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 Key Take Aways: 

  • Sales Enablement 
  • Sales Ops 
  • Intergrating Your Sales Enablement and Sales Ops Teams 

The Difference Between Sales Enablement and Sales Operations

Your sales team is the engine that drives your business forward. But for it to be successful, you may need a cocktail of ingredients to help you succeed. It may seem that just as you understand the complexities of sales and all the terms and concepts it comes with, a new one pops up. If it seems like you can’t keep up, that’s because, in today’s world of digital transformation, the sales landscape is growing increasingly complex and constantly evolving. Two terms you may have heard floating around and sometimes used interchangeably on the sales floor are sales enablement and sales operations. But what is the difference between sales enablement and sales operations, and how do they work together to drive sales growth and revenue? Does your business need both?

This article will answer all your questions about the difference between sales enablement and sales operations, so you can decide how to best use these two tools for your business. It will also provide strategies and tips on combining the two to increase sales success and revenue.

The Difference Between Sales Enablement and Sales Operations

From the outside looking in, the two terms seem interchangeable, and you could get away with using them as such. But though both sales enablement and sales operations have the shared goal of improving the effectiveness of your sales execution, there are distinct differences between the two, and it’s important to understand each one to maximize the benefits for your business.

In a broad sense, sales operations (sales ops) is a strategy focusing on the internal processes that keep the sales team humming. In contrast, sales enablement is a strategy that equips your sales reps with the resources and sales training they need to engage with prospects and sell products or services. Let’s break it down further.

Sales Enablement

Sales enablement is focused on preparation and education. They are responsible for providing marketing and sales teams with the resources and information they need to get deals across the finish line, including sales training and coaching. Sales enablement also covers content curation and helps ensure sales teams have access to the right materials and customer insights. They often focus on helping teams sell products and services faster, more efficiently, and more successfully.

Sales Enablement Roles and Responsibilities

To truly understand how sales enablement can help your business, it’s important to look at the roles and responsibilities of a sales enablement team. Besides, it is in understanding the functions and responsibilities of sales enablement that you can maximize their value and ensure they are an integral part of your business.

Here is an in-depth look at some of the key roles and responsibilities of a sales enablement team:

  • Training: Sales enablement teams are responsible for providing training and coaching to sales employees. This includes onboarding, long-term development, and even sales-specific skills training.
  • Content Creation: Sales enablement teams create content marketers, and sales reps can use it for learning. They also develop sales collateral to be used in the sales process and curate content that can be used by sales teams when interacting with customers. This content can be in the form of presentations, blog posts on company sites, white papers, and more.
  • Data Analytics and Reporting: Sales enablement teams are responsible for gathering and analyzing data to determine their efforts’ effectiveness. This includes tracking customer engagement, lead generation, and other key metrics. They then create reports to provide insights into the effectiveness of sales enablement initiatives.
  • Account Management: Sales enablement teams manage customer accounts and provide support throughout the sales process. This includes understanding buyer needs and creating custom solutions to help sales reps achieve their goals.

Sales Enablement Tools and Systems

For a sales enablement team to be successful, they must have access to the right tools and systems. Sales enablement tools are platforms or applications that link your content, marketing, and sales process. With these tools, sales enablement teams easily manage the sales cycle from the beginning to the end while monitoring analytics and determining the effectiveness of the content and processes.

Here are some of the most commonly used tools and systems by sales enablement teams:

  • CRM Systems: The most important tool a sales enablement team has is the CRM system. The CRM helps the team understand buyer information and organize their sales processes to improve efficiency and sell more products and services.
  • Content Management Software: Content management software helps the sales enablement team organize and track all their content. This includes presentations, brochures, white papers, and other sales materials.
  • Analytics Tools: Sales enablement teams also use analytics tools to track key sales metrics, such as customer engagement and lead generation. These tools allow teams to track their performance and make information-driven decisions.
  •  Content Delivery Platforms: These platforms allow sales enablement teams to consolidate various types of content in one place, making it easy to access and distribute. They can take different forms, such as online apps, websites, and virtual events. Sales enablement teams can use CDPs for various purposes, such as creating a library of sales materials, managing customer profiles, and distributing content to sales reps.

Sales Operations

To understand sales ops, think of a business’s sales team as an orchestra. Each instrument must be tuned separately, and all working together must create a beautiful melody. Sales ops is like the conductor who keeps everyone in tune with each other and on tempo.

Sales operations tend to be more “tactical” in nature. They are responsible for ensuring sales processes, roles, and systems work effectively and efficiently, and they can be thought of as the stewards of forecasting, reporting, strategizing, and planning. They may manage and optimize the sales process, define quotas, approve discounts, and track performance to ensure results align with the company’s goals.

Sales Operations Roles and Responsibilities

The roles and responsibilities of sales operations will vary depending on the size and structure of your company. But some of the most common duties include the following:

  • Hiring and Onboarding: Sales operations teams are responsible for recruiting, onboarding, and training new sales employees. They also guide new sales reps on how to use the company’s products and services.
  • Salesforce Management: Sales operations teams manage the company’s salesforce and ensure sales reps perform at their highest level. This includes monitoring and reviewing performance, providing feedback, and setting quotas.
  • Strategy: Sales operations teams are responsible for developing sales strategies and plans that align with the company’s overall goals. They may analyze customer data, conduct market research, and develop plans for expanding the company’s reach.
  • Process Optimization: Sales ops teams are responsible for optimizing sales processes and ensuring they run as efficiently as possible. This includes analyzing data to identify issues and opportunities and changing processes to boost performance.
  • Forecasting: Sales operations teams are responsible for developing and maintaining accurate forecasts. They may use historical data, buyer trends, and market analysis to develop projections for future performance.
  • Lead Management: Sales ops teams are also responsible for managing leads, including assigning them to sales reps, tracking their progress, and providing feedback. They do this by tracking customer data, analyzing performance, and developing strategies for reaching potential customers.
  • Sales Technology Management: Sales operations teams manage the company’s sales technology stack. This includes researching, evaluating, and implementing new sales technology and ensuring it’s properly integrated into the company’s sales process.

Sales Operations Tools and Systems

Similar to sales enablement teams, sales operations must have access to the right tools and systems. Sales ops tools are platforms or applications that help the team manage sales processes, track performance, and optimize operations. Here are some of the top tools and systems used by sales ops teams:

  • CRM Systems: CRM systems are the lifeblood of any sales ops team. They provide the ability to track leads, monitor performance, and provide feedback to sales reps.
  • Commission/Payout Management Software: One of the sales ops teams’ functions is to ensure reps are properly compensated for their efforts. Commission/payout management software enables sales ops teams to automate and manage the distribution of bonuses and commissions.
  • Sales Performance Software: This software allows sales ops teams to track reps’ real-time performance. It provides insights into how the salesforce is performing and helps identify areas of improvement.
  • Data Analytics Tools: Sales ops teams rely heavily on data and information to inform decisions and measure results. Data analytics tools allow them to generate insights from large amounts of data so that they can make more informed decisions.
  • Contract Lifecycle Management (CLM): CLM software helps manage the entire contract lifecycle, from creation to renewal. It streamlines the process and ensures that contracts are compliant with company policies. Sales ops use this software to ensure reps have the right contracts and follow proper procedures.

How To Integrate Sales Enablement and Sales Operations Teams

At the core, sales enablement and sales operations are two sides of the same coin. They are both focused on improving sales performance and driving more revenue for the company. And even though the roles and responsibilities of these two teams can sometimes overlap if not managed properly, you can do a few things to ensure that the two teams work together seamlessly.

Here are some tips for integrating sales enablement and sales operations teams:

  • Establish Clear Goals: The first step in integrating the two teams is establishing clear goals. Each team should clearly understand their respective roles and responsibilities and what is expected of them. This helps set expectations for both teams and reduces confusion.
  • Create a Plan of Action: Once you have established clear goals and responsibilities, it’s time to create a plan of action. This is a roadmap that outlines how the two teams will collaborate and how they can contribute to achieving common goals.
  • Set Up Regular Meetings: Regular meetings between the two teams ensure everyone is on the same page and working towards shared objectives. This also allows team members to discuss progress, offer feedback, and identify any issues that need to be addressed.
  • Leverage Technology: Leveraging technology is key for integrating sales enablement and sales operations teams. Both teams can use technology to collaborate and share data, which helps them stay on the same page.
  • Monitor Performance: It’s important to monitor the performance of both teams and ensure that everyone is on track. This allows you to identify opportunities for improvement, so you can make the necessary changes to maximize performance and results.
  • Set Up a Knowledge Base: A knowledge base is important for integrating the two teams. The knowledge base should include all the materials and resources both teams need so everyone is working from the same source of information.

Practical Example of Sales Operations and Enablement Working Together

Say, for instance, you have a new product launch coming up. Your sales ops team can help create an effective and efficient process for rolling out the product, such as defining quotas, setting up a sales team structure, and tracking performance. Meanwhile, your sales enablement team can create materials such as presentations, brochures, white papers, and videos for educating and training sales reps about the new product and curate content from other sources that could be used to engage customers. Both teams can also work together to identify and segment target markets and create a strategy for reaching them.

Harmonize Your Sales Enablement and Sales Operations Teams

Ultimately, sales enablement and operations teams can work together to create a streamlined process for driving growth and maximizing revenue. By understanding their roles and responsibilities and leveraging technology, the two teams can become a powerful force for sales success. All you need is a great strategy.

At SFE Partners, we understand the importance of integrating sales enablement and sales operations teams. We offer strategic sales consulting services to help organizations create and implement effective sales strategies. Our team of experts is well-versed in both sales enablement and operations, so you can rest assured that we have the skills and knowledge to ensure that your sales teams are working in harmony. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you harmonize your sales enablement and operations teams.

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