Investing in Enablement Technology: Expectations and the Benefits of Integration

Whenever you make an investment in sales productivity and performance, you want to achieve better business results at the end of the day. Investing in enablement technology is foundational; as a productivity boost, it is a prerequisite to improving performance. Ideally, enablement technology builds on a prepared foundation, which would be in this case, for instance, a “cleaned-up content basement.”

What are the key improvements, organizations expect from investing in enablement technology?

Looking at all respondents from our 2015 Sales Enablement Optimization Study (more than 500 organizations globally), the most important goal was “improving salespeople’s access to content and tools” (35%), followed by “sharing best practices across the sales force” (32%), and “improving cross-selling and up-selling” (30%). The list continues with improvements ranked with less than 30%, such as “improving sales and marketing alignment” or “reduce search time for content and collateral” as well as “improving ramp-up time for new hires.” No surprises in these results so far. But looking at the different regions makes this analysis more interesting.

4.28.16Different focal points in North America and EMEA

In North America, the top improvement desired, regardless of respondent category, was: “improving salespeople’s access to content and tools (46%).” Then, the second most important improvement was “reducing the search time for content and collateral” (33%), which is for many people probably the most common immediate result they want to get out of enablement technology. Two improvements tied for third place: “reducing ramp-up time for new hires” (29%) and “improving sales and marketing alignment” (29%).

In EMEA things are perceived a bit differently. The top improvement in EMEA was “Improving cross-selling and up-selling” with a pretty high ranking of 52%. In the category of all respondents, this improvement was ranked on the third position with 30%. But looking at North America, this improvement was only ranked with 17% at position number nine. The second most important improvement in EMEA was “improving salespeople’s access to content and tools” (44%) which was overall the number one result, and in NA the number two. On the third position we got “improving ramp-up time for new hires” with 28%, rank almost the same as in NA.

Some of these improvements are directly linked to a prerequisite: the integration of sales enablement solutions with CRM systems. Integration drives adoption and is an enabler for faster searches and better content access as people don’t need to work with different systems.

Integration of enablement technology drives productivity and adoption, and is an indicator of enablement maturity

“Be Inspired” is an enablement delivery mechanism that requires enablement technology to be integrated with CRM systems. This means salespeople don’t have to go to another system, log in, and search for what they need. Instead, technology suggests content (and related training services) based on the characteristics of salespeople’s opportunities and accounts. To make this mechanism work, a customer-core enablement framework and a properly defined and implemented content creation process are essential. The future vision of success is that salespeople have one collaborative platform they work with. The foundation is often the CRM system that integrates enablement and playbook systems, learning content, and predictive analytics to support them at every stage of their deals.

Now what does reality look like? Overall, 46% reported having this kind of integration, 41% said they did not, and 13% planned to implement it within the next twelve months. That looks like a pretty balanced status quo with lots of room for improvement. Here, the differences in the regions are much bigger.

In NA, 54% reported having this kind of integration, whereas only 28% in EMEA said so. Consequently, many more respondents in EMEA plan an integration initiative within the next twelve months (24%), versus North America (12%).

Enablement is perceived differently in different regions, and organizations are at different maturity levels. EMEA has an opportunity to learn from those who have already done enablement integrations.

Questions for you:

Do you use enablement technology?

If yes, it is integrated in your CRM system?

Related blog posts:

Sales Enablement and Technology – The Change Gap

Sales Enablement and Technology – The Collaboration Gap

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