How to Choose a Sales Enablement Vendor
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Purchasing any new software for an organization is a daunting task. Often a large investment, not just financially but also in terms of the time and energy spent evaluating and implementing, it’s critical for practitioners to feel confident that they have selected the best solution that fits their needs and aligns with the unique requirements of the organization.
With the potential to help teams across the revenue organization enhance their impact on business results, choosing the right solution provider is not a decision that should be made lightly. In evaluating options and ultimately making a decision, it is important to consider the role that key go-to-market (GTM) stakeholders will play in the process as well as the core characteristics of an effective solution partner.
Here’s a comprehensive guide on how to select a sales enablement vendor:
Assembling the GTM Team
Just as stakeholders across the GTM team, from marketing to sales and enablement, play a role in supporting the sales team with the content, training, coaching, and guidance they need to succeed, an effective sales enablement tool supports each of these roles in optimizing those efforts. As such, their perspectives, needs, and use cases will be important to consider as part of the evaluation process. For example, these roles can provide value to the process in the following ways:
- Marketing: As the primary creators of content for sales teams to leverage, it is important for marketers to ensure that the content they create is both effectively used by reps and effectively landing with buyers. With this in mind, marketers will want to explore how a tool will help them streamline the delivery of content, understand how content is performing, and optimize engagement.
- Sales Enablement: The connective tissue between the needs of buyers and sellers, sales enablement is crucial to ensuring the sales teams have the knowledge, skills, and tools they need to execute with confidence and deliver meaningful experiences for buyers. This means it will be highly important for practitioners to understand how a tool will help them optimize sellers’ time, efficiently deliver content and resources at the right time, and gather insights on impact to assess performance.
- Sales: The key lever by which organizations grow their business, sellers are the critical point of human contact for buyers, helping to guide them forward in their decision-making processes and providing seamless experiences. With high performance expectations from the business and a responsibility to provide value to customers, sellers will be interested in understanding how a tool will help them be more effective so that they can more efficiently meet their goals.
The Capabilities That Matter
When assessing the key capabilities of a solution, the core use cases and priorities will often differ based on an organization’s core objectives. In order to satisfy the needs of the core end-users and audiences across the GTM team, as outlined above, there are a few common themes to consider to ensure the tool can help these teams meet their respective goals. Consider the following capabilities:
- Content Management: Having a single source of truth to find the latest content is important to mitigate issues that can arise with compliance, branding, and wasted time spent searching for content. Key considerations for a sales enablement solution include the ability to recommend, store, curate, personalize, and distribute relevant content.
- Structured Guidance: Providing structured guidance at the moment of need through a sales enablement platform can help align content to GTM priorities, helping get reps up to speed quickly on initiatives to drive consistent behaviors.
- Content Governance: Beyond centralizing content, governance helps ensure content can be efficiently planned, created, and distributed. For example, a sales enablement tool can streamline and optimize how content is reviewed, published, prioritized, and audited.
“Any content governance strategy really needs to ensure that materials that the field can access have three qualities: that they’re current, they’re accurate, and that they add value,” said Marcela Piñeros, head of sales enablement at Stripe.
- Training: Simply providing the right content and guidance to sales teams is not enough to drive the right behaviors. Training functionality can help take these efforts a step further with course material to learn knowledge and skills as well as exercises to reinforce those skills and help reps build confidence.
“Give thought to not only what [training] you’re developing and the content that’s included in it, but also how it’s being delivered, where it lives, and how you get to it going forward,” said Tara Sheska, sales training and incentives at Independence Blue Cross.
- Coaching: To help managers better coach their reps to success, insights on performance and behaviors are critical. This means that sales enablement and sales leaders will be interested in how an enablement platform can help them gain visibility into rep performance, track competency improvements, and deliver feedback to reps.
- Partners & Integrations: To drive true adoption across multiple GTM teams, integrations with other core tools in the tech stack, methodologies, and workflows will be important to consider and evaluate.
“The methodologies that we’ve deployed have really transformed the sales teams to have more cadence and adoption, the managers to coach, reinforce, and inspect the things that are going on during that buyer’s journey, and the sales process to make sure that we’re firing on all cylinders and being successful,” said Jeff Everton, senior director of sales readiness at Absolute Software.
- Implementation & Customer Support: Having the support of the selected vendor beyond purchase will be critical to long-term success. Be sure to evaluate how the organization will provide implementation support as well as ongoing customer service.
- Analytics: Being able to access reliable data on how programs are landing and influencing outcomes can help leaders make more informed decisions on where to invest time and resources to improve success. Consider how accessible, digestible, and reliable a vendor’s analytics features are.
“The way we use data analytics today is to help us spot the areas of where we could or should focus to create a positive impact,” said Maria Bélen Eglez, revenue enablement manager for EMEA at Algolia.
- Security: With many laws governing security across the globe, ensuring a vendor is compliant in these areas is critical to ensure long-term scalability. Ensure the platform has protections in place to mitigate the risks associated with data privacy and security.
Selecting the right technology partner for any business purchase is a big decision that requires careful consideration. With many important elements to evaluate and stakeholder priorities to consider, the process can be overwhelming. By downloading this comprehensive guide, practitioners can keep the most important criteria top of mind, ensuring they ask the right questions that ultimately help them identify the right partner.