Sales Training vs. Sales Enablement — What’s The Difference?

One in three sales lost today are for a simple lack of sales preparation.

For a typical $1 billion company, every year poor sales preparation results in $14 million in wasted sales and marketing expenses — and $100 million in lost sales opportunities.
Sales Meeting - Wikimedia Commons
Those figures, both from the analysts at IDC, provide all the answer needed for anyone who might question why there’s been so much recent buzz around the practice of sales enablement.

These days it’s almost impossible to find a firm that isn’t investigating new tools, programs, and procedures with the hope of better equipping their sales teams to make meaningful connections with leads and customers, intelligently respond to their needs, and more efficiently and effectively usher them along the buying process.

Yet for all this newfound interest in sales effectiveness, it’s not as if the sales teams of past generations went unmanaged and unmeasured. So what’s so new about the modern practice of sales enablement? And what makes sales enablement different from traditional sales training? Let’s take a look at each.

Sales Training: Where Better Sales Begins

For all the new tactics and all the new technology, the foundation of building better sales teams continues to be in sales training. But while organizations have been training salespeople for just about as long as there have been salespeople to train, don’t be fooled into thinking there’s nothing new to see here. Modern sales training activities are becoming smarter, more detailed, and more accessible than ever.

At it’s most fundamental, sales training can be defined as any employee training an organization might deliver with the goal of helping its sales teams cultivate and close more and better sales.

In practice, most organizations deliver two types of sales training: Product and Process.

  • Product Sales Training covers the “what” — all the technical and practical knowledge your sales reps will need in order to best sell your products and services. From technical specifications and integration points to service level agreements and operating uptimes and more — these sessions work to ensure your sales team knows the details that will drive customers’ decisions.
  • Process Sales Training covers the “how” — both the institutional processes and philosophies that organize how your team should conduct the sales process. It’s a wide spectrum, and should cover everything from how to correctly use your CRM tools to the strategic approach you’d like your reps to take as they interact with customers — these sessions help ensure that every opportunity is handled appropriately, managed transparently, and conducted according to the company’s brand and values.

In the past, sales training of just about every type would have been delivered as a classroom training session. For organizations with large or geographically dispersed sales teams, a single session would often have been held multiple times in multiple locations to ensure everyone could attend.

Today, however, technology is enabling more sales teams to offer more training on-demand. With tools like video for sales training, sales executives can now ensure their reps have 24/7 access to any knowledge they may need — from the details on the latest product enhancement, to step-by-step instructions for adding a customer to a contact follow-up email campaign or other program.

Best of all, according to Brandon Hall Research, on-demand elearning has been demonstrated to save sales teams up to 35% of the time that would otherwise be required for in-class training. That means sales reps can get back to selling faster.

And because video eliminates the need for trainers to repeat the same sessions over and over, many teams now find their training organization can go deeper than ever, offering more and more detailed recorded tutorials to further improve how sales teams function. For a great example of just how a sales organization can use video to facilitate team member training, check out the sample recording below.


 

How Is Sales Enablement Different from Sales Training?

Sales Enablement vs Sales Training - Panopto Video Platform
Our customers tell us there are five pillars of sales enablement. And while each organization will identify them a little differently, the core concepts typically break down as follows:

  1. Onboarding
    Over the course of their first 30-90 days, you need to instill your team culture, vision, and mission into every member of your team. You’ll also need to get them up to speed on your products, your sales strategy, and your methodology.
  2. Ongoing training
    The world never stops evolving, and neither do your products and processes. As noted above, ensuring your sales team sees and understands all the latest features and enhancements in your product line as soon as they are ready is essential to their success.Just as critical is your traditional corporate training — regular instructional sessions on team processes, overviews of business strategy from the executive team, internal compliance presentations from learning and development — all of which help your team better understand your organization’s priorities and generate the right kind of sales opportunities.
  3. Internal communication
    Effective communications is the lifeblood of any team — and a particular challenge when your sales team members can often be too busy for email.Whether it’s outbound messages from the home office to the field, or insight and best practice sharing among coworkers, the messages you deliver on a day-to-day basis are essential to helping your team, learning from one another, improving sales techniques, and closing more business.
  4. Pre-sales prospect engagement
    Your sales team will tell you — closing the next big sale is a marathon, not a sprint. Often the ongoing communications between prospect and Sales are a driving factor in whether a deal gets done.This pillar is often a joint venture with your marketing team. The key to making this a sales enablement success is ensuring that sales and marketing are properly connected, and that your sales team has the communications tools they need to move prospects through the sales funnel.
  5. Post-sale communication
    The importance of the connection your sales team creates with your customers doesn’t wane when the ink on the contract is dry — it’s just as essential to ensuring current customers stay loyal.Ongoing communications, insider tips to getting the most out of your products, sneak previews of coming features, and even simple routine check-ins are all moments your team can use to reinforce your relationship, identify potential trouble spots, and work to ensure renewals can be quick and easy.

In recent years, video has proven its worth in just about every aspect of sales enablement.

While video is well-known for its ability to attract new prospects, it isn’t just a tool for marketers. It’s also an excellent way to help sales teams communicate more effectively — with each other and with your customers.

Short of face-to-face conversation, video is the most effective way to share a message. As organizations adopt video, sales teams benefit with anywhere, anytime access to training, tips and strategies, a means to quickly record and share product demonstrations with prospects, a more engaging way to send personalized sales messages and more.

With so many benefits, it’s no surprise video is taking off in sales organizations. The Aberdeen Group has found that many forward-looking companies are already using video across the sales cycle:

  • Marketing and awareness (In use with 67% of research respondents)
  • Lead nurturing (53%)
  • Conversions (60%)
  • Lead qualification (47%)
  • Deal closings (33%)
  • Post-sale communications (33%)

 

Find Out More!
ICON - CTA - 18 Ways You Can Boost Sales Enablement with VideoForward-looking organizations are already adopting video to support almost every aspect of the sales cycle. Don’t get left behind!

Find out how you can use video to help your sales team break through — including 18 ways you can use video to enhance the way your organization does sales enablement — in our new white paper. Get your free copy today!

And if you’d like to learn more about how video can help your business better prepare your sales reps for success, contact our team for a demonstration or sign up for a free 30-day trial today.

Published: December 17, 2015