March 22, 2016
In the days before Waze, Google Maps, or even Mapquest, when I needed to figure out how to get somewhere in Southern California, I relied on the Thomas Guide. Still available for many areas, the thick, spiral-bound tome was the location bible. It was not the easiest thing to use. Everyone’s copy was dog-eared through constant flipping back and forth to compare the street name index at the back with the coordinates on the correct map-page at the front. It was time-consuming, and sometimes confusing if you didn’t know the exact version of the street – court versus place versus avenue – or what section of the street you were looking for.
The market landscape for sales enablement automation solutions has been in the Thomas Guide phase of finding solutions. There are a wide range of vendors, with a correspondingly wide range of offerings and capabilities. That leads to the web-based equivalent of flipping back and forth trying to map what it is they really do to where you want to go.
The latest Forrester Vendor Landscape: Sales Enablement Automation Solutions and the related toolkit, which includes detailed profiles, looks at 18 vendors and calls out key functions and considerations when starting a search for a sales enablement solution. It discusses why B2B marketers should focus on content, understand how to present and recommend from the seller’s point of view, leverage engagement analytics for multiple audiences, and more.
While many vendors cluster around content-related functions that support Forrester’s sales enablement execution goals of position, locate, and assemble, most are also doing a good job with engagement to track email and related content. When it comes to “develop” as a goal, more specialized vendors that focus on learning and retention may be required. Few directly address incorporating external or third-party customer data to support the “align” goal, though much of the data gathered from engagement actions can be part of that.
A vibrant and diverse market is also one that is subject to rapid change, so consider this the most current map to the sales enablement territory, subject to unannounced changes – not unlike when your favorite web-based GPS leads you through a construction zone.