‘Sales Enablement’ has become ‘the’ catchphrase over the last 2 or 3 years, with academics, advisors, consultancies all queuing up to define yet another industry term, associated processes and revenue streams.
There are many definitions, one of the most heavily referenced being Forrester Research’s definition:
Sales Enablement is a strategic, ongoing process that equips all client-facing employees with the ability to consistently and systematically have a valuable conversation with the right set of customer stakeholders at each stage of the customer’s problem-solving life cycle to optimize the return of investment of the selling system (Santucci, 2010).
I ask is this not just effective Sales and Marketing Process that has been done for years?
Forrester’s definition falls short by missing the importance of impact, client factors, competition and timing. After all, do I want to have a valuable conversation or have the most valuable conversation at the most relevant time with the customer?
‘Predictive Sales Enablement’ adds all these dimensions to form a new definition:
Predictive Sales Enablement is a set of tools and processes that provide client-facing employees with the ability to systematically identify and engage with the right client stakeholders at the optimum time and with the greatest impact with the collective aim of deriving maximum value for both the customer and provider.
Traditional Sales and Marketing
Traditional sales and marketing is challenging, with many customers I speak to being cold called upwards of 20+ times a day.
Against this backdrop, sales and marketing has traditionally focused on executing individual or grouped processes to stimulate client interactions, build awareness or get a customer’s attention. Effectiveness being focused on knowing:
- When is the right time to touch the customer?
- What should my approach be?
- How do I make it relevant?
- What does the customer need?
- What will they respond to?
These are all factors that can increase the effectiveness of sales and marketing programs.
Predictive Sales Enablement in action
Predictive Sales Enablement systematically brings together many data points to provide the selling process with a method to derive better outcomes across the sales and marketing process, incorporating insights across competitors’ actions, sales history, market events, customer trends, customer activities, customer perceptions and many other elements.
Let me provide an example. If you as a service provider were able to know that your customer was investigating replacing their incumbent provider due to dissatisfaction, that the renewal of services was due in 12 months and that the customer had also made infrastructure choices that were better suited to you and aligned with your ICT partners. Would that not enable your sales and marketing efforts? That’s what we call Predictive Sales Enablement.
The danger is that like all terms they become over used and a catchall definition for the sales and marketing process. Do contact lists enable sales? Yes, but are they in themselves a systematic approach to provide the selling company with a route to meet the definition of sales enablement? Of course not, yet many list providers call their tools sales enablement tools. The current approach to sales enablement fails like the Forrester definition in that it fails to consider all the elements that need to come together to truly predict where the next sale might be. This is the reason why there is so much data out in the market and every customer has their own sales and marketing process. Joining data and intelligence up in a systematic way that dovetails within a client’s process so that it forms a Predictive Sales Enablement system is extremely difficult.
What Makes Sales and Marketing Effective
For any sales and marketing system to be effective it must systematically consider all its markets, its customers, its own capabilities, competitors, partners, their activities… I could go on and on. People struggle with definitions never mind trying to bring together huge data streams of unstructured and non-standardized data to form useful intelligence to enable the sales and marketing process, never mind providing prediction support on where best opportunities lie within customer markets.
Today’s technologies are finally allowing us to address some of this huge data challenge to at last provide real useful customer intelligence that can be used to predict future business opportunities. This is powered by investment in the latest technologies, developing and analyzing best available data, a relentless focus on standardization and of course best practice processes.
At HG Data, we cannot address the end-to-end sales and marketing stack for every market, no one can regardless of approach. However, using Big Data and our latest methodology, we believe we’ve developed an approach that brings data about IT and communications customers, providers, markets and transactions together like never before, allowing predictions to be made on where an opportunity might exist today and in the future. This allows sales and marketing processes to be best applied to increase impact, minimize customer frustration, and save time while maximizing business value for seller and buyer alike. We call our approach ‘Predictive Sales Enablement’.
HG Data: Big Data World
HG Data will be demonstrating the world’s most advanced technology intelligence platform at Big Data World on 12/13 March at ExCel London. Please visit Tim Royston-Webb and the team at Stand BI06 to see how HG Data’s best-in-class IT tech and spend intelligence can help achieve aggressive sales growth. Avoid the rush and click here to book a bespoke demonstration at Big Data World.
Hear more from Tim Royston-Webb at Big Data World 2019 when he delivers the keynote speech Lessons from the Field – Achieving Data Centricity.
Date: 13 March 2019 . Time: 13.20pm . Venue: Data Analytics & BI Theatre, ExCel London
About Tim Royston-Webb
Tim Royston-Webb is a technology entrepreneur and big data activist recognized as one of the most prominent voices in advocating data science best practices for the delivery of actionable insights within the technology vendor sector. He is the co-founder of Pivotal iQ, highly commended by Computing Magazine as one of the world’s leading technology intelligence platforms. In 2018, Pivotal iQ was named ‘Great British Scaleup’ by TechMarketView and in the same year was acquired by HG Data, the market leader in technographics.
Bringing a comprehensive and independent point of view, Tim is passionate about helping providers and enterprises benefit from big data insights that drive real value into their businesses. His groundbreaking whitepaper, Propensity Modelling for Business (2017), has helped shape the use of data analytics in the technology sector, particularly the use of propensity scoring to identify customer opportunity and minimize risk.
A big data thinker with an analytical mindset, his focus currently is on redefining technology intelligence and establishing HG Data as the global thought leader in actionable insights. Tim holds an MBA from Cumbria Business School and is a founder member of the Data Science Foundation.