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January 14, 2020

4 Steps to Optimizing Sales Enablement

GUEST: Stephen Brown, Director of Product Marketing at Highspot B2B_Revenue_Executive_Experience_-_Stephen_Brown-02

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Oftentimes, we forget that for the sales enablement function to really work, there has to be a little give and take.

Of course, sales enablement’s purpose is to, well, enable sales. However, sales reps need to know that they can go to sales enablement for valuable insights and clarification.

In this episode of the B2B Revenue Executive Experience, I talk with Stephen Brown, Director of Product Marketing at Highspot, a sales enablement solution provider. Stephen shares his knowledge in marketing the platform and how his team leverages its sales enablement function.

The current problem with sales enablement

Stephen sees it in countless companies: The sales enablement team simply hucks “enabling” content over the fence to reps. Then, the reps are expected to know what to do with it.

You can see how there would be confusion there.

Today, far too many people in product marketing and enablement are just throwing content over the wall and letting people figure out what to do with it.”

STEPHEN BROWN at Highspot

 

Although the sales enablement or product marketing teams probably have good intentions, the content they’re offering often falls on deaf ears. Reps haven’t seen the data that supports the content. They don’t even know what situation to use the information in.

There has to be some kind of context for them to make any use out of the material.

Besides, isn’t that the sales enablement team’s job? To make the reps’ lives easier and help them to make more sales? A little context would go a long way.

On the other hand, it would be useful if sales reps had access to a more intuitive platform to access all the content in which they’re provided.

Unfortunately, a far too common occurrence involves a rep attempting to hunt down one document with one piece of information she knows would turn the sale around instantly. It’s neither enjoyable or easy to find those clips of content you know have gotten lost in the clutter.

Don’t your reps deserve a better experience? Isn’t that one thing you preach to your prospects: a great user experience?

Clearly, a more intuitive platform for sales enablement content would be helpful.

Once you’ve found the right tool, though, how do you help your team optimize its functions?

4 steps to optimizing the sales enablement process

Through his experiences in marketing a sales enablement platform — and just product marketing in general — Stephen has seen many a team struggle with enabling its sales reps.

He points out four main elements that have to be in place in order to truly optimize the sales enablement function:

1) Product marketers, sales enablement, and sales reps need to get into the same room…or, at least on the same call.

Enough throwing enablement over the fence and hoping someone catches on.

Sales reps are the experts on your audience. They speak to them every day. Sales enablement are the experts on the sales numbers. Product marketers are the experts on your topic.

Why is it that one of each team hardly meets to collaborate?

Stephen strongly suggests gathering at least one person of each team into one room or on one call. It’s essential that those people mull over recent analytics, product marketing efforts, and the context around sales enablement materials.

Hearing the purpose behind certain efforts and content from the real people doing it is a lot different from receiving it (maybe) in an email.

2) The entire organization needs to be speaking the same language.

Figuratively speaking (and literally most of the time). Your whole team being on the same page is just one of the benefits of implementing an intuitive sales enablement tool. 

A pretty good strategy that's consistently delivered is better than a great strategy that's haphazardly delivered.”

STEPHEN BROWN at Highspot
 

Today, there are more decision-makers involved in a B2B deal than ever before. Your team needs to have a collective approach and language in order to close deals.

If different decision-makers are hearing different things from different reps, it’s unlikely you’ll close the deal. Storing your sales enablement and marketing materials in one easy-to-access location is critical to achieving consistency in your conversations.

A B2B deal is no longer between just two people. Your entire team needs to be clear on the language you’re using.

3) Have a feedback loop.

There needs to be an unequivocal path for feedback between product marketing, sales enablement, and reps.

Each of the teams is collecting information that the other needs. Information on conversions, prospects, analytics, and more. Each team helps the other do their job better. It’s a no-brainer that they should communicate on a regular basis and have the right channels to do so.

4) Treat sales enablement as a strategic function.

One of Stephen’s top pieces of advice is to treat the sales enablement function as a strategic function. In other words, your team (not just reps) should be leveraging sales enablement insights. 

Sales enablement should be a function that the rest of your team relies on to uncover what strategies are/aren’t working.

You should be treating your enablement function as a strategic function.”

STEPHEN BROWN at Highspot

What we learned

Stephen offered a lot of valuable information on optimizing your sales enablement function. A few key takeaways:


  • For sales enablement to really work, there has to be a give and take.
  • An intuitive tool built specifically for the sales enablement function can give your team a great headstart.
  • There needs to be clear communication between product marketing, sales enablement, and reps.
  • Sales enablement should be viewed as a strategic function — one that helps you meet your main business objectives.

Until next time!

This post is based on a podcast interview with Stephen Brown, Director of Product Marketing at Highspot. To hear this episode, and many more like it, subscribe to the B2B Revenue Executive Experience.

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