We’ve learned that remote work and organizational productivity are far from mutually exclusive. Employees can perform just as well from the comfort of their own homes, from their favorite neighborhood coffee shops or even from their local city park on a sunny day. They don’t need an office to be the best version of themselves. It’s time to say goodbye to small corporate cubicles, stale breakroom coffee, and traffic-ridden afternoon commutes — the hybrid model is here to stay.

The ripple effects of this societal shift to digital-first environments are evident across business to business (B2B) sales as well. Gartner forecasts that 80% of B2B sales interactions between buyers and sellers will occur on digital channels. According to McKinsey & Company’s Marketing and Sales 2021 Insights Report, two-thirds of today’s buyers prefer remote-based human interactions and digital self-service options.

This is our new reality. As consumers increasingly pivot to digital work environments, sellers must pivot with them. A refined approach to B2B sales enablement is needed to further align with the acceleration of digital transformation — an approach blending learning, content and engagement through artificial intelligence to empower customer-facing teams with actionable guidance for navigating virtual selling environments and enhancing digital buyers’ journeys.

The buying experience of the future is already here. Your B2B sales enablement strategy should align with it.

Hyper-focused Onboarding and Training for Remote Selling Environments

Onboarding and training have long served as the central foundation to any high-performing B2B sales team. Just like how the art of painting first requires paint and a paintbrush, new sales reps first must be equipped with the foundational knowledge and readiness to proactively transform digital prospects into customers. In a remote selling world, constructing sales teams from the ground up with a solid baseline of comprehension is just as important as it ever was. The fundamental difference, however, is that a digital-first foundation can’t be built with brick and mortar.

  • A linear, brick-and-mortar B2B sales enablement foundation: ad-hoc onboarding, static training materials, communication gaps, bland in-person presentations and convoluted reporting spreadsheets.
  • An agile, digital-first B2B sales enablement foundation: flexible artificial intelligence (AI)-guided onboarding, curated multimedia training, real-time virtual guidance and dynamic reporting/measuring automation.

The components of the latter empower employees to master core competencies that are vital to attracting and engaging the digital buyers of their market. From virtual product positioning to efficient customer relationship management (CRM) navigation, those core competencies vary by organization and sales cycle — meaning a one-size-fits-all approach to onboarding and training simply isn’t feasible. It requires a multi-faceted approach that is sequenced and calculated for the unique needs of the seller and buyer. Legacy learning management systems (LMSs) weren’t designed for that.

Data-driven Insights for Impactful Coaching and Performance Measurement

B2B sales organizations that coach better, perform better. Just look at the New England Patriots for example. The Pats obviously aren’t selling products or services, but the team’s “Patriot Way” is a perfect microcosm for the importance of data-driven coaching and measuring. Their six Super Bowl championships since 2002 didn’t come by accident — they were byproducts of a sustained standard of excellence fostered by head coach Bill Belichick, whose tutelage influenced all 53 players on the roster to consistently  execute on game days. The Patriots also embraced the integration of advanced analytics and sports, relying on machine learning to compile extensive data that fueled their draft decisions and player personnel moves.

Similar logic can be applied to B2B sales enablement. Considering the rapid rate of e-commerce acceleration and digital adoption, the intricacies of navigating virtual selling environments are new to both entry-level employees and seasoned professionals alike. Proactive coaching isn’t just helpful — it’s essential. Before Tom Brady became the greatest quarterback of all time, he was a sixth-round draft pick from the University of Michigan who needed to be coached to unlock his full potential. Before sales reps can become confident virtual sellers who generate results and revenue, they need impactful coaching and data-driven guidance to lead them in the right direction.

Intelligence enablement offers avenues for both. With AI and machine learning tools, sales managers can create a scalable coaching strategy that fuses hybrid peer-to-peer engagement with AI performance scoring and measuring. By automating the analysis of customer interactions and buyer behaviors, they can transform complex data into simplified insights that foster the professional growth of their entire team.

Immersive Content and Engagement Tools for Attracting Digital Buyers

If you want to guide digital customers on the journey to a smart purchasing decision, put away your PowerPoint decks — for good. Customer-facing B2B sales content containing siloed assets on multiple systems with outdated portals that require manual navigation may have worked 10 years ago. Today, however, those outdated content assets encompass the exact opposite of what resonates with digital-oriented customers.

In virtual selling environments, attractive sales and marketing content needs to be savvy. It needs a centralized platform with interactive displays and articulate designs. It needs innovative product engagement tools with customizable features and real-time functionality. It needs to not just inform and engage potential customers but do so in the most compelling, digestible way possible. A brand’s digital experience can serve as the most valuable pathway to profitability. Customer-facing content and engagement tools are what shapes it.

Digital transformation isn’t slowing down any time soon. Now is a critical time to part ways with the past and reimagine the present of B2B sales enablement. Legacy systems and off-the-shelf technologies are out. Flexible, AI-guided intelligence enablement tailored to the buying experience of the future is in.

Will you capitalize on it?