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Tamaraschenk
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Tamaraschenk is now following Kathleen Schaub
Apr 25, 2010
Kathleen, thanks for this great post! You have given a perfect background for the challenge we have: First understanding the customers industry and business needs, second mapping against portfolio and offerings to come back with a customer specific approach. It's exactly as you mentioned here - a lot of collateral is portfolio and offering oriented. The work is often done by checklists and people think the job is done when the cheklist is completed. Unfortunately it's not completed at all - here starts the sales enablement challenge, especially for technology vendors! We need to develop more value oriented sales models and industry and account specific sales enablement programs which are integrating sales, marketing and portfolio management. Then we have a foundation to develop collateral more business and value oriented and to be able to give answers to the remaining seventeen questions...
First of all, thanks a lot for this great blog with interesting, inspiring comments based on a lot of experiences and deep insights. I would like to share some ideas from a sales enablement customer point of view (ICT industry, focus on solution selling to multinational customers, thousands of sales people, Germany based). What does it mean for us? Sales enablement for us is much more than "lipstick on a knowledge management pig". We see it as a strategic ongoing governance (e.g. content and publishing ownership) and process issue aligned to the sales process with the target to support every person touching the account with the best available content referring to the customer's specific needs. Additionally sales enablement is about collaboration, which means for us it's a great change management challenge depending on the level of an organization's current collaboration maturity. But it won't be done by adding different web 2.0 features! Furthermore we believe that certain flexible structures depending on the complexity of both the organization and its offering portfolio are necessary, and we believe in the separation of official content and additional shared content/project experiences etc. How did we come to sales enablement? We experienced several years of restructurings, reorganizations especially in sales and portfolio management, and we experienced different sales portals and search engines mostly designed by organizational aspects and content producer aspects located somewhere in the Intranet. And we recognized that our sales reps don't like it. Of course not - if they need more than ten clicks to find some relevant content and another ten clicks for the next document... So it was very clear for us that another content management tool, an upgrade of the existing sales portal meaning to add only technology would not create a "quantum jump". What we all know in an ICT company "a fool with a tool is still a fool"! We had to look for more, and we came to sales enablement. Our first impressions were the presentations and comments from IDC, Forrester and different studies I found in the web - thanks for sharing! Seeing the IDC results on customer satisfaction especially in solution selling - which is our business - we knew: that's an issue for us! And our stakeholders were quickly convinced of sales enablement! What we figured out during the make-or-buy assessment and also the RFP phase: just implementing a web 2.0 based solution could help us but could not increase significantly our efficiency and quality. We have seen that the ability of covering complex portfolio structures is also a critical success factor beside the governance, process, content quality and change management challenges - but of course that's depending on an organization's portfolio structure. Sales efficiency and ROI effects: From our point of view quality and efficiency have to be improved on both sides content producers and content consumers. Reducing one or two hours a week of the time sales reps spend on searching, reformatting and creating content which is available somewhere but was not found (see also IDC studies) millions of € per year could be saved . And adding the improved efficiency on the content producers side as well - hopefully we will stop creating content sales reps never use - additional savings could by realized. But the way will be hard work: content producers have to work in a much more structured way than before: mandatory content per offering has to be defined, content lifecycle has to be managed, sales presentations for different levels have to be created, market intelligence, competition views, USP overviews and much more have to be included in the sales enablement tool - additionally also checklists and sales process related documents necessary for the sales reps have to be part of the sales enablement tool. Of course in a first step all this creates additional costs to be added to the basic operating costs of a sales enablement solutions. But on the other hand - regarding the potential on sales efficiency and quality I'm sure there is an interesting business case - especially if we take into account the quality improvements on the interface to the customer: with positive effects on revenues! When it comes to vendor discussions: there are very good and very specific solutions available on the market, but only a few of them are really integrated solutions referring to content consumer AND content producer aspects covering the whole value chain. We checked very precisely what analysts said, and we found our own situation in some presentations. Especially the maturity and culture discussion was important for us. We checked all these information with reference customers who already completed their sales enablement implementation. Then we got a clear picture where to go. Finally – yes, I believe in sales enablement, we are especially in Europe in the very early beginning. From my point of view, an increasing part of the CRM market will be shifted to sales enablement in the next years, and sales enablement will definitely come to Europe! Additionally the different integration tasks e.g. CRM or SAP will increase in a second wave. Tamara Schenk T-Systems International GmbH Portfolio & Offering Management - Innovation Center Head of "Special ICT Innovation Projects" tamara.schenk@t-systems.com www.t-systems.com - Life is for sharing -
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Tamaraschenk is now following The Typepad Team
Dec 28, 2009