Forrester: The Future Of Sales Enablement Is The C-Suite – Soirée, San Francisco
960 Views | 41 Min Read
Mary Shea: It’s great to be here. Good afternoon everyone. These are the die hard sales enablement practitioners that I love so much. It’s great to see you. As Jake mentioned, I’m super passionate about the space.
I’ve been following it for quite some time. And we’ve been conducting a lot of research at Forrester on the space, and really the focus of today’s talk is why sales enablement is more critical now than it’s ever been before. I’m going to take you through some very big picture trends that I think are shaping some of these dynamics.
We’ll talk a little bit about what’s going on between buyers and sellers and how expectations are rising for sellers. And then I’m going to be sharing with you some very new research that we’ve conducted that looks at sales enablement and the ROI that companies can get from rolling out a modern enablement toolset and what the financial impact and other benefits are to moving forward with that type of rollout.
We do have some Q&A, but I’ve suggested, given the time of day, we take that over drinks. So Jake says, you guys bring the Q and I’ll bring the A and there might be some adult beverages there and let’s continue the great discussion. So, with that, if you were in the panel this morning with venture capitalists, it was super fun to get a little bit of unveiling as to how the money guys think about this space and how exciting it is.
There was $15 billion invested over the last 12 months in sales enablement. It’s astronomical. As you know, sales enablement is having a moment, and so I’m really excited to share with you that Forrester has been anticipating this, and over the last 20 months or so, 24 months or so, we published five reports and you can see them here are screenshots, hopefully some of your clients, and you can get access to the reports or send me an email, that really looked to redefine sales enablement in a modern world, in a post-digital world three decades into the 21st century. We start with what is Forrester’s vision for sales enablement and Jake and a lot of folks in the category contributed to the research. We’re really grateful and I’m going to take you through how we’re thinking about it today, which is a lot more strategic, I think, than other folks have thought about it in the past.
We provide an opportunity for you to understand where your maturity is, in terms of your sales enablement maturity. We have an assessment in one of these pieces of research where you can actually go into the research and interactively go through the tool and understand where you are on the maturity curve.
And then we also have some other research that looks at how to deliver more insights as part of the process, how to plan and execute, and the most recent piece that I wrote, which is the ROI, and we’ll talk a little bit about that. So, let’s start off with some of the big things I think that are impacting us, not just as enablement practitioners and business leaders, but really just impacting the world.
The first thing I want to start out with is this concept of where we’re going and where we’ve come from. For any of you who remember back in the day, CRM in the late nineties, was really intended to really bring buyers, sellers, and marketers closer together. I think it fundamentally failed at that time, and we’re still struggling with user adoption and why won’t salespeople use it? And let’s hire Forrester to figure out how to roll this out correctly. But it’s really not surprising that no one on the sales side used to see around because it was essentially designed to accelerate invoicing and to help suppliers get access to the money quicker. Then after that, it really became an activity management tool for first line managers, and then it became a pipeline management tool.
It was never really designed with how sellers worked day to day. It didn’t really think about their workflow and their processes and how they would use it. And then marketing automation came, and there’s a lot of consolidation around 2009, not dissimilar from what we’re seeing with sales enablement automation right now.
We became so great at marketing automation that we basically desensitized everybody to email. Right? Does anyone actually answer your email? Sometimes, maybe not. Not instantaneously though. And sometimes it can take three or four days to get an answer back. If I want to catch up with someone, if someone wants to catch up with me, it’s really DM, personal message, text if it needs to be quick.
There’s some challenges in the sense that we’ve really desensitized the marketplace, and it really hasn’t brought the constituents together. So, sales enablement, circa 2019 and now as we go into 2020, I think is really poised to transform the way marketers, sellers and buyers work, collaborate and engage, and to create greater efficiencies, effectiveness, and better experiences for everyone.
We’re really bullish about it at Forrester, most of you have heard of this, the consumerization of the business buyer. It’s not a new concept. So, I’ll probably go through this relatively quickly, but at Forrester, we wrote a pretty seminal report. Steve Casey, my colleague, wrote it. It’s called “The Birth as a Business Consumer”. And the concept is that business buyers, their attitudes, activities, expectations, are now shaped by their favorite personal brands and their interactions with those brands. So, if you think about who your favorite brands are, what are they?
Close your eyes. What kind of brands do you love? Spotify. Maybe Netflix. Amazon for sure. Right? Apple, if you go into the Apple store, if you chat with someone at Apple, if you call them, it’s incredibly consistent, the brand experience and the engagement experiences.
So, your buyers in the business world are now expecting that same kind of interaction experience. As they become less and less loyal to routes, they’re becoming more loyal to the types of experiences that they have with businesses. You find your sellers being challenged by this particular situation.
And then there’s the maturation of AI and automation, right? It affects all aspects of our personal lives and our work lives. On the personal side, before I get home, I go onto my app and I turn on the heat. I get the lights on. If it’s snowing in Portland, I probably turn on my car off of my app before I get out there, and then I just recently found out, and I’d heard some murmurings of this before then. I’m not a great driver. If you talk to my spouse, you will hear an earful. But anyway, I’d heard that and I didn’t totally believe it. And then I got this new Volvo, a very safe car. And I drive down to Boston to have meetings with clients sometimes. The last time I went, it was raining. It was really dark. I don’t see so good, as well. I am that person. And what I found to my dismay is that I don’t stay in my lane. I’m constantly veering to the right. It’s very consistent. But thank God the AI can help adjust me back gently. I get right into the middle of the lane.
Now, imagine if you’re at work and you’ve just had a great meeting and you’ve got that golden five minutes after the meeting, and you can actually dictate some notes into your smartphone that can automatically get uploaded into your CRM, reach out to other collaborators internally and accelerate the process for working on deals together. It’s really changing everything that we do.
And then this other concept of adaptability, which I think is really key. I was talking to a lot of people who focus on sales operations and sales ops, and when I was a CRO, I was obsessed with data too. But we were always cutting it and I could never get it in real time.
It was always last month, last year, so it’d be year over year, month over month. It would be win-loss reviews after the end of the month. At that point, what could I do as a CRO? I can’t save it if I lost it already. So I think now as we move forward, the hallmark of very successful B2B companies will be those that can adapt real-time in the moment to all of the data inputs that come into them.
Whether it’s at the rep level, where they’re getting guidance, whether it’s at the manager level, where they’re getting white space opportunities, or at the sales ops level where the whole organization isn’t tracking a quota. Here’s a spiff you need to launch. This is the disposition and here’s the region it needs to go to. And if you do it, you’re 80% more likely to hit quota. So this concept of adapting real-time in the moment, not looking at historical data, I think it’s going to be pretty transformational for leading companies as we move forward. So, we’ll talk a little bit about some of these buyer-seller dynamics.
I’m going to move quickly through some of these stats. I know you guys are familiar with them and I want to get to some of the meat in the presentation. So, take pictures quickly if you’re interested. But we’re continuing to look at this research longitudinally, so year over year. What we’re seeing is that buyers continuously are preferring to interact in the digital world. 61% of B2B buyers prefer to research online. And this is up significantly from just a couple of years ago. So, this is continuing to move at a pretty fast pace. 67% of B2B buyers prefer not to interact with a sales rep as their primary source of information. Now, for all you sales folks in the room where people who have carried a bag, does this scare you? Does it?
It shouldn’t though, because I think we’ve almost over-indexed to the digital side. What my research shows is that consistently buyers very much value the interactions they have with that salesperson. It’s just they want a different interaction now because they can find out all the information on their own. They want you to come in and compliment and amplify and not come in and pitch a product and service. So, it’s a different conversation, but they still very much want to have that conversation.
And then I think this one is really interesting, particularly as it relates to the segment that Highspot plays in. 62% of B2B buyers say they can now develop selection criteria or come up with a vendor list just by looking at digital content. So what does this mean? It means a couple of things, right? It means number one, finally, your sales and your marketing content strategy need to be in lockstep. You can have the best sales force in the world, but if there’s no digital content, you’re never going to get pulled into the RFP or into the discussion. You might lose the deal before you even got invited to it in the first place. So that’s one thing. There’s a lot of things that are really important here as it relates to this digital buyer. And this is one that I think is really crucial.
The next one is really interesting, and this is 70% of buyers say buying from a website is the most convenient way to buy or to do business. My colleague Laura Ramos did an amazing report a little bit earlier this year, and she looked at 60 business websites to look at how engaging, interactive, and customer-centric the content was. And guess what was a huge failure? Out of those 60 websites she looked at, only four of them across all different industries were really optimized. That’s really interesting. So, you’ve got to start to think about selling more holistically, not by siloed routes.
We’re hearing from buyers that they want to go to websites, they want to play with personalized demos, they want to use interactive tools. And guess what happens when they do all those activities. They have a rich path of data that gets funneled right back to the salesperson who then can analyze it and use it to make the next contact or interaction with that buyer to be much more meaningful.
And then this particular concept, my colleague Andy Hoar wrote a report called “The Death of the B2B Salesman” probably about four years ago. Some of you read it, I’m sure, or have heard it. I call it purposely provocative. In the report he really stated that the salesperson was in danger of going extinct because buyers were really starting to prefer digital. He had some terrible prognostications around how many salespeople were going to be left and what was going to happen. I was kind of miffed at the time because I built my whole career around sales. And I think it’s an amazing profession and I’m really proud to have been part of it. I’ve subsequently conducted a lot of research, which really tells me it’s just the opposite.
There’s probably never been a more exciting time to be a B2B seller. And that’s because finally all of the minutia and the time you spend doing things that don’t matter are now going to be automated. In addition to that, with AI, you’re going to be getting guidance, recommendations, insights that are going to make you be more effective, more valuable, and make more money.
Will there be less sellers as we drive forward some of these efficiencies? Yes, probably that’s not a surprise. But everyone really has the chance to be highly consumer consultative. So, it’s a different mindset. If you’re willing to take the journey as a seller, I think you can be super successful. Those who are not are going to run into some troubles because buyers are changing so, so fast. As I think about all in the challenges that our sellers have, and dealing with these evolving buyers, I started to think about and imagine, what’s table stakes? What does it look like to be a buyer or to be a seller in this world?
Here’s some of the traits that I think are most important. Some you’ll see are not surprising. They engage in network selling, but instead of doing it in a fundamentally analog way, much of that network selling is probably going to be done digitally. Perhaps even through social channels and channels that are in and above just LinkedIn. Sellers are going to need to be proficient and to have profiles on LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, WhatsApp, whatever it is, wherever your customers are, they need to play effectively there.
We also heard from buyers that they’re more likely to buy from a seller who’s going to share new ideas. So, does that mean everyone needs to start becoming a blogger or be a celebrity or have 15,000 followers on Twitter? No. But there’s plenty of things you can do. You can curate content. You can add value. You can follow thought leaders, you can connect folks. So, being able to share new ideas is really, really high. Digital savviness is crucial. Companies that have a more tenured sales force, a lot of them are actually setting up bilateral mentorship programs to bring digital natives and more tenured reps together to help both be more effective at the job.
And then this concept of collaboration. I think we can all agree that the days of the lone wolf seller are well behind us. You’re probably seeing this more and more collaborative pursuits in your organizations and more stakeholders involved in the decision making. And of course, data is going to be crucial. They don’t need to be a data scientist, but they need to be able to ask marketing or ask data science what the right questions are.
So, these complexities are probably not new. More and more stakeholders are in the process. When you have more people, then you have more competing agendas. When you have more politics, you have longer decision cycles. People don’t take phone calls or they’re desensitized to email. So, it’s really challenging and it’s with this backdrop that I start to think about sales enablement being more and more crucial.
I love this particular research that we did and it’s a few years old, but I think it’s worthy of discussion here because even though you can’t control what’s happening in the marketplace, you can’t control that buyers are going to a variety of different sources to get information. You can control these things with the right toolset and with right training and development.
We went out, we interviewed about 200-plus buyers and asked them across multiple industries, all things being equal from sort of a price and capabilities perspective. How much more likely would you be to buy from someone who exhibits these characteristics? You can see between 74% and 77% more likely to buy from someone who teaches me something new, who can pivot to flip on the fly and talk about what I care about, who can pull out an interactive ROI tool in the meeting and help me understand the measurable impact that their solution is going to provide to my business. These are the kinds of conversations that buyers really value with sellers, whether it’s face to face, virtual or remote.
Another thing I thought about is this concept of the sales process. And Jake, you actually introduced me to Sean Goldie. I’m not sure if he’s here today, but he’s been a tremendous resource and he’s the head of enablement at Apptio. What he did was actually really stopped thinking about the sales process and started to call it a buying process, and reinvision what their pipeline milestones in their approach would be like from the buyer’s perspective. And I really loved that story. It’s so simple, but it created exponential change in his organization.
This is how I think today’s buyers want to go about buying. They are self-directed in the early stages. This is Forrester’s buyer’s journey. You all have your own. They’re probably quite similar, but buyers today want to be left alone in this early phase of the process. They want to access social networks. They want to go to G2 Crowd, they want to consult Forrester or Gartner, whoever it is, and by a factor of three to one they don’t want to be sold to.
So, this kind of leaves you and your sellers in a bit of a quandary. Your sellers can sit by the sidelines and wait till they’re ready, which is kind of dangerous because then you’re involved in a relationship, commodity or price conversation. Or they can figure out how to insert themselves into the conversation and add value in different ways. But trust me, that is not pitching product, company, or service. It’s about curating content. It’s about adding value. It’s about deeply understanding what matters to their buyer even before you’ve had that initial contact.
What I continue to hear from buyers is we want that Amazon-like experience. If you think about Amazon, or if I think about Amazon, I never sat down with a sales rep and said, “this is what keeps me up at night.” These are the birthdays of my nieces and nephews, here are the types of sports I compete in. Typically, I get injured and I have to do this, but they know, right? Because they know what I buy. They know what I do for work. I buy business books, I buy all kinds of inkjets. I do everything, and all of that is served up to me. And so buyers want your sellers to engage and interact with them like they know them, even though they’ve never had a connection. And it’s really possible to do that if you have the right tools in place.
In this mid-level, buyers tell us that they do want discreet interactions with marketing assets, collateral. They want to go to events like this. They want to learn more about competitive options, pricing. Usually they do want to have some sort of a stakeholder meeting. That could be in person, that could be virtual. However it is, the buyer wants to engage.
And then this final stage after they become a client, they want personalized, highly, highly personalized, intricate interactions and engagements. Account based marketing, account based engagement, that is so crucial right now because of that personalized and tailored approach to interacting with your customer after they’ve joined, they want to become advocates. How many of you guys have advocacy programs in your organization? Customers, in some ways are your best sellers. Put two customers together and watch the magic happen, or two prospects and a customer. This is the type of interaction. And of course, they also tell us they want a lot of innovation and co-creation. They want you to help them continue to enhance their professional brands.
Now we get to enablement and with this backdrop, with the fact that the buyers are moving at such velocity, the gap between selling capabilities of most selling organizations and how buyers want to buy is pretty big. Do you guys feel that we’re playing catch up right now? Let’s be honest. And it’s okay. But that is why you as sales enablement practitioners are so important. Has anyone ever tried to define sales enablement? Has as an executive or family member said, “Hey, what exactly is sales enablement?” Have you ever Googled it and see how many topics come up and nothing really matches up?
I must’ve spent like six or nine months really trying to nail down this definition because I was so frustrated that there wasn’t a workable definition on what sales enablement was. And I even went to the Sales Enablement Society. And I don’t want to offend anybody, but I couldn’t understand what they wrote. So, I tried to distill it to its most simplest terms. In the past, sales enablement really was just about getting content to sellers at the right time to deliver to buyers when it mattered. And now maybe it was doing a sales kickoff meeting and doing some training. Maybe it was handling everything the head of sales didn’t want to deal with.
Today, it is much more sophisticated, strategic, and relevant. I tried to reflect that in this definition. What I came up with, and I’d love to chat with you one-on-one if you have more thoughts and ideas on how to edit and reshape this. It’s a business function that helps all selling systems work in effective, efficient, and coordinated manner in order to increase revenue, lift, minimize costs associated with sales, and deliver more meaningful experiences to buyers.
The thing that always kind of bugged me about the previous definitions once I kind of unpack them, this was always about efficiency or acceleration. I think today it’s about experiences, delivering better experiences to buyers and enabling better experiences between marketers and sellers, which can happen with these digital tools that are out there.
And then finally, because you can operate in such an efficient manner with some of these tools and platforms, you have the ability as sales enablement leaders to dramatically impact your company’s top and bottom line. So, if you were in the session this morning with venture capitalists, we really talked about what does the CEO think about, what do they worry about? In addition to talent and some of the obvious things, it’s top-line revenues, it’s bottom-line revenues, and it’s customer experience, at the highest level. This is where I see sales enablement playing. I call it the three E’s, and hopefully it’s easier for folks to think about it and be able to explain to relatives and friends what it is you actually do.
The other interesting thing we found in our research is that, and this is very early, but I want to share it with you because I think it’s really important. When we look at sales enablement maturity, we found that there was a direct correlation between organizations’ maturity level in terms of their ability to deliver sales enablement and the ability to drive revenue. Hopefully we’ll get more and more data as the industry progresses next year. I thought this was really interesting for you guys to think about. You really have a lever to drive growth in making good business and technology decisions around sales enablement.
The other thing we did was really, we envision what the competencies are for sales enablement as a function and the practitioners who play within the space. We looked at it from five areas: strategy, process, insights, technology, and talent. I won’t go through all of this. Certainly, I’m sure you’ll be able to download the presentation at some point. So this will be great as a follow on, but you can see sort of where we looked at beginner, intermediate, and advance and what it takes to go through that process. Sean Goldie is really moving forward with creating more of a customer-centric strategy. Their sales motion is being designed around how the customer wants to engage with them, just as one example.
Then here you can see where we are from a technology and talent perspective. When I think about when I was a chief revenue officer, I hired very different types of talent than I would hire today. I probably even go to different talent pools today. Whether it’s top tier business schools to get someone who’s good with quant, whether it’s internally from my engineering department or customer success, I’m really thinking about different ways and different types of talent that are going to be more successful in this world. What Sean also did was actually sit down with his head of sales and head of HR and completely redefine the various sales roles for where they found themselves in the business today.
The challenge is,, as you look at where companies are in the B2B realm, most everyone we surveyed and probably about 5% of the companies that we looked at actually considered themselves optimized or fairly sophisticated in these five competencies areas. You can see insights, strategy, technology, talent. They are still very nascent in terms of their ability to deliver on a more mature experience. Now, keep in mind, we’re Forrester, so it’s a company, at least on the analyst side, and the sales side is full of over achievers. So, it’s a pretty hard grading system.
But there’s also a lot of work that’s ahead of us and that’s ahead of you as practitioners. To dig a little bit more deeply, what we found that most companies do is they still take an inside-out approach to going to market. So, that means thinking about my own internal systems, my process, my linear pipeline, so I can forecast and close versus the buying motions and how buyers want to interact. Only 9% of the companies that we surveyed said we’re optimized in this regard. So, lots of work to be done.
Here’s one that Forrester gets called to help a lot of companies with. Everybody wants data, right? But you can’t get good data and you’ve got to get your data house in order if you want to move forward on the path of being more sophisticated in terms of what you’re being able to deliver to market. Only 31% of the companies that we surveyed said they were optimized or even consistent with having interconnected systems.
So, if your systems that are market-facing don’t talk to each other and connect to each other and you don’t have a solid data strategy, you’re going to have disconnected interactions with buyers across the buying journey. And that’s going to frustrate them. So, there’s a ton of work that’s somewhat rudimentary, just in terms of really getting the systems interconnected, working together, and getting a very clean, solid set of data from which to move forward.
Now I’m going to talk a little bit about my newest pieces of research. This particular piece went live last Wednesday. And for any of you who know Forrester, I’ll let you know that I worked with myself and my team, but we also partnered up with quantitative consultants and consultants who are on our total economic impact team. And those quant jocks actually worked with us and they work with our customers to get to the heart of what the financial impact is of these types of investments.
I thought of, what are the core tools of a modern enablement set or stack? I’m not talking about CRM, kind of been there, done that. I’m talking about sales enablement, automation, sales engagement, and sales readiness, right? So, sales enablement, automation, sales engagement, and sales readiness. Sales enablement automation helps with efficient, effective access to content. Sales engagement helps sellers manage their multi-channel cadences effectively, and sales readiness helps sellers be prepared for their next interaction and engagement with a customer or prospect, whether that’s through some quick micro training, a video based learning, or what have you.
Those are the tools that I think are sort of the basics. And companies are still at various stages of rolling those tools out in their organization. Here’s just a little bit of detail. Again, this is probably better. I know the nomenclature is difficult for folks. This is probably better as a takeaway, but sales engagement platforms, those are the organizations that help with a multichannel cadence, sales enablement automation. That category, again, is helping with more efficient and effective access to content. And sales readiness is helping sellers be more effective in the moment, not after the fact.
What do all three of these systems have in common? That sort of relates to what we were just talking about. Anyone want to take a guess? I think the biggest thing is, I’m about ready to cold-call somebody, but I’m not going to do it. So, the biggest thing is data, right? You have access to so much data from these systems with sales enablement, automation, and engagement data. What are salespeople consuming? What are they reading? What are they delivering to clients and prospects? How are those clients or prospects utilizing that same thing with sales engagement? And the same thing with readiness. And as you get that data, you align it to your pipelines and your forecast, and you start to have more intelligence around what does good look like and how do I get my B and A players to do this, or my B and C players to do this thing that the A players are doing and what are those a players doing? And it finally gives a CRO or head of a sales enablement levers to make decisions and move the organization forward.
What we found out is super exciting. And I don’t think it will be surprising to some of the folks in the room. You guys are at the tip of the spear. But modern enablement tools deliver a pretty significant revenue lift within 12 months. And that’s 20%. What I found when I first started to do my research, as I talked to all these professionals and practitioners, they’d say, categorically they know there’s a positive impact. And then I asked them about the ROI and things sort of go quiet. It’s difficult to quantify.
That was one of the first things at a high level we found. We also found that the bookings by rep increased by about 18-20% as well, which is really significant. Then, this is phenomenal. Look at the ramp up time for new reps. We were talking about either readiness or reading internal content. Having these solutions in place can decrease the time it takes to ramp and onboard a new rep. Now, as a CRO, if I had that kind of lever available, I would have paid my weight in gold a hundred times over. I mean, these are not easy things to get. So, I thought that was very, very exciting.
Then, at the organizational and rep level, we found some really nice efficiencies, which I don’t think will surprise you. Reduction in time spent entering in a CRM by 28%. It’s amazing. Reduction of time spent searching for content, reduction of time working on low value tasks. When you start to think about freeing up sellers from all that minutiae, there’s so much more time. They have to get smarter, to do more research, to add more value, to expand and deepen relationships. Super exciting.
And then at the organizational level, there’s really big benefits as well. We talked about the ramp up time for new reps, so that’s really great from an HR talent in sales perspective. How about all the tension that exists between marketing and sales and the finger pointing? Now, we have data and with data you really can’t point fingers very long. It may be one conversation, maybe cycle to one and a half conversation, and then there’s really nothing else to say. Because the data is the data. Now, you’ve got a reduced time from first touches to new leads. How often has that been an area of contention between marketing and sales? Huge. Which is really nice.
Then you’ve got to, and this can even be more important if you’re in a heavily regulated industry, time that marketers or legal or other, personas run around and chase down content that’s not compliant, whether it’s brand or legally compliant. So, there’s benefits for the whole organization and not just a salesperson. I won’t go into too much detail here, but this really shows what the methodology is for our time studies.
We created this composite company, which we called SmartWorks, and we looked at, what was their baseline revenue? How many sales reps did they have? What was the average payoffs in terms of salaries and commissions? Then we start to crunch the numbers and come up with an amazing ROI over the course of three years for companies that successfully roll out and operationalize these three tools. The ROI is 666%, and you can see some of the other details. You’ve got massive productivity increase, and so on and so forth. And I’ll go over just a little bit of some of these financial details and let you take a look at it.
Again, if you’re interested, the full report is available on Forrester.com and there’s an interactive tool, so you can actually enter in all of the data from your company, like how many sales reps do you have, how many employees do you have, what are your revenues? You can start to understand what the ROI might look for your organization if you make the investment in one, two, or three of these types of tools.
Then we also looked at some of the softer benefits as well, which I think are equally important. It doesn’t tell as dramatic a story, but you’ve got more consistency on messaging. This is so important, especially as you have so many decentralized sales organizations, remote workers, people working all over the world. As you get further and further apart, it’s really hard to maintain that consistency.
Automatic collection of data. Again, you can’t put a price tag on that, right? You’re able to, with these systems, collect all kinds of data, aggregate it, roll it into your CRM or into a BI tool and start making great decisions. And then I think the thing I really love is this increased alignment between sales and marketing. We’ve been talking about that forever, right? I think that as we move forward and we have more data-driven conversations, we have digital collaboration workflows between marketers and sellers. That relationship is finally going to come together and ultimately coalesce under sort of a revenue generation, revenue ops type of role.
So, lots of great benefits from these tools. And then this looks at some of the costs, and how we looked at the cost over the course of this three year period. The cost for each of the individual platforms, you can see sort of the relative costs to each other. The cost of FTEs and employees that are needed to manage the internal programs, implementation and so on. We look at risk benefit costs, and then one thing we look at is flexibility. What is something unanticipated that down the line even further, you’re going to get from a benefits perspective from this investment. I think what we see is the access to the data. That’s going to give you lots and lots of opportunities that you can’t even imagine today.
I’m super excited about this research. We’ve got a couple of other reports that are in progress. One is The State of Digitized Sales, which will probably go live in a couple of weeks, and I’m working on one that looks at the democratization of the B2B seller. If you have any interest in participating in the interview process, let me know or let your friends at Highspot know.
I’m just going to leave you with a few things to think about before we meet out there in the lounge and have a cocktail. Embrace this modern version of enablement. Let go of the definition from the 20th century. Put yourself in a strategic position with your organization. Find ways to put the buyer at the center of everything that you do. I tell enablement practitioners, create a big vision, make a plan, and then communicate that to everyone who’s going to listen to you. Because as you all are on an upward trajectory on your careers, you’re going to start taking a piece of other people’s patches and people are averse to change. There will be some political dynamics. Get out there and communicate. Build a plan, have a strategy, make everyone listen to it. Finally, take your seat at the table. I think now is your moment. These tools are mature, the buyers are demanding it, and your salespeople need the help. Take your seat at the table and enjoy the rewards of all your efforts and success. Thank you very much.