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Marketing Enablement vs. Sales Enablement: The Necessary Interplay

Posted in:  Sales and Marketing Management, Sales Enablement Strategy

Highspot’s CMO will explore the world of marketing enablement. He will discuss the difference between sales and marketing enablement, how to plan for marketing enablement and succeed, and share powerful benefits. Discover strategies and learn how AI is reshaping the future of sales.

Right now decision-makers are focusing on marketing enablement. It’s not just a trend, but a catalyst for business growth through tough times and beyond. But what is familiar to some may be a mystery to others – what exactly is marketing enablement, and how do you do it well?

Let’s dive into all these details, including how you can leverage marketing expertise to support sales and significantly impact business growth.

What is Marketing Enablement?

Marketing enablement is all about empowering your marketing team to be more productive in their roles by creating a system to equip, train, and coach them. It involves providing your marketers with everything they need – from the technology, tools, processes, content, training, and analytics – to increase pipeline and drive sales.

I’ve observed an interesting shift in my three-decade marketing journey. Companies once sought marketing generalists that were jack-of-all-trades, but now they seek functional experts. Today’s marketing professionals are specialising in specific areas, including demand generation, social media marketing, email marketing, product marketing, and field marketing. They are seeking to hone their craft, but often these specialised marketers are underserved and not enabled with adequate marketing technology or support to really develop their expertise.

What if we could equip marketing teams with the resources, tools, knowledge, and skills to do their unique jobs, as well as better support with the sales organisation? Marketing enablement levels up the efficiency and productivity of your marketing efforts, which in turn drives positive results across your business.

Why is Marketing Enablement Important?

Marketing enablement is not a new idea, but few companies take an intentional, strategic approach. Done well, it serves to align marketing departments around a single source of truth for marketing initiatives, planning, and messaging. Through one platform, marketing teams are able to create more effective content for target audiences, collaborate cross-functionally, enable sales, and measure what’s working and what’s not, so that the team can optimise and improve impact. Effective marketing enablement programs can help drive faster time to close, higher win rates, and increased revenue.

Each member of the marketing organisation, from marketing managers to specialists, will also develop functional understanding and empathy in knowing how their work compliments that of their colleagues. Imagine the strength of integrated campaigns that are the product of collaboration across the entire go-to-market organisation. This operational rigour is what good marketing enablement looks like.

What is the Difference Between Sales Enablement and Marketing Enablement?

Sales enablement and marketing enablement are two sides of the same coin. While sales enablement equips, trains, and coaches reps to successfully sell, marketing enablement equips, trains, and coaches marketers to hone their expertise, so that they can create better marketing campaigns and content and better support sales.

Even more, when marketing enablement and sales enablement can come together to increase pipeline and drive revenue, you get a 1 + 1 = 3 equation. When the entire go-to-market team rallies around a shared sales enablement strategy and solution, they become a powerful engine that streamlines communication and collaboration, working together efficiently and effectively to delight customers, generate new business, and close deals.

What are the Benefits of Marketing Enablement?

Marketing enablement is the key to unleashing your marketing team’s greatest capabilities. It prepares your team to optimise every step of the customer journey.

Marketing enablement promotes:

  • Sales and marketing alignment: Syncing marketing initiatives with sales processes and goals creates a unified front that improves the buyer experience and conversion rates.
  • Personalised buyer engagement: With knowledge, resources, and training, marketers can launch marketing campaigns, content, and messaging that captivates buyers and promotes meaningful interactions and results.
  • Lead generation: Marketing enablement improves lead generation by aligning marketing and sales teams, empowering marketers with the sales and martech, and knowledge to create compelling marketing content, implement effective lead nurturing strategies, and make data-driven decisions.
  • Content creation: When marketers have a firm grasp of target audience needs, market trends, and content impact, they can produce relevant content that genuinely connects with their buyers.
  • Content ROI: Content analytics give marketers invaluable insights into content performance, engagement metrics, user preferences, and its actual revenue impact. This enables the crafting of high-quality, on-message, and accurately targeted content that boosts engagement, accelerates lead gen, and drives conversions – ultimately amplifying your content’s ROI.
  • Operational rigour: Equipping the marketing team with the right tools, automation, and resources paves the way for streamlined workflows.

Eight Best Practices for Crafting a Winning Marketing Enablement Plan

A strong marketing enablement plan is a journey, not a destination. Below are eight recommendations for getting started with a strategic marketing enablement plan – it’s important to note that as the macro environment, market, and your company inevitably evolve, you will need to continually adapt to keep your marketers equipped and empowered through change.

Define Clear Goals

What do you want to achieve with your enablement marketing plan? Be sure these goals align with your overall business and sales objectives and are measurable. Goals may include improving campaign performance, increasing lead generation, or enhancing content ROI.

Establish a Single Source of Truth: A Sales Enablement Platform

Implementing a unified system for strategy, planning, messaging, and content is key to ensuring consistency in all marketing activities, steering everyone in the same direction. We use a sales enablement tool to manage our entire marketing process, from strategy and execution. Notably, getting grips on messaging is not just a challenge for sellers; even marketers struggle with consistent application. This is where a single source of truth is invaluable.

Map and Operationalize your Sales and Marketing Content Strategy

Carefully plan how your content is created, approved, and governed. This includes everything from who is responsible for creating content to how it will be reviewed and approved, as well as how it will be updated and maintained throughout its lifetime.

Implement Cross-Functional Marketing Campaigns

Aim to run integrated campaigns across multiple channels, ensuring all components are aligned. Your sales enablement platform makes this possible by housing all content for all channels.

Build Field Marketing Sales Plays

Sales plays, or strategic narratives, help create accountability and allow sales teams to better pitch and engage with buyers. The better your marketers are prepared to create great plays, the better your sales performance will be.

Utilise Digital Sales Rooms

A Digital Sales Room is a private microsite for deals, serving as a centralised location where reps and buyers can engage throughout the buying cycle. This one-stop shop has the ability to increase buyer interest and engagement by up to 350%, so it’s key that marketers know how to create and convert marketing initiatives into an effective Digital Sales Room for their salespeople to leverage.

Draft a Sales Training Programs

Marketing enablement intends to improve alignment between marketers and sellers. Invest time in how you will equip the sales team with customer stories, core messaging, brand-specific narratives, and the right content. As a result, every marketer should aim to have each seller trained and certified on essential tools and resources.

Evaluate Content Analytics

Regularly measure and assess the performance of your content. This should be done across different stages of the sales cycle and integrating with your customer relationship management (CRM) system, allowing you to see how your content resonates with buyers at each stage. Use this data to inform your content strategy for new and retired content.

Marketing Enablement Drives Revenue Growth

Marketing enablement is the backbone of a well-informed, results-driven marketing team. It is about empowering marketers to hone their craft, transforming them into experts who can strategically drive the business forward. By providing the tools, real-time metrics and resources necessary to excel, marketing enablement helps marketers unlock their full potential and ensure they’re not just following trends, but setting them. With marketing enablement, every marketing campaign or program becomes an opportunity to learn, improve, and deliver remarkable results. Download the What Good Looks Like: Essential Sales Enablement Playbook to learn how you can master marketing enablement and achieve exceptional performance as your business evolves.

Power Up Marketing Enablement Efforts with Highspot

When your marketing team thrives, your sales team does too. One of the best ways to unite your go-to-market organisation is by bringing them together on an effective sales enablement platform like Highspot.

Understanding content performance at each stage is essential to guide your marketing strategies. Our cutting-edge generative AI gives you that much-needed insight. It ensures that your marketers are never in the dark and decisions are always backed by content performance data. And our expertise doesn’t stop there. Highspot’s generative AI technology, trained by marketers, swiftly answers your sellers’ queries. This means that Highspot’s AI doesn’t just provide answers—it finds appropriate solutions to help your marketers confidently tackle the toughest sales questions.

Watch for the next part of the “What Good Looks Like: A CMO’s Guide to Driving Growth Through Tough Times and Beyond” series. And if you missed the first blog, find out How to Improve Sales Productivity and Closer More Deals.