The Credibility Crisis Of Competitive And Market Intelligence

Leaders of competitive and market intelligence teams know that something is wrong. They tell Forrester this every day. They describe it as being similar to when your car doesn’t drive quite right, but the mechanic can’t find a problem, or when you feel sick, but the doctor gives you a clean bill of health.

You know that something needs to change, but can’t seem to find a point of view to guide you toward the right way to change.

The most frequently used word to describe this problem is “credibility” — and is usually couched in questions such as “how can we build credibility with sales?” or “why isn’t our content credible with sales teams?” Forrester’s practice serving sales enablement professionals will discuss the challenge of building CMI credibility with sales during our February teleconference.

Across the tech industry, marketing and portfolio teams place massive amounts of content into sales portals and measure their success from the usage data — views, downloads, prints — from these repositories. During a recent research interview, one sales rep at a leading software company said, “I know that a lot of materials are supposed to be on our sales portals, but in my nine years, I haven’t ever taken the time to look.”

Your supply chain is broken if a sales rep can succeed for a decade without ever using your materials or even visiting the primary site holding your content!

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Product Pusher Or Professional - What's Your View?

In the novel A Bad Man, author Stanley Elkin deconstructs the word salesperson as “sales is person." In other words, individuals have perceptions -- about themselves and about others -- and (in this case) those perceptions about salespeople matter. How you view the sales channel influences your approach. For example, are you trying to become more empathetic with the sales team (or not)? Your strategy drives how you provide the content, skills, and tools that salespeople need to have a valuable sales conversation at higher altitude levels within the buying organization. 

About once per quarter, we hold a Sales Enablement Roundtable. The roundtable event is cool because we bring portfolio, marketing, and sales executives into a room to tackle specific sales enablement challenges. During the course of one of our most recent events, we heard different points of view from a seasoned group of sales enablement professionals. For example, in our most recent roundtable, we heard statements like:

  • "Our sales teams are hitting their numbers, but getting them to do something different is a challenge."
  • "We're finding that it's not about what to sell, it's about how we sell."
  • "Sales and marketing have to work together. To do that, someone has to bring the two together."
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