Bridg­ing the gap

The Smart Manager - - Contents -

Sales of­ten looks to mar­ket­ing only for hot leads, but there is much more to gain from fruit­ful col­lab­o­ra­tion, says Pam Did­ner, au­thor of Ef­fec­tive Sales En­able­ment.


the only thing sales­peo­ple need from mar­keters is a bunch of mar­ket­ingqual­i­fied leads


sales en­able­ment is sales op­er­a­tions


brand guides and mes­sag­ing frame­works ap­ply only to mar­ket­ing


sales en­able­ment should be part of a sales group


sales en­able­ment is only about sales train­ing and de­vel­op­ment

01 the only thing sales­peo­ple need from mar­keters is a bunch of mar­ket­ing-qual­i­fied leads

Granted, mar­ket­ing-qual­i­fied leads (MQLs) are the key de­liv­er­ables for most of mar­ket­ing or­ga­ni­za­tions. Still, mar­ket­ing can do much more for sales.

For in­stance, mod­ern buy­ers do ex­ten­sive re­search about prod­ucts and ser­vices be­fore con­tact­ing ven­dors’ sales teams. Em­pow­ered buy­ers ed­u­cate them­selves through con­tent cre­ated by mar­ket­ing. Mar­keters who un­der­stand the sales method­ol­ogy can align rel­e­vant con­tent with each stage of the cus­tomer jour­ney.

Another ex­am­ple: email mar­ket­ing was tra­di­tion­ally mar­ket­ing’s job. But since sales­peo­ple can eas­ily run their own email mar­ket­ing cam­paigns us­ing fea­tures in sales en­able­ment or cus­tomer re­la­tion­ship man­age­ment (CRM) tools, the mar­ket­ing team can share the tem­plate and con­tent used in their cam­paigns with the sales team— making sales­peo­ple’s jobs eas­ier.

Mar­ket­ing should also un­der­stand that new tech­nolo­gies of­fer mar­keters ad­di­tional ca­pa­bil­i­ties to el­e­vate mar­ket­ing pro­grams and iden­tify sales-en­able­ment op­por­tu­ni­ties. The dig­i­tal com­po­nent of part­ner mar­ket­ing, af­fil­i­ate mar­ket­ing, and loy­alty pro­grams can be in­te­grated as part of a sales-en­able­ment mar­ket­ing ef­fort.

For ex­am­ple, mar­keters can de­sign ban­ner ad space in a mo­bile app in keep­ing with the user ex­pe­ri­ence while show­cas­ing a key ac­count’s prod­uct. Un­der­stand­ing what mar­ket­ing does—and tak­ing ad­van­tage of it—helps sales man­agers in­crease leads and main­tain client re­la­tion­ships.

02 sales en­able­ment is sales op­er­a­tions

Sales en­able­ment, in essence, aids and sup­ports sales. So does sales op­er­a­tions. Sales-sup­port struc­tures come in var­i­ous shapes and forms, de­pend­ing on the size of com­pa­nies, bud­get, re­sources, or­ga­ni­za­tion struc­ture, ma­tu­rity of the sales or­ga­ni­za­tion, and even se­nior man­age­ment’s pref­er­ences.

Some or­ga­ni­za­tions tuck sales en­able­ment into sales op­er­a­tions. Oth­ers keep the groups sep­a­rate. Some have no of­fi­cial sales en­able­ment group; the en­able­ment work is done by prod­uct-mar­ket­ing teams in busi­ness units.

What­ever the struc­ture, and who­ever does the jobs— they are all un­sung he­roes.

sim­i­lar­i­ties pur­pose: both groups aim to in­crease the ef­fec­tive­ness and ef­fi­ciency of the sales team, making it easy for them to do their jobs. re­port­ing struc­ture: usu­ally these two groups re­port to the head of sales. Ac­cord­ing to CSO In­sights, 53 per cent of the time sales en­able­ment re­ports to sales, and 25 per cent of the time sales en­able­ment and sales op­er­a­tions are in the same group. ac­count­abil­ity: both groups share re­spon­si­bil­ity for pro­vid­ing sales-per­for­mance dash­boards and anal­y­sis in their own ar­eas of ex­per­tise.

dif­fer­ences sales op­er­a­tions:

sales-rep op­er­a­tions: ter­ri­tory plan­ning, deal rout­ing, ac­count as­sign­ment, team de­sign sales ad­min­is­tra­tion: pro­posal, quot­ing and con­tract man­age­ment, con­tract gov­er­nance sales in­cen­tives and com­pen­sa­tion: com­pen­sa­tion op­ti­miza­tion and ad­min­is­tra­tion sales pipe­line and fore­cast­ing: fore­cast re­port­ing and dash­boards sales tools and pro­cesses: sys­tems and data man­age­ment tools, such as CRM, con­fig­ure price quotes (CPQ), sales-per­for­mance man­age­ment (SPM), deal desk, and dis­count ap­provals per­for­mance anal­y­sis re­lated to the above

sales en­able­ment:

sales on­board­ing and train­ing (con­tent, process, and train­ing events, such as sales kick­offs) con­tent plan­ning, map­ping, man­age­ment, anal­y­sis sales pro­cesses and tech­nolo­gies, in­clud­ing process per­for­mance an­a­lyt­ics sales com­mu­ni­ca­tion cus­tomer-en­gage­ment tools, pro­cesses, anal­y­sis per­for­mance anal­y­sis re­lated to the above While you can cer­tainly move the roles and re­spon­si­bil­i­ties be­tween the two and add more tasks, the key point re­mains: sales op­er­a­tions and sales en­able­ment are not the same.

03 brand guides and mes­sag­ing frame­works ap­ply only to mar­ket­ing

Al­though brand guides and mes­sag­ing frame­works serve as the foun­da­tion for mar­ket­ing com­mu­ni­ca­tions, they also serve sales teams. Both doc­u­ments can ap­ply to sales on­board­ing, train­ing, and con­tent to fa­cil­i­tate sales pro­cesses or be used to plan cus­tomer con­ver­sa­tions and meet­ings.

While a brand guide of­fers guid­ance for logo and font us­age and cre­ative de­vel­op­ment for mar­ket­ing cam­paigns, the essence of a brand is to shape both the look and feel and the tone and man­ner so that cus­tomers can iden­tify a brand by its con­tent.

The same look and feel ap­plies to sales com­mu­ni­ca­tions.

A brand is much more than some rules ap­plied to sales pro­cesses and com­mu­ni­ca­tions. In some com­pa­nies, the brand guide is ex­panded to cover the dress code (think air­line flight at­ten­dants’ uni­forms) or the of­fice or store de­sign (think in­te­rior col­ors and fur­ni­ture se­lec­tion in fast­food fran­chises). The brand per­sona in­forms the way tal­ent is re­cruited.

Brand nir­vana is achieved when a brand and its prom­ise are wo­ven into ev­ery as­pect of a com­pany.

04 sales en­able­ment should be part of a sales group

Where should sales en­able­ment re­side: in sales? In mar­ket­ing? In busi­ness units, or prod­uct groups?

Sales en­able­ment in the sales team may of­fer the great­est ad­van­tage.

Al­ter­na­tively, Lara Si­b­ley, Se­nior Direc­tor of Mar­ket­ing Op­er­a­tions and Delivery at CDW, thinks that sales en­able­ment should be part of the mar­ket­ing team. In her view, prospect­ing is part of mar­ket­ing’s job. Also, most con­tent cre­ation role is ful­filled by mar­ket­ing. For ef­fi­ciency, sales en­able­ment be­longs in mar­ket­ing. Si­b­ley has sup­ported both sales and mar­ket­ing, so her opin­ion has va­lid­ity.

Cu­rata, a plat­form that helps peo­ple cu­rate, plan, and mea­sure con­tent mar­ket­ing ef­forts, has its sales en­able­ment func­tion in mar­ket­ing. The pri­mary ad­van­tage is to mo­ti­vate mar­ket­ing to align with sales ear­lier.

The role of sales en­able­ment is con­stantly mor­ph­ing due to re-orgs, prod­uct growth, and man­age­rial changes. Sales en­able­ment can be in sales, mar­ket­ing, or prod­uct groups as long as a ser­vice-level agree­ment ex­ists with the sales team.

Also, sales and sales en­able­ment teams must trust each other, and they need met­rics for the ef­fec­tive­ness of sales en­able­ment as­sets.

05 sales en­able­ment is only about sales train­ing and de­vel­op­ment

Most of sales en­able­ment def­i­ni­tions are about sales train­ing and de­vel­op­ment. In a dig­i­tal-first mar­ket­ing en­vi­ron­ment, it is cru­cial to de­liver a pos­i­tive and con­sis­tent cus­tomer-ex­pe­ri­ence both on­line and off­line. That is why it is vi­tal to add the cus­tomer to the sales en­able­ment def­i­ni­tion.

Here is my def­i­ni­tion of sales en­able­ment: a pos­i­tive cus­tomer ex­pe­ri­ence de­liv­ered by equip­ping sales­peo­ple with knowl­edge, skills, pro­cesses, and tools through cross­func­tional col­lab­o­ra­tion to in­crease sales ve­loc­ity, sales re­ten­tion, and pro­duc­tiv­ity.

In my def­i­ni­tion, knowl­edge and skills rep­re­sent con­tent, train­ing, and on­board­ing. Process sug­gests doc­u­mented sales pro­cesses and method­olo­gies. Tools are mostly soft­ware plat­forms and tech­nolo­gies to im­ple­ment sales en­able­ment ef­forts.

In­creas­ing sales is im­por­tant, but sales en­able­ment’s role is to also in­crease sales ve­loc­ity—de­fined as how quickly a prod­uct is sold or a deal is closed. By equip­ping the sales team, mar­keters align them­selves with the goal of in­creased con­ver­sions, di­rectly im­pact­ing sales re­sults.

An ef­fec­tive sales en­able­ment team goes be­yond sales train­ing and de­vel­op­ment, in­creas­ing sales ve­loc­ity by re­mov­ing bar­ri­ers and fric­tion. Mar­ket­ing plays a pro­gram-man­ager role, per­form­ing mul­ti­ple tasks (gen­er­at­ing leads, cre­at­ing con­tent, etc) as part of the sales en­able­ment process.

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