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April 30, 2020

Why You Can’t Deliver Virtual Training With Legacy Tactics

Companies around the globe have canceled sales meetings and training sessions in favor of virtual sales meetings and are enacting work from home policies to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. Yet sales enablement professionals must get new hires up to speed and keep teams on track in a world where face-to-face meetings are impossible.

Traditional training and sales enablement approaches won’t solve this challenge. But building a virtual training program when you’ve relied on in-person sessions can feel like an overwhelming task.

Do any of these situations sound familiar?

  • Your National Sales Meeting has been canceled and you need to train the entire sales force remotely.
  • The VP of Sales wants to shift from an annual sales meeting to quarterly virtual events to save on T&E.
  • Your company just acquired a partner and you need to train the salesforce on three new products.
  • You’ve hired five new reps and need to certify all of them before they can start selling.
  • Your product manager just let you know that the new release will roll out next month and your team needs to get up to speed ASAP.

These are real-world situations. You have to find the most effective and efficient ways to support your company’s business goals and you need to do it remotely, without the benefit of in-person collaboration. Today’s sales enablement managers need new tools and tactics to be successful.

Legacy Approaches Hamper True Enablement

Buyers have changed. Sellers must do the same. Customers are more informed, sophisticated, and discriminating than ever before. Prospects may have completed much of the buyer’s journey—some say as much as 60%—before speaking to a sales rep. Vendors must become more knowledgeable and more agile to meet their customers’ needs.

At the same time, sales teams now face additional barriers to productivity. Yet many organizations are using outdated training and enablement approaches. Their onboarding and training tools and processes haven’t kept pace with the times. This creates an extra burden for sales enablement professionals who must equip sales teams for an increasingly complex buyer journey.

The Challenges of Managing Distributed Teams

In this “new normal,” teams that weren’t remote are now working across time zones and geographies. Remote work adds a layer of complexity to sales manager’s daily lives. There are many new barriers to productivity including canceled meetings and travel restrictions, a lack of face time with reps and prospects, difficulty collaborating with colleagues, and more.

Whether a sales force works across a country, a continent, or around the world, sales managers must work overtime to lead their teams, not to mention communicate consistent messaging, articulate product value, or share subject matter expertise on the buyer’s industry or solution.

With significantly reduced opportunities for learning, reinforcement, and coaching, sales managers strive to lead geographically dispersed reps and hold team members accountable. Sales enablement professionals must be alert to these unfamiliar hurdles and work to support managers in new ways.

It’s easy to spot a struggling sales manager. Some common signs are unfocused or poorly run sales meetings, limited sales training programs, lack of manager and/or rep discipline, inadequate metrics or pipeline insights, no sales formula, inconsistent recruiting, and a lack of focus on building a team culture. Fortunately, there are proven tactics that organizations can employ to train across geographies and time zones

Modernize Your Sales Enablement Approach

It’s a new era of sales management for remote teams. If you haven’t already, now is the time to modernize your sales enablement approach. When you leverage mobile, video, and peer-to-peer networking, you gain the flexibility of remote learning and the power of just-in-time content. It’s not just about enablement, it’s ultimately about sales readiness.

Companies that use modern sales readiness platforms see higher win rates, shorter new hire ramp-up times, and improved collaboration within sales and other teams—even in this unstable environment. By incorporating these core capabilities into your approach, you’ll deliver the best experience for your sales managers, help make them successful throughout their sales careers, and drive better results for your organization.

4 Recommendations for Sales Enablement Managers

1.Look for ways to improve coaching skills.

Identify specific competencies for improvement and focus on supporting managers’ delivery of that coaching. Use a scorecard approach to understand how reps are improving over time.

2. Increase peer-to-peer collaboration.

Encourage peer-to-peer collaboration by enabling high performers to share best practices with others. Use easily accessible video content with interactive feedback for effective collaboration.

3. Focus on competencies, not just results.

When a rep or manager falters, it shows up in the results. But you can’t simply focus on results to get back on track. Provide managers with the ability to track competencies over time so they can fine-tune their efforts to focus on the greatest areas of need.

4. Use technology to achieve business goals.

Make sure your sales managers are equipped to get the best results. Use a sales readiness platform to empower sales managers to lead remote teams.

Whether your ultimate goals are customer adoption, demand generation, pipeline progression, or return on investment, your role is critical to helping the company achieve them in an uncertain time. The pace of sales and rapidly changing markets mean you’ve got to be ready to adjust plans on a moment’s notice. Don’t let a legacy approach to sales enablement hold you back.

Learn More

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