What is Sales Enablement?
Sales Enablement Software is used to develop a strategy for equipping, motivating, and training sales teams to sell better. It focuses on high-quality, targeted sales efforts, which are supported by sales content and sales intelligence pertaining to the opportunity. There are a range of different products included in this category, some of which focus on one key area of sales enablement. Others may provide a suite of sales enablement capabilities.
The primary reason there is a wide collection of different types of tools that fall under the umbrella of ‘sales enablement software’ is because each type of tools often plays a vital role in an organization's overall sales enablement strategy.
Some of the different types of tools included in this category are:
This is a different tactic than sales acceleration (which focuses more on productivity and streamlining administrative tasks), although they are complementary. Sales engagement platforms often include both sales enablement and sales acceleration elements.
Note that many vendors use both of these terms, or use the terms interchangeably.
Sales Enablement Strategies and Features
Sales Enablement tools usually fall into one or more of the following categories, depending on how they approach improving the quality of sales conversations (and hopefully, the results!). Each of these groups of products can be thought of as one component of a larger sales enablement strategy, or as individual sales enablement strategies.
These different types of enablement strategies can also be thought of as the features large sales enablement suites have. Point solutions may only include one or two of these feature areas.
Sales Content Management & Presentation
This type of software provides sales teams with a way to create, store, and manage content. Providing prospects with the right content at the right time can help lead them further down the sales funnel. Video platforms like Vidyard and Brainshark provide SDRs and account executives with a way to share demo and training videos with prospects and clients.
Examples include: Bloomfire
, and Highspot
Sales Coaching and Training
Sales coaching and training software help sales reps record custom communications (e.g. email or voice calls), and then identify areas where reps can improve. Some tools harness artificial intelligence capabilities like machine learning (ML) or natural language processing (NLP) to make recommendations about where deals went sour, what sales rep behaviors lead to success, and which prospect signals to look out for.
Examples include: Chorus.ai, Gong.io, and Highspot
Sales Performance Management
Sales performance management (SPM) software is often geared more towards sales managers or sales directors. It can help them track their team’s performance, identify high-performing reps, keep track of quotas, and allocate territories and quotas in a way that maximizes revenue. SPM platforms typically cover five core areas:
incentive compensation management
sales performance tracking
sales analytics and reporting
Examples include: Oracle Sales Planning and Performance Management, Synygy
Customer Relationship Management (CRM)
In the context of sales enablement, CRM software helps teams keep track of contacts, prospect and customer communications, and accounts that have moved from one stage of the sales funnel to the next. Features like lead and opportunity management and pipeline visualization are essential when it comes to creating accurate sales forecasts and keeping track of sales performance.
Examples include: Sage CRM, Pipeliner CRM, and Pipedrive
Sales Intelligence & Intent Data
Sales intelligence solutions help supply agents with the information they need to accurately target accounts and close deals. Sales intelligence data usually falls into one of a few buckets: firmographic, demographic, technographic, or industry information. This information helps reps identify different characteristics of the contacts or accounts they’re targeting.
Intent data providers give sales reps access to behavioral information about contacts or accounts. This type of information is more dynamic than the type of sales intelligence describes above because it provides reps with an intent signal. For example, it may show you which accounts have actively been searching for your products or brands on specific websites.
Examples include: DiscoverOrg, Lead411, Zoominfo, 6sense, TechTarget Priority Engine, DemandBase, Bombora
Sales Email Tools
Sales email tools allow reps to view contextual information during conversations, set up cadences, or track email engagement and deliverability metrics. Some tools focus on only one of these areas, while others may do all three. Sales email software often helps enable sales reps while accelerating the sales cycle at the same time. For example, sales email templates are one way reps can automate the outreach process. Thus, there are some sales email tools that are in both the sales enablement and sales acceleration software categories.
Examples include: Playbooks, from XANT, Cirrus Insight
Predictive Sales Analytics
Predictive sales analytics tools help sales reps and managers use sales and marketing data to do things like predictive lead scoring, more accurate sales forecasting, and produce ideal customer profiles (ICPs). Multiple types of information can be incorporated into these models, including real-time, historical, transactional, social media impressions, and third-party data. The overall goal is to help create more alignment between sales and marketing to help increase the accuracy and success of sales outreach.
Examples include: Playbooks, from XANT, Anaplan Predictive Insights
Sales Enablement Tools Comparison
To help you figure out what the best sales enablement tool(s) are best for your business, consider these two key factors:
- Type of tool: are you looking for a specific type of sales enablement tool? For example, there are a large number of solutions that focus on one area of sales enablement, like sales intelligence, predictive analytics, sales performance management, or sales content management. If you’re looking for a platform that can do double (or triple) duty and check off many of these boxes at once, consider larger suites like Oracle CX Sales Cloud or Salesforce Sales Cloud.
- Cost: Price is the next best determining factor to help guide your decision. Many of the sales enablement point solutions that focus on one component of your overall sales enablement strategy will be less expensive than larger CX or Sales Cloud suites. However, if you anticipate needing a sales enablement platform that covers many of the areas listed above, you may be better off investing in a sales enablement suite.
Since there are many different types of sales enablement tools, prices can vary depending on the type of software. However, most products have a monthly or annual subscription pricing model.
Point solutions that focus on one area of sales enablement will be less expensive than larger sales enablement suites.