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Enablement Perspectives: Balancing Virtual and In-Person Enablement

Posted in: Sales Enablement Strategy

As organisations adjusted to the new world of work over the past year, business leaders across the globe had to become intimately acquainted with words like change, pivot, and transition. Although it may feel like we’ve just begun to adapt to the new reality, organisations are beginning to talk about transitioning back to in-person work looks like, leaving sales enablement practitioners left to plan how to enable reps through yet another transition.

When sales reps and customers are working in a mixture of in-person and virtual environments, how can you keep up with the pace of change and enable reps as we move to a hybrid world? At a recent event from Sales Enablement PRO, we had the chance to hear from expert practitioners on how they’re planning on tackling this shift back to in-person work.

Tackling Hybrid Onboarding Programs

It is important for practitioners to incorporate what they’ve learned over the past year and bring their virtual best practices to the in-person environment.

“We want to be able to support people with what they are most comfortable with, whether it is in person or virtual.”
–Stephanie Middaugh, Sr. Sales Enablement Manager, Programs, Zoom

Experts recommend continuing to have the same structure of onboarding during this transition, but make sure people have extra support to accommodate both in-person and virtual onboarding. And as always, be agile and flexible in the face of inevitable change.

Supporting Hybrid Sales Training

Virtual sales training isn’t going anywhere. Virtual training has countless benefits, from accessibility to the ease of scaling training across dispersed teams.

“There is no one size fits all. Once you have a hybrid program, don’t just stop there — keep pivoting, communicate with stakeholders and iterate with the team you support.”
–Alexa Regimand, VP of Sales Enablement and Training, Compass Group

It’s essential to set expectations upfront with stakeholders and learners as sales training pivots to hybrid environments. In addition, keep a pulse on your training program and consistently ask for feedback so you can continue iterating and improving during times of transition.

Virtual vs. In-Person Sales Coaching

Sales coaching has traditionally been thought of as an in-person activity. Face-to-face interaction can be helpful when it comes to coaching reps, but practitioners are finding that there are significant benefits to virtual sales coaching.

“Lots of things are changing in real-time and that’s been hard for enablement and coaches to react and pivot as quickly as we need them to.”
–Kathryn Baker, Director of Sales Enablement, Conexiom

But as teams start to move towards in-person work, it is becoming increasingly important to invest in a comprehensive coaching program capable of enabling reps both in-person virtually. Now more than ever, enablement teams need to stay armed with the latest knowledge and insights so they can provide maximum value.

Enabling Frontline Managers Through Transition

And as teams transition, maintaining alignment with frontline managers can become challenging.

“Try to help managers as they transition into this next phase of their careers as an evolution and help them see it as a change in their role as a seller.”
–Anupa Naik, CEO, SmartWork!

Frontline sales managers should see enablement as a key partner and a resource to help them hit their goals. Alignment between managers and enablement is crucial to landing any programs with sellers. This starts with exceptional communication. Make sure you’re checking in with frontline managers and asking, “What can we do to make your lives easier?”

The Role of Marketing Alignment In Enablement Success

Collaboration and alignment between sales and marketing teams is essential for organisational success, and enablement is the key to unlocking this alignment. But times of change can make it difficult for teams to stay aligned, so practitioners have an opportunity to step in and help ease the tension during this transition.

“It comes down to not being scared of working together. If enablement sits in the middle, enablement needs to not be scared and step up to be loud, and say ‘This isn’t working. We have to fix this and work together.'”
–Stacey Justice, VP, Sales Enablement & Productivity, Hashicorp

Don’t hesitate to be vocal. Marketing and sales can’t be isolated functions. Enablement needs to be a filter between both teams and foster that alignment.

Enabling for In-Person & Virtual Selling

The world of work will be moving back to in-person work at different times. Many salespeople now must navigate selling in a hybrid world of in-person and virtual customers. Now is the time to start building that playbook for selling to both in-person and virtual customers.

“People still need to know ‘what good looks like,’ packaging up examples of what good looks like with content, tools, and training, and making sure reps have their virtual selling playbook is an important part of making the [from virtual to in-person selling] transition smooth so they can uplevel their conversations.”
–Arriane Emdad, Client Delivery Leader, DSG

The Constantly Evolving Buyer Experience

Buyer needs have continued to evolve over the past year. Sales reps must be ready to reach buyers wherever they are. Reaching these customers all comes down to having a deep understanding of what your buyer actually needs.

“Motivate your sellers through understanding the true impact your solution has on the customers they are selling to.”
–Allen Biehl, Director Global Sales Enablement, Snow Software

It’s important to establish value early on and create real connections with buyers. It’s about them, not about you.

Bringing It All Together

Times of transition can be challenging, but we’re all in this together as sales enablement practitioners.

Be sure to register for the Sales Enablement PRO Summer Virtual Event to hear the latest expertise from experts on what’s next in sales enablement.