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SAVO Group 2018 Predictions: More Data Demand and Continued Consolidation

VMblog Predictions 2018

Industry executives and experts share their predictions for 2018.  Read them in this 10th annual VMblog.com series exclusive.

Contributed by Jason Liu, CEO, SAVO Group

Sales Enablement Predictions: More Data Demand and Continued Consolidation

It has been a notable year for sales enablement software - with improvements from more personalized and predictive user interfaces to an emphasis on data analytics for more informed decision-making. Meanwhile, enterprise organizations are shifting to a workforce consisting largely of millennials, meaning cutting-edge technology is at a premium. In short, our industry must be agile enough to make the many changes the market will demand in 2018.

According to Forrester Research, "Today's buyers are more demanding, informed, and value-sensitive, and they have more choices than ever before. To succeed, B2B marketers must recognize the different types of buyers and understand the problems they are trying to solve, be able to demonstrate clear value to the buyers, and infuse outside-in thinking in all teams that support the selling system."

As we head into the new year, sales enablement platforms will allow sales teams to gain insight into their solutions and access the most significant data about their customers. This will be at the core of how enterprises leverage the tool to collect content for outreach to their leads. Data will continue to become more customized and distinct, allowing each organization to manipulate it based on their needs. In 2018, data-driven decisions will be the only decisions that matter, and the only ones that get the desired results.

And this is not simply "data" with a lower-case "d"; this is Big Data - a term that not only encompasses traditional data like financial spreadsheets, but also includes new sources of data like social media and mobile apps. There is much to gain from all of this information; a study released by Lattice Engines states that 90 percent of sales reps the technology provider surveyed believe a Big Data strategy would generate a significant impact on their sales. That means 2018 will be a year in which it is imperative that sales enablement solutions provide the ability to parse this data into actionable intelligence. The platforms that do not do this effectively will surely disappear.

Which brings me to my next point: There is so much information available at our fingertips these days that it can be overwhelming. As more companies realize the benefits of implementing sales enablement and capitalizing on Big Data, the user base has changed from tech enthusiasts and early adopters to the mainstream. According to Venture Beat, "... just recently [sales enablement] has crossed the chasm from a nice-to-have role for companies to a necessity."

Because of this sudden demand, the industry has experienced explosive growth in recent years, with the number of vendors more than doubling between 2005 and 2015. This has created a $700 million market that is expected to be worth $5 billion by 2021 - and the volume is creating new challenges for the customers using the products. These trends will lead to more consolidation in the sales enablement industry in 2018 - and that's a good thing.

In a market that is oversaturated, having fewer choices that are of higher quality will reduce buyer confusion and allow customers to select better products. Customers will also be able to get several integrated pieces at a better price. Instead of investing in multiple pieces from multiple vendors and cobbling together a sales enablement Frankenstein, companies can instead buy one solution that offers many functionalities.

This reduces total cost of ownership for the company and makes it less confusing for sales staff, because their training becomes streamlined. When they only need to learn one vendor, it increases the odds that they are willing to learn it and then actually use it. Implementation and onboarding will be easier because vendors will ensure all parts work together, creating higher user satisfaction.

The changes in the sales enablement industry are certainly exciting, and there is much work to do for the companies that want to stay relevant. Adapting is the name of the game, and buyers and vendors should feel good about the coming changes. As the market continues to incorporate more relevant data and consolidate, pioneering vendors can bring together the highest-quality offerings into one portfolio. That means 2018 will see more tightly integrated solutions that are more economical and more functional. Everybody wins.

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About the Author

Jason Liu 

Jason's extensive technology background includes decades of executive experience within software, mobile and cloud systems management industries. With strong experience in general, strategic and operational management, he has a proven track record of leading companies through substantial revenue and valuation growth. Prior to joining SAVO, Jason was an operating affiliate with Vector Capital and interim CEO of Allegro. During his tenure, Jason was responsible for leading the company through significant growth and profitability.

Immediately prior, Jason was the CEO of Automic Software (formerly named UC4 Software), a global leader in IT process automation. He successfully led the company through significant accelerated growth and eventual sale to EQT Funds. Other senior executive experience includes CEO of Univa and Intrinsic Technologies, and serving as chief financial officer for Ravisent Technologies, where he led the seed-stage company's dramatic growth and its distinction as the "9th Fastest Growing Company in the United States from 1994 to 1998" (Deloitte & Touche/Forbes).

Jason holds an MBA from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and a Bachelor's Degree in Business Administration from Washington University.

Published Monday, January 08, 2018 7:22 AM by David Marshall
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