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3 Hidden Enablement Opportunities During a Downturn

Posted in:  Sales Enablement Strategy

Business plans are pivoting, teams are restructuring, budgets are being reallocated. Now what?

For many companies across industries around the world, COVID-19 has presented unprecedented challenges. But even in the most trying of times, opportunities surface to those who look for them.

No matter the size of your enablement team or your budget, there are strategic ways to maximize the resources you already have to excel at virtual enablement. Leveraging these opportunities will not only help you sustain through the downturn, but will strengthen your enablement program in the long run.

Here are three opportunities to seize today.


If you routinely use a tool to help you do your job, but use less than half of its full capabilities, you’re not alone. Today’s platforms can be incredibly complex. Historically, you may not have had a use case for every capability — but different times call for different measures.

Now is an opportune time to discover what your existing tools can do for you. Take conversation intelligence platforms like Gong, for instance. While it’s impossible for your enablement team to be on every call, Gong’s call recordings allow your team to listen to any conversation at any time. This is essential to ensure that sellers are putting training into practice and to keep a pulse on the new buyer objections that enable you to pivot your approach. Have you set up automatic emails to get alerted when a new initiative you just rolled out was brought up and landed successfully on a call, or if your reps say the wrong thing in a competitive situation? Set up automatic alerts to keep a real-time pulse on important conversations where you have an opportunity to make a real impact.

In addition to getting the most out of your technology, take a step back to look at the whole picture. Can you identify gaps where a simple solution would make a world of difference? For example, ensure that your CRM and sales enablement platforms are connected. Doing so will bring about multiple benefits, from equipping sellers with relevant resources to understanding the ROI of marketing content.


In order to provide the personalized value that modern buyers demand, salespeople need to understand what to know, say, and show in every unique selling scenario. This is where training and guidance come into play.

By building sales plays that turn strategy into action, your enablement team can drive tangible business results. But building out a great sales play is only one step — simply telling your sellers to read something just isn’t enough. If you can deliver a sales play and land a virtual training, the impact is much greater. And luckily, the current virtual reality opens a door to think creatively about your training.

One of the preliminary steps to ensuring your play gets adopted is to make its content relevant to the current landscape. Amidst changing times, information that was valid yesterday might not be today. Send out a survey or conduct one-on-one interviews to gather intel from those on the frontlines and gain a collective understanding of the challenges faced in the field. Then, use this knowledge to inform your content training. Go one step further by directly involving sales managers, sellers, and account development representatives in facilitating the training. People want to learn from their peers right now more than ever, so bringing in new voices and perspectives helps your message be heard.


When business as usual is operating at full speed ahead, it leaves little opportunity for other endeavors. In reality, taking time to gain new skills and perspectives can enhance job performance and career development.

Salespeople benefit from learning opportunities outside of routine training — whether it be a customer Q&A or an annual sales kickoff conference. With the majority of professionals working remotely, experts are only a Zoom call away — now is the opportune time to invite them to engage with your sales force.

Look internally before considering speakers that come with a price. Employees at your own company often have a wealth of knowledge waiting to be tapped. Bring in your CFO to talk about business acumen, or your VP of Marketing who has a background that fits one of your key personas. Keep thinking outside of the box — are you doing a deep dive into a new industry? Reach out to people in your network in that industry, and have your sellers do the same, to find willing Q&A panel participants. A panel like this will help your sales team put themselves in the professionals’ shoes as they hear firsthand about their unique challenges and needs. People are often willing — and happy — to share their expertise, especially during difficult times.

Building your sales team up with new skills and knowledge is a worthy investment at any point in time. Not only will it help salespeople enter buyer conversations with deeper perspectives, but it will make them feel invested in, both personally and professionally. When companies prioritize development and growth, it leads to higher retention, a more positive environment, and happier employees.


Life is full of unpredictable twists and turns, but we’re in charge of how we carve our own path forward. As Tom Peters says, “When a window of opportunity appears, don’t pull down the shade.”

Through learning to use your tools to their full potential, getting creative with your training, and investing in new knowledge, you’ll not only be sustaining through the downturn, but growing. To learn more, read our enablement team leader’s thoughts on The Number One Thing Your Enablement Team Can Do Right Now.