3 Strategies to Optimize Talent Development
1.4K View | 8 Min Read
The progressively competitive selling landscape means that the skills needed to succeed as a salesperson are constantly evolving. Meanwhile, 44% of organizations report that their reps have experienced high levels of burnout in the past year. As the demands on reps to keep pace with change and sustain high performance grow, so do the risks of turnover as reps can experience increased pressure without improved support.
Now more than ever, it is essential for organizations to invest in the professional development and career growth of their teams to ensure that reps are supported, motivated, and engaged. This is critical to nurturing employee well-being, but it can also lead to improved business performance long-term. For example, recent research found that companies with high employee engagement were 3 times more likely to have high customer engagement as well.
While there are many teams that have a stake in talent development within an organization, enablement can play a key role in fostering this among reps. By creating opportunities for long-term development and growth, enablement can create a culture of learning and engagement among revenue teams, where progress is celebrated and success is acknowledged and rewarded. Here are three ways that enablement can optimize talent development efforts to improve engagement and performance.
Craft a Roadmap for Competencies and Career Paths
In order to reach a destination, it is first necessary to know how one can get there. When it comes to talent development, setting a clear roadmap for the various career paths and the competencies required for moving up or across an organization can help reps take ownership of their own professional development. Similarly, it helps enablement work hand-in-hand with reps to create realistic action plans to reach their career goals through training and coaching.
When people can see how they fit within an organization and how they can continue to grow, they are more motivated to stay with and invest their talents in an organization. For example, 76% of employees crave career development opportunities at their organizations. By incorporating a roadmap for rep development through competency maps and career paths, enablement can help ensure that they are attracting and retaining top performers.
For example, enablement can partner with HR and frontline managers to standardize rep responsibilities, areas of expertise, and competencies by role. This can be combined with a standard approach to career leveling along with milestone trackers for core competencies to instill accountability and measure progress.
“By aligning on those roles, responsibilities, and competencies, we can create clearer assessments and skills tracking,” said Devon McDermott, vice president of enablement and learning and development at Persado.
Teams should be able to clearly see how they can level up within the organization, along with the steps needed to do so. Movement can be a highly motivating factor, ensuring that reps aren’t feeling stuck or stagnant while continuously empowering them to optimize their individual performance within their respective roles.
“On the enablement side, that’s really important because that empowers us to curate a more targeted onboarding and ever-boarding experience for the teams we support, along with much more meaningful certifications or assessments and coaching opportunities throughout the process,” said McDermott. “What that does is ensures that we’re focused on continually developing and empowering the teams we support to make sure that they’re executing flawlessly and are leveling up and seeing progress in the organization.”
Support Ongoing Development Through Coaching and Mentorship
Keeping pace with change requires constant refinement of skills as opposed to periodic updates when former processes become obsolete. Two key ways that enablement can help drive this continuous, ongoing development for reps are through regular coaching and mentorship.
With coaching programs, enablement can help frontline managers effectively support their teams in practicing and honing the right behaviors to refine their interactions with buyers in the moment. With visibility into buyer behaviors and expectations directly from the field, managers can then help reps adjust gradually, helping them stay ahead of the curve and ultimately succeed long-term.
“Coaching is so many times an under-served area and overlooked area for making sure that our frontline sales managers are impactful in what they’re doing,” said Pamela Dake, sales enablement leader. “They’re really helping our frontline sellers, and not always just jumping into deals, but instead are able to really help the frontline sellers be as effective as they possibly can be.”
Another opportunity to help drive continuous development is through a mentorship program, which can be beneficial for both mentors and mentees. By pairing more senior reps with more junior ones, mentees can see first-hand what it takes to reach higher levels in the organization, while mentors can flex managerial muscles to continue to nurture their own sphere of influence. This also curates a culture of feedback that provides both parties with opportunities to improve and continue learning from each other.
“Creating those mentorship opportunities for folks can create that really strong connection between people that I think really helps in retaining folks because I think so much of the retention challenge is making sure people feel heard,” said Radhika Parashar, sales enablement at Figma.
Ultimately, enablement can provide continuous support for leaders and their teams by ensuring that mentorship becomes a coveted role while simultaneously promoting and providing a designated path for ongoing learning and development opportunities through coaching.
Listen and Advocate on Behalf of Sales Teams
Intentional communication channels impact the way that information is received and digested. This emphasizes the need to prioritize how information is communicated in addition to what the content of the communication itself actually is. To know how to communicate, one first needs to understand who they are communicating to. This begins with listening.
“The art of listening will give you cues so that you know where to take the conversation and how to ask those second and third-layer questions,” said Tisha Garza, head of worldwide field enablement at Kong, Inc.
Through active listening, enablement can gain a more comprehensive understanding of the needs, wants, and desires of the teams they support, helping them to more intentionally design programs that meet these needs. In doing so, enablement can advocate on behalf of reps to funnel their direct feedback based on their experiences in the field to stakeholders. Ultimately, this can lead to more relevant programs that resonate with reps, improving the likelihood of high engagement and subsequent high performance.
With intentional career development support, sales enablement can transform rep performance by appealing to their sources of motivation, helping them maintain agility, and setting them up for sustained success long-term.
From career pathing to coaching and mentoring to active listening, enablement can create meaningful professional development opportunities that position reps to fulfill the expectations of their current roles while preparing for future growth.