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The Sales Enablement 2021 Yearly Planning Guide

11 minutes read

Welcome to the second part of our sales enablement blog series. Before you proceed with this blog, we recommend that you first read the first part of this series: Sales Enablement Part-1: How Sales Enablement shifted in 2020

Done? Welcome back.

An effective sales enablement framework is extremely crucial to survive and thrive in the next normal of 2021. It empowers the sales teams to have the right conversations, at the right time, and at each stage of the sales funnel.

This blog provides you with actionable tips to refine your sales enablement strategy in 2021. You will learn,

  • How to boost the efficiency of your sales reps

  • How to boost the efficiency of your sales leaders

  • How to enhance communication and collaboration between various teams in your organization?

  • How to improve the alignment of sales, marketing, and other business units?

Reflect and reassess

A lot has changed in businesses ever since the onset of the pandemic last year. So, it is a good idea to first reassess various aspects of your business and understand

  • If things remain the same after one year

  • Or if they have changed further

This reflection lays the foundation upon which you can plan your tactical and startegic actions for 2021 and beyond.

  • Purpose: Reassess the greater purpose of your organization. Examine your organizational charter and determine,

    • If your culture has changed

    • If your organizational goals have changed

    • If your brand’s position in the market has shifted

  • People: Reassess the people at your organization. Examine your employee data and determine

  • Programs: You must have initiated some new programs in the year 2020. Like remote onboarding programs, remote training programs, or any other initiative. Take a look at those programs and see if they are working fine or if they need to be changed or modified.

  • Performance: Assess the performance of the sales teams. Find out

    • If each employee’s performance is up to the mark

    • What are the areas where their performance is lagging behind?

    • Do they have any knowledge or skill gaps?

Once you have this data, determine how you can train or coach them to close those gaps and drive desired performance.

  • Platforms: Access the technology platforms that you are using right now like the CRM, the sales enablement tool, team collaboration platform, etc. Determine,

    • If those tools are good enough for your team

    • Do you need to add any other tool to your tech stack?

    • Can you automate any other sales process?

Prepare your team for the “next normal”

Next up, focus on preparing your sales team to succeed in the next normal. Here are various aspects which will help you to do so:

  • Focus on creating experience: The focus of the sales reps in 2021 should be to create a valuable and memorable experience for the customers. In today’s times what people mainly remember is not the product or the solution that you sell but the experience that you provide them. So encourage your reps to focus their energy and sales strategy on creating a good experience for each and every customer who works with your company.

  • Focus on Customer relations: Customer relationships right now are the backbone of success in sales. There has never been a time where leading with humanity, empathy and EQ has meant more than today. So, encourage the sales reps to establish and maintain good relationships with the customers.

  • Adjust to the scenario: Along with the change in our way of working, we have also seen the rise and fall of the industries and the economy. These are the most unprecedented and unpredictables times we are living in. So, it’s important for the sales reps to get comfortable with being uncomfortable. They need to adjust their ways of selling to match the sales needs that are prevalent at the moment. They need to be flexible to learn and un-learn things as and when required.

Virtual leadership is the next normal

Having strong, passionate, and efficient leadership has become all the more important in today’s world of remote work. Because more than ever before the remote worker feel the need to have good leaders who can efficiently guide them in these challenging times.

Here are some important aspects that sales leaders need to adapt to become effective and efficient leaders in the next normal:

  • Building rapport: For a sales leader, it’s extremely important to build a good rapport with her team in today’s virtual world. Why? Because a good rapport between the sales reps and the sales leaders builds trust, creates transparency, and makes collaborative working easy.

    In the pre-lockdown era sales leaders could easily have face-to-face conversations with their team members, connect on a personal and professional level and build rapport. But now, they can no longer sit across the same table and chat about work and personal stuff or have coffee meetings or team lunches.

    The only way that sales leaders connect with their teams is through tools like Zoom/ WebEx. So, they need to find new ways to build rapport with their team members through the virtual channels. For example, they could organize virtual pizza parties, virtual team lunches, virtual coffee meetings just to hang out as a team, etc.

  • Create a virtual community: If you are bringing in new hires and remotely onboarding them, they won’t get a chance to meet their trainers, managers, or colleagues. So, how can you keep these folks involved and engaged in this virtual work environment?

    Create a virtual community for the new hires to collaborate. Establish a portal where the new hire can chat with their peer, seniors, trainers, and managers. They can post a question in the portal, give answers to other’s questions, upvote or downvote the answers, etc. This gives an opportunity to them to,

    • Interact with other people at work

    • Engaged in conversations and discussions with their peers and trainers

    • And get a chance to educate themselves on various topics

  • Fight virtual fatigue: Ever since the beginning of the remote work culture last year, Zoom calls have started to trend. But over time they have become so widely used that people started to have 10-12 Zoom calls per day. This has resulted in a lot of sales reps experiencing what is called virtual fatigue.

    The sales managers can help their team members fight this virtual fatigue. The problem was that every major and minor discussion was done on video calls. Instead of this, the managers can give the option to sales reps to use video calls only when it is absolutely required. Like for customer meetings, stakeholder meetings, etc. Other minor talks can be carried out through

    • A normal phone call

    • Email

    • Messages etc

  • Ensure customer experience: Even in this virtual world, the number one driving north star is customer experience. A good customer experience comes from a smooth and seamless business process.

    Sales leaders need to ensure that the business process runs smoothly right from the initial conversation to the closing of the sale. Then the handoff to the customer support, and then all the way to up to the cross-sell and renew. Nothing in this process should slip, change, or fall off. If this process breaks, it invites attrition.

Build the Hub and spoke model for the next normal

Hub and spoke model helps you to build a strong collaboration between various teams, individuals, and departments at your organization. Here are various aspects of this model:

  • Sales and marketing alignment: In today’s world of uncertainty, the sales and marketing teams need to connect and align in a way that they have never done before. They need to have a seamless flow of information between them and both the team need to be on the same page at all the stages of the sales funnel.

    So encourage your sales and marketing teams to collaborate regularly, and re-spec various aspects of sales and marketing. Like,

    • What is the ideal customer profile we need to look at?

    • How do we define MQL and SQL?

    • What is the messaging going to be?

    • How are we going to position the brand in the market? etc

  • Cross-functional collaboration: This goes back to the orchestration concept that we have discussed in the sales enablement part-1. We recommend that you create a sales enablement council. The job of this sales enablement council is to bring various departments of the organization together and make sure that everyone agrees on a common action plan. They can schedule a meeting once every month or quarter. In these meetings, the stakeholders from all the departments can come together, discuss and decide on an action plan that ultimately leads to achieving your company’s goals.

  • Communication: This is where you establish ongoing and regular communication between various teams. Establish a central communication hub that would act as a social media platform for various departments of your organization. All the departments can use this platform to,

    • Update their work progress and achievements

    • Post various useful resources like ppts, pdfs, videos

    • Share their success stories

    • Congratulate others on their success

  • Engagement and interactivity: An engaged workforce is the most productive one. Ensure engagement and interactivity of your employees virtually by using a gamified sales enablement tools. SmartWinnr for example is one such gamified platform that helps to drive the learning and the sales performance of the remotely working sales reps in a fun and entertaining way.

  • Virtual lifestyle experience: Get your sales teams to dearly adopt the virtual lifestyle and get comfortable with it. You can do this by giving them as much flexibility as possible regarding their working hours.

    Ever since the work-from-home scenario came into force, the line between the people’s personal and professional lives is almost blurred. So, by giving them the flexibility and space that they need, you can extract better productivity from them.

Lead with Empathy

Empathy has become a crucial part of selling in 2020. And it is going to remain important even in 2021. In fact this year, we need to take it a step further and implement it within the internal aspects of our organization as well. What does this mean?

What we mean by this is that in today’s world it’s not enough to be empathetic towards the customers alone. You also need to take an empathetic approach towards the people of your organization who are working very hard and trying to bring success to your company in these challenging times.

This means that,

  • The senior managers should lead the front-line managers with empathy

  • The front-line managers should lead their teams of sales reps with empathy

  • And the sales reps should in-turn adopt an empathic approach while dealing with the customer

This way you will be able to build a healthy, happy, and successful business environment

Final Words

If there’s one thing 2020 shined a spotlight on, it’s the power of adaptability. For many sales teams, 2020 was like that scene from The Karate Kid movie where Daniel suddenly realizes that all those days of repetitive labor Mr. Miyagi subjected him to, endowed him with superior defensive skills.

Similarly, all the reskilling and hardships that sales teams have gone through in 2020 have actually helped them to emerge much more stronger, much more adaptive, and has taught them some good survival skills in an all-virtual environment

SmartWinnr for Sales Enablement

Automate and gamify your sales enablement activities with the help of SmartWinnr. Our platform helps you to efficiently drive the learning and sales performance of your remote sales employees. You can organize fun and exciting competitions around sales learning and sales activities. And you can also establish live leaderboards to track individual and team level performances.

Interested to see SmartWinnr in action? Book a free demo with us today!

Want to know the best practices to create a perfect sales enablement process at your organization?

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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

Want to know what sales experts and leaders are predicting about sales in 2021?

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Planning your sales in 2021?

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Want to build a successful sales environment?

Read: How to Build a Successful Sales Environment?

Published on Wed Mar 3 2021

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