Earlier this this month, more than 1,500 sales, marketing and product leaders gathered in San Diego for the eighth-annual SiriusDecisions Summit. This was my first time attending the event, and I was excited to see what some of the major themes and topics would be this year.
As it turned out, I didn’t need to look very hard to identify the most prominent theme for the week: sales enablement.
In fact, from SiriusDecisions co-founder Joe Neeson’s opening presentation, sales enablement seemed to be at the top of everyone’s mind. Over the three days that followed, the topic seemed to pop up in some form or another in nearly every presentation I attended.
But it wasn’t just the presenters who had sales enablement on the brain this year. I was particularly surprised by the results of a live poll in which audience members were given a list of business categories and asked which one their organizations planned to invest most in going forward. While marketing automation, BI and social media were all well-represented, sales enablement led the way with 30% of the live vote.
This was a major eye-opener for me, and it became clear as the sessions rolled on that sales productivity continues to be a chief concern for today’s companies. In fact, even the term “sales enablement” itself seemed to resonate with people more than I expected, as the majority of attendees knew exactly what it meant. The real question, of course, was how to best achieve it.
At Brainshark, we believe sales enablement is about creating a better conversation between you and your customers. With the right content and tools in place, today’s organizations can put their sales teams in a better position to engage more effectively with key audiences, and with our suite of sales enablement products and solutions, it’s our goal to help organizations do just that.
With that in mind, it makes sense that content and communications were such major topics at this year’s Summit. While most in attendance already understood the critical role quality content plays in the sales enablement process, they still had questions about the best ways to analyze their content needs, create the right content for different audiences, and deliver those resources in an impactful way.
I expect investment in sales enablement solutions to increase rapidly as more business search for effective ways to answer those questions. We’ve seen this before with the wave of investment in CRM solutions and Salesforce.com years ago, followed more recently by increased interest in marketing automation software. Now, it’s possible that sales enablement will grow at an even faster rate than marketing automation ever did, as companies already place so much emphasis on (and invest more dollars in) improving the sales process.
Once again, content and communication will be the key. During the event, SiriusDecisions presented data showing that most salespeople believe the number one challenge to sales enablement is the inability to effectively communicate value messages. To truly improve this process, organizations need to be better prepared to engage more effectively with audiences and advance more opportunities to close, and that all starts with having the right strategies and solutions in place.