How Enablement Can Be a Differentiator to Attract Top Talent
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As change has transformed the workplace forever in the last two years, many organizations are now faced with a significant challenge: attracting and retaining top talent. Even with increased flexibility in a hybrid work environment, experts expect employee turnover to increase well into 2022. This presents a unique challenge for organizations looking to maintain close relationships and uphold a sense of community among their employees.
With this in mind, thinking of enablement as a key differentiating factor for potential candidates can have a lasting effect on attracting the best new hires and demonstrating the value of enablement as a strategic arm of the revenue organization.
Reps expect to be equipped with the content, training, and tools needed to be successful. Enablement can take this to the next level through thoughtful onboarding, training and coaching, and inspiring a new culture of learning.
Invest In an Engaging Onboarding Experience
A newcomer’s first impression of an organization and its values comes from onboarding. Enablement practitioners constantly seek ways to prepare every new and motivated seller to be successful as quickly and efficiently as possible. Successful enablement yields demonstrated behavioral change across the revenue organization – and effective onboarding is the first step.
“Onboarding is always at stake because we know different people are joining the company with different backgrounds, and there are different ways of learning,” said Céline Laffargue, EMEA delivery leader for global sales leader enablement at Salesforce.
When attracting new talent, some form of the interviewing process will focus on the company’s culture and vision, getting potential candidates excited to join the company at the onset. Onboarding provides the opportunity to show what a company’s culture is like and to have new sellers understand what it means to live out the culture day in and day out.
“First of all, the key component of onboarding is to understand those values; it’s not just something written on a wall; it’s really something we do and embed in every action,” said Laffargue.
As part of this, leveraging dedicated tools and data can ensure each learning module and practice session is relevant to the new hire’s role and daily activities while also building up their confidence to start executing with excellence with prospects right away. By structuring an onboarding program in the steps of what the new hire will do in their day-to-day role, reps can feel ramped up quickly and efficiently.
“In the case of our account executives, the discovery call is traditionally the first thing that they’ll do as a new hire,” said Amanda Romeo, senior manager of revenue training at DailyPay, Inc. “Within that first week of their sales training, which usually comes around week three of their tenure, we train and certify them on that discovery process so that way we can get them doing their job as early as possible.”
A successful onboarding experience ties directly to the seller’s specific role within the organization. The program can be adapted to address the most relevant information reps will face in their first few weeks in the role. New reps can gain immediate value from an onboarding program that highlights what they can expect, while also providing the necessary time and resources to train, answer questions, and build upon the excitement of joining the organization.
“We are always trying to find a way to link that what you learn in a program is really driving your day-to-day success and the overall success you can get in a year,” said Laffargue.
Train and Coach Reps for Consistent Success
Onboarding is just the beginning of a sales rep’s journey with their organization. With the amount of material presented to reps, from new product training to new messaging on strategic initiatives, reps are often strapped for time in learning the latest on what they are selling.
As sales enablement practitioners, the goal for the entire revenue organization is to encourage success for not just a handful of reps or the top performers but every single team member. When speaking to a potential new hire, driving this point home may open the door to new possibilities and a support system that the employee may not currently have or see the value of.
“To help create that stickiness with the content, we leverage a [training and coaching] platform that allows new hires to revisit their learnings as they ramp up and start to get that real-life experience once they start interacting with prospects and clients,” said Romeo. “We also distribute weekly e-learning resources to the team on various topics – anywhere from selling skills to professional development – just to keep those skills sharp.”
A commitment to improving rep performance may be viewed as attractive and competitive for new hires if enablement training and coaching programs are built to address reps’ needs consistently and proactively.
“It’s really about sound selling practices that are all designed to really try to operate in the best interest of the prospect,” said Dan Reinbold, director of sales at Fusion Connect. “If you don’t have that at heart, they’re going to smell that insincerity on you, and this is why so many salespeople and sales training programs either aren’t successful or get labeled as old-fashioned. This is not about high pressure. This is all about trying to increase your probability of making a sale but not doing it at the expense of your prospect.”
Training and coaching is an opportunity to provide relevant and thought-provoking ideas into a seller’s everyday practice. Enablement practitioners can ensure that practical sales training is pertinent to what will improve productivity and overall performance. By making it about the learner, enablement can curate a unique experience that sellers feel supported in, instead of feeling overwhelmed by the hordes of new information.
Inspire a New Culture Of Learning
Tying both the onboarding and ongoing training and coaching together demonstrates the improved value enablement provides to reps. Enablement teams can effectively prepare sales teams and new hires by nurturing a learning culture that inspires curiosity and encourages engagement from reps, resulting in more valuable customer conversations.
Training does not have to be boring. If anything, it should always lead toward the desired outcome of enhancing a rep’s ability to execute a company’s strategy and have even more meaningful conversations with customers.
Fostering an engaging culture of learning is building foundational knowledge that is attention-grabbing and tailored to the way reps want to learn, like through gamified e-learning, peer-to-peer knowledge sharing, or even live practice.
“The biggest test of any type of learning program, whether it’s selling skills, product knowledge, system, and the process, is the application and the ability of the student to apply the knowledge,” said Reinbold.
Developing a thriving learning culture can go hand-in-hand with the company’s overall sales culture. When enablement has the dedicated time, resources, and materials prepared for reps to master their skills, new hires can feel confident and empowered to be able to show up and excel in their daily responsibilities.
“I think that the biggest thing to go back and tie sales enablement practices to revenue impact is to drive a systematic approach to selling that’s duplicatable, replicable with every rep, resonating with them, and coachable in the field,” said Reinbold.
As recruitment efforts persist full throttle, enablement can be positioned as a demonstrated way organizations can stand out from the rest. An enablement program that is fully supported, innovative, and focused on fostering a sense of community and a strong learning culture will set up any top recruit for success.