The difference between sales enablement and marketing automation

Although marketing automation is a concept we’ve touched on in previous blogs, understanding the difference between this and the tactics of sales enablement  - and more importantly, how the two support one another - can lead to a significant boost in your online traffic. 

What is sales enablement? 

The best way to differentiate between sales enablement and marketing automation is by understanding the reason that lies at the heart of each.  

Simply put, sales enablement tools will “provide the delivery of the right information to the right person at the right time and in the right place”. It’s a deceptively simple yet effective strategy, little wonder then that over 75% of companies using sales enablement tools and tactics indicated that their sales rose over a 12 month period. 

Sales enablement tools can include content such as blogs, eBooks and case studies. Essentially any content that can help a member of your sales team to address any questions of potential customers can be considered a sales enablement tool. 

What is marketing automation?  

Marketing automation is content such as email marketing that is automatically triggered based on defined customer behaviours and actions. For instance, a welcome email which is generated quickly after signing up to a newsletter, a nurturing campaign or a cart abandonment email targeting a shopper who has added items to their basket but left the site before completing their purchase.  

Once an initial matrix or workflow is drawn up, marketing automation requires little human intervention, the automation process takes over and will continue to deliver emails to your growing database based on triggers. This makes it a perfect fit for businesses with ambitions to scale-up. Effective marketing automation gives you the ability to engage properly with large numbers of contacts and prospects without increasing the workload of your team - giving you instant scalability. Whilst many of you will be used to dealing with this process in a B2C environment, marketing automation can be just as impactful for B2B companies – with stats showing a 60% revenue growth in companies effectively implementing the tools.  

How do they differ? 

There are significant differences between the two – sales enablement tools come in a variety of formats, whilst marketing automation generally consists solely of messaging-based activity such as email and SMS.  

Both also approach personalisation slightly differently - automation is content seemingly tailored to the individual user, through the use of message customisation, name fields and products displayed, but is sent on a mass scale with personalisation provided through the actions that prospects have taken or information that has been gleaned from them. Sales enablement material on the other hand is generally standardised content, designed to answer specific questions or overcome particular objectives. It is sent on an individual basis on the decision of the sales team and specific requirements of each individual lead.  

Can they work together? 

Of course, whilst on the surface both concepts are clearly quite different from one another, they both ultimately serve the same purpose – to drive interaction between customers and businesses.  

Both rely on delivering content that is engaging and offer multiple opportunities to draw data and statistics (open rates / CTA etc). The two tactics can learn from each other to inform future activity and strategy, and better perform their individual functions 

To be successful, both sales enablement and marketing automation rely on strong and relevant messaging and a deep understanding of the habits, needs and expectations of target customers, which is driven internally by closer interaction between the sales and marketing teams. This allows both departments to identify key messages that resonate with different target audiences, produce appropriate materials to support the new business function and drive towards the overall goals of the business. 

To discover more about sales enablement and marketing automation and how both help your business to scale-up, download our latest eBook today or have a chat with our expert team 

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Tags: Business Growth, scale up, Inbound Marketing

Posted by Samantha Wilcox
on September 6, 2018