Author Archives: Edge Coble

About the Author

Edge Coble is Research Analyst, Sales Enablement Strategies, at SiriusDecisions. Throughout his 15 years of experience, Edge has focused on optimizing operational processes, improving personnel effectiveness, and implementing change management strategies to bridge the gap between sales and marketing teams. Follow Edge on Twitter @gecoble.

Why Content Marketers Should Be Certified in Your Sales Process

When you think about whether to certify sales reps on the sales process, the answer is obvious – of course you should! Reps use the sales process every day and need to understand how the sales stages relate to the buyer’s journey. Reps also use the sales process as an activity checklist to drive intended outcomes. Reps are coached on the sales process, which is reinforced by first-line managers, and success is confirmed by buyers’ actions. However, one group that often is forgotten in the certification process is marketing, especially marketing roles who create content for reps. Unless they have gone through sales training, they may be unaware of how reps and buyers actually engage with one another, and how reps use and present content during those meetings. Yup, classic misalignment.

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What Is the ROI of Your Sales Asset Management Solution?

Clients often ask me how they can justify the cost of a sales asset management (SAM) solution. They sometimes want a magic formula to show them that after purchase of the SAM solution, they will see a payback period of X months based on a Y lift in sales. No such thing. This is not to say there isn’t a benefit to buying a new SAM, but equating it with ROI is the wrong approach. In the past decade, organizations have faced increasing pressure to justify every dollar spent and describe how each expenditure contributes to the bottom line. On the surface, this approach seems logical and practical. If the company is going to spend money on a new solution, it should realize a financial benefit. But consider the following comparison:

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Sales Enablement Technology – Utopia or Dystopia?

A common theme in science fiction is the hidden dystopia in what otherwise appears to be a perfect world – a utopia aided by technology. The underlying message is ominous: Technology is a direct threat. In the world of sales, technology that should help reps succeed at their jobs can become dystopian if the process is not considered first. Unfortunately, many companies throw technology at a problem before fully understanding the issue, and they’re disappointed when adoption or ROI is lower than anticipated. The good news is that a few simple actions can be taken to avoid this problem:

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Four Ways to Drive Your Sales Portal Adoption

Most sales portals go through the same phases – launch, initial adoption, enhancements and decline. Then, communications begins begging the sales team to use the portal, telling reps that it “has so much to offer.” By this point, the portal may be cluttered and difficult to navigate, forcing reps to hunt for content. But before revamping or scrapping your sales portal, consider these suggestions to increase portal adoption:

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Four Steps to Building a Sales Enablement Function

While some may say that sales enablement is just the latest buzzword or industry fad, our research shows that 60 percent of companies plan to increase their sales enablement budgets, and another 30 percent plan to maintain spending levels. During their inquiries with us, companies beginning to develop a sales enablement department often express a sense of urgency or even panic. We have also witnessed an explosion in vendors offering sales enablement solutions. Both companies and the investment community recognize that sales enablement is here to stay. We suggest the following steps for building a sales enablement function:

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Sales Enablement: What Changes Are Occurring in Your Organization?

With so much growth occurring in the sales enablement space, we’d like to know what changes you see within your organization. The goal of our latest survey is to answer the following sales enablement questions: What are the latest sales enablement tools and technologies? How is the sales enablement function evolving? How are sales enablement departments being staffed?

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The Sales Asset Management Gold Rush

In the past year, we have seen a number of vendors enter the sales asset management (SAM) space. This market, once the domain of only a few players, has seen explosive growth. Some of the companies now offering SAM systems are not new, but are new to the space. Many are better known in the marketing community for content management, while others have a track record in specific verticals (e.g. banking, insurance). Growth and competition are good. Competition speeds development and innovation within an industry, while lowering prices. But it can also be unnerving for the buyer, in the following ways:

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What Sales Enablement and Sales Operations Can Learn From Sales Reps

Although we all agree that reinventing the wheel is a waste of time, we do it all the time at work. We would never expect a customer to buy a product or service sight unseen, yet that is typically what we do to our sales reps every time we introduce another process, program or tool intended to help them. Worse, many of these solutions are announced without any internal marketing plan. The assumption is that reps will either automatically want to use your solution or will be told to do so, so why bother marketing and selling it? Here are a few basic steps that can transform a mediocre introduction into one that is highly successful.

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Reflections on Summit 2013 Through a Sales Enablement Lens

Last week, SiriusDecisions hosted more than 1,500 attendees at our annual Summit, held at the Manchester Grand Hyatt in San Diego. As a new member of the SiriusDecisions team, it was a wonderful experience to watch my colleagues in action as they presented our latest research and insights to the entire crowd. The presentations covered a wide range of topics important to b-to-b marketing, sales and product leaders, from the rearchitected waterfall to the unified integration model. But sprinkled throughout each presentation was a subject that is near and dear to me – sales enablement. As I made the rounds and introduced myself, the conversation consistently turned to sales enablement, even before I mentioned that I cover this area. Here are my answers to three of the questions I encountered most often during those discussions:

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Why Your Staff Needs to Go on a Sales Call Today

Most reps adhere to the adage “Plan your work and work your plan.” But does your staff fully appreciate what that involves? From time to time, field marketing, sales operations and sales enablement should go on rep ride-alongs to observe and discover new ways to enable sales success. Here are some pointers to help you make the most of these ride-alongs (and to make sure you’re asked back).

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