by R. McGhee | March 14, 2022 | 5 Min Read

Sales training & enablement: What’s the difference?

sales manager training a sales rep.jpg

​​What’s sales training vs sales enablement? How and why are both essential to an organization’s success?

We’re here to answer these key questions today!

Once you’ve hired a team of talented salespeople, you’ll want to set them up for success, right? When your sales team is empowered with the proper training & enablement tools, everyone wins.

Two terms that tend to get used interchangeably, but that have different definitions and implications for your team’s development, are sales training vs sales enablement. Most people already know what training means, but many wonder, “What is enablement, and what does it have to do with my team’s sales readiness?”

Training & enablement work together, but they each serve separate purposes. We’ll define sales training, share what sales enablement is, and explain how they work to support sales readiness through upskilling.

What is sales training?

When we define sales training, we’re referring to the process of creating a program designed to onboard and upskill (continuously train) your sales team members.

Traditionally, organizations may have set aside one to two days for new organization sales training to teach new salespeople about its:

  • Company mission and vision
  • Products and services
  • Sales cycle and other processes

Companies expected their salespeople to retain the information after one or two days of training and then go out into the world and start making sales.

While this may have worked (somewhat?) in the past, our understanding of effective training and education has changed. We now know that it takes much more than just a day or two of listening to lectures for salespeople to have what they need to be successful.

Modern training includes different formats to maximize learning. Here are some of the key learning trends your organization's sales training should include:

  • Micro-learning: the process of delivering information in micro or bite-sized chunks. These can include short videos, quizzes, PowerPoint presentations, animations, and more.
  • Gamification: a strategy for making learning fun and interactive. Gamification incorporates points and leaderboards, quizzes, scavenger hunts, and role plays for better information retention.
  • Virtual instructors: specialized trainings led by the best of the best. Without geographic limitations, your organization can leverage industry-leading knowledge to help with training sessions.
  • Downloadable materials: accessible anytime, anywhere. With on-demand training materials, your team will always have access to the tools they need while visiting prospects.

By breaking information down into bite-sized chunks and integrating different learning methods, your sales team is more likely to retain the information they need to achieve their sales goals.

Besides learning about specific products and your organization, sales training can help employees learn the transferable skills they need to be successful in your workplace. Some of these key skills include:

  1. Time Management: Setting deadlines, prioritizing tasks, tracking time
  2. Communication: Asking open-ended questions, observation, active listening, giving feedback
  3. Relationship Building: Building trust, conflict resolution, finding common ground
  4. The Art of Persuasion: Establishing credibility, appealing to emotion, overcoming objections
  5. Digital Literacy: Social media strategies, using the right platforms, content and proposal creation

The Covid-19 pandemic and the growing number of remote workers have changed how companies train and make sales. The move from in-person to online formats has increased an organization’s need to offer online sales training.

With online training, a company offers sales training that:

  • Works with people’s schedules
  • Allows for a variety of delivery methods and learning styles
  • Gives your sales team constant access to the materials and tools they need

Sales training should also be a continuous process, not one that stops after onboarding. Investing in an online sales training platform allows you to provide upskilling opportunities as soon as your team needs them.

However, your organization's sales training is only part of the process that leads to sales-readiness.

Next, we’re going to learn about sales enablement, some sales enablement training topics, and how they can benefit your company.

What is sales enablement?

What is enablement, and how does it differ from sales training?

Sales enablement often refers to the tools and content resources your team needs to implement what they learned in training. It’s the pitch decks, infographics, and answers to common objections that your team frequently faces.

In essence, sales enablement is a process that makes it easy for sales reps to easily and confidently move leads from one step of the sales cycle to the next.

Sales training vs sales enablement

Sales training is essentially onboarding and introducing your new sales team members to your company, products, and processes. It’s the hard and soft skills needed to theoretically make a sale.

Sales enablement, on the other hand, involves continually providing your sales reps with the tools, resources, and support they need in a format that they can access at any time from anywhere, often through the use of an LMS or sales enablement platform.

However, both are crucial to ensuring that your team is “sales-ready.”

What is sales readiness?

Simply put, sales readiness means that your sales team has:

  1. The proper training
  2. The right tools and resources

When sales reps can combine solid sales training with effective and accessible sales enablement, they’re sales-ready—able to interact with customers at any point in the sales process.

A sales-ready sales rep doesn’t need a ton of time before jumping into a sales call. Instead, they already know your products/services and can effectively engage with a potential client when called upon. And because they’re given continual upskilling opportunities, they’re always up-to-date on company and industry trends.

The bottom line is that a sales-ready sales rep can get the job done. But they can only do that with the right sales training and enablement.

Achieve sales readiness with Unboxed Technology

Now that you know the differences between sales training vs. sales enablement, you’re ready to bring training & enablement to life at your organization.

Learning is a continuous process, and the organization sales training you offer your employees should go the extra mile to set them up for success by leveraging interactive learning experiences. But you should also ensure that reps are enabled with the right tools and resources.

Providing your team with continuous learning, tools, and resources will give you a sales-ready sales team.

Need help creating an effective sales training program? Or, are you looking for a powerful learning and enablement tool?

At Unboxed Training & Technology, we have the solution to your sales training needs. Our consulting and creative teams can help you create a custom training program that aligns with your company values and meets your reps’ needs. Instead of giving your reps a generic, one-size-fits-all training, a custom training program ensure they only get the information they need. In addition, our Spoke® learning technology platform helps organizations redefine sales training using self-directed personalized learning, continuous employee coaching, and learner collaboration.

Contact our team today to learn more about how we can help you take your sales team to the next level.

More articles like this one