Sales engagement vs sales enablement: how they help you sell

Sales engagement vs sales enablement: How they help you sell

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Outlining the difference between sales engagement and sales enablement. Discover why you need both, and how they form a key part of your B2B sales strategy.

Working out the intricacies of B2B sales can sometimes feel like stepping into a detective novel: searching for clues that help close the deal, investigating why a lead went cold or untangling a complex web of stakeholders.

Cue the spotlight on our stars for today: sales engagement and sales enablement, the Sherlock and Watson of the sales universe.

Sales engagement, our Sherlock, thrives in the nitty-gritty of conversations with prospects, each interaction a clue steering the buyer towards a sale. Sales enablement, our loyal Dr. Watson, might lurk in the shadows, but arms Sherlock with the arsenal of knowledge needed to crack the case wide open.

Together, they form an unbeatable duo, each playing a crucial role in cracking their hardest case: achieving sales excellence.

What is sales engagement?

Sales engagement refers to the interactions between sales reps and prospective clients. The process starts with the “hello” of the initial outreach. But it continues by developing a relationship through nurturing and hopefully finishes with closing the deal.

Beyond the initial prospecting, the goal is to resonate with prospects on a personal level. Interactions need to be meaningful and value-driven from the first touchpoint onwards. To succeed at this, you need a good understanding of their specific pain points, goals, and preferences.

Let’s dive into some of the key components of a sales engagement strategy.

Interaction with prospects

This is the heart of sales engagement. The ideal strategy sees you reaching out to potential customers through multiple channels. Emails, phone calls, social media, or even in-person meetings can be combined to great effect. You need to be where your prospects are and interact with them in a way that resonates.

Using tech to scale

Sales Engagement Platforms (SEPs) are crucial in facilitating, streamlining and automating interactions. They provide the tools necessary to personalise communication at scale. In addition, using a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system is vital to track client interactions.

Engagement metrics tracking

Keeping a close eye on engagement metrics helps you understand how well your interactions are being received. Conversion rates from your activities are the key metric, but secondary metrics can help paint a fuller picture.

Analysing these metrics using a segmented approach provides actionable insights that can be used to optimise your engagement strategy.

Content sharing

Content is one of the biggest areas of overlap between the two disciplines. Providing valuable content at different stages of the buyer’s journey helps nurture the relationship. You should offer solutions and insights based on their problems. It builds trust and positions your brand as a thought leader.

The impact of sales engagement can ultimately be seen in your revenue figures. 

A well-oiled sales engagement process can significantly shorten the sales cycle, improve conversion rates, and drive more revenue. 

Although it helps close the deal, creating meaningful relationships can foster loyalty and repeat business beyond the initial sale.

What is sales enablement?

Sales enablement is the act of empowering your sales force. The focus is equipping your sales team with the resources, knowledge, and tools they need to engage with prospects and close deals effectively. 

Sales enablement focuses on boosting the productivity and efficiency of your sales team. The strategy spans a broader spectrum, like problem-solving, content creation, process optimisation, and alignment between sales and marketing efforts.

Sales enablement tools play a pivotal role. Content management systems and learning platforms ensure your sales force is armed with up-to-date information and skills.

Here’s some more detail on what sales enablement involves.

Training and development

One of the cornerstones of sales enablement is providing ongoing training and development to sales professionals. This could encompass product training, sales techniques, or even soft skills like communication and negotiation.

Content provision

Supplying sales teams with the right content is crucial. This includes everything from whitepapers, buyer guides and case studies to pitch and proposal presentations. Depending on your business, industry and audience, there could be several other content types that help convey the value proposition effectively to prospects.

Tools and technology

Sales enablement platforms, like a Content Management System (CMS) or a Learning Management System (LMS), can be instrumental in ensuring that sales reps have easy access to the resources they need when they need them.

At Sopro, our tech team built an internal tool for this, called The Deal Navigator. It holds the most up-to-date content, email templates, training videos, and other resources, meaning the team has everything to hand and onboarding new team members is a piece of cake.

Performance analytics

Understanding how sales reps are performing is a key part of sales enablement, using performance analysis metrics to identify areas of improvement and celebrate successes.

Collaboration and communication

Encouraging a culture of sharing and collaboration among sales and marketing teams is pivotal. It ensures that insights and feedback are shared, leading to a more unified and effective sales strategy.

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Sales engagement vs sales enablement: What’s the difference?

Understanding the difference between enablement and engagement will really help you when building a well-rounded sales strategy. While they serve different purposes, building out both can really enhance your sales process. 

This table illustrates the contrasts and similarities:

Sales engagementSales enablement
Primary focusExternal interactionsInternal empowerment
Key componentsInteraction with prospects, technology utilisation, engagement metrics tracking, content sharingTraining and development, content provision, tools and technology, performance analytics, collaboration and communication
GoalDrive revenueBoost sales effectiveness
ImpactShortens sales cycle, improves conversion ratesEnhances sales rep competency, improves sales performance
Technology examplesSales engagement platforms (SEPs), Customer relationship management (CRM) systemsContent management systems (CMS), Learning management systems (LMS), Integrations with CRMs
Measurement metricsConversion rates, click-through rates, response rates, sales velocitySales performance metrics, training completion rates, content usage rates

Overlapping areas

  • Content utilisation: Both emphasise the importance of content to engage and educate prospects effectively.
  • Technology adoption: Predictably, there are various tech options to help with both external engagement and internal enablement.
  • Performance analysis: Analysing metrics to gauge performance and optimise strategies is a shared emphasis.

Complementary aspects

  • Align the sales process: Effective engagement strategies reply on strong enablement processes, ensuring that sales reps are well-prepared to interact with prospects.
  • Continuous improvement: Insights derived from engagement metrics can feed into your enablement processes, which encourages continuous improvement.

Actionable tips: Engagement, enablement and beyond

Content development

Sales and marketing need to be friends. If you’re communicating well and working towards the same goal, good things happen. Marketing teams shouldn’t feel their only job is to bring in leads, but to assist in the sales process too.

  • Hold regular meetings: Foster a culture of collaboration. Regular meetings can help marketing understand common sales objections, reasons for lost deals and any other content needs of sales reps.
  • Implement a content request form: Sales should be able to easily request specific collateral that’s missing or needed. At Sopro, our form is connected to Asana, which automatically creates a task and assigns it to the relevant person in marketing.
  • Invite marketing onto calls: There’s no replacement for this hands-on experience. It helps marketers understand the challenges and objections faced by the sales team.
  • Spy on your competitors: If you can, do a spot of secret shopping and go through as much of the sales process with a competitor as you can. 
  • Analyse performance metrics: Use analytics to identify common and specific objections. Content can be developed to address the needs of different buyer personas at various stages of the sales funnel.
  • Encourage feedback: Establish a feedback loop between sales and marketing to ensure that strategies and content are resonating with prospects and customers.

Explore AI and Automation

There’s huge potential for AI and automation in sales. Here are a few suggestions to get started:

  • AI transcripts and summaries: Tools like Fireflies provide transcripts and summaries of your sales calls, so you can review conversations and extract insights.
  • Automate CRM entries: Use AI to pull the necessary information to populate your CRM, saving time and making entries more complete.
  • Create customised sales proposal decks: Employ AI to help create tailored proposal decks based on prospect and company information and your previous interactions.
  • Predict and prepare for objections: Analyse data to predict likely objections for different personas, and use AI chatbots to simulate prospect conversations for objection handling practice.

Invest in ongoing training and support

  • Set aside time for self learning: Encourage sales reps to dedicate time to research, self-improvement and staying updated with industry trends.
  • Facilitate regular training: Offer regular training sessions on new tools, sales techniques, and product updates.
  • Offer support and feedback: Ensure there is a support system in place for sales reps to turn to when they face challenges, be it technical or sales-related.

Sell more with Sopro

Sopro helps you sell more. Our fully-managed B2B prospecting service drives new sales enquiries from your ideal customers, and our sales engagement platform is packed with cutting-edge features to optimise your outreach and nurture your leads.

Sopro combines a cutting-edge platform, world-class data, and unrivalled prospecting experience. We source your ideal prospects, engage them with personalised emails, and connect them directly to you when they are ready to talk business. The Sopro platform then helps you to nurture and engage each lead until you close the deal.

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