Noise vs. Utility: Hype in the Sales Enablement Space

  February 26th, 2015  
  Sales Enablement

When it comes to sales enablement tools and solutions, how much of it is really going to impact your sales organization and bottom line? How much of the industry buzz is just useless hype in sales enablement?

There’s plenty of hype, but plenty of value, too.

Our previous post looked at the relevance of sales enablement to today’s selling landscape (the opposite of hype!) We found that sales enablement’s relevance lies in providing sellers with ideas, tools and practices that helps them beat obstacles to successful selling today.. Many of these enablers are still in development. But many, including sales productivity, training and customer discovery tools are useful right now.

OK, we’ve made our stand. But, what and how much of current sales enablement rhetoric is hype?

Notable industry analysts Scott Santucci, Nancy Nardin and others engaged in a discussion about hype and its role in the sales enablement space.

First, let’s start with the diagnostics. What indicators are we looking at? Santucci made a thought-
provoking list of the symptoms of a Hype Bubble:

  • Early-stage market: buyers often don’t know what questions to ask, let alone what useful answers might be.
  • Many sellers yelling their heads off at the same time.
  • Lack of standards and best practices.
  • Lack of a buyer-side plan for choosing and implementing sales enablement products and approaches.
  • Lack of customer success stories and narratives.

But wait! These are the symptoms of an immature market. That’s no crime.

Is it worth it to explore sales enablement tools at this point?

Although the market is relatively immature, the technology and tools to boost productivity and sales performance are there. The biggest question that needs answering is if your organization is ready for them. If you can answer ‘yes’ to the following questions, chances are you can and should explore sales acceleration technology.

  1. Have you identified your organization’s specific sales challenges and needs?
  2. Do you have a well-structured plan (that includes sales enablement or sales acceleration tools) to address these issues?

Those who have the most success with sales acceleration and enablement tools are the companies that have thoroughly assessed their needs and have a systematic plan of action and implementation. If you prepare in this same way, you can be certain you’re being sold technology you can quickly implement and use to drive more sales.

As far as hype goes, here are some answers to your FAQs:

  • What is sales enablement hype? Distractions. Any features or “solutions” that don’t address your organization’s real needs. The sales process for these types of tools should be focused on you-delivering highly customized customer-centered solutions to your sales problems.
  • To whom should the hype matter? Investors, executives and sales and marketing professionals must be on the front lines of hype awareness and resistance.
  • How do you recognize sales enablement hype? Answer this question: Does the method, idea, tool or approach directly fix your organization’s pains or concerns? Effective sales enablement is a medicine. If it doesn’t help cure your symptoms, it’s hype.

Next Time: Sales enablement practices and tools are relatively new. Is it too early to look for signs of sales success?

The header image has been modified from original. Photo Credit

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