There is an an emerging new option for sales technology that application leaders should pay attention to. In the past year, Gartner has seen the emergence of sales enablement platforms from vendors outside of the traditional Sales Force Automation (SFA) market.
Sales enablement is both a business discipline and a collection of technology. It encompasses the process, content, training and tools to help salespeople (and others involved in the buying journey) be more efficient and effective. Capabilities include sales content management, coaching, training, onboarding, and account management.
The sales enablement market has existed for some time, comprised of 100+ sales enablement vendors generating well over $400 million in software sales as of year-end 2016. But until recently, this market was generally composed of individual applications for content management, coaching, training, onboarding, and account management. This meant that the market was diffuse and not yet a common part of the sales technology stack at most companies.
But in the past year, Gartner has been tracking the development of sales enablement platforms. Some of the most tenured-vendors in the market have expanded their offerings, adding platform functions based upon open API’s. These are useful for uniting disparate sales enablement solutions around a common set of complementary and interconnected sales functions.
Some of the sales enablement vendors have converted their applications into API-based open platforms, offering their own library of open APIs. With native APIs, sales enablement vendors can:
- Provide native connectors to other API-enabled sales enablement applications, which means that sales content and coaching applications can be stitched together in a seamless enablement process
- Create user-interface mashups with other sales and marketing solutions that are based on open APIs.
- Offer basic tools for building custom user interfaces or data capture forms, which is useful for building applications that deliver the most commonly used daily sales functions into a single tool.
- Deliver granular functions for capturing and measuring how business contacts engage with the content sent to them by sales representatives.
Beyond these technical capabilities, these developments are important because they expand the scope of sales technology. It moves application leaders closer towards achieving a comprehensive, data-driven picture of the granular actions that impact sales cycles. With that data, we can build better onboarding, training, coaching, and account management processes.
Application leaders should investigate sales enablement platforms if they have frequent requests for tools that improve the execution of daily sales processes. And investigate sales enablement platforms if you have frequent requests from sales managers needing to assess and benchmark how sales representatives are executing daily sales motions.
Gartner clients can read more about sales enablement platforms here.