The sales enablement organization’s mission is to improve the capabilities of the B2B sales team.
However, sales enablement organizations can’t do it all.
Hence, they need help from the marketing and product management organizations to succeed in today’s dynamic marketplace and deliver on the organization’s critical need to execute better in the market.
Sales enablement, marketing, and product management teams are like a puzzle: when adequately joined, they create selling impact that is greater than their sum as separate teams.
But, the puzzle pieces don’t always fit together, creating execution disconnects and misalignment that short-changes the sales team the most.
Marketers typically don’t focus on metrics that directly contribute to sales success (while sales enablers do).
However, measuring its contribution to sales success is one of the most direct ways marketing can succeed, and interlocking with the sales enablement team can help.
Product management teams know the solutions and value propositions intimately, yet they often aren’t brought in to the marketing or sales enablement conversations.
Let’s look at three approaches to foster alignment between sales enablement, marketing, and product management:
Approach 1: Apply a strengths finder approach
Sales enablement teams tend to focus heavily on the training aspect to improve sales performance, and they often aren’t the ones to create content or manage the end-to-end process.
Marketing should take the lead with sales to solidify the target market, ideal contacts, and clarity on buyer needs, and balance between sales and marketing-driven opportunities, enabling marketing to generate high-quality leads.
Product management should take the lead in developing the sales playbooks and ensuring the sales and marketing teams are prepared for customer conversations.
Without alignment, marketing and sales won’t be on the same page on where the best opportunities lie, salespeople won’t be prepared for the customer conversations, and sales enablement will struggle to properly train the sales organization, resulting in wasted resources and significant delays.
Approach 2: Get your hands dirty
It’s the details that make the sum of the parts greater than the individual pieces. The data, tools, processes, metrics, and go-to-market approach must be integrated and accurately reflect prospect or customer engagement motions.
The CRM and marketing automation tools are enablers, and the salespeople should have access to all that’s needed for them to engage prospects and advance the sale. It’s not uncommon for sales teams to be provided training materials on what needs to be done, but little in terms of how to do it effectively.
Approach 3: Training and coaching
Modern, successful salespeople have evolved to become business analysts and learned how to study and diagnose the business needs first, and then offer solutions that resonate with the prospect.
There are still large segments of sales organizations where salespeople need training and coaching to compete in today’s marketplace. Sales teams want to understand how to build the business case for the solutions they offer, but often training is not enough.
That’s where the marketing and product management teams can augment the sales enablement team. Marketing and product management are a rich source of insight and perspective to the market, personas, and the value proposition of the solution portfolio.
Organizing marketing and product management to play active roles in the sales team training and coaching accelerates the sales enablement timeline and shortens the line to results.
Resources are stretched thin across the sales enablement, marketing, and product management organizations.
They must be guided by an interlock mentality to improve their part of the sales and marketing execution equation.
Without the interlock between teams, enhancing the performance of the sales organization will be difficult at best.
Hernan Vera is Managing Partner at Sales Outcomes. Hernan tries to live like a bon vivant, while helping companies improve performance of their sales organizations and drive marketing ROI.
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