Not Another Failed Sales Enablement Initiative
Over the past few years, the sales enablement space has grown to the point that there are now 220 solutions in Scott Brinker’s “Sales Automation, Enablement & Intelligence” category in his annual Marketing Landscape appraisal. The acceptance of the need for B2B sales technology has been accompanied by a flooding of the sales enablement space with an array of technologies including gamification, analytics, and, quite opportunistically, content management-based tools re-marketed under the guise of sales enablement.
In a marketplace as noisy as today’s sales enablement space, it is inevitable that there will be some contrasting ideas on what constitutes sales enablement. However, the most acceptable definition put forward is still IDC’s which states that sales enablement is the delivery of the right information to the right person at the right time in the right format and in the right place to assist in moving a specific sales opportunity forward.
There has been a lot of focus on the “delivery” element of sales enablement and, to an extent, rightfully so. At far too many companies, reps were wasting valuable time searching for and recreating lost content. Some companies sought to solve their content delivery challenge with the creation of a designated sales content repository while others invested in enterprise search solutions. Investments were high, but results were low: $66 billion was spent on sales training and enablement technology last year, but, according to CSO Insights, only 58% of sales reps made their quota.
Sales enablement initiatives are failing because they are not identifying “the right information” to deliver to sales reps. Most companies have a plan in place to deliver content to sales be it a company wiki or sales portal, but how do they know the “right information” is housed in there? The simple answer here is they don’t.
Walled Garden Analytics
Within the sales enablement space there are any number of vendors that boast about their analytics engine, saying things like “closing the marketing sales feedback loop”, “proving marketing with clear visibility into how content is used in the field”, and “ensuring content proven to close is delivered to reps”. However, when you examine these claims a bit more, it quickly becomes clear that the majority of vendors in the space have no idea what content is being used in the field because their analytics only measure the activity that takes place within the confines of their own system.
To put these claims into perspective, it is worth remembering that 90% of all enterprise data is unstructured. Most activity happens outside the approved sales repository – regardless of how well it is designed or maintained. Meetings, presentations, emails, attachments, phone calls, follow-ups, all this content and activity lives across email, laptops, drives, CRM, portals, learning systems, departments – all silos. All this activity and data needs to be factored into any content analytics system to really “close the marketing sales feedback loop”. That includes a user opening a document on their desktop and modifying it, or accessing a document via a cloud repository, or sending a document via email to a prospect. When your analytics system only provides data on the activity that takes place within a particular system, you get an incomplete, and essentially, inaccurate view of enterprise content activity.
Sales Enablement 2.0 and AI
For any sales enablement solution to really drive productivity and revenue, it must solve the dual challenge of identifying the “right information” and, secondly, delivering it to sales reps. Docurated solves the sales enablement challenge with a solution that goes way beyond the walled garden approach adopted by so many vendors in the space. Docurated acts as an intelligence layer that sits on top of all existing enterprise systems and analyzes how content is used and which content is driving deals.
Docurated tackles the delivery aspect of sales enablement with a machine-learning algorithm which indexes the corpus of structured and unstructured enterprise data and applies machine-learning algorithms to deliver key insights around the sales and marketing organization. Our next generation search functionality connects to all repositories allowing reps to access the exact page or slide they need. Because reps are faced with such enormous complexity, Docurated brings content delivery to the next level by providing tailored recommendations on which content to use for each specific opportunity. For example, Docurated may recommend a particular white paper or case study because it was effective at progressing similar deals in the past. This recommendation is served up to the rep where he/she works – be it Salesforce.com or another enterprise app.
One example of how Docurated can transform marketing might be the case of a marketer preparing a conference presentation. With content stored in SharePoint, shared drives, and people’s laptops, it is hard to know where to begin the research. Because Docurated connects all the various enterprise systems, indexing the entire corpus of enterprise content and activity, users are prompted with the most relevant content for their unique situation. The content recommendations or search results are based on the DocuRank algorithm which incorporates many signals including author, freshness, subject matter, and content usage analytics such as views, shares, time, downloads, ROI, searches, sorts, and filters. In this example, the marketer has instant access to the “right information” to help create a highly relevant and effective presentation.
For sales enablement project leaders, it’s time to think outside the walled garden.
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