Sales Enablement Versus CRM: What’s the Difference… And Does it Matter?

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The world of sales and marketing is evolving faster than ever before. Emerging technology makes it possible for sales teams to constantly find newer, more effective and efficient ways to engage with prospects throughout the selling process.

New systems provide ready access to data, educational content and marketing materials that makes selling — and up-selling — easier. They also automate tedious processes that used to take time away from connecting with prospects and customers.

One question most organizations have, especially those that are new to sales and marketing technology, is whether to invest in sales enablement software or a client relationship management system.

In short: What’s the difference and do you need one, the other or both?

Sales Enablement

Sales enablement provides reps with everything they need to sell more effectively. It also gives marketers and sales leaders data and information to guide, support, monitor and improve the selling process.

This includes:

  • On-boarding so reps can start selling effectively in the first week on the job
  • Training and coaching so salespeople can increase their knowledge and improve their skills over time
  • Marketing support that helps reps explain concepts to buyers
  • Access to data and analytics to determine what’s working and what’s not so the sales process can be improved over time.

Customers today expect buyer-centric experiences. Sales enablement encourages different teams, including marketing, sales, product development, customer service and more, to come together to figure out how to deliver the ultimate end-to-end customer experience.

This results in increased sales and improved customer retention and value.

Customer Relationship Management

Customer relationship management (CRM) platforms are databases that enable companies to track and manage their team’s activities with their customers and prospects. They also create efficiencies by automating tasks that take significant time away from selling when done one-off or manually. This includes:

  • Maintaining data about buyers and clients
  • Auto-contacting prospects and customers
  • Leaving voicemails
  • Recording meeting notes

In short, CRM systems are data repositories and tools that handle tedious and time-consuming processes in order to make sales reps and marketers more efficient.

It keeps them focused on what’s important: selling.

The difference

At the simplest level:

  • Sales enablement provides tools and resources to close more deals.
  • CRM is a database that also automates processes and procedures to make salespeople more productive.

Sales enablement is about knowledge, connection and quality. CRM is about data maintenance, speed and efficiency.

When you position the two side by side, it’s easier to understand the differences and the value each provides to organizations.

One, the other or both?

If you’re new to the world of sales technology, you may be wondering whether you need a sales enablement or CRM system — or both.

Ask yourself these questions to clarify your understanding of the two and find the right solution for you:

Will a CRM help reps engage with prospects?

The answer is, it contributes to the process.

Most organizations use their CRM system to automate time-consuming marketing and sales processes. It’s also a data repository that captures contact information which feeds the automated systems. Finally, a CRM tracks sales activity against a contact list. These things all help with engagement, but don’t really improve engagement.


It does nothing to identify the right messages and materials to insert into the automated processes. It also doesn’t position those things in the context of an optimized sales experience or track effectiveness. It provides no education or training for reps.

Sales engagement software ensures reps have the tools and information needed to connect with and engage their prospects via their preferred method of communication — email, phone, in-person or text messages. This is where a sales enablement system often integrates with a CRM to improve efficiency and engagement.

Will a CRM improve how sales reps sell?

The answer is not really.

It will make them more efficient and give them more time to sell. It also helps evaluate leads so salespeople are able to focus on better qualified ones.

However CRM does not empower reps to engage with buyers or provide the data needed to improve how your organization sells.

A CRM will make your reps more efficient, but it won’t help them sell better. You need a sales enablement platform to do that.

Are your reps responding to leads in a timely way and communicating with buyers often enough?

If your answer is no or you’re not sure, a CRM system will help you gain control over how quickly, when and how often the people on your sales team interact with prospects and clients.

However, it won’t supply the messages, support materials and knowledge needed to guide those interactions. It takes a sales enablement system to do that.

Although sales enablement and CRM systems do different things and provide different benefits, they actually complement one another and make the other more powerful. They both help sales teams to engage effectively with prospects and customers to meet revenue goals. That’s why the most effective sales organizations choose both.

Mobile Locker has developed a sales enablement platform that can easily integrate with most CRM systems. Our sales reps are available to help you come up with a customized combination that’s perfect for your organization’s unique needs.

What are you waiting for? Contact us so we can help you start selling better and more efficiently.

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