Sales enablement leaders: Now is your time to be heroes.
Events are canceled around the globe. In-person renewal meetings are no longer scheduled. And even handshakes are on hold. The world is going digital like it never has before, and yet quarterly quotas still remain.
Now is the time to rise to the occasion to give your sales team the support they need, ensuring that your training and content land internally and drive engagement externally. Whether you call it virtual enablement, remote enablement, or something else entirely, today’s unprecedented situation requires fresh thinking. While much still remains uncertain, we believe that these four recommendations — sourced from our customers on the frontlines and our own Highspot enablement team — will help you get started.
Streamline Content and Communications
If the business landscape moved at Mach 1 yesterday, it’s moving at Mach 2 today. Things are changing — fast — but you don’t need to be Barry Allen to keep pace. With the right technology and communication processes, you can keep your team informed, equipped, and ready for action.
As a first step, streamlining communication across departments is crucial. Many teams may not be as prepared to work remotely as sales is, nor do they have an enablement team to help curate information. This often leads to sellers being bombarded on email, Slack, and other channels.
Alex Whisenhunt, Sales Enablement Manager at Dialpad, shared his approach to a solution: “My team is supporting leaders in our organisation to share content in a structured way. We hold weekly department meetings, working with other teams to ensure that the information shared with our sellers comes through the right channels, at the right time.”
A single source of truth for content and resources is more important than ever before. You can’t drop by a colleague’s desk when everyone’s remote, which presents a unique opportunity to redefine how your people find and consume information.
For Highspot customers, this comes to life in the form of Spots and SmartPages. From uploading current policies around working remotely to adding an RSS feed with the latest health and safety updates to building plays that help sales teams know what to know, say, show, and do in every unique customer conversation, Spots and SmartPages enable the creation of an internal knowledge hub where content and guidance come together.
Help Your Team Help Your Customers
We’re all people first, professionals second. In times of crisis and change, a little empathy goes a long way. For your salespeople, this means being the trusted advisor that customers can count on.
“How we choose to build relationships with prospects and customers at this point in time is more important than ever,” said Devin Daniels, Highspot Revenue Enablement, Solutions Lead. “We should be focusing on identifying and replicating the ideas that are creating positive customer experiences — not necessarily the messages that are getting us closer to a purchasing decision, but those that are helping us become the partners our customers need.”
With the majority of people working from home, genuine connection becomes even more important. Many teams are seizing the opportunity to talk to customers differently, get creative with technology, and bring a human touch to every engagement.
“Our account executives use visual storytelling with their prospects by using Zoom to digitally whiteboard,” said Jordan Zornes, Director of Sales Enablement at People.ai. “Instead of emailing prospects, our reps save the video recordings within Highspot, pitch the videos through the platform, and then receive engagement analytics about their prospects’ access to the videos. These insights help direct conversations with customers and ensure customers get a personal experience, and help us provide maximum value to them.”
Value comes in many shapes and forms, and there’s more than one way to help your sellers engage buyers. Take for instance Highspot Account Executive Tommy Benning, who created an interactive Highspot Pitch Experience with resources for people working from home with kids. While the pitch still demonstrated Highspot’s product capabilities, it put buyers’ human interests first and provided value for real life amidst trying times.
Bring Virtual Training to Life
You have a cohort of 15 new account development representatives in need of onboarding, your account executives require training on a new product feature, but your interactive classroom has shrunk to the confines of a 2D computer screen. Now what?
Throwing your existing training program out the window like the Hulk is not the answer. Rather, channel your inner Black Panther and get ready to train flexibly and creatively.
It’s first and foremost important to recognise that people learn differently, and virtual training will only amplify these differences. And when you’re not in-person to read the room, it can be hard to tell what’s working and what’s not. Instead of guessing, proactively and routinely solicit direct feedback, and then iterate your program to reflect the way your trainees learn best — balancing workshops, simulations, self-led activities, and presentations.
Another pro tip — don’t skip interactive sessions just because going digital makes it more difficult.
“Everyone in onboarding wants to feel part of the community,” said Jessica Boyd, Highspot Revenue Enablement, GROW Program Lead. “We’re all missing that interaction in person, and new hires are hungry for training. As enablement professionals, it’s our job to keep a positive mindset and tackle the challenge of providing interactive elements in a different way.”
Getting smart with your existing tools is a great place to begin. Features such as Zoom’s breakout rooms and polling can make a world of difference in terms of engagement. Trainees also need clear expectations around time and deliverables, as Jessica explained: “When you have an hour-long training, tell your group exactly what you want them to accomplish in those first first fifteen minutes of the session, and the takeaways they need to provide at the end.”
Reinforce comprehension with post-training actions, such as following up with links to training resources, issuing challenges of the day that require referencing materials, and providing online forums where trainees can ask questions and feel confident knowing they have the consistent support they need to succeed.
Connect in a Human Way
If you haven’t already met your CMO’s dog, you will soon.
We may be physically farther apart, but some teams are using the new remote reality as an opportunity to become closer. From virtual happy hours to Zoom open office hours, leaders are prioritising team bonding, because keeping connections strong isn’t just important for morale — it’s table stakes for collaborative, global go-to-market teams.
“We want to be open and real that we’re at home — our kids may be running around, our dogs may be barking — this is the new normal, and it’s okay. We’re all in this together,” said Highspot CMO Jon Perera.
With a virtual work environment comes an increasing number of meetings. Make every meeting both useful and engaging by adding interactive elements. For your weekly remote enablement sync, have everyone introduce a “plus one” — whether that be a spouse, child, or cat. For account development’s daily call blitz, set up a virtual open workspace where there is a manager available to answer questions and offer guidance. The more interactive your meetings are, the more meaningful they will be for everyone.
Just because we can’t give high-fives right now doesn’t mean we’re not here for each other. Encourage your team to take time to celebrate wins on Slack, give kudos in emails, and keep positivity going around. Offering UberEats gift cards for team lunches never hurt, either.
Become the Unexpected Hero
If you don’t think you have the superpowers you need to support your team in the new digital reality, think again. In the words of real-life Superman Christopher Reeve, “A hero is an ordinary individual who finds strength to persevere and endure in spite of overwhelming obstacles.”
As we continue to navigate these changing times together, we’ll be providing firsthand knowledge about our own experience with virtual enablement — what’s working, what’s not, and how we keep evolving. Check back for more best practices soon and, in the meantime, read up on Forrester’s latest research about how to win in the era of digitised selling.