You’ve probably heard people in the industry talking about it. You might have nodded along, but weren’t really sure what they were talking about.
After all, sales is known to have a lot of buzzwords, jargon, acronyms, and trendy terms. On top of that, sales enablement is a multi-pronged process that has taken on a variety of different definitions by different companies who use it, so it’s no surprise that you might think it is just a fancy way to say sales training these days.
But, although they’re both important, the two terms are distinctively different.
What Is Sales Training?
Sales training is typically the process that is solely focused on getting your sales people up to date with your sales process, institutional processes, programs, and philosophies as well as your company’s products and services. It consists of teaching them the practical and technical knowledge required to sell your specific products and services, such as teaching them how to upsell, teaching them about the technical specifications and features of your products, and teaching them about your service-level agreements and your CRM program.
Though this training is critical to getting sales people up to speed, particularly when it comes to new hires, it is a very narrow process with a distinct mission.
Sales training is often seen under the umbrella of sales enablement, as one of its many different teachings.
What Is Sales Enablement?
The full and complete definition of sales enablement is a bit of a mystery as different business owners and decision makers consider it to be many different things. Though it does encompass sales training to some degree, it also consists of sales coaching, content creation, sales enablement tools and technologies, strategic development, knowledge sharing, collaboration, systems and support, performance analysis, onboarding, and so much more.
Though there’s no one single definition that covers everything that sales enablement is, the term is used to group together all of the processes that enhance your sales team’s capabilities by giving them all they need to increase their confidence, effectiveness, productivity, and efficiency when selling to today’s customers.
In essence, it’s the ongoing and strategic process of equipping sales employees with the tools, technologies, methodologies, practices, and knowledge required to sell in today’s digital age—to sell to inbound customers.
It helps companies align their sales and marketing departments into one cohesive team. It offers your sales people insights into buyer motivations and behaviours. It helps them have more relevant and meaningful conversations with the right clients, in the right places, and at the right times. It helps them respond to complex customer needs. And it helps them ditch their old-school selling techniques and adopt new inbound selling best practices, techniques, and methodologies for better results.
Which One Does Your Organization Need?
So which process should you focus on in your organization? Well, both. Sales training is still a necessity. Your sales people need to understand how to do things in your company. They need to know the specifics of your products and services. They need to know your sales process.
But if you’ve implemented inbound marketing into your company, then you also need to enable your sales people in order to turn outbound sellers into inbound superstars. Sales enablement is an important part in the successful implementation of inbound marketing. With inbound sales being vastly different from outbound sales, you need to ensure that your sales people are prepared to sell to new customers who are in control, who are more knowledgeable than ever before, and who don’t want to be sold to. You need to enable your sales people to succeed with inbound sales. As a result, you’ll see a better ROI from your inbound marketing strategy, you’ll benefit from reduced turnover, and you’ll enjoy higher profitability thanks to sales people who are ready and able to close inbound deals.