sales enablement vs sales operations

Sales operations and sales enablement work towards the common goal of improving sales results, but what exactly is the difference? Or are they the same? Can you have Sales Operations and not have Sales Enablement?

In this post we will be taking a closer look at the general responsibilities within each role, and why they both play a vital role to a successful sales force.

What is Sales Operations?

Sales Operations is the building block of how sales teams work and function from a day to day basis. They are in charge of making sure everything runs smoothly. The term is broad and includes a wide variety of technical activities, and can vary within each company.

Sales Operations Responsibilities

  • Sales Incentives and Compensation: Sales Operations implements and monitors the sales compensation plan. While monitoring performances, they use those insights to give recommendations on how to get maximum performance from their sales teams.
  • Sales Forecasting & Reporting: Another thing they focus on is the sales pipeline, forecasting, and creating reports. This can include reporting on numbers monthly, quarterly, or yearly.
  • Sales Rep Operations: You never want two reps selling to the same prospects. Sales Operations create teams and clearly define boundaries so sales reps know who to sell to, and where.
  • Sales Administration: They also manage proposals, quotes, pricing, and contracts. This usually includes managing a CRM (Customer Relationship Management) that plugs into your sales enablement solution. This is a way to manage all customer interactions through their complete lifecycle.

What is Sales Enablement?

Sales enablement isn’t as easy to define, especially since it is a relatively new term. The sales enablement team is responsible for providing their sales force (and every team that interacts with sales on a regular basis) with the right tools and data to help them plan and engage with their prospects, sell more efficiently, and close deals. They aren’t as focused on specific day to day activities like sales operations, but empowering sales operations and reps to do their job even better.

Sales Enablement Responsibilities:

  • Sales Onboarding and Training: Sales training doesn’t need to take hours, but it should be a constant and consistent part of a sales force. They are responsible for all sales training including content and training events, like SKOs.
  • Sales Technologies: The sales enablement team is in charge of finding a sales enablement solution that aids them in equipping their teams with content, training, etc. They work closely with sales ops to plug in their sales enablement software into their CRM.
  • Content Management: Sales reps spend their valuable time sifting through mountains of content, that’s all over the place, trying to find the right content. Creating and managing content in a centralized location gives your reps access to powerful content at their fingertips so they can focus on what they do best, selling!
  • Marketing and Sales Alignment: In order for sales reps to have powerful and up to date content, sales and marketing teams need to be aligned. The sales enablement team works closely with both teams to maximize the value of their content. Marketing creates optimized content (like one sheets and brochures), and sales reps have quick access to the right content that they can use effectively in their sales process.
  • Performance Analysis: This involves tracking how the sales reps are sharing and using content throughout sales conversations. By having instant analytics, you know what is working, and what’s not.

Even though these two roles have different day to day responsibilities, they are both working to drive more sales. When they work hand-in-hand, they better equip their teams with the necessary tools and content to close deals more efficiently.

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