Enablement Builds It, But Do Salespeople Use It?

Imagine you’re standing in front of a huge wall that you want to climb over. The only tools you are given are ladders. Now, imagine that you don’t know what a ladder is and, not to mention, how to use it effectively. Maybe you put all the ladders together to form a big cluster of ladders and try to stand on the cluster. Most likely you won’t achieve your goal to reach the other side. And if you do, you’ll have used a time-consuming, hard, and inefficient way to do it.

What, if you knew what a ladder is meant for, and how to use it effectively? If so, you would pull up one ladder (or maybe two together), and simply climb the ladder. Fast, efficient, and successful.

Now imagine you’re a salesperson preparing for a call, and you need a few talking points. The sales enablement team has launched a new playbook. You open it for the first time… and you don’t get it. It’s complex, with buttons and links to other pieces of content, and it doesn’t seem to be easy to use. if what you need right now is there, you don’t see it. Anyway, you already have something you can use on your laptop.

Sounds familiar? For salespeople, yes. For sales enablement people, probably not. And that’s a challenge that many enablement leaders confront every day. Sales is always asking for more content, but why? If the root cause is that salespeople can’t find content that’s already there, technology can help a lot. If something people ask for really doesn’t exist, it simply has to be created. But a more common scenario is that salespeople don’t know how to effectively use what’s already available to them. And as in our example above, if it’s not self-explanatory on first sight, a salesperson isn’t likely to give it a second chance. And what self-explanatory is for one person might be very different for someone else. There is no “one size fits all.”

Get out of the confusion and make “no content without training” your motto

Here are a few ideas for how to provide the necessary learning and training for a successful launch of new enablement content services, such as, for instance, a new sales tool, playbook, selling script, or value messaging guideline.

  • Create a short and visual “How To Use” asset to equip your sales managers:
    As training can only be the beginning of an implementation, but not the implementation itself, reinforcement is one of the essential keys to a sustainable and successful implementation. Sales managers play a key role when it comes to reinforcement and adoption, because they work with their salespeople on a daily basis. So, they should integrate the latest news in their coaching practice. And that’s an enablement responsibility to ensure that it happens. So, set up calls with the sales managers first (ideally before the launch) and explain to them the value and how to coach accordingly. In an ideal enablement world, you have sales managers already involved in the creation process, or at least in the test phase before the implementation.
  • Create a video and let a salesperson explain it:
    In my experience, this is a really powerful way to provide the necessary training bites. It creates instant credibility when a salesperson explains to their peers how to a tool or a content asset can help them. To do this effectively, always work with early adopters from the very beginning, before you launch new things. Let them test it, and integrate their feedback. And then they will be willing to promote something they were involved in early on. Often, a few minutes are already enough for a salesperson to “sell” this asset to their peers in a video message.
  • Provide short calls/webinars to teach people how to leverage the new asset:
    If you don’t already have a culture of working with early adopters in the sales force, providing several short educational calls is probably the best approach for you. Make sure that these calls are precisely planned (agenda, content, and timing), and that you can share your content. Mute the group for your part and then open the lines for the Q&A. Record the call and provide the recording later on.

People will always ask for more if they don’t know what’s available and how to use it. To increase enablement effectiveness early in 2017, focus on providing the necessary educational assets for your enablement content to drive adoption across the sales force. That will increase your enablement efficiency and, ideally, the sales force’s effectiveness. And that’s your job, right?

Questions for you:

  • Do you align your content and your training services?
  • If yes, how do you ensure that the value messaging is consistent in sales content, internal enablement content and sales training?
  • What’s the role of collaboration in your organization to ensure a high level of alignment?

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