Portfolio marketers (product, solution, industry, services and segment marketing) spend a significant amount of time interlocking across functions in order to successfully do their jobs. They work closely with product management to improve innovation and go-to-market strategy. They collaborate with multiple marketing disciplines (e.g. campaigns, demand creation, marketing operations, content operations, field marketing) on go-to-market execution. However, there is one function that often remains elusive to portfolio marketers in forging strong interlock: sales.
While they have made some strides in establishing relationships with sales enablement functions, portfolio marketers often struggle to build strong relationships on the sales execution side. Having these relationships provides a two-way exchange where portfolio marketers can deliver sales enablement programs and receive feedback from the field. Some relationships go directly to the top, but the chief sales officer often doesn’t have time to engage with portfolio marketing beyond annual or quarterly planning exercises or meet with dozens of individual portfolio marketers. Some marketers go directly to the reps on the front line, but relying on anecdotal evidence from one rep is a dangerous approach – especially when you don’t know whether that rep is a low, middle or high performer.
Consider another often overlooked source – the first-line sales manager. Think about it: in order to drive better sales enablement programs, portfolio marketers need the inside track on what’s going on with sales execution. That means determining what prevents reps from increasing their yield and figuring out how portfolio marketing can help improve reps’ productivity. For the following reasons, the first-line sales manager is the best friend a portfolio marketer can have in sales:
If you’re looking for more ways to start improving the sales enablement programs you deliver, join me in Nashville for SiriusDecisions 2016 Summit May 24-27, where I’ll deliver a session on Building a Best-in-Class Sales Presentation. Also, don’t miss the Sirius keynote session Sales Content: What Winners Do Differently, where my colleagues Heather Cole and Christine Polewarczyk will provide insight on how winning b-to-b providers manage and deliver sales content. Finally, clients in our portfolio marketing advisory service have access to the research brief "Designing Buyer-Centric Sales Presentations that Win" and can schedule an inquiry on this topic.
Christina McKeon is the Service Director of Portfolio Marketing at SiriusDecisions. She has more than 20 years of experience in product and solution marketing, sales enablement, demand generation and social media. Follow Christina on Twitter at @ChristinaMcKeon.