Sales enablement and sales operations while they sound like two words to describe the same thing, they are actually quite different. Sales operations vs sales enablement ultimately come down to what parts of a company these attempts to work on. In short sales, operations is focused on structure and structure planning of an organization while sales enablement acts directly on the sales team to offer tools to enable salespeople to be more effective and get more people to buy. Below are the ways that each act in business as well as how they can both interact to create a sales department set up for success.
Sales operations act at a managerial level to create the reporting hierarchy, hire new talent, purchase equipment, ensure training are implemented to new staff, as well as attempt to optimize sales. Initially these seem very similar to sales enablement, but the key distinction of sales operation is that it acts in a very macro way. Individual attention to each situation is not accounted for in sales operations but rather a look into how the sales department is functioning as a whole. Sales operations has the limitation of size as they are responsible for the entirety of sales so little attention is given to each of the working components.
Sales enablement on the other hand takes a very micro approach, concentrating its efforts in the very end process in the buying timeline. The approach taken here is to enable salespeople to work effectively while also streamlining the buying process. Enabling salespeople to work at their best is accomplished by having a tailored onboarding, providing specific education about what is being sold and how to market it, as well as providing the most up to date technical tools alongside training on the tools. Ensuring there are buyers on the other end of these enabled salespeople is often accomplished by meshing marketing and sales to allow an open line of communication where salespeople can get all the necessary information while marketers are able to hear what tactics are and aren’t working directly from salespeople.
Neither one of these divisions can work in isolation and really rely on one another to work efficiently. Without sales operations there would be no structure or anyone looking at the department in a macro way to see if the business is prospering. Without sales enablement there would be a significant missed opportunity as sales teams can quickly go to a state of disarray when salespeople are not prepared and given the tools needed for success. With both of these divisions working together growth in sales is almost inevitable. With sales operations able to focus its energy on product acquisition and the interworkings of the department it is able to work at its optimum capacity. With the upper-level business is taken care of sales enablement is able to focus solely on the salespeople which provide salespeople with guidance, knowledge, and the tools to operate at their maximum capacity.
Overall while the differences between sales enablement and sales operations can be confusing, it is important to acknowledge that both of these entities provide an important role in sales. With sales operations focus is on the internal structure and macro view of sales. While sales enablement is the micro-operations of the salespeople and enabling them to work at their best by giving them the knowledge and tools to succeed. When all the gears in the working machine of a sales department are running smoothly it ultimately leads to sales growth. The major key to any business is the optimization and both of these accomplish just that for the company at large.