Back in 2013, consultant and speaker Matt Heinz wrote that a “tactical definition of sales enablement that fits all companies—sizes, industries, cultures—would be next to impossible.” However, hundreds of companies place themselves under the umbrella of “sales enablement technology.” How can they be so confident that they can enable sales if the definition varies across companies?
To see if anything has changed in the years since, Demand Metric conducted a survey to find a common definition, and they did come up with a three-pronged one with the help of 380 respondents:
- Processes, practices, technologies and tools that improve the performance and productivity of the sales organization.
- Enhances ability of sales team to increase revenue via sales.
- Drives revenue by directly impacting sales teams’ ability to lose more deals.
So, do the companies that define themselves as sales enablement technology fit the bill? Well, yes, but so does CRM, which should fall under the sales automation or sales management category. Even ecommerce platforms might fit the bill. It’s hard to imagine a piece of software intended to be a part of the sales process that wouldn’t be considered a sales enablement solution.
Narrowing in on the 18 vendors Forrester defined as “Sales Enablement Automation Solutions” still shows big differences between companies—focus varies from training materials to mobilizing PowerPoints to sales transformation.
Demand Metric’s definition is broad because their respondents couldn’t agree to one; the only component of sales enablement that they agreed on (with 61 percent agreeing it was part of sales enablement) was “develops strategy,” which is vague, but not vague enough for a consensus.
That takes us back to Matt Heinz, who 3 years later, is still right on the money. While we can come up with a catchall definition, an actionable definition for your own company is something you won’t find in a dictionary or infographic. By that same token, just because something is a sales enablement solution doesn’t mean that it’s the solution for you.
Take a look at the full infographic below for more on Demand Metric’s research and the 4 stages of enablement, and check out our 5 steps to successfully transforming sales at your own company.