All related (30)
Molly Friederich
Director of Product Marketing, SnorkelAI | Formerly Twilio, SendGridMay 25

Great question! I am biased, but I LOVE having a dedicated Sales Enablement partner, so I'd say the sooner the better. 

They're able to focus entirely on the enablement strategy, what's working well for sales, what isn't, the biggest opportunities for impact, balancing their cross-team learning priorities, etc., and share that back to PMM to optimize effectiveness. 

PMM will always be juggling sales enablement with product messaging, core positioning, customer research, etc. 

Axel Kirstetter
VP Product Marketing and Sales Enablement, EISMarch 29

Budget wise, PMM is a straight up expense. Sales enablement on the other hand more of a Sales opportunity cost. THe function sits in Sales and that department needs to decide if it wants more 'feet on the ground' or 'hands in the air'.

If ability to make revenue is slowed by complex non-documented processes or if there is a wave of new hires or a transformational product launch coming up, its definetly worth investing in a stand alond department

Madeline Ng
Head of Marketing, Google Maps Platform, GoogleApril 23

Sales enablement is a function that helps scale learning within an organization. I've seen sales enablement focus on topics as broad as: 

  • Market/competitive intelligence
  • Sales skills development
  • Deal structure
  • Product or solution launches
  • Sales compensation
  • and more

As with any function that exists as an organization scales, you will most likely want to think about bringing on the function when you have a large enough sales force with a complex enough offering changing at a reasonable rate. With that added complexity, you'll need a function to help manage the change and keep your sales team up-to-date on their skills and the business's offerings. 

I would like to note that product marketers are often assumed to be great at sales enablement because of their familiarity with the customer, their problems, and the solution. However they may not be the most skilled and the program management and also learning tools side of enablement. It is worth it to bring on a specialist if you believe it will materially accelerate the capabilities of your sales team.

Jeff Beckham
Sr. Director and Head of Product Marketing, GemDecember 17

That’s a tough question, and unfortunately, I think it does depend on your organization. I’ve usually seen enablement added as a separate function when a company reaches the 150-250 employee range. The common change-driver is usually a big push in sales hiring, which often comes with globalization. This creates a need to decrease ramp time for each rep, build custom learning paths by level, segment, and/or region, and run trainings in more places.

It can be hard for product marketing to scale to handle all of this without totally neglecting core work, like running product launches. From a business perspective, PMMs may not be the best people to own all of these initiatives if they haven’t sold before. Hiring out an enablement team with that specific background can add a valuable dimension that complements product marketing's expertise in the product and market.

We added a dedicated enablement team at Mixpanel a couple years ago, then expanded it further in 2019. The way we’ve structured it is that product marketing still owns messaging and positioning and creates the majority of the materials used by sales. Sales enablement as a function is more responsible for helping train new reps and making sure that the materials we create are getting used effectively. They also focus on implementing the sales methodology, which almost every sizeable sales team has (Customer-Centric Selling, Challenger Method, etc.).

Hien Phan
Director of Enterprise Product Marketing, AmplitudeNovember 13

This is a harder question to answer because I have seen it both ways. However, as a rule, sales enablement scales as the company scales, and as a result becomes a separate function. At a company where the sales team is 5 to 10 sales reps, it makes sense for sales enablement to be with product marketing. In this scenario, sales enablement is mainly supplying content and providing positioning and messaging as salespeople sell against use cases and persona. For the other portion of sales enablement like sales skills training and sales process, a good sales ops and sales leader can supplement those needs. However, as you move from 10 to 15 then 20 sales reps, you will need a sales enablement function that can supply content, sales training, sales process optimization, sales onboarding, and in some cases, sales tools to help sellers sell. Does this mean Product Marketing is no longer responsible for sales enablement? The answer to this question is no. In this scenario, Product Marketing will gain a thought partner, in addition,someone who can also supply content to the sales team. Now with that said, like Product Marketing, which has various buckets, it is hard to find someone who can build content, but also build sales processes and conduct training. Yes, it's hard but not impossible. Now when your company grows beyond 20 sales reps to 50, 100, and more, sales enablement becomes sales onboarding and sales training, and someone, who will advise Product Marketing and Content Marketing what content to build and they will organize the content and ensure sales reps have the right content at the right stage or conversation. This answer can be longer, but I hope this was succinct enough. 

James Winter
VP of Marketing, Spekit
Pat and Sean did a great job answering with some more tactical approaches so I'll be brief with a couple tips.    There are purpose built tools like Inkling that can be a great way to enable massive sales teams, but they require a ton of investment to do well. Webinars and quizzes are things that work well remotely. Salespeople are competitive so use that to your advantage.   If you have a massive sales team, you should also have the budget to get some outside help to help train them. I’d recommend hiring a professional services firm to make sure the training doesn’t consume all of your...