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Sales Training vs. Sales Enablement: Key Differences Explained

Sales Training
Chris Orlob
September 29, 2023

Sales training and sales enablement help teams close more deals, increase revenue, and create stronger bonds with their customers.

However, while training and enablement are vital to the long-term success of any high-growth sales organization, they serve two different purposes. We’ll discuss these purposes and how your sales team can get the most out of both.

What Is Sales Training?

Sales training involves educating sales teams and equipping them with the proper sales-related skills they need to succeed. Top-notch training courses, such as pclub, cover everything from:

  • Prospecting
  • Running demo calls
  • Overcoming objections
  • Negotiating more effectively
  • Improving their value propositions
  • Probing and discovering pain points
  • Building stronger relationships with customers
  • Utilizing sales tools to the best of their capability
  • And more…

Why Organizations Invest In Sales Training

According to Garnet, 70% of information learned by B2B sales reps is forgotten within a month. When you invest in sales training, you build a knowledge-loop where skills are consistently sharepend and refined over time, instead of forgotten.

Investing in sales training also allows businesses to stay ahead of their competition, filling their sales funnel, and close more deals.

Sales training  helps sales teams adapt to fast-changing market trends, such as selling in an economic downturn when budgets are tighter. Plus, it creates a supportive work environment that keeps top sales talent from walking out the door.

Bottom line? Sales training isn't just an expense, it’s an investment in stronger relationships, a happier team, and a healthier bottom line. It’s about setting your business up for long-term revenue success.

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What Is Sales Enablement?

Sales enablement involves providing salespeople with the assets needed to close more deals. These assets include content, competitor analysis, knowledge-bases, templates, and other information that gives sales teams an edge throughout the sales process.

Sales enablement also includes the technology salespeople use to do their job and the sales content they use to educate and sell to customers.

Research shows organizations with sales enablement achieve a win rate of up to 49%, further proving the significance of a sales enablement team.

So, what is the function of a sales enablement team within the sales organization?

  • The Chief Enablement Officer leads the team, spearheading sales strategies and introducing sales enablement programs across the marketing department.
  • The VP of Sales Enablement works directly with the CEO to execute effective sales and fulfill enablement goals.
  • A Sales Enablement Director is more hands-on, focusing on budgeting, executing marketing ideas, and managing staff.
  • Sales Enablement Managers are responsible for executing sales strategies and liaising between the sales and marketing departments.

The sales enablement team also includes a sales coach, program manager, coordinators, and instructional designers.

What Makes Up an Effective Sales Enablement Strategy?

  • Content: Sales reps need access to high-quality content that they can use to educate and engage prospects and customers. This content should be relevant to the buyer’s journey and should be tailored to the specific needs of the target audience.
  • Technology: Sales reps need access to the right technology to help them manage their sales pipeline, track their progress, and close deals. This technology should be easy to use and should provide sales reps with the insights they need to make informed decisions.
  • Training: Sales reps need ongoing training to develop their skills and knowledge. This training should cover a variety of topics, including product knowledge, sales techniques, and CRM.
  • Coaching: Sales reps need regular coaching to help them improve their performance. This coaching should be provided by experienced sales professionals who can offer guidance and support.

Most of all, there needs to be performance tracking to see how the enablement team can better help their reps. Sales managers should work closely with the enablement team to tweak and refine processes of sharing content and information.

Sales Training vs. Sales Enablement: Functional Differences

Sales training focuses on improving skills and knowledge, whereas sales enablement involves initiating strategies and providing tools that empower sales teams. These two aspects of sales coaching are different, but they work hand in hand to achieve the company’s objective.

Sales Training Process: From Onboarding to Upskilling

Understanding the sales training process is pivotal for building a high-performing sales team. This process is a continuous journey that spans from onboarding new hires to upskilling seasoned professionals. Let’s take a closer look at this process.

Onboarding New Hires

  • Introduction to Sales Culture: New hires are immersed in the company’s sales culture and workflow, laying a foundation for a cohesive team dynamic.
  • Product Knowledge: Detailed sessions on the company’s products and services equip new hires to craft effective and informed sales pitches.
  • Identifying Promising SaaS Reps: The onboarding stage is crucial for team leaders to identify potential star SaaS reps who can drive successful sales. You can watch this sales hiring master class where Chris delivers a complete course on how to hire the best SaaS Reps.

Training Sessions and Role-Playing

  • Upskilling: Regular training sessions are a venue for salespeople to enhance their existing skills and climb up the organizational ladder.
  • Role-Playing: This hands-on approach allows reps to step into different roles, fostering a deeper understanding of various stakeholders and honing skills like conflict resolution, patience, and empathy.

Ongoing Training

  • Staying Updated: Continuous training sessions help the team stay updated with the latest market trends, ensuring the company adapts and grows positively with the evolving market.
  • Employee Retention: Upholding a culture of learning and development through upskilling opportunities not only nurtures loyalty but also significantly reduces turnover, retaining top talent in the team.

By investing in a structured and comprehensive sales training process, companies can foster a team of well-rounded sales professionals, ready to adapt and excel in the dynamic market landscape, thereby steering the organization towards sustained growth and success.

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Sales Enablement Process: Enabling the Right Sales at the Right Time

Sales enablement is a pivotal strategy in ensuring that sales teams are equipped to secure the right sales at the opportune moments. Let’s review the process of building and disseminating these assets across your sales org.

Mastering Sales Readiness

  • Skills and Knowledge: Sales readiness encompasses nurturing salespeople to have the requisite skills and knowledge, fostering their ability to engage prospects effectively.
  • Accelerated Sales Cycles: When a salesperson is onboarded, they can significantly reduce the sales cycle duration through enablement. Tools like Chris Orlob’s cheat sheet can be instrumental in guiding salespersons to ask the right questions and foster sales-readiness.

Harnessing Sales Enablement Tools and Platforms

  • Enhanced Productivity: Leveraging tools and platforms such as Salesforce not only boosts productivity but also encourages a tailored approach to ongoing training, meeting individual needs and preferences.
  • Centralized Learning Hub: Salesforce stands as a centralized hub offering a blend of online and in-person training resources, which can be scaled to match the evolving needs and size of the sales team, fostering a cohesive learning environment.

Implementing Metrics for In-depth Performance Analysis

  • Holistic Performance Overview: Utilizing metrics offers a full view of the team’s performance, shedding light on various facets including revenue streams, customer retention, and market penetration, thereby facilitating informed strategic decisions.
  • Individual Strengths and Team Culture: Analyzing metrics on an individual level helps in recognizing each team member’s strongholds, allowing for a strategy that leverages individual strengths to foster team culture and close deals more effectively.

Stakeholder Responsibilities in Sales Training

Stakeholders are primarily responsible for setting and defining goals for the sales training program. They develop plans, align them with the organization’s objective, and initiate strategies to achieve these goals. But they also need to make sure there’s a carved out budget for sales training so that managers, reps, and even SDRs can constantly refine their skills.

Sales leaders are also responsible for:

  • Selecting Training Methods: No two programs are the same, so choosing a sales training program that matches the needs of your team and training style they succeed best under is crucial. Fortunately, the course curriculum built by pclub is interactive, led by expert instructors, and adheres to all sorts of learning preferences.
  • Assessing Outcomes: Stakeholders evaluate the performance of sales training initiatives to identify whether or not the training methods are effective at hitting sales goals. They utilize key metrics and analytics to evaluate performance and improve trouble points.

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Stakeholder Responsibilities in Sales Enablement

Stakeholders are at the forefront of outlining a comprehensive sales enablement strategy. They identify tools, processes, and technology to simplify training workflow.

Enablement leaders are also responsible for:

  • Collaboration: They initiate a collaborative work atmosphere between sales and marketing teams, including selecting team leaders and ensuring consistent communication through messaging and meetings. There needs to be buy-in from every team involved in enablement for it to be effective.
  • Performance Tracking: Stakeholders use sales metrics and assessments to analyze the effectiveness of sales enablement initiatives. They also identify problem areas and suggest new improvement methods.
  • Supporting Continuous Improvement: Regular reinforcement is vital in sales enablement, and stakeholders spearhead continuous learning. They will upgrade sales enablement content, tools, and technology, allowing the team to adapt to progressive market trends.

Evaluating Impact: From Sales Calls to Closed Deals

Regular evaluation contributed to the success of sales training programs and set the tone for future initiatives. Assessments and metrics provide insight into curating data-driven strategies based on trends, team performance, and existing numbers. The best metrics include:

  • Content usage and effectiveness
  • Sales cycle length
  • Win and loss rate
  • Customer retention rate
  • Revenue generated per salesperson
  • Calls to action
  • Onboarding time for new hires and clients
  • Quota attainment

Pairing Sales Training and Sales Enablement - It Leads to Higher Win Rates

Companies that invest in sales training and enablement notice significant revenue and employee productivity improvement. Specifically, these organizations are able to improve their win rates by up to 15% compared to sales organizations that ignore training and enablement.

But not just any program will cut it.

With tighter budgets, you need to ensure you’re enrolling your sales team in a program with a proven track record. An interactive program led by expert instructors, with modules that are consistently updated with the latest sales techniques used by the top 1% of SaaS reps. This is the exact online training framework we deploy here at pclub.

If you want to build more President’s Club members on your sales team, it starts with pclub.

Get a demo and preview the coursework you and your team can expect when you enroll.

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