Over the last month, I've been asked to speak at two separate events for the Sales Enablement Society -- their annual conference in Denver, CO, and then at Sales Enablement Soiree that was held during Dreamforce.  At both of these events I shared my experiences of implementing a sales enablement/content management platform (including the scars that came with it) and participated on a great panel of practitioners and thought leaders on mapping content to buyer personas. During my time in the sales enablement space I have also spoken to various other vendors, customers, prospects, and industry analysts. There are plenty of takeaways from these conversations, but the overriding theme is that sales enablement is one of the keys to digital transformation today (let alone in the next couple of years).

Digital Transformation is in Full Force

The type of customers exploring solutions in sales enablement is changing.  Marketing and sales leaders across industries now recognize that the combination of technologies including content management, microlearning, AI, and machine learning make up the crucial parts of making sellers and marketers more productive. As the prominent players shore up their platforms to address multiple needs, it makes sense why we've seen rapid consolidation in the sales enablement space over the last 18 months.

But what I've also seen from companies as they go through digital transformation is a resignation and a frustration that they are just shuffling effort.  While it's true that digital transformation is creating gains in productivity for sales, it's also creating new challenges for marketers, who are (more than ever) being held accountable for revenue.  For example, as AI and machine learning make a bigger impact in content management, marketers are spending more and more time and resources governing tagging to make machine learning as effective as possible.  Devising a tagging nomenclature and schema against pre-existing repositories of assets can be a daunting task. Although this process is potentially a gateway to more immediate content effectiveness reporting and providing accurate content in context to sellers, a cumbersome effort is required by most of the major content platforms in order to be effective.

Ontology to the Rescue!

With an Ontology-based platform, marketers can discover and leverage relationships between data points that they may never have correlated before WITHOUT the tagging dilemma, which provides some unique advantages.  Most notably, it allows marketers to immediately understand not just how effective their existing content is, but what gaps there are in content as they relate to moving the needle on opportunities for sales.  That's game-changing.

Looking Forward

There are many more aspects of sales enablement playing a role in digital transformation such as micro learning that I won't touch upon in this blog post, but plan on in the coming weeks. We're seeing digital transformation reach into new areas and industries all the time as it has quickly become a key part of differentiating the players from the wannabes, regardless of the business you're in.  But suffice to say, wherever you are on that journey - you're not alone.  Last week hundreds of executives took an entire day away from the largest CRM show in the world last week to either start or continue that same journey.  Eyes and ears open, people - the ride's moving fast!

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Steve Hanson is the Director of Product Marketing at Bigtincan, and a veteran of 25 years in software marketing as a product evangelist, thought leader, and public speaker in marketing and sales enablement.