Digital Enablement: Sales Enablement for the Modern Workforce

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Let’s talk enablement.

If you’re new to enablement, you won’t be much longer. While a few years ago you’d only hear about the term “sales enablement” in SaaS and tech, today the role is is popping up everywhere, across industries.

In fact, in the past five years, the sales enablement function has experienced a 343% increase in adoption! And worldwide spending on digital transformation is expected to “surpass $2.1 trillion by 2021.”

And, it’s not just sales teams who need workforce enablement. Digital enablement , where employees across the org are empowered with the training and resources they need to be successful with their tools and effective in their roles, has become an absolute necessity.

But, where did it come from and why is it, “SO hot right now”?

Let’s start from the beginning…

Where did digital and sales enablement come from, anyway?

Digital enablement has changed drastically in recent years because technology has changed dramatically.

Think about it…

You’re using WAY more tools today than ever before. And each of these tools has its own unique processes, customizations and regular updates.

You might use Outreach for creating sequences, Seismic to gain sales insights and close deals, prospect new customers in LinkedIn Sales Navigator and likely live in Salesforce. There are dozens more tools your team is responsible for using with the goal of driving productivity to close more deals, faster.

Each of these tools is releasing new features, updates, UI enhancements, etc. regularly. And, you’re likely adding your own customizations (new fields, process updates, etc.) along with these product changes. Essentially, the tools we use and the methods by which we use them are in a constant state of evolution.

That’s a big departure from legacy tools of the past! In the 1980s and 1990s, our software was updated every few years and you only had a few tools to manage. This meant it was safe to say once a user was trained and enabled on a tool, they were good to go for a while.

One too(l) many

The tools you use have a huge impact on the bottom line. This is both because of the cost of technology, but also because they enable your sales team to perform at their absolute peak.

If they’re not being used, being used incorrectly or not utilized to their full capabilities, you’re losing money. It’s killing your team’s (and likely your own) productivity and you’re not seeing a return on your tech investment.

In fact, according to 1E , the cost of wasted spend on software in the US adds up to about $30 billion per year!

This is where the rise of digital enablement comes into play.

We have established that we have more tools and more changes to train on and communicate than ever before. And to maximize your investment in these tools, you need digital enablement to answer questions such as…

  • How can we help our team maintain productivity and be effective while using these tools?
  • How can we easily communicate changes and train on our ever-changing tech stack in a way that’s not disruptive to our team’s day-to-day?
  • How can we maximize digital adoption in our tech stack to realize ROI?

You may also be thinking, why are digital enablement solutions the answer to these questions? Well, the why begins with science.

It’s just science

The science of learning shows us that, much like technology, the way we learn has evolved. We’re constantly bombarded with new information, leaving little room for retention. In fact, studies show 90% of new information is forgotten in just one week.

Think about it this way; we used to have phone numbers memorized to make a quick phone call without a Rolodex handy.

Now, say a name on your phone and Siri does all the heavy lifting. We could call the same person every day and not have their number memorized because it’s not reinforced, thus never making it into our long-term memory.

If you can’t expect somebody to remember a number they call every day, you can’t expect them to remember that training course or PowerPoint you presented two days ago.

And, this memory retention/tool proficiency gap impacts more than performance. In fact, 86% of millennial’s saying that training impacts their decision to stay in a position.

So, if your team doesn’t understand how to properly use their tools, you’re likely suffering from low productivity, wasted tech spend AND possibly members of your team altogether!

Tech growth = training growth, yeah?

You would think that innovation and expansion of our tech stack go hand-in-hand with new and innovative ways to train employees on this stack, right?

But, our training and enablement strategies still have a lot of catching up to do. We’re still relying on tools like PowerPoint, a tool introduced in 1987 to train on processes or onboard our team. We use WebEx for virtual training, a platform that came on the market in 1995.

Many rely solely on LMS systems, specifically designed for one time, lengthy absorption of knowledge, but that employees quickly forget and information is rarely reinforced.

These tools aren’t designed to keep up with the rapid rate of small changes introduced in technology today and the short-attention spans, low retention of the modern employee. The modern worker needs continuous, bite-sized reinforcement of training and enablement.

In fact, according to a survey done by Spekit and leading sales consultancy JBarrows of sales enablement leaders , 67% of those surveyed said the number one factor that impacts their ability to put their training into practice was lack of reinforcement after the training session.

For digital enablement to keep up, it needs to be flexible, scalable, contextual, reinforced and in real-time. Companies like DocSend, JLL , and Mariner Wealth who are doing this well through a combination of in-app learning software investments and stellar strategy have seen significant boosts in productivity and more self-sufficient reps which all, ultimately leads to more revenue.

More changes on the horizon

Meeting users where they work is the new bread and butter, so to speak. And having a strategy to enable your team is no longer a “nice to have” but essential.

Changes will only keep coming faster and faster as we continue to evolve and maintain this rapid rate of growth. So ask yourself, is your team ready?

Check back for our next blog post that will give you insights into strategies top enablement pros are using to address these enablement challenges head on.

About the author

Elle Brayton
Director, Content & Communications
Elle is a boy momma 2x, brand builder, storyteller, growth hacker, and marketing leader with 12+ years of experience scaling SaaS B2B organizations.
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