Enabling Remote Teams: What Experts are doing Right Now

Our CEO, Melanie Fellay, had the opportunity to chat with Bryan Miller from Bluewater Learning on a webinar hosted by ATD to discuss a topic that is top of mind for many right now, remote enablement. 

How to enable sales teams from across the world is one of the biggest challenges organizations are facing. We took this opportunity to walk through how teams can maintain productivity, communication and training in a new work from home world.

Kicking things off with some advice 

To kick things off, Spekit CEO Melanie Fellay opened up about how she approached preparing for the webinar and the challenges she was facing. 

“After struggling to make any headway on Friday night (about content for this webinar), I received a call from my friend Nicollete to catch up. Nicollete is the lead of a growing team of SDRs at Snowflake.

I opened up about my concerns in regards to my content being repetitive and how to make it engaging. I asked her what are some creative ways your team has enabled your employees and elevated engagement lately?”

Melanie also reached out and chatted with Alex Kremer from Outreach and Quyen Chang from Airbnb to find out what their teams are currently doing to enable a newly remote workforce. She and Bryan Miller from Bluewater Learning broke down the findings and discussed their own strategies as well. 

Together, they took a look at some really out-of-the-box and unique ways that you can enable, engage and empower your team for success and look for the gift in this challenging time. It may seem impossible or overwhelming at the moment, but let’s take a “glass-half full lense” to create more connection within your individual teams and the ways that they can connect and engage with your customers in turn. They also looked at how to reinforce some of the best practices and tactical enablement resources you can put together for your teams to enable them immediately using resources you already have. Let’s dive in and take a closer look at what they discussed. 

Create a “pre-frame” on how to address Covid-19 both internally and externally

Let’s start with the big one because this is critical right now. Your employees no doubt have a great deal of stress and anxiety about what is going on in the world right now. They more than likely have stress on a personal and professional level. It’s really important that you understand what matters to them and provide clear and intentional feedback about your company’s response and what it means for them. 

It is also important to provide your team with training on how to address this topic when reaching out and prospecting. Here are some guidelines that may help:

1. Lead with the WE: 

Meet them where they are with empathy and compassion, we are all in this together. We’re all feeling uncertainty about whether we should push projects, we’re all cutting budgets. 

2. Acknowledge and isolate the problem:

For example, “If I understand correctly, it sounds like your CEO has put all budgets on freeze which is preventing you from moving forward with this, but you’re still confident that this is a problem that’s really important for you to address in your organization. It sounds like you have a strong conviction that with a solution like “ours” you could solve these problems and help your team drive more results? Is that a fair understanding?

3. Create a mutual plan forward: 

So based on these things, if we want to wait until May to address some of these challenges, we can but what I’d like to suggest is that we do “X” instead so that when that time does come, we can hit the ground running. Where X are different ways that you can help your customer with those challenges with or without the product. An example might be setting them up with your success team to think through strategy 

Setting up your Sales, Customer Support and other teams with these kinds of guidelines will help both immediately and in the long term. During times of uncertainty, people have a keen memory. Your prospects, your customers and your team will remember how you handled this situation. It’s really important to be creative and to demonstrate how you or your team can be a great partner.

Asking a meaningful question

When reaching out to her friend Alex, Melanie asked about what insight he had about enabaling remote teams right now. Alex shared that for his team at Outreach, they have added sveral new measures to help their employees. Including adding a new weekly ritual into the fold; starting off each week by asking a “powerful question.”

Questions like:

  • Why is this year important to you?
  • When you were a kid, who did you look up to the most and how can you embody that person in your meetings today?
  • What are you doing right now to keep yourself sane?
  • How has this current situation reframed how you think about the world and what your priorities are?

They are already seeing the benifits of this simple but powerful action. Its brings a sence of community, fosters an environment of open and honest communication and has connected them even more as a team. 

Hold office hours

Next lets look at the advise Nicolette shared on the subject. She stressed the importance of holding weekly office hours. Why? It is absolutely critical for your team to be able to have access to managers, co-workers and leadership right now. Hold office hours daily to discuss the challenges of the current situation and provide context on how you can help. Most of us have agreed that while it has presented some new challenges, it has also put a spotlight on areas that already needed to be addressed.

“We believe that employees are hungrier than ever to learn. In fact, Spekit recently did a survey and found that when asked how satisfied employees were with the amount of training they received, only 10% of survey respondents replied 5/5. Over 50% gave it a 2 or below out of 5.”

That is a really small percentage! 

When asked about Sales training, in particular, some of the feedback included:

  • “Necessary for continuous improvement.”
  • “Necessary for growth.”
  • “It’s completely underrated.”
  • “It’s absolutely necessary and should be an ongoing thing.”
  • “It should be more based “in the field” rather than a classroom exercise.”
  • “They are extremely necessary but not as practical or frequent. Training itself without coaching or FU is hard to sustain”
  • Constant reinforcement is needed.”

When asked “if you could change anything about training today” respondents said:

  • “Specific training that ties tools to best practices.”
  • “Make it an ongoing initiative and interactive.”

When asked “what most hinders their ability to put training into practice” we found that:

  • 67% Lack of reinforcement after the training session
  • 18% too much information at once

So what can we take away from this data? Reinforcement! This is why office hours will be so critical. It’s a chance for your team to ask questions and for you to provide that reinforcement.

Next, create engagement on large calls to avoid awkward pauses in 3 steps:

Quyen Chang from Airbnb weighed in on the topic by sharing another simple but powerful way to engage and enable your teams particularly when it comes to group calls. Here are the three ways you can avoid those awkward pauses and gaps that can occur on larger calls.

1. Say the name of the individual you are referring to. This involves team members in the conversation and demonstrates that their feedback and opinion specifically matters. 

2. Give backstory when addressing your team about your topic so you can set them up for success in case they weren’t paying attention. For example, “based on what I just said about X, then repeat what the actual topic was ie: how to handle this objection.”

3. Ask questions. “How does this apply to you? How have you seen this play out in your role? From your perspective, what is the biggest challenge regarding x topic?”

It’s important to be intentional about how you engage with everyone. Encouraging them to participate in a powerful way eases the stresses of not being able to see everyone in person.

Powerful Side Projects

Another tip from Alex; assign key team members or experts to document and share important things with the team and present it. This creates ownership, brings credibility to the individual(s) and reinforces enablement.

An example for a SDR might be:

  • Create a worksheet of all the plays that she or he runs and share it with the entire team

An example for a Customer Success Manager might be:

  • Create a list of the most powerful customer stories they have and share them with the team

The biggest lesson here is that people don’t want to just hop on a zoom call to hear you or another team member talk. You need to create an environment where everyone feels empowered, valued and heard. Whether it’s within your own L&D team, enablement team or whether you’re supporting your managers in creating those environments within their own teams. Calling upon your team members to become subject matter experts and provide a platform for them to demonstrate fosters an environment of learning and enablement.

Don’t forget about documentation!

Now that you have all of these great new strategies to try out, don’t forget about your documentation process! You will want to be sure to centralize access to new materials in regards to the new changes being implemented. Check out a few tips below on how Spekit allows you to make this simple and effective.

Stepping up to the plate

We know this is a challenging time and adapting to a “new normal” is difficult to say the least. It’s more important than ever to ensure that your team has the tools and strategies they need to be successful. Enablement doesn’t have to mean starting from scratch. As highlighted in the strategies above, there are simple daily/weekly initiatives you can fold into your weekly routines to help make sure your team stays on track and morale stays high. 

For more information and tips on staying productive and empowered, be sure to listen to the full webinar here. For more information about Spekit click here, to get started with Spekit for free today click here.

Sales Enablement