Your sales and marketing teams need to work together, because that cooperation is what closes deals.
That’s what sales enablement tools are for. Think you can’t afford another digital platform?
When sales reps are spending 440 hours per year searching for the right content, instead of selling, you absolutely can. In fact, you probably can’t afford not to.
Sales enablement tools integrate with your existing CRM and marketing automation tools, so you don’t need to spend tons of time getting them set up. And because the systems are designed to be flexible, they’ll work with your existing sales and marketing processes.
The only thing left to do is choose the right sales enablement tool for your company.
There are a lot of options out there, and the choices can be paralyzing. So we’ve collected six of the best platforms here, and recommended solutions for specific needs (we’ll also tell you which tool earned companies $24 million over three years).
If you want to get right to the recommendations, you can skip ahead.
Otherwise, let’s talk about how we chose these tools.
What Makes a Great Sales Enablement Tool?
The number one thing that you should look for in sales enablement software is that it meets your company’s needs. If you have a sales enablement process in place, the app you choose needs to work with that process.
Of course, if you don’t already have a process, then you can be a bit more flexible.
The core of a sales enablement app is content sharing. That’s what helps your marketing and sales departments get the most useful content when they need it. But the best sales enablement platforms don’t stop there.
Training delivery is one of the most important functions your app of choice should provide. From onboarding and basic sales training to professional development and compliance, an app that delivers training is going to help improve the performance of your sales team.
How will you know if their performance has been improved, though?
Through analytics. Content, sales, and marketing analytics help you see which pieces of content are resonating with your customers. Which attachments are they opening? Which links are they clicking? Which pieces of content are best at converting leads into customers?
Effective sales enablement analytics will tell you all of these things. Not every platform will give you this many insights. But if you can spring for one of the higher-end tools available below, you’ll get a headstart on figuring out how to optimize your content for conversion.
Another great feature of high-end sales enablement tools is automation. Some platforms let you automatically build content based around specific ideas, or using certain statistics. This lets you create new content, specifically tailored to a customer, without spending tons of time doing it.
It’s possible to align your sales and marketing teams without this kind of software. But these features will make the process easier and more effective than using Google Drive or an Excel spreadsheet.
For Maximum Versatility: Continu
Continu can serve as a hub for all of your company-specific content, and makes it easy to distribute the necessary information to the right people.
As a dedicated learning management system, it helps your sales reps not only get the marketing content they need, but also complete trainings, development courses, and other types of activities that will help them succeed in their jobs.
The system lets you share documents, videos, presentations, ebooks, and any other type of content with a few clicks. And you’ll see which types are getting the most engagement, so you can tell where to put more effort in training and development.
With the ability to easily create learning courses and tracks, you can make sure that your sales team is going through the necessary information in the right order and at the right time.
Continu facilitates all types of learning across your team, including sales enablement. There’s a reason why big names like Eventbrite, Nerdwallet, and Stuart Weitzman are already using it.
By combining content sharing with analytics and automation, you have a system that expedites not only sales enablement, but continual learning across your entire company.
And with prices as low as $2 per user per month, it won’t use your entire sales budget.
For Cash-Strapped Startups: Airtable
Airtable isn’t a sales-enablement-focused app. It’s an online collaboration service that’s part spreadsheet, part database. But one of the use cases that’s specifically addressed is sales asset management.
The big advantage of Airtable is its detailed organizational capabilities. You can apply categories and tags to any piece of content, making it easier to find when sales reps need it.
You can store multiple file types, including white papers, presentations, images, and videos. And they can be downloaded and shared with a few clicks.
There isn’t as much automation as you’ll find in other services, so your marketing team will have to update and push out new content. And without training-specific features, you’ll need to put in more work to distribute your onboarding and training videos.
If there’s no automation, training distribution, artificial intelligence, or any of the other marquee features of the bigger sales enablement tools, why would you choose Airtable?
Because it’s extremely affordable.
In fact, you can get started for free. And you’ll only need to upgrade when you want to start keeping more data in Airtable. The next level up is $10 per user per month. And after that, when you hit the $20 level, you’ll get custom-branded forms, priority support, advanced calendar views, and more.
And if you’re looking to use Airtable on a large scale, they have enterprise support and pricing as well.
It’s also very flexible. You can use this kind of software to share anything in your company, from marketing materials and sales collateral to HR forms and user manuals. That makes it especially useful for startups who need versatile tools.
For Small Businesses: DocSend
While it doesn’t pack all the features of the high-powered sales enablement tools below, DocSend has all the basics you need to start your sales enablement process.
The platform lets marketing professionals share sales materials without sending tons of email, and helps salespeople get that information to customers quickly and easily.
Sales teams can see how effective their content is with analytics, and you can even make updates to sales materials while they’re in your recipient’s inbox.
On the internal side, DocSend makes it easy to share onboarding and training materials. It also includes a useful presentation tool that makes it easy to present from and share to any device.
If you can’t afford to spend money on big-name sales enablement tools, DocSend is a great choice. You can get started for just $10 per month for a single user. When you step up to a larger number of team members, it’s still only $30 per month. And when you grow further, there’s enterprise pricing.
It might be bare-bones, but DocSend is a focused content-sharing and analytics system that’s very affordable. Even for small businesses.
For B2B Marketers: Kapost
While it’s meant to be used primarily as a tool for B2B content marketing, Kapost can double as a sales enablement tool. Its content-sharing tools are great for keeping marketers and salespeople aligned.
Kapost excels in content planning and collaboration. And if you leverage its abilities in those areas for sales enablement, you’ll enjoy the benefits of having all of your content in one place.
With 40+ integrations (including, of course, Salesforce), you can start using Kapost without having to change your entire workflow.
Because its focus is on content marketing, and not sales enablement, Kapost is probably best used by companies that are going to use it for its primary purpose in addition to sales enablement.
The biggest drawback to Kapost is that there’s no integrated solution for sharing internal training materials. You’ll either have to get creative with the app’s functionality or use another solution.
And the price is prohibitive for smaller companies. Starting at $3,500 per month, you’re likely to consider Kapost only for larger B2B operations.
For AI-Powered Insights: Highspot
A big-name contender in the sales-enablement world, Highspot places a strong emphasis on artificial intelligence. Their idea of content genomics, which tracks the use and changes of a particular piece of content over time to measures its effectiveness, is particularly interesting.
Content scoring, intelligence recommendations, semantic search, and advanced analytics are also driven by AI.
The software creates personalized landing pages, customizes sales collateral without losing the original version, and shares sales reps’ screens with customers natively over the web.
The effectiveness of all these functions is measured and reported in Highspot’s analytics. You can see which content is performing the best, then push that content out to more people to improve their closing rates.
And, of course, you can integrate Highspot with the tools you’re already using. Salesforce, Office 365, Webex, and GoToMeeting are all supported, as are many other services.
Highspot’s pricing isn’t available online, but it’s a safe bet that it’s not cheap.
For the Ultimate Sales Enablement Solution: Seismic
Hitachi. Seagate. Getty Images. Synchrony Bank. TIAA. Experian. Capital One.
All of these companies have used Seismic software to improve their sales processes.
As one of the leaders in the sales enablement field, Seismic sets the bar for enablement platforms. Their app is built around a core of content sharing, but it offers a lot more.
Its automation function, for example, helps teams build marketing materials up to 85% faster by automatically importing information. Team members can collaborate on sales collateral, track content engagement, and even use AI for predictive content suggestions.
Seismic integrates with SalesForce, Oracle, Microsoft Dynamics, Outlook, Gmail, and more—so getting it into your workflow is easy.
And it provides analytics on your content, marketing, and sales. In short, it gives you a comprehensive view of your sales enablement’s effectiveness.
When it comes to sales enablement, there’s nothing that Seismic can’t do. Of course, you’ll pay a lot for such powerful software. According to a Forrester study, a company with 1,000 sales representatives can count on paying $698,000 in implementation and just over $1 million in license fees per year. That’s almost $1,700 per employee in the first year.
But the average benefits over three years were over $24 million.
If you can afford to implement Seismic, there’s no better choice.
Choose the Right Sales Enablement Tool for Your Business
Each of these tools has strengths and weaknesses. You’ll need to think about both when it comes to your business. What do you want out of a sales enablement app? What will help your team the most? And what can you afford to spend on it?
Answering these questions and implementing a new system might seem like a lot of work. But the massive gains that you’ll see from better aligning marketing and sales will absolutely be worth it.