8 criteria for when you are evaluating a sales enablement platform
Choosing the best sales enablement tools for your needs is not always a simple decision. Use this guide to make a better choice.
In order to make the most out of the technology you will adopt, you should decide on the top priorities for your organization: customer engagement, efficiency, training and collaboration.
As sales funnels and content marketing become more automated than ever, companies find themselves embracing the sales enablement ecosystem to avoid potentially misaligning sales and marketing, something that will cost your company time and revenue. Using smart technology puts the power back in your hands, improving the effectiveness of your sales team and processes with a positive impact on your bottom line.
It doesn’t need to be complicated; ask vendors the right questions to find the perfect match for your strategy, teams and customer experience. Below, you will find some of the key points you should be considering before making the final decision and starting your transformation journey:
1. How high is your average user adoption?
The success of any sales enablement initiative hinges on adoption. That’s why you should provide salespeople with what they need to successfully engage your buyer at each step of the buying process. Intuitive, familiar and user-friendly UIs coupled with availability on all operating systems and devices will help to successfully onboard your commercial teams. You’ll only see the transformation if your teams ‘buy in’ to the solution and are satisfied with it.
Intuitive technology is key to elevating customer excellence. Simple though it may be, if your people like it, they’ll keep using it.
2. Will my sales reps and field teams stay connected even when they are offline?
Content, customer information, to-do lists… At times we forget how much we rely on this information, usually until we no longer have access to it: in a store, at home or on the way. Ensuring that your mobile solution stays operational – and that your team has access to it even in remote and disconnected areas – becomes a productivity and efficiency requirement.
True mobility means that you have an uninterrupted single point of access to content, customer data and intelligence. Empowering your users with such freedom will increase their continuous impact and thereby increase the quality and delivery of your strategies.
Be sure to ask whether this capability is offered by the solution provider. If it is, it will unlock the true power of offline connectivity.
3. Customer centricity: are 360-degree customer insights available fast, for better and deeper customer engagement? Are they also accessible on the go, without needing to switch interfaces?
Perhaps one of the most essential benefits of digitized and automated sales engagement is the ability to process all data and interactions into actionable insights. We all make one common mistake: we collect tons of microgranular data without a plan for how to process and filter it into more meaningful insights from multiple sources. Neither do we have the means to bring these insights back into the same interface where users can quickly see them and use them to make decisions.
Look for a solution that gives you the ability to collect, process, and leverage data from multiple sources, such as your CRM, ERP, CMS, CLM, etc. without needing to change where you store your data. This will provide users with the 360-degree customer insights they care about the most, right at their fingertips.
After all, insights make all the difference to customer engagement.
4. Will the solution offer a seamless experience to my teams?
Seamless integration with your existing technology stack. This is probably one of the most important requirements that any sales enablement solution should meet if it promises users efficiency and productivity.
Look for the one-stop-shop: a great user experience mandates that a variety of data, content and automation tools work closely and effectively together. A lot of dedication and expertise goes into developing an easy-to-use sales enablement solution that works on its own.
By integrating your stack, salespeople will no longer need to look for the content, data and training they need in multiple places. All the information they need will be at their fingertips, allowing them to jump easily from instructional materials, like playbooks and scripts, to consumer-facing content.
The seamless integration of all the applications that your users consume on a daily basis, alongside the orchestration of workflows and processes from different business platforms, will impact your productivity and improve not only your teams’ satisfaction but ultimately, your customer experience.
5. Does it offer Content Management and or Automation?
The core of sales enablement lies in the content. Creating, storing, transforming, updating and automating content in multiple countries and languages can be challenging as it involves various teams across the organization as well as third parties. The best sales enablement solution will provide highly sophisticated capabilities that allow content managers to effectively oversee the content journey and collect instant feedback from the users as well as the customers.
Look for a solution that allows the deployment of marketing collateral with low total cost of ownership and a wide range of features that will enable marketers to manage and automate the content creation and distribution process by supporting a broad range of content types and sources. Content should easily be created, enhanced, shared, tracked and tailored to your specific audiences.
Whether it’s a high-quality interactive and personalized presentation, a survey form with pre-populated CRM data, or a video explaining the benefits of using your service or product, content is key to engage with your audience and develop meaningful interactions with high-quality prospects.
If reps can access any type of content within the platform, adoption will increase, as will your ROI.
6. How deep is the vendor’s Industry-specific Experience? In what way is the feature set designed for my industry?
Choose the solution that meets the specific needs of your industry at the deepest level. Often, solutions might address generic sales enablement requirements but don’t understand the specific needs and workflows of your specific industry, nor the complexities and peculiarities that are crucial to your business processes.
Look for solutions in the market that are built on years of experience in addressing your industry’s specific requirements, with platform functionalities that are dedicated to your industry.
7. Omnichannel-focussed: Ask for Multichannel and Remote Engagement functionalities
When it comes to selling, one size does not always fit all. Different personas in different moments benefit from different types of interaction. Besides face-to-face, remote interactions with customers or interactions via social media have become standard operating procedures.
Companies are now trying to accommodate their customers’ engagement choices by building portals or social engagement protocols and overcoming challenges to streamline these interactions and collect feedback. Mature sales enablement solutions should provide you with alternative ways to engage with your customers without having to switch between the applications. Through your existing toolset, these solutions will allow your team to stay within the same interface, leading to optimized user experiences and seamless customer engagements whether they are next to the customer or engaging with them remotely – without compromise.
A solution with embedded multichannel and remote engagement functionalities will truly drive your sales and marketing teams’ efforts and help them to achieve their goals.
8. Look beyond today: ask for INNOVATION
The hidden benefit of selecting the right sales enablement solution is that it will not only solve today’s problems and today’s wishlist; it will also solve those that arise in the future. Many companies need to watch the evolution of sales enablement very closely and monitor trends in customer engagement. They need their solution provider to help them extend their reach into these new touchpoints by offering new feature sets before they need to ask for them.
When evaluating a solution, consider looking into the company’s roadmap. Look for functionalities that will become tomorrow’s standards. Choose a solution that will grow with you.
Last but not least, the sales enablement solution you select needs to be secure, whether you’re sharing proprietary information or not. One of the greatest concerns for organizations is sensitive information being stolen or leaked. With that in mind, your selected solution should employ the latest security measures and protocols, so you can rest assured that your content is safe and protected.
Sales enablement technology has the power to transform your entire organization. With the right solution on your side, your users will have a bigger impact on customer engagement and will increase prospect satisfaction. Closing the feedback loop with your marketing teams will result in optimized content strategies that reduce friction for customers and sales teams. But most importantly, using insights from the field to identify and adjust those areas that could need improvement moving forward will result in higher revenue and better CX.