What is Sales Enablement and How Is It Different from Marketing Automation?

There are different software platforms to specifically help sales and marketing teams and often confusion in which technology is best for each team. Two common terms are ‘sales enablement’ and ‘marketing automation’. While both software platforms provide automation for phone calls, emails, and other activities, they each have tools that target different users.

Sales and marketing are distinct functions that follow different parts of the prospective buyer’s journey from an unknown visitor to a customer. Marketing builds interest, tracks prospect activity and generates awareness to create product demand. Prospective leads are directed to the sales team for more direct engagement to close the deal. Where marketing automation is used by marketers to execute different types of wide-reaching or sophisticated campaigns, sales enablement is primarily used by salespeople.

“Sales Enablement” is a broad category of software platforms designed to save salespeople time and help them close more deals. In its most specific definition, it usually covers software platforms that automate sales activities, can be used to set out sales sequences that involve both automated and manual actions, and enhance functionality from the CRM and lead management software.

As such, sales enablement platforms can cover:

  • Appointment scheduling
  • Phone call tracking and automation to improve efficiency around making, taking, and logging call details
  • Email automation
  • Text messaging where applicable
  • Sequencing of all of the above

Additionally, some platforms under the “Sales Enablement” banner are essentially sales content databases that recommend or offer up relevant content (case studies, reports, etc) to help close prospects. These platforms typically only cover content management and don’t automate or sequence sales activities, so we’ll focus on sales sequencing and automation common platform features.

Appointment Scheduling with Sales Enablement

Most sales enablement platforms come with built-in appointment scheduling because it makes sense to integrate with other sales enablement features and it can be customized to each sales group’s appointment booking needs. If you haven’t tried appointment scheduling yet, it puts a stop to unnecessary phone tag JUST to set up a meeting. Prospects love it because it gives them something in return: a confirmed date and time when they can discuss their specific needs with a salesperson. Appointment scheduling integrates with your salespeople’s existing calendars and reminds prospects when the appointment is coming up so they don’t forget.

Calling with Sales Enablement

Calling normally involves picking up a phone and punching in a phone number. With sales enablement, calling is typically done via software and salespeople use a comfortable wired or wireless headset connected to their computer. Making calls in this way enables the software to supplement the salesperson by:

  • Dialing the number with a click of a mouse
  • Logging the call to the CRM or lead management tool
  • Recording & transcribing the call
  • Posting the transcription and a link to the recording to the system as call notes
  • Dropping a pre-recorded voicemail for the salesperson

Email Automation with Sales Enablement

While marketing has had email automation for a while, comprehensive email automation with sales is a fairly new concept. Some salespeople have experimented with GMail Labs email features, or maybe played with Boomerang or Mixmax to help with email productivity.

Email automation with Sales Enablement typically features more inputs, outputs, and much greater flexibility in building smart email sequences. These features help build smarter email sequences that:

  • Build basic looking or beautifully designed emails with a builder
  • Take different actions when prospects visit the website, open or click an email
  • Trigger drip campaigns from inside the CRM or lead management system for individual contacts

Sales Sequences

Successful sales groups build processes and responses to common situations as a way to improve consistency, ensure quality experiences with customers, and onboard new people. Communications is one of the areas where automation is helping salespeople make more sales and manage more prospects than before.

Sales sequences these days typically look like a dance between salespeople taking manual actions and the system taking automated actions. Salespeople use sales sequences to:

  • Automatically handle prospects who are unresponsive (typically by sending a few emails over a week or two and looking for a response)
  • Work through large lists of prospects by power dialing and sending them email sequences
  • Remind prospects to book a meeting (using appointment scheduling)
  • Automatically handle the after-sales process
  • Survey customers at a set time after the sale

Sales teams with the right tools spend more of their valuable time closing deals. With the growing prevalence of integrated technologies like marketing automation systems, lead management software, customer data platforms, and sales enablement tools, it’s now easier than ever to make data available where and when it is needed. 

Pairing a full-featured sales enablement platform, such as FunnelFLARE with powerful lead management software like noCRM.io means sales teams have the best leads at their disposal, the software to effectively manage them, and the tools to follow up and close deals efficiently.

Adriel Michaud, VP of Marketing, FunnelFLARE

Adriel loves the numbers side of marketing and sales: the analytics, advertising, and insights you can pull from all the data that’s available today. When he’s not eyeballs deep in Excel sheets, he enjoys writing articles, shooting videos, and recording podcasts.