72 Questions and Business Reasons for Sales Enablement RFP

When choosing a sales enablement platform, your RFP must take into consideration the many different aspects of how the platform will improve your organization’s performance and integrate with the rest of your tech stack. Read on this article to explore 72 questions that can help guide you as put together your RFP.

72 Questions and Business Reasons for Sales Enablement RFP
72 Questions and Business Reasons for Sales Enablement RFP

Table of contents

Introduction
Marketing
Sales Enablement
Sales
Integrations
Content Reporting and Analytics
Onboarding/Support
Company
Mobile
Conclusion

Introduction

Sales enablement, as both a discipline and a strategic initiative, continues to grow in leaps and bounds. The growth is similar to Moore’s law in that it seems the advancements made by sales enablement solutions, depth of knowledge about the field, and amount of practitioners all seem to double every year. Within the space of a year, what was once a new development becomes an accepted standard—and organizations must stay on the forefront of these innovations to avoid falling behind.

There’s good reason to stay up-to-date on the latest innovations as sales enablement is a proven effective tool for organizations. Demand Metric found that 75% of respondents say that sales enablement makes a moderate or significant contribution to their business. A report by Brainshark found that 59% of organizations with a sales enablement solution surpassed revenue targets.

When deciding to implement a sales enablement solution, it’s essential to be up-to-date on everything that these platforms offer. Sales enablement doesn’t only affect Sales and Marketing. When implemented correctly, a sales enablement solution and initiative should transform your entire organization and lead to huge success.

59% of organizations with a sales enablement solution surpassed revenue targets.

But to get those results, it’s necessary to choose the right solution. And that decision is not one that should be made lightly. A sales enablement platform will affect many different stakeholders across a wide range of departments. With that in mind, your RFP must take into consideration many different aspects of how the platform will improve your organization’s performance and how it will integrate with the rest of your tech stack.

This article is designed to provide you with a clear understanding of the many different facets of a sales enablement solution. The solution will affect many different aspects of an organization, so we have broken down the questions into categories that explain how different teams are affected. Use these questions to guide the way you think about implementation and how you evaluate the platforms in the market. A sales enablement solution is a potent tool when it’s backed by a sound strategy and contains all the components necessary to make your organization successful.

Marketing

Marketing works hard to create content to help Sales in all of their selling situations – yet SiriusDecisions reports that about two-thirds of content goes unused. A sales enablement solution aims to solve many of Marketing’s biggest issues by doing the following: effective content usage decreased one-off requests, improved content findability, centralized content management, and content measurement and reporting. The following questions are important to consider as you evaluate a sales enablement platform’s impact on Marketing.

Content Profiles/Targeting

Question: How can content creators specifically target their content to users?

Business Reason: Those responsible for producing content need to have a way to ensure up-to-date content reaches the intended audience and isn’t just available to anyone.

Question: How do administrators control who has access to what content?

Business Reason: Only certain users should have full control to edit, upload, delete, and manage the content database.

Predictive

Question: Does the solution use AI and machine learning to map content to the selling situations they were designed for?

Business Reason: The ability to serve up predictive content that is powered by AI and machine-learning gives sellers a huge advantage. With predictive content, sellers don’t need to hunt for content specific to their selling situation as relevant content finds them on any device.

Question: How does the platform leverage tag content in its predictive capabilities?

Business Reason: The solution should learn from the way content is tagged to make smarter predictive content recommendations. A solution that leverages tagged content can provide users with content that is more relevant to their interests.

Discover and Search

Question: How can sellers discover content relevant to their needs within the platform?

Business Reason: Sellers shouldn’t have to wade through mountains of content in different repositories to find what they need. A well-designed platform will offer intuitive ways to find content that includes dynamic search and easy-to-navigate layouts.

Question: How is data collected to improve future content recommendations?

Business Reason: Machine learning and AI is crucial for effective content recommendations and predictive selling. Leveraging content usage and effectiveness data lead to smarter content recommendations.

Question: What search infrastructure does the platform use?

Business Reason: A powerful search engine is necessary for combing through content and serving it up promptly.

Question: Does the solution support in-content searches?

Business Reason: The ability to search for content, no matter where it’s stored, by referencing the material contained within improves the chances of finding content and reduces time spent searching.

Automation and Personalization

Question: Does the solution support creating reusable components of content for quicker personalization?

Business Reason: Personalizing content at scale is one of the most important ways Sales and Marketing can come together to drive better results.

Question: Please list the specific types of content that can be created with your solution’s automation and personalization capabilities.

Business Reason: Sales and Marketing have many different formats for the content they use; the more formats a solution supports, the easier it is to engage with buyers.

Question: Can live data be effortlessly streamed into the content?

Business Reason: Many organizations have content that needs to be updated with constantly changing data, and the ability to feed that data into automated content is crucial.

Question: How does Marketing maintain brand integrity and ensure information is accurate and up-to-date?

Business Reason: Marketing needs to ensure brand integrity in the content that’s used by Sales out in the field, and a sales enablement solution needs to provide proper capabilities & protocols to do so.

Compliance

Question: How does the solution ensure adherence to brand and regulatory guidelines?

Business Reason: Certain industries have strict rules and laws on branding, and it’s necessary to ensure that brand assets cannot be updated or edited by unapproved contributors.

Sales Enablement

The goal of sales enablement is to enable sales teams to understand their buyers better and be the best sellers possible. A sales enablement platform can help sellers stay at the top of their game by providing them with a single source of truth to access contextually relevant content, training, industry news, competitor intel, and company news on any device. The following questions are important to consider as you evaluate a sales enablement platform’s impact on Marketing.

Training

Question: Does the solution support creating reusable components of content for quicker personalization?

Business Reason: Personalizing content at scale is one of the most important ways Sales and Marketing can come together to drive better results.

Question: Please list the specific types of content that can be created with your solution’s automation and personalization capabilities.

Business Reason: Sales and Marketing have many different formats for the content they use; the more formats a solution supports, the easier it is to engage with buyers.

Question: Can live data be effortlessly streamed into the content?

Business Reason: Many organizations have content that needs to be updated with constantly changing data, and the ability to feed that data into automated content is crucial.

Question: How does Marketing maintain brand integrity and ensure information is accurate and up-to-date?

Business Reason: Marketing needs to ensure brand integrity in the content that’s used by Sales out in the field, and a sales enablement solution needs to provide proper capabilities & protocols to do so.

Informing the Teams

Question: Are sellers able to access the latest competitive intelligence, market insights, and product updates within the sales enablement platform?

Business Reason: Having all of the information sellers need within the platform in which they spend a majority of their time improves performance and reduces time wasted by switching between platforms.

Question: How do users filter the information they receive, so they only receive the news that’s most applicable to their role?

Business Reason: Large organizations will have massive amounts of information that needs to be disseminated to a wide-spread audience. To not overwhelm sellers, it’s important that they only receive information that is relevant to them.

Question: What control do creators have over the design and layout of the communications feed?

Business Reason: A sales communication tool needs to be intuitively designed to attract readers and propel them to check the platform constantly.

Question: Where and how can sellers access the content that is being produced?

Business Reason: Sellers are constantly on the go and need multiple access points to stay up-to-date. Whether they are in the office or about to walk into an important meeting, they need to be informed.

Sales

Sellers’ time is incredibly precious, yet hours can be taken up by administrative tasks, searching for content, and creating their own content. SiriusDecisions reports that sellers only spend 18% of their time interacting with buyers. A sales enablement platform aims to get sellers back to doing what they do best: selling. By providing the ability to quickly find & personalize content, collaborate with team members, and deliver the right content at the right time, a sales enablement solution gives sellers back precious hours that were traditionally wasted. The following questions are important to consider as you evaluate a sales enablement platform’s impact on Sales.

18% of their time interacting with buyers.

Personalization

Question: Describe the process for personalizing content within the platform.

Business Reason: Personalized content is key for effective engagement with a buyer, and sellers need a quick and seamless way to personalize the content they constantly use.

Question: What live data and assets can be inserted into personalized content?

Business Reason: The types of information that will need to be inserted into personalized content will come from disparate sources; the solution should support the import of data from a wide variety of sources.

Question: How is brand integrity maintained when content is personalized?

Business Reason: When Sales is personalizing content, Marketing should retain control of certain branding aspects to ensure consistency and integrity.

Question: Where and how can content be personalized and accessed?

Business Reason: Sellers work in many different systems, and the ability to personalize content in more than one place, such as within a CRM record or on a mobile device is important.

Question: How can content personalization be automated?

Business Reason: The ability to automate content that will be regularly personalized with updated data will save countless hours.

Collaboration

Question: Describe the process for personalizing content within the platform.

Business Reason: A sales enablement solution hosts tons of content and should provide team members with the ability to discuss ongoing projects and collaborate on things they are working on.

Question: How do collaborators interact with one another while working on a project?

Business Reason: Personalized content is key for effective engagement with a buyer, and sellers need a quick and seamless way to personalize the content they constantly use.

Question: What live data and assets can be inserted into personalized content?

Business Reason: Collaborators should be able to easily interact with one another while suggesting edits, making changes, or providing feedback.

Question: What kind of tools exist to enhance the collaboration experience and make it easier to communicate within the group?

Business Reason: The solution needs to be designed to foster collaboration and provide participants with all the tools they need to facilitate quick turnaround and feedback.

Question: How do collaborators interact with one another while working on a project?

Business Reason: Collaborators should be able to easily interact with one another while suggesting edits, making changes, or providing feedback.

Question: What kind of tools exist to enhance the collaboration experience and make it easier to communicate within the group?

Business Reason: The solution should foster collaboration and provide participants with all the tools they need to facilitate quick turnaround and feedback.

Engagement

Question: Can users email content directly from the platform, sales force automation tool, or other email clients? Are there options for using saved templates? Please describe.

Business Reason: Giving reps several options for sharing content—from the platform, within SFA/CRM, and through email— improves efficiency and allows for flexibility. Content sent from any platform should have the option of creating an embedded secure content link, so only the appropriate people have the ability to view shared content.

Question: Are sellers alerted if/when a buyer is engaging with content? What kind of tracking information is available?

Business Reason: These notifications improve response time and increase buyer engagement. Salespeople should be able to see if/when buyers view or forward content, down to the specific page or section being consumed. This level of content visibility allows sales and marketing leaders to determine what content is most used and therefore, most relevant for sales reps.

Integrations

A sales enablement platform is an essential part of any technology stack and as such should integrate with a wide range of other technologies to harness the power of each. The following questions are important to consider as you evaluate a sales enablement platform’s impact on integrations.

Marketing Automation Platforms

Question: Describe all of the Marketing Automation Platforms (MAPs) the solution integrates with and explain the benefits of each.

Business Reason: Any solution should fully integrate with MAPs like Marketo and Eloqua to help organize and manage content and optimize persona building, list segmentation, lead scoring and campaign reporting by capturing content engagement analytics for each lead who interacts with the content being sent.

Office Native and Office 365

Question: What parts of the solution are integrated with Office and Office 365, and how do they improve the use of those products?

Business Reason: It’s 2017, and any solution worth its UI should not only be fully integrated with Office but also enhance the functionality of each of the suite’s programs, like PowerPoint and Outlook.

Email

Question: Explain how the solution integrates with email platforms such as Outlook and Gmail. Which features, in particular, integrate to improve sellers’ performance?

Business Reason: Allowing sales reps to access, personalize and send content within the email—and connecting email to CRM to record those activities automatically—saves reps dozens of hours per month. It eliminates the processes of search, switching programs, and manually tracking activities in CRM.

CRMs

Question: What is the design of Salesforce integration? Is the integration of a full version of the platform or a different version?

Business Reason: The integration should be comprehensive and seamless. Reps should enjoy all of the functionality of the sales enablement solution’s full web application without having to leave Salesforce.

Question: Does the solution provide contextual information within the Salesforce integration that allows users to leverage the power of the platform while working on specific records within Salesforce?

Business Reason: Sellers should be able to utilize any predictive capabilities to serve up the right piece of content for any record based on the stage in the buyer’s journey, industry, or any custom fields in your records, creating a one-stop-shop to keep your sales team as productive as possible.

Question: When working in Salesforce, is content saved to contextual folders related to the record within the sales enablement solution?

Business Reason: Being able to save work from within Salesforce to the sales enablement solution saves sellers countless hours and enhances collaborative efforts.

Question: Can users receive just-in-time training for specific contexts and content within Salesforce?

Business Reason: Instead of hunting for specific training, having the training served up to sellers contextually gets them trained and ramped up faster.

Question: Do all of the capabilities related to Salesforce transfer to Microsoft Dynamics?

Business Reason: Dynamics is gaining ground on Salesforce, and more organizations are implementing the CRM. Having full functionality with both CRMs ensures a seamless experience, no matter the platform.

LMS

Question: How do the sales enablement solution and LMS system integrate to help sellers achieve more?

Business Reason: Integrating training content with an LMS like Brainshark and MindTickle allows sales managers to track the usage of that content and ensures that reps are following all steps in the training process. It’s in the best interest of the sales organization’s professional development to select a solution that successfully pairs with an LMS.

3rd Party Data

Question: How does the solution import data from 3rd party sources?

Business Reason: A sales enablement solution should seamlessly integrate with a wide number of 3rd party data sources to ensure Sales and Marketing have their full complement of sources available to them.

Content Repositories

Question: What content repositories does the solution integrate with?

Business Reason: Sales enablement vendors should be able to integrate with other data sources and content repositories to retrieve external data and content (such as DropBox, Google Drive, SharePoint, and more). This eliminates siloed information and gives sales reps a “single source of truth” from which to access it.

Content Reporting and Analytics

One of the last great frontiers in Marketing and Sales is content analytics. With so much being spent on content creation, it becomes more and more critical to understand the ROI of these efforts. A proper sales enablement solution will give both Marketing and Sales insight into how content is used, how it resonates with buyers, and how it actually drives revenue. The following questions are important to consider as you evaluate a sales enablement platform’s impact on Content Reporting and Analytics.

Question: Can individual, team, or divisional content usage be segmented and tracked internally? Please explain.

Business Reason: This level of content visibility allows sales and marketing leaders to determine what content is most used (for both internal consumption and prospect delivery) and therefore most relevant for sales reps.

Question: Can content usage be attributed to won deals or other success factors using predictive analytics? If so, how?

Business Reason: This allows content to be automatically recommended at specific stages in the deal based on past successes, thereby increasing the probability of repeated positive outcomes.

Question: Can content usage be tracked, analyzed, and integrated into training/onboarding evaluations? Please explain.

Business Reason: Integrating training content with an LMS allows sales managers to track the usage of that content and ensures that reps are following all steps in the training process.

Question: Can content ROI be easily tracked?

Question: Please describe what AI capabilities the solution has.

Question: Is the platform powered by machine learning, so it understands users’ tendencies and best practices over time

Business Reason: Actionable insights are only as powerful and effective as the platform that’s managing and crunching the data. In today’s hypercompetitive marketplace, it’s imperative to employ the smartest sales enablement platform possible. AI-driven solutions are not the future; they are now.

Question: Please explain the process for creating analytics dashboards and how flexible the platform is when it comes to comparing data.

Question: What abilities does the platform have for exporting raw data?

Question: What filters and selection capabilities exist for building reports?

Business Reason: The sales enablement solution of choice must provide multiple options and avenues for reporting results to external audiences, and it must do so intuitively and efficiently.

Onboarding/Support

Implementing a sales enablement solution is not as simple as slapping on a Band-Aid and calling it a day. When you choose a platform, you are choosing a partner to help you transform your organization. The team you partner with needs to have your back every step of the way. The following questions are important to consider as you evaluate a sales enablement provider’s support and onboarding process.

Question: Please describe the hierarchy of your customer success organization.

Question: How are issues and support tickets escalated throughout the organization?

Question: What measures does your customer success organization take to track success?

Business Reason: Asking these questions ensures that the vendor’s customer success strategy is thorough, progressive, and cost-effective. It also illuminates, with hard numbers, how happy current customers are with the organization.

Question: How are they planning your growth?

Question: What proactive measures does the customer success organization take to ensure success and position organizations to use the platform to its fullest capabilities?

Question: What are your gross and net retention rates for FY 2017 to date?

Business Reason: Asking these questions ensures that the vendor’s customer success strategy is thorough, progressive, and cost-effective. It also illuminates, with hard numbers, how happy current customers are with the organization.

Company

A sales enablement vendor should have a clear cut plan for growth and development of their solution. The organization should be investing in its engineering resources and have a plan in place to scale up to improve with every iteration consistently. The following questions are important to consider as you evaluate a sales enablement provider and how their organization is positioned to help you succeed.

Question: Please describe your organization’s engineering resources and the size of the department.

Question: Please describe the funding you have received and any major investors.

Question: Please describe the headcount growth of your organization in the past 6 months, year and 3 years.

Question: Please detail your company size and office locations with more than 5 active employees per location.

Business Reason: The prior four questions provide an organizational health assessment, revealing how well the vendor is keeping pace with its market growth and product development. Additionally, it shows the viability of their business model and sales enablement solution according to outside investors and prospective employees.

Question: Please quantify the number and frequency of customer communications you send.

Business Reason: A proactively aware vendor understands the difference between effective and valuable customer communication and email for the sake of emailing.

Question: Please map out historical product growth and planned innovations.

Business Reason: Knowing what is planned for a product’s future helps you understand what’ in store for your own company as a result of this product’s roadmap. You’ll want a vendor that will grow and innovate at a healthy pace and will give your company a competitive advantage.

Question: Please list any awards your product or organization has won.

Question: What makes your organization unique in comparison to your competitors?

Business Reason: These two components allow a vendor to showcase its competitive advantage and support it via unbiased industry accolades and distinctions.

Mobile

Sellers are increasingly mobile-based and need to be able to access all of their tools on the go. A sales enablement solution will strive to provide them with several tools to be successful at their job – and they need those tools on the go as well. The following questions are important to consider as you evaluate a sales enablement platform’s mobile capabilities.

Question: Please detail the mobile experience for your solution.

Business Reason: In an increasingly mobile world, people will need mobile access to the platforms they use every day to be successful.

Question: What capabilities are available for the mobile experience?

Business Reason: The solution should have the full suite of services available on its mobile experience to ensure people can still access the services they need.

Question: Please detail the operating systems and versions for which the mobile app is available.

Business Reason: The more systems on which the app is available, the likely it will be widely used.

Question: Please describe how sellers can access the latest industry news from the mobile application.

Business Reason: Sellers should be able to access all of the news they need to be up-to-date, right up to when they walk into a meeting.

Question: How can the seller take action with sales content right from the mobile app?

Business Reason: The mobile experience should be as close to possible as the desktop version, and that includes taking action with content.

Conclusion

Sales enablement is a strategic organizational function is changing every day. As a growing industry, sales enablement capabilities and technologies are constantly improving and expanding. This poses both a great opportunity and an organizational challenge: your sales and marketing teams will ultimately be well-equipped to work effectively and efficiently. Still, it can be hard to keep up with these technologies and invest successfully. It’s important to think ahead to where sales enablement—and your organization—will be in a year or more, so you can invest in the right solution that will support your company down the road.

Your organization will undoubtedly have its own specific needs and priorities while evaluating sales enablement solutions, some of which may not be listed above. But these 72 RFP questions should assist you during the evaluation and selection process of the right sales enablement solution for your organization, today and as you continue to grow.

Source: Seismic

Published by Jeannette Scott

, a wellness coach specializing in stress management and quality of life. She’s covered topics from nutrition to psychology, from sexuality to autoimmune diseases and cancer.