Thursday, May 12, 2022

Leveraging Digital Experiences for Sales Enablement

My sales leadership career began in 1997. Since then, I have had the opportunity to work with various kinds of teams in different industries during multiple generations of sales enablement technology. Over those 25 years, one priority has remained constant: to remove hurdles that detract from an individual contributor’s ability to learn and adopt best practices.

Having worked for organizations as small as 15 employees and as large as 150,000 employees, I have seen some of the evolution that occurs with growth.  Small, fast-growth startups have fewer guardrails, optimizing for speed and agility across the team. Their sales leaders need visibility to identify and replicate the practices that best serve their customers. Then, bureaucracy is inadvertently woven into the sales process as the company scales. It’s not uncommon for an Account Executive at a huge company to spend most of their time with internal meetings, documents, and procedures that limit their ability to see customers.  It’s our job to curtail some of that organizational crabgrass as it creeps up.

Here are a few things I have done to combat organizational drag for my teams over the years.  

  • Mobile-first thinking: In 2019, I was on 51 airline flights, visiting customers almost every week. Many people in our profession travel twice that much. With that kind of schedule, workflows designed for a large monitor and reliable internet are not conducive to standing at an airport gate, flying on an airplane, or waiting in a customer’s lobby. So, we adopted mobile workflows that could push/pull information to/from Salesforce and Slack, allowing people to update opportunities, conduct meeting prep with counterparts, and collaborate on notes or next steps instantaneously.  Imagine your sales team sitting in the back of an Uber rather than in front of a laptop in the office.  What can/can’t they accomplish on a tiny screen with sketchy connectivity? If they can’t get internal approval on that proposal, send follow-up collateral to their prospect, or relay a snippet of their customer call to your product team, you haven’t adopted a mobile-first mindset. Business travel might be less commonplace now than in years past, but 2022 is an opportunity to invest in these workflows before it picks up again.
  • Transparency: Fifteen years ago, it was challenging to determine which of your top performers’ best practices could be replicated across the team. We needed to listen in on calls or join meetings, feverishly taking notes along the way. Today, with collaboration platforms and conversation intelligence solutions, each team member can have access to each other’s daily challenges and victories. Yet, we need to build this enablement into our sales culture. For example, I use Slack’s Gmail-to-channel plug-in to share all of the prospecting emails I receive with our Sales Development team, allowing them to add emojis and comments to identify positive or negative practices. They also have a channel to help each other collaborate on personalized messages or replies. For the sales team, I recommend quarterly focus areas (i.e., impact questions during discovery, developing use cases, articulating value) where you can leverage snippets from customer calls to highlight these lessons. These are digital experiences that support sales enablement in ways that were impossible just a few years ago, and the sales leaders who adopt them will speed the success of their teams exponentially.
  • Testing: The sales landscape is changing so quickly these days. It takes a healthy layer of humility to recognize that years of experience won’t necessarily predict expertise in 2022’s environment. We need nimble systems of testing and iteration built into our processes, especially as we collaborate cross-functionally with our counterparts in Marketing, Product, and Customer Success. Each of those teams rely upon candid, timely feedback from the field – customer quotes and snippets of conversations sourced by the sales team. These feedback systems are often mobile-friendly digital experiences that need to integrate with other solutions, providing ease of use (and, in turn, adoption) for individual contributors. Fast-paced teams have built methods for sales executives to leverage voice dictation or mobile apps to deliver immediate feedback to other teams.  Integrating these data points into other systems ensures that cross-functional partners can draw conclusions sooner, allowing them to iterate and improve in days, not months.

These days, digital experiences are everywhere – every leader in every function is responsible for leveraging them to improve the agility of their respective team. With platforms like Lumavate, non-coders like myself can launch experiences without needing to rely on oversubscribed development resources. For example, you can create an internal mobile-first app for your sales or field service teams for service or product education and onboarding that integrate into CRM tools and many other tech stack integrations. These seemingly simple improvements in mobile-first workflows, transparency, and testing dramatically impact the overall performance of the team. I’d love to learn more about the digital experiences that your organization is launching to enable your sales team. Let’s continue the conversation! Connect with me here.