The Sales Enablement Challenge

Sales Enablement offers some unique advantages to drive Sales user adoption. The ability to create new and custom collateral and to effectively collaborate on accounts address big pain points for sales. The CRM world has not implemented these technologies on an industry scale.

Sales Enablement also addresses today’s market realities. Customers and prospects today take more time to educate and filter themselves from the pipeline. Due to this change, Marketing now owns the early phases of the sales cycle. This is positive. Sales can now spend time adding value to the sale rather than educating a prospect about the company and product. Solutions to real business problems has been and will remain at the heart of the complex sale. Sales today needs the skills to focus on the complex sale.

I have enjoyed reading Steve W. Martin’s Heavy Hitter Selling. Having implemented CRM and carried the bag for many years, his message is right on. Sales Enablement will succeed or fail as a methodology based on user adoption. Marketing and Sales need to find ways to work together to make it work. As the article below describes, this is easier said than done.

Heavy Hitter Selling: Why Sales and Marketing Are Always at Odds

Happy Monday.

Gist as Sales Enablement

The Sales Enablement space players are currently focused on the marketing to sales side of the CRM equation. No doubt that these tools have the ability to increase user adoption. I have been a part of enough CRM deployments (over 30 to date) to know. As few weeks ago, I was asked in conversation about where I thought the CRM market was headed. Sales enablement and other productivity tools came to mind. One such application is Gist. In a nutshell, Gist allows to to keep up with your contacts, their blogs, tweets, and news. It is powerful stuff. I have used for meeting prep and background research. Example, I am meeting a CEO this week. Turns out that we had traded a few emails on a tech forum over the past couple of years. Gist highlighted those emails. They were in a nested folder. I would have missed them otherwise. Now, I can incorporate those threads into the conversation.

The Gist business model may be the Sales Enablement pitch. The ability to provide clarity around contacts, prospects and clients will be a powerful selling point to the enterprise. No need to “clone” your best reps. Your best reps already do what Gist does.

They get the Gist. Pun intended.

Solid read on Sales Enablement

Solid blog post at Sales Enablement provider BizSphere. The Need to Understand the Context B2B Sales People Are Operating In makes several good points.

First, the way customers buy today has changed.
Second, Marketing now owns the early phases of the traditional sales cycle.
Third, sales will spend more time adding value than selling the value proposition.

Tying solutions to real business problems has always been at the heart of the complex sale. In today’s B2B sales environment, sales needs to have the skills for that complex sell.

Thoughts on Sales Enablement

CRM solutions fail most of the time. I always wonder what is meant by fail. I have had my hand in many CRM deployments and only a 2-3 did not meet the clients expectations from initial roll-out. Those that I would consider a “fail” never aligned the technology to the business process from day one. Pretty soon they were on a road to nowhere. Having worked in Sales and having a CRM background, I know why user adoption is not higher. Sales people do not like to be tracked, measured or accounted for against anything other than quota. Think about it. What other organization is measured against a quota, that if not met, will likely result in job loss? Sales is already measured.

The sales enablement concept is very interesting because it gives sales a real reason to use a CRM system. If it does provide value, user adoption goes up, ROI goes up, and hopefully, sales go up. Then everyone will be happy. The average tenure of a Sales VP is currently 19 months. Can your organization survive with 19 months or less of sales data?