No industry vertical could be as exciting or challenging when it comes to evolving how they sell to customers as the technology market. With such a large breadth of company profiles, ranging from Sillicon Valley startup-types to large enterprise vendors, the sales enablement evolution varies massively across this spectrum.
The idea of sales enablement is now really starting to take hold in the technology industry, and many job roles have been created in the UK tech sector to accommodate this change. Larger companies are waking up to the fact that isolated spats of sales training initiatives will not stand up to pressure from more sophisticated competitors. They are now taking a more holistic approach to sales enablement, by integrating product managers, sales trainers and management and marketing departments.
However, this is a long process, and lots of these companies have created reams of sales and product documentation across many sites and intranets (and filing cabinets depending on where you work) – which takes a while to go through, evaluate and integrate into the new, holistic world of sales enablement. Technology companies tend to also produce more info as a result of more product changes and developments (some IT products have a ‘few months’ lifecycle) than other sectors – so it’s a bigger job to integrate this into a coherent sales enablement approach. Scott Santucci, Forrester’s leading light on Sales Enablement, describes this problem as “systematic” throughout organisations – conversion to a new way of managing selling is not an easy or quick change, it can often mean the complete destruction and re-creation of a company’s culture and processes.
The important thing is that basic adoption of a sales enablement methodology (or at least recognition of the need to have a methodology) has begun. Things can, hopefully, only get better from here.
IDC has recognised the shift in the technology industry towards holistic sales enablement activities and has launched their own Sales Enablement Services, to help technology companies combat incoherent sales training and marketing activities. They offer tech companies a rounded delivery model that encompasses offline and online training, content development and industry advice.
As we move further into 2014, I predict that Sales Enablement in the UK technology market will grow quickly, and more jobs will be created locally outside of the current American boom in the sector. The question is whether these roles will be filled by traditional Learning and Dev Officers, Sales Management or Marketing Managers?