Sales Enablement vs Sales Engagement – What’s the Difference?

Written by Ethan Warner
on July 12, 2017

Sales Enablement vs Sales Engagement
Should you be enabling your sales team, or engaging them? The terms ‘Sales Enablement’ and ‘Sales Engagement’ are thrown around a lot and sometimes interchangeably, so before we look at what you should be seeking out in a good SaaS solution, let’s try and pin down the definition of sales enablement vs sales engagement.


What is Sales Enablement?

Sales Enablement is exactly that: tools and activities that enable salespeople to close deals. This can be content – case studies, white papers and blog posts for your sales team to share with customers – and it can be software, usually focused on customer relationship management and communication. In some companies, Sales Enablement has become a department all of its own, with people managing those activities and tools and offering training to ensure that the sales team are making the most of it all. For many businesses, however, Sales Enablement is the responsibility of the sales or marketing department, preferably working in close alignment.

Sales Enablement is a relatively new phenomenon that has arisen in response to the sea change in the buyer-seller dynamic that has taken place over recent years. The growth of the Internet has created a far more empowered customer – one with access to a world of information – who turns to the salesperson for a different kind of service than in years gone by. As a result, the salesperson needs to be able to answer far more in-depth enquiries and they need marketing support in order to do this.


What is Sales Engagement?

In this age of the new customer relationship, where the sales conversation has replaced the traditional sales pitch, engagement has become the buzzword. Engagement is so much more than talking ‘at’ your audience. Genuine engagement is a 2-way interaction.  It’s not about performing in front of your customers, but instead captivating them and drawing them into the discussion leading to higher rates of conversion. While we want customers to engage with content, we also want to make sure that the sales team is using it – both frequently and in the right way.

Sales Engagement tools fall under the umbrella of Sales Enablement, but go beyond content and communication to also incorporate analytics, revealing how the user (salesperson) is engaging with that content, and guidance to assist in its proper use. This includes tracking usage and recording feedback so that the content developers can see how well the content is working in the field; they can then look to optimize that content in the best way possible. Both feedback and guidance are critical in trying to bring sales and marketing into closer alignment.


What do you need for your business?

The ideal tool brings together content curation, easy and direct communication, and analysis, in a platform that looks smart and works anywhere, any time. We’ve put together four core attributes that we think are must-haves when you’re shopping for a SaaS solution to improve sales performance.

  • Impact.  First and foremost, your audience should be wowed by fantastic looking interfaces and content. We live in a world where visual impact is increasingly important, and if the tool doesn’t look incredible then both customers and salespeople will quickly draw negative conclusions about your business. 
  • Adaptability.  This is the key to customer responsiveness.  The tool needs to provide the presenter with the ability to quickly and seamlessly jump to different topics as required by the client. Nobody gets away with “please keep all questions to the end” any more. The way to keep customers interested is to have the ability to rapidly change tack, to go where they want to go, to be client-led throughout the meeting rather than following a set script. This adaptability also includes the ability for companies to rapidly update material in an easy and efficient manner.
  • Guidance.  A Sales Engagement tool mustn’t only rely on an individual salesperson’s knowledge, skills and abilities. It also needs to be able to guide the presenter around material, reinforcing sales techniques and approaches that have been found to work well in that particular business. All too often, tools only provide lists of resources in an anonymous filing system that leaves the user completely in the dark about how to progress through them.
  • Analysis. Analytics and insights into how sales teams are using the tool allows for better training and promotion of what actually works in the field, providing marketing departments with information they could previously only dream of. Best of all, you can track outcomes to see what behavior is actually leading to improvements in sales. Analytics are also vital to continually improve and optimize content.

Our findings show that businesses with a strong Sales Enablement strategy experience exciting results. Their customers are happier, their sales teams are more confident, and their marketing teams are capitalizing on their improved visibility through to sales. Most importantly, these companies are selling more.


If you’d like to learn more about how iPresent can help your sales teams communicate with their prospects, please get in touch.


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