Sales enablement tools grow up, as Forrester releases first Wave report
The new study evaluates 9 tools in a marketing/sales category that, the research firm noted, barely existed a few years ago.
Sales enablement tools, which help salespeople manage and track marketing content, are a small but growing category.
This week, research firm Forrester released its first Wave report on the subject, “The Forrester Wave: Sales Enablement Automation Systems, Q4 2016.” (For Forrester clients, with individual purchase required otherwise.)
This study follows the first analyses of sales enablement tools this year by SiriusDecision in February and Aragon Research in October. Forrester noted that there have been enough vendors to constitute a market segment only for the last four or five years.
Forrester evaluated nine providers, identifying two as leaders: ClearSlide and Seismic.
In the second-most category of strong performers, it placed Savo, Brainshark, Mediafly, Showpad, CallidusCloud and KnowledgeTree. The report said that Skura, alone in the Contender bucket, “lags behind.”
The evaluations — based on vendor surveys, product demos and customer reference calls — focused on differentiating functions, competitive presence, customer and revenue growth, continued investment in product development and other factors.
The most important capabilities included access to a central portal of content; tagging content by such categories as subject, product and sales opportunities; integration with customer relationship management systems; tracking usage by recipients; and links/integration to learning management systems. Some tools also support live presentations, while others are geared to email communications.
The report found that leader Seismic has “all the bells and whistles” for content administration and management, including workflows for reviews, the ability to turn PowerPoints and PDFs into individual pages and functionality to quickly assemble content for a given opportunity.
Seismic’s “only weakness is robust support for live and virtual presentations,” Forrester said, “but a strong product road map has that covered.”
A key strength for the other leader, ClearSlide, was identified as live and virtual presentations. This tool was also cited for having “most of the benefits of a content management solution, combined with robust screen sharing and detailed tracking of how the presentation is viewed.” But its ability to freely assemble materials was compromised by “relatively weak approval functions.”
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