Posted by Scott Santucci on July 10, 2009
Today, Forrester takes the incubation tag off our sales enablement research agenda and is launching a new coverage area called “Technology Sales Enablement” targeted for sales and marketing professionals involved in improving the performance of the sales organization. When you put “sales” and “enablement” together, you get a lot of different points of view.
The hardware, software, or services sold in our industry is inherently complex and requires a variety of information to exchange between buyer and sell. This information exchange happens in the trenches — from one conversation to the next. These conversations take place over time, and involve many different people — each of whom has their own point of view. This complex exchange of information can only take place between people and this is the core issue — how do you create an environment to provide sales people with the assess to the information buyers require to make an informed decision; without overloading them with too much information, process, tools, or training to the point to where they tune everything out and go back to selling what they know.
We don’t think the answer is more training or resources on HOW to sell — most sales people generally know how to manage a sales process.
Nor is it providing more resources about WHAT to sell — more training about products, features, and functions is going to just confuse the sales force and will work against the sales training you invested in.
Our view is the answer lies more with WHO has the problem and WHY should they fix it.
Understanding buyers, their motivations, and what they must do to solve that problem are the missing ingredients in today’s selling model.
We advise buyers
Each year, our 400 analysts field 20,000 inquires with different executives from over 2,500 global organizations. Only about 30% of these conversations are about selecting products and services. The other 70% of our time with clients is spent helping to figure out how to solve complex problems including: setting strategy, budgeting, building consensus within the organization, driving organizational change, or developing implementation strategies.
While also supporting sellers
On the seller side, our analysts are briefed 5,800 times each year. We are briefed on strategic plans in analyst days, new product launches, and go-to-market strategies. Through these relationships with various product, marketing, and sales roles within a given vendor — we get to see what execution strategies work, and which ones don’t.
And being in the middle gives us a unique perspective of the buyer/seller relationship
From our unique vantage point, we get a true 360-degree view of the ecosystem and what really happens behind the scenes when your sales people go home and the real selling begins. We are seeing major tectonic forces at work that are applying different pressures on buyer and seller organizations that are ultimately transforming how they interact with each other. This isn’t just about the recession, it’s about the evolution of business models, the maturation of the technology industry, the increasingly collaborative nature of business, and stress points on funding models.
Our answer to the big questions?
Empower individual sales people with the content, skills, and tools required to consistently have more valuable conversations that are in context to the different stakeholders involved, relevant — to their issues and challenges, and timely — based on where they are in their decision-making process.
Our Research Mission
To help our clients gain alignment among product, marketing, and sales groups so they can improve the overall quality of their sales interactions, at higher levels within their client organizations and do so in a more repeatable and scalable manner than they currently do today. We will accomplish this mission by providing:
· The voice of the customer to provide the common foundation to align product, marketing and sales teams.
· Repeatable frameworks to organize content and facilitate cross-functional collaboration.
· Methodologies and approaches to help shift from a deliverables focus to a more outcome based orientation while providing tools to drive change and measure results.
I know this is a giant blog post, but I wanted to provide you with some context as to our thinking and how we are approaching the topic.