Today’s article is focused on the best way to enable the sales force for a product launch. Should it be product marketing, sales enablement, or both? This article dives into this question and provides insights to evaluate what is right for your company. As a guide for the conversation, download our 10th annual workbook, How to Make Your Number in 2017 and turn to the Product Marketing phase on pages 240 to 243 of the PDF workbook.
I recently interviewed Phil Montgomery the Chief Marketing Officer of Pulse Secure. Pulse Secure provides secure remote access not only to your data center, but also to your cloud applications, from desktop and mobile devices. Phil is uniquely qualified having played an integral role in launching 20+ successful products.
What is the best way for product marketing and sales enablement to work together for a product launch? Product marketing, working with product management has a set of things that they need to do in order to enable the sales force pre-launch. Sales enablement, working with sales, has a different set of things to do pre-launch to make sure that the sales team is enabled. Its clear the teams should work together, but the problem is deeper than simply interlocking and working together. Lets dive in.
The problem faced by most companies is an unclear division of labor with product marketing and sales enablement working independently. Unfortunately, we see a lot of role corruption between the roles. What does that mean? Product marketing teams in some cases are being asked to do all the sales enabling activities. And if they’re being asked to do all the sales enablement work, then their performance in the classic product marketing role is going to suffer. There’s only so many hours in the day. Plus, the product marketing managers don’t have the same level of expertise as a sales enablement professional.
You can say the same thing when you flip the equation with sales enablement doing the lion share of the work. If product marketing is underfunded and understaffed, and yet you’ve decided to invest in sales enablement, then the sales enablement team should execute the bulk of the work. The sales enablement team should take on most of the work with input from product marketing. Because the sales enablement team are comprised of sales enablement professionals, not product marketers, they’re going to do it much better. The reverse scenario is true.
This is an area where role specialization matters. Ideally you don’t separate the sales enablement activities for product launch between two roles. When you have, both roles separated, not properly funded, not properly staffed, not working well together in interlock, then we typically see revenues suffer. And that’s a preventable mistake. Really think about the roles and responsibilities as a division of labor between product marketing and sales enablement.
During the interview, Phil provided clarity on the exact role product marketing should provide and how closely the two teams need to work. If product marketing is going to own sales enablement, then they must be staffed properly enough to understand the whole sales cycle, needs to understand the sales people, the channel, and the customer. Furthermore, they need to develop content that goes well beyond just sales tools such as product sheets and PowerPoints. Product Marketing needs to enable sales with everything that goes around the ecosystem to make a sales person successful.
- Positioning statements and value prop
- Understanding what does a great customer look like, and what a not-so-good customer looks like
- Demos that hit on buyer pain points
- How to do a white board the solution and value prop
- Buyer personas and buyer process maps, and how to use them
In summary, there’s not a universal answer to whether product launch sales enablement should be owned by product marketing or the sale enablement team. Determine the right fit is based on the staffing levels of each and then identifying a clear owner, with the other providing input.
If you would like help with determining the right roles for your product launch, visit The Studio, SBI’s multimillion dollar, one-of-a-kind, state-of-the-art executive briefing center. A visit to The Studio increases the probability of making your number because the sessions are built on the proven strength and stability of SBI, the industry leader in B2B sales and marketing.