Four Key Takeaways from the Sales Enablement Soirée, Fall Virtual Event

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With the help of industry thought leaders and seasoned professionals in sales enablement, the Sales Enablement Soirée, Fall Virtual Event has culminated into being one of the largest, most dynamic events of its kind. We are honored that we were able to bring this event to the homes and offices of those who are looking to build a brighter future for their teams and organizations.

The themes of this year’s event demonstrate the creativity and innovative growth-mindset that many organizations adopted during times of uncertainty and rapid transformation. Furthermore, they demonstrate the promise of what a new year can bring.

Rather than see hardship as being an impediment, sales enablement leaders can approach it as an opportunity to foster innovation and transformation within their organizations. This Soirée was a gripping reminder that sales enablement can help businesses move forward with resiliency and agility. As 2020 draws to a close, speakers and panelists shared incredible strategies and insights on how to plan and exceed expectations in 2021 and beyond.

Here are four key takeaways from the event:

1. Enablement across the entire revenue team is key in meeting the demands of modern customers

To effectively engage buyers in today’s evolving business landscape, alignment across revenue-facing teams is essential to deliver seamless experiences for customers. Enablement plays a critical role in providing those revenue teams with the development and resources they need to execute effectively, while also aligning strategically to the corporate initiatives that drive growth and impact for the organization.

Not only is revenue alignment a key factor in driving business success during these uncertain times, so too is fostering a deeply transparent sales culture, while also strengthening the cross-functional collaboration between revenue teams that promotes flexibility and adaptability in turbulent times.

“Ultimately a team is going to do far more than a collection of individuals,” said Patrick Manzo, CRO at Skillsoft. “If we’re working together as a team, we don’t all need to do the same things repetitively – I can move and you can cover me, for example.”

2. Exceptional customer-centric experiences are the currency of today’s evolving business world

Connecting and maintaining authentic customer relationships in a virtual world should be at the forefront of organizational priorities. In the keynote, “Designing an Exceptional Customer Experience,” Jeanne Bliss delivered four necessary competencies to provide on this front:

  • Enable people to thrive. Rather than just provide your teams with the tools to do the tactical aspects of their job, provide them with a greater purpose that compels them to go above and beyond their role and expectations, especially as it relates to their customer relationships.
  • Build in respect-delivery. Fulfilling the request of the customer is important, but even more important is centering the organization’s operating model around the customer’s preference. Whether it’s delivering communication or services, the business should ultimately run on “customer time.”
  • Help customers achieve their goals. The organization’s purpose and mission statement should reflect the livelihood and needs of the customer. If that wasn’t the case before, then organizations should flip their business model to ensure this in the current environment.
  • Practice leadership bravery. Having customers’ best interests in mind should always start with the leaders of the organization. This means establishing trust and building relationships with employees, customers, and partners.

3. Sales enablement is well-positioned to provide value during times of crisis

Navigating change and uncertainty as a leader is difficult, but with resilience, leaders can gain trust and help the organization move forward. Sales enablement is key to building this resilience as some of the most prominent change agents of the organization. Anita Nielsen, president of LDK Advisory Services, shared a framework for how enablement can help build resilience:

  • Engage: More than ever, enablement should be looking for opportunities to meaningfully interact with the sales reps to learn more about how they’re handling all of the changes hurled at them, and their subsequent plans of navigation.
  • Empathize: This takes that engagement a step further, by delivering an honest and authentic acknowledgment of their plight or emotional standing. This isn’t just about listening, but truly hearing and understanding.
  • Educate: Rather than let salespeople fend for themselves in this rapidly changing market, throw them a lifeline by doing critical and relevant market research for them. This can inform them of the challenges being faced in their customer’s industry as a result of the pandemic, and what peers and competitors are already doing to resolve it.
  • Empower: This step puts knowledge into action. Although enablement may have given them the tools and resources to be the resilient salespeople they need to be, sometimes making that final leap is the hardest part.

4. Planning for the new year should include investment in both digitally-innovative processes and people-centric programs

As businesses continue to adapt to a digital-first reality, discovering innovative ways to leverage technology will be increasingly important for organizations that wish to stay competitive in their fields. According to a study conducted by Twilio, 97% of companies claimed that the pandemic accelerated their digital strategy by an average of six years. Although this may have created pressure on sales enablement and marketing teams, it also brings about real opportunities to advance the capabilities and “superpowers” of these teams.

Another critical sales enablement investment of the next year is centered around people. This entails creating work environments that are diverse, equitable, inclusive, and espouse a sense of true belongingness. These programs are vitally important in fostering a culture that builds people up while acknowledging their individual value and the challenges that they may face. In order to achieve this, sales enablement is well-positioned to demonstrate the value of this culture to the leadership teams.

“By focusing on diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging programs, we can make an impact on retention and by doing so, it saves the organization because we don’t have to re-hire and retrain,” said Blaire Hervey, field productivity and readiness lead at Amazon Web Services.

With insights from the inspiring panels, keynotes, and networking sessions at this year’s Sales Enablement Soirée, Fall Virtual Event, sales enablement professionals can better prepare to embrace the opportunities and challenges of the year ahead and lead with resilience.

“This is a watershed moment,” said Mary Shea, principal analyst at Forrester. “It’s a moment for transformation and innovation – embrace it.”

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