Maximizing sales performance is a top priority for any B2B organization. When it comes to tech solutions that truly move the needle, CRM and sales enablement are clear winners.
It’s tempting to opt for an all-in-one solution that meets all your needs. However, not all tools are built for the same purpose. And if you don’t understand the key differences between sales enablement and CRM, that can lead to missed opportunities, lost revenue, and frustrated reps.
In this article, we’ll clarify the differences between the two, explain why both are essential for sales success, and provide integration strategies that can help you get the most out of each one.
Key features and benefits of sales enablement software
Sales enablement software has one purpose: to make it as easy as possible for sellers to sell.
You can equip sales teams with the tools, resources, and training they need to improve their efficiency and close more deals.
Sales enablement can improve your sales process by:
- Making it easy for sales reps to find, access, personalize, and share sales content.
- Optimizing seller training programs by providing centralized access to materials.
- Teaching sellers how to connect with customers and assist with buying tasks.
- Helping your sales team close more high-quality, low-regret deals.
- Offering data-driven insights into content usage, engagement, and effectiveness.
- Seamlessly integrating with your CRM for a streamlined flow of information.
- Bridging the gap between sales and marketing, promoting better collaboration and communication.
- Providing guided selling features to help sales reps choose the right content and offers.
By implementing sales enablement software, your company can expect increased sales productivity, higher win rates, shorter sales cycles, better alignment between sales and marketing teams, and a more engaged and knowledgeable sales force.
However, sales enablement platforms do come with a few challenges. Those issues include:
- Adoption challenges: Employees may be resistant to changing their existing workflows. Ensure a smooth adoption from the start by setting up a cross-department digital transformation team.
- Integration with existing systems: Integrating platforms with other business tools may require additional resources. Find out more about Pitcher’s seamless integration experience.
- Content management overhead: Software requires ongoing efforts to maintain, update, and organize content. This can be time-consuming for sales and marketing teams. Learn how to improve your content marketing ROI.
- Workflow disruption: Integration of a new platform could temporarily disrupt the workflow of your reps. Avoid this by implementing an effective sales training program.
Key features and benefits of CRM
Your CRM helps you collect information on your prospects and track relationships. This information includes when conversations happened, what was discussed, and what the next steps should be.
CRM can improve your sales process by:
- Automatically recording sales actions like sending emails, initiating calls, or talking to prospects using live chat.
- Increasing efficiency in your day-to-day operations by eliminating many time-consuming manual tasks.
- Helping salespeople manage and improve relationships with leads, prospects, and customers.
- Tracking support tickets and managing customer inquiries to ensure timely issue resolution.
- Automating follow-up so promising leads don’t get forgotten.
- Managing contacts and other customer data.
- Visualizing and monitoring your pipeline.
When you don’t automate and centralize customer and prospect data, you risk exhausting your sales reps and losing deals.
CRM systems can’t do it all – and they, too, have their challenges. Implementation and adoption can be complex, and may take significant time and resources. User adoption might be slow if employees are resistant to change.
Perhaps the biggest challenge is the limited functionality of CRM. It’s an essential source of customer and sales data, but the value of that data is only fully realized when it’s analyzed and strategically applied.
Understanding sales enablement vs. CRM
Your CRM can tell what has happened on your sales team – but it doesn’t make things happen.
Your CRM is there to prepare reps for the sales pitch, giving them all the data they need to understand the prospect. After that preparation, it “passes the baton” to a sales enablement tool like Pitcher to support reps during the client conversation.
CRM software helps sales leaders track and manage their team’s activities with customers and prospects, and it also automates many manual tasks that take up sales reps’ valuable time. This includes data about buyers, their behavior, and their interest in specific products and services.
Then sales enablement pairs the record management of a CRM with the content, training, and sales coaching you need to close more deals.
With sales enablement tools, sales leaders also get the data and analytics they need to determine best practices for the team. These can then be updated and improved over time.
Integrating sales enablement with CRM: Here’s why you need both
Sales Enablement and CRM systems are not mutually exclusive. When integrated well, the two tools complement each other to:
- Enhance collaboration, so teams can work together to close more deals.
- Help sales teams engage with prospects in more meaningful ways.
- Reduce the time sales reps spend on administrative tasks.
- Streamline the sales process and increase productivity.
- Drive more revenue for the business.
The most effective sales organizations don’t choose one or the other. They implement both.
Whatever platforms you select, you must ensure you can integrate them to work together.
Follow these practices to ensure a smooth and effective integration between sales enablement and CRM:
- Define your objectives: Before integrating, determine what you want to achieve.
- Choose the right tools: Select compatible tools that work well together.
- Develop a clear process: Create a step-by-step process for how sales enablement and CRM will work together, including how content will be shared and tracked.
- Train your sales team: Provide training to your sales team on how to use the tools together to achieve better results.
- Monitor and evaluate: Regularly monitor and evaluate the effectiveness of the integration and make adjustments as needed.
Choosing the right sales tool for your business
When you’re evaluating CRM and sales enablement software and trying to choose the right tools for your business, consider asking the following questions:
What are our specific business needs and objectives? Determine the goals you want to achieve with the software, such as improving sales efficiency, streamlining marketing efforts, or increasing customer satisfaction.
What is the current state of our sales process? Identify the biggest pain points and areas of potential improvement.
How easily does the software integrate with our existing systems? Seamless integration with your current tech stack (e.g., email, calendar, marketing automation tools) is crucial for a smooth workflow and user adoption. When choosing sales enablement or CRM systems, carefully evaluate how well the two will integrate. Pitcher integrates with market-leading CRM systems like Salesforce, SAP, Oracle, and Microsoft Dynamics.
How user-friendly is the software? Choose tools that are intuitive and easy to use. This will help ensure quicker adoption by your team and minimize workflow disruptions.
Are there customization options available? Look for platforms that offer ways to customize features to fit your sales processes.
How scalable is the software? As your business grows, your software should be able to accommodate your expanding needs without requiring a complete overhaul.
Does the vendor provide training and support? Opt for vendors that offer comprehensive training, resources, and ongoing support to help your team maximize the value of the software.
What is the total cost of ownership (TCO)? Consider both the upfront costs (e.g., licensing fees and implementation costs) and ongoing expenses (e.g., maintenance, support, and upgrades). Can your organization afford to invest in the software?
What is the potential ROI? What kind of return on investment can you expect? Check with vendors to see if they have customer case studies or stats that can help you evaluate ROI.
What are the security and data privacy features of the software? Ensure the platforms you choose prioritize data security and comply with relevant privacy regulations like GDPR or CCPA.
By asking these questions, you’ll be better equipped to select CRM and sales enablement systems that align with your business needs and objectives.
Bringing it all together: Sales enablement and CRM
CRM and sales enablement platforms offer unique benefits that can empower your sales team and drive your business forward. Understanding the differences between these two solutions, and their respective pros and cons, is the first step toward determining which tools will best serve your organization’s needs.
To better understand sales enablement and CRM systems and how they can complement each other in your sales strategy, download our eBook, “Sales enablement and CRM systems: What’s the difference?“
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