SiriusDecisions Summit is one of my favorite B2B sales and marketing industry events of the year. After a few days of meeting with customers and partners, networking and walking the show floor, I left the 2019 event feeling inspired at how far sales and marketing has come just since the previous year’s Summit.
Sales enablement is one such area that is growing at an unstoppable rate. With more than 60 percent of organizations investing in sales enablement, it was unsurprisingly a hot topic of conversation at SiriusDecisions Summit.
Rapid category growth allows for a lot of opportunity for practitioners to apply sales enablement programs to their organization. And, there is no one-size-fits-all approach. If you were to ask five different sales enablement leaders how they approach their work and job, you’d probably get five different answers. Technically, enablement is not even a word according to major dictionaries like Merriam-Webster and American Heritage (more on that later).
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As a CMO, the opportunity circling sales enablement makes me very excited for sales and marketing’s future (and SiriusDecisions Summit 2020!). With that, here are a few takeaways from this year’s event:
Sales Enablement’s Value is Clear
A few years ago, sales enablement was barely recognized as a term, but today, according to LinkedIn, 7,000 people have ‘enablement’ in their job title.
Between 2014 and 2018, there was a 180 percent increase in LinkedIn search results of “sales enablement,” and between 2016 and 2018, there was a 118 percent increase in LinkedIn job titles with “sales enablement.”
While the validity of the word itself continues to unfortunately be murky, the industry is unanimous on sales enablement’s importance. In fact, at the Summit, Forrester Principal Analyst Mary Shea named the implementation of a sales enablement solution as a key way to prepare for the future of sales and suggested that “sales enablement leaders will become strategic business architects.”
Enablement is No Longer Just for Sales
Sales enablement’s value has been proven to the point in which enablement no longer just applies to sales. In his Summit talk, SiriusDecisions Sr. Research Director Peter Ostrow pointed out that ‘enablement’ has extended to other customer-facing teams like partners and customer success (CS).
Once a prospect becomes a customer, it’s just as important for communication to be tailored, and for these teams to gather insights from that communication to strengthen and grow the relationship. As the subscription economy continues to gain steam, and commoditization occurs everywhere you look, companies are competing on product and price less and less. Offering an unbeatable customer experience establishes the kind of loyalty that sets both B2B and B2C brands apart from the competition.
In one example, enablement tools could surface easily-accessible data and analytics, so CS teams can be proactive about leveraging a customer’s preferences, purchase history and more. In this way, enablement not only adds value to another stage of the customer journey, but it could help accelerate upsell and cross-sell opportunities for current customers.
The Sales Community is Incredibly Supportive
For practitioners on the hunt for more information or a forum to ask for advice, there is no shortage of resources and communities about sales enablement and related functions. Whether tapping into the Sales Enablement Society (SES), American Association of Inside Sales Professionals (AA-ISP), Smart Selling Tools, or the many others, I’ve always found the sense of camaraderie among sales professionals to be very strong.
This was validated for me through the response to the campaign launched at SiriusDecisions Summit to petition dictionaries like Merriam-Webster and American Heritage to make ‘enablement’ a real word. Enablement pros solve real problems in their organization on a daily basis, and yet enablement is not recognized as a real word.
Seismic was joined by a growing list of 25 partners, industry associations and other vendors, including the Sales Enablement Society, Kapost, Bigtincan, Brainshark, Gainsight and others, that were eager to help promote the campaign and gain petition signatures. At 1,200+ signatures from more than 330 companies, many of which were obtained at SiriusDecisions Summit, the campaign is not over, and organizations are continuing to join the movement.
Join the community and sign the petition to make ‘enablement’ a real word here.
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