Why Empathy Is A Product Marketer’s Best Sales Enablement Tool

When product marketers think about successful sales enablement, it’s usually the content and tools that come to mind first. But behind every case study, explainer video, and sales deck, there’s so much more required for success than the tools themselves.

Before you can create great sales enablement with your product marketing, you must think like the sales team you serve.

So what can you do to deliver the most impact and long-term success? Lead not only with sales enablement tools, but with a focus on establishing trust with your sales team.

Listen First

First, one of the best ways to dive into a new role is to experience the sales process yourself.

In my first internship, I wrote content for a monthly publication that was mailed out to all subscribers. My first assignment was to work the phones in the call center—which at the time, I thought had very little to do with my actual job writing for the magazine.

What I learned over the next month helping distressed customers find a local plumber, transfer memberships, and update addresses turned out to be incredibly helpful to the stories I would eventually publish.

Having firsthand experience with my customers helped me to understand them far better than I would have by simply reading a buyer persona.

If you’re getting started in a new product marketing or sales enablement role, the best advice I can give you is to start by listening. If you haven’t already, try asking your team if you can join them for an upcoming sales call or demo. Just by listening in, you’ll quickly start to see patterns of what’s working and what’s not.

And then: listen some more.

Taking a moment to gather input before proposing a solution goes a long way in building trust.  “What’s one slide you have today that you cannot live without?” is one of my favorite questions to ask before making pitch deck updates. Their answers will inform your work and help your team feel heard.

Lead With Empathy

Sitting on the creative side of the house, product marketers often enjoy exploring the latest marketing trends and trying out new tools. And there’s nothing wrong with this. But it’s important to realize that for a salesperson, trying something new can carry risk—especially if it took months, or even years, to finally land a meeting with a target account.

By putting ourselves in the shoes of our sales counterparts, we can help ease the burden and lower the risk of adopting new tools.

Three empathy leading tactics that I like to use are:

  • Keep it simple: How can I create the largest amount of impact, with the smallest disruption to my team? Are there compromises that can be made to make learning new tools or talk tracks easier?
  • Plan your rollout: In sales, time is money. Consider reserving prime meeting hours for external calls, and avoid over-scheduling when the sales clock is ticking.
  • Store it somewhere familiar: Share and store enablement tools somewhere that’s easy for them to navigate and that (ideally) only takes a few clicks to find what they need.

Give Them A Fishing Pole

Another way to build trust with your team is to give some of it back.

Sales enablement isn’t always going to be one-size-fits-all. The best sales enablement marketers trust the expertise of their team. After all, they know your prospects the best!

And lastly—don’t be a stranger. Sales enablement is a continuous exercise. By staying involved in the sales process, you will inevitably uncover new opportunities to add value.

Summary

By listening first and leading with empathy, product marketers will create a shared trust with their sales teams that sets them up to provide the right sales enablement tools and deliver long-term impact to their organization.

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