November 24, 2020

Executing a Successful Virtual Sales Enablement Program

By Gerhard Gschwandtner, Founder and CEO, Selling Power

What does every sales leader want? Higher sales, better margins, and reps who engage the right prospects in meaningful conversations that lead to profitable customer relationships. While the desired outcome is clear, the challenge is figuring out how to get there – and in today’s times – virtually.

Sales success requires the right people, the best processes, and the most effective blend of technology solutions. Here are four sales enablement strategies that sales leaders can use to achieve this goal.

1. Create a formal, repeatable onboarding program

Research shows that companies with a formal, repeatable onboarding process experience 54% greater new hire productivity. Over two-thirds of employees will stay three years or longer after receiving a good onboarding experience. Innovative technology will speed up the virtual sales-rep onboarding process without the need to have salespeople in the same room at the same time. Here are just a few best practices:

a) Hiring assessments: To get the right people on the team, sales leaders can leverage sales assessment tools that predict the financial performance potential of a sales candidate before inviting them to interview for the job.

b) Video training: Research shows that salespeople absorb video content faster and better through video than PowerPoint.

c) Live, interactive meetings: Remember that newly hired employees want to connect, engage, and socialize with peers. ServiceNow leverages Zoom meetings that include guest speakers to connect with all of the new hires.

d) Web-based (asynchronous) training: As an example, Cisco created a web-based onboarding program that includes 70 hours of sales-related learning, which takes eight weeks to complete. Nearly 100% that start will complete the entire training.

2. Improve and reward customer-centric behaviors

When sales reps are feeling the pressure to make quota, they often lose focus on the customer’s needs. Encourage them to spend five minutes before each call to write down the customer’s needs and identify what value means to the customer. Then ask them to map your solutions to those needs.

Taking a few minutes to ensure your reps approach each call from the customer’s perspective will help them delight their customers – which, in the long run, is a better strategy for ensuring they reach their numbers than focusing on just their quota.

3. Create real-time access to content

If you don’t already have a sales enablement platform, it’s time to invest in one. In a virtual sales environment, your salespeople need easy and quick access to relevant content and sales intelligence such as demo videos, ROI analysis, customer testimonials, etc.

A sales enablement platform will make it easy for reps to prep for calls by not only recommending content by sales stage or product line, but also by allowing reps to see which resources are giving reps the best results. Having the right sales intelligence at hand before a call both empowers your sales rep and ensures the conversation is more relevant and useful for the buyer.

4. Create metrics that lead to people, process, and technology improvements

Sales enablement platforms can help you measure KPIs such as training content consumption and learning progress with features like team dashboards, which provide managers with a visual representation of their team’s progress. These tools also allow managers to assess and track sales messaging mastery through video coaching.

While some sales leaders use only three metrics, others use 30 or more.

What you measure is not as important as why you measure performance. For example, if you want to optimize performance, you want to begin by measuring adherence to the sales process. If you want to optimize technology, start with measuring the use of technology. If you want to know how well salespeople perform when it comes to appointment setting, measure each phase of the two-minute call.

As an example, ConnectAndSell CEO Chris Beall shared that their sales reps spend about seven seconds on the call opening, 28 seconds on the benefit statement, 37 seconds on handling objections, and 15 seconds to book the appointment with the prospect.

Remember that a metric is a tool to not only monitor performance, but to improve it.

Increasing sales starts with the right sales enablement program. That means making sure you are using the best tools and training techniques to empower your remote sales force. To learn about solutions and services to improve your sales enablement efforts, check out Selling Power’s 2021 list of Top Sales Enablement Vendors.