In Forrester’s recently published report, “The Forrester Wave™: Sales Content Solutions, Q3 2020,” we evaluated the nine most significant ones — Accent Technologies, Bigtincan, ClearSlide (a division of Corel), Highspot, Mediafly, MindMatrix, Pitcher, Seismic, and Showpad — against 40 criteria.
After researching, analyzing, and scoring each vendor’s current offering, strategy, and market presence, we identified two Leaders, Seismic and Highspot, and four Strong Performers: Showpad, Mediafly, Bigtincan, and Pitcher.
Here’s a few key things we learned along the way:
- The sophistication of sales enablement automation has increased — and just in time. While the digitization of the business buying and selling process has been underway for some time, COVID-19 changes have dramatically accelerated this trend. With 53% of white-collar workers planning to work from home for the foreseeable future, sales content solutions and adjacent sales technology categories help sellers increase their effectiveness at a distance.(1) Three categories now define the sales enablement market — sales content, sales readiness, and sales engagement — giving sales enablement pros a broader range of capabilities to help sellers work in a more coordinated and customer-relevant manner to increase revenue lift, minimize the costs associated with sales, and deliver more meaningful experiences to buyers.
- Sales content buyers use only a fraction of what vendors offer. We talked with nearly 20 customers during our evaluation and found that most currently use sales content technologies in a rather unsophisticated way. Among those surveyed, 15 out of 18 said they selected their current vendor because the solution was easy to use and 12 out of 18 said they picked it for its ability to provide a central, on-demand place for sellers to access content. Others described inexpensive pricing and willingness to partner as key criteria. Almost none could quantify the results they achieved to date.
- Digital/remote activity will accelerate use and improve outcomes. As marketers and sellers rely more on digital means to engage prospects at a pandemic-induced distance, the ability to prep sellers to be more effective, give them more engaging ways to interact with buyers, and enhance how they collaborate on content with marketing will increase interest in and demand for more dynamic content delivery, AI-based personalization, and collaborative capabilities that these solutions offer.
- Leaders prioritize customer experience and engagement capabilities. B2B buyers want to work with vendors that understand their industry and business and have empathy for their needs. When it comes to helping sellers personalize buyer experiences, leading sales content solutions stand out with a combination of AI-assisted content or activity recommendations and “in-the-moment” guidance that helps sellers know how to take the conversation in a different or better direction. Analysis of rep and buyer activity around these customized content experiences helps marketers determine which types of content they are missing and whether they should dial up certain topics or dial others down.
Use the sales content solutions Forrester Wave evaluation to help you choose vendors based on your strategy and business needs. Forrester clients can check out the full report and the preceding Now Tech report for sales enablement automation on our website. Sales enablement professionals may also want to read our companion report, “The Forrester Wave™: Sales Engagement, Q3 2020,” to understand how these solutions automate manual tasks, sequence omnichannel touchpoints, set up sales-stage-specific workflows, and capture and upload data from buyers’ and sellers’ interactions.
Forrester clients can schedule an inquiry or advisory session with me to see how to use this report to identify the best-fit solutions for your needs. I’ll walk you through my findings and help you adjust the report to identify the vendors that should make your shortlist.
For those with less pressing needs, please join me for a Forrester client webinar on October 29, at 10 a.m. Pacific/1 p.m. Eastern, where I will explore how the current state of sales enablement automation generally, and sales content solutions specifically, will enhance marketing practices in 2021 and beyond.
(1) Base: 338 US individuals who can work from home and indicated that the question applies to them. Source: Forrester’s Q2 2020 US PandemicEX Survey 2 (April 29 to May 1, 2020).