As businesses grow, expanding their headcount and revenue goals, sales and marketing leaders are turning to sales enablement platforms to boost the efficiency and productivity of sales representatives. When engaged in complex sales cycles that typically require dozens of touch points, buy-in from the C-suite, and many months – or even years – of dedicated attention and input from leaders across multiple functions, it’s paramount that people’s energy is focused on the deal, rather than on time-intensive tasks.
With a global annual market size of $2 billion,1 there are dozens of sales enablement platforms available to purchase, offering a variety of capabilities and services at a wide range of price points. Here are some tips on evaluating this crowded market and identifying the best one for your organization.
Rank Features and Functionality
First, it’s essential to identify what challenges to your current (and even projected future) sales organization a sales enablement platform will address. Are your reps habitually using outdated content? Are they struggling to collect and document market feedback? Are gaps in onboarding and training hamstringing effective prospect evaluation?
Next, determine which features and functionalities of a sales enablement platform will be valuable for achieving the ideal state for your sales team. Some common sales enablement platform capabilities include:
- Content repository and management: Help the sales team organize and even modify collateral (pitch decks, solution briefs, data sheets, case studies, etc.), and ensure teams have access to the latest and greatest content
- Sales training and coaching: Level up the sales team’s collective product and sales process knowledge through curated training modules and resources and deliver personalized feedback and guidance on specific deals
- Engagement tracking: Get a deep understanding of how prospects interact with shared content through the platform, including time spent on each slide/page – providing valuable data points for marketing teams to refine existing content and craft engaging new collateral
- Task automation: Empower sales reps with simple workflows to automate routine and repetitive tasks such as data entry and follow-up communications – allowing them to focus on more strategic endeavors
- Analytics: Capture and evaluate valuable metrics on sales performance beyond wins/losses and deal sizes, such as usage of correct messaging or objection handling
Once your team has constructed a business case and prioritized the list of must-haves, nice-to-haves, and unnecessary features, you should start evaluating vendors while keeping the following criteria in mind.
A crucial evaluation component for most software, sales enablement platforms are no different. Your organization would be wise to evaluate the user experience from the perspectives of both your sales representative end-users and the administrators. While the platform may be easy for your sales team to use and navigate, if your admins have difficulty updating content or customizing training modules, then collateral on your platform will likely be static. Thus, sales reps may be discouraged from adopting the platform.
Organizations use, on average, 130 SaaS applications, with large enterprise usage skyrocketing to 410.2 Depending on your business case and desired functionalities, your sales enablement platform ideally should integrate with the apps and tools (Customer Relationship Management, communication, single-sign-on, marketing automation, storage, etc.) your sales team already uses. Integrations will encourage platform engagement and adoption and help to solve your original challenges.
Likely storing a treasure trove of valuable product and corporate strategy information, sales enablement platforms could be a target for malicious actors hoping to steal your sensitive proprietary content and potentially sell it to competitors. Plus, if you’re using the platform to communicate with prospects, your tools may be required to meet specific data security policies and industry regulations. Therefore, security features such as data encryption and access controls are vital to evaluate, ensuring they align with your organization’s security standards and compliance policies.
Following this evaluation process will help you identify the right sales enablement platform for your current and future sales needs. One that will increase your sales team’s competency, knowledge, win rate, and revenue.