Most B2B organisations are becoming better at enabling sales to engage more effectively with customers through new tools, training and coaching.
But as digitalisation moves direct customer engagement closer to marketing, who’s enabling them continuously perform better in customer interactions as well?
- The majority of B2B marketers are self-taught and there’s a critical skills gap for them to perform in todays selling environment
- You’re probably underinvesting in training and development of your marketing organisation
- 3+1 actions to boost marketing enablement (and collaboration with sales…)
Who’s enabling marketing?
If you go to Google Trends and check the 5 year development of the term “Sales Enablement”, you’ll find that it’s grown 3-4x since 2013, in number of searches.
Now try doing the same for the term “Marketing Enablement”, and see what you get? Yes. I know. Quite disappointing.
Judging by the amount of searches for Sales Enablement, it would seem that there is plenty of interest out there on enabling the sales side of the commercial equation. But it takes two to revenue tango and it does beg the question:
Who’s enabling marketing?
(NB: I’m going with the CSO insights definition of sales enablement services = Tools (incl. content), training & coaching (link))
Strong indications that B2B Marketing needs enabling services
According to Sirius Decision, 85% of B2B marketers are self taught. Marketers need to become increasingly like craftsmen and engineers (building systems, process flows, experiments, tracking (more on that here)). It’s becoming a more practically oriented craft. Much like the sales function, which is similarly still not taught at many business schools around the world. But, at least sales has enablement services. The marketers do not.
According to survey by Smart Insights, marketers assess their own personal knowledge of digital marketing consistently poor, across across a bunch of areas.
And most marketers now spend 60% of their time working with digital marketing!
This means there a great skill gap in the market and a need for them to be enabled (i.e. helped with improve the processes, capabilities, tools and leadership/collaboration/culture).
Where there’s an estimated $5k spent per sales rep on training each year (or $9k spent on new rep training in industrial/service companies), that same number for annual training spend per marketer is… Well in my research I weren’t even able to find a number for marketing on average annual training spend (which is a data point in itself i guess)! According to the American Society for Training and Development, American companies spend between $1.1-1.6k per year per employee on training and development, perhaps marketing is not too far from that
3+1 actions to get you started on enabling marketing to perform (engage with potential -and existing customer…) better (… in a way that drives revenue growth)
1. Invest in ongoing marketing training (for your sales reps as well): Do a capability assessment of your sales and marketing capabilities to identify gaps. Organise training in relevant areas and include sales in some of this training too (Blog writing skills training, for example). Don’t make it a one-off event, but identify the maturity levels, skill gaps and development wishes for each of your marketers and work continuously with them to grow.
2. Train your marketing managers to coach: Coaching in sales on the pipeline, deals and skills have a long track record of growing results. This is because good, structured coaching in general is a great management tool, to lift competencies and performance in the organisation. Train your managers in these capabilities too and have them coach marketers on the content they produce and how they produce it.
3. Involve marketing in your deal coaching sessions: If you’re in complex B2B sales and you’re not already doing regular deal coaching between sales reps and their managers, start now and involve marketing. Helping the right customers buy in B2B is best done in collaboration between sales & marketing (Learn more from Basware CMO Lars Madsen on Account Based Marketing), so they should of course also be involved in the coaching sessions where next steps on opportunities are determined.
4. If you’re a MNC, create a marketing enablement or “Marketing Excellence” function: A big advantage for the MNC, is its ability to leverage learnings across multiple markets and one lever to do so, is the Sales Excellence or Sales Enablement function. Establish a similar function for marketing to gradually lift the skill -and maturity levels of each market.
Please like, share and comment, if you have any good examples or tips for enabling marketing to better performance.