Want to know what’s happening in the world of sales/revenue enablement? Confused about where the market is heading, which vendors are out there and what they specialize in?
In the recent “Market Guide for Revenue Enablement Platforms” published in August, 2022, Gartner® shares key developments and market trends, discusses the current state of the market and lists representative vendors for revenue enablement platforms.
What are known as sales enablement platforms, now also commonly known as “revenue enablement” platforms, use valuable assets such as content and resources like training and coaching to generate more revenue for businesses. Read on to learn the key findings and download your own Market Guide here.
Key marketplace findings for revenue enablement platforms
In the recent Market Guide, some of the key findings show the broadening of the market to include other areas of a business (beyond sales), the increasingly important role of machine learning (ML), and the crucial move into sales forecasting:
- “The sales enablement market has broadened beyond sellers to include the enablement of people in revenue-generating roles such as customer success, pre-sales (technical sellers) and marketing.
- “Vendors target their messaging to the seller persona while building the connection to role-based digital content and marketing-speciﬁc analytics.
- “Conversational intelligence deepens through machine learning (ML) that is surfaced in digital sales rooms (DSRs) and training/coaching. Live in-call conversation guidance and coaching is emerging but will need speciﬁc seller enablement to improve adoption.
- “An increased connection to revenue intelligence, either through acquisition or integration partnerships, has increased the overlap of revenue-enablement capabilities with revenue intelligence and sales engagement technologies. Revenue enablement has now moved into areas such as opportunity analysis, health scores and sales forecasting.”
Based on the above, Gartner shares its recommendations for those looking to purchase a revenue enablement solution. They are as follows:
“As an application leader supporting a CRM revenue enablement technology initiative, you should:
- “Seek and prioritize vendors with a holistic approach to revenue enablement to include content, training and coaching for any resource that is revenue generating by evaluating the vendor’s function-speciﬁc content, training and coaching, and associated role-based analytics.
- “Evaluate conversational intelligence (also known as guided selling) capabilities of vendors by the depth of ML capabilities such as real-time translation, accuracy and role-based contextual recommendations.
- “Investigate the strength of each vendor and/or its partner ecosystem to support additional capabilities for your organization, such as a connection to forecasting or other sales execution motions.”
Predicted marketplace trends for revenue enablement
As usual, Gartner predicts which marketplace trends will take hold in the near future, and finds that:
- “By 2026, 65% of B2B sales organizations will transition from intuition-based to data-driven decision making, using technology that unites workﬂow, data and analytics.
- “By 2026, 30% of B2B sales cycles will be primarily run through a DSR, which will be used to manage the customer life cycle.
- “By 2025, 80% of B2B sales interactions between suppliers and buyers will occur in digital channels.
- “By 2025, 50% of B2B sales organizations will record 75% of conversations with buyers.
To read all of the predictions, download your own Market Guide here.
What is a revenue enablement platform?
According to Gartner: “Revenue enable platforms unite sales enablement functions and customer-facing revenue processes. They encompass revenue-generating roles including customer success, marketing and pre-sales. The platforms have capabilities for digital content, training and coaching or, via open APIs, integrate with complementary vendor offerings. They integrate with sales force automation (SFA) or marketing automation platforms, feature buyer engagement analysis, and measure and build role skills improving commercial execution.”
The report further mentions, “Gartner’s view of the market focuses on transformational technologies and approaches to meet the future needs of end users in a seller role. It does not solely focus on the market as it is today (see Figure 1).” Figure 1: “Sales Enablement Platforms Become Revenue Enablement Platforms”.
What is the status quo for the revenue enablement market today?
Due to the above marketplace changes, this Market Guide uses the name “revenue enablement platforms” (REPs). The term “sales enablement” still exists and is still used by many vendors. However, as times change, so does the terminology, along with shifts in positioning and product offers.
This change in the marketplace originates not only in the need to enable the sellers, but also all other roles that touch revenue generation. This encompasses presales (technical sellers), customer success and marketing.
As Gartner explains: “Each role needs speciﬁc types of content, training and coaching so that the buyer receives consistent messaging. This results in interactions with buyers that provide a good customer experience and build better relationships with the selling organization.
“In addition, as organizations seek to solve more problems with fewer solutions, there are natural areas where markets begin to collide. Conversation intelligence was the ﬁrst capability Gartner saw. Now vendors seek greater added value in selling solutions with combined capabilities such as tying enablement to revenue intelligence for better forecasting and health scoring and analysis. The insights derived from combined data and analytics enable better revenue- and sales-related outcomes.”
And it keeps getting better. The pandemic wasn’t the end-all for this market – quite the opposite. “Gartner continues to see double digit revenue growth for the sales enablement market and a return to pre-pandemic rates of growth year over year. Given prioritization for both evaluating and implementing these types of solutions, Gartner expects continued growth in this area.”
If you are looking to empower and enable your revenue-generating colleagues, you should look at a holistic enablement program, consisting of digital content, training and coaching, all working together intuitively.
As Gartner lists, the content in a revenue enablement platform is heavily used for the following roles:
- “Sellers – Spur buyer engagement for the purchase journey through customer-facing content which also provides engagement analytics.
- “Customer success – Continue to strengthen engagement and customer relationships for customer success.
- “Pre-sales (technical sellers) – Improve customer trust and show value.
- “Marketing – Provide a single source of truth with version and compliance control. Optimize the development of marketing content through the analysis of performance data.”
Clearly, training and coaching are essential factors for consistently knowledgeable, credible and confident sellers. If we look at most of the tools examined, “Training and coaching focus mostly on micro-learning with cadenced quizzing for retention as well as delivering content in the moment of need.” This is also known as just-in-time training. This is important, as sellers still need to have time to do their day job, which is time-consuming in itself.
“Vendors continue to focus on sellers, but these tools are increasingly being used to train revenue-generating employees such as customer success and presales. Many of the vendors offer integrations with learning experience platforms, but they also can do many of the functions of traditional LMS such as housing training content, courses and paths,” explains Gartner.
Having one solution that can support all functions needed, including training and coaching, is naturally preferred due to cost savings, combined data analysis and providing a single end-user experience (UX).
According to Gartner, some of the most popular features include the ability to analyze buyer engagement from content consumption, video, DSR activity and conversation transcriptions.
We have previously discussed the market shifting to digital sales rooms (DSRs) and the benefits thereof. It’s a great way to provide a branded and personalized sales experience for your prospects and customers. For a full rundown of capabilities, download the market guide.
However, Gartner does state “Early feedback shows that DSRs increase engagement with buyers, decrease time to complete the sale and should be considered as an additional channel for revenue-generating functions.” And, “their main beneﬁt is to strengthen the relationship throughout the entire customer life cycle. Ensure that you consider DSRs for resources focused on cross-sell/upsell, implementation, renewal, loyalty and customer success.”
Learn more about Pitcher’s DSR here.
Some of the features of revenue enablement platforms include:
- “Revenue activity capture
- “A set of open APIs that permit integration with other third-party applications or external data sources
- “Capabilities for tracking, measuring and optimizing engagement with prospects
- “Role-based analytics and reporting focused on marketing, sales, presales, customer success and partners
- “Increasing ability to measure revenue performance of enablement beyond correlation-based analysis
- “Capabilities to support various sales methodologies and help sellers build proﬁciency in them
- “Video coaching with speech-to-text translation, ML analysis as well as human analysis and emotion AI
- “Autotagging of all content to improve searchability of content and training within the platform
- “ML combined with content tagging improving role-based content recommendations based on content effectiveness not just usage
- “Use of marketplaces for content templates and structured training solutions to improve sales methodology use.”
Which direction is the market headed in?
Three main areas are emerging, and they will continue to develop and sometimes overlap with areas in other types of platforms (see Figure 2).
Gartner lists these three areas:
- “Expansion of sales enablement into other revenue generating roles such as marketing and customer success.
- “ML recommendations for guided playbooks, next best action as well as training/coaching.
- “Deepening of embedded capabilities for DSRs such as digital commerce and CPQ.”
Gartner continues: “Additionally, themes such as third-party platforms providing access to available integrations are increasing in importance as enablement leaders seek to simplify the revenue tech stack for sellers.”
“Investments in conversation intelligence and personalized video continue, both internally for training and coaching and externally to increase buyer engagement. The platforms collect and use buyer engagement data from early pipeline engagement with marketing to revenue function interactions and consumption of content, and through interactions and engagement with customer success. This combined set of data and analysis provides end-to-end engagement analysis with customers.”
For the full analysis, see the Market Guide.
Figure 2: Direction of Revenue Enablement Platforms
Brief market analysis for revenue enablement platforms
A shortened version of Gartner’s market analysis is provided here, to give you a flavor of what the market guide offers.
“Revenue enablement platforms continue to strengthen their core capabilities. Many vendors improved their compliance capabilities to support industries with heavy legal and compliance requirements.”
“Vendors also added the end-user ability to combine and create personalized versions of standard materials, while maintaining a single authoritative version to ensure compliance and minimize legal risk.”
“Coaching has also gone beyond focusing only on the seller. Some solutions include speciﬁc coaching scenarios and insights for managers to help them be better leaders. Gartner now sees instances of ‘real life’ role-play through a machine-generated ‘person’ in which the seller can interact and elicit responses from the machine-generated person to simulate real-world interactions.”
“Over the last year, Gartner has seen more vendors incorporate revenue intelligence and sales engagement functions into the revenue enablement platform. This has taken the shape of acquisition, integration partnerships or natively building capabilities by vendors. Tying enablement to insights on deals and conversations improves revenue outcomes.
Some vendors are taking further steps to embed engagement results into sales forecasting and sales execution to strengthen insights and results.”
The 8 capability categories of revenue enablement platforms
Gartner segments the revenue enablement platform market into eight capability categories. You can use this as your checklist when evaluating new vendors.
We provide a shortened version here, as follows:
- “Digital content management – Functions for creating, storing, curating and distributing materials to sellers and buyers.”
- “Training – Functions for just-in-time/microlearning, quizzes, assessments, certiﬁcations and reinforcement training for end-users in multiple form factors using written, audio and video material.”
- “Coaching – Functions for coaching end-users (sellers, managers and other revenue generating roles) on revenue-based activities. . . . Some vendors include artiﬁcial intelligence (AI) coaching as well. Video coaching is the prominent form factor with high-perceived ROI value.”
- “Analytics and engagement – Analytics for platform usage. Measurement of both revenue-generating functions and buyer/customer engagement within the stages of a process. Buyer engagement is measured by interaction analysis . . . .”
- “Integration and platform – Native functionality, with a set of open APIs to connect to other systems and to training-/coaching-/content-speciﬁc vendors, if all capabilities are not provided natively.
- “Machine learning (ML) – ML includes prescriptive recommendations about content for sellers to distribute, training to take, coaching to perform and/or actions to take – based on seller or buyer consumption and engagement.”
- “Conversation intelligence – Native functionality included for call recording, speech-to-text translation, topic modeling and analysis, insights for upskilling/reskilling and prescriptive recommendations.”
- “Digital sales rooms – Functions for buyer/customer and selling organization’s revenue-generating roles to work together during and post sale. Capabilities include a personalized persistent microsite for the life of the customer’s relationship with the organization, personalized portals . . . .” etc.
When you evaluate a revenue enablement platform, check it has most or all of the above capabilities. If your revenue enablement platform does not have all of these features, check with your list of priorities and compare and contrast which functions are the most important for your business. You may not need all of them, so you shouldn’t pay for what you don’t need. (That’s our philosophy at Pitcher.)
If you really need high-quality coaching and the revenue enablement platform provides this but it does not have a DSR, consider which is the most important for you to be able to hit your targets and objectives.
We hope this shortened version of the “Market Guide for Revenue Enablement Platforms” has been helpful to get a pulse on where the market is and where it’s heading.
Gartner does not endorse any vendor, product or service depicted in its research publications, and does not advise technology users to select only those vendors with the highest ratings or other designation. Gartner research publications consist of the opinions of Gartner’s research organization and should not be construed as statements of fact. Gartner disclaims all warranties, expressed or implied, with respect to this research, including any warranties of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose.
- What should you seek when choosing a revenue enablement platform?
You should look for vendors with a holistic approach which includes content, training and coaching for any resource that is revenue-generating. Gartner states, “Evaluate conversational intelligence (also known as guided selling) capabilities and machine learning capabilities such as real-time translation, accuracy and role-based contextual recommendations.”
- What are Gartner’s key marketplace findings?
Today, the sales enablement market has broadened to include the enablement of customer success, pre-sales (technical sellers) and marketing. “Vendors target their messaging to the seller persona while building the connection to role-based digital content and marketing-speciﬁc analytics. Conversational intelligence deepens through machine learning (ML) that is surfaced in digital sales rooms (DSRs) and training/coaching. Live in-call conversation guidance and coaching is emerging but will need speciﬁc seller enablement to improve adoption.”
- What are the main capabilities for revenue enablement platforms?
Gartner identify eight capabilities: “Digital content management, coaching, and training, analytics and engagement, analytics and integration and platform, machine learning, conversation intelligence, and digital sales rooms.”
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