The Most Important Sales Enablement Decision You Will Ever Make
When making a decision on a sales enablement platform we see buyers focus on features and capabilities. The checklists sales enablement managers look at includes things like:
But the one unconscious decision, which is ironically an important one, is what type of solution are you buying? Like an iceberg, the most important part of the mind is the part you cannot see.
Fundamentally there are 2 choices for a sales enablement content platform.
- The Status Quo: You can buy a new content management system (CMS).
- A New Way: Or, you can buy something that transforms your existing CMS into something better and more usable that makes your content richer, more discoverable, and more useful.
Which Solution is right for me?
Which solution is appropriate for which use case? It depends on your business. A CMS works for a specific use case while a platform that transforms your existing infrastructure works for many use cases.
A CMS is a way to limit your content. With a new CMS you need to maintain that content separately. It needs to be maintained, organized, and tagged. And this needs to continue over the life of the system.
This means that a CMS is only going to work for a simple use case and a simple product e.g. if you’ve one product that is cookie cutter, with no complexity.
If your company has any degree of complexity e.g. multiple offerings and a sales process that deals with many permutations, a CMS won’t work and you need to look at the other approach – the transformation approach. This approach lets you keep your info where it lives and makes it accessible by adding a search and discovery layer.
The complexity involved in B2B sales today is immense. Think about all the factors which shape each sales situation: region, industry, deal size, use case, product offerings, prospect pain points, deal stage, and competitor positioning to name but a few. With so many moving parts and permutations involved in each deal, reps need to move beyond the CMS and all of its limitations.
There are four main reasons the transformation approach is proving popular in B2B.
- High Volume: With any degree of complexity, you’ll have lots of content.
- No Limit: Limiting the amount of content available to reps by implementing the traditional CMS approach means you’ll end up with a solution with a reduced set of information (a small % of all your info).
- Rep Behavior: If a solution doesn’t have all the information sales reps use they won’t use it
- Minimize Manual Work: There’s no way you can keep up with the complexity of all the tagging and uploading required to keep up with the rate at which content is produced today. Think about all the different products, verticals, configurations, discounts, geography…. Imagine all the tags and work you’d need to create to keep the system up to date?
Think before you leap
Ask yourself why your current system isn’t working.
I encourage Sales Enablement leaders to think deeply about their use cases and match their use case to the right platform. This is an important decision. If the wrong decision is made companies end up paying a severe price down the road.
Many Sales Enablement projects are started because the existing systems are not working or not being used. It’s important to remember this. Remember that most of the existing systems are in fact content management based e.g. File Share, SharePoint, Cloud, ask yourself why this isn’t working?
If you are looking for a new sales enablement solution because your old CMS-based system failed, then it makes little sense to go down the CMS route once more. Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result is not a recipe for success.