There are several key steps to building a successful digital sales enablement program. The most exciting part, however, is actually shipping the program so you can see it in action. The way it’s executed will have a major effect on how it’s received and the results you see. Here are some best practices and common mistakes to avoid to ensure you build a scalable sales enablement strategy that meets your objectives and drives revenue.
Ship the Program Out in Small, Manageable Pieces
Don't feel compelled to completely transform your existing sales enablement strategy all at once. It's better to do it in smaller pieces and give everyone a chance to absorb and get used to it. For instance, if you identify a challenge that requires several steps to solve, consider breaking them down into multiple programs. This approach will allow you to launch programs quicker, instead of agonizing over perfection. It also makes it easier for sales managers and sellers to quickly see small wins early and the value of digital sales enablement. As they see the advantages of adopting the new system, they’ll be a lot more inclined to support future projects as you continue to roll out initiatives.
Do Less, but Do It Well
Sales enablement sometimes struggles with presenting a clear strategy and ends up being relegated to – as sales enablement expert and podcaster Steve Crepeau put it – "random acts of enablement" that are seen as tactical rather than strategic. If you want to present your sales enablement program as a coherent strategy, it's best to be extremely focused on specific problems. Zero in on exactly what problem your sales team needs to solve, and then solve that problem so effectively, it never comes up again. As you solve one problem, organizational confidence in your programs will increase and you can move onto the next one.
Communicate With Stakeholders
How well you communicate with your stakeholders will have a heavy influence on whether or not the launch of your digital enablement program is going to be successful. It’s imperative early in the process that you:
- Clearly articulate why you’re asking key stakeholders to be involved in the program
- What’s in it for them in the long run
If they know your program has upside in helping them drive their initiatives and hit their goals, this is a win-win for both of you – and you’ll get more than just malicious compliance.
Once you have gotten the buy in from your stakeholders, you’ll want to outline the role they play and reinforce this along the way. Paint a clear picture of what success looks like and use data to keep them engaged. Benchmarking and visualizing success will help you keep stakeholders involved (and excited) as you truck along.
Digital Enablement Mistakes to Avoid
Implementing a digital sales enablement program does not have to be a costly and complicated process. There are a few common mistakes that can limit the effectiveness of an otherwise successful program, and some pitfalls to look out for.
The Wrong Educational Model
In the age of Zoom and Skype, people are no longer accustomed to sitting through day-long presentations. Everyone is time-challenged and attention spans are shrinking.
- Use engaging learning methods such as interactive exercises. You can also introduce asynchronous communications, such as email coaching, which allows sellers and anyone learning the program to ask questions.
- Understand and implement the advantages of microlearning. The traditional classroom approach to learning is to expect people to absorb lots of new information in short, intense sessions. In reality though, It's hard to actually retain knowledge in this manner. Evidence is mounting that microlearning, also known as incremental learning, allows for greater retention.
- Include practice as a feature of your programs. Rather than having them learn passively, have sellers put techniques into practice and get feedback before moving forward.
- Don't expect everyone to learn in the same way. There are different learning styles. Offer training that meets the needs of visual, audio, and kinesthetic learners.
Lack of Focus
If you try to solve everything at once, you’ll dilute your efforts. There's also the danger of getting overwhelmed and falling into analysis paralysis. Here’s how to avoid or overcome these challenges.
- Consult with your sales team, sales leaders, RevOps, and anyone else who can help you identify the most pressing challenges.
- Create a distinct enablement hypothesis for each problem. This is more manageable than trying to address every issue with a single solution.
- Evaluate the challenges based on the impact that fixing them will have.
- Begin with high-impact issues, then work down the list.
Shipping the Program Before It's Ready
It's natural that you're anxious to release the program as quickly as possible. However, if you rush the process and ship it before it’s ready, you'll be undermining your efforts. If there are still unresolved problems, this will create less than spectacular results. Stakeholders' enthusiasm will wane. You may think that you can make improvements later but by then you will have lost valuable momentum. Plus, let’s be real: how often have you promised to go back and fix something and then actually gone back and fixed it? Look at you, DIYers.
If you're finding yourself running up against a deadline, it's better to scale back a little so you can deliver something that works as advertised.
Not Completely Believing in Your Vision
Focus more on what you're trying to achieve than on the current situation. The takeaway here is to have confidence in your own digital enablement strategy. If you've done your research and have a clear idea of what you want to achieve, you should move forward with confidence. Others will be more receptive to your enablement program when you fully embrace it.
Are you ready to “be bold” and launch your first digital program? We’ve included a checklist below that you can use to get started. Good luck!
A Checklist for Successful Launching
- Communicate with stakeholders and set clear expectations.
- Unroll the program in manageable pieces.
- If there are multiple issues, create a distinct hypothesis for each one.
- Cater to a variety of learning styles. Don't expect people to absorb lots of information in a traditional classroom model.
- Be confident in your efforts in order to inspire confidence throughout your organization.
If you want to learn more best practices and strategies on effective digital sales enablement, download our eBook, The Utterly Exhaustive, 7,142-word Guide to Sales Enablement Transformation.