How Do I Evaluate the Key Attributes of Sales Engagement Applications? - Gartner® report

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How do you know which sales enablement solution or tool is right for you? It can be, to say the least, confusing and sometimes even stressful to evaluate and compare amongst the plethora of tools out there.

We’ve heard your call, and in light of this, we’ve had a look at the Gartner “Quick Answer” report “How Do I Evaluate the Key Attributes of Sales Engagement Applications?”, which will lead this blog and include some of their best tips. 

As per the report, "sales engagement applications help sellers to improve buyer engagement. Executive sales leaders should use the seven attributes named in Gartner’s “Quick Answer” report to maximize the impact of their investment on sales team efficiency". 


How to evaluate the key attributes of sales engagement applications?

Gartner names the following points as crucial: 

  • “Seek vendors’ customer stories similar to the sales/buying motions of your sales force.”
  • “Prioritize features that simplify your sellers’ daily workflows.”
  • “Identify common automation triggers and usability of the automation logic engine.”
  • “Properly scope resources required to maintain template and script content libraries.”
  • “Review gaps between vendor capabilities and governance/compliance requirements with IT.”
  • “Document CRM and other sales technology integration necessities for vendors.”
  • “Request best-practice guidance for frontline managers to use advanced analytics.” 

For CSOs to be able to thrive, they need an advanced sales engagement solution to support their challenges. As Gartner states: 

“According to the 2022 Gartner CSO Priorities Pulse Survey, the top priority use cases for investing in sales tech are pipeline generation (45% of CSOs); CRM data entry/governance (42% of CSOs); and training, coaching and learning (42% of CSOs). 1 All of which can be improved by adopting sales engagement applications.”

In order to properly evaluate a sales engagement solution, sales executives can use these key evaluation criteria, as depicted in Figure 1. 


Support other sales motions 

In addition to the above, in order to support similar sales motions, Gartner also suggests the following steps: 

  • “Document the current sales and buying processes across each sales motion (i.e., inside sales, indirect channel, key account management).”
  • “Ask vendors to present how their product supports the processes of your sales motion and how flexible the user experience can support varying processes across different roles.”
  • “Have one to two sellers take part in vendor presentations to evaluate potential user experience.”
  • “Identify specific areas of optimization.”
  • “Ask for examples of customers who’ve improved overall sales/buying efficiency with a similar sales motion.” 

How to simplify daily seller workflows

In addition, Garter suggests further steps in order to simplify the daily workflow of a seller:

  • “Audit a day-in-the-life of a seller.”
  • “Create a tactical list of workflows sellers need to perform their duties across the sales motions, including an estimate of the time required, such as prospecting, crafting content, conducting research and holding meetings.”
  • “Ask vendors to demonstrate how their products simplify a day-in-the-life of your sellers”.
  • “Have three to five sales reps evaluate a day-in-the life.” Tip: Also see the graph of a day in the life of a sales rep, by Pitcher. 
  • “Identify Key Automation triggers”

In order to facilitate this process, Gartner recommends to “identify workflows and associated triggers for automation across processes and workflows.” 

Also, to ask your vendor partners “for specific examples of automating similar workflows as well as how their technology recognizes triggers.” And also to “determine whether the configurable logic engine is easy to use for your program manager.” Finally, you should “work with vendors to identify high-value opportunities to identify triggers and create new automation workflows.”


Scope content management resources

To fully understand what type of content you have and need, including what you need to deliver, you need to do a content audit and scope your content management resources. Gartner shares the following steps to do this right:

  • “Document a variety of industry-, product-, persona- and event-related permutations of content your organization will need to support.’
  • “Ask vendors to provide examples of how they have supported these types of content requirements.”
  • “Ask vendors for the resources and processes required to support content going forward.”

As a part of the process, you’ll also need to "partner with your IT department to be able to get the compliance and governance requirements". These, you then share with your vendors and ask them to respond to compliance requirements in writing.

Don’t forget to document your CRM and stack integration needs. For this, you’ll need to work with your “CRM admin to document integration requirements and specification, based on your current CRM.”

In the report, available for download, Gartner shares additional helpful steps.

Now, in order for this whole beautiful process to come together you need to finally. Check that you have the best-practice guidance for using advanced analytics. Here’s how:


Seek best-practice guidance for using advanced analytics

Gartner recommends the following steps:


  • “Spend time contrasting advanced analytics to current coaching and content performance solutions.”
  • “Ask vendors for seller coaching and optimization best practices. Key questions include how to interpret the signals as well as the cadence for reviewing the data.”

See the report for the table. 

To read the full report, and for the complete tables and other graphs, please download the full report here. 

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Gartner, How Do I Evaluate the Key Attributes of Sales Engagement Applications?. By Analyst(s): Dan Gottlieb, Ilona Hansen, 31 January 2022.

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