Help (Finally) Arrives to the Confusing Sales Enablement Market

8WaystoBotchaSalesDealThe sales enablement vendor landscape is a slightly convoluted mess. There are several reasons for this. First, the term “sales enablement” has existed for long enough that everyone has taken their turn at defining it, which has led to nobody knowing exactly what it means. Over the past couple of years there has been an explosion of job titles that included sales enablement, with responsibilities that range from rep training and onboarding to strategically bridging the gap between the content created by marketing and the use of that content in the sales process.

Alongside this explosion, in the interest of aligning sales and marketing through the content that binds the two roles together, dozens of vendors have developed solutions to help address this intractable problem.

And it’s us—the vendors—that are to blame for the insanely redundant messaging and confusing offerings that have been delivered to the market. How is anyone supposed to know what his or her organization really should be looking for when crafting an RFP? How should they differentiate between the offerings?

Ironically, despite offering solutions that alleviate pains for sales and marketing teams, the vendors have been causing enormous headaches for the few unfortunate folks who are responsible for evaluating our offerings.

At Seismic, we’ve attempted to help prospects identify the leaders in the space and compare them on several occasions.

First, we created our own Guide to the Top 17 Sales Enablement Solutions about 18 months ago. In an attempt to be as objective as possible, I commissioned a contractor who wasn’t “drinking the Seismic Kool-Aid” to research each of the competitors and rank them based on criteria that we’d seen in RFPs. We got a lot of positive feedback from customers who found this piece incredibly helpful and viewed it as a token of good faith in the sales process (because we were willing to admit that we had competitors).

We also put a vendor grid on our website (that wasn’t even behind a lead conversion form!) for about a year that showed how we stacked up against seven of our competitors using analysis performed by an investment firm that was researching the space.

Yet despite my best attempts, I didn’t have anything truly objective to point to about how our product differed from competitors.

But (finally!) the first shoe has dropped. One of the leading analyst firms for sales and marketing professionals, SiriusDecisions, released The 2016 Sales Asset Management SiriusView—the first analyst firm to do so (I expect Forrester and Gartner to do similar evaluations in the upcoming 6-12 months).

This report will be immensely helpful to sales and marketing teams that are trying to evaluate these solutions for two reasons.

First, it does an incredible amount of objective research on the vendors for you. Pricing, vendor size, strengths, weaknesses—it’s all right there.

Second, and probably more importantly, it defines the 25 most important criteria to use when evaluating SAM solutions (I view the term sales asset management to be roughly synonymous with sales enablement, and perhaps a fresh start to the whole “let’s define sales enablement again…” discussion). Finally, sales and marketing leaders have a best practice guide from objective experts in the space to say, “You need your SAM solution to be able to do this in order to be successful.”

I hope that this report, and those that will hopefully come soon from other third-party experts, continue to provide clarity into what is a confusing market of many point solutions and few enterprise-grade platforms.

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