Guest Post By Vanessa Fox

The energy was palpable among the 250 sales enablement professionals at the start of the Forrester Technology Sales Enablement Forum 2012 — then Brad Holmes, VP, Practice Leader, Sales Enablement and Technology Marketing, Forrester took off his jacket, and then his shirt — to reveal his Sales Enablement HERO tee shirt. He fortunately stopped there, but the enthusiasm didn’t!

Over the next 2 days my colleagues and I learned valuable new concepts and practical tips – connected with old friends, met some new. In 3 posts I’ve summarized my three top take-away’s that build upon the two from last year’s Forum which deserve repeating: The Muscle Memory of Change and Differentiate to Create a Better Outcome.

Have a look at my three top take-away’s:

1) “Start With Your Customer’s Customer”

If you start your sales enablement efforts and focus your company on what is needed to help your customer’s customer develop a better business outcome, you dramatically increase your chances for success. This is a design point that everyone can rally around. It is what your customer cares about. If you help them provide what they require to better serve their customers, they will buy from you. Customers don’t buy products; they buying what your products will do for their business. Learn from Scott Santucci, Brian Lambert and others about how this more holistic perspective and value-based knowledge transfer will help companies successfully adapt to rapidly changing business imperatives.

2) “Moving From ‘Go-To-Market’ to ‘Go-To-Customer’”

Ellen Daly, Managing Director, Technology Industry Client Group, Forrester, cites an IBM study, which says that in 5 years 80% of global CEO’s expect the world to change in unprecedented ways – these CEO’s expect the world to be ‘structurally different in all aspects from financial systems to centers of world power’. Thus it is very hard to predict AND keep up with the pace of change. Customers are demanding we change to an outside-in ‘Go-To-Customer’ strategy to help them deal with their business uncertainties, improve profits and reduce risk. And as Mitch Little, VP, Worldwide Sales and Applications, Microchip Technology, says quoting General Eric Shinseki, “If you don’t like change, you will like irrelevance even less.” Mitch took this to heart. Learn what he did to turn his company around.

3) “How Do I Become Brilliant on 100 Different Topics On The Fly?”

Carol Sustala, Senior Director, Global Sales Force Enablement, Symantec, created this visceral picture of the sales enablement challenge: ‘How DO you become brilliant on the fly?’, in all of its complexity, depth and breadth. When it comes right down to it, this is what sales has to prepare for. And this is the perspective we need when equipping sales to be successful. How can we make it easy for sales to be articulate in helping their customer profitably solve their business issues? What are the tools, content, training and processes needed to fully address this issue? Carol has some key lessons for us to consider.

Maybe you came away with other ideas to help your sales enablement efforts? Perhaps you weren’t able to attend but have some thoughts. All comments are welcome — would love to hear them!

Vanessa Fox is a Revenue Architects Affiliate who specializes in increasing sales, marketing and channel enablement. Her focus is boosting productivity by creating and implementing the process, technology and change management necessary to increase profitable revenue.

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