Defining the Top Requirements for Sales Enablement Technologies

Characterized as the bridge between marketing automation and sales processes, sales enablement can encompass sales training, lead qualification, prospect engagement, sales proposals, and more. Forrester Research has identified the following six business goals for sales enablement: develop, position, locate, align, engage, and assemble.

For each of these goals, a multitude of sales enablement technologies have flooded the market. According to Forrester, between July 2014 and December 2014, the number of vendors delivering sales enablement products more than doubled, and the market shows no sign of slowing down.

With so many new products available, it can be daunting for sales and marketing to determine which solutions they need for their business—and how to differentiate between them. Regardless of the goal you're trying to achieve, understanding the following requirements can help in your evaluation of sales enablement technologies.

To Deliver Value, Analytics Must Answer a Specific Question

Because SaaS providers can see how people connect, engage, and interact with their solutions, they can generate an enormous volume of interesting and useful data. But to deliver value, this data must answer a specific and important question for your business—and be presented in a way that answers that particular question quickly and intuitively.

Good analytics are interactive. As a user, you want the ability to easily click and have your next anticipated question answered. For example, sales engagement analytics might show actively engaged prospects. But of the prospects who are engaged, what have they done? What are they looking at? Are they sharing this information and, if so, with whom? Analytics must be delivered within an interactive format, so you can click and easily get your next question answered—with everything presented in an easy-to-understand format that clearly answers the question.

Organizations should also pay attention to update intervals. If you're a sales manager, once- or twice-daily updates might be sufficient. A sales accountant might only require monthly updates. But for inside sales reps, real-time updates and automated alerts may be needed.

Tools Must Be Simple to Install and Use

Although on-premises solutions still have a role in instances where companies want more control or have security issues, most of the market has moved toward SaaS. SaaS offers several benefits, with the most significant being the simplicity of administration. With no installation or maintenance needed, there are very limited IT requirements. Also, because most sales products fall under this category, it 

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