Sales Engagement vs Sales Enablement: Understanding the Difference

Zen Cachola
Aug 28 · 5 min read

In my last post, I talked about the basic guide of sales prospecting. Today, is another day, another blog post about sales engagement vs sales enablement. I am writing this post from a bus departing from Anamori-Inari headed to Disneyland Tokyo because I have a pocket WiFi that must be used. Without further ado, let’s get to it.

There are currently a lot of buzzwords flying around in the sales industry. From sales coaching to sales enablement to sales engagement, it can become somewhat difficult to tell the difference. However, for a sales force to function most productively and equipped for sustainable success, all of the functions above must be optimized. In this post, we set out the difference between sales enablement and sales engagement.

What is Sales Enablement?

Sales enablement refers to the process of equipping a sales rep or a sales organization with information and tools they need to effectively perform their job. Sales enablement tends to be a specific and specialized role in several organizations, and typically report to Sales Operations or sometimes the marketing department. Sales enablement focuses on both the customer journey and the actual sales process, bridging the gap that existed between sales, marketing, and customer support.

There are primarily two categories of sales enablement tools and these are CRM or customer relationship management and communications technology. Microsoft Dynamics and Salesforce are currently the most common CRM systems, and both of them are cloud-based solutions.

Traditionally, CRM is focused on enabling sales reps to track opportunities and accounts, as well as provide sales management the reporting that they need to track activities and forecast revenues.

In terms of communication technology, most organizations enable their sales professionals with point solutions, which include web conferencing audio, video, email tracking, and screen sharing. An important sales enablement challenge is that the majority of these tools are disconnected and single-purpose.

Research shows that on average, a sales rep uses 5–8 different tools in just one day. it’s quite complex to manage this complexity and a lack of integrated technologies makes it not only costly but also impacts sales rep productivity.

What is Sales Engagement?

In the last couple of years, there has been a shift in that the customer controls the buying process more than ever before. As a matter of fact, buyers are 67% or more of the way through a sales cycle before they even speak to a sales rep. Therefore, it’s not just enough to enable a sales rep. It is our responsibility to coach the rep on how to communicate and engage with the right type of message at the right time.

In other words, sales engagement is concerned with improving how sales reps communicate with the customers by ensuring that the most effective content is shared with prospects for specific sales situations.

For instance, while walking around Shinjuku, my wife and I were looking for a place to eat. I made eye contact with these sales reps. They have one job: to coral as many walking prospects as possible into there brick & mortar shop. This rep was clearly not trained for engagement, therefore we took our business somewhere else. The funny thing is we were so hungry we didn’t really care about the price of the food, we just wanted to have a good time with engaging folks who can understand us.

Another important enablement resource is giving the marketing and sales managers more visibility regarding what works and what doesn’t. There are many ways to measure what works and what does not work. A few measurements can include Social Selling Engagements, Followers Facts to Revenue, Meeting Appointments and most of all the size of the prospect pipeline.

Also, with the advent of analytical and tracking tools integrated into sales processes, we can now measure the level of customer engagement throughout the sales process and their probability to buy. It’s this new dynamic that has led to the creation of Sales Engagement. This builds on the traditional focus of Sales Enablement but is different from it. Although sales enablement is narrowly concerned with enabling the sales reps to sell more effectively, sales engagement has all to do with facilitating and even enabling true engagement between buyers and sellers. Sales and marketing both have the responsibility of engaging customers.

Sales Enablement vs. Sales Engagement

Although both sales engagement and sales enablement have a different focus, they complement one another. Both of them play an important role in enabling sales reps to effectively engage with the prospects and customers so as to meet the organizational revenue goals.

For sales enablement, it involves working with other internal sections or departments to ensure that sales enablement becomes part of the corporate culture. Also, work with other managers and executives to find solutions or answers that support general sales goals and efforts.

With regard to sales engagement solutions, it’s up to your sales management leadership to make a choice. You possess the one-to-one relationships and conversations during the sales process. Demand for a platform that makes every single conversation count, and one that moves the prospect ever closer to making a purchase.

“ Be fearless in the pursuit of what sets your soul on fire.” — Jennifer Lee.

Conclusion

Do not be a sales rep if you can’t make eye contact or let alone send a thoughtful message to a prospect. To empower your reps, sales enablement coupled with sales engagement is the formula for crushing the connection game.

If you are a sales enablement expert, adding sales engagement platform aligns perfectly with your goals of supporting and adding discipline to your sales team’s approach. For a sales professional, the fact that a sales engagement platform has been added gives you the most efficient way of reaching out. Imagine having the most effective content right at your fingertips, in real-time, without spending time to research and skim through multiple case studies. This way, you have a compelling way of delivering your next pitch. And those at the helm of sales and marketing will benefit from visibility that comes as a result of adding sales engagement to the process. Know the content that’s most effective and please measure your reps engagement approach so that prospects turn into customers instead of venturing off to your competitor’s website.

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