Sales Enablement @CSO Insights: Highlights 2018

What a year! 2018 was a very intensive year here at CSO Insights, with lots of highly interesting and comprehensive research projects. Seleste Lunsford covered our overall CSO Insights highlights here.

Today, let me share our 2018 sales enablement highlights. In numbers: I wrote 48 blog posts (including this one) just here on our CSO Insights blog, more than 10 others for clients and industry magazines, plus several webinars, podcasts and life events. All of them were based on our studies, primarily the 2017 Sales Enablement Study and the 4th Annual Sales Enablement Study, and our new 2018 Buyer Preferences Study, our 2018 Sales Talent Study and our 2018 Sales Operations Study.

Let’s have a look at the 2018 sales enablement highlights, beginning with the customers, the top facet of our sales enablement clarity model:

  • Understanding buyer preferences and adjusting the sales enablement strategy:
    Based on our first ever Buyer Preferences Study, I extracted the core findings that are most relevant for sales enablement leaders and shared them in a series of blog posts. First, based on the fact that only 23% of buyers named salespeople one of their top three resources when it comes to solving a business problem, I discussed whether sellers are still relevant to the modern buyer or not. Second, I wrote about the surprising fact that there are plenty of opportunities to engage buyers earlier, depending on the buying situation and the buying context. Buyers just don’t do it more often because they don’t perceive salespeople as problem solvers. Third, I shared the four key buyer preferences buyers have when it comes to interacting with salespeople: be prepared, demonstrate excellent communication skills, provide me with insights and expertise and focus on post-sale. And the last blog post of this series focused specifically on what “focus on post sale” actually means.
  • Effective customer engagement was the 2018 spotlight in the industry:
    Customer engagement was the core theme of the 2018 Sales Enablement Society conference and the spotlight of our 4th Annual Sales Enablement Study. And we integrated new questions around customer engagement in our 2018 study. Customer engagement’s main goal is for customers and buyers to perceive every interaction, whether with or without human interaction, as relevant, valuable and differentiating. Customer engagement’s role within sales enablement is a means to an end. Doing great at customer engagement is a prerequisite to be effective with sales enablement. In a follow-post, I discussed the role of tailored buyer-centric content in customer engagement and why irrelevant content damages your win rates.
  • Customers, their customer’s path and their preferences are sales enablement’s primary design point:
    Making your seller successful along the customer’s path requires that you align your internal selling processes and your enablement services to the customer’s path. Why that matters, and what it actually means, is explained here: Why The Customer’s Path Should Be At The Core Of Your Enablement Approach. Only one-fifth of organizations have their selling processes purposefully aligned to the customer’s path, but this one-fifth increases their quota attainment rate by 8.9%.

In addition to focusing on the customer and the focus theme customer engagement, we shared a lot of insights and latest research in these key sales enablement areas:


In addition to all of that, for more details and “how to” information, you might want to check out our sales enablement book, Sales Enablement: A Master Framework to Engage, Equip, and Empower a World-class Sales Force, I had the pleasure to co-author with our CEO, Byron Matthews. It was published in May 2018. You might want to put it on your reading list for the holidays. It will be worth your time, I promise.

I hope you enjoyed this recap of our year in sales enablement research! Today, there are no further questions for you to think about and the related links are already in embedded in great abundance throughout this blog post.

Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas, or just a happy, grateful, and thoughtful time to reflect the year that goes and to welcome the year that comes: 2018!

  • Kurt Shaver
    Posted at 10:40h, 22 December

    Tamara, thank you for the detailed insights throughout the year and this very handy quick recap. The work that you, CSO Insights, and the Miller Heiman group produce are invaluable to the success of B2B sales organizations. Keep up the good work and I’ll see you in 2019

  • Bernie Borges
    Posted at 12:08h, 22 December

    This is the most comprehensive article on the state of sales enablement second only to your book Sales Enablement, co-authored by Byron Matthews. Thanks for keeping the industry informed in 2018. I look forward to learning more on this topic from you in 2019.

  • Tamara Schenk
    Posted at 03:37h, 07 January

    Thanks, Bernie! We will continue to do so!

  • Tamara Schenk
    Posted at 03:38h, 07 January

    Thanks, Kurt! Absolutely, we will continue to provide world-class research!

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