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AMA: Twilio Senior Director, Product Marketing, Vanessa Thompson
on Sales Enablement
October 27 @ 10:00am PST

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Sales Enablement With Vanessa Thompson, Senior Director, Product Marketing at Twilio
Top Questions
What are the best tools for sales enablement?
Senior Director, Product Marketing at Twilio
The best tool you can ever have is a great relationship with your sales leaders and super star sellers. Building empathy and truly understanding their challenges is critical to your success. We use Highspot as our knowledge base and document repository. It works well for us and each product PMM ...more
How do you see ownership of sales enablement between product marketing and marketing? Do you have a go-to stack for sales enablement that you use for product releases? Any templates to share?
Senior Director, Product Marketing at Twilio
There is a bit to unpack in your question here so i'll focus on the product release element. We ‘size’ each release and the associated size determines a list of activities for that release.  We use tee-shirt sizing so as an example, if a release is defined as a Large (where we go from S to XL),...more
How do you measure the success of sales enablement?
Senior Director, Product Marketing at Twilio
Similar to the response around growth, adding some color here.  I encourage my team to be the ‘mini CMO’ for the products they cover. That means the single biggest metric to measure is pipeline (with a focus on pipeline generation). Depending on the specific in-quarter activities we have goin...more
How often do you meet with the sales team?
Senior Director, Product Marketing at Twilio
I meet with someone in sales, in some capacity, every few days. Before I hopped into this AMA, I was listening in (live) to a roundtable discussion with some key customers hosted by a product leader. Even though I was in “listen” mode, it was great to hear directly from customers about what they ...more
If you were implementing a B2B Marketing and Sales Enablement program, what are the first 5 assets you would create?
Senior Director, Product Marketing at Twilio
1) A (first call) pitch deck. This is a fantastic unifying asset that will help you hone your narrative and it can also serve as an educational tool for the sales team. You can use the pitch to walk through your logic and approach and then refine it based on specific feedback from your sales team...more
How do you measure the contribution of Product Marketing to the growth result?
Oftentimes, PMM does not directly execute the campaign but rather provides a foundation or collaterals for sales and marketing to use. How do we calculate our percentage of contribution to the final results?
Senior Director, Product Marketing at Twilio
I encourage my team to be the ‘mini CMO’ for the products they cover. That means the single biggest metric to measure is pipeline (with a focus on pipeline generation). Depending on the specific in-quarter activities we have going on around sales enablement, we can see a dedicated focus on sales...more
For a product marketer who only spends a portion of their time working on sales enablement with little face-to-face time with sales, what's the best way to get buy in from a large sales team?
Senior Director, Product Marketing at Twilio
Get out in the field as often as you can and meet with customers but also seek out the super star sellers and find out their secrets to success. Your goal should be to become a trusted advisor to the sales team. This means you have the ability to diagnose problems and challenges that the sales te...more
How does sales enablement change when your company is b2d (business to developer) vs traditional enterprise?
What should I do differently? Developers do not want to be sold to.
Senior Director, Product Marketing at Twilio
I love this question, <3 Developers! The fundamentals of sales enablement dont change, it's more the way you communicate the needs of your audience to your sales team that changes. If we unpack developers and what they want, then it makes it really easy to figure out how to approach sales enablem...more
How do you justify the amount of sales enablement support you put behind different products?
Senior Director, Product Marketing at Twilio
The ultimate goal of sales enablement is to make sure the sales team is equipped to sell but also, they should “sell what's on the truck.” You can use the same mental model to justify the amount of sales enablement as you do when prioritizing: 1) Where are the biggest areas of opportunity? Are th...more
What is your approach to building, managing, and using competitive intel for product/ sales/ marketing strategies without dedicated resources?
For companies without dedicated resources for competitive intel/ analysis, how do you ensure its contribution to product development and/ or sales & marketing strategies? How should this be regularly practiced/ managed by PMMs?
Senior Director, Product Marketing at Twilio
This is a great question too. Competitive is one part of the “swiss army knife” of skills a product marketer needs in their skill belt (others being, storytelling/narrative building, relationship building, public speaking, data analysis, etc). My approach is that every product marketer needs to ...more
How do product marketers work with sales enablement people? What are the roles and responsibilities?
Senior Director, Product Marketing at Twilio
This is really dependent on your org, how big you are, and your overall coverage model. In general though, it's a partnership. I view the relationship with my sales enablement partner as one of the two most important relationships I need to build in the company (the other being product). You need...more
How do you prioritize sales enablement needs across different product lines?
Senior Director, Product Marketing at Twilio
Prioritization is always tough. Every stakeholder has a different perspective on what they are looking to achieve. The ultimate goal of sales enablement is to make sure the sales team is equipped to sell and i’d also add they should focus on “selling what is on the truck.” To share a bit more of...more
My company commissioned a research report with a 3rd party (HBR), and wants to "go big" with promotion and activation in the market. Have you done this before with success? What was your strategy in terms of Sales Enablement?
Senior Director, Product Marketing at Twilio
This is a great tactic. Research is a great way to drive energy and excitement around a ‘theme’ you want to focus on. I have done this before and it was the single largest pipeline driver for us. We connected the campaign and promotion with another in-person event so that we were streamlining and...more
What should product marketing's role be in your company's sales kickoff?
Senior Director, Product Marketing at Twilio
We are heavily involved in the Sales Kick off so that's where we focused our time and energy. At Twilio, we break out Sales Kick off from the main Company Kick off so I make sure to participate in all the forums where decisions are being made as well as listen to my stakeholders (and listen to th...more