Sales Enablement: The New Sales Savvy?

While maybe only modestly technical in skill set here at MoM[S], we nonetheless remember well the heady, newfound days of building out rudimentary databases: adding client & prospect data in cell by cell, block by block, to early programs such as RBase5000 or even Lotus 1-2-3. All to help maintain & develop our Sales processes across both DOS-based PC systems and early Apple units like the Duo.

From there, the natural progression for the Sales world became next-stage ‘sales contact management systems’; i.e. Act!, Contact, and others, all of which were about all the technology could support at that time. In more recent days, far more robust programs along the lines of SalesForce, Highrise, Zoho, FreeCRM and other players have led the way down the CRM path. 

The state of Sales software is no longer rudimentary in 2014, by any measure. And with that, the next round of software development for Sales professionals has arrived, in the form of Sales Enablement Software* tools.

The idea here is to “enable” the sales process, with additional functionality beyond the rote number of Contacts you entered last week or number of cold-calls made in a month, followed by a grand total of your sales for the month. All of these are on the ‘Left-Brain’ side of the MoM[S] equation.

Having had a number of public [and private] Demo’s of several of these systems, I can say that they are of value in the right setting, and with the right expectations. I would enjoy using them myself, should the right occasion arise again in the future. More on that below.

Merely scratching the surface of what these offer, they are clearly planted on the more creative, ‘Right-Brain’ side of Sales, which means we ourselves would have a special affinity for them. Some of the capabilities to bear include:

Collaborative and Sharing tools across and within your Sales team.
– Allow a ‘closed-loop’ environment for your team to brainstorm, iterate, and develop new ideas to take to market.
– Keep a robust, consistent library of content…and content elements…to easily access. Even better, you can then see how your colleagues may have used such items, when you are working to develop something compelling for your own client at that moment.
– Something really cool, that I’d like to one day explore further [as it must be done carefully with your client], is the concept of a “portal”, that creates a specific channel for your customers/prospects to access info/data/collateral on your company, as part of the sales & transaction process.
Done right, could be great. Done wrong, a disaster.

Meanwhile, these products can only really be used, and are largely designed for, larger Sales settings. Teams. In fact, on the Best Practices page on the site of Act-On Software, they clearly state, “It’s a team sport – salespeople working together, with support from marketing…”

Some of the other firms out there now [by no means is this a complete list] include:

  • CallidusCloud
  • iPresent
  • Qvidian
  • SAVO
  • Their potential biggest drawback? Usage. Usage in the form of buy-in, and by sales teams already tasked with a myriad number of other tasks related to both clients and internal processes. Like any other software, if it’s not used…what is the value?

    Overall, buy-in really needs to come from both sides. If you are very literal in what you do, this may seem like puffery to you; either go & make your calls, or you are done. But many would argue, myself included, that that is just not enough anymore.

    Buyers…and customers…are too savvy to be ‘closed’ anymore, in the old-school fashion. That is ESPECIALLY true, if you work in a biz, where you want to foster long-term, or multiple, transactions.

    Since these are essentially the other side of the equation, I would say that as essentially a “bolt-on” product, many of these firms will either merge, be bought [by key players like Salesforce], or frankly, add on the opposite side’s complimentary tools, and become a Salesforce. But most are unlikely to stay standalone for long.

    As for myself, and for those who also work solo or independently for the most part, Sales Enablement won’t really work well for you. That’s too bad, because I REALLY do like that ‘Right-Brain’ angle applied to all my Sales efforts!


    – – –
    * – Sales Enablement Software is so new a concept, there is no entry for it in either Webopedia or Wikipedia.

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    ~ by MindOnMediaSales on April 8, 2014.

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