When Three's A Crowd: Navigating An Agreement Network Is Key To Sales Success In The Age Of The Customer

Scott Santucci

In most cases, the answers to life’s more complex questions have really simple answers. In today’s selling environment it’s often hard to determine who exactly is “the buyer.” Your salespeople are given a lot of inputs:

  • Your executive leadership want them calling on “business people” or “executives.”
  • The sales training courses they have been to instruct them to find “champions,” “decision-makers,” and “influencers.”
  • Marketers produce information about “personas.”
  • Business unit leaders and other subject matter experts talk about “users” or “doers.”
  • Sales managers tend to be more interested in understanding the opportunity (Access to power? Is it qualified? Is there budget allocate? When is the account going to make a decision?).
  • Their contacts within an given account give them different people or process steps to follow, or kick them over to procurement.

With all of the different voices – “You should do this,” “You should say that,” “You need to present this way” – echoing  in the heads of your salespeople, things can get very confusing.

A Tale Of Two Sales

The thing is – the buying environment for most of us has changed, leaving us with two distinctively different buying patterns:

  • On the one hand, the customer knows what they want and have developed fairly sophisticated procurements steps to acquired what they need at the best possible price.
  • On the other hand, the customer is looking for the expertise to help them get value from their investment and solve a problem.
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Getting Zen about Sales Enablement

Scott Santucci

 

When you put the word “sales” and “enablement” together – it sure can mean a lot of different things – to a lot of different people. 

As the Research Director on Forrester’s Sales Enablement team – it’s a problem I see every day. 

What’s entertaining about this (or aggravating, if you are a sales enablement professional inside a large company) is that not only do many people view those two combined words differently – many of those people are extremely confident their own perspective is the right one.  Given what we publish, the number of presentations we give, all of the cross-functional group settings we run into – you might imagine we’ve heard our fair share of strong opinions.

Here are a few highlights of my favorite “certainties:”

·         Sales enablement is just lipstick on a knowledge management pig.

·         Sales enablement is the new label for sales training.

·         Product marketers have been enabling sellers for years, what’s the big deal?

·         Sales people should be enabling themselves with all of the resources we provide them.

·         Marketing should own sales enablement, because it is clearly a content issue, and the sales force doesn’t have access to good content.

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TechnoPolitics Podcast: The Future Of Identity Management With Eve Maler

Mike Gualtieri

Eve Maler, Forrester TechnoPoliticsCome again? You mean to tell me that Eve Maler, one of Forrester's experts on emerging identity and security solutions, has never changed her Amazon password? Yep. She aptly points out that "Amazon has no password rules." While passwords aren't dead, she says, firms that rely only on passwords for identity management are vulnerable to serious breaches. Most firms have "terrible hygiene" when it comes to identity management.

In this episode of TechnoPolitics, Eve Maler discuss how firms like Amazon and Paypal use a "constellation" of risk-based authentication techniques and technologies to protect customers' identity. The courage to make tough calls — that's Eve.

Podcast Listening Options — The Future Of Identity Management

Click here to download the MP3 file for this episode.

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TechnoPolitics Podcast: Why Mobile App Developers Are Smiling

Mike Gualtieri

Forrester InfographicJobs. Jobs. Jobs. Unfortunately, the average unemployment rate remains at 8.2%. Not so for mobile app developers. They are in high demand. We created the Why Mobile App Developers Are Smiling infographic to tell the story. In this episode of TechnoPolitics, Jeffrey S. HammondMichael Facemire, and I discuss:

  • The inspiration behind this infographic. (Hint: we love developers.)
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TechnoPolitics Podcast: Our Take On Google I/O & Mobile App Development

Mike Gualtieri

Listen to Forrester analysts Mike Gualtieri and Michael Facemire's lively discussion on this year’s Google I/O Conference, including the over-the-top Google Glass skydiving keynote emceed by none other than Sergey Brin.

  • Google I/O Conference highlights
  • Native versus HTML5: The mobile app development debate continues
  • iPhone and Android own the market now. Will Microsoft be number 3, or will Amazon surprise everyone again?
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Agile Software Is A Cop-Out; Here’s What’s Next

Mike Gualtieri

Never has a new trend annoyed me as much as Agile. Right from the get-go, the Agile Manifesto revealed the weaknesses and immaturity of the founding principles. The two most disturbing: “Working software is the primary measure of progress” and “Business people and developers must work together daily throughout the project.” These are

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Is Your Sales Force Really That Dumb ... Or Are They Just Misunderstood?

Scott Santucci

Ah, that pesky sales force. Why don’t they:

  • Follow the selling methodology you’ve developed with much expense and rolled out with great sweat?
  • Call on more senior-level buyers, for goodness sake — don’t they realize those are the people with adult money and fat wallets?
  • Just use the tools you’ve developed for them — all they need to know has already been figured out.
  • Sell more stuff to their existing customers — with so many things to sell, how can they NOT be successful?
  • Stay on your brand message? It’s like each rep has created their own version of the truth.
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The Battle Of Partner Eco-Systems

Holger Kisker

On the need to analyze, compare and rate partner eco-systems – please vote.

The world is becoming more and more complex and so are the business challenges and their related IT solutions. Today no single vendor can provide complete end-to-end solutions from physical assets to business process optimization. Some large vendors like IBM, Oracle or HP, have extended their solution footprint to cover more and more of the four IT core markets hardware, middleware software, business applications and services but still require complementary partner solutions to cover end-to-end processes. Two examples of emerging complex IT solutions include:

  • Smart Computing integrates the physical world with business process optimization via four steps: Awareness (sensors, tags etc.), Analysis (analytic solutions), Alternatives (business applications with decision support) and Action (feedback loop into the physical world). A few specialized vendors such as Savi Technology can cover the whole portfolio from sensors to business applications for selected scenarios. However, in general a complete solution requires many partners working closely together to enable an end-to-end process.
  • Cloud Computing includes different IT resources (typically infrastructure, middleware and applications) which are offered in pay-by-use, self-service models via the internet. The seamless consumption of these resources for the end user anytime and anywhere however requires multiple technologies, processes and a challenging governance model often with many different stakeholder involved, behind the scene.
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Introducing our new blog platform

Reineke Reitsma

It's with great pleasure that I introduce our new blogging platform to you! Please let me know your thoughts.

 

In this first post on the new platform, I'd like to introduce Cliff Condon, the project manager, who likes to share his thoughts on Forrester blogs and the new functionality with you:

  • Everyone’s welcome here.  Forrester analysts use blogs as an input into the research they produce, so having an open, ongoing dialogue with the marketplace is critical. Clients and non-clients can participate – so I encourage you to be part of the conversations on Forrester blogs.

  • We still have team blogs focused on role professionals. Our role blogs, such as the CIO blog and the Interactive Marketing blog, are a rollup of all the posts from the analysts serving that specific role professional. By following a role team blog, you can participate in all the conversational threads affecting a role.

  • And now we’ve added analyst blogs as well.  If you prefer to engage directly with your favorite analyst, you can. Look on the right-hand rail of the team blog and you’ll see a list of the analyst blogs.  Just click on their name to go to their blog.  Or type their name into “Search”.  An analyst blog is a place for the analyst to get reaction to their ideas and connect with others shaping the marketplace.  You’ll find the blogs to be personal in tone and approach. 

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The Data Digest: Trending Consumers' Interest In Netbooks

Reineke Reitsma

Netbooks are one of the hottest consumer product categories in the consumer technology industry at this moment - at least from an industry perspective. And yesterday, after Apple's iPad announcement, consumer electronics analysts immediately started commenting and sharing their views via blogs, and twitter.

But what I've been missing is the consumer view. Let's take a look at how interested consumers are in small computers like netbooks in general, and how this has changed in the past year.

Note: I realize that the industry may not see the iPad as a netbook but both the netbook and the iPad serve the same consumer need: an easy to carry, multifunctional mobile Internet device. So consumers are likely to compare and contrast them in the product purchase consideration cycle.

Netbooks

What we see is that consumers are mostly interested in netbooks as a second or third PC that they could use while on the go, or that they consider giving one to their children. Netbooks serve a distinct purpose, for more insight please see the report 'Netbooks Are The Third PC Form Factor' by my colleague J.P. Gownder.