Sales Basics
  •   8 min read

Sales Enablement vs Sales Engagement: What Sets Them Apart?


ByJanani H

Published July 18, 2023


A great experience provided to the prospect is directly proportional to a streamlined and smooth sales process conducted by a sales rep. 

A study carried by Segment found out that 49% of buyers have made impulse purchases after receiving a more personalized experience. It may sound simple, but, converting a client into a customer depends on a lot of factors such as robust market research, proper outreach, personalized problem-solving, smooth customer interactions, etc. 

It’s tedious to keep a tab on all these processes at once. Hence, on a mission to streamline the sales process better, many sales organizations are implementing sales engagement and sales enablement platforms.

Given how both of them have their primary goal of helping the sales teams become more efficient, let’s compare sales enablement vs sales engagement to see how they're different and complement each other at the same time.

‍What is sales enablement?

This refers to the process of providing the sales reps with technology, training, or required information to help them increase their sales effectiveness. 

As the word suggests, it means ‘enabling’ the sales folks to close faster and better. Providing access to certain tools to enhance their sales cycle and transferring the right skills and knowledge to maximize buyer interactions are the main requirements of a sales enablement tool.

All the resources that are to be provided to the sales reps are developed internally with various teams such as customer support, product marketing, etc. who collaborate regularly to ensure the sales personnel stay up-to-date with the product features, client requirements and can present the right document to the right prospect at the right time.

Example of sales enablement

Imagine a SaaS company that offers a complex product. To enable their sales team, they create a comprehensive sales enablement process. This includes:

Training and onboarding

They provide in-depth training sessions to educate sales reps about the product's features, benefits, and value proposition. They also conduct onboarding programs to help new hires quickly get up to speed.

Content creation

They collaborate with marketing to create high-quality sales collateral, such as brochures, case studies, and presentations. These materials are designed to address common customer pain points and showcase the product's capabilities.

Sales playbooks

They develop sales playbooks that outline proven strategies, best practices, and objection-handling techniques. These playbooks serve as a guide for sales reps, helping them navigate different stages of the sales process effectively.

Technology tools

They invest in sales enablement software that provides easy access to sales content, tracks prospect interactions, and offers analytics to measure sales performance. This technology streamlines the sales process and empowers reps to focus on selling rather than administrative tasks.

Ongoing support

Finally, they provide continuous support to the sales reps. They conduct regular coaching sessions, offer performance feedback, and address any challenges or questions that arise during the sales cycle.

Benefits of a sales enablement platform

  1. Helps the reps to be well-informed while selling
  2. Accelerates the sales cycles
  3. Provides the sales teams with data-driven insights on how their prospects are consuming shared content
  4. Helps in onboarding the sales representatives
  5. Sales enablement platforms help measure what content works and what doesn’t

What is sales engagement?

‍Sales engagement is a continuous process that helps in nudging a prospect to convert into a customer. It includes various touchpoints or interactions conducted during the sales process, between the prospect and the sales team. 

Sales engagement is the process of developing and optimizing these touchpoints. The idea here is to nurture marketing qualified leads into opportunities. In other words, sales engagement is the process of qualifying leads and transferring them into a healthy sales pipeline.

Sales Engagement Platforms help the sales development or business development representatives to reach out to prospects and communicate effectively across channels.

Example of sales engagement 

Let’s consider you’re engaging with prospects with the help of a sales engagement platform like Outplay. The main goal for your sales teams is to optimize their interactions and drive meaningful customer engagements. So here's how Outplay can benefit your sales team:

Multichannel outreach

Outplay enables your sales reps to reach out to prospects through various channels, including email, phone calls, social media, and SMS. The platform provides a centralized hub where sales reps can manage and track their communication activities, ensuring consistent and effective engagement across channels.

Personalization at scale

Outplay empowers your sales teams to personalize their outreach. It includes dynamic email templates, merge fields, and customizable message sequences. Sales reps can tailor their messaging based on prospect data and behavior, enhancing the relevance and impact of their communication.

Intelligent automation

Outplay incorporates automation capabilities to streamline sales workflows and save time. It can automate tasks like email follow-ups, appointment scheduling, enabling sales reps to focus on building relationships and closing deals.

Analytics and insights

Robust analytics and reporting give sales teams valuable insights into their engagement efforts. They can track email open rates, click-through rates, response rates, and other key metrics to evaluate the effectiveness of their outreach. These insights help identify areas for improvement and refine sales strategies.

Sales content management

Includes a content library where sales reps can access and share sales collateral, such as presentations, case studies, and product demos. It ensures that the sales team has easy access to up-to-date and relevant materials, enhancing their ability to engage prospects with impactful content.

Sales sequence optimization

Outplay offers sequence management functionality, allowing sales teams to create and optimize sales sequences. They can define the optimal timing and frequency of touchpoints throughout the sales process, ensuring consistent engagement and avoiding overwhelming prospects.

Integration capabilities

Integrates with other essential tools used by sales teams, such as CRM systems and marketing automation platforms. This integration enables seamless data synchronization, ensuring a unified view of prospect interactions and providing a comprehensive understanding of the customer journey.

Benefits of a sales engagement platform

  1. Helps in booking more sales meetings
  2. Automates sequences and messages and sends them in real-time across channels like email, phone, SMS, and social media
  3. Allows the sales team to personalize sales messages at scale across channels
  4. Integrates with various CRM platforms like Salesforce, Hubspot, and Pipedrive and updates the status of leads and opportunities automatically via a two-way sync
  5. Helps measure the effectiveness of various channels/touchpoints that are used to connect with the prospect

Sales enablement vs sales engagement: how’s it different from a CRM solution?

A CRM solution is meant for storing any client information or data across different stages of the marketing funnel. Your CRM tools are not meant for one-on-one communications, thus removing the scope for any personalization. 

These tools are meant for importing leads and storing details around the customer/company, but apart from that, they don’t help in targeting the right market or engaging the right people. CRM tools won’t send a message to a prospect at a scheduled time, they won’t remind you to finish your high-priority tasks around prospecting, or even assist you in any outreach or engagement strategy. 

To avail of these kinds of features, your go-to platform would be a sales engagement + enablement tool. From the time when a lead is created to when there is a successful conversion, there lies a gap in this process - i.e. of connecting and engaging with the right prospect.

Usually, reps have mountains of prospects to contact but fail to do so because of less time or more prospects. Hence, the right combination of tools is needed to nurture leads across channels in an engaging manner to convert the leads into opportunities. This is where sales enablement and sales engagement platforms step in.

Sales enablement vs sales engagement: different but interdependent

Sales Enablement is an internal effort to ensure that all the required documentation, training, resources, etc. are aligned, in order to arm the sales reps with the right type of content at the right time, to close deals faster. Whereas, sales engagement refers to the process of nurturing leads across channels like SMS, email, and social media with the singular focus of getting more sales meetings.

Enablement platforms help in providing the right training and tools to the representatives but don’t help in any client communication. A sales engagement platform includes the features of an enablement platform and allows you to integrate your CRM or marketing automation tools with the platform.

Despite certain differences between the platforms, it still becomes evident that to increase the productivity level and operational efficiency of the sales team, a sales enablement, and a sales engagement platform, are a must.

According to Hubspot, Salespeople spend just one-third of their day actually talking to prospects. They spend 21% of their day writing emails, 17% entering data, another 17% prospecting and researching leads, 12% going to internal meetings, and 12% scheduling calls.

Hence, automating most of the tasks above to divert their attention just toward talking to prospects makes sense, doesn’t it? Sales engagement and enablement platforms are exactly what sales reps need.

Thus, both platforms work in tandem to increase the overall experience of the sales team. They have an equal goal of enabling the reps to engage with the clients and customers effortlessly in order to crush the targets and meet the revenue goals.

How do sales enablement and sales engagement work together?

Sales enablement and sales engagement are two complementary approaches that work together to enhance the effectiveness and efficiency of a sales team. While they have distinct focuses, they collaborate to support the sales process from different angles.

Here's how sales enablement and sales engagement work together:

Empowering sales reps

Sales enablement equips sales reps with the necessary tools, resources, and knowledge to effectively engage with prospects. It provides them with training, content, and technology that support their selling efforts. Sales engagement, on the other hand, focuses on active engagement and interaction with prospects to build relationships and move them through the sales funnel.

By combining sales enablement resources and strategies with sales engagement techniques, sales reps are empowered with the right tools and knowledge to engage prospects meaningfully.

Targeted messaging

Sales enablement ensures that sales reps have access to high-quality content and messaging that address customer pain points, highlight product features, and showcase the value proposition. Sales engagement utilizes this content to deliver personalized and targeted messages to prospects.

By leveraging the content provided through sales enablement, sales reps can engage prospects with tailored and relevant messaging, increasing the effectiveness of their engagement efforts.

Process optimization

Sales enablement focuses on optimizing the overall sales process by providing frameworks, best practices, and sales playbooks. It helps streamline the sales cycle, ensuring that reps follow a structured approach and have a clear understanding of each stage.

Sales engagement builds on this foundation by actively engaging with prospects and leveraging the optimized process. It ensures that sales reps are engaging with prospects at the right time, with the right message, and through the right channels, maximizing the impact of their efforts.

Data-driven insights

Both sales enablement and sales engagement rely on data and analytics to drive improvements. Sales enablement tracks the performance of sales resources and training programs, providing insights into their effectiveness. Sales engagement utilizes data to measure the engagement and response rates of different outreach strategies, helping sales reps refine their approaches. 

By combining these insights, sales teams can identify areas for improvement in both enablement resources and engagement tactics, leading to continuous enhancement of the overall sales effectiveness.

However, the integration of these two approaches empowers sales teams to engage prospects strategically, deliver value-added interactions, and ultimately drive better results in terms of conversions, customer relationships, and revenue growth.

Sales enablement vs sales engagement: which should you choose?

Choosing between sales enablement and sales engagement depends on your specific business needs and goals. While both approaches are valuable, understanding their distinctions can help determine which one aligns better with your priorities. Here are some considerations to guide your decision:

Sales Enablement is ideal if:

  • You want to provide your sales team with comprehensive resources, tools, and training to enhance their effectiveness.
  • Your focus is on equipping sales reps with knowledge about your products or services, industry insights, and effective sales strategies.
  • You aim to streamline and optimize your sales processes, ensuring consistency and adherence to best practices.
  • You want to develop content and collateral that support the sales team's efforts in addressing customer pain points and showcasing product value.
  • You seek to leverage technology solutions that centralize sales resources, enable tracking and analytics, and facilitate sales administration.

Sales Engagement is ideal if:

  • Your priority is actively engaging and building relationships with prospects through personalized and targeted interactions.
  • You aim to optimize your outreach efforts across various channels, such as email, phone calls, social media, and more.
  • You want to leverage automation and technology to streamline communication, schedule follow-ups, and improve response rates.
  • Your focus is on utilizing data and analytics to measure engagement metrics and refine your engagement strategies.
  • You seek to enhance prospect experiences and build trust by delivering relevant and valuable content at every stage of the sales process.

In many cases, a balanced approach that incorporates both sales enablement and sales engagement can be highly effective. It's important to evaluate your specific sales objectives, team dynamics, and resources available to determine the most suitable strategy for your organization. 

Additionally, considering the integration of sales enablement and sales engagement tools and practices can provide a comprehensive framework for maximizing sales effectiveness.

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