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7 Min Marketing with Pam Didner

Jan 10, 2018

Every week, I’ll pick one marketing question and attempt to address it with actionable takeaways. So send me your questions. I want to help you take on your marketing challenges.

At my last episode, I shared the exciting news that I started writing my 2nd book. The book is going to examine sales enablement and I explained why I picked this topic. My friend Amy asked me what sales enablement is, anyway?

Like everyone else, I turned to Google for answer. There are only 2 million results, but I like this one:

CSO Insights, a research company specializing in sales research, articulated a definition that is widely recognized and accepted in the sales enablement field: 
“A strategic, cross-functional discipline designed to increase sales results and productivity by providing integrated content, training, and coaching services for salespeople and frontline sales managers along the entire customer’s journey, powered by technology.”

This definition centers on providing essential technology-based training, onboarding and coaching as well as relevant and effective content.

Ok, Google is not the only way to get a definition. I also turned to Amazon. I bought several books about sales enablement because I wanted to see the definitions from different authors.

Cory Bray and Hilmon Sorey, authors of The Sales Enablement Playbook, state, “Sales enablement is the concept of extending a prospect-centric mindset to all departments within an organization. ” “Sales enablement isn’t a position; it’s an ecosystem... [An ecosystem that] crosses all functional and hierarchical boundaries. ” Although their book mostly covered training, onboarding, coaching, content and prospecting, which is similar to CSO Insights’ definition, they stress that sales enablement is everyone’s job.

In addition to Google and Amazon, I also turned to companies who build sales enablement platforms, like Hubspot. Hubspot’s sales enablement definition focuses on technology and process. “Sales enablement is the technology, process, and content that empowers sales teams to sell efficiently at a higher velocity. ”

In these 3 distinctive definitions, there are some common elements:

• Training
• Coaching
• Content
• Cross-functional
• Technology
• Process

For the purpose of my book, I created my own definition of effective sales enablement:

“Delivering a positive customer experience by equipping sales teams with knowledge, skills, processes and tools through cross-functional collaboration in order to increase sales velocity and productivity.”

Most definitions I’ve seen shared focus on supporting sales and facilitating the purchase process. They are written as one internal team (marketing) supporting another internal team (sales). I get that. In a digital-first marketing environment, it’s crucial to deliver a positive and consistent customer experience both online and offline. That is why it's vital to add the customer to the sales enablement definition. Without customers, there are no sales.

In my definition, “knowledge and skills” represent content, training and onboarding. “Process” suggests documented sales processes and methodologies. “Tools” are mostly software platforms and technologies to implement sales enablement efforts. Increasing sales is important, but sales enablement’s role is to increase sales velocity. Sales velocity, another term which is common in technology-based selling, is defined as how quickly a product is sold or a deal is closed.

Now, you understand my definition of sales enablement. I’ll keep you all updated as my book progresses, but in the meantime, do you have any sales enablement story that you can share with me? Reach out and I’d love to include your stories into my book.

That is this week's 7-minute Marketing with Pam.  If you have a question for me, you can reach me or @pamdidner.

Thank you for listening, until next week.