As sales managers reviewed results at the end of last year, many faced a stark reality: the virtual sales training programs they had cobbled together to get through the pandemic had not produced the desired results.
“When the pandemic started, many organizations simply adapted their in-person sales enablement to Zoom and other web conferencing platforms,” said Mary Charles, sales enablement manager at Allego. “These businesses didn’t have the time, or maybe the knowledge, to transform to modern learning.”
As we begin the new year, it is clear that the pandemic’s impact on face-to-face meetings will be long term—if not permanent. We are still unable to gather in groups, and travel is difficult to navigate. Many teams will not be returning to their workplaces as companies balance the cost of reconfiguring office space with employees’ productivity at home.
As a result, Charles is now having conversations with sales leaders who want to implement a new approach to sales enablement. She said that these leaders now recognize the need to embrace a sales enablement strategy that extends beyond virtual meetings and provides the content, tools, and knowledge sales teams need to succeed.
To provide more understanding on this important topic, Charles was joined by Susie Mayshar, sales enablement manager at CloudHealth by VMware, in a recent webinar Modern Sales Enablement: How to Plan for the Next Normal and Succeed in a Pandemic.
The webinar gave attendees a firsthand look at the value that a modern sales enablement strategy brings to an organization. Here are the top four behaviors of companies that have mastered modern sales enablement:
1. Learn and Adapt to the Next Normal
Before the pandemic, CloudHealth by VMware would hold a three-day, in-person boot camp to onboard its new sales team. But when the pandemic hit, Mayshar quickly learned that simply moving the boot camp to a virtual setting would not create the same learning experience.
“What works live may not work virtually,” said Mayshar. “Presentations that were interactive in person don’t always work online. I had to learn people’s speaking styles and develop formats that could give them the best way to share their knowledge. As we adapted, I was also lucky to have the technology of Allego to enhance our new onboarding experience.”
The company’s onboarding now includes a variety of presentations and content.
“We use a lot of on-demand videos,” said Mayshar. “But with the ability to add different types of content into Allego, we also provide a lot of white papers and links to other websites. We create courses where we can have someone follow an actual learning track, which has been helpful. And within this learning track, we put prompts and checklist items.”
Mayshar is continually incorporating what she learns so that she is prepared for whatever comes next.
2. Collaborate in a New Way
Before the pandemic, sales teams worked together, easily sharing insights and best practices across the office. Now, with each employee working from home, companies need to find ways to inspire employees to learn from one another and then continue that relationship.
“We’re trying to mimic the culture we have in the office. We want to make it easy to just tap into the expertise of a teammate who can provide an example to emulate,” said Mayshar.
To do this, she shares a variety of content, including white papers, demos, and on-demand video. Content from other peers usually gets the most engagement.
“There’s no one ringing the gong in the office right now,” said Mayshar. “So if I see a win story that has a really good theme on collaboration, I capture that in a one-to-two minute video and send that out in a weekly newsletter. It’s a great way to get people excited about what’s happening.”
3. Leverage the Knowledge of Your Leadership
Asynchronous videos from organization leaders, executives, and sales experts are a great way to get—and keep—the attention of salespeople who need a leadership perspective but are burned out with Zoom fatigue and the noise of emails.
You can keep these employees engaged by sharing short, pre-recorded videos from company leaders. These videos can discuss the industry, competitors—whatever might be helpful to the team.
“In my experience, you just can’t get a good interactive conversation going when there are hundreds of people on a call,” said Charles. “So at our last company meeting, we took a different approach. During the meeting, employees left the large call to watch videos that had been pre-recorded by our leaders. After watching, they were able to make comments and submit questions.”
Providing this type of interaction ensures that employees have the chance to be heard and that management is addressing the right questions and concerns.
4. Coach More—Not Less—Than Before
In the best of times, sales managers and sales enablement leaders have less bandwidth for coaching than they would like. The challenges of working remotely during the pandemic add new obstacles. Yet coaching remains one of the most important ways to improve salespeople’s performance.
“Zoom has its purpose, and there are some conversations that should happen live,” said Mayshar. “But in my experience, most people don’t go back and watch a full Zoom recording. The video format in Allego is much more manageable. I can present shorter, more digestible pieces that employees can view and re-view on demand.”
Mayshar also uses video as a tool for providing feedback. “We can have live calls recorded, so I can go in when it’s convenient and give people point-in-time feedback that they can review and use to be more productive.”
Learn more about the value that modern sales enablement strategy brings to an organization; watch the webinar on demand: Modern Sales Enablement: How to Plan for the Next Normal and Succeed in a Pandemic.
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