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Key Enablement Trends that Will Gain Momentum in 2022

Each month, Stephanie Middaugh, Director of Enablement at WorkRamp shares her expertise, from fresh ideas on new enablement strategies to actionable tips to implement at your organization. In this month’s post, Stephanie explores key enablement trends and the value of Enablement beyond sales for supporting managers, customers and partners.

Last month, I wrote about enablement gaining a seat at the executive table, stressing the importance of bringing enablement teams into top-tier discussions early, to maximize the impact of enablement programs. Being included in those early discussions allows us to set expectations and be more effective at helping to drive core business initiatives. 

Executives in organizations across industries are realizing the value of leaning on enablement’s expertise and influence to move the needle for key initiatives, and as a result, we’re seeing enablement expand to other areas of the organization, outside of sales. This is an overarching trend I’m noticing that’s gaining momentum and will likely shape the charter of enablement teams in 2022 and beyond. 

Here are three ways we’re seeing enablement branch out and become relevant for multiple areas within an organization and create more value for the business:

1. Sales Manager Support: Larger organizations are beginning to focus on enabling and supporting sales managers in a more systematic way. Historically, enablement has focused on quota-carrying reps, but little support was provided for the people managing those teams of reps. There’s a tremendous opportunity to provide sales managers with resources they need to become better coaches and mentors, brush up on management skills and develop new ones, and learn better ways to juggle all of the managerial activities they have on their plates. 

At Workramp, we’ve set up bi-weekly meetings with all of our managers to discuss possible ways we can support them. We ask about team morale, whether there are any skills gaps, and how they feel about meeting their numbers. Often, our managers will be surprised when we offer this support, but they’re the ones guiding our reps, and it’s critical they have the resources they need to succeed in their roles.

2. Customer Education. One of the biggest enablement trends I’m seeing is a focus on educating and enabling customers. Today’s customer success teams are stretched thin, and they usually don’t have the bandwidth to provide in-depth training and ongoing support as customers learn about and use a product. Additionally, customers increasingly prefer self-serve options, so they can learn when it’s convenient for them. While they may want to schedule time with a CSM for a deep dive on a product, other questions can be addressed by FAQs, online tutorials, and materials they can access on-demand. Having that information available online in an easy-to-consume and use format helps to alleviate stress from the customer success team, while improving the customer experience. Particularly in today’s hybrid work environments, customer experience enablement is key, because people need access to an online Knowledge Base and training resources, so they can build product knowledge remotely and at their own pace. 

Providing customers with the resources and support they need to learn about a product and all of its features not only improves their experience, it helps with retention. The more a customer knows about the product, the more likely they are to adopt and use it, and share their product knowledge with colleagues within their own organization or another one. And that’s great for demand generation!

3. Channel Partner Enablement: For many organizations, channel partners represent a significant portion of revenue – in some cases, 50% or more. That’s why channel partner enablement is getting a lot of attention. Your channel partners are an extension of your sales team, so if you’re training your internal sales reps on something – whether it’s features and functionality or your GTM approach – it’s absolutely essential that your partners receive the same training. If they don’t have the right information about your products and services, they may just start making things up – and more often than not, it won’t be accurate. 

Training partners on how to sell your product the right way – including everything from your messaging and your value propositions to your product features and functionality – and making sure they become certified alongside your sales team will result in a cohesive sales strategy that yields better returns in the long run. 

In summary, over the coming year, we’ll start seeing the emergence of customer experience enablement and channel partner enablement programs that impact people across an organization – both internally and externally. The pressure is on to develop training and educational materials tailored to each audience, quickly and efficiently.

Don’t Reinvent the Wheel

Enablement is branching out into other departments across the organization, but that doesn’t mean you have to build new materials from scratch. With Workramp, it’s easy to leverage existing guides and academies, and tweak them to suit the needs of any teams or individuals. (What kind of Enablement leader would I be if I didn’t advocate for our own product?) At the end of the day, the overarching goal is to develop amazing enablement content and democratize access to it across the organization, so you can disseminate information and uplevel everyone’s knowledge and skills, without having to reinvent the wheel.

So, these are some of the current enablement trends in enablement that are top of mind for me. I’m also hearing a ton of buzz about microlearning, self-paced learning and, of course, how to implement ongoing training and learning programs in the hybrid workplace. What enablement trends are top of mind for you? Let’s keep the conversation going! Feel free to shoot me a message on LinkedIn with your thoughts! 

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