

The cost of running a sales enablement solution: Is there a need for editorial staff to help create and edit content?

In ‘Is Sales Enablement just Lipstick on a Knowledge Management Pig?’ Gerhard Gschwandtner (@gerhard20) asked:

“What’s the real cost of running a Sales Enablement solution? Is there a need for editorial staff to help create and edit content, to set up template standards and apply them?”

The following job posting gives a bit of a hint what kind of tasks around a Sales Enablement Web Portal need to be performed manually:

Job Title: Sales Enablement Intern

Company: Initiate Systems

Job Location(s): Chicago, IL, US

Description:
Sales Enablement: Sales Enablement Web Portal– Maintain the sales portal by:
o Naming, dating, tagging and approving submitted assets on a daily basis
o Building or creating custom pages when needed
o Special projects

Sales Enablement: Sales Methodology (RADAR) Opportunity Sessions
o Scheduling monthly RADAR sessions for AEs
o Researching submitted RADAR opportunities to find additional materials

  • Hoovers
  • LinkedIn
  • Google
  • Spoke

Sales Enablement: Weekly Reports
o Sales Portal weekly reports

o RADAR monthly reports

As time permits:
Lead Generation: Lead Processing
o Research incoming leads verify in Salesforce.com and add if necessary

Lead Generation: Telesales Tagging
o Add campaigns in Salesforce.com
o Add tasks for AEs in Healthcare and Enterprise

Lead Generation: Assist with Tradeshows
o Assemble collateral

Lead Generation: Mailings
o Tag campaigns
o Mail merge letters

Having been working with the cutting edge Sales Enablement solution BizSphere at the large b2b company Nortel since 2007, I can comment on the extend to which the tasks above can be automated:

o The submission process (for assets or pieces of information like contact details) can be shortened.

  • Empower both – providers of official content (Product Marketing, MarComm, CI/MI, Training Department, Event Planning Team, etc.) and users who want to contribute (Sales, Customer Service, rest of work force, Channel Partners, etc.) – with an easy way to submit from within the context of the specific combination of geography, product/service/solution and type of information they are looking at. That takes care of the tagging. If they want to tag things further they should be allowed to.
  • Implement a Content Governance model that automates notifications regarding content that needs to be approved, that reached the end of its Life Cycle, or that is meant for a limited audience only.

document generation

  • For most companies cutting down the number of ways to submit content and even unifying the process so that one form allows to upload a single instance (Single Sourcing) and to publish it to multiple locations (facing the public, channel partners or only sales people) would be the wildest dream.
    BizSphere goes further than Single Sourcing of assets. It does Single Sourcing for the fragments (nuggets) your assets consist of. When you only have one instance of a photo, a logo, the number of employees you have or lets say a value proposition, then it will be updated in all your assets the moment you update this instance. Your assets are being auto-generated! The moment you click the ‘Generate’ button, hundreds of nuggets come together to form an asset that is customized for the context you chose. You want to pitch an offering to a customer in Spain? Then the auto-generation means that only the customer references from Spain are being pulled and put together in a polished way according to the chosen template. (See Do we really want people who earn $150 an hour creating PowerPoint presentations from scratch? and Do you want your sales people to spend their time customizing slide decks?)

o The task of building pages can be reduced to typing the name of a new offering (product/service/solution) and clicking ‘Publish’.

  • When you have established a context, your assets or their nuggets live in, then your sales portal’s pages can be dynamic and just list everything that is applicable for the given combination of geography, offering and type of information. A manually built page would be a silo that would be pretty much outdated the moment the intern from the job posting above has finished it. In BizSphere adding the name of a new offering automatically extends the number of possible combinations of geography, offering and type of information. For each of these combinations BizSphere lists what has a good standing with regards to its life cycle, therefore everything you see is fresh.

o Reports should be in real-time and not weekly.

  • Having a dash board overview of both your inventory of assets and their usage lets you track whether a certain region or offering has no assets available or whether they are not being looked at. You will see which type of assets your sales people love (Ratings might not tell you a lot but usage data will). This ability is crucial in becoming better and better in focusing your marketing efforts on what will actually help sales to close deals. “IDC research shows that over 40% of all marketing assets handed over to sales are not in use today.” (IDC’s Best Practices in Sales Enablement – Content and Marketing, July 2009) Why pay someone to create reports every week when you and everybody else, who is interested, could have the kind of dash board BizSphere calls ‘Content Landscape’ as well as even more detailed usage metrics of the Sales Enablement solution; all of it in real-time and sliced and diced as you wish. For presentations to executives just create a deep link to how you sliced and diced the data and they will get to see the current – as opposed to last week’s – data.

BizSphere was the Sales Enablement solution Jeanne Hellman looks at in her case study of “implementing Sales Enablement in a complex, global company”.

Content Landscape