Sales Enablement: The New Sales Savvy?

•April 8, 2014 • Leave a Comment

While maybe only modestly technical in skill set here at MoM[S], we nonetheless remember well the heady, newfound days of building out rudimentary databases: adding client & prospect data in cell by cell, block by block, to early programs such as RBase5000 or even Lotus 1-2-3. All to help maintain & develop our Sales processes across both DOS-based PC systems and early Apple units like the Duo.

From there, the natural progression for the Sales world became next-stage ‘sales contact management systems’; i.e. Act!, Contact, and others, all of which were about all the technology could support at that time. In more recent days, far more robust programs along the lines of SalesForce, Highrise, Zoho, FreeCRM and other players have led the way down the CRM path. 

The state of Sales software is no longer rudimentary in 2014, by any measure. And with that, the next round of software development for Sales professionals has arrived, in the form of Sales Enablement Software* tools.

The idea here is to “enable” the sales process, with additional functionality beyond the rote number of Contacts you entered last week or number of cold-calls made in a month, followed by a grand total of your sales for the month. All of these are on the ‘Left-Brain’ side of the MoM[S] equation.

Having had a number of public [and private] Demo’s of several of these systems, I can say that they are of value in the right setting, and with the right expectations. I would enjoy using them myself, should the right occasion arise again in the future. More on that below.

Merely scratching the surface of what these offer, they are clearly planted on the more creative, ‘Right-Brain’ side of Sales, which means we ourselves would have a special affinity for them. Some of the capabilities to bear include:

- Collaborative and Sharing tools across and within your Sales team.
- Allow a ‘closed-loop’ environment for your team to brainstorm, iterate, and develop new ideas to take to market.
- Keep a robust, consistent library of content…and content elements…to easily access. Even better, you can then see how your colleagues may have used such items, when you are working to develop something compelling for your own client at that moment.
- Something really cool, that I’d like to one day explore further [as it must be done carefully with your client], is the concept of a “portal”, that creates a specific channel for your customers/prospects to access info/data/collateral on your company, as part of the sales & transaction process.
Done right, could be great. Done wrong, a disaster.

Meanwhile, these products can only really be used, and are largely designed for, larger Sales settings. Teams. In fact, on the Best Practices page on the site of Act-On Software, they clearly state, “It’s a team sport – salespeople working together, with support from marketing…”

Some of the other firms out there now [by no means is this a complete list] include:

  • CallidusCloud
  • iPresent
  • Qvidian
  • SAVO
  • Their potential biggest drawback? Usage. Usage in the form of buy-in, and by sales teams already tasked with a myriad number of other tasks related to both clients and internal processes. Like any other software, if it’s not used…what is the value?

    Overall, buy-in really needs to come from both sides. If you are very literal in what you do, this may seem like puffery to you; either go & make your calls, or you are done. But many would argue, myself included, that that is just not enough anymore.

    Buyers…and customers…are too savvy to be ‘closed’ anymore, in the old-school fashion. That is ESPECIALLY true, if you work in a biz, where you want to foster long-term, or multiple, transactions.

    Since these are essentially the other side of the equation, I would say that as essentially a “bolt-on” product, many of these firms will either merge, be bought [by key players like Salesforce], or frankly, add on the opposite side’s complimentary tools, and become a Salesforce. But most are unlikely to stay standalone for long.

    As for myself, and for those who also work solo or independently for the most part, Sales Enablement won’t really work well for you. That’s too bad, because I REALLY do like that ‘Right-Brain’ angle applied to all my Sales efforts!


    - – -
    * – Sales Enablement Software is so new a concept, there is no entry for it in either Webopedia or Wikipedia.

    #BSBA2014 International – Best Sales Blogger Award Nominee

    •April 7, 2014 • Leave a Comment

    BSBA2014The 5-year anniversary of MindOnMedia[Sales]; our writing place/internal sounding board/thought-leadership incubator/Blog/refuge from the world at times; fast approaches.

    And with it, we learn of a truly great honor that has arrived our way: MindOnMedia[Sales] is a nominee for this year’s Best Sales Blogger Award 2014, in Italy! Bellissimo. Tutto Bene. Bella Mia!

    To be under consideration with this tremendous group of people, world class talents all, is indeed extraordinary & I am grateful. Special thanks to our subscribers, and the many readers who have visited over the years from around the world. Thank You!

    Mindonmediasales

    via #BSBA2014 International – Best Sales Blogger Award.

    MediaPost Publications The Media-Sales Relationship Dynamic: Top-10 Dos and Don’ts 02/27/2014

    •March 7, 2014 • 1 Comment

    EllynMPostMediaPost Publications The Media-Sales Relationship Dynamic: Top-10 Dos and Don’ts 02/27/2014.

    You’d think that, after writing MindOnMedia[Sales] for nearly 5 years, I would have summarized a list of Best Practices to use by now. To be sure, I’ve written about many of these very items at length, and maybe one day soon, I will write one like this…from the Sales side.

    Until then, here is a great summary list, coming from the all-important Agency side [and maybe it is actually better one comes from the Agency side in some ways!] The perspective here, from Ellyn Rice at Piston, an indie shop in San Diego, takes that Agency view. But really her work here goes beyond that, looking at the relationship from both sides on how to proceed…and NOT proceed. Hope you enjoy this as much as I did.

    Automakers Should Just Let Apple And Google Build Their Infotainment Systems – Business Insider

    •January 3, 2014 • 1 Comment

    Maybe because of the Toyota experience recently with Prius [and its alleged 'automatic acceleration' woes], but you would think that the automakers of the world would have taken to outsourcing their electronics in this area by now.

    After all, it is quite common in the back pages of AutoNews to see a ‘Where Was It Made’ schematic breakout of various car models, detailing where most parts of that car are made, and the parts-supplier company that made that item [since so much is in fact outsourced, which most consumers don't realize or pay attention to.] So why not their Infotainment systems?

    Of course, then again, since these are also really the new toy to play with, maybe the OEM’s have just not arrived yet at the conclusion they SHOULD be outsourcing these fully, and soon. Or, maybe after the difficult, unfortunate Prius situation, there is hesitation. Maybe these systems become so intertwined into the car, interconnected into its most basic core, that it is seen as proprietary, and they are unwilling to relinquish that much control. A fair point, even though they essentially do this with things like power trains, tire technology, and steering/cooling elements.

    But let’s get real: Until they can offer up a system as cool as the iPhone/iPad, or as universal as Android, they are fighting a battle that will not end.

    Automakers Should Just Let Apple And Google Build Their Infotainment Systems – Business Insider.

    MoM[S]: 2013 In Review

    •December 30, 2013 • Leave a Comment

    The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

    Here’s an excerpt:

    A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 2,200 times in 2013. If it were a cable car, it would take about 37 trips to carry that many people.

    Click here to see the complete report.

    The Chaos of TV Creative: Agency or Client?

    •December 27, 2013 • Leave a Comment

    Like you perhaps, I have had time over the holidays to relax a bit, and get caught up on some TV movies/shows not seen in recent months. Now I could be wrong, but just from watching on a single night…I noticed a slew of *very* bad Holiday ads, with all kinds of things wrong with them.

    Not naming any names here [as many seen were from clients/agencies/brands I have worked with previously, and am sure to work with again in the future], but the quality levels were so noticeable…in an off way…that I have to wonder: Client or Agency?

    Granted, both parties facilitated these ads ever seeing the light of day to begin with [or light of TV/Video screen, if you prefer], but in my experience, it is usually one prevailing over the other. This is just some of what I saw was wrong with these spots:

    • Having absolutely no identifiable ‘message’, or point, to the ad. [And worse, trying to tie THAT, whatever "that" is, into some form of 'Holiday Sale' notifier.]
      • “Abstract” may work as Art form, or Music composition. Not so much in conveying meaning in a :30 or :60-second spot.
    • A fragmented, false or undeveloped “premise”: This is advertising at its full-cliche’ best. Or worst.
      • What do I mean here? The cliche’ part arises, as many ad concepts for commercials build around a “premise” that either creates a problem/solution, a statement about the product, or a goodtime humor element, hoping to create a positive feeling about the brand with laughter.
      • Examples: the ecstatic aunt, dizzy over your new floor cleaner. Or the ‘whoosh’ of hair from a car commercial…even though the speed limit is 65 in most of the US.
      • Viewing these, as a consumer, there comes that feeling that ‘something is missing’ from the ad. Or it ‘feels out of place’ somehow.
      • This is a result either of poor concept, poor conception, or lack of development. Somehow there is a disconnect that no one saw during production, or just allowed to pass. Not good either way.
      • Last, many times an issue with premise will result from faulty dialogue, poor editing [where scenes or dialogue are cut short], or lack of a coherent, cohesive theme to begin with.
    • Is the context relevant? Even if the ad is free of glaring errors or problems, does it make sense to its audience? Did the setting work? What about that “premise”? Was the theme of the ad clear, and did it convey a message, one that most in the audience could identify?
      • Just because you got a wry smile from someone, did that actually further the brand? [Too often, I may snicker at the humorous "premise" the ad postulates. But that may be an uncomfortable one…and may also do nothing to aid recall or interest.]
    • Being too damn “cutesy”. Yes, sometimes being cute DOES sell. But, except in very rare cases, being cutesy does not.
    • On both of these last two, some would say that just noticing the premise or the cute factor alone, is the greatest faux pas. While I might agree overall on that point, that also may not be giving quite enough slack, especially on an item that subjective. [In the end, all of these are subjective anyway, so this takes it just one step further.]

    From there, the related, crucial questions from the title of this article then arise:

    • Did the client insist on the creative/message, regardless?
    • Or, be honest here – Did a too-small/reduced client budget, with a too-short turnaround window, force the agency into something not fully developed?
    • Even worse than that: Did the client at some point, insist on an add-on to the original message? Basically changing something with a theme, into something with a theme…and some type of Direct-Response “action” message, thereby destroying the original concept? Happens quite often, I’m afraid.
      • I think we are seeing more of this, as marketing/advertising is required to justify its “ROI”, to corporate Purchasing departments.
    • Next…what about the agency; was the spot something they thought was “clever”, to which the client deferred judgement?
    • Did the agency insist on forging ahead? Was the approach/concept taken, one the client agreed with or understood? Sometimes you wonder.
      • The one related to this of course, concerns whether the agency was ‘chasing awards’ with the work, or not. More than once in the past [but not always], the Grand Effie or Gold Lion winner at Cannes, has been something few have ever seen, let alone brought attention to the client. You see this debated in AdWeek/AdAge every now & again.

    At this point, many of you could be asking, “OK, so what does this have to do with Media Sales, exactly?” Good point. And the answer is easy: As more ad/commercial content is ported to the Digital side [whether you call it Digital Media, Second-Screen Content, or something else], it is YOU, that will be held responsible in part if or when the ad ‘doesn’t perform’. And with the many metrics available, this is a very real concern.

    Now, all of this could in addition be seen as issues of a Branding nature. And I would note in closing that, while this largely is a “What’s Wrong” list, it is not meant to be a complete summary; it is mainly a starting point for dialogue. Nor does it mean, that the opposite of these items would by definition be the only things that make a *great* ad. Far from it.

    What about you? See anything you have liked, or not liked, in late-2013?

    - – -

    A Reflection on ‘Rate Deals’…

    •October 23, 2013 • 1 Comment

    I think I’ll just let these two article headlines stand for themselves, without much comment. I did not include a link to the first one, since by its gruesome nature, I do not want to add to its site traffic.

    As I work with many Autos clients…and have for years…it is probably best to let these speak as they are, and not discuss any one Brand, especially when the picture addresses a larger issue, even as it snares this automaker here.

    But I will point out, that it is interesting these appeared…and were published on…the SAME day. Highly ironic timing, for those that see the possible correlations and how these seemingly juxtaposed each other today…

    digiday1

    mediapost1

     
    Follow

    Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

    Join 1,616 other followers

    %d bloggers like this: