CUSPERA

Sales Enablement Software 2020: A Beginners Guide

What is Sales Enablement?

Sales reps get limited opportunities to understand, engage and convert the customer to a paid member. The customer will ask questions about why the product is better than the competition or may want to read the experience of existing customers etc. To answer these questions in the best possible way and improve the chances of executing the sale better and communicate the benefits of the product effectively, the sales team needs to be supported in terms of tools and information. This process of supporting the sales team with content and tools necessary to close the deal throughout the customer journey is called sales enablement.

Gartner Definition

“The activities, systems, processes, and information that support and promote knowledge-based sales interactions with client and prospects.”

What is Sales Enablement Software?

Sales enablement tools provide sales reps resources so that they can sell more effectively. They act as a store of all the necessary content (blogs, case studies, white papers, videos, etc) that the sales teams can use to improve the chances to make a sale. Reps can easily search for relevant content and use this content to engage and educate the customer throughout his buying journey. These tools also track the engagement of buyers on this content and it serves as feedback to the marketing team in terms of which content is doing better with the customers.

Some tools have content creation capabilities while others can upload content into them. Marketers create a repository of all types of content that can be used for pitches or presentations by the sales reps. Some content is only meant for internal use like research tools, best practices, product information, etc. Many managers use these tools to train and onboard new employees.

The overarching purpose of these tools is to bring the marketing and sales team together and align them with the content strategy around the buyer’s needs.

They store all types of content

  • Presentations / Pitches / Infographics
  • Videos
  • Case studies
  • Reports / White papers
  • Pricing/discount info
  • Competitive comparisons

and aim to democratize the sales process by giving all reps the same content so they can hit quota is a scalable and repeatable way.

Who are the Users of Sales Enablement software?

Sales Reps

Sales Reps use sales enablement tools to find the most relevant content to improve the chances of conversion. They can easily find and share the most relevant information with the customers so that their concerns are addressed. Being able to track the content, really helps that understand their buys interest so that they can take the conversation forward accordingly.

Sometimes people confuse sales ops and sales enablement, but sales ops are a much broader role which includes sales planning, revenue, and post-sales engagements as well. Sales enablement, on the other hand, includes only improving the efficiency of the sales rep to win more deals.

Marketers

Marketers use enablement tools primarily for two reasons: Content creation and feedback on content created. Usually, marketing teams struggle to get feedback on how well their content is performing on the field. These tools give them detailed feedback even to the level that buyers are engaging which slide the most.

Channel Partners

Channel partners use enable tools for training and content purposes. Having all the content in one place helps them ramp up with the product faster and handle objections/questions better with superior search capabilities.

4 Benefits of Sales Enablement Software

High quota achievement

Since sales enablement tools focus on increasing the efficiency of the sales rep, it directly translates to the increase in conversation rates and thereby in high quota achievement.

A study conducted at Aberdeen found that companies with excellent successful Sales Enablement programs have:

  • 32% of higher team sales quota attainment,
  • 24% better individual quota achievement, and

Better buyer engagement/conversations

Enablement strategy involves charting out the buyer journey and figuring out what content (highly relevant, contextual and high quality) will be needed at what stage of the buyer journey. This keeps buyers engaged across channels throughout the lifecycle of buying.

Consistent messaging

Enablement tools help provide sales reps with material for having better conversations with the buyers. Since marketing creates the content and sales reps across the organization use the same content, it ensures consistent messaging around the product.

Improved Training and Onboarding

Since all the content can reside in the enablement tools, even internal-facing content like product information, best practices, buyer history, etc sits inside enablement tools. Managers can use these tools to even onboard new reps and train them for new product/customers/

Why is Sales Enablement Software Important?

Why is Sales Enablement Software Important?

Sales enablement tools come in very different shapes and sizes. There are so many different ways you can enable the sales rep to close the deal faster and each of them has multiple products in that space. Below we discuss the top few ways of sales enablement :

Content Management

Any Sales content, anytime, anywhere. Marketers can create/upload all their marketing collateral in one central place be in infographics, PDFs, explainer videos, reports, value analysis, etc. The tools deeply index this content and search can get results from the content inside these documents. They have an advanced content management system and this really makes it easy for the sales rep to find content for specific queries. The sales and marketing teams can collaborate on which content is needed by the market with reps giving feedback on existing content with comments and likes. This feedback is further backed by the engagement analytics that the software provides. Another feedback comes from content scoring and content similarity capabilities that the system provides. Over time these systems learn and recommend content that has been most effective depending on the stage of the buyer journey. Highspot and Seismic are leaders in this space.

Incredibly easy to use, solves a massive challenge of the right content, available to the right people at the right time AND enables salespeople to actually use the content and "pitch" more effectively with analytics on how prospects are engaging with the content.

J P M

John Paul M

Director of Sales Enablement

Knowledge Management

These solutions work on the knowledge that is created inside the company. All internal wikis, FAQs, Q&A are included in this. They enable users to create documents and maintain versions. They allow approval workflows for this content to be published. Once the content is published, these tools auto tag them, deeply index them and they become searchable for the content inside the documents as well. Some tools have a voice and a chat interface over this knowledge base which makes looking for content even easier. This content is readily available for the sales rep in places where he needs them like writing an email or chatting with customers etc. Reps can use this content to find answers to their questions/objections raised by the customers and provide feedback to creators in the form of comments. Guru and Bloomfire are the top-recommended tools here (though the main purpose of these tools is internal knowledge management, they can serve as enablement tools as well).

Guided Selling

This is the newest breed of software that leverages AI creatively to enable the sales rep in diverse ways. For example, some tools interview the sales rep post each meeting to figure out what worked, did not work and profile customers, and next time guides the rep which content works, what action to take for which account, competitive analysis, etc. Some new solutions work by profiling reps based on selling behavior and identifying individual attributes to mentor on. Or Some tools study the profile of your client and give you individual client attributes so that selling to him becomes easier. Some tools give live tips when the customer asks some questions after looking at your internal knowledge databases or Cue repository.

Value Selling

Many buyers need to be convinced about the ROI of the purchase. They need to know what kind of return on their investment can they expect and by when. These tools specialize in helping marketing and sales guys communicate the value proposition of the tool. They include tools such as ROI calculator, TCO tools, benchmarking tools, etc. and visually engaging detailed reports that help guide a value-based discussion with buyers.

Video Selling

In marketing and sales, nothing works like sending a personalized note to improve response rates, especially when it is a video that has been recorded only for the buyer. These tools help in bringing personality and personal connection back to the process of selling.

Referral Management

One of the most critical things that buyers are interested in is listening to customers who are already using the product. Case studies help but they may not be from customers from similar industries. These tools help to manage customer references so that happy customers can be leveraged to get referrals and new business. They create a central repository of customer contact details, workflows to solicit experiences, tracking to help prevent misuse and analytics to show engagement.

Playbook Creation

These solutions help to create a sales playbook and guide the rep during the sales process to follow the playbook. Dooly, Vplaybook are some examples of this kind of software.

There are many other solutions that specialize in presenting the content using presentation, AR, VR or all in one enablement solutions.

Top KPIs of Sales Enablement

  • Content ROI
  • Content Engagement
  • Average sales cycle
  • Reps achieving quota
  • Total quota achievement

AI in Sales Enablement

Content Management / Knowledge management

AI is primarily used to understand which content is working for different stages of the user journey and makes content recommendations that would work

Guided Selling

Each solution that does guide selling use AI very differently.

Bridge Funnel uses AI to study the interactions with the customers, CRM data, deal value to prioritize high-value risky deals and give deal level, contextual recommendations to increase the win percentage. Cein studies your reps’ activities and uses AI to identify skills, behaviors, and opportunities that managers can leverage to guide reps to success. Dooly uses AI to identify customer objections and gives live recommendations to answer those queries. This is a new evolving space so expect a lot more solutions to come here.

AI Assistants

Some tools act as AI assistants to the sales rep and capture the meeting, activity data all through the day. They also prompt and nudge the rep to remind him of meetings, follow-ups, and other next steps based on past behavior which helps increase close rates. Tact.ai, get vymo are leaders in this space.

Buyers’ Guide for Sales Enablement Software - 6 Factors to Consider

Remember that sales enablement is about buyer engagement and how the sales rep can use content to engage the buyer throughout. So when planning to buy a sales enablement solution, keep the buyer at the center and think about capabilities you need in the tool to cater to those needs. Both sales and marketing co-own the sales enablement program, they collaborate on what content needs to be created, marketing owning the content creation and sales own the content distribution and buyer engagement.

How do you want to enable your sales team?

This depends on what is the nature of the problem your sales team is facing.

Do your reps struggle with finding the right content for their customers? Content management and knowledge management solutions would fit the best id the biggest problem is finding and creating relevant content for your customers.

Do they struggle with establishing the value proposition of a product? Value selling solutions come in really handy when the product you are selling is expensive and users want more confidence before making a decision.

Do they help to stick to the sales process? If most of your sales reps follow different processes and lead leakage is a problem, then AI assistants, guided selling and playbook solutions are designed to address these issues.

Do they need to establish a more personal connection with the buyer? Having a good relationship is what makes sales click and video engagement is on the rise. Video selling software leverages the benefits videos to make a deeper connection with the buyer.

Who should buy a sales enablement solution?

Size of the org/sales team? Usually, the larger sales teams in bigger companies are ideally suited to use enablement solutions where there are too many products/features or complicated products which have a high learning curve and they are being constantly updated and it's tough to be on top of all these changes. Also to leverage the tribal knowledge of sales guys, there has to be a large number of sales reps for the AI to do a good job of recommendations. The complexity of the product where the buyer needs to be educated more make more use of enablement solutions. Also, verticals, where products are complex like technology, manufacturing, life sciences, etc, are the top industries that use enablement solutions.

How do you want to use AI?

Enablement solutions leverage AI heavily, especially guided selling solutions. So if you want AI capabilities in your product, guided selling software or AI assistants do a good job of leveraging AI to give actionable recommendations to the sales rep.

Pointed vs Horizontal

Some solutions offer much more than sales enablements like sales engagement, prospecting, training, and coaching while others focus on solving just the content problem or video selling or value selling problems. So if your need is to buy an enablement solution that is the center of all content-related activities and integrates with a host of software for adjacent needs such as training and coaching, then a platform suits you best.

Integrations

They have integrations with all major software that help enablement of the sales reps

  • Documents - google docs, dropbox, etc so that you can easily import all your existing documents to highspot and have them in one place.
  • Web conferencing - zoom, uber conference, etc when you are talking to a customer online, you will need to show some content to answer some of his questions. Direct integration helps you access the content right there.
  • Similarly for email and social media - when you are engaging with customers on email, social media or a sales engagement solution direct integration helps you get access to all the content right where you need it. You don't have to leave the platform to find content.
  • Finally, learning solutions - Mindtickle, Brainshark, Lessonly, etc as they have courses and material that help reps train and ramp up on existing product knowledge faster.
  • CRM integrations for the AI-based guided selling, assistant solutions that need to crunch a lot of customer data to give tactical recommendations.

Mobile Ready

Being mobile-ready is a key part of sales enablement solutions as sales reps need to send mails / interact on social media etc on the go and demo presentations and videos to buyers when meeting them. All this means that mobile readiness is highly desirable.

Top challenges in adopting Sales Enablement software

Adoption

The tool should fit into their daily process and workflows else it becomes really hard to get good adoption by sales reps as they are usually resistant to new technology. To truly leverage the benefit of the enablement solution, it has to be adopted equally well by the marketing team so that they create content that actually helps close deals.

Superior Search

This is key to successful adoption. Users don't care about file structure or content management systems and don’t want to browse through them to get their content. They want superior search like google or amazon that looks through the content and returns relevant documents.

Sales Enablement Software

Highspot Icon

Highspot

4.74
★★★★★
★★★★★

Highspot | Most Advanced Sales Enablement Tools and Software. The Sales enablement platform that reps love.

Dooly sales enablement Icon

Dooly sales enablement

4.68
★★★★★
★★★★★

Dooly - Real-time sales playbooks that win

Docsend Icon

Docsend

4.67
★★★★★
★★★★★

DocSend - Share business-critical documents with confidence

Membrain CRM Icon

Membrain CRM

4.62
★★★★★
★★★★★

Membrain CRM | THE SALES ENABLEMENT CRM

Olono Icon

Olono

4.58
★★★★★
★★★★★

Olono | Real-Time Guided Selling for B2B Sales

amplemarket Icon

amplemarket

4.58
★★★★★
★★★★★

Amplemarket - Helps to sell more and smarter

Ipresent Sales Enablement Icon

Ipresent Sales Enablement

4.57
★★★★★
★★★★★

iPresent: Sales Enablement tool enables greater alignment between marketing and sales

Exceed.ai Icon

Exceed.ai

4.56
★★★★★
★★★★★

Exceed.ai - Accelerating Sales & Marketing with AI and Automation

Seismic Icon

Seismic

4.51
★★★★★
★★★★★

Seismic | A Smarter Sales Enablement Platform. Tell stories that compel action. Get the right story to the right buyer.

Troops Icon

Troops

4.50
★★★★★
★★★★★

Troops | A better way to sell for sales teams that Slack

Dialpad Sell Icon

Dialpad Sell

4.41
★★★★★
★★★★★

Dialpad Sell | An AI-powered sales communications solution

Bigtincan Hub Icon

Bigtincan Hub

4.37
★★★★★
★★★★★

Bigtincan: The #1 Sales Enablement Platform

People.Ai Icon

People.Ai

4.36
★★★★★
★★★★★

People.ai | Transform Your Go-To-Market with Revenue Intelligence

19th Mile Sales acceleration platform Icon

19th Mile Sales acceleration platform

4.28
★★★★★
★★★★★

19thMile - Goal Driven Sales Acceleration Platform for Field Sales

Postwire Icon

Postwire

4.25
★★★★★
★★★★★

Postwire: Social Content Platform For Business

Cien Icon

Cien

4.24
★★★★★
★★★★★

Cien | AI Powered Sales Assistant For Highly Productive Sales Teams

Veelo Vault Icon

Veelo Vault

4.19
★★★★★
★★★★★

Veelo | Quickly scale and augment your sales enablement programs

ClearSlide Platform Icon

ClearSlide Platform

4.17
★★★★★
★★★★★

ClearSlide - The Sales Engagement Platform that Closes Deals

Inkling Collaboration Icon

Inkling Collaboration

4.10
★★★★★
★★★★★

Inkling Collaboration - Better execution by connecting frontline to the people and resources they need

Cloze Icon

Cloze

4.04
★★★★★
★★★★★

Cloze - The no-work way to see everything about your contacts in one place

Zilliant Sales IQ Icon

Zilliant Sales IQ

4.00
★★★★★
★★★★★

Zoho SalesIQ | Live Sales & Support Software

Mediafly Evolved Selling Icon

Mediafly Evolved Selling

4.00
★★★★★
★★★★★

Mediafly Evolved Selling: Sales Enablement for more personalized and engaging buyer experiences

Accent Sales Enablement Icon

Accent Sales Enablement

4.00
★★★★★
★★★★★

Accent Accelerate | Data-driven sales enablement that increases sales productivity

Accent Connect Icon

Accent Connect

4.00
★★★★★
★★★★★

Accent Connect | sales content management in the sales enablement industry

Collective[i] Intelligence Icon

Collective[i] Intelligence

4.68
★★★★★
★★★★★

Collective Intelligence | network of sales activity data combined with Artificial Intelligence and predictive technology

MindTickle Icon

MindTickle

4.59
★★★★★
★★★★★

MindTickle Sales Enablement | Sales Readiness and Sales enablement Platform. Putting Sales readiness to work.

Docsify Email Tracking Icon

Docsify Email Tracking

4.58
★★★★★
★★★★★

Docsify - The best mail tracker for Gmail

Clari Icon

Clari

4.57
★★★★★
★★★★★

Clari | Connected Revenue Operations Platform

Saleswhale Icon

Saleswhale

4.52
★★★★★
★★★★★

Saleswhale - Conversational Email Marketing, helps to qualify leads at scale

Conversica Icon

Conversica

4.52
★★★★★
★★★★★

Conversica - Engage Prospects and Customers in Authentic Conversations over Email or SMS

ClientPoint Icon

ClientPoint

4.51
★★★★★
★★★★★

ClientPoint - The sales sharpener. Close More Deals, Faster

WorkRamp Training Software Icon

WorkRamp Training Software

4.49
★★★★★
★★★★★

WorkRamp Training Software - training software that helps companies increase revenue and improve customer satisfaction

Saleshood Icon

Saleshood

4.47
★★★★★
★★★★★

Saleshood | Sales Enablement Proven To Boost Sales Attainment

Hubspot Sales Hub Icon

Hubspot Sales Hub

4.47
★★★★★
★★★★★

Hubspot Sales Hub | Sales Software for Small to Enterprise Companies

Salesloft Icon

Salesloft

4.39
★★★★★
★★★★★

SalesLoft | Sales Engagement platform, helps the world's top-performing teams transform the way they sell

Instabot Icon

Instabot

4.39
★★★★★
★★★★★

Instabot | A Conversion Chatbot for Your Website

Bloomfire Icon

Bloomfire

4.38
★★★★★
★★★★★

Bloomfire: Best in Class Knowledge Sharing Platform

Allego Icon

Allego

4.36
★★★★★
★★★★★

Allego | Sales Training and Readiness Software that combines video training, practice, coaching and collaboration

Brainshark Icon

Brainshark

4.35
★★★★★
★★★★★

Brainshark | sales enablement and readiness software equips businesses with the training, coaching

Yesware Icon

Yesware

4.35
★★★★★
★★★★★

Yesware - Empowering to create and develop valuable business relationships

Outreach Icon

Outreach

4.34
★★★★★
★★★★★

Outreach | Sales Engagement Platform, Sales Automation Software

CustomShow Icon

CustomShow

4.34
★★★★★
★★★★★

CustomShow - The Presentation Solution for B2B Sales & Marketing Teams

Knovio VIDEO FOR LEARNING Icon

Knovio VIDEO FOR LEARNING

4.25
★★★★★
★★★★★

Knovio VIDEO FOR LEARNING | ideal platform for organizing, sharing, and tracking video knowledge, from onboarding and training to all manner of communications -- to employees, customers

TopOPPS Icon

TopOPPS

4.22
★★★★★
★★★★★

TopOPPS - Artificial Intelligence for Sales & Pipeline Management

BuzzBoard Icon

BuzzBoard

4.16
★★★★★
★★★★★

BuzzBoard - Accelerate sales by knowing your customers, their Market, and their Competitors

Agent3 SoSell Icon

Agent3 SoSell

4.00
★★★★★
★★★★★

SoSell - The intelligent social selling mobile app powered by customer Intent

Attentive Slack Assistant Icon

Attentive Slack Assistant

4.00
★★★★★
★★★★★

Attentive - Slack assistant That Will Boost Your CRM

CloudApps Icon

CloudApps

4.00
★★★★★
★★★★★

Increase Sales Performance with SuMo Motivate from CloudApps