indexHere are four important B2B sales enablement trends that we think will gain traction in 2012.

1. Content marketing will take on more significance as a means of engaging prospects, supporting them through their buying process, and differentiating sales organizations to help them win more often. Buyers want to make well-informed purchase decisions. Vendors that provide their prospective buyers (and salespeople) with quality content in a variety of formats (e.g., microsites, widgets, interactive online tools, white papers, webinars, videos, roundtables, etc.) to help them: self-analyze their problems, understand impactful industry trends, assess the relative differences of competing solutions, and financially justify their decisions will optimize their sales organizations’ effectiveness and out-perform their competition.

2. Customizable cloud-powered sales coaching systems that integrate with CRM software to enable salespeople to more consistently apply their sales organization?s best practice processes, tips, and tools to advance and close specific deals will become more prevalent. With the emergence of marketing automation solutions that generate more “sales-ready” leads, the need for CRM-integrated solutions to help equip and coach the salesperson to conduct more effective conversations at the initial point of interaction with the prospect and throughout the sales process for individual sales opportunities will be greater than ever.

3. Technology to ignite, track, score, and generate alerts of prospect engagement throughout the sales process will emerge. Through the integration of online prospect-behavior tracking tools, CRM systems, content management software, and sales process enablement applications, salespeople will be able to more closely monitor and quickly and effectively respond to key buying behavior triggers throughout the sales process for specific deals, and through the use of “engagement scores” better determine where to focus their time and more precisely plan next steps and accurately predict the deal?s probable outcome.

4. A shift in customer preference from one-size-fits-all third-party sales methodologies to internally-developed methodologies based on the sales organization?s inherent best practices will take place. Buy-side executives are tiring of hearing the same “solution-selling-speak” from salespeople. Experienced sales reps don’t want or need to sit through yet another three-day consultative selling training course in order to raise their game. They want to learn from and apply the best practices of their top-performing peers. Sales organizations that figure out how to codify, leverage, and more consistently apply their own selling best practices will gain a significant competitive advantage.