Building Enablement Initiatives for Scale in 2022
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As 2022 draws near, companies are looking to create more impact and design a plan to achieve stable, sustainable growth after nearly two years of unexpected changes. Now, as many organizations are operating virtually or moving into a hybrid-style work environment, sales enablement professionals are strategizing ways to scale enablement in the coming year through restructuring teams, optimizing and personalizing programs, rethinking the virtual workspace, and tracking performance and proficiency.
Sales enablement professionals need to plan now for how they will scale enablement initiatives for 2022 so that they can prepare programs, strategies, and tools to help them reach optimal success. Here are some strategies sales enablement professionals can implement to scale enablement efficiently and effectively in the year ahead.
Gather Targeted Feedback and Incorporate Personalization
For enablement programs to sufficiently engage reps, it’s important that they are tailored to rep’s personal needs, objectives, and goals for success. However, this can be difficult to achieve at scale.
Gathering focused feedback from reps and turning that information into programs that are personalized based on key trends can help enablement efforts to resonate. To identify these helpful insights, sales enablement professionals can conduct discovery sessions with a representative sample of reps to gather insights and analyze feedback on what works and what could be improved.
“The way that we found that we can scale [effective programs] is for every sales program that we run, we’ll do a discovery session,” said Jason Salfen, director of enterprise sales programs at Salesforce. “We’ll bring in our subject matter experts, we’ll bring in our AEs and ask them what’s working? What questions do you have? What challenges are you having selling the solution? What do you know now that you wish you had known at the beginning of the sales cycle?”
By asking these questions of reps and analyzing trends, sales enablement professionals can build programs that directly answer and improve the disparities identified through the discovery session. Enablement can then leverage these insights to renovate programs and better understand and prepare their reps for success.
Sales enablement professionals can also use this strategy of gaining insight and rep responses to incorporate feedback to personalize programs based on specific role types or rep skills. In doing so, practitioners can ensure that the messaging, knowledge, and skills provided through content, tools, and training are comprehensive and helpful to reps based on their specific objectives. Using personalization to bring specificity to programs for reps can help make enablement efforts more effective and engaging.
“The key to scalability is targeted personalization and feedback,” said Salfen. “Then, you go broad and that’s how you combine the scalable with the personalization.”
Incorporating personalization and feedback into sales enablement is crucial in developing and implementing content and programs for reps to deliver on the value they expect and need to succeed.
Leverage Lessons Learned From Virtual Strategies
Another key strategy to creating scalable growth in 2022 is revising and reinventing the virtual strategies companies currently use to lay the foundations for flexibility as environments evolve. Workspaces and companies have adjusted over the past two years to the current virtual routine many live in, so it is important to shift strategies to incorporate new ways to increase engagement, effectiveness, and efficiency in the virtual workplace. Sales enablement professionals can set teams up for scalability by leveraging these virtual tactics to enable and improve rep performance and productivity:
Optimize on-demand content. The use of on-demand content can help drive engagement in enablement programs by bringing reps back to the source to reference information and absorb content as needed. On-demand content is an important virtual tool to take advantage of as it can assist sales enablement professionals in reinforcing information, skills, and behaviors.
“One challenge from scaling virtually is driving that early engagement throughout the events, so we would leverage on-demand programming and content,” said Debbie Heffernan, global sales enablement at Workday. “We’re putting things now more on-demand than we had before.”
Build and utilize micro-sites. Helping reps discover and implement new ways to better interact with customers virtually is imperative to their sales success. Micro-sites offer a way for reps to communicate with customers by visually showing the value their product or service can provide in a personalized, brand-specific way.
“For our sales enablement team, we leveraged creating customer micro-sites,” said Heffernan. “This allowed the field to build on messaging that they wanted to share with the customer or prospect and allowed them to collaborate and communicate in their micro-sites.”
Plan and execute pre-session tasks. To keep engagement and productivity rates high for reps in virtual training or coaching sessions, sales enablement professionals can provide reps with activities, actions, or tasks to complete before the scheduled session. This can be presented in many different forms, such as finishing a pre-session check-in, test, or worksheet.
“When we come to a training session, they’ve already got the foundational stuff, so we can jump right in,” said Heffernan. “They know that they need to know this stuff, that they are going to be called upon, and then we can just drive right into the sessions of the workshop in a more interactive environment.”
Use Metrics to Track Effectiveness
To successfully scale programs in the year ahead, it is also important for enablement to assess the business impact of programs in the previous year and use those insights to establish metrics for growth in 2022.
A variety of metrics can assist sales enablement professionals in identifying how reps are performing, improving, and growing their skills as a result of enablement programs. For example, these metrics can include leading indicators such as content usage and engagement rates or program participation, as well as lagging indicators such as lead conversion and quota attainment or win rates and revenue growth.
In this metrics analysis, sales enablement professionals must determine what they want to specifically measure and identify the relevant timelines for assessing progress on those measurements. Then, once armed with insights to assess over time, enablement can compare that data with revenue goals to determine the influence of enablement programs on revenue performance, which in turn helps practitioners make informed decisions on how to refine programs to scale impact.
By executing these initiatives to scale enablement in their organizations, sales enablement professionals can increase the success of enablement programs in 2022 to drive revenue growth for the organization as a whole. Enablement can enhance scalability by gathering focused feedback to inform program design, building programs to provide flexibility as environments evolve, and utilizing data to improve efforts.
“It’s very important to have a really clear direction as we scale as an organization, so we take a look at the whole journey and we call it a path to productivity,” said Heffernan. “We invest in our sales leadership with training and scaling through that, and building this strong path to productivity allows us to engage in all of that.”