Just published, The Forrester Wave™: Sales Enablement Automation Systems, Q4 2016 highlights the nine leading vendors in the space using 33 criteria. Following on from the Forrester report Vendor Landscape: Sales Enablement Automation, the Forrester Wave report whittles down 18 vendors to nine of the strongest players in the sales enablement market.

The Forrester Wave evaluation process is rigorous, involving in-depth demos and customer references. As my colleague Lori Wizdo noted in a recent blog post about her report, The Forrester Wave™: Lead-To-Revenue Management Platform Vendors, Q4 2016, there’s no hiding for either the vendor or the analyst. The product and marketing teams for all the vendors are passionate and committed in presenting and defending their solution.

As the first Forrester Wave to cover the sales enablement automation market for B2B marketers, this report also offers a clear definition of just what is needed to be a successful solution. While there are many functions that are consistent across the solutions, such as CRM integration (mostly Salesforce) and various levels of back-end content management, there are clear differences as well. The solutions tended to be either/or:

  • Synchronous solutions that focus on the live presenting and meeting experience, whether face-to-face or virtual.
  • Asynchronous solutions that target engagement with content via email.

Although this difference will disappear in the medium term as the vendors invest in the functional areas where they are weaker, you should carefully consider not just your content management needs but also exactly how your sellers prefer to engage with your customers and prospects.

That also means that you may need to weight the 33 criteria differently; luckily, the underlying model allows you to vary those weights to meet the unique needs of your organization. Other factors to consider that we discuss in the report include:

  • Availability in, and for, international markets.
  • Services to support implementation.
  • Analytics within the solution.
  • Suitability for ABM processes.

In a follow-up report, we will look at the lessons learned from reference customers who are using these solutions, providing a further dimension to the conclusions of this Forrester Wave report.

In the meantime, whether vendor or practitioner, the Forrester Wave paints a detailed portrait of the sales enablement market and is an invaluable guide to selecting the vendor that best suits your organization.

Continuously curious, 

Steven Wright