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sales enablement vs. sales engagement

Quality over quantity: we’ve all heard the age-old advice to prioritize value instead of numbers. But of course, in sales, sellers need both quality and quantity to build a busy pipeline of qualified buyers. Sales enablement and sales engagement support sales teams in forming meaningful connections with buyers at scale and streamlining sales processes. There’s strong support for both:

  • Sales enablement: Aberdeen has shown that companies with successful sales enablement programs see 23% higher lead conversion rate.
  • Sales engagement: SiriusDecisions reports that training and supporting sellers with sales engagement can potentially increase the tenure of sales reps by 40 to 65%.

But what’s the difference between sales enablement and sales engagement — and which do you need for your sales team to ensure quality and quantity? To answer that question, it helps to start by defining the two different practices.

Definition of Sales Enablement

Sales enablement is the strategic, ongoing process of equipping sales teams with the content, guidance, and training they need to effectively engage buyers. Sales enablement analytics provide marketing and sales teams with data-driven insights to optimize their business and drive revenue.

In other words, sales enablement describes the wide umbrella that encompasses the people, processes, and technologies that help sellers successfully connect with buyers and with their own company.

Definition of Sales Engagement

Sales engagement focuses on improving how sellers connect with buyers. Its main goal is to boost efficiency by making content available to sellers so they can address specific sales situation. In order to provide the best content, sales engagement measures what content works and what does not.

Sometimes, sales engagement also describes the process of getting buy-in from the sales team to commit to the processes that sales enablement facilitates. CSO Insights, for example, uses the analogy of a company that pays for employees’ gym membership. By offering this benefit, the company may enable its employees to achieve better fitness — but it may not necessarily engage them in doing it, if nobody goes to the gym to exercise.

Despite their different emphases, these two definitions of sales engagement share a common goal. Done well, sales engagement guides sellers to connect with buyers using the best content possible.

Sales Engagement Supports Sales Enablement (And Vice Versa)

From these definitions of sales enablement and sales engagement, you can see how both processes seek to produce the quality and quantity that sales teams strive to achieve in their pipelines. Their methods and objectives differ slightly, however:

  • Sales enablement works first and foremost to produce quality and quantity by improving overall sales effectiveness with holistic solutions that include content management, communication, sales plays, training, and engagement initiatives.
  • Sales engagement, in contrast, generates a quantity of leads by streamlining sales efficiency and ensures quality by measuring and surfacing what content works best.

So, which one does your sales team need? Fortunately, there’s no need to choose. Sales engagement efforts roll up and fit neatly under the spacious umbrella of sales enablement. The two are by no means opposed; rather, they work together to improve the overall experience of the sales team.

True Sales Engagement is Buyer Engagement

Though some define sales engagement as an internal activity meant to win the sales team’s participation, successful sales engagement should actually define itself in terms of the buyer. After all, the buyer is central to the sales experience; their response, positive or negative, affects the seller’s performance record and shapes their experience in their role. By holistically enabling reps to engage with the right content at the right time, you’ll also improve the buyer experience. With the widespread availability of information on the Internet, empowered buyers now do their own research and expect sellers to provide more than just basic intel to assist them in the buying process. To truly prepare sellers to compete in this competitive, demanding market, they need sales enablement that includes buyer engagement and unifies five key processes into one cohesive platform:

  • Content management
  • Sales plays
  • Sales communication
  • Sales training
  • Buyer engagement

A sales enablement tool like Highspot brings together all of these critical activities into one intuitive solution. Highspot prepares sellers to engage buyers easily with personalized content across any channel and optimize performance with powerful analytics. With sales enablement and buyer engagement working hand-in-hand, your sellers will have what they need to build the effective pipeline — of quality and quantity — that they need to succeed.

Sales Enablement + Buyer Engagement Best Practices

Boost your buyer engagement by combining it with the power of a sales enablement platform. Here are some guidelines to keep in mind when creating a comprehensive sales enablement and buyer engagement strategy:

  • Engage meaningfully with buyers across any channel
    Prepare your sales reps to meet buyers where they are without having to switch between tools. With a sales enablement platform like Highspot, you can share content easily with buyers across social, email, or online conference and collaboration channels via 50+ integrations.

  • Make it easy for sellers to engage on the go
    Sales reps in the field or on the phone don’t have time to sit down and log into a computer to reach out to buyers. They need to have an easy way to reach out on the fly. Highspot enables sellers to curate, publish, access, and share content anywhere and on any device.

  • Don’t settle for one-size-fits-all — personalize your sales content
    Buyers today have a low tolerance for cookie-cutter content. Sales materials that speak directly to their needs and answer their questions resonate with savvy modern buyers who come prepared to sales demos. Highspot makes it easy for reps to create personalized yet on-brand sales presentations and get notifications when new assets become available.

  • Optimize and prioritize content based on usage data
    Make sure your sales enablement and buyer engagement strategy includes a way to identify and promote the most effective content for sellers to ensure that they’re sharing the latest and greatest with buyers. Highspot applies advanced machine learning to uncover how reps use sales content, how buyers engage, and how content drives revenue. Then, it shows reps the most effective and relevant content via content scoring and smart feeds.

  • Discover insights using analytics and amplify best practices
    With analytics, take note of which emails and pitches engage customers and identify what high-performing reps are doing differently. Then, share these findings with the broader sales team. With Highspot’s analytics, you can track every aspect of buyer engagement including email activity, email opens, dwell times, demo times, and more.


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