Pop quiz! Who is training and who is enabling?


Scenario: Two Sales Leaders – Edward and Jason – recently participated in SBI’s Annual Sales Strategy Workshop. Each needed help developing their 2015 sales strategy.


Both were asked how they enable their sales guys to be successful. Here were their responses:


Edward “We have training, ongoing coaching and resources to help the team. Whenever something is rolled out, we start with a training event. Following that is individualized coaching. The approach is about having one message per person. We’ve also invested in mobile tools. It’s all about getting them the right information at the right time.”


Jason “We have an entire week training event. We use this process all the time. The entire sales field flies in on Sunday. Starting Monday morning and ending Friday. We use role plays to get the team engaged. Afterwards, we send out the training materials so the team has them available.”


So who is training and who is enabling?


Continue reading to find out. And afterwards, download SBI’s Annual Research Report for more information. It details how top performing sales teams are training AND enabling in 2015. 


The Difference: Sales Training vs. Sales Enablement

Let’s first start off with a description of each.


Sales Training is an event. The goal of the event is to teach people new information. Training is a one-to-many exercise.


Sales Enablement is a function. The goal of the function is to enable the sales team to be successful. Enablement is a focused, customized approach to teaching.


It’s important to note that Sales Training and Sales Enablement are not mutually exclusive. Sales Training is an activity which falls under Sales Enablement. Training is only part of the Sales Enablement equation.


With that overview, let’s highlight a few key differences between the two.


Difference #1 – Frequency

Once vs. Continuous


Sales training is a one-time event. Usually done once per year. It’s a heavy lift to set up and a major cost to the organization. It has value, but is difficult to scale. An example of a training event is the annual SKO.


Sales Enablement is a continuous method of teaching. It is integrated into the sales team’s daily strategy. The continuous nature is enabled through mobile and social tools. Those tools also make scaling across the team an easier task. This reduces long-term costs to the organization. 


Difference #2 – Approach

Efficient vs. Effective


Sales training is all about efficiency. Teaching a new topic to a large audience in a short duration. It’s a single message for everyone. This works well as an introductory communication to the team. 


Sales Enablement is all about effectiveness. Making the team more successful in their jobs through focused coaching. It’s a single, customized message for each person. This approach is highly successful for getting things to ‘stick’ inside the organization.


Difference #3 – Environment

Out of the field vs. In the field 


Sales Training is done out of the field. Usually in a boardroom-like environment. This setting is well suited for an intro presentation, as an example. Role plays are common during these events to simulate everyday situations.


Sales Enablement is done in the field. It is real-time, in the moment application. Technology, when used, allows information flow to be constant and immediate. Working with the team in the field drives adoption. 


So, who is doing training and who is enabling?

If you said Edward is enabling then you are correct! Edward’s use of continuous, effective and real-time teaching is an enabling strategy. 


What about you? Are you driving an effectiveness strategy like Edward?


To find out, and participate in your own workshop, register here. The 90-minute meeting leaves you with a comprehensive roadmap heading into 2015. And ensures you are more like Edward than Jason.


Daniel Korten

Helps companies make their number and grow revenue by using a data-driven approach to solving problems.

Dan joined SBI in 2012 and has mastered many roles within the firm’s Consultant Team. Most recently he became Client Success Manager, where he oversees and ensures project quality, consultant team development and client satisfaction.


Dan is an expert problem solver, which he achieves through data-driven decision making. When advising clients, he incorporates market segmentation, account segmentation, revenue & budget planning, sales organizational strategy and sales operations strategy.


Dan has also deep experience solving multi-functional organizational alignment issues impacting revenue growth. Expertise in private equity due diligence & screening, product strategy, buyer segmentation, demand generation strategy, sales territory optimization and talent strategy round out his broad base of knowledge in problem solving.

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