It’s never been harder to be a sales enablement professional. The pressure to accelerate ramp times and improve sales onboarding often doesn’t come with more headcount and budget. And after years of binge-watching Netflix and scrolling through TikTok, capturing and keeping seller attention is a challenge.
That’s why when it comes to creating enablement programs, we need to be able to do more with less, plus make the content interactive, captivating, and binge-worthy.
Sounds impossible? Not with the right strategy, tools, and technology. Read on to get get the background for why a sales enablement program is such an integral part of successful sales teams and our top seven tips for designing a high-impact program.
- Capture the seller’s attention from the first click
- Combine training and content side by side
- Make the program interactive
- Create built-in certifications
- Individualize to sellers’ needs
- Use program templates
- Leverage industry expertise and pre-made program content
Sales enablement programs: What they are and why they’re important for sales teams
Sales enablement programs refer to how sales enablement professionals structure and present training and content related to a specific initiative, topic, or theme. They’re a combination of activities, assets, and resources wrapped together to execute sales enablement at scale for different scenarios. These activities can be delivered on-demand, live, or a combination of both.
The ultimate goal of a sales enablement program is to make sellers better prepared, more knowledgeable, and more effective in the field. Sales enablement teams typically do that by training them on a topic and then providing hands-on practice and reinforcement to ensure that sellers remember the information and can translate what they’ve learned into in-field behaviors.
Different assets and activities act as the building blocks for the program and can come in a variety of formats and modalities. They typically include things like training videos, instructor-led sessions, interactive role-plays, assessments and quizzes, writing exercises, marketing materials or other PDFs, gamified challenges, and much more. But the keyword here is variety. If every program follows the same format and contains the same types of assets, sellers are going to get bored and tune out quickly. But we’ll get into that more in tip #1.
There are sales enablement programs for pretty much any and every topic under the sun. But we typically see programs categorized into these key use cases consistently across sales organizations:
- Sales onboarding
- Competitive takeout
- Marketing messaging and positioning
- Product training
- Product releases & updates
- Sales methodology
- Sales skills, like discovery, negotiation, prospecting, storytelling, and more
- Sales processes and tools
- Pricing and packaging
7 tips to create a high-impact sales enablement program
As mentioned, not every sales enablement program is created equal. And that’s why the outcomes of enablement programs can vary widely from one organization to the next.
For example, Company A and Company B both enabled their sellers on a new quoting process, and each assigned them a program to complete that consists of the following:
Which company do you think experienced higher adoption of the new process? Duh! Company B! Company B’s program had a higher impact because it was more interactive, more engaging, and as a result, they’re more likely to see adherence to the new process.
But creating a high-impact sales enablement program is easier said than done. It’s a lot easier to assign a PDF for sellers to read and call it a day than it is to create a new and interesting piece of content.
That’s why our tips for creating a high-impact program include not only the types of activities that go into the program itself but also, the tools that sales enablement leaders have to create those activities as quickly and easily as possible.
A high-impact enablement program delivers a modern sales content and training experience – and that experience starts at the seller’s first interaction and impression of the program. That’s why you need to create engaging immersive experiences for sellers. One way to do that is by intuitively displaying the program content and training with relevant context. This eliminates any potential sense of confusion or lostness which typically hampers seller completion.
From the first click, sellers should understand:
- Program purpose and goal: What they will learn and how and how it helps them crush their quota
- Program outcome: What they expect to earn, whether that’s a certificate, approval to sell a new product line, etc. (see tip #4 for more advice here)
- Program path and milestones: What activities they need to complete, in what order, and context of how that connects back to the program goal
Additionally, once they begin the program, you need to ensure there is variation in the format and types of activities. Like Company B, you need to ensure you’re leveraging a sales enablement platform that arms you with both breadth and depth in the types of building blocks you can use to build the program. This includes on-demand, interactive, and instructor-led elements, all available side-by-side with unified reporting.
While training and content on a particular topic are good on their own, like any dynamic duo, they’re more powerful together. That’s why a high-impact sales enablement program not only provides training on a relevant topic but also presents it side by side with the associated relevant content that sellers will use post-training. For example, if you’ve launched a program on new marketing messaging, don’t make sellers go search for and access the new pitch decks and marketing collateral somewhere else! Provide it right there in the program for easy access.
During Mindtickle’s Spring Announcement, Content Center was released, reinforcing the importance of a centralized content management system across enablement platforms.
We’ve all done our fair share of multitasking while brainlessly clicking through a long enablement video. That’s why high-impact enablement programs are heavy on interactive, hands-on elements to ensure that force sellers to stay engaged and reinforce knowledge and skills throughout.
Some common interactive elements include:
- In-video questions: Asking questions and conducting surveys periodically within video content increases engagement with content and performs just-in-time knowledge checks.
- Role-plays and hands-on exercises: Assign prompts and scenarios for sellers to record role-play or written exercises to ensure comprehension and ensure sellers can apply the concept and articulate it in their own words.
- Peer examples: Include snippets from real-world customer calls, peer role-play submissions, and peer success stories to make the content more relatable and bring it to life.
- Gamification: Incorporating point-keeping, leaderboards, badges, competitions, team activities, and other game-like features into your enablement program boosts concentration and participation.
Becoming certified in a topic or process is a motivating factor for many high-impact enablement programs. But it needs to be easy for sales enablement leaders to scale and automate certification efforts. They need to be able to track seller performance on individual learning components in the program, as well as award certificates using complex criteria, and manage recertifications as necessary.
Certifications are also motivating to sellers, and even partners, when a social component is incorporated. Making it easy for sellers to share their certifications on social platforms like LinkedIn from within your sales enablement platform creates a sense of reward and recognition. And by customizing your certificates to your brand, product, or initiative, you also boost your brand awareness in the market!
Even the best, most riveting sales enablement program won’t be high-impact if it’s one-size-fits-all. Programs need to be relevant and personalized at scale, focusing on the unique needs of each individual salesperson, and focusing on the skills that will move the needle for them. Leading sales enablement platforms provide automation that adjusts programs to sellers’ skillsets and competencies. Not forcing sellers to complete components of the program focused on knowledge, skills, or behaviors they’ve already mastered generates more buy-in and engagement for programs as a whole.
As mentioned, sales enablement teams are usually short on time and resources, which can drain the creativity juices from even the most innovative sales enablement professional. That’s why using a sales enablement platform that provides quick-start tools like templates is key to program creation. Top sales enablement vendors provide pre-built, yet customizable, templates for key sales enablement use cases, eliminating blank page paralysis and accelerating program creation.
From the State of Sales Readiness Report, we found that using program templates decreased the time to launch a program from 6 weeks to 7 days.
These templates include pre-built best practices and engagement mechanics which provide the blueprint for the best structure and pieces of content for each use case.
Similar, yet different, to program templates are ready-to-deploy content. While templates provide the blueprint for a high-impact program, ready-to-deploy programs provide you with the whole enchilada.
There are key topics that sales enablement leaders around the world across different companies are all enabling their people on. Think sales discovery, cross-sell and upsell, objection handling, certain sales methodologies like MEDDPICC, etc. But all of these sales enablement teams are starting from scratch, wasting valuable time, all creating the same things when they could be working on more strategic initiatives.
That’s why sales enablement platforms provide sales enablement teams with prebuilt programs on these key topics created by industry experts and top-tier sales consulting firms. This lets sales enablement teams leverage this expertise and incorporate new modalities and approaches based on modern learning design and industry best practices so they can stop reinventing the wheel and focus more on strategy and execution.
Ensuring that every sales enablement program is high-impact, immersive, and engaging can sound like a daunting task. The good news is you’re not alone. Mindtickle’s fall product announcement ushers in a new wave of products and enhancements that make it easier than ever for sales enablement professionals to deliver modern, high-impact sales training and content experiences. Learn more about how Mindtickle can help you create more binge-worthy enablement experiences during our virtual event on November 15.