Where does Sales Enablement live in an organization? What’s the interface?

Eric Nitschke asked the following question on the LinkedIn group Sales Enablement Content. My response (using images by BizSphere) is 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 & 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 — Sales Enablement Content Group members: Where does Sales Enablement live?”

Coming from the point of view of someone, who used to look after a portal for Sales Enablement in a global enterprise, I would not allow one single role/department to claim ownership.

All stakeholders like e.g.

…should be invited… Invited to house and tag their content and — just as important — their contact details in that one joint portal (‘mobile first’-portal in this day and age!).

A ‘mobile first’-portal… not for the sake of the technology or to have yet another portal/silo… 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 content is getting insightful comments as a feedback loop from the field or the channels/partners back to corporate).

When there is this one single user interface that cuts across all ‘team sites’ and the silos (which the many regional or functional groups might have built with SharePoint / LiveLink / salesforce or any of these solutions), then 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 situation is already being enabled with up to date resources or specific content & contacts are missing.

Missing or outdated content!

The biggest complaint about Sales Enablement I used to hear from sales people is missing or outdated content… content that is more specific than the generic pitch.

A portal strategy, that includes all stakeholders agreeing on Content Governance, Information Architecture, 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 the marketing budget as effective as possible.

To come back to the initial question, in some organizations it might be the CMO and in others the CSO / 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.

Shut down the old!

Adoption of the new ‘mobile first’-portal will only happen when taking away the old way of doing it.

“The Best Interface Is No Interface”

Whilst I first wrote this post when starting with the mobile experience first (instead of the desktop intranet experience) was the big shift, I cannot wait until we move away from visual user interfaces… Toward using our voice (natural language processing) to interact with Artificial Intelligence / Machine Learning that learns what is the right information to serve up for this time / region / language / industry vertical / audience / medium / channel etc.

A startups in this space is

Maybe until then we will have to deal with text chat bots for Sales Enablement.

For further reading check out my blog.

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Sales Enablement

blog by @pkralle with focus on #b2b Sales Enablement, Marketing Asset Management, Sales Knowledge Management, #SalesEnablement vendors