In addition to the sessions mentioned by Brad Holmes and Brian Lambert in their blog entries, we dedicated an entire track to sessions that discussed how the decisions made by portfolio teams relate to the efficiency (or not) of sales teams.
Participants in the portfolio track all consider themselves to be sales enablement professionals, but have job titles that include product management, sales operations, competitive intelligence, and marketing communications.
Despite this wide range of responsibilities, each person shares a common goal of improving their areas of responsibility in ways that improve sales efficiency.
Attendees who look at sales enablement through a portoflio lens expressed the following thoughts about the Forum:
We feel empowered by seeing and hearing so many sales enablement professional come together.
We need to make our company executives aware of the industry changes in sales enablement.
We have entrenched behaviors that we need to overcome (i.e. muscle memory).
We face a complex amount of change and need a way to communicate it clearly.
We need to understand how e can overcome organizational silos that increase complexity.
Something quite remarkable happened in San Francisco this week. Counter to the tectonic norm in this amazing city, sales enablement came into alignment. How so?
Our team gathered with some 250 fellow SE professionals at our inaugural event focused on making those people in the role more successful. Over the course of two days, we talked about what buyers want from tech today, which is not tech but, rather, the end results that tech plays a role in delivering. We heard from George Colony, Forrester's founder, chairman, and CEO, that the majority of tech CEOs he interviewed don't believe their sales teams are keeping pace with their companies' strategic goals.
We learned from Principal Analyst Scott Santucci about outcome selling as a strategy to deliver on buyers' new demands for results, not more stuff. We shared stories about changing the focus of our efforts and investments in supporting sales by starting with customers' problems and using the sales conversation as the key design point. We shared stories about how to build consensus and win executive sponsorship for our initiatives and programs. We shared stories about things we have tried that worked -- and some that didn't. We heard from some remarkable sales enablement leaders, like Marci Meaux of CISCO and David Irwin of Allant Group, both blazing a path of success. In the halls and into the evening, we compared notes, we traded cards and contacts, we learned, and we laughed.
In the end, what was clear to me from both the main stage and the halls is that:
I was invited to speak at the annual Distree XXL event in Monte Carlo last week. Now in its ninth year, Distree XXL gathers together top executives from tech industry vendors and distributors plus, in recent years, retailers from around EMEA for three days that include a trade show, presentation sessions, and meetings to discuss industry-specific channel topics. The 2011 event drew 950 delegates from 127 tech vendors and over 400 distributors. One of the event highlights for everybody is a process to request and set up formal one-on-one meetings between the various players, similar to our own one-on-one sessions at the Forrester Forums (only their software is better). A total of 5,000 such sessions were scheduled: some at tables in larger rooms around the trade show, many others in private meeting rooms elsewhere in the conference center.
The keynote presentation I gave was a clone of my recent Forrester Teleconference , where I use the word “changes” both as a noun and a verb: I describe what changes we see happening in the channel due to recent industry trends, and I propose how channel resellers and distributors must also change their business model for continued success. The most common comment I heard from attendees after I presented was, “It was good to hear somebody outside our business make these points. We’ve been discussing this for a while now, but not everybody is convinced this is happening or knows what to do about it.” I must say, I have never, ever collected so many business cards after a presentation where I must follow up by sending slides as well as two relevant reports (one on channel resellers and one on distributors) by my esteemed colleague Tim Harmon and myself.
There were two important pieces of Nokia news of interest to mobile platform developer partners leaked today. First, Nokia’s MeeGo platform, designed to replace Symbian, will likely be killed before ever reaching the market. Second, Nokia’s CEO Stephen Elop purportedly sent a 1,300 word memo to all Nokia employees that includes key sections such as: “We poured gasoline on our own burning platform. I believe we have lacked accountability and leadership to align and direct the company through these disruptive times. We had a series of misses. We haven't been delivering innovation fast enough. We're not collaborating internally. Nokia, our platform is burning”; and “The first iPhone shipped in 2007, and we still don't have a product that is close to their experience. Android came on the scene just over 2 years ago, and this week they took our leadership position in smartphone volumes. Unbelievable.”
This dovetails with what we predicted in a November 2010 report, “The Feeding Frenzy Over The Mobile Developer Channel,” in that it would not be the quality of the underlying platform software (Nokia has remained strong there), but the ease of development, viability of the platform, size of the market, and availability of distribution channels that would settle the mobile platform battle. In all of these factors, Nokia has been steadily falling behind its competitors, led by Apple (iOS), Google (Android), and Microsoft (Windows Phone).
Question: What do Ken Jennings, Brad Rutter, and a computer named "Watson" all have in common?
Answer: The two humans and computer will all compete on the US game show Jeopardy! the week of February 14, 2011.
In case you're not a Jeopardy! fanatic, both Ken and Brad are previous Jeopardy! champions, and they're credited with some of the longest winning streaks and largest take-home earnings in the game show's recent history (see endnote 1).
And here's the scoop on Watson:
For over three years, IBM has been developing what they call the "world’s most advanced question answering machine, able to understand a question posed in everyday human language and respond with a precise and factual answer" (see endnote 2).
Features of Watson:
Runs IBM's "DeepQA technology" to help identify context, and answer questions quickly
Runs on Linux OS / 10 racks of IBM POWER 750 / 15 terabytes of RAM /2,880 processor core
Tens of millions of documents stored
Access to the equivalent of 200 million pages of content
Note: Watson is not connected to the Internet, so it does not do Web searches.