Everyone’s talking about Sales Enablement these days. You can tell by the proliferation of new buzzwords that every SaaS company and their mother seems to be latching onto: Social selling. Actionable intelligence. Predictive analytics. Anything mobile. If you’re running a sales or marketing department in 2015, you’ve probably thrown at least one, if not all three of those words around in your efforts.
For those very reasons, it’s so important to distinguish those who hold legitimate claim to these terms from the ones crying wolf. Off the top of my head, three companies possessing an inalienable right to such lofty terms are RelateIQ, KissMetrics GoodData, and, of course, Weave.
I’ve written on the Ambition Blog about the benefits of genuine commitment to software engineering in Sales Enablement tools, but that post focused more on the benefits to the companies themselves, rather than the general public. This post will zero in on the benefits to the greater international workforce.
A Sales Enablement Arms Race
Roughly a year ago, MIT and Sloan Management released a pivotal report heralding the emergence of a new era in business enterprise. The Analytics Mandate is a must-read for anyone seeking to use data to gain an edge. If you’re not a member of MIT-Sloan Management, then pony up the $18.95 to get your hands on this report. (I did).
A key insight of the study: Although capabilities of advanced data analytics software and enterprise investments into analytics has climbed rapidly during the past 5 years, the competitive advantage companies are gaining from their analytics are flattening out.
Here’s a major reason why: You can make software upgrades to the data analytics in your sales department, your marketing department, and your customer success department all day long. But in all likelihood, when you upgrade one of these departments, you’re doing nothing to bring the other departments up to speed on how the new software works with their own platforms, you’re not consolidating the B.I. amongst different departments, and you’re losing past data in the transfer over to a new technology. (I’m speaking from experience here, by the way).
At the same token, the MIT-Sloan Report also found that ‘Analytics Innovators,’ or companies that aggressively adopt and use state-of-the-art data analytics technologies to drive their decision-making, also saw substantially higher growth than their more conservative competitors.
Image Source: The Analytics Mandate
As with data analytics, social selling — or the use of technologies that optimize, leverage, or co-opt social media to enhance the sales process (Weave being a prime example) — has faced varying reports about its effectiveness in granting companies a competitive advantage. And again, like data analytics, the companies failing to see improved revenue are likely the ones struggling with how to implement social selling into their existing workflow.
The leading technologies in Data Analytics (GoodData, for example) and Social Selling (Weave) understand the aforementioned problems that adopters are having and attacking them directly. There’s a reason both companies made our Inside Sales Software Guide for 2015. Weave, for example, doesn’t have to break into a company’s existing workflow. Instead, sales and marketing reps can use Weave at trade shows and while on-the-go to spot potential new contacts and lead sources, then try to reach out to them. The app is actually creating a new addition to the workflow that did not previously exist.
Sales Enablement is the Vehicle. Enhanced workflow is the Objective.
Your data is essentially worthless if you’re unable to ascertain meaning from it. Your social media connections are essentially worthless, unless you can leverage them as a source of revenue. And sales enablement is not helpful, unless it’s doing something to enhance your workflow. Want to know who the best sales enablement vendors are? The ones that lead to a more powerful, optimized workflow.
For Business Intelligence, you’re looking for a tool delivers your most important actionable insights, engenders accurate predictive forecasting, and economically visualizes your data, rather than dump information. For social selling, you’re looking for a tool that can help you intelligently and efficiently find new revenue streams and further conversations with prospects, on-the-go, if possible.
The state of the American workplace is changing rapidly, with the most important evolutions taking place in terms of demographics and technology. Making the right decision with which sales enablement tools you implement and how you optimize them is becoming increasingly important with each passing year. Any tool that can help maximize inter-connectedness, eliminate siloing, and reach optimal sales and marketing alignment is of value.
Ambition and Weave both kicked off the year with major tune-ups to our software’s business intelligence capabilities. Our aims: Discovering the new potential of sales enablement and allowing the global workforce to harness that power for the benefit of their own business initiatives.
The leading sales technology of 2015 represents a new vanguard in helping SDRs, Account Executives, and Sales Force Management accomplish their KPI objectives. Ambition, Weave, GoodData and RelateIQ are among those leading the charge. I encourage you to invest heavily in these technologies (especially those, like Weave, who are free) and push your sales force to become a leaner, meaner machine in 2015.
About the Author: Jeremy Boudinet is the Director of Marketing for Ambition, the driving force behind 100+ member sales teams in billion dollar enterprises like Dropbox, Coyote Logistics and Clayton Homes. Ambition integrates with any data source and creates real-time performance scoring, exciting sales contests, and automated coaching and recognition for your sales reps.