SES Boston - Driving Sales Experience: Moving to Hybrid The Boston Chapter of the Sales Enablement Society continued our action-oriented series built around knowledge sharing both for our members and, by sharing here, with the rest of the Enablement community around the globe.

This month’s focus was on improving the seller experience within our businesses (See this LinkedIn post from Corey Kossack to see what sparked this conversation).

We started down this path of seller engagement by focusing this first meeting on how the shift to hybrid working models is and will continue to impact the experience of our sales teams. As we explored the topic, we primarily viewed it from the following perspectives:

  • The war for talent
  • The risk of creating inequity in your sales force.

The world of hybrid boils down to trust between managers and employees, businesses and employees. From trust comes responsibility, and from delivering results based upon the responsibilities given, more trust is given. It is a virtuous cycle for the business, the manager, and the employee.

The war for talent is underway

Employees have tasted what it is like to integrate life and work more deeply, to have more flexibility in getting their jobs done. Those that have shown personal motivation have earned more responsibility and trust, and they do not want to go back to pre-pandemic working models.

Leaders that force sellers into old working models, giving up on the understanding, trust, and flexibility that today’s workers have become accustomed to, will be left behind.  

Your best employees will leave.

And, it’s expensive when you lose sellers. Data from SiriusDecisions estimates that the cost of seller turnover is around $200,000, between lost opportunity cost, retraining, hiring, and so forth.

Your costs will vary, of course, but will likely be on the order of $100,000 to $500,000. 

It is never cheap.

How can Enablement help?

  • Educate managers on how to care for individuals based upon coaching the whole person. See this excellent interview on the power of sales coaching when it overlaps with life coaching.
  • Partner with Ops and Managers on data analysis to identify who is getting the work done and who is not.  
  • Some salespeople expressed the importance of autonomy and mastery (Daniel Pink research) over rewards and recognition. One of our fellow Enablement practitioners noted that they have had success having people “qualify for an advanced training instead of receiving a reward.” Consider this for your business.

Moving to Hybrid Risk – Remote employees becoming the forgotten and unheard

Participants noted that many people returning to the office had forgotten the remote participants in meetings, talking over each other and forgetting the impact on those not in the room.

What role can Enablement, and frankly others, play?

  • Remember WIIFM (what’s in it for me) and ensure that all meeting participants, in person or remote, continue to see the promise of WIIFM.
  • Building off of the last point, commit to standing up for the forgotten. This expectation goes well beyond a hybrid working model. Use your voice, and put into action, what is needed to ensure all voices are heard and that your business focuses on creating great experiences for all sellers, not just certain ones.
  • Work with the team to create best practices around how to work effectively with all groups. For example:
    • Validate those critical areas of the room are visible to all.
    • Ensure background noise issues are kept to a minimum.
    • Formalize the meeting flow to ensure time is available for remote employees to participate/comment without having to scream to be heard.
    • Partner with HR and representatives from in-person, remote, and hybrid workers to ensure all voices are represented.
    • For training, Instructors need support to manage the environment (monitor chat, help with breakouts, etc.); you can see the difference when companies bring in a team vs. single instructor; this will only be more pronounced moving to hybrid.
  • Work harder to have remote coffee or lunch with those people, even a five-minute call. Support the team in creating these connections.
  • Build-in time for remote and in-person employees to meet in person 2-4 times a year (at minimum). The value of these in-person meetings will enable the building of stronger relationships faster.

Final thoughts

We only began scratching the surface on the impact of hybrid on seller experience. We look forward to others weighing in, collaborating so we can all learn and improve.

See you next time.

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