February 5, 2021

5 Ways to Assess Sales Enablement Platforms

The primary purpose of sales enablement, simply put, is to make it easier for representatives to successfully sell and boost an organization’s bottom line. As manager of a sales team, you play a pivotal role in this process, and so do members of complementary departments like marketing and account management. Moreover, an effective sales enablement platform can be one of the most powerful weapons in your tech stack.

But it’s important to keep in mind that not all sales enablement platforms are created equal. Even though each of these tools serves the same purpose and you can expect certain features in virtually all of them, some simply won’t perform when you put them to the test. In this blog post, we’ll dig into the issues you need to consider when conducting a sales enablement assessment of popular platforms to find which is best for your business.

1. Effective content sharing

There’s still a lot to be said for the value of conversation and spontaneous verbal pitches in sales — but in 2020 and beyond, content is king. You need material that compellingly portrays the value props of your products or services, be it illustrated decks, videos or case studies, and you need to get it into prospects’ hands.

The sales enablement platform you use must be designed so that you can build up a significant content library and share assets easily. Ideally, you should also be able to share content in a number of different contexts — such as shared spaces with individual potential clients, custom links or attachments — and do so in real time during in-person or virtual meetings with prospects. Members of the sales team should have the option to seamlessly share content as well, whether to prepare for an upcoming pitch or for more general training purposes.

2. Ease of use

Anyone qualified to hold a position on a modern sales team doesn’t need to have their hand held by the enablement platform they use. But it’s always better for reps’ efficiency, productivity and quality of work when their software is intuitively designed and easy to operate. 

When you’re searching for a new sales enablement solution, you’d be wise to take a long look at any product reviews you can find from verified customers. In almost all cases, buyers will include details regarding these platforms’ user experience: When you see terms like “easy,” “simple” or “intuitive,” you’re on the right track, whereas “challenging to navigate,” “complicated” and “difficult to understand” are red flags. That said, customer reviews, even when well written, may be exaggerated or emotional, so you’ll want to examine exactly what they describe as simple or difficult (interface, search, sharing, analytics and so on) and cross-reference user accounts with any professional write-ups you can find.

3. Seamless integration and compatibility

As convenient as it would be for a sales enablement platform to function as a true “one-stop shop” for every single task, reps realistically have to use a number of different programs and apps in the course of each workday. All of those tools have to work together seamlessly and, ideally, improve the effectiveness of their counterparts in some way.

Key integrations to look for in a sales enablement solution include:

  • Compatibility with customer relationship management platforms like Salesforce, SAP C4C and Microsoft Dynamics 365
  • Marketo interoperability to collect and catalog critical data that illuminates the effects of enablement content on the sales process
  • Microsoft Outlook and Gmail integrations to personalize prospect emails and track key performance indicators of engagement (open rates, follow-up time, attachment downloads and so on)
  • SalesLoft and/or Outreach for easy, efficient content sharing
  • Zoom integration to allow for web conference management and screen sharing — a key advantage in an era marked by increasingly frequent remote work
  • Social selling via Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and other platforms
  • Easy interoperability between Microsoft Office 365, Google Suite and the enablement platform for effective content synchronization and editing

Some sales enablement platforms will feature all of those integrations and more; others will have some or most of them but still be lacking in some pivotal areas. Naturally, you want as many integrations as possible.

4. Cutting-edge technologies

Strictly speaking, many major functions of a sales enablement platform aren’t all that complicated in their operation. They don’t require the latest and greatest hardware to run and often work just as well on mobile devices as they do on desktop computers or laptops.

However, in a time where the adoption of advanced technologies like augmented reality and artificial intelligence are only becoming more prevalent, why wouldn’t you want them in your sales enablement platform? AR and leading-edge modeling, in particular, can absolutely amaze your customers by creating immersive simulations that make products and their use-case environments come alive.

5. Training and coaching 

Enabling a sales team to function as effectively and productively as possible isn’t confined to improving the selling experience. 

As the department’s leader, you also need to focus on how new reps are onboarded, as well as the continuous improvement of your more experienced sellers. If your sales enablement platform is designed to support and improve the sales training and coaching processes, it gives you a substantial advantage that can lead to serious bottom-line gains.

These aren’t the only criteria you can consider when choosing a sales enablement solution, but they’re a great jumping-off point for your search — and for a platform that covers all the aforementioned bases and then some, look no further than Showpad

Contact us to learn more or register for a free demo!