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Why is Sales Engagement Becoming Sales Enablement?

4 minute read

I’d like to explore whether sales engagement is fast becoming sales enablement, or whether they are two side of the same coin.  

Of fundamental importance to being a good salesperson is access to high quality training and tools. Of course, there are some people who are naturally good at sales from a personality perspective, and it may go some way to help them to win more and more sales. However, technologies such as sales force automation, CRM, and now ‘sales enablement’ tools can enhance their performance and make their companies more effective and profitable.  

Oracle describes sales enablement in the following way: “Sales enablement is the set of tools and content provided to your sales teams to help them sell smarter and sell more. But sales enablement also includes the processes that marketers undertake to help sales reps sell.” 

Yet in this 24- hour digital world, sales isn’t always about having a physical presence of salespeople on the ground. Increasingly the enabler is content, without which there may be no online sales engagement with customers. Furthermore, even if sales and marketing automation tools are used, there will be occasions where the process still requires the human touch to reassure customers or to provide them with information that may not be available online.  

Two-sides of the same coin 

In that sense, you could argue that sales enablement and sales engagement are two-sides of the same coin. From a B2B perspective, Gartner says sales enablement is about delivering end-to-end revenue support, which is about guiding sellers to “help buyers with their purchase progress” It also says it’s about building customer confidence because confident customers are 10 times more likely to “purchase high quality, low regret deals.” The final tenet is the enablement of multithread buying – the creation of digital tools and guidance, as well as mediated digital experiences where “sellers are integrated inside the multithread experience.” 

With traditional face-to-face selling perhaps now being limited to specialist B2B and B2C sales, the analyst firm finds that “75% of B2B buyers prefer a rep-free experience — but 43% of buyers who use self-service digital commerce report higher purchase regret.” So, there is a need for sales engagement in some way, shape or form to ensure that an enablement strategy is aligned to B2B buying behaviours. Arguably, the same argument might also apply to some B2C sales. Coupled together, sales engagement and sales enablement can drive customer loyalty and growth.  

Customer experience in selling 

At September’s Sales Engagement Summit, delegates will explore these issues – including the importance of customer experience in selling. The synopsis for the ‘Importance of Experience in Selling’ stream says: “Customer Experience is widely recognised as a way to differentiate organisations from their competition and retain loyal customers. Join this stream to discover how you can improve your customer experience as part of your sales enablement strategy.” 

Although the discussion focuses on sales enablement, sales engagement hasn’t fallen away. They should be integrated into the same sales, marketing, and customer service strategy. Buzzwords may come and go, but the basics of these disciplines will always remain. 

What are your thoughts on the differences between sales engagement and sales enablement, and what are the best ways to integrate them – with and without technology? Contact us and let us know your thoughts. Meanwhile, read our insightful content in this newsletter.  

Graham Jarvis - Editor

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