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  • News,  Sales Enablement Management,  Vendor Selection

    The Seller Experience

    I’m coming to the end of my next report, on Sales Engagement Management. I’ve enjoyed working through the data and vendor evaluations from our survey of 1500 practitioners – and I’ve certainly enjoyed the meetings I’ve had with most of the vendors who were mentioned in the survey. 

    It took me back to 2010 when I helped Forrester Research invent and define the term Sales Enablement. And I remember well in 2015 when, as research director and conference host, I closed that year’s Sales Enablement Forum with the advice “Don’t help just Sales – see all buyer touchpoints”. Of course, the other thing I did at that conference was co-present our new report at the time called “Death of the B2B Salesman”. 

    I still get to speak on the topic now … on podcasts (Sales EnablementPRO and Evolvers) and at conferences, so I am looking forward to providing a research “call” on how companies are automating their Sales Engagement Management process, as I now prefer to call it. The data shows that 48% of companies are investing here for the first time – here is an automation market perhaps coming to the end of its “early-adopter” phase and about to mature, aggregate and consolidate. The vendors will need to develop thought leadership and educational content, as opposed to picking low-hanging fruit projects.  

    As I like to say, our research discovers a “vendor landscape” – those vendors who are the most highly regarded by users for automation of the process (or family of processes) we discuss in the survey. Due to geographical, segmentation and functional differences, it is not always a list of direct competitors. In fact, most respondents deploy at least two to cover their needs.

    The survey respondents told us that their most overriding concern is seller adoption – will they use the system after it has been set up for them. Quantifying the investment in terms of business value is also rated highly as a challenge. 

    Concerning adoption, I think that the most successful SEM solutions will need to focus on providing the optimal selling experience. This will achieved by offering through superior integrations to adjacent systems; having an empathetic user interface; being adaptable; and, perhaps most-important, supporting those devices that sellers prefer.

    The 15 vendors profiled in the report will be:

    ACCENT TECHNOLOGIES, APPAROUND, BIGTINCAN. BRAINSHARK, CLEARSLIDE, CUSTOMSHOW, HIGHSPOT, MEDIAFLY, PITCHER, PROLIFIQ, SALESLOFT, SALESPHERE, SAP, SEISMIC, SHOWPAD

    with honourable mentions (named in the survey but not enough data):

    CIRRUS INSIGHT, CLIENTPOINT, DOCSEND, GROOVE, JOURNEYSALES, OCTIV, OUTREACH, PREDICTIVE PLAYBOOKS (by XANT), VANILLASOFT, YESWARE

    If you would like to see more of the report, such as the individual vendor profile sheets and full scoring schema, please contact me.  

    Always keeping you informed! Peter

  • News

    Introducing: Sales Engagement Management

    I’m almost ready with my third research project across the major marketing business processes. As organizations acquire more insight into the buyer journey, Marketing is playing an increasingly active role in selecting and funding enablement software for the sales team, often collaborating with their colleagues in Sales Operations (if that organization exists). 

    Marketers usually start off their project by seeking a system to distribute content to sellers; while sales-ops wants to provide on-demand coaching plus support the day-to-day operational processes that sellers must endure. Ideally, these projects should be combined into one robust set of sophisticated tools, on the seller’s device of choice, in order to engage productively with their knowledgeable prospects and buyers. So, I see Sales Engagement Management as one of the fastest growing Martech markets and focused on equipping Sales Representatives, Sales Managers, and Marketers with the necessary tools to engage with prospects in an all-digital fashion. 

    I found nearly 30 active software and SaaS vendors generating an estimated total revenue of around $ 1 billion in annual software licenses, maintenance and SaaS and I know of many companies budgeting well over $100 per seller per month for solutions in this area.  Most of the vendors I talked to are enjoying annual growth rates of over 100%. 

    In our survey of 1500 business executives, 48% said that they will be investing in Sales Engagement Management software for the first time soon and 37% of those who have current solutions will be replacing their existing system for various reasons. The market is in the early-adopter phase; in our survey, the users scored most vendors quite low on perceived differentiation, tending to buy from the first vendor that calls. We anticipate considerable vendor consolidation or churn in 2019/2020 as smaller vendors with point solutions lose their customers to a more complete sales engagement management provider.   

    The top twenty vendors who were mentioned the most by the 1500 executives appear in the Vendor Selection Matrix, which will be published the first week of March. They are (listed alphabetically):   Accent Technologies, Apparound, Bigtincan, Brainshark, Clearslide, Client Point, CustomShow, DocSend, Fileboard, Highspot, Insite Software, Journey Sales, Mediafly, Octiv, Pitcher, Prolifiq, SalesLoft, SAP, Seismic, and Showpad.  

    Always keeping you informed! Peter