LEARN Recap: Expert Advice to Help you Take the New Year Head-On
December 15, 2022
As 2022 draws to a close, we have all learned one thing in a post-pandemic world: expect the unexpected.
But even with the understanding that we can’t predict the future, teams in every industry are forecasting, planning, and making predictions ahead of 2023.
In our half-day virtual summit, WorkRamp LEARN, expert speakers offered their predictions and advice to help you face the new year head-on and prepare for an unknown future.
Take a data-driven approach to enablement
Data-driven sales enablement involves using data to understand the effectiveness of your efforts and using these findings to create sales assets and process improvements.
Organizations that use data well see 8 percent higher revenue and profits and can cut costs by up to 4 percent.
The ability to track performance data has been a growing concern for organizations, as the right data can give you direct insights into what to change or improve.
“I think we’ve been setting ourselves up for this trend, we now have tech stacks and metrics that we’re leveraging, but it’s still a disparate data story that enablement has to tell,” according to Whitney Sieck, The Enablement Enthusiast. “We’re starting to see companies adopt conversational intelligence as table stakes, where it’s not necessarily this net-new fancy AI. I love seeing that come to life, and I think we’re only going to continue to mature the conversational intelligence strategies when it comes to understanding the behaviors of our field.”
Raise your hand to get a seat at the table
Sales enablement is critical to an organization’s success. Based on research, organizations with a sales enablement function see an average win rate of 49 percent compared to 42.5 percent for companies without an enablement program.
But because it’s still a relatively new function in some industries, only some understand the importance of enablement. Sales enablement can help to align sales and marketing teams and can also help to increase win rates, quota attainment, employee engagement, and customer retention.
If enablement isn’t a priority at your organization, teams need to be vocal to get the support and recognition they deserve.
“Enablement leaders deserve a seat at the table because of their impact in these organizations,” according to Matt Green, CRO of Sales Assembly. “So be diligent about making yourself known and making it clear the value that you bring to the organization—laying out those strategic plans and looking to work hand in hand with the leadership on the revenue side of your organization. Enablement leaders deserve a seat at the table because of the impact they make in these organizations. It’s not going to happen on its own. You have to raise your hand and go for it because that’s the only way that you’re going to be able to get the seat you deserve.”
Take the time to understand where your customers are coming from
The best way to help customers relieve pain points is to truly understand their challenges and how your product or service can help.
Customers care less about features and more about solutions.
“The one thing that customer education can do well is giving people that precious resource of time back if you understand the pain points that your customers are running into,” Seth Jones, Customer Success Manager at Vanta, says. “The thing that was super helpful for me was taking the time to really understand my customers.
Where are they coming from psychologically? Where are they coming from when they want to buy the product? How do I put myself in their shoes to create a program to help them feel unblocked and unstressed?”
Ask for headcount now
A common trend towards the end of 2022 has been for organizations to identify ways to be more efficient while still hitting goals and promoting innovation.
Some teams have focused on upskilling and reskilling to fill skill gaps and promote internal mobility.
While many organizations have been trying to do more with fewer team members, Ashton Williams, GTM Enablement Leader and Senior Manager of Global Programs at Slack, recommends the opposite going into 2023.
“Ask for headcount now,” she says. “I know it feels like a time where everyone’s buckling down and trying to do more with less, but it’s also a time where innovation and optimization are critical. So this is the time to start strategizing and talking about getting a seat at the table for resources, whether technology or people, to accomplish your goals because nothing is permanent, and we are all trying to grow.”
Help customers feel seen and heard to increase engagement
How can you ensure buyers stay engaged at various stages of the sales process? Of course, this isn’t an exact science, but at Mural, Seema Jain, AVP of Revenue Effectiveness, and her team focus on making more meaningful connections with prospects.
Whether potential buyers are online or in-person, the team at Mural is embracing elements of human-centered design and co-creation to establish a mutual understanding.
This strategy involves inviting customers into the process and doing things like:
- Using a shared canvas to collaborate
- Incorporating fun, interactive elements like stickies, GIFs, and images
- Creating a journey map
“I’m seeing that our prospects and customers are loving it,” Seema says. “It feels different; it’s more playful, creative, and imaginative. But I’ve noticed that not only does it increase buyer engagement, but it’s also translating to better win rates. And I think what’s happening is that the customer is feeling seen and understood. As we think about the neurodiversity of our workforce and our customers and prospects, people ultimately want to feel heard and understood.”
Have your ears to the ground and understand what’s happening
When teams align on goals and leadership is transparent about what’s happening in the company and the market, it helps everyone focus and work together effectively.
Managers should check in with team members regularly to see how they feel about their work and progress toward their goals.
It’s also essential for managers to listen to team members about their challenges to equip employees with the necessary tools, resources, and training to help them succeed in their roles.
“Have your ears to the ground to understand how the team is feeling and how they understand what’s going on in the business and the market,” Nina Bankar, Vice President of Customer Success at Calm, says. “Then, build out programs including training, assets, one-pagers, etc., to ensure that all the go-to-market teams have the materials and the tools they need to be successful in their role. It’s very cross-functional and goes for marketing, sales, and post-sales. Understand the goals and numbers teams are trying to hit and build things to help them do it.”
Stay laser-focused on what’s important
How can teams work together and hit goals when there are competing priorities? It’s about internal alignment and understanding how team objectives ladder up to overarching business goals.
When you can determine what’s most important, you know where to focus and can create an action plan to drive results.
“You have to be crystal clear about what you want to achieve every single quarter,” Tony Vaughn, Director of Customer Education at Qualified, shares. “If everything’s important, then ultimately nothing’s important. When faced with changing priorities, you have to reprioritize. You have to look at all the things you want to do, understand what’s possible and how you’re going to focus on it and execute it.
Until we keep our focus, we don’t get those amazing results, those amazing success stories, qualitative and quantitative, all of the different types of success we talk about. We don’t get that unless we’re laser-focused on what’s most important to us.”
Make sure you have strong internal relationships with all of your teams
While a new year is a time for goal-setting, that doesn’t mean that objectives and priorities won’t change throughout the year. As a result, meeting with internal teams regularly is essential so everyone can stay on the same page about shifting targets.
“Make sure you foster extremely strong relationships throughout your teams, including implementation, success, support, product, and marketing teams,” Kristi Thurston, Content Strategy Manager at Meta (Kustomer), says. “For anyone focused on major business initiatives, ensure you’re meeting with them frequently. Because going into 2023, goals will be shifting, especially as the macroeconomic landscape is shifting. So you need to know what those goals are to adjust your plans.”
While the future is unknown, we can continue to learn from industry leaders and develop strategies to empower our teams to succeed.
To get more expert insights and advice on L&D, sales enablement, and customer education, watch on-demand replays of WorkRamp LEARN.
- LEARN Recap: The Future of Learning & Development February 3, 2023
- 5 Ways to Successfully Launch Your Customer Education Academy February 2, 2023
- 2023 Winter Release: WorkRamp Content Playlists + Academies Events February 1, 2023
- LEARN Recap: 3 Key Elements to Create a Robust Customer Ed Program January 31, 2023
- What is a Training Facilitator? January 30, 2023
Maile Timon is WorkRamp’s Content Strategist. She has more than 11 years of experience in content marketing and SEO and has written for several publications and industries, including B2B, marketing, lifestyle, health, and more. When she’s not writing or developing content strategies, she enjoys hiking and spending time with her family.
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