Sales enablement automation, digital asset management for sales, content automation, sales asset management. Whatever your preferred term for sales enablement is, there’s no doubting its importance to sales productivity and its current relevance in the B2B technology market. Earlier this week, Forrester released The Forrester Wave™: Sales Enablement Automation Systems, Q4 2016, its first assessment of the sales enablement technology space, which aims to help B2B marketing professionals choose the right SEA system for their organizations. In practice, sales enablement means different things to different people, so Forrester breaks down the Wave by marketers’ most common and pressing sales enablement execution goals, and takes a look at how vendors will be able to help marketers reach these goals in the years to come.
Seismic was named a Leader in the Forrester report which is an honor in and of itself, but we’re even more proud of the specific categories in which Forrester scored us the highest overall, including content management, reporting and ABM readiness. Through market research and customer interviews, it’s clear that these initiatives are at the top of B2B marketing leaders’ wish lists for 2017. But sales enablement automation may not be the first solution that comes to mind when it comes time to tackle these initiatives. So, what does sales enablement automation mean for marketing leaders and their strategic goals in 2017? Leverage this report to understand how sales enablement automation vendors align to your marketing goals and to ensure your team is best positioned for success next year, especially in terms of the following three areas.
A sound content management strategy is the groundwork for successful sales and marketing alignment, and content must be in order before moving onto the other bells and whistles offered by sales enablement automation solutions. Forrester defines content management as a “centralized function to control, manage, publish and access content,” and Seismic was rated highest in this category, with a 4.6 out of 5. When content is effectively managed at the foundation level, it can then be effectively served up in CRM, within email, or anywhere else salespeople are spending their time. Finally, when activity-based enablement is achieved, sellers can “assemble and customize content within limits that the SEA solution controls,” according to Forrester. In most cases, this means that marketing teams are able to manage, distribute, and control how and when salespeople are using content.
Account based marketing is gaining considerable traction in 2016, and shows no signs of slowing down. According to Demandbase, 92 percent of companies recognize ABM as a B2B marketing must-have, and 60 percent were planning to invest in ABM technology in 2016. The Forrester Wave anticipates sales enablement automation tools will build out their ABM-related functions in the year to come, with features such as account-specific content recommendations, distribution, and reporting at the forefront. But with Seismic’s Salesforce and Outlook integrations, content is automatically mapped and suggested to the rep, based on any Salesforce input down to the account level. Marketing teams can track the usage and engagement of content, ensuring that no interactions with high-value accounts slip through the cracks. As ABM continues to take precedence in B2B go-to-market strategies, it will be even more important for sales enablement automation solutions to foster content alignment between sales and marketing.
As the only vendor that scored above a 4 out of 5 in the Forrester Wave’s reporting category, Seismic understands how imperative reporting is to both sales and marketing leaders. Earlier this year, Seismic and MarketingProfs found that 64 percent of content marketers consider measuring their team’s influence on revenue as being very or somewhat important. In effect, CMOs and other marketing leaders are putting more emphasis than ever on content ROI and how it contributes to sales success, so being able to track and report on content usage—how, when, and with whom content is consumed—through sales enablement automation solutions will be an integral part of that ROI equation in 2017.
The priority today’s marketing leaders are putting on strategies like account based marketing and strategic reporting in addition to ensuring robust content management is testament to the growing need for sales and marketing alignment. The Forrester Wave ™: Sales Enablement Automation Systems, Q4 2016 shows how marketing leaders can and should leverage these solutions to achieve their goals in 2017.