These days everyone is talking about sales enablement solutions. But when you start digging into the term, you realize it can refer to a whole spectrum of technology serving very different purposes.
I read a recent article that outlined six different categories of sales enablement solutions. Each of these categories has a unique role within the sales process:
- Customer Relationship Management: CRM software helps businesses manage customer data and interactions, as well as track leads through the sales process. Examples include Salesforce and Hubspot.
- Marketing Automation: Businesses can automate certain marketing activities, such as sending follow-up emails after a website visitor completes a certain action. Pardot and Act-On are examples of tools in this category.
- Knowledge Management: This category of software helps businesses store, organize, and share company knowledge. There are traditional knowledge management solutions like wikis, but there are also modern knowledge sharing platforms (like Bloomfire) that include features like a Q&A engine and automated tagging.
- Configure, Price, Quote: CPQ software helps businesses define price points for their products based on a wide range of factors. Tacton and aPriori are two examples in this category.
- Sales Intelligence: Software in this category helps to organize and integrate sales data so that businesses can drive more sales. You’ll find products like Clearbit and Artesian in this crowded category.
- Communications Solutions: This category can include software to help with internal communications, such as Slack, or tools to help engage customers, such as Outreach.
Chances are, your team already has sales enablement solutions that cover several of these areas. But maybe it’s time to fill in the gaps or replace a solution that isn’t delivering results.
Where do you need help most?
Start by evaluating your biggest business challenges and decide where you need the most help. Do your sales reps spend too much of their time looking for materials and answers to questions? You may want to look into a platform with a strong knowledge management component. Are your reps struggling with giving demos online? Then a communications platform may be what you’re looking for. By understanding what the biggest pain points are for your business, you can start to cut through the sales enablement clutter.
What’s working with your current solutions?
Before you start to look at new vendors, it’s important to analyze the existing tools your team is already using. Where do they fall short? What can’t you live without? Are people using the solutions? Why or why not? Why are they succeeding or failing? Once you’ve done this internal analysis, it’s time to start considering new or replacement technologies.
What is your plan for evaluating options?
As you narrow down the list of solutions you’re interested in, come up with a common set of questions to ask potential vendors. And as you’re evaluating technologies, don’t overlook the hidden costs, such as lengthy implementations or added technical support if a solution is difficult to use.
Is everyone on board?
Lastly, remember that any sales enablement solutions you implement will only be successful if your leadership teams are on board and your employees have an incentive to use the solution. This means involving the whole team in the decision making process and having a strong roll-out plan. After launching a new tool, measure the adoption (i.e. how many people are accessing the tool) to determine if it’s being used as well as it could be.
The bottom line to strategically implementing sales enablement solutions within your company is: understand the landscape, have a game plan, evaluate your options, and hold your team accountable for success. Do these things, and you should have a strong solution to help drive your future growth.
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