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For: Sales

Enablement
Professionals

The Sales Enablement Execution


Landscape
by Scott Santucci, September 4, 2014 | Updated: September 10, 2014

Key Takeaways
Orienting Around Common Business Goals Is The Key To Driving Results
Efforts to support todays sales force must be orchestrated around the design point of
driving valuable conversations, or they will fail to generate positive results. To align
the various investments related to improving processes, managing people, or using
technology to create efficiencies, make sure they are driven by a common set of goals.
Start With The End In Mind, Then Choose Your Suppliers
Use business goals that are specifically defined to fulfill the expectations that executives
have of your sales force. Resist the urge to grab onto silver bullets and instead take
the time to socialize goals, avoid scope creep, and continuously accumulate wins by
leveraging new capabilities and suppliers.

Forrester Research, Inc., 60 Acorn Park Drive, Cambridge, MA 02140 USA


Tel: +1 617.613.6000 | Fax: +1 617.613.5000 | www.forrester.com

For Sales Enablement Professionals

September 4, 2014
Updated: September 10, 2014

The Sales Enablement Execution Landscape


A Framework To Organize Sales Enablement Suppliers And Solutions
by Scott Santucci
with Peter ONeill, Carrie Johnson, Lori Wizdo, Katherine Shao, and Michael Shrum

Why Read This Report


Sales enablement professionals and their partners in sales, marketing, training, and product groups are
under constant pressure to deliver greater impact in their support of sales conversations with executives.
And suppliers, eager to help, are knocking on the door with increasing frequency, calling on anyone who
might be a decision-maker, and bearing a perceived silver bullet solution for the problem at hand. The
challenge for the sales enablement professional: Those silver bullets are cropping up everywhere, but they are
uncoordinated and lack a clear business purpose. This report helps sales enablement pros make informed
decisions about their supplier ecosystem by providing a common set of business goals to categorize suppliers
and better understand how the landscape of capabilities fits together.

Table Of Contents

Notes & Resources

2 A Construct For The Sales Enablement


Technology Landscape

In preparation for this report, Forrester


interviewed Allant Group, Brainshark,
CallidusCloud, CDW, Cisco Systems,
ClearSlide, Corporate Visions, FedEx,
GP Strategies, Haworth, HP, Leopard
Communications, Mainstay Partners,
Mindspring, NetApp, NetIQ, OpenText,
Qstream, Qvidian, Revegy, SAP, Savo, Suse,
and Symantec.

3 Six Pragmatic Categories To Drive Valuable


Sales Conversations
9 A Shift From Deliverables To Results Is The
Key To Success
recommendations

10 Install A New Landscape Within Your


Organizational Matrix
11 Supplemental Material

Related Research Documents


Valuable Message Development For
B2B Marketing In The Context Of Sales
Enablement
June 6, 2014
Using Selling Objectives To Coral Random
Acts Of Sales Support
May 29, 2014
Sales Enablement Defined
August 4, 2010

2014, Forrester Research, Inc. All rights reserved. Unauthorized reproduction is strictly prohibited. Information is based on best available
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For Sales Enablement Professionals

The Sales Enablement Execution Landscape

A Construct For The Sales Enablement Technology Landscape


To bridge the performance gap between increased marketing activities and sales performance,
sales enablement is emerging as both a topic and a discipline.1 The idea is relatively simple: Create
the content, develop the skills, and provide the tools required by your sales force to have valuable
conversations with increasingly demanding, more informed, higher-altitude buyers. But a scattered
approach to sales enablement, a lack of clarity around its scope, and the lack of a design point to
untangle the complexity mean that the sales profession receives failing grades across the board in
terms of being prepared to engage with executive-level buyers.2 Firms also find themselves with a
spaghetti-like inventory of technologies that often overlap.3
It is no wonder, then, that when it comes to evaluating what works, and what technologies can help,
the traditional starting points that are available to sales enablement professionals are highly flawed:
Organizational roles are unclear (people); common processes overlap or are poorly understood
(process); and technology is a poor place to start if what it must enable is not well defined
(technology). The alternative: Use business goals as a key design point (see Figure 1).

2014, Forrester Research, Inc. Reproduction Prohibited

September 4, 2014 | Updated: September 10, 2014

For Sales Enablement Professionals

The Sales Enablement Execution Landscape

Figure 1 Goals Provide A Better Design Point Than People, Process, Or Technology
?!

?!
?!

?!

?!

People

Process

Technology

Goals
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Source: Forrester Research, Inc.

Six Pragmatic Categories To Drive Valuable Sales Conversations


In past reports, Forrester identified that the focal point of all sales enablement activities is to better
empower individual salespeople and other client-facing employees to have effective and
valuable conversations with the network of people within a given account who are involved in
buying your products or services.4 While the concept is simple, a valuable conversation requires the
natural and fluid combination of many different components that must meet the requirements of
the audience from the relevance of the message to the skills of the salesperson. To successfully

2014, Forrester Research, Inc. Reproduction Prohibited

September 4, 2014 | Updated: September 10, 2014

For Sales Enablement Professionals

The Sales Enablement Execution Landscape

replicate and operationalize something that seems more like art than science, its critical for sales
enablement professionals to first clearly define the scope (enabling valuable conversations) and then
focus on driving incremental yet continuous improvement in the effectiveness of these reciprocal
interactions across their various sales channels. To make this focus more clear and provide a more
pragmatic foundation to the sales enablement landscape, weve identified six universal business
goals that most executive leaders will support and sponsor (see Figure 2):
1. Develop. Develop new selling behaviors required to execute the business strategy and the
requisite skills to do it well.
2. Position. Consistently and repeatedly convey the timeliness and relevance of your organizations
vision in the right context for specific buyers to help them connect the dots between their needs
and your capabilities.
3. Locate. Improve the quality and accuracy of information required by salespeople to
communicate effectively with clients, and reduce the time required to find the appropriate
resources.
4. Align. Improve the ability of salespeople to grow the overall value of the territory or account by
better understanding the unique needs of their clients and by providing them with clear plans
for navigating stakeholders within their accounts and effectively engaging internal resources.
5. Engage. Improve the ability of the sales force to create compelling reasons to do business
with you, by effectively and efficiently communicating the unique value of working with your
organization to each stakeholder involved in the buying decision.
6. Assemble. Improve win rates, or reduce the time required to respond to opportunities (and
thereby expand the capacity of the sales force), by making it significantly easier, less costly,
and time consuming for salespeople to pull together a high-quality solution or proposal (see
Figure3).

2014, Forrester Research, Inc. Reproduction Prohibited

September 4, 2014 | Updated: September 10, 2014

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Figure 2 Focus On Achieving Goals That Drive Valuable Sales Conversations


Sales
enablement

Develop

Align

Position

Locate

Engage

Assemble

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Source: Forrester Research, Inc.

Figure 3 Sales Enablement Goals And Landscape Categories


Execution goals
Develop
Position
Locate
Align
Engage
Assemble

Landscape categories
Skill development and behavior reinforcement
Sales messaging and job aides
Sales content delivery and management
Account planning and customer intelligence
Customer interaction and engagement tools
Solution configuration and proposal creation

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Source: Forrester Research, Inc.

Develop: Skill Development And Behavior Reinforcement


To determine the most important behaviors your sales force must exhibit to execute your business
strategy, and the skills required to effectively perform to that expectation, first develop a profile of
your ideal salesperson. This profile should inform the assessment of your current sales force, your
hiring process, and your overall developmental strategy. Other activities that relate to achieving this
objective include sales onboarding, skill or talent development, and frontline coaching.

2014, Forrester Research, Inc. Reproduction Prohibited

September 4, 2014 | Updated: September 10, 2014

For Sales Enablement Professionals

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GP Strategies, SBI, CallidusCloud, and Corporate Visions are some companies that are working
with firms to better develop their sales forces or improve behavior reinforcement through learning
platforms or frontline sales coaching programs. Emerging providers are tackling some of the
more elusive and less understood aspects of developing a sales force, such as boosting morale (e.g.,
Hoopla) or changing the behaviors of sales reps (e.g., Qstream) (see Figure 4).
Position: Sales Messaging And Job Aides
As the economic environment shifts, so do the informational requirements of customers. Today,
their problems are increasingly more complex, their needs and requirements are changing more
frequently, and their perceptions of value are evolving. To effectively model a compelling message
in an increasingly complex and rapidly changing market, sales enablement professionals must first
establish what their clients perceive as valuable in the first place.5 Following this customer-centric
approach is very basic, but it requires a clear focus on whom, specifically, you target your messages.
Providers that have examples of deploying new techniques and approaches for other clients include
Corporate Visions, Qvidian, and Savo, but there are many boutique suppliers in this market.
Locate: Sales Content, Delivery, And Management
Your company generates mountains of sales content assets (such as videos, PowerPoint presentations,
calculators, product sheets, demos, subject matter experts, graphics, websites, events, webinars,
courses, etc.). The focus of this category is to help your sales force find the right information, at the
right time, for the right person. Salespeople are either investing too much time trying to find the
right content for a specific selling situation, or providing their customers with too much material.
To help salespeople more rapidly locate the material they are looking for, or to recommend content
for a specific scenario, sales enablement professionals must develop a content strategy focused on
reducing the number of assets, improving the quality of those assets, organizing the material in way
that aligns to how salespeople work, and keeping the material fresh and validated.
Many clients are either developing their own technology platforms or working with organizations
like Savo to create a cable set box to help provide salespeople with situation-specific content, or
Brainshark, which can help organize new media content.
Align: Account Planning And Customer Intelligence
In an environment where customers expect salespeople to be experts on how your organization
will help solve their problems, having knowledge about key accounts and empathy about buyers
challenges is increasingly important. Whats more, your company can create an advantage over
your competition simply by making sure your sales force is better prepared than the low-grading
status quo that most executives have come to experience.6 To accomplish this, you must not only
provide salespeople with the relevant data and requisite knowledge to contextualize and convert that
information into insight for clients, you must also organize that information into an action plan.

2014, Forrester Research, Inc. Reproduction Prohibited

September 4, 2014 | Updated: September 10, 2014

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The Sales Enablement Execution Landscape

This category is highly fragmented today, due in large part to the lack of consistent definition
of customers within B2B sales and marketing organizations. But a few segments are emerging
within this category. Jive Software and Salesforce Chatter both provide technologies to socialize
information across sales. LinkedIn and InsideView provide salespeople with more detailed and
up-to-date information about specific people they contact. Avention and FirstRain are platforms
designed to help synthesize a variety of business alerts that help salespeople spot relevant business
trends within a given account. While many sales training providers, like The TAS Group, have
developed their own software to help account teams, Revegy and Savo provide account planning
and execution automation software.
Engage: Customer Integration And Engagement Tools
Old-school sales managers like to say, You have two ears and one mouth for a reason. Said
differently, conversations are reciprocal. To improve the effectiveness and efficiency of the
interactions at the point of sale, its important to have well-designed resources that support and
embrace a bidirectional interaction. This requires organizations to rethink whether that classic
sales pitch, or the standard corporate presentation, should still be a key component of the sales
toolkit. It also changes the game in terms of behaviors and selling techniques: Setting traps, having
canned objection responses, or rehearsed closes are less effective the more you try to sell higher in
the organization. Therefore, sales leadership, sales operations, product or solution marketers, and
technology management professionals all need to work together to determine the most effective
engagement method, the right delivery style, and the best technical workspaces that will help
salespeople maximize their experiences with executive-level customers.
Some suppliers, such as Corporate Visions, are advising sales enablement professionals to upgrade
the standard whiteboard experience, and then train sales teams to recreate it for customers. Other
providers are helping organizations look outside the WebEx/Go-to-Meeting experience by creating
more holistic platforms that provide salespeople with information about specific customers as they
present the information. ClearSlide (which focuses on making it easier to share presentations) and
Brainshark (which focuses on capturing context surrounding slides in reusable multimedia) are
two such examples. The rise in mobility- and technology-savvy workforces has attracted a slew of
agencies that are building highly customized web applications or microsite communities targeting
specific customer segments.
Assemble: Solution Configuration And Proposal Creation
Increasingly, customers are looking for that right mix of capabilities that meet their needs and
budget. As firms look to offer more products and services, and buyers look for blends of both
products and other forms of intellectual property, pulling together a solution or proposal has
become very complex. Another driver of this increased complexity: The solutioning/proposal
process is shifting its position during the customers problem-solving cycle. For example, offering

2014, Forrester Research, Inc. Reproduction Prohibited

September 4, 2014 | Updated: September 10, 2014

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The Sales Enablement Execution Landscape

a client an unsolicited proposal to solve a complex problem is a very different process than pulling
together a response to a request for proposal (RFP) involving many different product parts. To
effectively address these two different situations, a variety of subject matter experts, solution
marketers, consultants, and sales leaders must agree on a common view of a solution, who should be
responsible to configure it, and how to engage the resources for each situation.
Firms such as BigMachines, Pros, and Vendavo provide technology platforms in this category
to rapidly configure products, prices, and quotes. Businesses that customize solutions and
RFP responses involving a combination or blending of products and services are working with
organizations like Qvidian to automate their RFP and proposal generation processes.
Figure 4 Sales Enablement Landscape Summary And Representative Suppliers
Execution goal Description
Develop
To develop new selling behaviors
required to execute the business
strategy and the requisite skills to
do it well

Category
Skill
development
and behavior
reinforcement

Position

To consistently and repeatedly


convey the timeliness and
relevance of your organizations
vision in the right context for
specific buyers that helps them
connect the dots between their
needs and your capabilities

Sales messaging Services:


and job aides
Alexander Group, Corporate
Visions, DSG Consulting, Leopard,
Pearson, SBI
Software:
Qvidian, Savo

Locate

Sales content
To improve the quality and
accuracy of information required by delivery and
management
salespeople to communicate
effectively with clients, and reduce
the time required to find the
appropriate resources

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2014, Forrester Research, Inc. Reproduction Prohibited

Representative suppliers
Services:
Corporate Visions, GP Strategies,
Mainstay, Mandel Communications,
Miller Hyman, Richardson, SBI,
The TAS Group
Software:
Brainshark, CallidusCloud, Hoopla,
Jive Software, Qstream, Revegy

Services:
Accenture, Brainshark, Deloitte,
PwC
Software:
CallidusCloud, Savo

Source: Forrester Research, Inc.

September 4, 2014 | Updated: September 10, 2014

For Sales Enablement Professionals

The Sales Enablement Execution Landscape

Figure 4 Sales Enablement Landscape Summary And Representative Suppliers (Cont.)


Execution goal Description
Align
To improve the ability of salespeople to grow the overall value of
the territory or account by better
understanding the unique needs of
their clients, and by providing them
with clear plans for navigating
stakeholders within their accounts
and effectively engaging internal
resources

Category
Account planning
and customer
intelligence

Representative suppliers
Services:
Alexander Group, SBI, Shipley,
The TAS Group, ZS Associates
Software:
Revegy, Savo
Subscription services:
Avention, Cloud, Dun & Bradstreet,
Experian, FirstRain, Harte Hanks,
InsideView, LinkedIn, Thompson
Reuters, internal groups

Engage

To improve the ability of the sales


force to create the compelling
reasons to do business with you,
by effectively and efficiently
communicating the unique value of
working with your organization to
each stakeholder involved in the
buying decision

Customer
interaction and
engagement
tools

Services:
Corporate Visions, Leopard,
boutique agencies and custom
solutions
Software:
Brainshark, CallidusCloud,
Clearslide, Go-to-Meeting,
Insidesales.com, LinkedIn, Savo,
Showpad, Skura, WebEx

Assemble

To improve win rates, or reduce the


time required to respond to
opportunities (and thereby expand
the capacity of the sales force), by
making it significantly easier, less
costly, and less time consuming for
salespeople to pull together a highquality solution or proposal

Solution
configuration
and proposal
creation

Services:
Many different niche providers
Software:
BigMachines, ConfigureOne,
Experlogix, Pros, Qvidian,
Vendavo

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Source: Forrester Research, Inc.

A Shift From Deliverables To Results Is The Key To Success


Whats common across each of these categories? Unlike the scope of most organizations current
approaches, which focus on producing more and more deliverables, checklists, and download
statistics, the scope of activities for each business goal is broad and holistic. By contrast, todays
organizations are at worst unintentionally contributing to the overall mess, or at best contributing
minor results either way, the amount of disorganization across functions is downright chaotic.
New, more modern strategies are beginning to emerge in leading companies, and they are following
similar patterns, such as:

Focusing on business goals to create clarity of focus and reduce ambiguity. Each of the six

goals is simple to conceptualize and easy to understand; most importantly, its not hard to get
different groups to agree on the importance of the common goal. Having a shared vision across
multiple functions is the first step to addressing a complex problem.

2014, Forrester Research, Inc. Reproduction Prohibited

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Developing new cross-functional processes. The most natural step for different groups that

agree on a common goal is to discuss a workflow or high-level process for how to achieve
that goal. For example, the process of determining how you should develop your sales force
to engage with a chief financial officer (CFO) should start with what that executive expects of
your sellers not whether sellers can talk about your products. By first identifying your buyers
objectives for each goal, you can develop a clear set of requirements to serve as a foundation for
other functional groups involved.

Creating clear business requirements before engaging suppliers. Armed with the knowledge
of the overall approach you need to follow, and with an understanding of the roles and
responsibilities of each person involved in the process, you will be far better equipped to
identify and select suppliers to set up, implement, scale, measure, run, or improve against that
goal, with far more effective results. Work with your colleagues in the CIOs organization on
this topic. Creating your architecture and plan for sales enablement process automation is an
important part of what Forrester calls the BT agenda.7

R e c o m m e n d at i o n s

Install A New Landscape Within Your Organizational Matrix


The burdensome complexity at the point of sale is a ubiquitous problem that cannot be solved by
waving a magic wand and sprinkling pixie dust. However, most organizations dont have the luxury
to plan and set up a big transformation office, either. So how do sales enablement pros go about
using this landscape to help raise organizational awareness of the overriding problem, while still
making purposeful and speedy actions today that will have an impact?

Create and promote a shared vision to the overall problem. This might sound

counterintuitive, but you need to put a box around the universe of issues that harm overall
sales success. Why? Because without doing this, youll never be able to effectively defend the
contributions of your program against the countless others that are still going on. Unless you
are going for a major transformational effort, theres no need to over invest time and energy
simply socialize the idea of different categories of issues, while driving clarity about the scope
of sales enablement.

Develop a coalition of the willing. If this is your first time socializing the ideas relax. It

might not be perfect the first time, and others within the organization are so caught up in
the deliverables game they may not pay any attention. This is the silver lining, since at this
stage, youre not ready to worry about solving everyones problems yet. However, you can
count on attracting the attention of a few other like-minded people. The vice president of sales
might realize he can get some quick wins by helping more of his sales force locate the right
information, for the right people, and the right time and commit to a pilot project with you.
Thats really all you need to get agreement to start making progress in one of the six categories.

2014, Forrester Research, Inc. Reproduction Prohibited

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Formulate your efforts into a series of progressive wins. Nothing begets success like

success. Share the wins you achieved in your first project and build from there. For example,
after implementing a content strategy and simplifying the delivery, many of our clients
quickly uncover issues with the content itself. A follow-up quick win would be to work
with marketers responsible for content and improve their sales messaging while at the same
time creating client-facing tools and technologies to help salespeople interact with targeted
buyers. The point is, as you fan out from a core base of success, youll have lot of a credibility
and a core nucleus to begin from.

Communicate, communicate, communicate. Never lose sight of the big problem

combatting complexity at the point of sale and never miss an opportunity to remind people
which category you are working on now and why. Always make sure you are communicating
to all of the important stakeholders in your ecosystem (at all levels) and providing consistent
answers to these questions: What are you doing? Why are you doing it and why now? Who
authorized you do to this and who is it for? Where inside the organization is it happening
and where can people find out more information? How are you doing it (or how will it work)?
When will it be rolled out and when will we see results? Constantly answering those questions
will be hard at first, but the visibility into whats happening and openness about progress will
result in more credibility with the executive leadership.

Supplemental Material
Companies Interviewed For This Report
Allant Group

HP

Brainshark

Leopard Communications

CallidusCloud

Mainstay Partners

CDW

Mindspring

Cisco Systems

NetApp

ClearSlide

NetIQ

Corporate Visions

OpenText

FedEx

Qstream

GP Strategies

Qvidian

Haworth

Revegy

Hoopla

SAP

2014, Forrester Research, Inc. Reproduction Prohibited

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The Sales Enablement Execution Landscape

Savo

Symantec

Suse

Endnotes
Sales enablement is an emerging cross-functional discipline designed to bridge the gap between strategy
and execution and to accelerate the transformation into a new selling model. See the August 4, 2010, Sales
Enablement Defined report.

To get a baseline of how effective sellers are in communicating these types of knowledge or information to
buyers, we surveyed over 400 executive buyers. Sellers are clearly well equipped to discuss their company
and products, but thats where the good news stops. Sellers are far less well equipped to communicate the
other six categories of information in conversations with executive buyers. See the November 22, 2013,
The Failing School System For B2B Sellers report.

This report provides insights into common misunderstandings about the nature and composition of sales
forces and highlights specific barriers that prevent salespeople from moving out of their comfort zones. See
the February 28, 2013, Understanding The Reality Of Your Sales Force report.

Sales enablement professionals must change their companies checklist-driven, deliverables-focused


orientation to a more strategic, purpose-built, sales-ready focus in order to drive effective, end-to-end
execution across the people and teams working to help sales sell. Forresters definition of sales enablement
recognizes the broad scope and significant complexity of todays selling environment. See the August 4,
2010, Sales Enablement Defined report.

In working with executive-level buyers, Forrester developed a value equation model to gauge what your
clients perceive as valuable, rather than the value proposition you want your salespeople to deliver. See the
November 29, 2012, Introduction To The Value Equation Framework report.

The gap is striking between the sales messages vendors create, how they prepare salespeople to deliver
them, and the value executive buyers perceive from those conversations. Forresters global survey of 495
executives, coupled with 100 interviews, reveals a schism between buyers and sellers on such topics as
what makes a meeting valuable and the agenda of reps in a sales conversation. These findings highlight
how the sales support activities that vendors fund remain inwardly focused and provide sales enablement
professionals with a clarion call to action to develop materials and prepare reps with a buyer-centric
perspective. See the August 29, 2012, Executive Buyer Insight Study: Defining The Gap Between Buyers
And Sellers report.

Read this report to understand how the age of the customer requires tech management to transform
into a customer-facing function in specific ways. Business technology (BT) brings together technology
and traditionally customer-facing roles like marketing, sales, service, brand/product management, and
fulfillment for the purpose of deploying systems of engagement that provide differential customer
experience. See the November 15, 2013 The CIO Mandate: Engaging Customers With Business
Technology report.

2014, Forrester Research, Inc. Reproduction Prohibited

September 4, 2014 | Updated: September 10, 2014

About Forrester
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Forrester Focuses On
Sales Enablement Professionals
Working across marketing, sales, and other internal functions,
you remove barriers to profitable growth at your B2B company by
using your customers needs as the simplifying focal point of your
coordinated efforts.Youre responsible for managing and measuring
the effectiveness of the full range of investments made to support
revenue growth, both directly and through partners and from new
leads through your strategy for growing your key accounts.

Steve Esposito, client persona representing Sales Enablement Professionals

Forrester Research (Nasdaq: FORR) is a global research and advisory firm serving professionals in 13 key roles across three distinct client
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