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What is Sales Enablement?

Sales enablement is on the rise – but what is it, exactly?

The definition of sales enablement can be difficult to discern. Each company seems to have their own definition for what it is, and it can take a decent amount of research to understand what sales enablement is; and more specifically, if it matters to you.

In this crash course, we’ll take a look at a few different definitions of the term to see where they have common ground, and ultimately come to a simple understanding of what is meant by “sales enablement.”

Definitions of Sales Enablement

  • Hubspot: “1. Processes, practices, technologies and tools that improve the performance and productivity of the sales organization. 2. Enhances ability of sales team to increase revenue via sales. 3. Drives revenue by directly impacting sales teams’ ability to close more deals.”
  • IDC: “Getting the right information into the hands of the right sellers at the right time and place, and in the right format, to move a sales opportunity forward.”
  • Pedowitz Group: “Aligning marketing processes and goals, and then arming sales with tools to improve sales execution and drive revenue.”
  • Forrester: “Sales enablement is a strategic, ongoing process that equips all client-facing employees with the ability to consistently and systematically have a valuable conversation with the right set of customer stakeholders at each stage of the customer’s problem-solving life cycle to optimize the return of investment of the selling system.”
  • Accent: “Sales enablement is the act of implementing strategies, tools and processes that continually increase the efficiency and effectiveness of your sales ecosystem.”  

From these five definitions, some common themes appear that help us better understand sales enablement. My summary is below:

  • The ultimate purpose of sales enablement is to increase sales revenue.
  • Sales revenue is increased by improving sales team performance.
  • Sales team performance is improved in multiple ways:
    • Better alignment between sales & marketing
    • Better tools to facilitate sales activities
    • Better sales processes

As you can imagine, there are many different ways to accomplish the last three subpoints – hence why sales enablement can take such different forms under the same name. Training tools, analytics enhancements, CRMs, chat modules – as long as it meets the above criteria, it can still be considered sales enablement. This is why it’s so frequently said that everyone should be investing in sales enablement – it’s more about the ends than the means. Who doesn’t want more sales revenue?

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