Updated definition of Sales and Partner Enablement

semantic web or web 3.0 and sales enablementI have collected a number of different definitions on the “About” section, but finally took the time to add a bit. Let me know what you think:

Sales Enablement & Partner Enablement

can be defined as:

“Delivering the right knowledge (= information provided in context) that is verifiably the most up-to-date and takes into account what a customer has already bought and in which sales step they are now

in the right format (video, audio, text, Chat Bot / AI assistant, calculator / tool, sheet, slides, etc)

and with the right questions to ask to the right person (internal/external with contact details) or Chat Bot / AI assistant,

at the right time (appropriate to sales step, pipeline, reminders, etc)

and in the right place (mobile-first, location aware, appropriate for region and regional availability of offering/solution)

in local currency (correct pricing for the given place)

on any device

in the right language (content & user interface)

with industry-vertical & geography appropriate case studies (customer success stories)

and aware of what can be combined as a solution

necessary to move a specific b2b sales conversation forward

for anyone touching accounts (salespeople / partners / channels).”

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Where does Sales Enablement live within an organization?

An updated version of the following post can be found here, (February 5, 2017)

On September 7, 2010, Eric Nitschke (Launch International) asked the following questions on the LinkedIn Group Sales Enablement Content. Please see my response below:

“Sales Enablement: Where does it live?
Several clients have asked us for best practices in sales enablement – specifically who owns it?

I’d support our marketing colleagues who are trying to align selling messages with product positioning and messaging documents. Others on the training side would say that their training materials are the baseline for sales enablement. Finally, the “sales enablement automation” crowd would claim ownership of the process and fulfillment of sales enablement materials on their web-based or internally-hosted portals.

So I ask YOU – learned Sales Enablement Content Group members: Where does Sales Enablement live?”

Coming from the point of view of someone providing web-based or internally-hosted portals for Sales Enablement, I would not claim ownership. All stakeholders like product marketing, training, CI/MI, the teams for pricing and ROI / business case calculations, the customer reference database, corporate branding, MarComs, etc… should be invited… invited to house their content and – just as important – their contact details in that one joint portal.

A portal… not for the sake of the technology or to have yet another portal… but… a portal to let all these stakeholders see which of their content works and which doesn’t (also which content is missing and which gets insightful comments as a feedback loop from the field or the channel back to corporate).

When there is this one interface that cuts across all team sites and the silos the many regional or functional groups might have built with SharePoint or LiveLink or any of these solutions, your sales people and channel partners can – for the first time – see what is available for the given sales situation they are in. None of the stakeholders “owns” this more than the others and the portal just helps to filter by sales step, region, industry vertical, content type, etc… to make visible whether the sale is being enabled or specific content and contacts are missing.

matrixed organization

The single biggest complaint about Sales Enablement, I hear from sales people is missing content… content that is more specific than the generic pitch. A portal, that comes along with all stakeholders agreeing on content governance, a life-cycle duration for the content and responsibilities to respond to feedback & requests, will first of all make these gaps painfully visible and then guide the content planning to invest marketing’s dollars as effective as possible.

To come back to your question, in some organizations it might be the CMO and in others the sales leader or portfolio manager – who is the executive sponsor, who aligns all the stakeholders to feed the new portal and shut down the old ones.

Job opening – Enterprise Partner and Sales Enablement Director – Google

Old! Outdated!

This position is based in Mountain View, CA.

The area: Enterprise

As the emerging leader in cloud computing, Google’s Enterprise division delivers cloud services and other IT products to small and large businesses, educational institutions and government agencies. Our team of high-achieving engineers, product managers, and sales and marketing professionals works with a vast array of partners and customers to advance the company’s mission to organize the world’s information to make it universally accessible and useful. The Enterprise team is among a handful of rapidly emerging new businesses that are becoming front-and-center for Google as it enters its second decade as a company.

The role: Enterprise Partner and Sales Enablement Director

The Enterprise Partner and Sales Enablement Director will have responsibility for the development, implementation and scaling of tools, technology, training necessary to support aggressive scaling of the Enterprise direct sales force and the sales forces of our Partners. You will be tasked with building out the content, delivery, evaluation and evergreening strategy for enablement functions covering sales process, product proficiency, information dissemination, vertical/industry toolkits and sales systems. You will lead the guidance on the proposition of advancing the function to become a revenue generating center within the global Enterprise ecosystem. The role will lead the internal and partner enablement strategy leveraging a direct and distributed dotted line team as well as centralized Google resources.

You will need to be adept at building productive cross-functional, cross- regional relationships to drive alignment and quick execution of critical programs. You will also need to have a track record of addressing future business scenarios and adapting enablement priorities at scale efficiently. General operations and systems expertise will be critical to your success in building a nimble, efficient organization.

Responsibilities:

  • Thought-lead and build partner, channel and sales enablement function to address unique global enterprise requirements for support in the field – platform, tools, training and certification.
  • Define, hire and manage key resources (internal, vendors, etc.) in the areas of content development, information infrastructure design, program management and delivery.
  • Build enterprise-specific new hire readiness, product, vertical selling, competitive intelligence and sales process certification programs to be delivered to Global Channel partners and Enterprise sales rep organizations set to scale aggressively.
  • Deliver reporting on program, channel and Google Enterprise sales force skill effectiveness and iterate programs to ensure increasing levels of sales capability and performance.
  • Partner with Google Learning and Development team and subject matter experts, including marketing and product management, to integrate wider Google learning programs into the field sales enablement agenda.

Requirements:

  • BA/BS degree preferred with strong academic background.
  • Substantial work experience in sales, channel operations and enablement with global responsibility.
  • Experience in field training, channel or partner readiness, enablement tool creation and collateral design.
  • Successfully managed substantive sales operations budgets ensuring prudent return and efficiency of spend.
  • An independent, self-motivated leader who has a track record of managing teams successfully and working at both highly tactical and strategic levels.

Job opening – Product Marketing Manager incl Sales and Channel Enablement

Product Marketing Manager
pVelocity
www.pvelocity.com
Location: Toronto, ON, Canada
POSTED ON AUGUST 23, 2010

About the Company
What’s the most effective way to measure productivity and profitability? This next-generation BI vendor knows. With 75+ plants in production, they’re bringing their solution to global clients in pharma, chemicals, aluminum and more. Their cash flow is steady, their pipeline is full and the SAP community heavyweights are enthusiastic supporters and partners. The best sign that they have a solid product and a winning methodology? To date, no pilot installation has failed to turn into a deal. Not a single one.

The Opportunity

As a Product Marketing Manager, you will be responsible for the outbound marketing activities for your products. You will craft the messaging and positioning for products. You’ll conceive and develop innovative marketing programs that drive demand. Attention to detail and an eye for quality, along with the ability to grasp and translate technical capabilities into benefits is crucial. In your role as a Product Marketing Manager you will be the expert in buyers, how they buy and their buying criteria and will transfer that knowledge to the sales channel.

Key Responsibilities:

  • Develop product positioning and messaging that differentiates your products in the market
  • Sales enablement – communicate the value proposition of the products to the sales team and develop the sales tools that support the selling process of your products
  • Product launch – plan the launch of new products and releases and manage the cross-functional implementation of the plan
  • Market intelligence – be the expert on your buyers, how they buy and their buying criteria; be the expert on your competition and how to crush them
  • Demand generation – develop the strategy and manage the marketing programs that drive demand for your products
  • Channel marketing – build from the ground up a new infrastructure to enable 3rd party sales teams
  • Close working relationship with company’s executive team

This position offers a competitive compensation package, including stock options. pVelocity is an equal opportunity employer.

Who Should Apply

Requirements:

  • 5+ years of software product marketing experience with at least 2 years experience in a field facing role
  • Bachelor’s in business or marketing
  • Very strong written communication skills
  • Willing to travel
  • Partner/channel marketing experience is an asset
  • Experience in ERP, MRP, CRM, and/or BI solutions a plus
  • Excellent people and management skills to interact with staff, colleagues and cross-functional teams, and third parties.
  • The Candidate must be based in Toronto.

Contact

To make an inquiry and/or to submit a resume, please contact: pVelocity@redcanary.ca

Reading List – July 12, 2010

On July 12, 2010, my favorite marketing blogger April Dunford (@aprildunford) wrote the post ‘Vertical Marketing 101’ at her blog rocketwatcher.com:

“[…]

Sales Enablement – It isn’t enough to have your marketing content go deep in a segment if leads get handed over to a sales force that can’t talk the talk. Marketers will need to figure out how best to train their field forces so that they have a deep understanding of the specific environment, pains, use cases and users in that segment. Many companies have people with this expertise (either in product management, product marketing, field engineering or professional services) but often there is no process to package up that information for it to be consumed not just by customers in marketing materials, but also by the sales force.  Some things I’ve done before to try to accomplish this include:

  • Deal analysis and discussion – this can be done as a document or a presentation to the field but the idea is to document in detail the steps of a specific deal from prospect to close including evaluation criteria, deal committee, the evaluation process and how negotiations took place.  I’ve found this works best when it’s a sales rep or field engineer presenting directly to the other reps (rather than having marketing do the talking).
  • Regulations/Issues/language training – marketing can create sales training materials that pertain to a particular industry regulation or business problem. This training can be delivered in online or over the phone (hint: if you create materials and merely email them out to your sales force they WILL be ignored.  I’ve tracked the open rate on emails I’ve sent to my own sales teams, trust me it wasn’t pretty) as long as it’s done live. Don’t be afraid to repeat this training and make sure you determine how a new rep that comes on board will get trained.  I also like to publish a glossary of industry-specific terms that folks in the field should know in order to talk credibly to prospects.
  • Customer presentations and Q and A’s – Get a customer to attend your regular sales call and/or your sales meetings to talk about a specific set of problems and let everyone in the room ask a lot of questions.  I once had a CIO come and speak to my sales team about why she chose a competing product to illustrate how some of our sales tactics were not hitting the mark.
  • Whiteboard training materials – People define this in different ways but I would call this anything you can do to help sales do more visual storytelling around your products and solutions.  Marketing can create a set of easy to understand diagrams and graphics that sales can use in a discussion with a prospect using a whiteboard, flip chart or on the back of a napkin.

[…]”

Also on July 12, 2010, Sharon Little wrote a great blog post on Sales Enablement at her blog:

“[…] Sales Enablement appears to be a real thing. Ten years from now we’re all going to be able to say that we were pioneers. […] Joe Galvin of Sirius Decisions […] is a passionate thought leader in the area of sales enablement and arguably years ahead of the rest of us when it comes to seeing what’s possible. […]

  • Evolving Requirements – The knowledge required to be a salesperson in today’s environment is constantly changing. Acquisitions, product enhancements, and competitive threats all contribute to a constantly changing environment. At some point, it is too hard to keep up, so many salespeople will stop trying and simply stick with what they already know. A real challenge when you’re acquiring new companies or introducing new products.
  • Digestibility – Marketing becomes so intent on getting their message to the Field, that in order to capture mindshare, they create more content and repeat it in various forms. The Field is in “content overload” and they lose their ability to digest it all.
  • Sophisticated Buyers – Thanks to the ready availability of information, buyers know a lot more than they used to when contacting sales for the first time. When they are ready to engage, they expect an informed, knowledgeable salesperson. Sales needs to be able to meet them where they are if an effective meeting is going to take place.
  • Measuring Productivity is Key– More calls of higher quality is the goal. Drive towards delivering more active opportunities, increased conversions, and higher close rates.  Revenue performance is relative, but tied to too many external variables.

What Does a Sales Executive Think About Sales Enablement?

If you’re lucky it’s just now hitting their radar. They want their teams “enabled”, but what does that mean? This is the challenge before you – to help the sales executives at your company to see sales enablement as mission critical. And you’re going to have to define it for them. What is it? How is it different?  How do you get from where you are to where you want to be?  And what about funding?

What is the Vision?

When all is said and done, what are you building?  The goal is a robust, flexible, innovative enablement strategy that takes into account your company’s goals and objectives, growth strategy and culture.  Equally important is a plan that is modern, scalable and integrated. Enablement encompasses training, communication, leadership, motivation, and development.  Integration among these components is key to enablement.

The real goal is to enable sales to have customer conversations that are relevant and even revolutionary for the customer while ultimately being financially impactful to your business.

Translation, Packaging and Gate-Keeping

As a sales enablement professional, you play a very unique role. Essentially, you sit at the intersection point between Marketing and Sales.  It may not feel like the safest place to be, but try to think of it as an adventure.  The whole company wants to get to the sales team. For sales enablement to work, they have to go through you.  It’s your job to represent their interests in a responsible, effective manner and package information in a way the field can use it, and deliver it to a customer.

Milestones

Sales enablement utopia is not going to happen overnight.  It’s going to take awhile, probably longer than you would like; so pace yourself.  And since this is unchartered territory, how do you know if you’re heading in the right direction?

Enablement 1.0

  • Establish a Leadership Platform – Your executive team is key to enablement success.  People crave leadership and enablement cannot happen unless your enablement efforts are aligned to leadership objectives.
  • Cleanup Communications – Everyone communicates, right?  Exactly.  And everyone in your company wants to communicate with your sales team.  It all becomes white noise very quickly.  Streamline and up-level your field communications.  The focus needs to be on the audience.  Remove vanity projects.
  • Invest in Technology – Technology plays a significant role in enablement.  Some combination of audio, video, HTML, Sharepoint, etc. will factor into your enablement strategy.  It should be flexible and provide options to support the message and the audience.  Invest in foundational technology early and make sure that it is flexible enough to meet your needs over time.
  • Emphasize On Boarding – If there is one aspect of training that is critical, it’s getting new hires ramped up and productive quickly.
  • Solidify a Sales Methodology – Which one doesn’t matter.  Pick one, stick with it and reinforce it.  Most of your reps have a favorite – pick that one.  Don’t over invest, but be consistent and commit.
  • Align with Kickoff – Kickoff should be a year long experience.  Use Kickoff to set the stage for the year and reinforce the objectives throughout the year.

Enablement 2.0

  • Specialize by Audience – The Field is more than Sales, right? It includes technical teams, channel folks and more. Their needs are unique from Sales.
  • Line Managers – Target them as your extended enablement team. Through them you reach the sales team.  They want to help their teams and do the right thing.  Help them, help you.
  • Content Strategy – This is where less is more, governance and a “bill of materials” comes into play.  It’s also the point where you need to move beyond the subject matter experts creating their own strategy for content to a uniform, consistent approach that is consumable for Sales.
  • Mobile – Your salespeople live on their iPhones and Blackberries, some are even toting around iPads.  Emphasize mobile access for all of your deliverables.
  • Video – Video is becoming huge and it needs to be simpler than it has in the past.  Get your leaders and experts camera-ready and figure out how to use a flipcam and edit on your laptop.
  • Be Prescriptive – Bucket enablement into what they must know, extra credit and on demand. Be clear that’s what you’re doing. They will appreciate it.
  • Differentiate Between Global and Local – What needs to happen at headquarters versus what is better executed in region?  Define it and facilitate strong relationships with the regional teams.  They are critical to your success.

[…]”

Job opening – Group Manager, Sales and Partner Enablement: Adobe Systems

Old! Outdated!

Group Manager, Sales and Partner Enablement: Adobe Systems

Location: San Jose, CA

Position Type: Full-Time, Employee

Experience: 5-10 Years Experience

Company Name: Adobe Systems

Job Category: Management/Executive; Technology

Position: Group Manager, Sales and Partner Enablement
Business Segment: Product Marketing
Location: Americas-USW-San Jose

“Description: […]

Position Summary

This position leads the CSBU’s Sales and Partner Enablement team, whose mission is to define and deliver the right tools, messaging and training to Sales & Partners, in order to drive revenue. Sales enablement is a relatively new function for the CSBU, and the Group Manager is responsible for establishing the long term vision for the department, and for translating that vision into actionable plans in order to continue to build on the success of our “V1” and take it to the next level. In this role, you will manage a team of 3 permanent employees and 2 contractors, and you will also work closely with Campaign Marketing, Product Marketing, Global Market Research, Field Marketing, Sales, and Sales Operations.

Responsibilities

  • Completing qualitative and quantitative analysis in order to set priorities, identify opportunities for increasing revenues, design new programs, and complete quarterly business reviews.
  • Crafting relevant messaging for direct sales force, channel sales, & ecosystem partners
  • Generating sales tools and marketing assets, such as presentations, sales solution cards, white papers, contributed articles, and website content
  • Developing and delivering training to direct sales force and channel sales worldwide
  • Creating a scalable ecosystem and processes and programs- and manage existing influencer programs worldwide
  • Maintaining relationships with our many stakeholders in Field Marketing and Sales in order to ensure that we have a strong feedback loop so we can optimize our programs
  • Hiring a contractor to manage the development of sales references, marketing references and customer stories/business ROIs – and refine CS5 Sales Messaging based on feedback from the Field as well as buyer research.
  • Refining channel certification programs, developing new hire and continuing education curriculum for direct sales – and creating a Direct Sales certification program
  • Partnering with Sales Operations to train Product Marketing Managers on Sales messaging methodology, and create processes to create CS 5.5 messaging with greater PMM involvement
  • Working cross-functionally to ensure the necessary infrastructure to support an evolving Solution Partner program in order to ensure our success in Digital Publishing, Advertising, and other verticals.

Requirements

We are looking for an ambitious and results-oriented individual who enjoys change management – a strategic leader with outstanding communication skills, high initiative, and strong influencing skills.
Work Experience.

Most successful candidates will have 7-10 years of related experience, including at least 3 years managing others.
(3-5 years experience in marketing to Media & Entertainment, product design, or other creatively-driven enterprises is a strong advantage.)

This is a high visibility position so poise, leadership ability, and excellent communications skills are essential.
We are looking for a demonstrated ability to drive significant change within large organizations, including excellent influence and project management skills.

The successful candidate will have a highly collaborative work style including experience working cross-organizationally and across geographies, aligning multiple stakeholders and teams.

[…] Adobe has more than 4,700 employees in the United States and is headquartered in San Jose, California, with other office locations nationwide.”

Enabling your sales channels with content for each situational context

On March 29, 2010, Matthias Roebel from MING Labs posted the blog post ‘Enabling your sales channels with content for each situational context’:

“Just a few days ago, I had a very interesting conversation with the Sales Leader of a large IT distributor. In the past they’d naturally been focusing on optimizing their distribution processes from vendors to resellers. However, as IT products are more and more becoming a commodity and supply chains and ordering processes have become more and more streamlined over the years, there is pressure to think about some differentiation against their competitors.

How do you enable your sales channel with messages?

One aspect brought up in the discussion by the Sales Leader is to start focusing on the actual knowledge delivered around the products, services and solutions distributed. Here we’re not just talking about speeds and feeds, but about how to effectively communicate which products, services and solutions are addressing which specific customer needs. Delivering such value to resellers means that they could better serve their customers, which eventually will make all parties involved happy. In a way, the Sales Leader said, it’s about to setting up a content logistics framework.

Yet, setting-up content logistics like this is more complicated than you might think, as knowledge can’t be forced into transaction-oriented systems and processes. The reason is, that content is something multi-dimensional – its meaning depends on the situational context it is applied in. Only if applied in the right way, content turns into knowledge and eventually into a successful conversation with the customer.

In order to successfully implement a content logistics framework a variety of ingredients are important. ‘Content needs’ have to be defined, content production responsibilities need to be assigned, ways of content delivery should be thought through end-to-end… just to mention a few things that need to be put in place. To make the whole model work in the long run – to match actual customer needs for the right information with the content delivered to them by the reseller’s sales teams – the content logistics framework should be based on a semantic knowledge management framework.

Well, you might think, this sounds complicated, like trying to boil the ocean. I can tell you, the opposite is the case once you’ve got your head around it – I’d be more than happy to discuss this in more detail with everyone interested.”