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Peter O'Neill here. As well as working the end of our fiscal quarter (yes, we analysts must also meet targets), I’ve been busy in the past few weeks getting ready for our upcoming Marketing Forum, where I am co-presenting a session on the rising importance of the customer retention and expansion phase with my colleague Tim Harmon. A Forrester Forum always presents me with a dilemma: I’d like to have as many client one-on-one sessions as possible — it’s always great to meet people that I often only know from the telephone — but then again, I’d also like to enjoy and learn from the other presentations at the conference.
I (Lori Wizdo) have just put the finishing touches on the content for tomorrow's (Wednesday, March 28 at 10am PT/1pm ET) interactive webinar, Socialize Your Lead To Revenue Process. B2B marketers (even tech marketers) are not sure their buyers are really engaged in social media for business purpose. We'll see Forrester research that proves they are. We'll discuss how social marketing can address the issues I am hearing, over and over again, in client inquiries:
"How can we increase inbound?".... "How can we increase conversions?" ... "How can we shorten nurturing cycles?" And, most importantly, "Is social worth it?"
Despite the doubts and uncertainties, tech marketers plan to increase spending on social media for L2RM in 2012: 43% plan to increase social media spend for lead origination; 41% for lead nurturing. Tomorrow's webinar hopes to give some very pragmatic advice to help you jumpstart or scale-up your social marketing program.
I (Lori Wizdo) am on a plane, flying to San Francisco, to participate in Forrester’s Technology Sales Enablement Forum. As I was prepping for my (limited) role in the event, I had a flashback to one of the most famous disses of the sales profession ever written.
It’s contained in the 1960’s article "Marketing Myopia”, written by Theodore Levitt, which has become one of the best known and most quoted of Harvard Business Review's articles. The article is essentially about having a business strategy that concentrates on meeting customer needs rather than selling products. A key take away, which most marketing or business school grads remember, is the observation that “had railroad executives seen themselves as being in the transportation business rather than the railroad business, they would have continued to grow.”
However, it is also in this article that Levitt was breathtakingly critical of the sales profession: "Selling concerns itself with the tricks and techniques of getting people to exchange their cash for your product. It is not concerned with the values that the exchange is all about." He went on to explain that sales "does not...view the entire business process as consisting of a tightly integrated effort to discover, create, arouse, and satisfy customer needs. The customer is somebody 'out there' who, with proper cunning, can be separated from his or her loose change."
Well, that might have been true then (who I am to disagree with a marketing legend) but it’s definitely not true now – and certainly not in the tech industry.
I (Peter O'Neill here again) had the pleasure of visiting Twickenham rugby stadium in London last week – sadly, not on the Saturday to watch my national team beat England but on the following Monday to meet Dell executives and hear about their Enterprise Spring Launch of new products and services. As I listened to the speeches about new servers, storage, networking, and end-to-end applications, I kept thinking to myself how difficult it is these days to sound different from other infrastructure vendors who do the same thing - and often with the same technologies. I remember making those same speeches over 15 years ago and it was difficult enough then! My colleague Richard Fichera has commented on the product details, so I’d like to review the most important one, for me: Dell’s solution program. As far as I am concerned, only those IT infrastructure vendors who market at the business technology level will enjoy success in the future – and that means solutions marketing with commitment.
Many of our clients are building named account or strategic customer programs in order to drive more revenue from their existing customers. Unfortunately, few are even close to realizing their expected results. Understanding the challenges associated with cross-selling within large account structures is one of the track sessions at our upcoming Sales Enablement Forum.
Joining me in my track will be Tamara Schenk, VP of sales enablement at T-Systems. Tamara has definitely followed the path of the manager of “broken things” to evolving sales enablement as a more strategic function within her company. Here are some of her thoughts:
1. How has the role of sales enablement changed inside your company?
The role of sales enablement changed fundamentally inside T-Systems. We started with sales enablement three years ago after the consolidation of many different portfolio views to ONE portfolio. Consequently, we also consolidated the variety of different sales portals by implementing one cross-functional multidimensional sales enablement platform called SPOT ON. The hard work behind SPOT ON was to analyze existing sales content, to be brave enough to throw away thousands of documents and to define everything else in terms of target groups, content, purpose, mapping to sales outcomes, RACI matrix for each content type, content generation and content publishing activities including a content localization process.
Many people who set out on the quest to evolve from being the steward of broken things to a more strategic role of a sales enablement leader often ask me, “What should our bill of materials look like?” or “What kinds of deliverables should we be producing?” That’s the kind of thinking that begets more “broken things.” The question I tell our clients they should be asking is: “What are the kinds of ongoing services you can define jointly with sales leadership, develop and continually improve, and that you can demonstrate the business value by producing measureable results that matter to leadership?"
Given that backdrop, I am delighted to have Daniel West, vice president of Informatica University and Enablement speaking at our Sales Enablement Forum. Daniel and his team at Informatica have made some outstanding progress to elevate the function from an afterthought to a critical and strategic function within their company. One of their focal points have been to move away from creating many different training programs or toolkits measured by the number of people who took the course or the number of tool downloads to something far more impactful. They focus on creating and delivering a few services that are measured by an agreed upon metric of success defined jointly by Daniel and their executive leadership. This is the kind of game changing approach that makes Daniel a HERO. We recently had the chance to ask him some questions and share his thoughts as he evolves his role.
How has your leadership’s view of Sales Enablement changed over the last year or so?
Those of you who know me (Peter O’Neill) know that I’ve lived in Germany since 30 years. Now, when I grew up in the UK, I remember so well the BBC journalist Alistair Cooke reading his “Letter From America” each Sunday night on the wireless (as we called radio then!): It was a great familiarization exercise and stood me in good stead when I visited and worked in the US many years later. As I do at least one inquiry per week for Forrester clients describing the state of the European and/or German tech market, I thought I’d kick off a regular blog in the same vein – probably bi-monthly – where I highlight something I think is important for you that has or is about to happen in Germany.
The sales enablement profession is evolving from stewards of "broken things” into a more strategic function that helps CEO’s bridge the gap between the business strategy and field execution. Our upcoming Sales Enablement Forum is dedicated to these emerging HEROes and sharing the path forward to a more efficient and adaptive selling system. Having said that, I am excited to share an interview we had with Carol Sustala, senior director of Global Sales Enablement at Symantec and one of our keynote speakers. I have the privilege of getting to work with her hands on a lot over the past year and am excited for the rest of you to hear her story.
So, enough about me - here is Carol in her own words:
(1) Sales Enablement is a big, cross-functional role; what did it take to motivate your peers to team with you on some challenges?
The function of Sales Enablement requires tremendous cross-functional alignment and collaboration, and that's not something that happens overnight. One of the key elements to success in driving an aligned sales enablement effort is not really motivation so much, as it is relationships and shared commitments to success. Invest in building strong relationships built on mutual respect for unique talents, expertise and experience across the key stakeholder organizations responsible for some aspect of Sales Enablement, and the motivation to team up on challenges will follow close behind.
(2) Sales Enablement is an emerging role and discipline; where do you see the Sales Enablement role headed at Symantec?
This year (next month) Forrester’s Technology Sales Enablement Forum will sport a new channels track. With a theme of “Bridging the Strategy-to-Execution Gap,” we will drill into the issues vexing channel professionals on why “perfect” strategies, involving partner recruitment, partner enablement, and partner loyalty, often fall flat with channel partners.
I’m particularly excited by being joined on stage, not just by my colleagues Dane Anderson and Michael Speyer, but by [yes, real live] channel execs Jon Roskill of Microsoft and Wendy Bahr of Cisco. Jon and Wendy are going to share their insights and their most effective techniques around channel enablement – i.e., how their companies’ channel teams empower their channel partners to effect maximum productivity. Attendees will have plenty of opportunity to grill Jon and Wendy with their particular issues.
Moreover, Dane, Michael, and I are going to bring “the voice of the channel partner” directly into our explorations of partner management execution. I’m sure you’re going to take away some valuable, actionable ideas for boosting your own channel strategy-to-execution map. Check it out:
Forrester’s Technology Sales Enablement Forum 2012
As mentioned in my last blog, I (Peter O'Neill) was at the Distree EMEA event last week and met with many executives from tech industry vendors and distributors. I also swapped impressions about market trends with colleagues in other research organizations, such as Context, GfK, IDC, and Regent.
The most discussed section of my keynote presentation was “Apple takes a bite at B2B business,” where I quoted research from my illustrious colleague Frank E. Gillett. I said that Apple had an 8% share of new “corporate PCs” in 2011, which we predict will grow to 13% in 2013. Apparently, many vendors and distributors haven’t noticed this: They aren’t getting the same message from their usual research providers. Later in the week, I listened to such a presentation in which it was reported that “the PC market slowed in 2011 but will pick up again in 2012.” Another researcher made a similar observation in his presentation. No mentioned of any new vendors or devices: “Not significant” was the tenor.