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Understanding the Sales Enablement Landscape
Tuesday, October 7, 2014
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Sales enablement professionals are under constant pressure to deliver greater impact. Suppliers are more than eager to help—promising a “silver bullet” solution for any problem at hand. Unfortunately, those silver bullets often lack a clear business purpose. 

A new report from Forrester, “The Sales Enablement Execution Landscape,” offers a framework to help categorize suppliers and better understand how the landscape of capabilities fits together. 

First, report author Scott Santucci, with Peter O’Neill, Carrie Johnson, Lori Wizdo, Katherine Shao, and Michael Shrum, recommend sales pros orient suppliers around common business goals to better understand how their solutons can help drive results. 

“To align the various investments related to improving processes, managing people, or using technology to create efficiencies, make sure they are driven by a common set of goals,” recommends Santucci. 

To support this more pragmatic foundation to the sales enablement landscape, Forrester identifies six universal business goals that most executive leaders will support and sponsor: 

“1. Develop. Develop new selling behaviors required to execute the business strategy and the requisite skills to do it well. 

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2. Position. Consistently and repeatedly convey the timeliness and relevance of your organization’s vision in the right context for specific buyers to help them connect the dots between their needs and your capabilities. 

3. Locate. Improve the quality and accuracy of information required by salespeople to communicate effectively with clients, and reduce the time required to find the appropriate resources. 

4. Align. Improve the ability of salespeople to grow the overall value of the territory or account by better understanding the unique needs of their clients and by providing them with clear plans for navigating stakeholders within their accounts and effectively engaging internal resources. 

5. Engage. Improve the ability of the sales force to create compelling reasons to do business with you, by effectively and efficiently communicating the unique value of working with your organization to each stakeholder involved in the buying decision. 

6. Assemble. Improve win rates, or reduce the time required to respond to opportunities (and thereby expand the capacity of the sales force), by making it significantly easier, less costly, and time-consuming for salespeople to pull together a high-quality solution or proposal.” 

Next, the report instructs those involved with sales enablement to start with the end in mind, before choosing suppliers. Again, sales pros should use business goals that are specifically defined to fulfill the expectations that executives have of the sales force to guide decisions. 

Santucci advises: “Resist the urge to grab onto ‘silver bullets’ and instead take the time to socialize goals, avoid scope creep, and continuously accumulate wins by leveraging new capabilities and suppliers.” 

About the Author

Ryann K. Ellis is an editor for the Association of Talent Development (ATD). She has been covering workplace learning and performance for ATD (formerly the American Society for Training & Development) since 1995. She currently manages ATD's Community of Practice blogs, as well as ATD's government-focused magazine, The Public Manager. Contact her at rellis@td.org. 

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