It is fair to say that the pandemic changed practically every aspect of our lives. From how we live to how we do business everything is drastically different from the beginning of 2020. As we shift to a post-COVID world, it is now becoming essential for companies to reimagine a new balance and “business as usual”.
So what about Sales Enablement?
Needless to repeat, Sales Enablement has really grown over the past years and this continued during the pandemic. In fact, it catalysed its growth as COVID pushed companies to rethink their sales process and make them more agile.
In this article we will see how the pandemic impacted Sales Enablement and the main trends that emerge in the post COVID-19 world.
What is Sales Enablement ?
Sales Enablement is the iterative process providing salespeople with the right sales collateral to improve their performance and have a positive impact on sales efficiency. Depending on the organization the subject can be owned by Marketing, Sales or has its dedicated person, team, or even department.
How did COVID impact Sales Enablement ?
Even before the pandemic, Sales Enablement was growing and its practice was spreading like wildfire. Businesses were viewing this discipline as a part of their overall strategy rather than an isolated growth effort.
This trend only accelerated during the pandemic and following economic crisis. The focus was to use Sales Enablement as a part of the company’s strategy as a way to improve results as efficiently and effectively as possible using limited resources. Indeed, it goes without saying that during a crisis companies tighten their budget. If used strategically, Sales Enablement can make a little go a long way.
Moreover, the pandemic forced the way toward working remotely and a fully virtual sales cycle and Sales Enablement proved its value yet again in these aspects. For example, reviewing and digitizing sales processes or monitoring results are a part of what Sales Enablement entails.
To sum up, the pandemic had a positive impact on the growth of Sales Enablement, and a few lessons from this period will definitely follow us to the post-pandemic business world.
1. Focus on customers
The customer’s journey starts with that very first conversation and creating that spark is not easy, especially online ! One of the first trends that grows in power during the pandemic is focusing on the customer. Whether it is through content creation or developing a digital sales approach the goal is to put the customer at the center. By focusing on the customer, and getting to know them and their needs, salespeople often manage to compensate for the face-to-face relationship and build an online based trust relationship with their prospects and customers.
2. Empower teams
With everyone locked at home, it became difficult for teams to be onboarded and to maintain contact with their colleagues. In the same way, it became almost impossible for salespeople to keep up with the latest sales tactics, available marketing materials and overall knowledge to share.
As a part of Sales Enablement, boosting sales representatives in a fully digital workspace was a high stake. A few ways companies did this are :
- Developing online sales onboarding
- Creating online sales training and sales coaching programs
- Enabling exchanges with other teams members through online meetings or themed corporate webinars
If remote working is no longer mandatory, these good practices should go on in a hybrid model that combines face to face with online training and coaching.
3. Aim for continuous improvement
For the past decades, growth has been the common goal to all businesses. This objective encouraged companies to invest in greater marketing and sales activity, supported by solid information flow and fueled by evergrowing budgets. However, the pandemic and economic crisis rushed a new type of growth with more limited resources.
Today, the new way of growing is to leverage existing systems and better control sales and marketing processes to make the most of them. If growth is probably slowler, this way businesses are sure to seize each opportunity available to them. A well installed sales enablement system provides the right structure to manage your marketing and sales effectively whilst tracking your results. Once this is set up, continuous improvement becomes easier and long term growth is ensured.
4. Manage with data
During uncertain economic times, sales numbers may vary according to the usual. They may not increase according to the efforts for a while. However, as mentioned prior a well structured sales enablement program will help tracking your results and better identifying weak spots in the sales process. Moreover, the pandemic had the sales and marketing looking closely on how to make the most of their budget and data driven decisions were key to navigate this unprecedented context. In a nutshell, when data is at the core of business decisions it is easier to get ahead of future challenges.