Gartner: 5 sales priorities for shift to digital selling

By Kate Birch
With a permanent shift to virtual selling likely, Gartner identifies five areas that sales leaders should prioritise in their sales enablement strategie...

Recognising that the pandemic has triggered a permanent shift to virtual selling, Gartner asserts that companies must therefore make a shift in their sales enablement strategies by optimising their approach to virtual seller enablement in areas including enablement technology, onboarding, training, communications and events. 

With virtual selling “expected to continue being an important capability of sales organisations in a post-COVID-19 era”, says Doug Bushee, senior director analyst in the Gartner Sales practice, “sales enablement has a critical role to play in enabling sellers to prepare, plan and deliver engaging virtual sales interactions”. 

And to prepare sellers for a successful future of what Gartner refers to as digital-first selling behaviours, sales leaders “must implement immediate and longer-term actions to develop and maintain a virtual selling strategy”. 

From investing sales enablement platforms to delivering training modules for the new digital-first salesperson, here are the five areas that sales leaders should consider taking action in, according to Gartner. 

  1. Sales enablement technology investment Before spending on new technology to support remote selling, businesses should assess existing technologies and digital tools to understand and maximize additional functionalities. As business needs and customer expectations change, then selectively retire technologies that are redundant or have low utilization.
  2. Onboard design and deployment Deploy learning based on predetermined onboarding milestones to build foundational knowledge. This could include product features and benefits, and 'hard skills' training that doesn't require a live instructor, such as systems and tools training. For new hires, design and develop onboarding resources that will minimize information overload and prioritize digital content that delivers the most critical knowledge needed for them to get going. 
  3. Virtual selling skills development Design and deliver short training modules, targeting both sellers and managers, that can be completed either synchronously with a live facilitator or asynchronously via e-learning. These should include application exercises to avoid training burnout and maximize learning engagement.
  4. Seller communications Establish a clear communication rhythm by carefully planning and communicating the expected rhythm of virtual events, training sessions and announcements, and match the messaging to the appropriate channel such as videos, emails, and intranet. With increased communication volume in a virtual environment, establish sales enablement as the gatekeeper that funnels all messages to prioritize content that is consistent and tailored for sellers.
  5. Sales events Instead of annual events that bring the team together, host more frequent, shorter events in order to continue refining messaging and skills while boosting momentum from previous events. Try to reconstruct the in-person kickoff experience by creating online communities that allow sellers to engage in team-building activities, discuss relevant topics, post questions, share best practices and showcase customer case studies. 
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