Defining the Top Requirements for Sales Enablement Technologies

makes integration with other products faster and easier.

With SaaS-based solutions, sales teams can quickly adopt and starting getting value from new sales enablement tools.

Tools Must Support Marketing and Sales Alignment

Marketing automation is a key part of the sales process, even though it is managed by marketing, not sales. If your marketing automation and sales systems can't talk with each other, it can be a very difficult process to manage. No one wants to send an email to one of their best customers asking them to sign up with them!

To keep the right messages going to the right people at the right time, you need a strong feedback loop between sales processes and marketing automation, and sales enablement technologies must support that loop.

When you evaluate a sales enablement tool, look at whether it can share information—and how easily that information can be shared. Does the solution do it all for you, or do you need to export/import the data? You must think about the relationship between marketing automation, CRM, and sales enablement tools.

Ideally, data should be automatically and transparently updated in the different systems. After marketing nurtures a lead and passes it to sales, a sales rep should be able to easily see that history. After sales closes the deal (using sales enablement technologies), all the data should be visible from the CRM system, so marketing can transition the customer profile to a different campaign for paying customers.

Sales Enablement Tools Need to Play Nicely with Other Tools

With so many sales enablement technologies available, organizations can be using a large range of tools, making tool integration as important as the integration between marketing automation, sales enablement, and the CRM system. Because each sales enablement tool generates its own data and integrates with different products, organizations must think about their entire ecosystem of products, and how they work with each other.

If a product doesn't have direct integration, can it still integrate through some other process, and what level of integration is desired?

For basic integration requirements, shared log-ins—where logging into one system gets you plugged into another—might be sufficient. In other cases, user interface (UI) integration, in which you can view another product within a product, might be preferable. While data is not integrated with UI integration, the UI is, so you can click to view a program from inside another program, to view reports, etc. Full data integration, in which data is actually moving back and forth between systems, is the most sophisticated.

Because sales enablement covers so many aspects of sales, organizations also need to consider where they benefit the most from these tools. Do they want tools to improve forecasting, or do they get greater ROI from tools that actually help generate revenue?

Organizations must look at the top requirements for sales enablement technologies, as well as prioritize what types of tools deliver the most value, unless they want to risk being buried in tools they can't use.

Fritz Mueller is vice president of product management and cofounder at LiveHive, where he leads product development and design.

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