27 Nov What Exactly Is Sales Enablement? (And How Is It Different than Sales Operations?)
Over the last decade, we’ve seen Sales Enablement evolve as its own department within large sales organizations.
But what exactly is Sales Enablement? How is it different from Sales Operations? Is one a replacement for the other? Can you have Sales Enablement without Sales Operations?
Let’s look at both and finally clear this up.
Sales Operations is a set of business activities and processes that help a sales organization run effectively and efficiently.
Sales Operations has, in one form or another, been around ever since we started trading with each other. The simple act of barter involves planning, managing, pricing and finally an exchange — all acts which have been part of business since we humans emerged from caves!
Sales Operations is a set of business activities and processes that help a sales organization run effectively and efficiently. It supports business strategies and objectives. Other terms for Sales Operations are “sales support” or “business operations.”
In a nutshell, it encompasses the daily tasks and work involved in the day-to-day operation of a company’s sales team. Here are some examples of ways that Sales Operations helps the sales force:
- Product Training
A sales force isn’t much good if it hasn’t got a complete understanding of the goods and services they are representing. Product training focuses on the nuts and bolts of the products you sell. What is it? How does it work? How will it help each customer? What are its pricing structures? Everything that might come up in a sales situation needs to be anticipated and addressed before the customer is approached.
- Lead Generation
Sometimes your salespeople need a push in the right direction. Sales Operations can make generating, pursuing and capturing leads a less daunting proposition. With proven techniques like data mining and data modeling a company can focus on likely future customers. The sales team can also be given pricing and contracting support, creating proposals that will fulfill both company and customer objectives.
- Territory design
Ever had two salespeople from the same company visit the same prospect? It happens more often than you may think. Clearly defined boundaries and territories, both geographical and virtual, will avoid any conflict or embarrassment.
Sales Operations and Sales Enablement are like two sides of a coin. Taken separately, they aren’t worth much, but when brought together, they are a valuable currency.
- Compensation Structure
Let’s be honest, getting paid fires people up! Sales Operations monitors performance and makes recommendations on how best to distribute compensation and incentives to get maximum performance from their sales force.
Sales Operations and Sales Enablement are like two sides of a coin. Taken separately, they aren’t worth much, but when brought together, they are a valuable currency. Let’s take a closer look at some of the functions of Sales Enablement and how they can propel your Sales Force on to bigger and better things.
Although Sales Enablement is a relatively new term, its ideas and approaches have actually been around for as long as professional sales support and B2B sales have existed. Sales Enablement is the process of providing sales organization with the intelligence and tools that help sales people sell more effectively.
Sales Enablement is the process of providing sales organization with the intelligence and tools that help sales people sell more effectively.
The foundation of Sales Enablement is to provide sales people with what they need to successfully engage the buyer throughout the buying process. Sales Enablement isn’t centered on doing specific daily activities, like Sales Operations. Sales Enablement is focused on allowing and empowering Sales Operations to do those activities better.
Often there is some overlap in duties with Sales Operations, which can lead to confusion and frustration as each side of the sales equation tries to understand their place in the broad scheme of things.
For these two teams to work properly together, they must understand a basic concept: Sales Enablement gives their sales team the best tools, strategies and services with which to do their selling and Sales Operations uses those tools to do their job to the best of their abilities.
Sales Enablement has many tools which they can provide to Sales Operations. Among the most common and effective strategies in the Enablement toolkit are:
- CRM (Customer Relationship Management)
This refers to managing all customer interactions and data through the customer lifecycle with the goal of improving and strengthening business relationships with customers. Data automation software collects CRM data from your sales reps daily activities to give a clear picture of both the customer/salesperson interactions and their impact on actual sales.
- Centralized Content Management
Are your salespeople wasting time sifting through endless reports? Salespeople are often flooded with emails, reports and scattered information in a seemingly endless variety of forms. Creating a single content library which houses all the relevant material, studies and up-to-date processes is a key way in which to save time for the sales force. This is time that could be used building relationships with your customers. Think of content management as a one-stop-shopping information resource for your sales team.
- Sales Productivity Tracking
Sales Enablement gives sales team the best tools, strategies and services with which to do their selling and Sales Operations uses those tools to do their job to the best of their abilities.
This involves using software to find inefficiencies and problem areas in your sales methods, looking for differences in the habits and behaviors of different salespeople so that you can guide the team into more consistent and profitable results. This can be an end to chronically low productivity which often leads to lost sales.
- Content personalization plans
Worried that your customers are not feeling that they are special? By personalizing your sales materials to cater to individual buyers, you will provide your sales reps with custom tailored content. This creates loyalty and gives your customers the sense that they are first and foremost in your company’s consideration.
- Sales Methodologies
Do your salespeople use different and diverging methods of customer interaction, leading to wildly contrasting sales? Let’s face it, some sellers are naturally gifted and some are not. Adding structure to the sales process is another excellent way to turn leads into sales. Using a consistent method is also a way to identify problem areas in the sales process. This also functions as a way to bring the sales of your lower-performing salespeople up into line with your more outstanding performers, taking the burden off of your sales superstars.
- Marketing and Sales Alignment
Do you think that the relationship between your sales and marketing departments could be smoother? Often these two teams have different goals. Getting them together on the same page is a no-brainer, don’t you think? Creating a symbiotic relationship between these two divisions will have long-lasting, compounding benefits.
Sales training should be an ongoing part of any sales department’s methods. Training needs to be consistent and concise or it will soon be forgotten. Salespeople will soon forget the lessons and will slip back into bad habits, rendering sporadic training a waste of time. Training doesn’t need to take a long time but it does need to happen on a monthly or even a weekly basis for important lessons to take root.
For your Sales Operations team to reach its goals in the most effective and efficient way possible, strong Sales Enablement is a must-have. Don’t get left behind by competitors who are striving to be the best fit for their clients – beat them to the punch!
Customer satisfaction does not happen by accident. It takes the knowledge and implementation of a partner like Sales Beacon to reach and surpass your company’s sales goals. Giving your Sales Operations group the tools and materials of a strong Sales Enablement plan, the sky is truly the limit.
Want to find out more? Let’s chat in person. It’s the best way that you can share your goals with us so we can craft a winning strategy to put you on the fast-track to greater success.