Sales Enablement Raising the White Flag

Lately a lot of our visual solution work has been originating from the sales enablement function rather than marketing or training department. Reasons for it are varied – sometimes the marketing group is simply bandwidth dry with a lot of trade show event attendance. Sometimes its a subject matter expertise bottleneck – they want a lot of visual adoption for upcoming throught leadership but their thought leaders are busy giving talks or heads down on product development releases.

Pictogram Poster

A Vision Map for a Training Center

Perhaps the Right Intersection of Sales and Marketing and Product Dev

Whatever the reason – I am liking how the projects go when the visual project originates with sales enablement group. They seem to have just the right amount of tension to yield interesting results. The visual itself is going right under the client’s nose and its very visceral whether its working or not. And the product group – aka subject matter experts – starts getting involved in a good way because they see sketches of what their solution is actually doing with very specific use cases. This stirs them to action in a meaningful way. And because inevitably the visual will make its debut in a powerpoint or poster or brochure or interactive/animated feature in a browser – marketing chimes in – not just brand policing stuff – but how this fits into a wider narrative of how the company’s mission and innovation is taking the marketplace to a better place again with a very specific use case.

A typical ideation sketch working through a new sales enablement tool.

Perhaps a New Offering – Sales Enablement Visualization Services

Having been on the client side for over 20 years of my engineering and marketing career I have to say I was always underwhelmed by the so-called Powerpoint Design services. An offering that takes your inconsistent powerpoint slides and stuffs them into a corporate template and makes them appear “professional”. But not one ounce of intellectual energy applied to actually visually explaining and engaging a nuanced and ofter technical topic to a layered very intelligent audience. So I would suggest a re-thinking is in order – first start with a blank page and then off of debriefings, ideation sessions and reference material review start pencil sketching a storyboard that speaks to the unique innovation at hand. And THEN worry about bringing the digital render of those pencil sketches into brand.

Sample of a stylized slide

 Going to the Whiteboard

And if you reflect about the best and most productive session you have had with dealing with Sales Enablement tools and it all seems to work best when the players go to whiteboard and start sketching what they REALLY want to say. But then imagine if this work is then enabled with the talent of an Information Designer.

A typical whiteboarding sketch

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