8 Analyst Recommendations for Sales Enablement Success in 2023
“The only thing that is constant is change.”
That quote from the Greek philosopher Heraclitus comes to mind every December as I look back on the past year. I start each January with particular goals, and inevitably situations change and cause me to adjust what I hoped to accomplish. Heck, sometimes I have days like that—where the to-do list gets completely rewritten because more urgent issues came up.
Sales managers and sales enablement folks face a similar challenge. Sales teams start out on what they think is a true path, and then the economy changes course, sales reps leave, or new technology comes along. Sales leaders and sales enablement managers must then rethink their strategies.
How can you do more with the resources you have? How do you build a culture in which sales reps want to stay? How do you quickly and effectively onboard new sellers so they’re in the field selling faster? How do you help sellers adjust to buyers’ changing needs?
During 2022, analysts from Aragon, Forrester, and Gartner identified several sales enablement trends and offered guidance to help sales teams answer those questions and navigate change.
Here are 8 recommendations from their research to help you develop your sales enablement strategy for 2023.
8 Sales Enablement Recommendations for 2023
1. Seek a Holistic Approach to Sales Enablement
Rather than implementing multiple types of sales enablement tools, analysts at both Gartner and Aragon recommend using an all-in-one platform that includes sales content, training, coaching, and analytics.
“Enterprises need a robust set of sophisticated tools in an all-in-one platform in order to engage with savvy customers, and to enable sharing of content and better communications,” Aragon analysts say.
In addition, Gartner analysts in the 2022 Gartner Market Guide for Revenue Enablement Platforms say it’s important that the “vendor and/or its partner ecosystem be able to support additional capabilities for your organization, such as a connection to forecasting or other sales execution motions.”
2. Manage Sales Content and Data Wisely
The firm identified the 11 most significant sales content solution (SCS) providers and analyzed key capabilities buyers should look for when making a purchase. Top on the list: “Ease of use backed by native integrations and strong content and data management.”
You should also look for a sales content management solution that provides “meaningful, connected insights about content value,” Forrester says.
In addition, Aragon analysts say sales teams should look for a solution that automates content creation and sharing.
“It isn’t just about sales content management anymore. It is all about automating the process of creating and sharing content with prospects,” they say. “Speeding up the productivity of sales teams is a game changer, and more and more providers are offering these kinds of capabilities.”
As with sales enablement platforms, highly enabled sales teams should have a cohesive sales content solution, Forrester says.
“Organizations with a vision for a super-enabled salesforce and a transformative, seamless buyer experience powered by robust insights should choose a SCS solution with a full suite of features — and a vendor with a strong record of innovation,” the firm says.
3. Prioritize Vendors That Have Strong Conversation Intelligence Capabilities
As more tools for AI-guided selling become available, conversation intelligence is poised to reshape the sales enablement market, Aragon analysts say. These tools analyze deals in progress and guide sales reps and managers to the right content, as well as recommend next-best actions at each stage of a deal.
Sales coaches can also use conversation intelligence to analyze actual sales calls, identify and coach to reps’ specific challenges, and identify best practices to share with others on the team. Marketers can use the technology to gain insight into buyer and seller engagement with content that they can incorporate into future assets, Forrester says.
Considering all of those scenarios, Gartner says buyers should “evaluate conversational intelligence capabilities of vendors by the depth of ML [machine learning] capabilities such as real-time translation, accuracy and role-based contextual recommendations.”
4. Centralize Your Sales Content
Ensuring sellers have access to the right content when needed remains a top priority for sales enablement teams, Forrester found. In its report, Agile Content Strategies Deliver Business Results and Drive Sales Adoption, they found 44% of those surveyed said having a single point of access to find the best content for any selling situation would benefit them.
To do that, marketing teams must first identify the content available and then align it to the buyer journey. This will help you set the stage for more agile content adoption, Forrester says.
5. Support Your Sales Force with Agile Content
Mobile sales enablement is not going away, Aragon analysts say. Whether reps work from home, in the office, or are on the road meeting with customers, they want and need access to sales content and collateral from their mobile devices.
Sellers should also be able to create and upload content from their devices to your sales content management solution, Forrester analysts say in their agile content strategies research.
“Enabling your sales teams to easily create, curate, and deliver agile content alongside formal marketing and product collateral makes it more actionable and consumable. Getting this right requires new processes, technology, and commitment,” the report says.
In today’s fast-changing world, agility is key. Sellers who can access just-in-time content are better prepared and win more deals than those who can’t. It’s important, therefore, that your sales enablement tools have strong agile content creation capabilities and mobile functionality.
6. Use Video for Peer-to-Peer Learning
In Forrester’s agile content strategies research report, the firm discovered that video is the best medium for sales reps to share their knowledge and advice.
“Among the desired capabilities in a [sales content] platform, 48% of respondents said content shortcuts to capture insights, approaches, or updates on video would be their top choice,” the report says.
Aragon takes it a step further and says sellers are going to want micro-videos as many more seek experiences similar to TikTok.
Both firms agree sales teams should adopt mobile-friendly ways to allow sales reps capture, edit, and share video with their peers, as well as with prospects. An added benefit: Forrester’s research found that when sellers share real-world experiences, sales teams are more united and motivated. It also allows lower performers to model the behavior of experienced sellers.
7. Measure Content Performance
Organizations must prioritize content tracking so they can measure content performance, Forrester says. When marketers know who, when, and how content is used, they’ll be better aligned with sales reps’ needs and will understand what works with customers.
Your sales content management platform should include dashboards that help you quantify the effectiveness of your content and internal and external content use. Important data points include:
- Which type of content is driving the most views?
- How many unique viewers are driving the views?
- Which content is being shared the most externally or not getting used at all?
- Which content is generating the most views by external audiences?
8. Use Digital Sales Rooms to Engage Buyers
During 2022, it became evident that customers prefer self-directed buying. As their needs arise—and change—they want to take the buying journey primarily on their own. With the huge amount of information available, though, they need guidance. Using digital sales rooms (DSRs), sellers can provide that assistance.
A DSR is a secure, customized site where buyers and sellers can quickly and conveniently access all the relevant materials pertaining to a prospective purchase. DSRs empower sellers to act as a concierge for the buying experience, delighting customers by anticipating their needs and adding value through ongoing collaboration.
DSRs enable buyers and sellers to work together during and after a sale, with buyers accessing product information, reports, meeting notes and recordings, videos, and other sales content at their own discretion.
DSRs encourage self-directed buyer journeys, accommodating the interests of multiple stakeholders, and allowing sellers to monitor buyer engagement throughout. They combine live and asynchronous communication in novel ways that accelerate decisions and improve productivity.
In 2021, Gartner identified this technology as essential for improving revenue execution. And in 2022, Forrester recognized leading vendors who have invested in “DSRs, guided selling, workflow support, and extensive integrations that enable customers to choose a solution tailored to their needs.”
Prepare Now for Future Change
Change is hard for lots of people—even when it’s for the better. With the right technology, mindset, and leadership, though, your sales reps will be prepared to handle anything 2023 throws their way.
Learn More from the Analysts
- Download The Forrester Wave™: Sales Content Solutions, Q4 2022 to learn the key capabilities of these critical platforms, plus how to evaluate a vendor’s approach, technology, and partnerships.
- Read The 2022 Market Guide for Revenue Enablement Platforms from Gartner to learn three key recommendations for buyers evaluating enablement platforms.
- Download Forrester Report: Agile Content Strategies Deliver Business Results and Drive Sales Adoption to learn how sales content has evolved and how business leaders must adapt.
- Watch Sell Smarter: How Intelligent Sales Automation Gives Teams a Competitive Edge with Aragon CEO Jim Lundy to hear what the firm says are the key sales enablement trends for 2023.