The difference between sales enablement, sales readiness and product marketing

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Sales enablement, sales readiness, and product marketing are undoubtedly interrelated. If you find yourself mixing up the meanings of each, you’re not alone, as confusion tends to arise when it comes to defining these distinct but closely related processes. However it’s important to articulate and understand their differences in order to avoid jumbling their unique modes of implementation. Need help internalizing the nuances of each? Read on to learn more about the differences between sales enablement, sales readiness, and product marketing.

Are they really that different?

Sales Enablement is inclusive of a large variety of activities intended to offer support to sellers, such as onboarding and training, content creation, and sales communication, among others. Having a successful sales enablement strategy depends in large part on your team’s ability to align the needs of sellers and buyers with the sales process. It’s all about getting the right tools, training, and content in the hands of sellers so they can forge meaningful and productive relationships with buyers. Sales enablement is the broadest term of the three.

Sales Readiness on the other hand, can be considered an actionable component or specific application of sales enablement relevant to live buyer-seller interactions. Sales readiness is focused on transferring knowledge to sales reps and making tools available to them to assist them during actual conversations with prospects.

Product Marketing is centered around making product-centered content to help prod the client further along the sales funnel, and ultimately to increase sales for the organization. Examples of product marketing functions include creating compelling product narratives and developing a market strategy.

Here’s an example of how all three come into play during the sales process. Take a look at responsibilities related to a new product launch, for instance. Product marketing teams will take care of producing materials that highlight the new product’s unique features and clear advantages over the competition’s offerings. Sales enablement will process the information, distill it to key points, and distribute palatable content to sales reps for selling purposes. Sales readiness aims to make sure sales reps are prepared to explain the benefits of the product to a potential buyer and handle objections.

Don’t give in to the impulse of lumping sales enablement, readiness, and product marketing terms together. Otherwise, you may end up with a superficial, amorphous sales strategy that fails to take into account the particular significance of each. Make a formal plan of action with clear expectations for different departments to make sure sales enablement, sales readiness, and product marketing are all receiving attention under the guidance of specialized leadership. You want to avoid the familiar scenario where one department is carrying the burden for all three, so establish and enforce separate responsibilities for each team.

Different meanings = different aims

Remember that meaning is tied to purpose; having a firm grasp on the differences between sales operations terms matters because their purposes are naturally different as well. While sales enablement aims to help a sales team use resources at their disposal to carry out their responsibilities and address challenges, sales readiness is focused on preparing sales reps for discussions with buyers, and product marketing is all about persuading clients of product value. Carrying out a successful strategy for each will depend on your team’s ability to recognize the concepts’ separate aims.

Collaboration can go a long way

That’s not to say that they don’t have a greater purpose. Sales enablement, readiness, and product marketing do have some overlap, especially when it comes to their shared goal of facilitating the sales process and increasing revenue. It can be useful for the different teams involved in carrying out each function to remain in close communication with each other to ensure their strategies are aligned, cohesive, and well-integrated into the wider organizational sales strategy.

Barriers to collaboration do exist, however. For example, conflicting visions and perspectives between marketing and sales may undermine trust between the two departments and jeopardize alignment efforts for sales enablement and product marketing. Misunderstandings on the target buyer’s preferences and weak leadership can also hold back progress. Therefore organizations should pay individual attention to each area without losing sight of the bigger picture.

Having the right tools will help you decipher all three

Creating persuasive product marketing and sales enablement content will require the help of research, editing, and distribution tools. And sales readiness technology will have to tackle the challenges of effective training and improving information accessibility for sales reps. While there are countless sales operations tools available, look for solutions that are easy to teach and even simpler to use, compatible with numerous communications platforms, and helpful across sales operations functions. 

A versatile sales software you’ll definitely want to add to your toolkit is Attention. Attention uses AI technology to help your junior reps get up to speed and start performing at the levels of their more senior peers in a matter of weeks rather than months. With training features such as live coaching and performance tracking, Attention is the ultimate sales enablement and sales readiness tool. This tool even uses auditory cues to pull up relevant sales battlecards for sales reps during conversations with prospects. What better way to make sure your sales reps are ready to answer tough questions than providing voice-activated access to key information during calls? To top it all off, Attention integrates seamlessly with popular video conferencing tools like Zoom, so there’s really no excuse to miss out on this one. Learn more about how Attention can help your sales team exceed targets today.