Overcoming 3 Challenges to Build Global Enablement Programs
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Creating effective global enablement programs means thinking big. In a progressively globalized world, it has become increasingly common for organizations to establish global programs as an ongoing aspect of business operations. As a result, the scale of these programs requires sales enablement teams to overcome new challenges that can uniquely affect how the programs are enacted and their continuing success.
For enablement professionals looking to implement new global programs for enablement, it is important to identify and anticipate the new challenges that can arise to prepare effective solutions.
Many challenges, like connecting and aligning teams and creating relevant programs, are problems that enablement professionals can face at all scales; however, at the global scale, overcoming these challenges takes forward-thinking solutions. Below are three common challenges that sales enablement professionals can work to overcome when building enablement programs on a global scale.
Connecting Global Teams Effectively
Developing methods that can help teams to communicate more effectively can be essential for connecting sales and enablement teams in various regions around the globe. Two of the most pertinent challenges for global teams to work to adapt to and overcome are communication in different time zones and potential regional language and cultural differences.
With the variation in time zones and working hours, sales enablement teams working and communicating cross-regionally can experience a disconnect with teams in other countries. Without methods to assuage this disconnect, disparities can arise between how teams understand programs and, as a result, how they are implementing the programs globally.
“One of the biggest challenges when you have a team with folks in the US or North America and in Europe and somewhere in the Asia Pacific that you’re trying to get on at the same time, that’s always going to be a short straw for somebody in the middle of their night, but I try not to make too much of a habit of that,” said Terry Bird, vice president of enablement at Vonage.
To combat this, sales enablement teams can take steps to make purposeful points of contact and organize critical information. Measures like centralizing essential program materials and process trackers, facilitating conversations that establish boundaries for communication, and outlining the fundamental purposes or goals of the global enablement programs are all important for achieving a better connection with global teams.
Having these conversations and implementing these tools can be vital for ensuring that all global teams can more easily understand the programs, align with other teams’ work, and divide the burden of early mornings, late nights, and other normally out-of-work hours during synchronized communication.
With the implementation of global programs, sales enablement teams may also encounter various language and cultural differences that can influence how information is understood and how teams interact with each other. Clarity of communication is essential to ensure that all teams globally can share information with the purpose of increasing understanding and buy-in on the enablement programs. For example, when presenting or sharing information in one language to global teams, sales enablement professionals can prepare content that directly and succinctly communicates vital information for the enablement programs.
“[W]e have many parts of our audience where English isn’t their first language and therefore to help them, simple things like scripting, comprehensive scripting of slides in clear English is really going to help those audiences,” said Bird.
Keeping content clear and concise can also be beneficial when enablement teams are looking to increase interest and excitement. In addition, it assists in preserving specific messaging when it is translated from one language into another.
“We overcome [cultural and language differences] by keeping the material limited, so really condense it to what matters most,” said Ruben Boom, global head of sales enablement at Ifm. “So, no long videos with two hours of training material, but two and a half minutes, for example, so that we really come to the point. Limiting the time that people have to watch this material makes them excited and keeps them excited. It also has the benefit that we can translate this much easier.”
For sales enablement professionals looking to overcome barriers to the connection of global teams, creating concise material that clearly communicates the foundational purpose and objectives of the enablement programs can be essential. This allows for teams in different countries to adapt the information from the programs appropriately so that they can best apply it for the unique cultural context of their region.
Creating Regionally Relevant Programs
As with many other global programs, ensuring that enablement programs will be relevant to the regions in which they are being introduced means understanding the region’s market and buyers. Factors like the region’s cultures, industry competition, and economic conditions can influence what content within the enablement program is relevant or most important.
Sales enablement professionals can work to create adaptive approaches for developing or implementing programs to help ensure that reps can engage with in-region buyers more effectively.
“Our business can be very different in different geographies – you have different competitors and different industries are prevalent in different geographies, so there’s not a one-size-fits-all [approach] in terms of what we do with regard to enablement programs,” said Bird. ”There will be a core of content and messaging for sure, but it can only be truly effective with a geo footprint when we start to adapt it for their particular go-to-market models, that particular cultural appreciation.”
Establishing core messaging that is clear and concise can be critical for maintaining consistency in important areas of the program. The strong core message provides teams in various regions with a firm foundation and baseline of the program’s overall goals and objectives. This then allows enablement teams to adapt the program to most effectively help the sales reps in their region to meet the unique needs of buyers, which can in turn make the program more successful in reaching the core objectives.
Aligning Teams Across Regions
Creating regionally relevant programs also means maintaining communication and alignment among the enablement teams in different regions is essential. Managing how information and feedback on global enablement programs are being reported throughout the various teams is important for encouraging program success and overall effectiveness.
An important aspect of effective communication for alignment is ensuring that along with maintaining a presence for enablement in each region, there is also someone who can be the champion that can advocate within the organization for the unique needs and challenges of the region. Then, enablement teams can utilize methods like a dotted line reporting relationship to increase the flow of information and assist with alignment between regions on the core program objectives.
“Regional alignment is really important and what I’ve seen work best is to have a dotted line reporting relationship with an individual or person in charge within each major geo,” said Heidi Castagna, senior director of education services and field enablement at NVIDIA. “And with that, driving close alignment, having a mutual stake in the game, and even identifying specific shared metrics so that your activities are in line with that shared success.”
Developing the dotted line reporting for teams encourages the disassembly of information silos and an increased flow of important information between regions, which promotes further alignment on the core global program objectives. While taking into account the unique regional differences for enablement programs, it is critical for the champions to continuously communicate on the core program successes and challenges within their region. This helps to ensure that enablement programs are remaining agile and, on a global scale, enablement teams can effectively address ongoing issues to further promote program success.
“[B]eing proactive and being ahead of those conversations, connecting with our audience on an ongoing basis around the globe and across different parts of the business is very important,” said Bird, “We can’t talk to everybody all of the time but finding a good balance in terms of having structured interlocks and also good feedback mechanisms, good abilities where anybody can ask questions and those be routed to the right people to answer perpetually is a very good practice.”
With the implementation of global programs, sales enablement teams can also find themselves experiencing challenges with how to encourage and direct feedback through the most effective channels. Developing and promoting these channels for both sales and enablement teams to provide feedback about the program and opportunities for engagement can be critical for ensuring that the programs are meeting each region’s sales team’s needs effectively.
In considering and proactively addressing the challenges of international connection, creating regionally relevant programs, and the ongoing alignment of teams, sales enablement professionals can help to set programs up for success on the global scale. By implementing solutions for these challenges while building global enablement programs, enablement professionals can more effectively address what may be needed to equip global teams and ensure the success of the program.