Sales Enablement vs. Sales Operations: Enemies or Best Friends?

Andrew Copeland
Reading Time: 3 minutes

When it comes to sales enablement vs. sales operations, it’s not about which is better – it’s about how to utilize the best of both to achieve revenue growth. Aligning these goals of growth and ongoing efficiency for the sales process ensures success for everyone involved. In fact, these aims to boost productivity and improve efficiency are more complementary to one another than you might think.

To further emphasize this point, 65% of sales leaders who outperformed revenue targets have a dedicated sales enablement person or team according to the HubSpot Research Global Sales Enablement Report

For maximum revenue growth, it’s beneficial to have all parts of sales working together rather than in a silo. In this article, I’ll explain the difference between sales enablement vs. sales operations.

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Why is Sales Operations Important?

Sales operations is best described as all the processes used to define structure and productivity within sales. Ops focuses on the administrative tasks around technology tools and automation so sales reps can allocate enough time to do outreach and close deals for a faster pipeline.

The main functions of sales operations include:

  • CRM organization and maintenance
  • Maintains tech stack 
  • Onboards and trains new sales reps
  • Manages compensation plans and incentives
  • Iterates and optimizes sales processes 
  • Analyzes data for goal setting 

Contrastingly, sales enablement focuses on and includes:

  • Manages content creation 
  • Aligns marketing and sales on common goals
  • Coaches sales reps on best practices for outreach 
  • Performance analysis to close gaps in the sales funnel
  • Strategizes improving buyer relationships
  • Researches new tech tools and implementation

Sales operations have an important role that delivers ongoing support and efficiency to the business – it should not be overlooked. This helps the team run without technical roadblocks and is a North Star to achieving results and KPIs. It’s vital to have time and resources dedicated here. 

Sales Enablement vs. Sales Operations: Key Differences 

While sales operations functions as a support role for the ongoing processes of the sales team, sales enablement is focused on shortening the sales cycle and aligning marketing and sales for optimal deals and results. 

Some key distinctions between the two functions include the following:

  • Sales ops usually works exclusively with sales reps, while sales enablement involves both marketing and sales in their day-to-day workflows
  • While sales operations maintains the existing technology, sales enablement is responsible for researching the best tech to implement and iterate for the team to have optimal performance 
  • Sales operations is responsible for the actual onboarding and hands-on training with new reps, whereas sales enablement creates and provides the content being used for said trainings
  • Sales operations does the tactical goal setting, while sales enablement performs the analysis and data collection to provide the ops team
  • Sales operations is “in the field,” with potential buyers, while sales enablement takes a more internal role by removing roadblocks and empowering reps with tactics and tools to become more effective in outreach conversations

Sales Operations and Sales Enablement: Better Together

These teams working closely with each other is shown to improve sales performance. It is not a “this or that” situation – businesses should prioritize both to collaborate and align with each other to grow revenue and hit target goals and KPIs. It’s through this teamwork that you’ll see enhancements as a business and constantly improve the ever-changing sales processes through a streamlining of technology and people.

To learn more, download your free Growth Stack guide for more insights on optimizing both departments for a truly thriving business. 

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