The stakes are high for B2B seller enablement.
As enterprise buyers tighten their budgets, the competency of B2B sellers is more critical than ever before. Sales readiness solution vendors are keenly aware of and focused on the challenges that sales leadership and revenue enablement teams face in equipping sellers with the knowledge, skills, and process knowledge that they need for success. These vendors are racing to add capabilities to streamline sales learning and development.
In early October, Forrester published its first evaluation of the space, The Forrester Wave™: Sales Readiness Solutions, Q4 2023, which includes a look at the 11 most significant sales readiness vendors across 31 criteria. For those unfamiliar with the term “sales readiness,” it refers to the category of software platforms that are purpose-built to address the unique learning and development needs of salespeople. OK, maybe the needs are not unique to sellers, but the stakes of getting learning and development efforts right for all customer-facing roles are extremely high for organizations, and that’s why this product category exists.
To evaluate the readiness vendors, we used three primary sources: responses to a detailed questionnaire, a live product demo, and an in-depth survey of the vendors’ reference customers. The Wave evaluation details the scores and strengths and weaknesses of each of the vendors. This blog highlights our findings and the trends that we identified for the sales readiness solutions market overall.
Our three key findings:
1. Vendors have found creative ways to leverage AI. At the time that the study was conducted, all of the vendors were shipping AI solutions to common learning and development problems — for example, generative AI for the creation of learning module and pathway outlines; AI-driven “pitch practice” partners; AI-based rep pitch practice scoring and recommended improvements; and the creation of quizzes and other learning checkpoints. We expect the vendors to continue to develop and innovate in the AI field to further streamline course creation for revenue enablement teams and to facilitate sales rep learning.
2. Out-of-the box reporting needs work. While most of the vendors evaluated provided a method of correlating learning efforts to sales results and other business metrics, even the highest-rated vendors have some work to do to make learning metric reporting simpler for enablement to configure and for sales managers to view and customize. “Tighten up reporting” was a common suggestion from reference customers of all vendors, which is consistent with Forrester’s stance on measuring enablement programs.
3. Service really matters. Another trend that emerged from the evaluation is that sales readiness vendors are investing in their customer success functions and that this is paying off in terms of customer satisfaction. Clients of the vendors raved about their customer success teams. They appreciate the ability of those teams to quickly resolve issues with their implementation of the platforms. Sales readiness vendors, if you’re reading this, consider giving your customer success managers a raise!
There’s more to come!
Vendors have many exciting innovations on their development roadmaps. In particular, we expect big things in terms of generative AI, tighter integration with their sales content offerings, and intuitive metric administration to measure the impacts of learning. Reach out to me for more detailed insights.
Forrester subscribers can view the results of The Forrester Wave™: Sales Readiness Solutions, Q4 2023. And be sure to look out for our upcoming landscape report and Wave evaluation on sales enablement automation, which both will publish in the first half of 2024, focusing on the combined capabilities of sales readiness and sales content management!