The Forrester Wave™: Sales Enablement Automation Systems, Q4 2016, Forrester’s first assessment and evaluation of the sales enablement automation (SEA) space, was released last week. The report aims to help sales enablement practitioners navigate their daily challenges and strategic goals to choose the right vendor to empower their teams. But sales enablement vendors don’t just help sales enablement leaders; last week we discussed how marketing leaders can leverage this report to meet their goals in 2017, and today the focus is on how this report and the SEA vendors it evaluates will benefit sales leaders and their teams next year. Sales trends in 2016 were all about becoming buyer-obsessed: meeting the buyer where they are in the sales process, and ensuring that sellers understood and catered to their buyers’ needs. These trends will continue, but with a twist: 2017 will focus on marrying buyer obsession and sales productivity to ensure that sellers are not only effective, but efficient as well. The three SEA capabilities below from The Forrester Wave™: Sales Enablement Automation Systems, Q4 2016 will help sales leaders do so.
User experience is one of the primary drivers of sales tool adoption. If sales reps find a tool to be too difficult or intrusive to use, adoption will suffer and your investment is nonviable. The key is finding a tool with a positive, intuitive user experience that directly impacts a salesperson’s daily activity. According to Forrester, a seller-oriented user experience requires integration with the CRM and content access from email, and should automatically record content engagement data and insert it into the CRM, so sales leaders and reps know what content is working and with whom. Finally, Forrester says that SEA solutions should offer a portal where sellers can search for and assemble content from the solution. Seismic is able to do these basics and more, which resulted in a perfect 5 out of 5 in Forrester’s user experience category (the only vendor to do so). SEA solutions are undoubtedly powerful and provide unparalleled value to sales and marketing organizations, but should be intuitive and easily integrated into the typical selling process as well.
One major aspect of the user experience includes integrations with the other tools your sales team is already using in everyday sales activities. Sales leaders are putting a huge emphasis on sales tool integration in 2017, because having many disparate platforms and sources of data and content makes salespeople unproductive. Only 39% of a sales rep’s time is spent selling or interacting with buyers, and are instead spending time searching for the right collateral or switching back and forth between programs. As noted above, CRM is typically the go-to integration for SEA vendors, because it increases CRM adoption and usage while also making reps more effective. But even though 92% of companies are leveraging CRM, there’s been a drop in the number of salespeople using CRM as part of their daily workflows. Where are they spending their time, then? According to SiriusDecisions, salespeople spend the majority of their time in email and calendar tools, such as Outlook. Seismic integrates not only with all major CRM solutions, but Microsoft Outlook, to ensure that the right content is available wherever your reps are spending their time. Seismic’s LiveDocs technology also integrates all of a company’s data sources to bring static content to life, and takes personalization to the next level. It’s for all of these reasons that Seismic was the only vendor to score higher than a 3 out of 5 in Forrester’s evaluation for Integration, with a total score of 4.4 out of 5.
A solid content management foundation (which we discussed here) is imperative to any sales and marketing organization’s success, but prescriptive content brings that content to life for sellers. Prescriptive content actively and automatically recommending the most contextually relevant content at the right time to sellers. According to Forrester, this prescriptive content capability includes “reviewing [reps’] active opportunities and tagging and mapping content to CRM fields such as the sales stage, industry, buyer’s role, solution, and usage.” Content should be served up to reps right within the account or opportunity in CRM (like Salesforce), and should give reps confidence knowing that they are using the most up-to-date and relevant collateral with the right audiences. Seismic’s Predictive Content capabilities help sales leaders meet their team’s goals—including shortening sales cycles and increasing revenue—by fostering higher customer engagement with hyper-relevant content. Sellers are provided with what they need when they need it, so buyers can make better decisions based on more productive interactions with salespeople.
Today’s sales leaders are making sales enablement a considerable priority in 2017, and the reasons above are why. Sales enablement automation solutions should exceed sales leaders’ goals for prescriptive content recommendations, data, solution and content source integration, and user experience. Take a look at The Forrester Wave ™: Sales Enablement Automation Systems, Q4 2016 to see how SEA solutions can help you meet these goals and more in 2017.