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Sales Enablement Can Be the Pits

December 06, 2013 | By Jim Ninivaggi

To align marketing and sales in your organization, think like a pit crew during a car race. Together, your aligned goals are to ensure you have the best-skilled and prepared driver, a clear race strategy and a race car in optimal condition.

I recently went to see Ron Howard’s latest movie Rush. If you are not familiar with the movie, it’s about two Formula One racecar drivers and their intense rivalry. While the movie was disappointing, it had some great driving footage – and one scene in particular that caught my attention and got me thinking of sales enablement. (You know it has to be a pretty bad movie when I start to daydream about sales enablement.)

Slide1The scene showed the orchestrated precision of a Formula One pit crew. (If you have never seen a world-class pit crew in action, take a look at this video). Within a few seconds, tires were changed and fuel was topped. The pit crew was run by a crew chief, who also helped the driver set strategy before the race and adapt strategy during the race via radio communications.

So, here’s what got me thinking of sales enablement.

You can think of the racecar drivers as your salespeople. The fastest cars and best pit crew won't help you win a race unless you have skilled and knowledgeable drivers. The same is true for sales. Ultimately, there is no substitute for a knowledgeable, skilled and well-prepared rep.

The car represents the assets and tools you give your reps to help them be successful and more productive. These include laptops, mobile tools, sales asset management solutions, sales force automation tools, presentation templates, value actualization tools, white papers, proposal/RFP automation systems, training, and customer references. The goal is to put your reps out on the track with a faster and better car than your competition.

The pit crew is everyone else in your organization who enables your reps: product marketing, demand creation, field marketing, sales training, sales operations, first-line sales managers (who can be considered the crew chiefs), marketing operations, marketing/sales communication, etc. If you are not in the driver’s seat, your mission is simple – maximize the performance of the person who is.

To align marketing and sales in your organization, think like a pit crew. Together, your aligned goals are to ensure you have the best-skilled and prepared driver, a clear race strategy and a race car in optimal condition. You also must make the most of the time your driver is in the pits, and maximize his performance on the track.

There is an old saying in auto racing that the race is won or lost in the pits. The same can be said of sales. Ladies and gentlemen, start your engines.

Jim Ninivaggi

Jim Ninivaggi is Service Director, Sales Enablement Strategies, at SiriusDecisions. Jim’s focus is on helping to deliver data, knowledge and insight that our clients need to improve sales performance and drive ROI. Follow Jim on Twitter @jninivaggi.

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