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3 Takeaways from the 2021 Gartner Market Guide for Sales Enablement Platforms

To buy or not to buy? That is the question – at least it is for the many revenue leaders looking to invest in an enablement platform.

And with good cause: our sales enablement space is undeniably complex. As a result, overwhelmed buyers are more likely to retain subpar solutions even as research shows that modern platforms increase win rates. Faced with limited time and a messy market, what’s a revenue leader to do?

For starters, keep reading – with this blog, we’ll demystify the market and help you define what good looks like. Let’s get started.

Defining the Sales Enablement Space

Oft decried as complex, noisy, and difficult to navigate, this category suffers from a surplus of solutions calling themselves “sales enablement platforms.” Few, however, meet the robust needs of most modern enablement teams. To understand what a sales enablement platform really is, look to the Gartner definition of the market:

“Gartner defines sales enablement platforms (SEPs) as tools that unite sales enablement functions and customer-facing sales execution. They predominantly feature native capabilities for sales content, sales training and coaching. SEPs can also offer open APIs to integrate with offerings from complementary vendors with selling relationships and prebuilt integration for bidirectional data sharing and synchronization for seamless access by end users between applications. They are used for internal and partner/channel enablement” (Gartner, Market Guide for Sales Enablement Platforms, Melissa Hilbert, Mark Paine, Alastair Woolcock, Doug Bushee, 17 August, 2021).

Reflected in this definition is the enablement market’s continued consolidation from point-solutions focused on content management to enterprise-ready software that enables revenue teams to execute strategy, optimize performance, and accelerate growth.

What does this mean for buyers? As companies adapt to our ever-changing world of work, they need enablement technology that can comprehensively support how they go to market, whether that’s from home offices or their headquarters.

Go Unified or Go Home

What would one such enablement platform look like? On this topic, Gartner offers the following guidance:

“Organizations are seeking to enable their customer-facing/revenue-generating employees by evaluating sales enablement platforms for digital content, training and coaching. These three work together to form a holistic enablement program. Content is used to spur buyer engagement and educate sellers. Training and coaching focus in large part on microlearning and delivering content in the moment of need. It is important that whenever content or training is surfaced, that it be in the flow of a seller’s daily work to avoid taking them away from doing their job. Tools often focus on sellers, but these tools can and are being used to train customer-facing, revenue generating employees such as customer success and sales engineers. Gartner inquiry analysis shows an increased demand for a fully native platform that includes all three capabilities” (Gartner, Market Guide for Sales Enablement Platforms, Melissa Hilbert, Mark Paine, Alastair Woolcock, Doug Bushee, 17 August, 2021).

Here, the key takeaway lies in the phrase, “fully native platform”. Revenue leaders have enough apps crowding their screens already. What they need now is one-stop-shop enablement technology – not only for their own success in managing, coaching, and optimizing their sales strategy but for the success of their teams. Because the last thing any rep wants is to ramp on yet another application.

But with an investment in a fully native platform enablement professionals to seamlessly equip, train, and coach their sellers. In short, go unified or go home.

There’s Never Been a Better Time to Buy

There’s no time like the present – and that’s especially true when it comes to purchasing a sales enablement solution.

Yes, our market is messy. Yes, further consolidation is on the horizon. But that shouldn’t dissuade you from investing, especially if you’re looking at the type of all-encompassing platform we described above.

Let uncertainty become urgency instead. Rather than waiting to see how the world of sales shakes out, use this time to empower your teams with the tools they need to win, together. Because at the end of the day, the number your team needs to reach isn’t going to change. All you can adjust is your approach to equipping, training, and coaching your teams. And rest assured – your competitors will be evolving, even if you aren’t.

Your Next Step

For buyers, this means you have the opportunity to invest in a solution that isn’t just looking towards the future of sales, but inventing it.

Ready to take action? Download the full 2021 Market Guide for Sales Enablement Platforms here – or send us a note; we’re happy to guide you through your journey.

GARTNER is a registered trademark and service mark of Gartner, Inc. and/or its affiliates in the U.S. and internationally and is used herein with permission. Gartner does not endorse any vendor, product or service depicted in its research publications, and does not advise technology users to select only those vendors with the highest ratings or other designation. Gartner research publications consist of the opinions of Gartner’s research organization and should not be construed as statements of fact. Gartner disclaims all warranties, expressed or implied, with respect to this research, including any warranties of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose.

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