Sales enablement: how does it relate to sales coaching and training?
Coaching and training sales reps is one of the core elements of sales enablement.
It begins with onboarding, and ensuring that new hires get to full productivity as quickly as possible without rushing them, or leaving them without the necessary skills, attitudes, and techniques.
It doesn't end there, however.
Everboarding, training, coaching, sales readiness. Whatever it's named in your organization, the teaching doesn't stop after a few weeks of onboarding.
Truly effective sales enablement means continuously working to support sales teams, whether they're full of new hires, or experienced reps who can improve their talents.
While continuous support and ongoing coaching is vital to sales enablement's long-term success, step one is onboarding.
While onboarding is the first step in bringing a rep up to speed, it's by no means the easiest.
Onboarding is an important step to get right, because it's your chance to instill good habits and pass on best practices to incoming reps who will, in time, form the backbone of your sales team.
You want the onboarding experience to be enjoyable and worthwhile for the rep so that they feel welcome and supported, while also providing them with the skills and attitudes needed to contribute to the organization (with as quick a ramp-up time as feasible too).
Onboarding is also the first place where sales enablement can really leave its mark; so it's a nice one to get right when it comes to proving your value to the C-Suite as well.
There's a huge range of different approaches to sales onboarding, with some sales enablement professionals being proponents of slightly longer preparation and training times in order to get the biggest payoff down the line, and others believing efficiency and effectiveness can be found quickly.
There's no right answer, of course, but it's important to keep an open mind and learn from other sales enablement professionals' approaches. While you might not like the entire system, there's always nuggets of wisdom to be found.
Sales enablers are not alone, however. As onboarding is such a crucial aspect, there are plenty of resources to help them make the correct decision in the context of their organization.
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This was never more evident than in 2020, when Covid forced organizations everywhere to switch to a virtual setup, at least temporarily. Sales enablers who had experience with virtual onboarding shared their knowledge with those who were less familiar in a wonderful display of solidarity.
In the aftermath whether organizations remained virtual, shifted to hybrid setups, or returned to in-person, resources were created and knowledge was shared to help sales enablement onboard effectively under any circumstances.
If you need a comprehensive guide to onboarding, then SEC has you covered! Our playbook was designed alongside sales enablement and onboarding experts, and contains a step-by-step guide to building and maintaining your very own world-class onboarding program.
What are you waiting for? Level up your onboarding today!
Sales training and coaching
As important as onboarding is, every sales enablement practitioner knows that the hard work doesn't stop there.
Sales reps need to be continually trained and coaching after being onboarded. This means teaching new skills as well as refreshing old ones, to ensure that sales reps are always working with industry best practices.
It doesn't matter whether you're in-person, virtual, or in a hybrid training session environment.
If you're continuously training your reps, they'll be continuously learning. That means continuous improvement and growth, both for your reps and your organization as a whole. That's how you maximize sales readiness on a consistent basis.
It's important to analyze where reps are strong (and can teach their fellow colleagues), and where they're weak, so that you can tailor training to specifically target weakspots in rep behaviour.
This is important because if a rep is absolutely stellar at making discovery calls but can't quite close deals effectively, there's no reason to pile on a bunch of discovery call coaching.
Otherwise, you'll just annoy your reps with unnecessary pieces of training that they won't even try to remember.
As a sales enablement professional, you have to recognize the needs of your reps. This means knowing when to apply broad training across the organization, and when to hone in on more personalized coaching where necessary.
The way a sales enabler conducts a training session itself can have a huge impact on information-retention as well. It's possible to present the exact same information in two different ways, and one way will be far more memorable and useful to reps than the other.
As mentioned before, the enablement community is an open one, and there's always the opportunity to learn and take advice from your sales enablement peers when it comes to sales training and coaching best practices.
A sales team full of reps who are highly skilled will perform better than a less-skilled team. That's the nature of sales.
When you're leading a sales enablement department, you have to be in-the-know regarding the essential sales skills every modern sales rep should have.
The sales landscape is constantly changing, and with that means new skills come to the forefront. To use Covid as an example once again; sales enablement professionals worldwide suddenly found themselves having to teach remote selling skills as the sales landscape evolved before our very eyes.
Whether it's social selling, buyer-centric selling, evolving rep roles, or something else, there's always a new trend to keep your reps updated with. So naturally, sales skills development is a key element for any sales enablement professional.
It goes without saying that different sales roles require different skill sets, and the responsiblity lies on sales enablement to provide each position with the skills and talents they need to contribute to the organization's goals.
When it comes to sales skills, sales enablers have to keep one thing in mind: at the end of the day, sales is about persuasion. Strong persuasion skills can be taught. Your reps who are weaker when it comes to sales perusasion can be improved with the right skills.
While you can train reps on how to use the latest tools and tech in the sales realm, the actual skill of persuasion always has to be a consideration as well.
Ultimately, when it comes to sales skills, what you will find is that there are countless strategies and methodologies out there. As a sales enablement professional, it's your role to keep an open mind and absorb as much knowledge from across the sales landscape in order to become a better version of yourself.
Through having an open mind, you'll pick up methodologies, tips, advice, training methods, and more from your peers which will shape your sales enablement department into the best possible version of itself.
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