What B2B Sales Enablement “Visionaries” Are Doing: 7 Points

April 21, 2021

Seismic Sales Enablement Customer Lifecycle Support Apr2021Providing sales with the tools they need to do their jobs efficiently can mean the difference between success and falling short of business goals. A new report [download page] from Seismic elaborates on what sales enablement looks like at successful companies.

In the report, Seismic refers to its sales enablement index that groups businesses into four maturity categories: Laggards, Novices, Performers and Visionaries. For Laggards, sales enablement “involves ad hoc, informal processes”, while at the other end of the scale Visionaries approach sales enablement as a “strategic priority across all customer-facing teams, with an executive-level champion and commensurate investment.”

Here are 7 highlights from what the report reveals about these Visionaries:

1. Successful Companies Focus on Pre-Sale Initiatives

The report found that supporting the customer lifecycle with sales enablement pre-sale was more common among Visionaries, by some margin. Virtually all (97%) reported using sales enablement to support prospecting, compared to 41% of Laggards who said the same.

Visionaries also indicated support for sales enablement throughout the customer lifecycle, during the sales process to support the team looking to bring in new customers (88%), at the point of renewal (80%) and post-loss (75%).

2. Sales Enablement Is a Business Enabler

The vast majority of Visionaries were confident in a number of statements about sales enablement, more so than Laggards. These included that their company’s senior leadership thinks of sales enablement as a strategic business enabler (93%), that sales enablement is a strategic business enabler (90%) and that sales enablement is championed by the most senior leadership in their company.

3. The Best Sales Enablement Supports All Customer-Facing Roles

There are some discrepancies between how Visionaries and Laggards approach supporting customer-facing roles with sales enablement. On one hand, Visionary respondents indicated a relatively even split of support between sales (76%) and marketing (67%) roles, as well as customer service (47%).

On the other hand, Laggards indicated that sales enablement predominantly supports marketing roles (76%), with sales roles some ways behind (56%).

4. A Well-Integrated Tech Stack is Important

Some 7 in 10 Visionary respondents reported having a well-integrated tech stack. This continues to show up as aligned with success in the 38% of Performers, 25% of Novices and just 6% of Laggards who said that they had a well-integrated tech stack.

5. Use Data to Track Sales Enablement Effectiveness

Research has found that quality data can increase the overall effectiveness of sale and marketing. Another characteristic of Visionary respondents is their use of data to track the effectiveness of sales enablement. Some 94% said that they not only used data in this way, but had high confidence in it. At the other end of the scale, just over one-quarter (28%) of Laggards said that they had confidence in the data they use to track and estimate sales enablement effectiveness, with 65% saying they had little confidence in this data.

6. Visionaries Have Visibility Into Tech Stack

Visionaries aligned with a number of truths about the tech stack managing customer-facing content, more so than Laggards. Compared to the 61% of Laggards, 9 in 10 (91% of) Visionaries said that they understand how and when specific content is used in individual deals. Visionaries also reported seeing what content is sent to a buyer (90%) and attributing deal progression or revenue to content usage (90%).

7. Visionaries Anticipate More Sales Enablement Features in the Future

There are a number of features that Visionary respondents anticipated seeing incorporated into sales enablement in the next 2-3 years. These include artificial intelligence/machine learning (Visionaries: 97%; Laggards: 52%), budget and quota management (V: 92%; L: 61%), and RFI and RFP management and response (V: 90%; L: 61%).

Read more in the full report here.

About the Data: Findings are based on a survey of 1,090 executives in sales enablement decision-making responsibilities at B2B businesses with at least $10 million annual revenue and 50 sellers or more.

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