In spite of the popularity of the “sales enablement” buzzword one hears these days, there are only a select number of vendors dedicated to true sales enablement workflows. These vendors develop sales enablement solutions focused on increasing sales effectiveness. Not surprisingly, when done correctly and with the right tools to support it, sales enablement can be a real revenue generator: 75% of B2B organizations report sales enablement makes a moderate or significant contribution to their business (Source: Demand Metric).

answers-questions-sticky-notesSales enablement technology allows sales & marketing teams to:

  • Provide sales reps with the information that customers expect in order to have effective conversations and drive deals forward…especially as reps are engaged later and later in the buyer’s journey.
  • Personalize interactions to address buyer’s unique business challenges in ways that frame buyer’s business challenges in fresh ways and generate insights for solving them.
  • Save a great deal of time sales reps would have spent otherwise looking for the right information and content to support sales opportunities.
  • Deliver the right information to the right person at the right time in the sales cycle for optimal impact.
  • Gain visibility and real-time tracking insights on content sales teams and prospects engage with, and which ones actually impact closed business

The verdict is still out whether the sales enablement function should live in the sales or marketing department, but regardless of who “owns” the effort at your company, both stakeholder teams should participate in vendor research and selection when it comes to picking a technology partner. Thus, here is a helpful list of some of the questions you should be asking during your research and selection journey:

  1. How does the solution/application decrease time to revenue?
  2. How does the solution/application onboard new reps faster?
  3. How does it bridge the gap between sales and marketing
  4. How does it impact sales productivity and decrease sales cycles?
  5. How does the solution/application manage/deliver content
  6. How would it integrate with our existing sales tools (i.e. Salesforce, SugarCRM, SharePoint, etc.)?
  7. How would it integrate with our existing marketing tools (i.e. Marketo, Eloqua, etc.)?
  8. What makes you different than [Insert Competitor Name]?
  9. Who are some of your customers? Can I talk to one?
  10. How much?

But, since we like to under promise and over deliver, here are some additional questions you should consider adding to your list:

  1. Does it ensure sales reps have the most relevant material when & where they need it?
  2. Does the solution give insights into customer behavior?
  3. What kind of content intelligence is available?
  4. Does it recommend customer references for specific sales situations?
  5. Does it work on the move (i.e. on my mobile device)?
  6. Will our sales team spend more time selling if they use it?
  7. Can documents be auto-generated in order to be highly customized for the specific sales situation, yet look polished?
  8. Are there social web 2.0 like features that allow for feedback from sales to marketing (ratings/comments) and uploading/sharing of content?
  9. Does it have Single Sign On?
  10. Does it work on a global basis? What other languages does it support?
  11. What is implementation time/process like?
  12. What does support look like?
  13. Does it do [specific feature they need]?
  14. Cloud based or on-premise?
  15. Is it customizable? If we need new changes/functionality, how fast can it be done?

As you research vendors, watch video demos, live demos and interact with the vendor’s sales and marketing teams you’ll get a better sense of whether or not they’ll make a good fit with your organization as a business partner whose solution can scale as your company grows.

As a sales enablement vendor responsible for driving success at companies like IBM, Oracle, Limelight Networks, EMC, VMware, Five9, Coupa and more, we’d love to have you talk to us during your vendor selection. Contact us to start a conversation today!

Nichole Auston
Nichole Auston is the Director of Marketing at RO Innovation. With a background in digital marketing and nearly a decade of experience managing marketing programs for a variety of SaaS companies, she’s passionate about sharing insights, best practices and stories about sales enablement and customer reference management, and the people and technology that power it.
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