Revenue Enablement vs Sales Enablement? In the simplest terms, consider this a Version 2 versus a Version 1 comparison.
In this article, we will:
- Provide the basic definitions for each.
- Discuss the focus of each type of Enablement.
- Compare the approaches each version of Enablement takes.
I have defined each of these before, but I will write the descriptions more clearly. As you think about each form of Enablement, consider these two definitions.
The Definition of Sales Enablement
Sales Enablement supports sellers with training and content to help them guide buyers through the sales funnel.
The Definition of Revenue Enablement
Revenue Enablement supports prospects and customers along their journey by arming all customer-facing roles to consistently deliver great information and experiences to ensure these groups identify and overcome their business challenges positively and accurately.
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Revenue Enablement vs Sales Enablement – Who is the focus of the Enablement?
In straightforward terms:
- Sales Enablement focuses on the sales team
- Revenue Enablement focuses on all customer-facing teams
These forms of Enablement both look at the sales cycle purely from the perspective of what the business requires. Yes, each works to improve and enhance the customer interaction, but both focus on delivering the best results possible for the company — not the customer.
To broaden your perspective and improve your results, you will also want to understand the buyer perspective. Buyer feedback loops and the buyer perspective are beyond the scope of this article but worth your time to review.
How do the two approaches focus their initiatives?
The Sales Enablement team focuses on the sales funnel. Prospects do not exist until they enter, and they cease to exist once they leave.
Sales Enablement leaders focus their efforts entirely on the activities performed by the sales professionals on the team (inside, outside, channel). These activities include:
- Lead generation (i.e., cold calls and emails, sales cadences, social media efforts).
- Sales content, training, and coaching help your team move the qualified lead through the sales process.
- Sales tools to deliver information to your channel partners.
On the other hand, Revenue Enablement focuses on a prospect from when they begin to be aware of a need through their buying journey. If an opportunity becomes a customer, the Revenue Enablement team continues to support them through their life as a customer.
This broader view means that these teams work with sales managers and reps, just as sales enablers do, but they broaden their focus and work with customer success, sometimes finance, and other teams that work with prospects and customers.
Each form of Enablement has a common goal:
- Improve sales productivity.
- Decrease the length of sales cycles.
- Achieve a higher win rate.
- Create a world-class sales organization.
Each also brings the following tactics to their work:
- Delivering the right content at the right time to their teams.
- Training programs to provide onboarding new hires, ongoing training, and coaching the revenue team members they support.
- Ensuring their teams have the right tools to achieve the revenue growth targets set by the business.
- Documenting, sharing, and communicating best practices for their team members.
Yes, the tactics used are often the same, but the enablement strategy is broader for Revenue Enablement.
However, Revenue Enablement looks beyond the sale, trying to drive high customer retention through increased customer satisfaction and customer experience.
The best results occur when the teams report to the Chief Revenue Officer or other executive-level leaders responsible for driving revenue growth.
A final note is that both teams should work closely with revenue or sales operations teams.
The early prospect phases
Revenue Enablement teams need to work closely with marketing teams to understand and sometimes support their efforts.
Suppose you have a marketing team that is using ABM technology.
In that case, you have an opportunity to become aware of prospects who are just starting to consider their pain points, who are looking for solutions, and who are expressing buying intent. While you cannot be sure that they have genuinely begun their buying process, you know a user in your target audience is considering how to solve problems your solutions solve.
The Enablement team should play a highly collaborative role in aligning the marketing department and the sales force.
When the buying journey and sales funnel align
When a prospect finally reaches out to your sellers, they are typically at least 60-70% along their decision path. They care little for your sales funnel, discovery questions, and other standard approaches sales reps have used for decades.
However, to ensure prospects solve their business challenges with the right solutions, you must care about these things.
Enablement teams must arm your sellers with excellent sales training and content to help them gather the correct information while delivering great insights to these prospects.
In doing so, both your sellers and your potential customers win.
When prospects become customers
Enablement should deliver training and content to customer success teams to aid them in up-sell, cross-sell, and renewals.
Enablement should partner with customer success teams when they see existing customers starting to show intent for additional products the business sells and when current customers begin to show interest in their competitors’ offerings.
Sales Enablement has typically focused on using training, coaching, content development, and curation as the trade’s primary tools. Process, when considered, often remains a concern of the sales operations group.
Enablement is missing the opportunity to have a more considerable impact on the business. As the function matures and becomes a part of the corporate strategy, it must demonstrate the ability to be process-oriented and metrics-driven.
This shift is underway.
Operations and enablement teams are now commonly reporting to the same leaders.
This merge is an excellent first step and maybe enough for most organizations.
However, when Enablement and operations are not organizationally aligned, the Enablement team may be responsible for continuous improvement across a portion of go-to-market activities.
How can the two groups better support each other regardless of reporting structure?
Both groups must partner to review the buyer and customer journeys.
Operations will often check the impact from an internal-facing perspective (your customer-facing teammates), and Enablement will examine the effect from an external viewpoint (customers, prospects, partners).
Combine these two perspectives to deliver exceptional and consistent customer experiences that delight your customers while streamlining work for your internal teams, giving them time for more conversations with prospects and customers.
Are you now using Revenue Enablement?
If not, have you begun the transition?
If not, what’s holding you back?