It’s an old saw – sales and marketing just don’t get along.
Sales is filled with “transactional” types who only care about money while the marketing “brainiacs” can turn a clever phrase but are often too abstract – so the stereotypes go.
NovoEd is a collaborative learning platform that helps organizations design and deliver experiential learning at scale. The company had grown rapidly and was approaching $20M in revenue, but then sales growth stalled.
To address the sales challenge, Charlie in collaboration with his CMO and C-Suite launched an initiative called “Building Enterprise Sales Team (BEST) Capabilities” focused on strengthening NovoEd’s specific enterprise positioning and linking it enterprise selling.
Six months after launching this enterprise marketing to sales alignment initiative, NovoEd experienced its two best net new sales quarters in the company’s history.
I recently spoke to Charlie to identify three keys to building enterprise marketing and sales alignment that supported NovoEd’s sales reboot.
Positioning into use case-specific value 🙋🏽♀️
“We were in a time of transition, and had achieved a certain level of success, but we needed to scale that success across our sales team,” says Charlie.
The company’s leadership recognized its first key to a scalable selling approach was to refine their competitive positioning strategy to build an enterprise value proposition.
NovoEd had several clear training programs, such as leadership, onboarding, upskilling, and DEI, but was often getting pigeon-holed around a specific training initiative, which left a limited path for future enterprise expansion.
Charlie says: “We needed our marketing-driven messaging for each use case to be less theoretical and more actionable, while sales-driven messaging needed to get better at connecting value across use cases to support a differentiated enterprise positioning.”
Deepen Enterprise Positioning ⛏️
“We needed to establish strong enterprise positioning and messaging in our key use cases, which would set up sales to improve skills to surface those use cases,” according to Charlie.
The second element of the shift to establishing an enterprise positioning was identifying the key capabilities across all use cases that could support becoming an enterprise training partner.
This included capabilities like:
- Scale the number learners or competencies covered while reducing delivery cost
- Increase learner engagement with modern learning experience all in one place
- Create deeper peer, mentor and manager connections
- Integrate and connect all your tools and assets in one platform (Ex: LMS, LXP, HRIS, IMS)
The marketing team then used stories from customers like CEMEX, Delta, and GE who used NovoEd for multiple use cases to bring the enterprise positioning to life. Stories help internal and external audiences visualize how to connect across training initiatives.
Deepening Enterprise Selling Skills 🔦
The third element of the shift to an enterprise model deepening enterprise selling skills.
“We had a team of experienced senior sellers who were good at sales execution,” says Charlie, “but the challenge at NovoEd was a little bit different. We needed to be able to go after the initiative sale, but do it in a way that would position us for broader growth.”
The sales training within the BEST initiative focus on engaging buyers and conducting discovery across individual use cases and also have the situational fluency to prioritize the right use for each buyer conversation.
Training involved individual paired coaching and peer-sharing sessions that helped the sales team to practice their skills for connecting training initiatives to enterprise value.
Every sales and marketing team is slightly different in their needs to achieve better alignment. The structure and strategies of a land and expand model to move from a freemium offering to department selling to enterprise selling will vary from one company to another.
However, the success of Charlie and his team shows that the foundation of marketing to sales alignment starts with developing actionable value props that are equally strong in creating a differentiated market position and help sales build engagement in their conversations.