The End of One-Size-Fits-All Sales Enablement
2020 was a transformational year for sales organizations. The challenges caused by COVID-19 launched a boom in virtual selling and an estimated 90% of B2B sales are now virtual.
Sales organizations ramped up tools and tactics to support this new paradigm, with mixed success:
- 48% of sales professionals say remote selling has made it harder to close deals.
- 62% of sales professionals say they’ve lost a sale because they couldn’t meet personally with a buyer.
This data reveals the impact of the pandemic. Virtual selling requires new skills, new content, and increased “backstage” support. Practice, role playing, call coaching, reinforcement—all the traditional tools in a sales manager’s arsenal—have typically been done in person.
But with reps AND prospects working in a hybrid world—with some back in the office and some remote—making quota is harder than ever. Sales leaders are often no longer physically in the same office for observation and mentoring of their team. And fewer buyers are opting to meet face-to-face, with many preferring virtual engagements as a first point of contact.
Today’s sales organizations must evolve to meet these new demands—or risk falling behind competitors who are taking their sales enablement strategy to the next level. To be effective, companies must rethink how they onboard, train, and enable both new hires and veteran performers.
Sales Enablement for the Next Normal: Rep-Centric, AI-Scaled, and Virtual-First
Given its powerful impact on the bottom line, next-level sales enablement is no longer optional. It’s a crucial element for survival, growth, and success in today’s ultra-competitive economy.
Sales enablement—when done well—is proven to drive results.
- High-performing sales organizations are twice as likely to provide on-going training as low-performing ones (SiriusDecisions).
- The use of sales enablement solutions has grown by 567% over the last three years (Smart Selling Tools).
As the demands on sales organizations change, your sales enablement efforts must evolve to keep pace.
For example, many sales enablement initiatives take a top-down, one-size-fits-all approach that doesn’t put the rep at the center of the process. These status-quo programs won’t equip sellers to compete in our next normal. Today, dispersed teams require a new level of coordination, collaboration, and empowerment in order to unlock sales success in an overcrowded digital world.
3 Key Sales Enablement Capabilities
But what does sales enablement look like in 2021 and beyond? Evolved sales enablement incorporates three key capabilities:
#1. Put Sellers at the Center
Sales enablement can be your organization’s super power, but only if it’s built with your end-users in mind, especially for distributed teams. Putting sellers in the center of your strategy means delivering the training and content they require at the moment of need, tailored to individual learning patterns, and driven by in-field demands, not top-down mandates.
Sellers love learning from other sellers. Evolved sales enablement makes it easy to capture content created by reps and share it with others on the team. This rep-to-rep content is stickier than formal learning content and often contains the gold nuggets sellers need to close the deal. When you harvest best practices from the field, you preserve institutional knowledge and can use it to replicate your “A” players.
#2. Use AI to Scale Programs
Artificial intelligence (AI) is the engine that powers today’s sales enablement. With AI, sales enablement can scale the human-to-human connection to impact the day-to-day lives of many more reps.
AI allows teams to activate unique coaching scenarios for different initiatives, each augmented by its own set of custom rules, rather than a one-size-fits-all approach. AI offers new insights to deliver curated, personalized content, coaching recommendations, and skill reinforcement.
#3. Support Hybrid Selling
The new requirements of hybrid selling have increased demand for virtual-first sales enablement. Virtual-first platforms fuel distributed teams with access to vital sales materials and intel at the moment of need, supporting both in-person and virtual selling and collaboration. Hybrid sales enablement solutions connect remote and local teams in new ways through enhanced accessibility and collaboration technology.
Evolving Your Sales Enablement Strategy
The era of rep-centric sales enablement has arrived—and it couldn’t have come at a better time. With the uncertain economy, the rise in remote teams due to the pandemic, and tightening budgets, it’s more important than ever for companies to equip their sales teams to produce at the highest level.
Learn what a rep-centric sales enablement approach looks like from my colleague Jake Miller and I as we present How to Use Rep-Centric Sales Enablement to Future-Proof Your Revenue Engine.
Register to watch live or on-demand here.