Sales Enablement vs. Sales Operations: Working Together Towards a Common Goal
July 27, 2022
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The typical buying group for a B2B sale involves 6 to 10 decision-makers, which means your sales reps must be skilled at persuading not just one individual but an entire group.
Sales enablement is an effective way to prepare your team for the challenges of a complex sales process. But some business leaders aren’t clear on the difference between sales enablement and sales operations. As a result, making a business case for the resources you need can be challenging.
Understanding the role of sales enablement and sales ops helps you explain your team’s value and get buy-in at your organization. Take a look at some key differences between sales enablement and operations and how the two teams work together to drive results.
What is the difference between sales enablement and sales operations?
Sales enablement involves aligning your sales and marketing teams to ensure they have the resources they need to close sales and improve the bottom line. This alignment with the marketing team is just one of the many essential cross-functional relationships that organizations need to develop to be successful. Sales enablement also needs to work closely with the product team to train new reps on releases and functionality, as well as customer success to ensure that the existing sales process creates valid post-sale renewal and upsell opportunities.
Sales operations ensures that everyday sales tasks go smoothly, from documenting prospect information to highlighting leads to follow up with. The sales operations team is in charge of the sales team’s day-to-day activities and uses data to measure the effectiveness of sales initiatives.
These two functions overlap, which may be the source of confusion. Let’s take a closer look at both enablement and operations.
Sales enablement is all about setting your sales team up for success before they go out to close a deal and helping them analyze the results and improve. For example, the sales enablement team creates onboarding materials, ongoing training and coaching, and sales resources.
The enablement team also helps align sales and marketing under the same big-picture strategy and vision. The enablement team helps prepare reps to move into the market and make sales.
Sales operations usually takes over once the sales process is moving forward. For example, the operations team chooses and maintains the CRM that stores lead information, gives follow-up reminders, and tracks lead activity.
Operations may also execute the onboarding process that the enablement team created and maintains the marketing tech the company uses. The focus of sales operations is to be behind the scenes and ensure that the sales process runs smoothly and effectively.
Is sales enablement the same as sales training?
Because a lot of sales enablement content focuses on training the sales team, it’s easy to assume that enablement is all about training.
While creating training is an important part of a sales enablement strategy, it’s not the only thing this team does. The goal of the enablement team is to provide both sales reps and sales managers with the tools and information they need to execute at the highest level.
That means working on buyer personas, sales strategy, product guides, content, and more. The enablement team also works closely with managers to onboard and continuously train and support reps throughout their journey with your company. Working with managers to clearly define ramping milestones and creating training and coaching programs to improve reps’ skills to increase the team’s productivity and efficiency. Sales managers are some of the closest stakeholders that sales enablement works with.
Working together: sales operations and enablement
Because sales enablement is focused on preparation and education, and operations is based on ensuring that the execution of the sales process goes well, the two teams work very closely together.
Both teams work with management to support reps as they move through the sales process. Also, both operations and enablement need to understand ideal prospects, the customer journey, and how deals close so that they can help facilitate the process.
It’s important to understand and communicate that a sales enablement team doesn’t compete with operations. Instead, they serve complementary roles in helping sales reps succeed and drive revenue.
For example, let’s say your organization wants to implement a new CRM. Sales operations may vet different CRMs and help move the data from the old system to the new one. In the meantime, sales enablement will train reps to use the new system and create process documentation to support change management.
Enablement works closely with operations to create a change management plan to not just train on the new system but also measure the adoption and provide resources to assist with the change. This can include coordinating office hours with operations, Q&A sessions, and more.
“Sales enablement and operations are like peas and carrots; they just go together,” according to Stephanie Middaugh, Director of Enablement at WorkRamp. “Operations is typically the tactical arm of the revenue organization, often focused on maintaining a CRM system, implementing new tools, and creating and streamlining processes. Enablement should work closely with operations to understand each of those initiatives and helps ensure those new processes and tools are not only adopted but are also making reps more efficient and contributing to an increase in overall ARR.”
As you can see, both departments are essential as your company grows, develops new sales reps, and manages the sales process.
Sales enablement works with operations to create growth
Today’s complex sales process needs your marketing and sales teams to be fully integrated. Your reps need to have the best assets at their fingertips, the best training to prepare them for the sale, and the best behind-the-scenes technology and support so they can succeed.
WorkRamp is an All-in-One Learning Platform that can help you equip your sales team with the training materials they need to drive revenue performance. A learning platform is like a classroom where knowledge transfer takes place, and you can build a resource center with WorkRamp to empower your team to learn with a self-service library of training courses.
Optimizely used WorkRamp to train and certify its go-to-market teams and align them on consistent messaging. WorkRamp provided a single platform to train, track, and certify a global workforce during three major product releases.
“The beauty of WorkRamp is that it’s so easy to use; we saw immediate value on day one of using the platform.”
-Zach Lawryk, Senior Director of Solutions Engineering and Enablement, Optimizely.
With WorkRamp and their strategy to create consistent messaging, Optimizely increased their average contract values by over 60 percent and built their enterprise pipeline.
When sales enablement and sales operations collaborate, the growth that can happen is exponential. There’s no reason to silo sales enablement into “training” and sales operations into “tech.” Both teams contribute well beyond those realms.
Want to learn more about how to use WorkRamp to train your sales team and improve collaboration? Contact us to schedule a free demo.
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Anna SpoonerFreelance Writer
Anna Spooner is a digital strategist and marketer with over 11 years of experience. She writes content for various industries, including SaaS, medical and personal insurance, healthcare, education, marketing, and business. She enjoys the process of putting words around a company’s vision and is an expert at making complex ideas approachable and encouraging an audience to take action.
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