Product Marketing vs. Sales Enablement: What’s the Difference?
May 24, 2022 Edwin Kooistra
Many companies view product marketing and sales enablement as two separate entities, but they are closely related. The two should work together to create a cohesive strategy that helps achieve company goals.
Product marketing is responsible for creating and delivering the message about the product. At the same time, sales enablement ensures that sales personnel have the tools and training they need to sell the product. When these two functions work together effectively, they can be a powerful force for driving results.
Even though, in theory, integrating product marketing and sales enablement for any business may seem pretty straightforward, it is not as simple as it seems. The process itself is not only at times difficult to navigate but requires extreme internal alignment and market awareness.
Did you know that two-thirds of B2B companies say they are ineffective at creating demand through marketing channels? Many industry experts suggest onboarding product marketing consulting firms that have the expertise in aligning product marketing and sales enablement functions.
Once a third-party consultant like Chasm aligns any business’s marketing and sales processes, their revenues will increase, and their team will also feel empowered. Therefore, they will be able to sustain and deliver consistent results in the long run.
This blog post will discuss these two disciplines and how they can help your business create more demand. We’ll also provide some tips on getting started with product marketing and sales enablement. So, if you’re looking to improve your company’s demand generation efforts, read on!
Product Marketing vs. Sales Enablement: What’s the Difference?
Despite being two different and separate functions within an organization, product marketing sales enablement are often confused and sometimes conceived to be the same. We should look at these two functions in a contrasting manner to understand how they are different from each other and what is their exact role within a business environment.
Product marketing professionals within an organization have a broad scope, with many responsibilities they need to execute. This ranges from developing the go-to-market strategies and the content for market campaigns etc. This also includes developing relevant content and material for the sales force to deliver to the appropriate target market.
On the other hand, the sales enablement team is responsible for ensuring that the sales force of the organization is not only well versed with the product and service that they’re about to sell but is also aware of its features, functionalities, and how it is tackling the pain point of the customer. They need to ensure that this sales team can present the value proposition of the product or service.
Therefore, it shouldn’t be product marketing vs sales enablement. It should be both. Because throughout the customer’s sales journey, not only do these two functions touch points at several stages, but they’re also focused on the same goal that is enabling the sales force of the business to increase sales.
These two work together in alignment and are not competing with each other but instead support and nourish the operations within themselves to achieve higher efficiency in sales growth.
Challenges to Face While Aligning Product Marketing With Sales Enablement
In an ideal scenario, aligning both product marketing and sales enablement might seem straightforward to achieve the result. But unfortunately, practically in a company, it is not that simple. There are a particular set of challenges that a business faces while ensuring the alignment of both functions.
We will now look at some of these challenges that you as a business owner might encounter while ensuring smooth communication and flow between sales enablement and your product marketing teams.
First and foremost, the common challenge in the industry when it comes to the alignment of both functions is the difficulties that arise due to the creation of poor or non-quality content. What happens is that the product marketing team, despite doing extensive marketing research, fails to focus on the human end of the content.
This makes it difficult for the sales enablement team to transfer its execution to the salesforce. This difficulty, of course, results in friction between those two functions, sometimes even a blame game.
Where the marketing team defends its stance based on solid market research, and the enablement team fights its case based on the non-practicality of the content that has been created.
They say communication can make or break a project. And this could have been no anymore true for the alignment of product marketing with sales enablement. What ends up happening is that both functions start operating in silos.
When conducting market research and creating relevant content for marketing campaigns, the product marketing team fails to consider the needs and requirements of the enablement team.
Similarly, when the sales enablement team faces a roadblock or confusion in the content that has been provided to them, they fail to reach out to the product marketing team to get some clarification or understanding. This communication gap, of course, translates poorly to the end objective, which is increasing sales and revenues.
This lack of interaction between the two impacts the salesforce and thus hits the company’s revenue. Therefore, communication and understanding of needs and requirements between these two functions are critical to the overall strategic success of any business.
Incorrect Tools or Lack of Technology
Technology has transformed the customer sales journey and has pushed the relevant teams to adapt to these technological changes and use them to their advantage.
What happens in the case of ensuring alignment between product marketing sales enablement is that the tools being deployed, especially CRM software, are either too simple or sometimes too overly detailed.
What happens is that the marketing team handling the content creation believes that uploading relevant material on the portal or software is where their role ends. From there onwards, the sales enablement team needs to execute their tasks.
Similarly, the sales enablement team using the same technology feels as if all relevant information in detail has been provided to them. Based on their understanding, they start executing the content dissemination to the salesforce.
This can be taken the other way around, too, where good software is not present to track the KPIs of both the teams, thus impacting them at the end of the day.
Best Possible Ways to Improve the Alignment of Product Marketing and Sales Enablement
Now that we have identified and understood the different challenges that one can face as a business owner in the alignment of product marketing and sales enablement, we shall look at the possible ways to improve this relationship.
Below are some of the expert strategies you can adopt as a business owner to align your product marketing and sales enablement functions.
- Decide in collaboration
- Communicate and connect
- Mutual Content Creation
- Power of Analytics
- Build Relationships and Appreciate
Let us now look at these best possible ways to improve the alignment of product marketing and sales enablement in a more detailed manner.
1. Decide In Collaboration
product marketing, sales enablement are most productive when collaborating rather than competing. Coordination begins with developing integrated strategies and plans that support one another and correspond with the company’s overall vision and goals.
Do remember to collaborate on strategic planning. Share your goals, plans, and schedules for the upcoming year to ensure they are all in alignment. To ensure that objectives are aligned and everybody is working toward the same goals, solicit and share feedback, and rewrite plans.
2. Communicate and Connect
We understand that meeting once a year or biannually for strategic planning purposes is necessary. But for, ensuring seamless alignment between the two communication and connection regularly is the essential requirement.
Therefore, establish schedules to ensure that the teams communicate and update each other weekly and monthly and share relevant insights that pop up when deemed necessary. This increase in communication and connection helps ensure the smooth flow of information, brings transparency to the process, and helps identify kinks in the system that can be mediated before any significant issue strikes.
3. Mutual Content Creation
The importance of content in the B2B purchasing journey cannot be overstated. It’s critical to have relevant material available for sellers to utilize at every point of the buyer journey, considering that B2B customers frequently conduct extensive research before contacting a salesperson.
Though product marketing usually oversees content production, it is critical to include sales enablement, which works directly with salespeople and managers and has vital insights into the buying path and the sales team’s problems. That is why before launch, product marketing should communicate content strategies with sales enablement to ensure the content matches the needs of the sales teams.
4. Power of Analytics
Your product marketing team might be getting much qualitative feedback on their material. Salespeople, for example, may contact them to let them know what material they like, don’t like, and want more of. This feedback is valuable, but you can’t clearly understand what material works without quantifiable data.
Use the content analytics provided by your sales enablement software to determine which material is being used and which is associated with increased revenue. With this information, you may remove material that isn’t being used and invest more in developing content that helps push business and increase sales.
5. Build Relationships and Appreciate
When you’re working together with the product marketing or sales enablement team, we understand that content creation is strategic planning is one of the significant focuses of your work. But do not hesitate to enjoy this journey and process alongside delivering your objectives and goals.
Work together to build cross-functional relationships and appreciate what the other function and its team members can do to help you achieve your end goal. Restoration of communication and mutual appreciation will go a long way towards ensuring the strategic success of the business as well as not only your professional but personal growth as well.
How Would Sales Enablement Be a Part of the Product Marketing Strategy?
Sales enablement and its inclusion in the product marketing strategy is the process of ultimately optimizing an organization to integrate marketing and sales operations fully. From the time of inception through the final transaction, sellers and marketers collaborate on content, branded material, and customer solutions – and then iterate further to nurture customer and prospect relationships at all touchpoints.
Sales enablement inclusion in marketing strategy assists businesses in achieving this cohesiveness by removing common hurdles to collaboration, as discussed above. For example, a segregated marketing team may create material independent of or opposed to lead input received by the sales team.
Using a sales enablement combination with product marketing, information and statistics can be shared throughout the firm, and marketing can constantly develop optimal content. Marketers may then deploy fresh content to salespeople via the enablement team, which they can immediately access and begin using.
Product Marketing Strategy might seem like a phase before enablement, but as highlighted above, it should be taken in alignment rather more as a part of sales enablement. As sales enablement is a step closer to the customer touchpoint, their market pulse is at a higher awareness. Therefore, sales enablement should be made a compulsory part of product market strategy, as not only does it help in aligning the customer journey funnel but it impacts sales.
Under the umbrella of product-market strategy, the sales enablement team collaborates with the latter, and they come up together with compelling content and delivery mechanisms. This translates into an increase in the effectiveness of sales teams and, of course, increased sales and revenue.
Product marketing and sales enablement are core functions of any business and form an essential part of the customer sales journey. Therefore, their alignment and mutual collaboration are critical to any business’s success. The interaction and cooperation of your product marketing and sales enablement executives set the tone for how these two teams will engage. Always keep in mind that alignment begins at the top.
The alignment of Product Marketing and Sales Enablement is critical to the success of both teams—and the business. When these two teams aren’t on the same page, it is difficult for your sellers to provide better buying experiences and close more purchases.
Therefore, this is the moment to invest in what you can do to increase this critical collaboration within your firm and bring onboard expert product marketing consultants to drive results for you and your business. Chasm’s sales effectiveness consulting service assists businesses to develop strategies and tools that ensure the appropriate people are in the right jobs and following the correct procedures.