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How do you draw the line between sales enablement that product marketing is responsible for vs. sales ops?

8 Answers
Ryan Fleisch
Ryan Fleisch
Adobe Head of Product Marketing, Real-Time CDP & Audience ManagerJune 23

This somewhat depends on the resources your company has on each of those teams. If you have a full sales ops team then partner with them to understand win/loss and pipeline health. What you’re looking for is how much you’re winning/losing, why you’re winning/losing, who you’re winning/losing against, and what the forward-looking pipeline looks like considering all of those factors. If you don’t have a sales ops team, then you need to take some of this on yourself. I don’t believe a PMM team can be effective unless they have this foundation of data-backed insights. If doing these activities is a major strain on your PMM resources, then try to get some software to help automate these activities in the short-term. Longer-term, partner with sales to build a business case around why your company needs more sales ops people (or additional PMM headcount focused on this area).

3243 Views
Charles Tsang
Charles Tsang
Pinwheel Head of MarketingFebruary 9

This is likely something that can differ a bit depending on company and organization, but in general:

  • Sales Ops functions are focused on strategies, systems, and processes related to stuff like sales forecasting, quota assignment, sales comp design, sales coverage, and administration/maintainance of a company's CRM and lead management systems. All this is of course done in service to not only enable sales, but also execute on the desired sales strategy.  
  • Product Marketing's focus on sales enablement is more oriented around development of content, assets, and sales tools that help a sales rep sell a particular product or solution (e.g., sales decks, demos, case studies).  

In some organizations, there are sales enablement training groups/teams that focus on developing curriculum, courses, and learning design to help upskill sales reps in different selling methodologies (e.g., consultative sales).  

2260 Views
Axel Kirstetter
Axel Kirstetter
Guidewire Software VP Product MarketingMarch 31

Its OK for the line to be muddy. Make sure you have a good working relation with your sales ops counterpart. 

Usually sales ops and enablement are slightly different functions. sales ops has also revenue ops elements in it around contracting and quoting for example. One common metric outright owned by sales enablement is time to productivity. THis comes from good onboarding, based on Sales understanding the market, product, customer, tools, pricing, quotation process, SOW terms etc. Most of that has little to do with PMM and we should be grateful for sales ops' exisitence. 

If you find yourself in a situation where there are competing interests, draw an accountability chart. For example, PMM is crealy responsible for creating assets/content acorss the buying journey; sales enablement is clearly responsible for sales process knowledge. Dis/agree with your counterpart and align hierarchies around the RACI. 

1767 Views
Charlene Wang
Charlene Wang
Qualia VP of MarketingApril 7

Different companies will define product marketing and sales ops / sales enablement in different ways. The distinction tends to run along a spectrum where on the one hand, Product Marketing will lead the creation of content that focuses on market positioning and differentiation, and on the other hand, Sales Ops will lead specific activities or content that helps translate that marketing positioning in a way that resonates with the experience of being in sales.

For example, a Product Marketer may create content that talks about how your company has designed product capabilities to addresses a specific pain point compared to other solutions on the market and why that product design provides more value to the customer. From there, Sales Ops / Sales Enablement may package the content into an e-Learning or sales training and also supplement the content with success stories from successful reps and conduct trainings on how to present the information and handle objections. 

Objection handling is an example of where there may be overlap and collaboration between PMM and Sales Ops. In some cases, Sales Ops may start creating the objection handling content but will likely need to circle back to Product Marketing for PMM's perspective on the content to address the objections. In some cases, PMM will start creating the objection handling content but will consult Sales Ops on the most effective way to teach that content to sales.

1747 Views
Amit Bhojraj
Amit Bhojraj
Mux VP of MarketingApril 21

Sales ops cannot be responsible for launching new products or features. Any topic directly related to the product or the GTM motion should fall under the purview of PMM (since they will be closely attached to the product management team). PMMs create the training/launch materials and are responsible for rallying the internal teams and the market towards a launch. So, this separation should be pretty straightforward. PMMs should also strive to share insights from the ongoing sales motion (customer interviews, win-loss analysis etc.) to equip the sales team better to challenge the customer during a sales conversation. In my experience in SaaS, more than 80% of the sales enablement training materials should be coming from the PMM team. I've given a generic response above, and I would love to understand a little more about your organization to provide more explicit guidance.

On a side note, I recently read this book called "The Challenger Sale." It is an excellent read on how Marketing (especially PMM) can play a critical role in equipping the sales team to challenge the prospect (using insights/patterns) and make them think differently.

2902 Views
Julian Dunn
Julian Dunn
GitHub Senior Director of Product ManagementJune 13

I break it down as follows: product marketing's main role in sales enablement is to educate salespeople on the target customers/market segments/buyer personas & needs, etc., how to position value (not benefits or feature/function) for those customers, and provide competitive intelligence (battlecards, training on what to know and what to say, objection handling, etc.) There is also a technical marketing component to it of course, which is training sales engineers (typically) on features & functions and mapping those to buyer and user problems.

The rest of it, in my view, is sales enablement's responsibility. Curating and packaging the aforementioned content in a way that is consumable by sales. Training salespeople on all the other mechanics of sales -- BANT, MEDDIC, sales process, sales operations, negotiation skills, objection handling skills, etc. Anything that is a generic skill that a rep would need at any other company similar to ours.

In other words: if a rep doesn't have the information they need in order to position the product, handle objections, and articulate value to the buyer, that's on product marketing. If the rep can't find the information when it's around, isn't trained on how to use it, or doesn't have good sales process hygiene around any other aspect of their job, that's on sales enablement.

1896 Views
Tracy Montour
Tracy Montour
HiredScore Head of Product MarketingJuly 29

The lines between sales enablement and product marketing will always ebb and flow between different organizations. There should be a more clear line between sales op and product marketing. 

Sales ops focuses on data analysis, training and support, revenue forecasting, and general sales process optimization. I would say this role likely has more ovverlap with sales enablement than with product marketing.  

No matter your situation, sit down and map out the R&R boundaries. If you're at a small company, you'll likely have to wear multiple hats - and that's okay! Ensure you know what you're responsible for and then take extreme ownership. 

634 Views
Gaurav Harode
Gaurav Harode
Enablix FounderJune 15

Sales Enablement is a very broad term. But, content and messaging is an important part of sales enablement. 


We believe that product marketing is the best positioned to drive content enablement because,

  • product marketing is responsible for the messaging and majority of the content (directly or indirectly). They know the buyer personas, target markets, own product positioning, and competitive intelligence. 
  • product marketing is better aligned with the other teams than the traditional sales enablement function. Companies need consistency in their messaging across the funnel. Demand Gen, Field Marketing, Sales, Customer Success - they all need to be pitching the same message and value 
  • Prospects/customers start their buying journey in the domain owned by marketing and they progress into the domain owned by sales. It doesn't make sense to drive content enablement half-way through the buyer's journey. It will result in an inconsistent experience for your buyers.

    Sales enablement (sales ops) is an important function and a key stakeholder. We see the following synergies,

  • Sales enablement is responsible for training. A lot of training content is based on the messaging and positioning defined by product marketing
  • Sales enablement is responsible for building tactical playbooks and marketing is contributing the content that goes into the playbook
  • Sales enablement's outlook is tactical (driven by quarterly demands). Marketing takes a more strategic outlook.

In our words, "product marketing owns the ingredients and sales ops (and sales enablement) owns the recipes."

1479 Views
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