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sales enablement vs. revenue enablement platforms
March 26, 2024

Sales Enablement v. Revenue Enablement: What’s the Difference?

sales enablement vs. revenue enablement platforms

For years, various vendors talked about sales enablement and helping customer-facing sellers be more effective. But an interesting thing happened a couple of years ago. Analysts started using the term revenue enablement and have now standardized on that term to describe the enablement space. But is there a difference between sales enablement and revenue enablement?

Both Gartner and Forrester say sales leaders should transition to a revenue enablement model that broadens teams to include ALL customer-facing roles inclusive of sales customer support engineers, marketers, and customer success. It is a fundamental shift from thinking of enabling “sales” as a team to enabling “revenue” as an outcome driven by multiple teams.

The shift is a natural evolution of the sales enablement function and market. Evolving B2B buyer preferences and selling processes mean customer-facing functions must be aligned. When they are, they provide a cohesive customer journey—a customer-driven experience that increases customer satisfaction and drives revenue.

“Revenue enablement connects enablement efforts and uses shared technology, tools, data, analytics, processes and KPIs to reduce the complexity of the modern sales ecosystem,” says Doug Bushée, Senior Director Analyst at Gartner. “It provides buyers and sellers with a seamless and more effortless experience.”

You might be thinking, “That sounds great, but what does it mean? How exactly is revenue enablement different from sales enablement? And why should I change?”

Let me explain.

Understanding Sales Enablement

At its core, sales enablement is the ongoing process of maximizing revenue per rep by ensuring sellers convey the right concept using the right content throughout each stage of the buying process.

Traditionally, sales enablement zeroed in on empowering sales teams with the necessary tools, training, and content to boost their selling efficacy. This approach encompassed a suite of strategies aimed at refining sales techniques, understanding product intricacies, and enhancing customer engagement, all while ensuring alignment between sales and marketing efforts to streamline lead conversion.

The essence of this method was to equip sales professionals with the resources and knowledge to navigate the sales process smoothly and to analyze their performance meticulously through metrics and KPIs, fostering an environment of continuous improvement and growth.

Exploring Modern Revenue Enablement

Now, however, we must embrace a holistic strategy that goes beyond traditional sales boundaries: modern revenue enablement. This contemporary approach acknowledges the contribution of all customer-facing teams and the need to collaborate across sales, marketing, and customer success, in driving revenue growth. It is a fundamental shift from thinking of enabling “sales” as a team to enabling “revenue” as an outcome driven by multiple teams.

Modern revenue enablement champions the importance of cross-functional collaboration, where departments unite to synchronize their goals, strategies, and actions, thereby cultivating a cohesive effort towards achieving collective revenue objectives.

The emphasis on managing the entire customer lifecycle represents a strategic pivot, ensuring a seamless and positive customer experience at every touchpoint. This broader vision is underpinned by a commitment to understanding and meeting customer needs throughout their journey, from acquisition through retention and expansion.

Key Differences Between Sales Enablement and Revenue Enablement

As we look at the two enablement models, the differences between sales enablement and revenue enablement become apparent.

Sales enablement focuses on:

  1. Helping Sales Teams: Sales enablement primarily targets the sales department, aiming to enhance their skills, strategies, and tools to sell more effectively.
  2. Providing Sales Training and Coaching: It includes extensive training and coaching for sales representatives to improve their selling techniques, understand product features, and engage customers more effectively.
  3. Supplying Sales Tools and Content: Sales enablement provides sales teams with essential tools and content, such as CRM software, content management system, sales coaching tools, sales playbooks, and case studies, to streamline the sales process and improve customer interactions.
  4. Providing Sales Performance Analytics: Sales enablement emphasizes tracking and analyzing sales performance using metrics and KPIs, helping to refine sales strategies and identify areas for improvement.
  5. Aligning Sales and Marketing: A key aspect of sales enablement is aligning sales efforts with marketing strategies, ensuring consistent messaging and efficient lead conversion through collaborative efforts between the two departments.

Modern revenue enablement focuses on:

  1. Supporting All Customer-Facing Teams: Modern revenue enablement takes a broader approach than sales enablement, focusing on increasing revenue across all customer-facing teams, including sales, marketing, and customer success.
  2. Fostering Cross-Functional Collaboration: It emphasizes collaboration across different departments to align goals, strategies, and actions towards driving overall revenue growth, rather than focusing solely on the sales pipeline.
  3. Managing the Customer Lifecycle: Modern revenue enablement involves managing the entire customer lifecycle, from acquisition through retention and expansion, ensuring a consistent and positive customer experience across all touchpoints.
  4. Providing Data-Driven Insights: Modern revenue enablement utilizes data analytics and business intelligence to gain insights into customer behavior, market trends, and business performance, facilitating informed decision-making across departments.
  5. Implementing an Integrated Technology Stack: It involves leveraging an integrated set of tools and technologies that enhance customer interaction and management across the organization, contributing to improved efficiency and revenue generation.

The Road to Modern Revenue Enablement

Modern sales enablement has evolved to have a whole comprehensive set of capabilities to enable sellers. And now, we are seeing similar momentum in the market to have a set of capabilities to enable the broader revenue team, and even beyond that to the entire enterprise.

Shifting to revenue enablement may seem like a lot. But you can take a step-by step approach to it. Start the journey with your sales team, which you’re already helping, then incorporate other teams and functions along the way. The key is to ensure your vision aligns with revenue enablement.

In fact, the core technologies you use to enable your sales teams can be applied to other revenue-generating teams, as well as the entire enterprise. A single revenue enablement platform can serve as your solution for onboarding and compliance for the entire workforce, leadership development, learning, employee upskilling, collaborative content management, knowledge sharing, and more.

9 Steps to Modern Revenue Enablement

  1. Assess Current Sales Enablement Efforts: Evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of your current sales enablement strategies, processes, and technologies in place.
  2. Engage Sales Leadership: Communicate the vision and benefits of transitioning to a revenue enablement model to sales leadership and secure buy-in.
  3. Align Sales Goals with Revenue Goals: Define key performance indicators (KPIs) that measure not only sales success but also overall revenue impact.
  4. Integrate Sales with Marketing and Customer Success: Foster collaboration between sales, marketing, and customer success teams to create a unified revenue generation strategy.
  5. Implement Cross-Functional Training: Focus on developing skills and knowledge that contribute to revenue generation across the entire customer lifecycle.
  6. Utilize Data and Analytics: Use data-driven insights to optimize sales and marketing strategies, personalize customer experiences, and identify areas for revenue growth.
  7. Adopt Integrated Technologies: Invest in a comprehensive revenue enablement platform that enables seamless collaboration, data sharing, and automation across teams.
  8. Measure and Iterate: Establish metrics and KPIs. Regularly track performance, gather feedback from stakeholders, and iterate on strategies to continuously improve results.
  9. Communicate and Reinforce: Communicate the benefits and progress of the shift across the organization. Reinforce the importance of cross-functional collaboration, data-driven decision-making, and customer-centricity in driving revenue growth.

Modern revenue enablement is essential for companies to succeed in today’s business landscape. This approach aligns sales, marketing, customer success, and other revenue-generating functions towards common goals, driving holistic growth and maximizing ROI. By adopting revenue enablement, you can make informed decisions, optimize resource utilization, and ensure sustainable growth while staying ahead of competitors and capitalizing on market opportunities. It’s a proactive strategy that empowers you to lead in your industry and meet the evolving needs of your customers effectively.

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