Modern Sales Enablement: Vital to the Startup Game

26 Jul 2016

John Tintle

John Tintle is the director of content and communications at Highspot, the leading sales enablement platform for content management, customer engagement and analytics.

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Sales strategy and content management are essential to small business growth. The following article illustrates the vital role of sales enablement technology in improving sales performance through more effective content management. It compares modern and legacy sales enablement while highlighting important platform decision criteria.

Four key categories of sales enablement

Modern sales enablement solutions bear little resemblance to their predecessors. In form and function, they move sales reps dramatically closer to customers, increase sales conversions and drive sales and marketing teams to collaborate more effectively than ever before.

For small businesses evaluating sales enablement alternatives, understanding this evolution is critical to achieving revenue goals and lowering opportunity costs. It also provides a view into what sales reps value and how to deliver more of what they need.

Based on hundreds of conversations with sales enablement teams, sales leaders and reps, marketers, partners and industry analysts, we see the following four categories as especially critical to the evolution of sales enablement:

Content Management

Content management is among the most frequently cited problems for sales and marketing teams. Common culprits are nested file-folders, poor UX and conspicuous links to the failed products of the past. Much as they’ve been worked around and managed, tagged and made more searchable, file systems do not match the content organization needs of competitive sales teams. There’s just no excuse for anything less than world-class UX.

Customer Engagement

Modern solutions help reps engage customers via the best channel and format for every potential situation. They remove friction by obviating the need to make customer engagement and sales enablement either/or propositions.

By integrating email, online presentation options and customer content portals on a single platform, modern solutions help reps connect with customers throughout their decision journey. The results speak for themselves. According to Highspot research, more than 50 percent of companies that have committed to sales enablement are increasing sales conversion rates by at least 10 percent and a full 23 percent of companies have increased conversion rates by over 20 percent. Modern sales enablement has claimed its place at the top of the sales tech stack and we expect these trends to continue.


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Analytics

Modern sales enablement platforms offer comprehensive analytics on content performance and visibility on quality and best practices, closing the loop between marketing and sales. They deliver data science and deep-dive analytics far beyond legacy content reporting, helping users identify the root causes of opportunities and challenges. And they communicate these details in beautiful, easy-to-consume dashboards, not canned reports. The result is that businesses can now pivot their strategies based on data, not intuition.

Platform Integration

By fitting seamlessly into existing workflows and business processes, modern platforms create a multiplier effect: the more products that plug into them, the more valuable they become and the more efficient customer engagement can be. Where CRM, cloud storage, productivity tools, collaboration options and BI are able to combine on a single modern platform, everybody wins. Sales reps save time, businesses improve visibility, and, most important of all, the quality and timeliness of each customer engagement is instantly upgraded.

What modern means

The sales enablement industry wouldn’t be where it is today without having progressed through years of iterative improvements. Like the Rio player preceding the iPod, the GM EV1 before the Tesla or VHS before Netflix, each generation of an idea contributes to the eventual breakthrough. A similar pattern has emerged in sales enablement.

Sales and marketing teams will experience increasing upside to deploying modern sales enablement platforms.

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