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. It’s difficult to grow revenue faster than your industry’s growth rate and faster than your competitors. Leverage the How to Make Your Number in 2018 Workbook to access a revenue growth methodology to hit your number quarter after quarter, and year after year.

 

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.

 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Greg Alexander

Leads the firm's focus on the CEO’s role in accelerating revenue growth by getting the product team, the marketing department, and the sales organization into strategic alignment.

Greg is the host of The SBI Podcast, the most listened to sales and marketing podcast on the internet.

 

He is the host of SBI TV, a monthly television program broadcast on the internet featuring top B2B sales and marketing leader sharing their strategies to grow revenues.

 

Greg is the Editor-in-Chief of The SBI Magazine, the leading B2B publication focused on sales and marketing effectiveness.

 

He is the author of two critically acclaimed books Topgrading for Sales and Making the Number.

 

Greg has authored over 100 articles on SBI’s award winning blog, The SBI Blog.

 

He graduated from The University of Massachusetts Amherst with a BA in English and received his MBA from Georgia Tech.

 

Video:

 

Transforming the Sales Organization inside Fortune 500 Companies

Greg Alexander and John Gleason, Chief Sales Officer of Ryder, talk about the unique challenges of transforming a sales team inside of very large enterprises.

 

A Better Way to Structure Your Sales Force

Greg Alexander and Tony Capucille, Chief Sales Officer at Heartland Payment Systems, discuss the pros and cons of the 7 B2B sales organizational models.

 

Build a team of A Players Inside the Sales Organization

Greg Alexander and Todd Cione, Chief Revenue Officer at Rackspace, talk about hiring, onboarding, and developing exceptional sales talent.

 

Articles

 

Fill Every Role on Your Team with an A Player

In this article, Greg Alexander makes the case for applying the TopGrading methodology to the sales team, and outlines how to do so.

 

What CEOs Need to Know About Their Marketing Strategies

In this article, Greg Alexander and Rashid Skaf, CEO of AMX, discuss the role the CEO plays in crafting a company’s marketing strategy.

 

What CEOs are Looking for in a Sales Leader

In this article, Greg Alexander and George Norton, leader of Heidrick & Struggles Chief Sales Officer practice, discuss what CEOs need in the chief sales officer role.

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