You might have come across the words sales operations and sales enablement in business, and sometimes, they are used interchangeably. But, they are not the same.
Sales enablement is an iterative process of giving your business’s sales team the information, content, and tools that help them close more deals. The primary aim of sales enablement is to fulfill the requirement of salespeople so that they can engage with the customer throughout the buying cycle.
Sales operations, on the other hand, is a set of activities and exercises that help businesses function effectively. It is a division that is tasked with improving the efficiency of a company’s sales via data analysis and organized processes. A sales ops team typically supports business strategies and objectives.
Here’s how the two processes are different.
Sales Enablement Vs. Sales Operations
|Sales Enablement: Core Responsibilities||Sales Operations: Core Responsibilities|
|Growth forecasts of sales territories||Sales training, client-facing content, process, and training|
|Formulation and evaluation of sales incentive and compensation plans||Content planning, mapping, management, and analysis|
|Sales process optimization and lead managementImplementation and administration of sales tools||Sales process, including process performance analytics|
|Analysis and evaluation of performance metrics||Sales communication|
|Development of sales and revenue strategies||Customer engagement tools, processes, and analysis|
|Planning and strategizing go-to-market plans||Process, tools, and training to increase sales efficiency|
Both sales operations and sales enablement closely work with sales managers to support reps through every touchpoint of the sales cycle. The difference lies in when they enable sales.
Enablement comes into play from the beginning, working with marketing to assist sales professionals through learning and prospect interactions. But operations mostly comes in towards the end and entails working with sales leaders to establish methodologies and join for final negotiations and deal compensation.
If you’re still confused, don’t worry – we’ve only just scratched the surface! Let’s explore the roles and responsibilities of sales enablement and sales operations in more detail.
5 Primary Responsibilities of Sales Operations
From managing technical functions to developing strategies, a sales operations team’s responsibility is to help the sales team sell more efficiently.
A sales operations team takes up a major portion of the administrative tasks, enabling sales reps to focus on revenue-bringing activities. This also allows sales managers to concentrate on coaching and supporting their teams.
While sales reps receive the full support of their managers, the sales ops team develops data-driven insights, forecasts strategy plans, and ensures that all the systems are in place.
The primary responsibilities of sales operations are as follows:
1. Cross-Functional Collaboration
It is often said that sales operations is the glue that holds sales and marketing together. Sales ops bring together leaders from different departments in sales and operations planning (S&OP).
The purpose of this cross-functional business process is to ensure seamless workflows and align goals. By creating a more collaborative environment, sales operations can boost productivity and innovation within the organization.
2. Data Management
Data is essential for the success of a business. In sales, it aligns the sales team and streamlines the process to maximize revenue.
According to the Global Alliance of Data-Driven Marketing Associations (GDMA), about 92% of businesses maintain databases on customer and prospect information. This is a staggering number that indicates the importance of data. But you should also realize that a silo of data would overwhelm sales reps and affect their productivity.
Hence, sales ops teams manage and evaluate data to ascertain the effectiveness of a product or campaign. They also help standardize reporting and support business leaders with the required data to make business decisions.
3. Sales Forecasting
As a sales professional, you’d mostly agree that accurate forecasting is fundamental to the sales operations function – not to mention critical for your organization’s success.
The sales operations team uses data analysis and forecasting to implement a sales strategy and fix future sales goals. Based on this forecast, the team must also develop a sales process that increases conversions, reduces the sales cycles, and maximizes sales.
4. Sales Team Support
If you find your frontline sales team underperforming, it’s probably because they spend a lot of time reaching out to the wrong leads. Research conducted by Sales Insights Lab found that at least 50% of the prospects that sales reps target aren’t a good fit for the product or service.
But a sales ops team is monumentally efficient in eliminating poor fit leads, allowing sales reps to focus on selling and conversions.
For this, they provide strategic direction and reduce friction in the sales process. They also handle tasks like lead generation and appointment bookings.
5. Sales Tactics
A sales tactic is an action you take to convert your sales strategy into action. While strategy explains your purpose, tactics show the process you need to implement to move forward and close sales.
Sales ops teams identify customer needs and come up with plans to solve their pain points. If your conversion numbers are stagnating, sales operations will devise the right tactics to radically bring them up.
5 Major Responsibilities Of Sales Enablement
While sales operations manage sales teams and logistics, sales enablement provides the tools and resources to the sales force to improve consumer relationships and shorten the sales cycle.
A sales enablement strategy includes:
- An impactful onboarding program
- Relevant and up-to-date training content
- Digital tools and technology
- Consumer-facing marketing collateral that addresses leads at various stages in the buyer journey
- Performance analysis to identify and resolve gaps across the sales team
Sales enablement involves working with sales managers, reps, and members of the marketing team. The major responsibilities of sales enablement are as follows:
1. Improving Sales Effectiveness
Here’s a fact: without the right sales steps, it’s near impossible to produce the best sales results.
The sales team can convert prospects into leads and make them your clients at each stage of your sales funnel. If the sales process is effective, you will have more wins than losses in each step of the sales cycle.
Sales enablement helps you automate this process – and even oversees the resultant training of sales reps – to increase the win ratio of your business.
For instance, did you know that data entry can hamper sales efficiency? Think about it. Every minute that your sales reps spend manually entering data could have instead been used to hike up conversions.
However, a robust sales enablement strategy ensures that you don’t bog down sales reps with admin work. Rather, it would advocate for the use of a CRM and other automated tools to improve sales efficiency. Besides achieving targets, it would also give an insight into the sales cycle, goals, strategies, etc.
2. Sales Training
Sales training is provided to improve a rep’s selling skills and drive a behavioral change to maximize sales. It accomplishes this by providing useful resources and hands-on training.
Sales coaching is worlds away from what it was a few decades ago. In earlier times, the goal was to help employees develop skills in one or two-day programs. But without reinforcement, sales reps often forget to apply what they learned.
You can ramp up your sales team faster with video training and collaterals by Hippo Video. Train the sales reps in video selling with Jeffrey Gitomer, often referred to as King of Sales.
3. Sales Onboarding
Onboarding provides newly recruited sales reps with the necessary knowledge and details about company values and trains them to leverage its tools.
Unlike sales training that focuses on selling techniques, onboarding covers a rep’s goals and responsibilities in a company. It may even help new employees get acquainted with the product and target customers.
Sales enablement involves optimizing the method of onboarding so you can bring a new sales rep up to speed as quickly and effortlessly as possible. Some strategies that you could implement for a successful onboarding program include:
- Create a standardized process
- Put everything in writing
- Set clear expectations
- Take your time with training
- Connect new reps with veteran sales team members
4. Sales Content and Collateral Creation
Sales collateral is anything that helps move a prospect forward in the sales funnel. It includes many printed or digital resources – information, media, or content that helps support the sales process.
Different types of collaterals are created to meet the needs of your reps. The different sales collaterals include:
- Product documents
- Whitepapers and case studies
- Internal success videos and other multimedia (videos or podcasts)
- Buyer’s guides
- Email templates and call scripts
Sales playbooks, sales battle cards, customer success stories, fact sheets, and client reviews are some other powerful collaterals.
5. Alignment Between Sales Operations, Sales, and Marketing
When everyday challenges and issues come in the way of a healthy relationship between sales and marketing, sales enablement steps in to align the two teams.
Developing an alignment between your company’s sales and marketing departments can bring your customer retention rates up by 36% and boost win rates by 38%. What’s more, by tackling misalignment issues within your organization, your chances of closing deals can also increase by up to 67%.
Sales enablement is considered one of the most powerful tools in promoting sales and marketing alignment. Sales enablement teams put together relevant content for easy access, notify sales reps when content revisions happen, create content performance metrics for both marketers and sellers, and ensure brand compliance.
Sales Ops and Sales Enablement: Which Is More Important for Sales Team Success?
Sales operations and sales enablement are like two sides of the same coin. For the success of an organization, a sales team needs both sides of the coin to work together.
When sales operations and sales enablement work in perfect alignment, it will give more power to the sales team to sell more. Though there may be overlap between the roles, together, they can drive sales and provide the sales reps with the tools they need to close deals in the shortest time.
Operations and enablement can and should work in tandem to drive sales and success. As both teams are focused on supporting the sales team, they need to collaborate and ensure smooth functioning to attain the same goal.
Sales Growth= Sales Operations + Sales Enablement
1. What are the functions of marketing, sales enablement, and sales op in the selling process?
|Marketing||Sales Enablement||Sales Ops|
|Develop effective content to increase engagement and boost revenue.||Steer accomplishment in content management, customer engagement, performance analytics, and sales training.||Execute sales enablement processes and technology in everyday sales and business.|
2. What is the relevance of case studies in the sales process?
Case studies allow sales reps to build one of the most valuable things in sales — trust. Case studies can convert even the boring discussion or review into an engaging presentation. And it’s as simple as telling stories.
By showing how some previous customers struggled with specific problems and how one of your product’s features solved the problem would infuse confidence in the customer to make the buying decision. The focus of the case study should be on the benefits the customer can experience because of your business.
3. What are the benefits of video marketing?
Video marketing is effective as it is easy to access and consume. It is a powerful tool as it tells your brand’s story, displays your business, and helps build relationships.
Often, visual content offers an interesting experience than written content. Video helps ‘humanize’ your business with a relatable story. As a result, videos can increase conversion rates and are a significant addition to your email marketing campaigns. Besides building the trust and credibility of your brand, videos encourage social shares.
Sales enablement and sales operations work towards the same goal: to increase sales.
Both sales enablement and sales operations are critical to the success of an organization. However, to make the best use of both teams, organizations should acknowledge their differences and enhance collaboration.
A clear sales strategy that includes both operations and enablement can drive success across the teams. Together, both teams can help the sales force close more deals, achieve team goals, and drive organizational growth and success.