Sales Enablement vs. Sales Operations: What’s the Difference?

Continu Team
One Platform for All Learning
October 4, 2023

Sales enablement focuses on equipping sales teams with tools and training, while sales operations handles strategy, processes, and analytics to drive sales efficiency.

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You may have already heard of sales operations vs sales enablement, but what is the difference between these two departments? 

Sales enablement is rising in popularity when it comes to the sales process, but operations are equally vital. Understanding the difference between these two departments and successfully implementing both will help your business to grow. 

Let’s look at how you can incorporate both sales enablement and sales operations into your sales team with this detailed breakdown. 

Sales Enablement vs. Sales Operations: How to Define the Terms

Understanding the difference between sales enablement and sales operations is the crucial first step to implementing both for your business. Here’s an explanation of just what these terms mean:

Sales Operations

Sales operations teams are focused on the daily efforts that your team must make to facilitate sales. They can include routine tasks such as monitoring your CRM system, the sales tech stack, and other data points that indicate sales productivity.

For example, you might measure some of the following: 

  • How many leads are received
  • How many leads convert to sales
  • The average size of the sale 

Many business owners and sales leaders are noticing just how effective this branch can be. According to recent studies, 89 percent of sales professionals say that sales operations are critical to growing their business.  

From the operations side of things, your employees will be actively working with the sales team to handle leads and manage your CRM. They are down in the weeds of your daily operations in every possible way.

Team members who are interested in sales data will want to consult with the sales operations side of things to get the hard numbers. 

Sales operations focus on the facts and figures that can’t be ignored in a business setting. They have their finger on the pulse of what is driving the business forward and what areas could use improvement. This department is focused on how to better enable your sales staff to make more sales and larger sales.  

Sales Enablement 

Sales enablement teams function with a strategy that will help them make more sales and improve their marketing efforts. The goal of the sales enablement team is to close more deals by reducing the barriers to a sale, including educating sales staff.

Comparing sales enablement and sales operations is a bit different. Instead of looking at the hard facts, sales enablement focuses on the bigger picture:

  • Works with both the sales and marketing teams at your business.
  • Equip its sales representatives with all of the tools and training they need to accurately sell their products, goods, or services. 
  • Makes it easier for your team to increase the number of leads that come through the door.

Sales enablement team members are responsible for content creation and actual communication with your customers. While reporting is not their strong suit, it does play a small role in their overall business dealings.

This sales content is primarily created and distributed through a modern learning platform, like Continu. Sales leaders and instructors can house all of their training materials in a single, centralized location to maximize the efficiency and productivity of the sales team.

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Combining Both for Powerful Sales

When it comes to sales enablement vs sales operations, the reality is that your business will need both of these important departments. Cutting either of these areas will have a significant impact on the other. A dramatic increase in your sales will come only when these two departments learn to work in tandem. 

Integrating with Marketing

Implementing a strategy that incorporates the divisions between sales enablement and sales ops is crucial, especially when it comes to your marketing. 

Traditionally, sales enablement has had the majority of the control over how the marketing efforts play out. Using this method, your marketing people are missing out on the extensive data that sales operations team members know by heart. 

If you want to make a bigger splash with your marketing endeavors, both the sales operations and sales enablement teams must work closely together to see where improvements can be made. 

Working Together 

Collaboration is incredibly important and makes more sense than focusing on the differences between sales enablement vs. sales operations.

The two departments should enhance each other’s knowledge of the market, their experience, and the cold hard data that can help both departments facilitate more sales for their representatives.  

A full 26 percent of sales representatives feel that their sales training is not effective for them to close on bigger deals. If both departments work together to educate their sales reps, company growth can occur more rapidly.

It is a matter of equipping everyone to do their best work and building a winning learning and development strategy.

New Technology and Systems

Because sales operations and enablement are two drastically different fields, they have different roles when it comes to supporting the sales staff. However, both departments are equally important when it comes to bolstering sales reps. Sales operations may focus more on creating new systems and implementing new technology. 

Meanwhile, sales enablement would be training the rest of the employees on how to use these new tools. 

Both departments must be on the same page if they are going to effectively pass the essential information along to the rest of their sales team. Make sure communication about KPIs and other important metrics is relayed between sales operations vs enablement. 

Implementing Training for Your Sales Team

Once you figure out the balance of helping both sales enablement vs. sales operations to move effectively together, you will want to tackle the pressing problem of undereducated sales reps. If you want to get a robust platform for employee training, you need to get Continu. 

It is the ideal platform for modern teams that want one place for all of their company learning.

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About the Author
Continu Team responsible for Continu's content.
Continu Team
One Platform for All Learning

Continu is the #1 modern learning platform built to help companies scale and consolidate learning. From training customers to employees, Continu is the only platform you need for all learning.