Over the last year, business leaders worldwide have had to get intimately familiar with words like change, pivot, and transition as their firms adjust to the new world of work. Although it may feel as if we've only just adjusted to the new reality, organizations are discussing what returning to in-person work entails, leaving sales enablement practitioners to prepare for how to help reps navigate yet another change.
Covid-19 has unquestionably altered the way businesses buy from and sell to one another. McKinsey & Company conducted a comprehensive survey of 3,600 B2B decision-makers in 11 countries, 12 industries, and 14 expenditure categories to determine how much B2B sales had changed during the epidemic.
Their findings suggest that B2B sales have shifted dramatically.
For starters, there has been a shift toward remote selling:
- Ninety-six percent of B2B sales consulting teams have switched to remote selling, either entirely or partially.
- According to 65 percent of B2B decision-makers, the remote model is as effective as what they were doing before the pandemic.
Second, the pandemic has hastened the adoption of prior trends, such as multichannel selling, inside sales, e-commerce, and tech-enabled selling.
How to keep up with the pace of change and allow reps to move to a hybrid world when sales reps and customers operate in a mix of in-person and virtual environments? - Enter sales and virtual enablement.
What is Sales Enablement?
It is the iterative process of giving your company's sales force the resources they need to close more deals. If you want to market your product or service effectively, you'll need content, tools, knowledge, and information.
But the capacity to conduct business digitally is a vital reality across companies and business operations in an increasingly digital world, and it’s no exception. Many practitioners recognize the necessity of virtual enablement programs to drive agility within the teams they serve.
What is Virtual Enablement?
Virtual enablement efforts go far beyond simply transferring enablement programs on the internet. Instead, enablement leaders must understand the most prevalent virtual issues and solve them best. Virtual enablement offers scalability, flexibility, and diversity among sales teams when done correctly.
How do Sales differ from Virtual Enablement?
The beauty of virtual enablement is that you can do it from any location, which isn't a new concept. It's not unique to do things through technology and the cloud, but there's no need to be enabled or on board any longer. And you can give the same experience to customers all around the world. That is the allure of virtual reality. Someone in Texas and someone in Croatia, for example, may get the same enablement experience, which is terrific.
Instead of squeezing six months into a week of classroom-based training, you can split up subjects or themes into micro-learning today and provide them when they're needed.
Is CRM a Sales Strategy Enablement?
Most businesses, mainly those new to sales and marketing technology, debate whether to invest in sales strategy enablement software or a customer relationship management system.
In a nutshell, what's the difference between the two, and do you need one, the other, or both?
What is a CRM?
Customer relationship management (CRM) platforms are databases that allow businesses to keep track of and manage their employees' interactions with customers and prospects. They also increase efficiency by automating operations that take substantial time away from selling when completed one by one or manually.
- Keeping track of buyers and clients.
- You automatically contacted prospects and customers.
- Leaving voicemail messages.
- Notes from meetings recorded.
CRM systems, in a nutshell, are data warehouses and tools that automate time-consuming and repetitive activities to make salespeople and marketers more productive. It keeps them focused on the most crucial aspect of their job - selling.
At the most basic level:
- Sales strategy enablement equips salespeople with the tools and resources to close more deals.
- CRM stands for Customer Relationship Management, and it is a database that automates processes and procedures to help salespeople be more productive.
Knowledge, connection, and quality are crucial aspects of sales strategy enablement. CRM is all about keeping track of data and speed and efficiency. It's simpler to comprehend the contrasts and the value each brings to organisations when you put them side by side.
Is Sales Strategy Enablement Dead?
Traditional sales strategy enablement is no longer effective. Most organisations develop sales strategy enablement charters traditionally to help, you guessed it, sales personnel.
However, we also understand that the most effective programs empower all client-facing departments, from marketing to sales to customer success. Here are some reasons for this:
Previously, the buyer's journey was linear. Marketing teams would produce leads, pass them to sales, and hope for the best. They would classify technology, methods, and even objectives. However, B2B buying habits have shifted dramatically in recent years.
Modern buyers, empowered by a wealth of publicly available content and information, prefer to engage with sales personnel late or not at all. Marketers have grown increasingly accountable for revenue, with 67 percent of the consumer journey in their hands.
Growing competition and widespread adoption of subscription pricing structures have made having a dedicated team to ensure your clients remain pleased and loyal a requirement.
Customer success, marketing, and sales must work together to achieve the common goal of increasing revenue and expanding the firm. Developing a sales strategy enablement program that supports and empowers sales reps to provide prospects and existing customers with the content, insights, and tools they require moving deals forward and keeping and growing existing accounts is critical to achieving those objectives.
Why Virtual Enablement?
Looking back on a year marked by pandemics, we learned about remote marketing and selling and video engagement. Aside from being the sole means to engage with prospects and consumers, this wasn't new for some businesses. Others faced a more significant problem in acclimating to a profession they had neglected before the crisis.
The virtual world is here to stay!
And most of us are realistic enough to realize that there is no going back to what we considered "normal" a year ago. Whether or not anyone likes it, the digital transition is speeding up, and many enterprises worldwide are preparing for a digital and remote future in 2022. Is it necessary for sales strategy enablement to transition to virtual as a discipline?
Trending towards virtual.
According to Global Workplace Analytics, by the end of 2021, 25-30% of the workforce will be working from home multiple days a week.
According to Global Workplace Analytics, this is how much a typical firm can save by having half of its employees work remotely.
According to another recent report, those who effectively use sales tools have an eight percentage point greater win rate than those who do not.
"We run all of our meetings online and deliver practically every enabling function digitally," you would think. Is there any need to change that?" - The majority of enablement services have already gone digital. Yes, many firms are on the right track by providing enablement services in a digital format.
In most firms, there was no significant change in content services. However, several businesses were still focusing on a large percentage of on-site training programs with training services. During the early lockdowns, some firms faced a significant barrier in fast transforming their onboarding and training programs to be 100 percent digital.
It worked, although nearly no one expected it. Of course, making real-life personal contacts would have been preferable for the new workers, as a virtual coffee machine or water cooler interactions are not the same. They may, however, be onboarded to work in their new positions.
The true enablement challenge is elsewhere -
The problem lies in the domain of capability enablement. During the pandemic, many organisations faced major extra issues in their abilities (the internal processes and frameworks that teams used to design, manage, maintain, and provide services across various functions and third parties).
We went through two scenarios:
In the first place, enablement teams lacked a framework of processes and cooperation mechanisms. They used ad hoc cross-functional collaboration on content or training services. The teams repaired things on the last mile with enormous resources and funding to get things done on time and to a high standard.
Enablement teams already had a set of processes and cooperation models in place to help them handle the crisis. They better positioned themselves because they could build on a firm foundation. They had to ensure that the processes operating in a remote and virtual environment were the most important thing. However, the key benefit for those teams was that they had a solid and scalable basis of enablement processes and frameworks.
The buying and selling teams must change their behaviors, with buyers adjusting a little faster than sellers. In addition, sales strategy enablement teams will need to adapt in the following ways:
1. Remote Sales Training
In a remote workplace, it's crucial to make onboarding digestible, interactive, and, most importantly, pleasurable. Here are a few points on how to give sales training to a remote workforce:
- Reduce the impact of information overload on new hires by using gamification.
- You can use the correlation between seller quota attainment and training completion to measure the efficacy of your sales strategy enablement approach.
- Supplement continuing training materials with podcasts and videos that dealers can quickly access.
2. Increasing Virtual Learning Effectiveness
Virtual sales onboarding and training activities require a fresh, creative mentality to be successful and memorable. In a virtual setting, here are some creative ways to engage with your sellers:
- Send out a package with a new prop for each day throughout the first week of training activities; use the support in your daily session to keep their interest.
- Use break-out rooms for interactive sales training exercises, including managing objections and role-playing.
- Reduce burnout by sticking to a strict schedule and taking many breaks throughout the day.
Due to local encounters with vendors, buyers' expectations have altered and are, in many ways, more significant than they were previously. Here are a few tips on how to keep your online experience focused on the customer:
- Keep your camera on when interacting with customers to develop deeper empathetic ties.
- Before meeting with a customer, focus on personalizing your message by learning about their wants and goals.
4. Digital Selling
Digital selling programs aren't just a question of convenience anymore; they'll soon need many businesses to stay competitive. Here are a few game-changing steps in developing a digital selling strategy:
- Create a digital toolset including social media, content distribution, and video acceleration.
- Make sure your material is appropriate for a variety of selling scenarios.
- Ascertain that merchants can identify and map buyers based on data details.
5. Sales Skills in a Virtual World
As the popularity of digital selling grows, sellers' skills must improve and adapt. Here are some of the abilities that sales strategy enablement can adopt, as well as the strategies for gaining those talents:
- Hard skills should include knowledge of the tools and technologies needed to sell on the internet.
- Because communication forms are rapidly changing, soft skills should involve advanced interpersonal strategies.
- Through a range of testing and evaluation approaches, sales strategy enablement is well-positioned to hone these new critical abilities.
The Final Note
Salespeople should research their clients and marketplaces and show up to be more relevant. We've experienced that even more in this virtual realm, where we can't constantly be in a room due to travel restrictions.
A quarterly enablement or training event isn't always possible. So we mustn't think of this as, "Oh, my strategy isn't working anymore." All you have to do is be creative and show up where they are. Insert yourself on that team call if those sellers are still having team meetings with their sales bosses. With the way you're rolling out your initiatives, you'll need to think creatively and be nimble.