Which team leads the sales enablement process in your company is a strategic decision. It’s often influenced by the company’s size, maturity, and business objectives. It also depends on customer needs, the sales process complexity, and the culture of the company.
A memory from the distant past, is taking the presentation deck created by marketing and making all sorts of adjustments to it before presenting it to the client.
All too often this was done mid flight. Literally. On a plane! Then I got off the plane and went into a meeting. It was the speed at which we did business.
Yes, I am talking years ago. When I worked on a vendor professional services team and did technical support of sales as part of the job. I helped sales win the multi-million dollar deals. Then I managed the services rollout to get it all implemented.
Thing was that those marketing decks were too long. Often including things not relevant to the deal at hand.
Sure, it was like working with an established garden. A lot of pruning. And then an insertion of my slide as solution architect of what we were proposing. Rather than really present it, we used it as a vehicle for discussion. To get confirmation we were moving in the right direction.
And yes, we should have provided feedback back to the marketing team that the presentation didn’t fit – though we didn’t trust they would listen.
Whew! Luckily, a lot of things have changed since then.
Mainly, that people aren’t always on a plane – though at some point, face to face is still important. Especially for the bigger deals.
Deals are different. And how people sell is different. Less solution selling – more consultative selling. More discussion – less presentation. Less reliance on that deck.
One of the biggest changes is that sales enablement materials and playbooks are often created cross-functionally, then just by one team alone. Making them more relevant.
When might the marketing team lead sales enablement.
A traditional approach is to entrust the Marketing team with producing the sales playbook and other sales enablement materials.
For many businesses this is a positive strategic approach that not only fosters alignment but also leverages the unique strengths of each department to drive comprehensive growth.
It harnesses the strengths of marketing in understanding customer personas, creating compelling content, and maintaining brand consistency.
As well, marketing can make use of data driven insights to optimize the strategy. Marketing can leverage analytics to refine playbooks based on real-time performance data, continuously improving their effectiveness.
It’s a helpful approach for businesses focused on creating and sustaining a customer centric messaging.
The sales team, can then focus on the execution of the sales playbook.
Startups and companies with smaller sales teams, benefit from a dedicated team focused on generating the playbook. It can also be useful for new product or service introduction, as part of a larger go to market plan.
As company grows and evolves, then a more collaborative approach to producing playbooks may evolve as well. Marketing teams benefit from feedback from sales teams. To ensure they produce a well-rounded and effective playbook that addresses the unique needs of the business.
When might the sales team take ownership of sales enablement.
While collaboration between sales and other departments is crucial, there’s undeniable value in letting the sales team take the lead in crafting sales playbooks.
In fast changing markets where adaptability and customer-centricity are paramount, entrusting the sales team with playbook creation is a strategic move.
The sales team’s frontline experience, deep understanding of customer interactions, and agility in responding to market dynamics position them to create playbooks that are aligned with business goals.
This may be beneficial to medium to larger companies that have a well-established sales function, and the sales team plays a central role in revenue operations.
As well as when the sales process is complex, long, and/or requires high touch interactions from sales team members. Or in rapidly changing markets, where they sales team needs to be able to adapt the playbook on the fly.
The best approach often involves collaboration between sales and marketing teams, regardless of who leads the efforts. The decision should be based on the unique characteristics of the company, its industry, and its overall strategic goals.
Why RevOps is a great team to own it.
A company with a dedicated RevOps team has made the strategic decision to focus on optimizing and aligning function teams to achieve revenue growth business objectives.
The RevOps team is well-equipped to lead playbook creation to ensure synergy and coherence in strategy execution.
When the RevOps team creates the playbooks, the strategies become of a cohesive and streamlined approach. It’s not a siloed effort. This integration promotes smoother transitions between marketing, sales, and customer success, creating a more unified customer experience.
In medium to large enterprises with complex operations and multiple revenue-generating functions, a dedicated RevOps team may be well-suited to lead playbook creation. Their ability to coordinate across departments enhances overall efficiency.
The RevOps teams combines the strengths of the other teams. A customer centric approach that considers the end-to-end customer journey. A focus on business objectives and revenue growth. A data-driven approach that uses analytics to gain insights that steer the playbook.
The decision to have a RevOps team lead playbook creation should align with the unique characteristics of the company and its strategic goals. The approach may evolve as the company grows and as its business objectives and operational dynamics change over time.
The story I told at the beginning might be a symptom of the company not being optimized for revenue operations.
And yes, it might have been a sign of the times. A time when by default Marketing teams were tasked with sales enablement activities. The high end deals we worked on, benefitted from sales and pre-salespeople adjusting the materials on the fly. We just did just that.
It’s an example of how the company size, types of deals and business objectives does influence sales enablement. If we were an early-stage startup it would have been fine. For the smaller deals, the boiler plate was quite adequate. It was for the big hairy deals that we needed something different.
In hindsight, our post-sales services team did have the perspective of a recent day revenue operations team. We had the full customer life-cycle view and a business objectives focus. We worked across the company – often we were the glue between marketing, sales and service.
Maybe we were doing a RevOps job. I just wish it wasn’t while on a plane!