Sales Enablement vs. Sales Operations

The Difference Between Sales Enablement and Sales Operations

Sales enablement, sales operations…sounds pretty similar, right? It’s actually pretty easy to confuse the two. Here are the most significant differences between sales enablement and sales operations. 

The key difference between sales operations and sales enablement is that sales operations focuses on the operational efficiency of the everyday business processes involved in selling (i.e., order management, forecasting). In contrast, sales enablement experts work directly with other teams to increase adoption within the organization by providing content, training, and support for their customers. 

Note: operational or technical account managers are a part of sales operations, whereas account executives or senior account managers can be considered as part of sales enablement even though they may not have direct reports under them. This distinction becomes more evident when they have a dedicated individual responsible for overseeing the training, onboarding, and support of their accounts.

Sales Enablement Roles and Responsibilities

  • Create, manage and distribute content
  • Train internal stakeholders on their products or services
  • Partner with marketing for campaign support
  • Develop supporting collateral to help internal teams sell better

Sales Operations Roles and Responsibilities

  • Order management
  • Forecasting
  • Technical account management
  • Classifying and adding new accounts
  • Workflows and approvals (pipeline development)

How are these roles similar? Both are responsible for creating, training, managing, and distributing the company’s product awareness. Plus, a good sales operations team should have a solid understanding of how sales enablement efforts directly relate to actual sales. And vice versa: sales enablement directly impacts operational efficiency when done correctly. For example, sales engineers can identify issues in your software and escalate them before customers contact the sales team.

Focus on What’s Best for Your Business

This distinction between sales enablement and sales operations matters because it helps each team focus on what’s best for their business.

Sales enablement focuses on delivering an engaging customer journey. Therefore the team works closely with marketing to provide content through email drip campaigns, interactive guides, and personalized user experiences.

On the other hand, sales operations will work closely with other teams like finance to identify opportunities for process improvement, including automating order management or improving forecasting accuracy.

Drive New Business Growth

Both roles are vital for driving new business growth – yet both still require additional tools to help them become even more efficient at their jobs (or turn you into a unicorn).

Sales Enablement: If you’re working on sales enablement, then the first thing you need is CRM. CRM gives your team one place to manage all of their customer interactions and information, including marketing campaigns, email drip programs, account plans, product launch schedules, and more.

Sales Operations: If you work in sales operations, then the next thing you’ll want after CRM is analytics. Salesforce Analytics Cloud lets you track company-wide trends so you can benchmark how much business your reps are driving overall vs. other companies in the industry. In addition, it comes with pre-built reports that help you visualize data to improve quotas or forecast accuracy.

Operations + Enablement = Sales Growth

These two roles work together to drive new business growth. But the right tools can take them from good to great.

The best part about having both solutions? You can use them together to measure shared metrics across the company. Here’s a quick example: Sales operations wants to track the number of demo requests made by reps, and sales enablement wants to track the number of demos completed. But instead of each team creating their own copy of these KPIs, they can simply create a custom report in Analytics Cloud that uses both sets of data – which means less time spent tracking down information and more time for analysis and action.

So if you’re trying to figure out how best to spend your budget this year, remember that there are two distinct yet equally important roles when it comes to driving business growth. Sales enablement focuses on customer engagement while sales operations helps teams become more efficient at their jobs – so make sure your tools reflect those priorities!

Best Tools to Consider

1. Salesforce Sales Cloud: The sales management platform that helps salespeople and sales operations teams become more efficient at selling.

2. Salesforce Analytics Cloud: The analytics platform that lets you measure and benchmark your company against other businesses in your industry and identify opportunities for improvement.

3. SalesLoft: Fully-automated outbound prospecting software that uses AI to generate personalized email campaigns, manage prospects from cold outreach all the way through to close.

4. InsideView: Helps sales and marketing teams quickly discover new prospects, prioritize them based on fit, and generate targeted lists for outreach.

5. HubSpot Sales: A platform that lets you manage all your contacts with automated workflows that easily move prospects through the funnel. It also makes it simple to create custom reports that help teams understand their data in context with overall company performance.

6. HubSpot Marketing: The marketing automation platform allows marketers to personalize each customer’s journey by integrating email, social media, paid advertising, and more.

7. Zapier: A web tool that makes it easy to build your own automated workflows between all of our apps without having to write any code.

8. FullContact: Helps sales reps quickly connect with new leads by automatically updating their contact profiles based on social media activity.

9. RingLead: Lets companies link contact data from third-party databases into Salesforce so they can get a complete view of not just who their existing customers are but also who they’ve had conversations with in the past (and might be interested in reaching out to again).

10. Rapportive: Allows you to see LinkedIn profiles within your inbox so you can make connections based on shared contacts.

The best software solutions for your business will depend on the size of your team and how you work together within each role (sales enablement vs. sales operations). However, most companies can benefit by having access to both types of tools because they focus on different aspects of growing revenue. With this distinction in mind, you can be sure to develop a complete and well-rounded sales stack that will help you increase your ROI and become a unicorn.

We at Revenue Ops LLC are happy to help you navigate sales operations and sales enablement software options and choose the right tool for your business. Let’s discuss your goals, obstacles, and vision to get started.