Sales Enablement Platform Capabilities
Closed loop sales enablement tools and software offer a variety of capabilities to optimize the way that your sales team engages with customers and closes deals. All of them are designed to arm your reps with the resources and knowledge they need, so they are prepared to make the most of every interaction with a potential buyer.
Content Publishing and Management
Manage all the content that the sales team needs in order to effectively engage with customers, organized in a way that is intuitive for sellers to find it.
|Publish a wide range of content
|The system must support all the different kinds of information that reps need, including document, presentations, images, videos, links to web pages, and so forth.
|Organize items into the most appropriate categories
|For example, a rep might want to look for case studies that are in a particular region (France), a particular language (Chinese), or a particular vertical (Telecommunication). If they are looking at analyst reports, they might want to look at items from a particular analyst (Gartner) or aimed at a particular audience (Finance). Every piece of content should be organized in the way that is most natural for it, so that reps can find it quickly when they need it.
|Easily change how content is organized
|New products are always being released, new competitors come along, new types of content emerge—the publishing system can’t require a ticket to be filed against IT every time something changes. Publishers need to be able to instantly update the way that the system organizes information, or it will quickly become stale and out of date.
|Update items with new versions
|When content is updated, publishers can replace older versions. All references to the older content should be updated, so that users are always working with the latest version.
|Curate relevant news items
|Automatically pull in items from the Web based on the company’s business. For example, market news, competitor news, and customer news. The items that are pulled in should be based on the ones have proven to be of interest to users within the organization.
|Support multiple editors
|Content is often managed by different teams within the organization. And even within a single area of content, like product marketing, managing it might be a responsibility that is shared by a number of people. The system should support different editing models, ensuring that the right set of people is able to control how each kind of information is published.
Connect with Sellers
Enable sales teams to find the most relevant content through searching, browsing, and recommendations. Allow field organizations to customize content so that it is tailored to the needs of their team.
|Search that works
|At home, the first place that most people go to find something on the Internet is the search box—almost anything they type will yield something useful. At work, that is rarely the case today. This is one of the most crucial pieces of any sales enablement solution—sellers need to be able to find what they need, instantly. In addition to indexing all the text in an item, modern search algorithms apply data science to rank items based on usage and relevance to the user.
|Let reps collect their most-used content
|Depending on their role, sellers will typically use a small set of content many times. They might send out a particular pitch deck dozens of times a day, for example. The system should make it easy for them to assemble that content and organize it in the way that makes the most sense to them, while still making sure that it is updated when new versions come out. Otherwise reps will just keep what they most need on a laptop, where its use is invisible and it will soon be out of date.
|Allow field teams to manage custom content
|Specialized teams often have unique content, such as a deck on local industry conditions. They may translate standard marketing material into other languages. If they target a particular segment, like global partners, they might need content that only applies to those organizations. It must be easy for field teams to create their own collections, mixing together material from corporate headquarters with their own specialized and customized items.
|Allow reps to customize content
|It is often necessary for reps to create unique content for a particular customer. It might be as simple as adding a customer’s name and logo to a deck. It could involve assembling a deck for a particular conversation by choosing from a library of pre-built slides. Or, the rep might create an entirely new piece of content just for that customer. It should be easy for them to add that content to the system so that it can be pitched and its use and performance is tracked.
Within the CRM system that they use, show sellers the content that is most likely to be effective. Customize the items that they see, based on the characteristics of the opportunity, account, or person they are viewing.
|Recommendations inside CRM system
|In many companies, sellers live within their CRM system (like Salesforce.com). When they look at an opportunity, contact, or lead, the content they are most likely to need should be right in front of them, without their having to go hunt for it.
|The content that a rep needs to move a deal forward will vary based on the stage of the sales cycle and the characteristics of the opportunity. You should be able to choose content based on virtually any characteristic of the deal. For example, you might show demand gen content when you are at an early sales stage. Later, you might choose case studies based on the region and the vertical the customer is in. Throughout the cycle, you want to present the content that is most relevant to that buyer’s journey.
|Based on how often content has been used by other reps, and how it has performed with customers, provide a score to help reps identify the most effective content at that point in the deal.
Cloud and Device Integration
Integrate with the services that the company uses and the devices that users rely on.
|Many companies use cloud-based storage systems (like Box) to support internal collaboration. It should be possible to publish items from those storage systems and then update them with a single operation when a new version is available.
|If a company is using a single-sign on solution (like Okta), the content system should integrate with it to streamline account management for publishers and reps alike.
|Support phones and tablets that are connected to the Internet
|Support phones and tablets that are not connected to the Internet
Send content to customers via email, and know if, when, and how they engage with it.
|Rich text email
|Reps can compose messages in the system using an email editor that supports the standard formatting tools (bullets, different fonts, web links, and so forth).
|Most reps frequently send out variations on a few standard email messages they or the company have created. The system should support templates, so that these common messages and the associated content can be set up ahead of time. Reps can send them out, updating them as needed for a particular customer.
|Email client integration
|The company or a rep may prefer to use an existing email system, rather than sending the mail through a separate system. They should be able to paste in links to pitched content or access the sales enablement solution directly from their email client.
|When a customer opens the email, views an item, or downloads it, the rep should be notified immediately so they can follow up as appropriate.
|If the rep wishes, all pitch activity should be automatically attached to the appropriate record(s) in the CRM system, so that system contains all the information relevant to a particular deal.
Present to customers in person or over the Internet.
|When reps only need to pitch a piece of content such as a deck or document, they should be able to do so by giving the prospect a URL—viewers should not need to download anything, to minimize sales friction.
|Window and screen sharing
|If the rep needs to do a demo to the customer, either from the browser or from an application running on their machine, they need to be able to share that easily. It might be directly handled by the pitching system, or the company might prefer to integrate with a web conferencing solution (like join.me).
|Pitch archive and recording
|The system should record the information that was presented during the pitch, so that reps can remind themselves in the future exactly what they presented. The archive should include a link to the exact content that was presented as well as optionally allowing the rep to record the session.
Creation and Discovery
Create training material and help reps find what they need.
|Authoring tool support
|There are a variety of different tools available to help organizations build training material in a variety of forms and media. The system imports the training and allows users to find and use it.
|The user can search for the training they need based on title, description, and content. The results are ranked by popularity and/or effectiveness.
|The user can look for relevant training material by browsing through what’s available, using a variety of criteria to find what they need.
|The system uses a variety of criteria (such as the user’s role, seniority, current activities, and previous training they have taken) to recommend training that they may find useful and that has proven to effectively improve results for users in similar roles.
Flexible Learning Environment
Make the training experience as effective and convenient as possible.
|Instructor-led and self-paced courses
|Courses can be led by an instructor or the student can take them at their own time and pace. In either case, students can ask questions and have discussions with the instructor and with each other.
|Communication tools and social learning
|The students and teachers can communicate through a variety of social tools that support instant messaging, virtual classrooms, and threaded discussion forums.
|The courses can include images, audio, and video.
|Mobile and offline learning
|To enable learning in any context, course material is available on devices. It can be accessed while connected to the network and also when offline.
Tracking and Administration
Ensure that people are getting the training that they need and that they are learning the material.
|Testing and grading
|Provide online testing with a variety of grading models (pass/fail, A/B/C/D/F, other). Enable trainers and managers to add assessments from observation.
|Support certification programs for users who prove their expertise in an area. This may be focused on employees, or it may expand to include others in the community that works with the company’s products.
|Allow the company to mandate that certain forms of training be required, and monitor completion/pass rates.
Connect with other systems that you use to support your employees and your sales process.
|HR Performance systems
|Integrate with systems that are used by the company to manage their employees and track their performance and compensation.
|Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems
|Most companies use a system to track their sales activities and results. They often define the roles of each person and show the sales activities that they are engaged in, making them an important source of information for targeted training and for measuring the business impact of readiness investments.
Fundamental requirements for creating insightful reports.
|One of the key ways that companies need to analyze activity and performance is by segmenting the data. There are many kinds of segmentation that are important—by time period (previous quarter), by user community (enterprise/SMB, Americas/Europe/Asia), by content type (case studies/brochures) and so forth. The analytics system must allow data to be filtered and grouped as needed.
|Content similarity analysis
|As content moves from central teams like corporate marketing through the field to the customer, it is often modified and repackaged. In some companies, up to 80% of the content that customers see has been customized. The analytics system will lose all that usage and performance data unless it is able to track how content is modified throughout the organization.
Monitor how much usage your sales enablement platform is getting across the organization.
|Track how many people have signed up and used the solution at least once.
|The number of people who used the system at least once during a particular time period.
|How many people have used the system at some level of depth. There are various ways to measure depth, such as how many reps have pitched to a customer through it, or how many pitches have generated customer engagement, or usage above a threshold of time, or more than a certain number of item views.
|Identify “power users” in each user persona and who is not using the product. Know who has heavy influence in the organization, who is your best source for feedback, and which communities need to be targeted for outreach and education. Also find out search terms that are being used and whether those searches are successfully yielding results.
Content Performance Reports
Measure the usage and effectiveness of your content.
|Assess whether all the key types of content that sellers need are available.
|Find out whether the content is up to date by looking at content age and turnover.
|Determine whether sellers have looked at different kinds of content, to make sure that they are aware that it exists.
|Track how frequently reps have viewed, downloaded, and bookmarked content.
|See the pitches that reps have made to customers and the content that they pitched.
|Look at all the content being used across the company to see how it is being modified and repackaged in the field.
|See the pitched content that has engaged customers, and which parts of the information were of most and least interest.
|How has the content influenced revenue, affected deal and stage conversion and velocity, and generated ROI?
Sales Readiness Reports
Measure the usage and effectiveness of your training.
|The number of people who took the training that is offered and how many completed each course.
|Assess whether all the key types of training that sellers need are available.
|Track how satisfied the sellers were with the training courses that they took.
|Measure how well the sellers learned the material that was covered in the courses they took.
|See how many people attempted and achieved certification in different competencies.
|Track whether sellers are completing the mandatory training sessions.
|Measure the effect of training on sales team turnover.
|Measure the effect of training on the time it takes a seller to ramp up and become effective.
|Measure the effect of training on the revenue attainment of the sellers who take it.
|Measure the overall return on training investments, based on the cost of developing and delivering the course and the opportunity cost to attend it.
- Introduction:The Definitive Guide to Sales Enablement
- Chapter 1: Calculating ROI
- Chapter 2: Platform Capabilities
- Chapter 3: Maturity Model
- Chapter 4: Deployment Guide
- Chapter 5: Solution Design
- Chapter 6: Measuring Content Performance