What it Means to Have a Seller-Focused Enablement Strategy
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When reps feel valued at their companies, performance and productivity can skyrocket. As a recent survey by the American Psychological Association found 93% of employees who reported feeling valued at their workplace said that they are motivated to do their best at work. Sales can be an intense career, as reps serve as the frontlines for an organization. This means that it is all the more important to nurture an environment where reps feel appreciated and supported in achieving long-term success by the organization.
Enablement can be the critical ingredient in creating this environment with a strategy that puts reps’ needs at the center. By putting sellers’ needs first, listening to their feedback, and continuously optimizing programs and processes to yield the best results, enablement can help incentivize rep engagement.
This, in turn, can translate into better buyer experiences. In fact, research has found that organizations with high employee engagement are three times more likely to have high customer engagement.
When enablement focuses on addressing and understanding reps needs, they will be able to provide reps with the resources reps need to be successful in their role and improve their overall experience at the company, fostering retention and driving rep productivity.
Listening and Incorporating Feedback Based on Rep’s Needs
When enablement practitioners establish credibility by listening and incorporating feedback based on rep’s needs, they are better positioned to improve the overall rep experience, fostering higher rep retention and a healthy sales culture. Building relationships with sellers, listening to them and incorporating their feedback, allows for more intimate and intentional conversations.
Enablement can offer multiple resources to reps to gain a better understanding of their needs, such as conducting surveys and listening tours or setting up office hours. By sending regular surveys to the reps, enablement teams can not only gauge their needs in real-time but also how those needs are evolving over time. Practitioners can also host regular office hours, setting up specific times for reps to directly speak with the enablement team and express any feedback they have about how enablement could help further improve the rep experience. Offering opportunities to share feedback and discuss potential improvements can go a long way in establishing trust and credibility among reps.
“Credibility is absolutely key,” said Janelle Todd, GTM enablement at Moveworks. “You’ve got to build relationships with the sellers. They need to know who you are on a one-on-one basis. This can be hard when you have sales teams of a thousand people, but you need to speak with them and listen to them. Even if you have a large team, you have to give them an opportunity to give you feedback.”
Coaching to Drive Rep Productivity
Coaching is one of the most important pillars of a seller-focused enablement strategy, as it allows for individualized and personalized development. Through coaching programs, enablement can work with managers to help them instill condifence among reps and chart their personal journey toward improved results.
“We are definitely seeing a difference between folks who have been coached versus those who haven’t been coached,” said Stefan Funk, head of sales coaching at SAP. “There’s clear evidence that coaching has a huge impact in terms of financial impact, in terms of personal development for our sales colleagues, and being more confident talking to the customers and ultimately closing deals.”
Coaching programs that help drive personal development for reps not only help create more productive reps, but also help reps build better relationships with their customers. By engaging in coaching, paired with hands-on practice, sellers are able to better understand and evaluate what happened in key interaction points and prepare for improvement.
“Good coaching shows progress,” said Stacey Justice, vice president of sales enablement and productivity at HashiCorp. “It shows development. If it’s not happening consistently, if there aren’t goals, if there isn’t a level of accountability that comes from it, then I just don’t think that you see that progress.”
Coaching helps keep knowledge fresh and helps build an individualized view into how the sellers are performing in the field. In sports, athletes don’t practice for the first time at the game. Instead, they consistently practice with a skilled coach to improve their skills before their games. The same is true in sales – dedicated coaching prepares reps to maximize success in their interactions with customers, enhancing overall productivity.
Emphasizing the Value of Enablement for Reps
Reps want to feel championed as individuals, not just as a team that drives profit for the company. By taking the time to understand rep’s responsibilities and day-to-day work, enablement teams can better understand how best to support them. In doing so, enablement can not only ensure that programs are designed to improve the rep experience but also optimize the value that reps get out of participating in enablement initiatives.
“We make sure from day one, we’re building a relationship with every new hire so that they can leverage the partnership within enablement to either get the additional training that they need, or get the piece of content that they wish that they had and maybe had at their last company that they feel like they’re missing,” said Hillary Anderson, sales enablement leader. “We make sure that we bridge those gaps and connect those tissues as much as possible for all of our new reps.”
When reps feel like their needs are being met and that they are important members of the organization, they will be more motivated to invest in developing their abilities to improve perfromance. Having a seller-focused enablement strategy helps drive adoption of enablement programs that can transform into higher rep performance. By demonstrating to reps what is really in it for them when they fully invest their time and effort into the enablement programs, enablement teams can improve engagement.
Creating a seller-focused enablement strategy begins with taking the time to listen to sellers and understand them as people first and reps second. By focusing on the sellers as people, enablement teams can better equip them with the resources they need to be successful in the field. With a combination of intentional coaching, consistent feedback, and emphasizing what’s in it for reps by participating in enablement programs, leaders can build a seller-focused environment that cultivates more productive and successful reps.