I’ve yet to meet a sales enablement professional who isn’t a teacher at heart. Prior to starting my professional career in sales, I actually studied to become a teacher. I may have even gone that route if it hadn’t been for my manager at my first job as a receptionist at Sage, an ERP provider. They noticed that I had a knack for sales and moved me from the front desk to the deal desk. From that point on, I wanted to learn everything I could about the sales organization. I closed deals, worked renewals, ran sales ops, and eventually found my passion in sales enablement.
Over the past 7 years, I’ve run sales enablement programs for companies large and small, for a variety of sales models. In this time, I’ve found that there’s no one playbook you can recycle and use over and over. Instead, sales enablement programs should be tailored to each individual company, product, sales cycle, and team. But this can’t be done overnight. To do this well, I recommend that sales enablement leaders use these 4 strategies to assess what their team needs and implement programs.
Run an internal assessment
Whether you’re starting from scratch and launching a company’s first sales enablement program or coming in to help manage an existing system, the best place to start is with an internal assessment. This the best way to begin figuring out what’s working for the sales team and what could be improved. I always meet with both sales reps and managers to find out what the top challenges are day-to-day and what’s keeping them from achieving their goals. This information can help you take a step back before making any changes and understand what the landscape looks like. It’s with this lense that you can begin to identify quick wins that can build buy-in for your program in the beginning and what initiatives will have the biggest impact over time.
Design your program to scale
Once you have identified the quick wins and have a few completed projects under your belt or in progress, you can begin to focus on what you’ll need to rapidly grow your program. With the early wins in the beginning, you can establish a solid framework of best practices that work for your team and build on those to create an enablement program that can scale to hundreds of employees. This is critical because without a consistent baseline established in the beginning, the structure of your program will crumble once the team scales.
Create a one-stop-shop for information
Almost every sales team I’ve worked with has an information overload problem—and the biggest contributing factor is that there isn’t one source of truth. The content that sales teams need to access is all over the place. I’ve seen sales enablement content stored in Slack channels, emails, slide decks, in sticky notes on computer monitors, and even on a poster on the wall. When information is stored in different places, teams spend a lot of time just tracking down what they need or going without a critical piece of data.
By consolidating information in one place, like Google Site or similar, you can ensure that sales reps have the correct, most up-to-date content right when they need it.
Get creative & have fun
A major part of the success of our sales enablement program at Divvy was the launch of our new LMS, WorkRamp. After the success of our Google Site as a one-stop-shop for information, we knew that a LMS would help us scale the program even more, as well as track data on key training milestones for our sales teams. Yet, one of the top challenges with change management is getting people into the new system and actively using it. To drive engagement and get people excited, I introduced the platform by announcing an air guitar and lip sync contest for our sales reps. To participate, they’d need to record their lip sync or air guitar clip and upload it onto the platform. This gave our team and easy, non-threatening, and fun way to get to know a new system. And we got some pretty amazing submissions, including a scene-by-scene lip sync from Stranger Things that was totally hilarious. We’ve got some talented people at Divvy.
After reading this, you can probably tell that I’m still a teacher at heart and that engaging teams in learning is what motivates me as a sales enablement leader. Being able to present content using different channels, styles, and mediums to empower professionals is extremely rewarding. Each day I learn new ways to present information to different types of learners, from individuals who learn visually to folks who like to do their own reading to those who thrive with a one-on-one mentor. While I’ve found that there’s no one way to create a training program—just as there’s no one way to learn—getting started by learning as much about your organization as you can and having fun will help you succeed in the long run.