Aug 8, 2017
There are many functions powering modern sales teams, Sales Enablement, and Sales Operations are two examples. As a company grows each function evolves and roles are more clearly defined, it will become easier to identify the organizational structure. But organizational charts don’t always reflect the dependencies that different roles have on each other.
While Sales Enablement and Sales Operations may solve different problems in your organization, they need each other a lot more than you may realize.
Sales Enablement is focused on ensuring reps are prepared and effective at selling. They are often responsible for a broad range of deliverables from sales training, coaching and onboarding to communication, sales process and even performance analysis.
Sales Operations is the data engine room that is constantly looking for ways to improve the sales execution, optimize processes and report to sales leadership on any gaps that need to be plugged. Their role may include managing the CRM, process design, and management, territory planning, deal routing, contract management, optimizing and overseeing sales incentive plans, forecasting and performance analysis.
Sales Ops bookends Sales Enablement
As Sales Ops is responsible for much of the data analysis that supports the sales function, they are often the first port of call when management is searching for insights. For example, Ops may identify that certain reps get stuck at a particular point in the sales process, like just after they’ve given a demo. While they may be the first to alert sales leadership that there is a problem, further investigation will be required to determine what the problem is and how to fix. That’s where Sales Enablement steps in.
Sales Enablement can take these insights and investigate to identify the core problem and determine the best way to fix them. By working out what’s causing the sales cycle to stall at that particular point, Sales Enablement can determine what their reps need to speed up the process and get them closer to closing the sale or moving onto a new prospect. The quicker this problem is resolved, the more revenue your sales engine can potentially generate. By relying on Ops to help detect issues at the start of the enablement process, Sales Enablement can identify business issues and fix them. This gives them the ability to be outcome-oriented and create a measurable impact on business results.
At the other end of the enablement process, Sales Ops also plays a crucial role in measuring the impact of enablement initiatives. With all that data at their fingertips, Ops have the ability to identify the right indicators to determine if enablement initiatives are having the desired effect or if reps are still stuck at the same point. They can also track these metrics so that Sales Enablement can demonstrate that their enablement initiatives are working.
Together Ops and Enablement are stronger
Sales Enablement and Sales Ops have the potential for a perfect partnership. Their roles complement each other and they have the same overriding objective – for the sales organization to be more effective and efficient.
There is another key benefit for Enablement to collaborate with Ops, by combining forces the two functions can have a much greater impact and a stronger voice. While Sales Enablement may rack up some spectacular wins, it can be challenging to ensure they get the management attention they deserve. That’s where partnering with Ops can help.
As Tamara Schenk points out, collaboration is key to a productive relationship with Sales Ops. To facilitate this collaboration the business will require a defined interface that ensures their process, messaging and communication is consistent and connected. To achieve this collaboration, an alignment framework is helpful.
Sales Ops is typically involved in the front and back-end processes that create the strategic framework, forecasting, and analysis. They are also responsible for managing sales automation processes that often improve the efficiency of the sales organization. Sales Enablement’s role is focused on the reps and their capabilities. Building knowledge, sales skills, execution discipline, and effectiveness.
While the two roles do not overlap, they rely on each other to play integral roles in improving the sales organization. Sales Ops on its own can improve the efficiency of the sales machine, but it’s Sales Enablement that ensures it is effective.
By backing up Sales Enablement wins with metrics from Ops, together you can demonstrate how much more effective the sales organization is operating. Enablement and Ops share common goals, which means they can leverage each other’s strengths to achieve even more.