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Sales Enablement is Everyone’s Job: How Each Area of Marketing Enables Sales

Posted by Ellie Mirman on Fri Mar 01, 2019 08:00 AM

As companies grow, sales teams get bigger, and sales cycles become more complex, many businesses invest in a sales enablement function within the marketing team. Marketers, who are tasked with driving acquisition and awareness efforts first and foremost, partner closely with their sales teams to make sure the business hits its revenue targets. Enter, sales enablement marketers: marketing professionals tasked with supporting sales teams with resources, tools, and trainings to help them close more deals. But the reality is that the task of enabling sales expands beyond one focused role. In fact, sales enablement can and should be supported by everyone in marketing. Here’s how each area of marketing supports sales enablement.

Product Marketing

Sales enablement is often a focus area within product marketing, so it’s no surprise that product marketers play a key role in supporting sales. Specifically, product marketers are the go-to’s for providing messaging guidance, product trainings, competitive intelligence and battlecards, and other collateral, resources, and tools.

Sales enablement is critical to product marketers’ success: The two key stakeholders for a product marketer are sales and product management. These marketers are most closely tied to sales’ wins and losses. If product marketers don’t have an eye towards sales enablement, they are missing out on at least half of the impact they can have on the business. 

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Demand Generation

Demand gen marketers focus on attracting, converting, and nurturing leads to ultimately drive revenue. Because these marketers don’t just focus on attracting and delivering leads but also following them through the entire sales and marketing funnel, it makes sense that they would care about and support sales enablement efforts. One specific way this area of marketing can support sales enablement is through campaigns to increase conversion rates. Examples include more product-focused conversion opportunities like demo webinars and engagement-focused campaigns like email nurturing streams. Even more focused efforts like ABM campaigns for target accounts can all help sales close more deals and drive more revenue for the business.

Sales enablement is critical to demand gen marketers’ success: Without a focus on how sales is succeeding or struggling, the leads generated and campaigns run by demand gen marketers will lose out on the intended impact on the business.

Content Marketing

Content is part of nearly every area of marketing, whether through blog posts for attracting new leads, website copy to engage and convert prospects, or contributing to sales collateral creation to support the later stages of the buying cycle. One of the best ways content marketers can specifically support sales enablement is by creating content targeted at the later stages of the buyer’s journey. Talking to sales representatives as well as the potential buyers themselves can help uncover the common questions that come up, the content that the prospects are seeking, and the topics that are critical to address at each stage of the evaluation and buying process.

Sales enablement is critical to content marketers’ success: Without a look towards content needed by the sales team, content marketers will be overly focused on only one part of the buyer’s journey, limiting their impact and losing out on great lessons learned from the full sales and marketing process.

Branding & PR

Understanding the full buyer’s journey is a great way to uncover ways that each area of marketing can support those later stages when a buyer is engaged with a sales rep. This is equally true for uncovering how branding and PR professionals can support sales enablement. Uncovering which websites, publications, and other resources prospects turn to in these later stages can direct where these marketers can target placements and news coverage. Of course, branding and PR marketers’ efforts to increase brand awareness overall can help increase close rates as well if more and more prospects are aware of and respect your brand as a leader.

Sales enablement is critical to branding & PR professionals’ success: What is the point of getting brand awareness or news coverage if you’re not getting in front of the right audience? Branding & PR marketers’ goal to reach their target market aligns completely with sales reps’ goal to turn those prospects into customers. Each party can learn and benefit from each other’s work.

Marketing Operations

Finally, marketing operations has a great ability to support sales enablement as well. While sales reps are great working one-on-one with prospects, they may not see the big picture of all of the accounts they’re targeting. Marketing ops can fill the gap here by providing more data visibility to show which accounts are at which stages, where there are opportunities to go deeper, and identifying trends in win rates to help sales reps improve. Marketing ops also has the ability to support automation in the sales process, enabling sales reps to be more efficient with their time and focus more on the prospects’ needs than administrative tasks.

Sales enablement is critical to marketing ops professionals’ success: While marketing operations is often geared towards making marketing teams more efficient and data-aware, that cannot be separated from the sales team’s efficiency and data awareness. 

At Scale

Involving each area of marketing in sales enablement can be tricky as a team scales. Each of these marketing groups has the ability to support enablement in the ways mentioned, but actually doing so requires coordination and alignment around sales enablement initiatives as an entire marketing team. Product marketing, demand gen, content marketing, branding & PR, and marketing operations each can turn their efforts to acquisition, retention, enablement, or any number of goals. At times, it may be appropriate to turn one of the teams to support sales enablement, some subset of those teams, or all of those teams if the business deems it the most critical area to address. When rallying the entire marketing team across these functions around sales enablement, it can be helpful to bring them together to brainstorm initiatives and check in regularly to coordinate, share lessons, and, ultimately, measure the impact on the sales team’s success.

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