We have previously written about sales enablement where we start out with boiling it down to “the things you do to make your sales reps perform better”. This is of course a very simplistic definition that does not clarify the concept. Therefore, we are elaborating on in it now by bringing in definitions made by experts on the topic to shed some light on the concept’s multifaceted nature.
Sales Enablement definitions made by experts
We have selected the following definitions of sales enablement, because we think they all are great and that they in different ways embrace and highlight essential aspects of the concept.
This is research and advisory firm Forrester’s sales enablement definition:
“Sales enablement is a strategic, ongoing process that equips all client-facing employees with the ability to consistently and systematically have a valuable conversation with the right set of customer stakeholders at each stage of the customer’s problem-solving life cycle to optimize the return of investment of the selling system.”
This definition is found in a blog post from 2010, but we still find it very relevant. What we particularly like about it is the focus on valuable conversations and problem-solving that encourages a value-based selling and solution selling approach to sales, which we endorse.
The two following definitions can be found in books about sales enablement written by sales and marketing professionals.
Read our book reviews: Sales Enablement books – the top 3 list.
Byron Matthews and Tamara Schenk’s sales enablement definition in Sales Enablement: A Master Framework to Engage, Equip and Empower A World-Class Sales Force reads:
“Sales Force Enablement: A strategic, collaborative discipline designed to increase predictable sales results by providing consistent, scalable enablement services that allow customer-facing professionals and their managers to add value in every customer interaction.”
It is notable here that the authors use the word Sales Force Enablement. In the book they explain that they do so in order to stress that sales enablement goes beyond sales professionals and involves everyone who engages the customer. In that regard, what we like about this definition is the emphasis on sales enablement as a collaborative discipline: It is not a one-man job or just a sales job – it depends on collaboration between coworkers in sales and marketing.
Pam Didner’s sales enablement definition in Effective Sales Enablement: Achieve sales growth through collaborative sales and marketing reads:
“Deliver a positive customer experience by equipping sales with knowledge, skills, processes and tools through cross-functional collaboration in order to increase sales velocity, sales retention and productivity.”
This definition is great because it is relatively short but still specific. It is clear what sales shall be equipped with and what results you can expect to achieve with sales enablement.
Our Sales Enablement definition
Looking at the three definitions above, there are some common denominators of what constitutes sales enablement: It is strategic, it is collaborative, it aims to consistently support sales or client-facing employees in generating value in all customer interactions, and the overall goal is to achieve sales targets.
We accumulate all of that into this definitive definition of sales enablement:
“Sales enablement is the strategic, collaborative process of equipping sales reps with content, skills and tools that enable them to add value in every customer encounter to ultimately increase sales.”
We have made the definition as short as possible to keep it simple and easy to understand. The definition could be expanded by emphasizing that; collaborative refers to collaboration that aligns the organization and particularly sales and marketing; adding value in every customer encounter means engaging customers throughout their buying journeys; and increasing sales is the ultimate goal of all sales activities, but sales enablement initiatives may have other purposes and intermediate objectives such as increasing cross-sales, increasing client retention, speeding up the sales cycle etc. It all depends on the company employing the sales enablement strategy.
Sales enablement is at our core in Napp, and every day we help companies embark on their sales enablement journeys through technology. Reach out to us if you would like to learn more about sales enablement software and how it can help you accelerate sales.