Operating at the intersection of product, marketing, and sales, product marketing drives much of the go-to-market strategy, but what happens once the product and its campaign are launched? It’s the sales team’s turn to bring the product message to potential customers and drive revenue. Whether they are qualifying leads or closing deals, sales reps need to be equipped with the right knowledge and supporting assets to be successful. Product marketing can bridge that gap through sales enablement.
Connect your marketing and sales journeys
By generating interest and leads, marketing interacts with customers in the upper half of the purchasing funnel. Once customers progress to the bottom half, they’re talking to sales reps who are looking to close deals. Product marketers need to consider this transition in the customer journey as part of their go-to-market strategy, and a significant tool for that is sales enablement.
Sales enablement is a set of resources that empowers sellers to take customers further along the buying journey faster. This sales toolbox often includes a combination of internal training — for example, buyer personas, talk tracks, or competitive intelligence battle cards — and customer-facing assets, such as product one-pagers, case studies and webinars. Effective sales enablement goes beyond creating sales content, though. It’s a full strategy that includes building an organized, accessible sales library, encouraging adoption and engagement and finding ways to track success.
Identify your sales enablement needs
According to the Product Marketing Alliance, almost three quarters of product marketing managers included sales collateral among their key responsibilities. Sales enablement, however, struggles to be a business priority; about 48 percent of companies currently don’t have a dedicated sales enablement team and have no plans to put one in place.
Sales enablement almost always involves product marketing at some point as 94 percent of product marketers said they were responsible for creating sales content, which can vary from business to business. In order to assess a sales teams’ enablement needs and build the right strategy, product marketers can consider the following questions:
- Are sales talk tracks aligned with marketing messaging?
- Where are the gaps in communicating value messages and product information?
- What kind of training and communication are in place to ensure sales reps’ awareness of new and existing sales content?
- How often do you evaluate your sales enablement process and content?
Build a partnership with sales
An enablement plan is only good if the sales team actually uses it. This means every step of the sales enablement strategy, whether it’s content creation, publishing, or management, should be tailored to sales teams’ needs to get their buy-in. Sales leadership, laser-focused on driving revenue, will be critical partners in developing this strategy and its processes, so they need to understand the benefits of driving adoption, such as:
- Increased product knowledge and buyer insights to better tailor conversations
- Relevant, valuable content to more effectively nurture leads and build relationships
- Organized central library to facilitate identification and utilization of assets
- Consistency in messaging and customer experience to drive more sales conversions
- Standardized training to accelerate onboarding and reduce disruption during turnover
Measuring success can be tricky since results tend to be more abstract and differ from traditional sales and marketing indicators. KPIs can include percentage of sales team using it (adoption), number of times assets are sent to customers (usage), number of customer interactions with the assets (engagement). Even certain sales metrics, such as conversions, length of sales cycle, and average deal size, can also be broad indicators of enablement’s effects. Analyzing these and other data points can identify sales enablement trends and serve as building blocks for optimizing the sales process.
Reinforce sales value with product marketing insights
One of product marketing’s key responsibilities is finding the middle ground between what the product does and what customers need. This insight puts product marketing in the perfect position to align sales teams’ understanding about what a product delivers with how they should talk about it with customers. As a result, more companies are handing ownership of sales enablement to product marketing. Get ahead by reviewing your sales enablement and ensuring your sales team has the resources they need to be successful.