The shift from office to work from home has made sales enablement even more essential. As we prepare for 2021 and beyond, the promise of learning from our mistakes and the ability to pivot is critical. Companies around the world are changing at a rapid pace unlike anything we’ve experienced before. As companies re-evaluate and re-prioritize, they need to ask critical questions about how to succeed. What kind of mindset is needed to thrive today? How is this mindset and plan for development built? How are we helping our team with coaching, competencies and experiences that are most valuable for the future of sales? The how and why of enablement must adapt accordingly in order to thrive in today’s remote/hybrid-remote environment. Passionate enablement professionals must shift and ensure a deep belief in the power of customer-driven innovation. While the world may prefer to return to pre-COVID experiences, the reality is: only those that are resilient will quickly incorporate the wins and benefits of virtual sales and enablement and will expand the scope into a new future.
Shift gears for higher win rates: build an engaging enablement experience
In 2020, remote video was effective, as people were working hard to keep their jobs. In 2021, video training alone will be less effective and take longer to get teams aligned on goals and to be able to effectively shift. There is an abundance of data and information at people’s fingertips. 90% of the world’s data was generated in the past two years alone. Couple this with the fact that technology is advancing quickly. The rapid development and adoption of breakthrough technologies are changing how we interact with each other. In 2020, content was king but not any longer. Content provides background and a frame of reference. Now it is “what is the right solution to support the customer and is it the right solution?” Innovative companies are moving from having thousands of assets and high consumption of resources, to designing experiences unique and personalized to give teams the practice, confidence, competence, and resources needed to help clients.
Improve time to productivity: continuous onboarding and reinforcement
How do you provide a frictionless experience for new team members remotely? Engaging and interactive technologies help teams learn and develop skills in a simulated environment, thereby increasing engagement, productivity, and retention. Strong virtual onboarding, reinforcement, and ongoing training programs help fuel enterprise growth in an intentional and responsible way while enabling teams to do more with their current resources. Peer-to-peer collaboration will help teams become problem-centric, not program centric. As enterprises limit available financial resources, tech that helps sales teams become more nimble, more efficient, and successful will continue to deliver value that extends far beyond this pandemic.
Growth mindset: leveling up sales skills
High-growth companies require today’s teams to have a mindset geared toward continuous innovation, constant re-invention, and continual improvement. Enablement teams are in a key position to help their company succeed throughout this fundamental shift. Virtual practice empowers people to learn the skills needed to execute. Teams gain experience to broaden their perspective and their belief in what is possible. This provides the foundation for today’s workforce to be successful. During monumental shifts, reputations are either won or lost. Who on your team is positioned to succeed in times of adversity? How are you helping them execute virtually? The speed of change, the challenge of change management, and speed of content and experience creation are critical to keeping pace with the speed at which a business must move.
Leadership: where deals are either won or lost
This changing world requires a fundamental shift from managing to coaching. Leaders need to be less focused on the rear-view mirror or taking over a deal, to be more of a guide who provides suggestions. Companies, like Chamberlain, Schlumberger and Farmers, who have made this shift find it accelerates revenue. Leaders and coaches drastically impact performance in a positive way. The beauty of coaching excellence is that it is never about you. It is about discovering the individual strengths of the person you are coaching. It is about using that experience to turn those strengths into a solution that provides real value to clients. A coaching culture is required to develop rock stars and innovators in the next year. Leading-edge companies gain insights into the coaching capabilities of their leaders. They are then able to use these insights to level up their leaders and align these capabilities to accelerate a positive cultural change within their organization.
Sales productivity, capability and results: where opportunities are either won or lost
Readiness only gets you so far. Your most successful reps are driven by emotion. How do you challenge your team or plan to do so in 2021? How are you evaluating productivity and capability so you can bridge skill gaps? Everyone learns differently, so how are you handling continual training virtually and differently? Revenue leaders must see stronger correlations between programs and outcomes, and quantifiable insights. Furthermore, it is critical to have the right mix of up-front, just-in-time, coaching, reinforcement. This effectively delivers the largest return on investment when the company scales and expands these behaviors across the sales organization. As business leaders aggressively look for strategies to increase output while keeping costs in check, having the right mix positively impacts performance.
In 2021, teams need the right foundation, info, tools, and confidence to be at their best. The goal is for enablement to provide the formula for the best customer outcomes. Doing so provides the roadmap to drive the choices, systems, and behaviors that drive effective selling. It also will enable your teams to sell more, better, faster, and easier in order to ensure company and customer success.