Marketing vs. Sales Enablement: Who Fosters Digital Transformation?

Jamie Shanks
Jamie Shanks
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Marketing VS Sales Enablement

“Marketing is absolutely the place to drive this transformation [in sales]… If you don’t have a corporate strategy around social media and social selling, and if you don’t proactively build that strategy collectively with sales, then however many number of sales people you have is however many strategies you have. It’s completely intersected.” –Bryan Jones, VP Commercial Marketing at Dell

I recently read this quote from Bryan Jones, VP Commercial Marketing at Dell. I both agree and disagree with Bryan. Here’s why.

In world-class organizations, digital transformation is the role of the sales enablement department. Sales enablement is part of the Revenue Generating team, which includes sales operations, sales, and marketing. Great sales enablement teams connect these commercial departments, and act as the bridge between the VP of Sales and the VP of Marketing.

But the reality is that there are so many organizations where this isn’t the structure. Sales enablement usually falls under HR, or doesn’t even exist!

So we have to look at who in the organization understands the buyer’s journey and the importance that digital content (and tools) play in shaping that journey. For most organizations, that’s the marketing department. Marketing departments understand:

  • That the buyer never stops learning or consuming content;
  • That buyers are constantly leaving their digital fingerprints all over your assets, and that this creates opportunities for conversations; and
  • The power of content in being able to shape a buyer’s journey.

World-class organizations who have decided that sales enablement would not be a part of the digital transformation team can leverage marketing departments.

Marketing can teach sales professionals to:

1) Get aligned to the same buyer’s journey. You’re all on one team, called the revenue team, and together, you look at a buyer’s journey from beginning to end—from when they first read a blog to when they become a client.

2) Create a roadmap of digital assets (intellectual property and insights). This is an opportunity to develop an editorial calendar and roadmap the type of content that you want to build as an organization to shape that buyer’s journey. Marketing can then organize the content into two libraries—a public facing library, and an internal library for the sales professional to take content and share with customers on a one-on-one basis.

3) Distribute that content. Once you’ve created the content, you need to distribute it, and get it into the hands of the right buyers.

Without sales enablement assuming this role, I agree with Bryan that digital transformation is going to have to start with marketing, because they’re at the forefront of understanding the power of insights and content, and that it is one of the major pillars of social and digital selling.

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