There are a lot of buzzwords floating around these days to describe the latest and greatest ideas and innovations to power your business. Sales and marketing are the most recent beneficiaries of this buzz, and understanding the difference between sales enablement and sales engagement is essential to operating a high-performance customer acquisition process.
“Sales enablement” has been around for a long time and has undergone a bit of a transformation in recent years as the technology to enable and assist sales professionals has become better and more individually meaningful.
To get a good baseline definition of “sales enablement,” let’s go to the experts at SiriusDecisions and their post, What is Sales Enablement.
…provide guidelines for using sales assets (78% of respondents reported this as one of enablement’s responsibilities), share enablement best practices (73%), build sales assets (71%), and develop product training (68%) — reflecting the function’s legacy of supporting product marketing. But more than 50% report that the function contributes to various sales effectiveness areas (delivering sales effectiveness training, selecting and deploying sales technology, managing sales communication). This indicates that the function’s role is broadening from providing sales assets to ensuring that reps are competent in using those assets. Based on client feedback, we also see new rep onboarding as a key responsibility of enablement.
So, sales enablement is a critically important function that is designed to truly enable the sales team via support, administration, and training.
“Sales engagement,” on the other hand, is more focused on improving how sales professionals are communicating with customers by having the most effective content available for the sales situation and giving sales and marketing leaders visibility into what is working and what is not. Highspot Vice President of Product, Oliver Sharp, describes sales engagement as follows:
…so that companies engage more effectively with their customers and win more deals. It does that by closing the loop between marketing, sales, and the customer … so you have the visibility and insight that lets you optimize content usage across the entire sales cycle.
If you are a sales enablement professional, adding a sales engagement platform to the mix aligns completely with your focus on supporting and enabling the sales team. If you are a sales professional, the addition of a sales engagement platform gives you a great new way to have the most effective content at your fingertips and a compelling way to deliver your next pitch. Sales and marketing leaders both benefit from the visibility provided by adding sales engagement to the mix — they can now know what content is most effective and get a whole new view into sales rep productivity.