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How Sales Enablement shifted in 2020

6 minutes read

Let’s travel back in time together. No, we won’t need a flux capacitor today. Just your organization’s 2020 sales enablement plan would be enough.

Now open that plan and take a close look. Can you believe that was only last year? I’m sure it feels like that plan was created in a bygone era. Because a lot has changed ever since the onset of the pandemic last year.

I know that you are wondering what is the point of revisiting last year’s sales enablement plan now. The reason is that we have now entered 2021 and we need to plan sales enablement for this year. You will be able to accurately envision and plan for your future only when you are well aware of your past and learn lessons from there.

In this blog, we are going to take a look at how sales enablement’s focus shifted during the last year’s crisis and what lessons can we take to inform our future actions.

Understanding the shift of sales enablement in 2020

Let us begin by understanding the definition of sales enablement and its focus in 2020

Sales Enablement Definition

Sales enablement is the process of breaking down the complexities of sales into practical ideas through scalable and repeatable practices that ultimately lead to increased revenue.

The new normal of 2020 has shifted the focus of the sales enablement to the below 3 components. These 3 components have become a priority for organizations to survive in the remote work environment.

1. Communication: Organizations needed to doubly ensure that they are giving out clear and consistent communication to everyone across the organization in the remote work environment.

They needed to ensure that everyone understands,

  • Everything that is going on in their field of work

  • The targets that they need to meet

  • The tasks that are expected from them

  • The deadlines for those tasks

  • The value that they are going to create

2. Collaboration: In a remote work environment, it has become extremely important to ensure that there is collaboration within a team, across departments, and functions.

Organizations focused on ensuring that,

  • Everyone understands the overall workflow

  • Everyone knows their role in supporting the rest of the organization

  • And everyone knows exactly when, how, and who to collaborate with in order to get the tasks done end-to-end

3. Orchestration: Orchestration has emerged as an important aspect of sales enablement ever since the new normal began. Let’s look at an example to understand what orchestration means.

Consider an orchestra where you’ve got guitarists, pianists, drummers, violinists, etc. But the main person of the orchestra is the orchestra master. The musicians would lack collaboration and fail to create a good tune if an orchestra master isn’t there to guide them.

Similarly in business, you have got sales, marketing, product management, engineering, and HR departments. All these are trying to do the right thing for the customers. But there needs to be a person or a team in charge to make sure that all these departments are

  • Playing in sync

  • Not stepping on top of each other

  • And no sour notes are being played (no mistakes are being made)

When this is done, you will see that all the separate pieces of a puzzle coming together to make a beautiful picture.

If you take a close look at these 3 components that dominated sales enablement in 2020, its really about,

  • Bringing the right teams together

  • At the right time

  • In the right way

  • And getting them to have the right conversations that leads to progress in the work

5Ps that defined the shift of the sales enablement in 2020

Here are 5Ps that will help you understand the chronology of the evolution of sales enablement from the initial days of the pandemic to the current time:

  • Stage 1- Panic: When the COVID and the subsequent lockdowns first hit the world, organizations around the world went into panic mode. Because this was something that no one has ever seen before. People had to quickly adopt the remote work culture but they were not sure what the new normal had in store for them. Or what can they do to survive this crisis. So in this stage, the fear, uncertainty, and doubts dominated and consumed all thoughts, goals, and actions of the organizations

  • Stage 2- Pause: At this stage, people have overcome their panic and took a moment of pause to analyze and reflect upon their current situation. They have accepted the situation as the new reality and as something that is going to last for a while. Then the leadership teams have begun to re-calibrate and reassess their priorities, programs, goals, and actions in this stage.

  • Stage 3- Planning: Once the organizations got past the panic and pause, they entered the planning mode. They have looked at their goals, deliverables, customer profiles, all their processes, platforms, and tools. Then they have tried to figure out how they are going to do things differently in the new normal and achieve their business goals.

  • Stage 4- Progress: This is the stage that organizations have reached at some point in the mid of last year. They have started to see a little optimism, excitement, and advancement in their business endeavors. Everyone has started to own and conquer the new normal. And they have learned to be comfortable with the changing environment.

  • Stage 5- Prosperity: This is the stage where the companies stand right now. At this stage, companies are finally confident that they will get through this and can persevere. And, right now they are trying to figure out their strategies for the next normal in 2021.

To be continued…

Now that you are aware of the evolution of sales enablement in 2020, you can go ahead and plan your sales enablement for 2021.

To know how to do that, head to the second part of our sales enablement blog series. In the second part, we have discussed various important aspects that you need to consider while planning for sales enablement in 2021. Also, we have provided a framework upon which you can build a perfect sales enablement plan for 2021.

Want to know the best practices to create a perfect sales enablement process at your organization? 4 best practices that will help you build a perfect sales enablement process

Sales enablement plays a crucial role in driving revenue in 2021. Want to know how?

Read: How Sales Enablement can drive revenue growth in 2021

Want to know how sales enablement helps to drive successful new hire onboarding?

Read: How can sales enablement help to drive new hire onboarding

Published on Wed Mar 3 2021

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