Sales Enablement in an Asynchronous World
If someone had told me in March 2020 that there would be some upsides to an enforced move away from our office-based world I would have said they were mad. However, the global Sales Enablement team at Getty Images has experienced both positives and challenges as we have navigated the organisational impact of the pandemic.
The team I lead is globally distributed and small relative to the teams we serve. Traditionally, we have had very limited funds either to travel to our other offices, buy in training or invest in systems
to drive efficiency or effectiveness.
Our goal is to deliver the best in-class enablement to sales reps and agents to, in turn, enable them to serve our customers in the best ways possible.
Historically, we prioritised using the limited travel budget we had to deliver our onboarding of new hires in our largest offices in person, using our Learning Management System (LMS) to support. Skills training tended to be a hybrid of some reps in a room with the trainer, with others, usually outside of the UK or US, dialling in and enjoying a substandard experience of viewing the back of the trainer’s head over a poor connection.
Our LMS was just a management system that held recordings that were viewable after the classroom training to give the business confidence that lessons were being watched and absorbed. Our sales and service managers had used being present in the office to overhear calls and offer coaching/feedback and without that ability, were not able to verify that processes were being
Vital knowledge on products, processes and policies was in the heads of our long-tenured, more experienced staff and, if written down either in our Intranet or in documents, could not be
guaranteed to be up to date. Finally, bar anecdotal Kirkpatrick level 1 feedback, we had no objective way of measuring the effectiveness of our sales enablement.
The move in 2020 to asynchronous, at-home working meant our sellers were suddenly doing all their business with customers online, via phone or Zoom. This prompted a full-scale review with my team of our ways of working from both classroom delivery and an information management perspective.
We found ways to be creative with what we had, and we leveraged Zoom to recreate the physical classroom. Where we would have had people discuss in pairs, we put them into breakout rooms,
and instead of putting questions to the group, we used polling and Kahoot. An upside of remote working was that we were able to run sessions that were time-zone friendly and for greater
accessibility, shared subtitled recordings.
And because not being in the office was combined with the stress of home-schooling for example, we made all our enablement sessions voluntary and open to all, irrespective of tenure. A happy by-product of this was that newer reps and agents got to learn from the more experienced.
Finally, we addressed the long-standing issue of our poor information management.
In response to increasing Zoom fatigue as we entered year two of the pandemic, we continued with our online-first approach but have made sessions shorter, seeing no tail off in attendance or
feedback. In 2021, we focused on building the case for more on-the-job coaching and for a new learning platform.
So where are we now?
We have focused on five areas. Three are implemented and delivering benefits and two are heading in the right direction:
1. We moved to a new learning platform, WorkRamp. It’s a platform that’s already, two months after go-live, bearing fruit as we onboard new hires and train experienced sellers.
2. We hired a dedicated Sales Coach with the sole responsibility of attending and reviewing reps’ meetings and coaching them on their approach.
3. We overhauled our approach to Knowledge Management. It is an ongoing commitment but with Salesforce Knowledge we review articles every 12 months in line with our commitment
to maintaining the Wiki as Sales’ sole source of truth. Beyond that, we have archived thousands of old or outdated SharePoint pages, meaning that what is served up to sellers and agents is not encumbered by unhelpful data. We have also applied the same content review logic to our SharePoint pages to ensure they are kept current.
What remains is:
4. Correlating training against revenue and KPIs. This will be assisted by interfacing WorkRamp and Salesforce. For the first time, we will have training delivered and reported against sales
at the Rep and Team level and we are looking forward to the insight that that will bring us.
5. Finally, as our commercial organisation becomes more data driven, we need to have greater visibility to our sellers’ outreach and a better understanding of what is being communicated
when in the sales cycle.
In summary, asynchrony has proved to be a big opportunity for us. Leveraging and fully exploiting the functionality of our tools and platforms has meant that online training has been a leveller. Sales Enablement doesn’t have to be dry, it doesn’t have to consist of you listening to the sound of your own voice, it just requires thought and planning. You can still role/real play, you can still have discussions, you can still check understanding, it’s all possible.
If you are to scale your impact, two critical elements of the Sales Enablement armoury are first, a decent learning platform, and second, information management tools in which you have confidence. Investing appropriate resources in these areas is vital if you and your commercial teams are going to
continue to work asynchronously even if for only part of the time.
For me and my team, being remote has enabled us to be on hand to support more of our internal customers than ever before and it has also helped us to make that case for investment in key areas.
As a result, we’ve never delivered more or been consulted more frequently. We still have much to do but, when you build the right solutions and you add value, people will come.