In the modern world of sales, vague jargon is all the rage. How often have you heard a term and wondered if it was even worth investigating the meaning — or worse, confused two similar-sounding buzzwords?
For a perfect example, think of sales engagement versus sales enablement. At first glance, you might guess these two terms have identical meanings. Even if you didn’t, you may still assume the similarity between the two makes them interchangeable.
In truth, though, sales engagement and sales enablement are two separate strategies that can both aid your business development goals. In order to use either to its full effect, though, you’ll need to understand how they differ and how they might align with your overall vision. Here’s what you need to know.
What Is Sales Engagement?
Sales engagement encompasses all the interactions your sales reps have with prospects and buyers. When a prospect opens a sales email, that’s engagement. When they respond to a DM on social media, that’s engagement, too.
Engagement can cover in-person interactions like meetings and phone calls, but it also includes actions that don’t involve direct communication. When a prospect attends a webinar or downloads some offered content, they’re still being engaged.
Each interaction that your sales team has with a prospect, directly or indirectly, is another chance to set up a potential sales meeting. Those meetings, in turn, represent opportunities to close deals and make money for your organization.
Experts point out that there are six pillars to sales engagement that every organization needs to understand in order to succeed:
Primary and Secondary Data: Information on the prospects you’re targeting, opportunities for new prospects, funding sources, competitor data, and more
Workflow and Playbooks: The actions of your sales teams, coordinated to maximize their efficacy
Communication Channels: How you communicate with prospects — via email, phone calls, texts, or social media messages
Messaging and Content: What your communications with prospects is saying, including email headers/bodies, voice messages, landing page content, and overall message
APIs and Integrations: Connecting all your tools and technologies to work as one
Reports and Analytics: Tracking metrics so you can see what works, what doesn’t, and what needs to change so you can make progress
Though it’s broad in scope, you can see why sales engagement is important. Where it becomes tricky is knowing how to use it to further your business goals. The most effective sales engagement strategies tend to be the ones that best make use of available technologies like sales engagement platforms (SEM).
For sales engagement to work, however, it’s not enough to just have the technology at your disposal. You’ll need to learn how to use it to track and boost your most important metrics. You’ll also need to learn to stay nimble so that you can shift focus to new channels when one starts to dry up.
Here, leveraging automation for prospect communication can help you keep pace with competitors.
What Is Sales Enablement?
Though most professionals put their own nuanced spin on the term, a common definition of sales enablement is the process of providing a sales team with the information, tools, and content that they need to close on prospects more effectively.
Sales enablement may include tools for many specific sales rep needs, such as training and coaching, content development, communication and engagement, and other areas that allow them to streamline the process of driving revenue.
One specific example of sales enablement is the process of lead scoring and qualifying. This process helps sales reps concentrate on the most promising prospects and refrain from wasting time courting poor-fitting leads.
Another easy-to-grasp example is the act of organizing the vast reserves of content that sales teams use to reel in customers so that it’s always accessible, helping the most effective content make in front of prospects fast.
At the end of the day, sales enablement is about empowering your sales team to sell more easily by providing them with the right resources, processes, and tools while enabling collaboration with your marketing, product, and brand teams.
Sales Enablement vs Sales Engagement
Based on these definitions, you can see that sales engagement and sales enablement are complementary practices that can both empower your sales teams. There are three key differences, though:
1. Internal vs External Focus
Sales enablement mostly handles the internal workings of your organization necessary for producing effective sales, such as:
Sales engagement, on the other hand, turns the focus outward to your prospects. By streamlining communication and improving interactions between potential buyers and your sales team, you can generate a greater quantity of leads and pull in more customers.
Technologies for sales enablement and sales engagement focus on different things. For instance, sales enablement automation might revolve around simplifying internal processes so you have the time to track down more prospects. On the sales engagement side of that coin, the tech will help you zero in on automating communications so your sales team can make contact with more prospects in less time.
3. Key Performance Indicators
Because of their disparate focuses, the important metrics for sales enablement and sales engagement are different. From a sales engagement perspective, you might be trying to optimize a narrow set of metrics — specifically, those having to do with the number of prospect meetings your team needs to hit your revenue goals and how many prospects you need per meeting.
Your sales enablement indicators, on the other hand, may include some sales engagement analytics, but they’ll generally focus more broadly on details like the time your team spends selling and how long it takes to generate revenue.
You might be wondering by now how you’re supposed to choose between sales engagement and sales enablement as a strategy for your organization to employ. Fortunately, you don’t have to decide — each supports the other, and the process of sales engagement can fit within an overall framework of sales enablement.
However, you’ll need to make sure that you’re taking advantage of automation technologies like Sharetivity to save your sales team time and let them focus more on netting sales meetings and closing deals. After all, sales enablement is all about providing your sales team with the tools it needs to succeed, and automating the time-consuming parts of sales engagement aligns perfectly with that goal.