June 8, 2020
Updated: June 16, 2020

Why it's time for product marketing to look to sales enablement

Beyond changing buyer expectations and behaviors, product marketers have a new challenge to add to their ever-growing lists: navigating a new reality.

Working with multiple departments to create customer-facing content and ensuring it’s getting the job done is nothing new, but product marketers must now do so while facing the obstacles inherent in remote work: restricted collaboration, diminished productivity and increased uncertainty.

Not to mention the fundamental difficulty of making sure customer-facing teams are using on-brand, up-to-date content when they’re miles away and operating in the dark.

It’s up to product marketing directors to help their teams succeed in our new normal.

Fortunately, the act of equipping salespeople with the content, tools, knowledge, skills and coaching required to optimize interactions with buyers – otherwise known as sales enablement – serves more than just sellers. In fact, it provides product marketers with a roadmap to overcome today’s challenges.

Now is the time for product marketing directors to put sales enablement strategies and technologies to full use.

Brand new hurdles

Current events are keeping most of us at home, transforming the way people work, interact with one another and go about their daily lives. Businesses big and small are becoming digital-first organizations, impacting employees at every level.

That includes product marketing leaders, who were already juggling the priorities of sales, marketing and product teams while developing go-to-market content and messaging for customer-facing employees.

The disruption to in-person collaboration complicates the essential work of product marketers, from initial content creation to understanding how assets are being used throughout the buyer journey. Product marketing directors must not only ensure remote sellers have access to and are leveraging the latest on-brand content, and that it hits the mark for target audiences, but make sure their own team members are able to stay productive and gain visibility into content performance.

Dramatic changes to workplace routines are forcing marketing professionals to take digital transformation seriously, including leveraging tools that provide insights into how content resonates with prospects and customers.

As Ernst & Young Principal Janet Balis said in a recent article published by Harvard Business Review, “Frequent tracking of human behavioral trends will help marketers gain better insights in real time. Marketers will want to measure sentiment and consumption trends on a regular basis to better adapt messaging….”

Same old obstacles

Some problems can’t be blamed on our new business landscape.

It’s always been difficult for product marketers to translate complex solutions into succinct value propositions, and even harder to maintain oversight of how and when customer-facing teams utilized content and messaging.

Seventy-six percent of buyers expect companies to understand their needs, according to research from Salesforce. Product marketers need to know what works with customers in order to develop content, and customer-facing teams need that content to attract and retain those customers. While collaboration between the two seems like an obvious solution, it’s often easier said than done.

Product marketers spend a significant amount of time and resources trying to ensure content is accurate, up to date and compliant. However, according to SiriusDecisions, between 60% and 70% of B2B content goes unused.

And when customer-facing teams do use the right content, product marketers lack insight into when and how, as well as its impact on revenue outcomes. This failure to understand engagement throughout the buyer journey makes it even more difficult to prioritize already limited time and budget.

And the insights product marketers are missing are equally critical to buyers. Sixty-six percent of B2B buyers say they want vendors to use more data and research to develop their content, according to Demand Gen Report.

The possibilities of sales enablement

New challenges bring new opportunities, including the chance to reassess and reinvigorate existing processes and procedures.

As illustrated in our recent eBook, “No more half measures: How to identify and maximize sales enablement ROI,” sales enablement strategies that incorporate content, training and coaching, and are powered by the right technology, enable product marketing directors to meet the demands of their jobs and then some: developing compelling messaging that resonates with buyers, understanding how content is used throughout the buyer journey and ensuring customer-facing teams stay on brand and on message  – all while proving the impact of their work and making data-driven, strategic content investment decisions.

Now is the ideal time for product marketing directors to take advantage of the sales enablement tools and tactics at their disposal.

Ready to get started?

Download “Improving effectiveness with sales enablement: a product marketing director checklist” to see how you can start amplifying impact at your organization today.

Ready to make selling easier?