C-suite at “visionary” companies consider sales enablement a strategic business priority, according to new global research from Seismic


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Annual Sales Enablement Benchmark Report (2021): Decoding the Best Practices of Visionaries explores how leading companies are applying sales enablement to achieve higher levels of customer satisfaction and positive business outcomes

SAN DIEGO, CA (March 22, 2021) – Seismic, the industry-leading sales enablement platform provider, today announced the publication of its Annual Sales Enablement Benchmark Report (2021): Decoding the Best Practices of Visionaries, a new report examining sales enablement practices at leading global organizations. The study found that visionary companies driving the most significant growth make sales enablement a strategic business priority, championed by their C-level executive leadership, across the entire customer lifecycle.

Based on a global survey of more than 1,000 sales enablement decision-makers, the study found that organizations with the most mature sales enablement programs follow these five best practices: (1) position sales enablement as a strategic priority championed by C-level leaders; (2) drive go-to-market alignment by applying sales enablement across the entire customer lifecycle; (3) avoid tech silos by leveraging well-integrated tech stacks; (4) encourage widespread adoption of sales enablement platform capabilities; and (5) use data-driven insights to scale best practices across the organization. These practices were found to have a high correlation to positive business outcomes, including exceeding sales targets and achieving higher levels of customer satisfaction.

“Businesses have had to adapt and evolve quickly over the past year, with sales enablement platforms serving as an essential technology to keep up with today’s shifting landscape. It’s encouraging to see that the most successful brands are treating sales enablement as a strategic priority elevated all the way up to the C-suite,” said Michael Londgren, Chief Marketing Officer, Seismic. “These findings underscore the importance of platforms like Seismic to meet the increasingly complex demands of the modern B2B buyer. This report shares the best practices that are helping the world’s leading companies deliver strong business performance and outperform their competitors, while providing the B2C-like experiences buyers expect.”

Leaders of the Pack: What Makes a Visionary?

Seismic’s Annual Sales Enablement Benchmark Report categorized survey participants into one of four groups based on sales enablement maturity: Visionaries, Performers, Novices, and Laggards. Organizations designated as Visionaries reported several commonalities throughout the survey: (1) the prioritization of sales enablement by C-level leadership, (2) application of sales enablement practices across the entire customer journey, (3) use of data to continuously optimize sales processes and scale best practices, and (4) expectation that next-gen technology like AI will further transform today’s tools and solutions.

Notable findings include:

  • C-level executive leadership at nearly all Visionary companies (93%) think of sales enablement as a strategic business priority, compared to just 68% of Laggards. Additionally, 90% of Visionaries indicated that sales enablement is championed by the most senior leadership in their company, while only 62% of Laggards agreed with the same statement.
  • Visionaries apply sales enablement across all stages of the customer lifecycle, with 97% of Visionaries supporting prospecting, 80% targeting customers at the point of renewal, and 75% using it as part of their efforts to win back business post-loss. Meanwhile, 77% of Laggards enable the sales process for new customers, with significantly less support for the other stages of the customer lifecycle.
  • Visionary organizations also support customer-facing teams more extensively than Laggards. Laggards focus most on supporting marketing (76%) and sales (56%), while Visionaries extend support to sales (76%), marketing (67%), operations (42%), customer support (41%), and professional services (37%).
  • Visionaries are more than ten times more likely than Laggards to report that they have a very well-integrated tech stack and share data in an automated manner (70% versus just 6%). Most Visionaries (94%) have high confidence in the data they use to track the effectiveness of their sales enablement efforts, compared to only 28% for Laggards and 68% of survey respondents overall.
  • Nearly all Visionaries (97%) predict that artificial intelligence capabilities will be embedded in sales enablement platforms in the next two to three years, while only 52% of Laggards anticipate AI functionality.

Additional Resources

Learn more of the findings from the Annual Sales Enablement Benchmark Report (2021): Decoding the Best Practices of Visionaries by visiting Seismic.com and reading more of Seismic’s takeaways on our blog.

About the study

Annual Sales Enablement Benchmark Report (2021): Decoding the Best Practices of Visionaries is based on a series of online focus groups with sales enablement leaders, followed by a global web-based survey of sales enablement executives. The focus groups consisted of twelve executives in charge of sales enablement in sales and marketing organizations for enterprises spanning a range of industries. The survey was with 1,090 executives with sales enablement decision-making responsibilities at B2B businesses with at least $10 million annual revenue and 50 sellers or more. These organizations are headquartered in five countries—the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, France, and Australia—and span a range of industries, with an emphasis on technology, financial services, manufacturing, pharmaceuticals, life sciences, and medical devices. The focus groups were conducted in December 2020, and the survey was completed in January 2021. Both were performed by Callan Consulting.

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