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ATD Blog

A Tale of Two Sales Enablement Methodologies

Friday, June 11, 2021

Last year everyone had to adjust how they worked from home, met with colleagues, and kept business moving forward. If you are in sales enablement, you are used to facilitating in a live classroom environment. The face-to-face interaction helps drive learning and engagement. Beginning last year, though, we had to prepare to deliver training virtually while adapting to the new normal.

Driving new sales enablement methodologies is difficult in any organization. You need to get buy-in from your sales leaders and align with marketing and other key stakeholders. You often find yourself justifying why it is so important to invest in this new program and how important it is for the sales teams to succeed. Once you get that buy-in, you can start to prepare how you will drive the adoption and use of this new methodology. Who will be your facilitators, and who will be your champions in the field? If this isn’t hard enough, imagine virtually launching two sales enablement methodologies to a large field sales team.

I was tasked with launching a program to teach Professional Selling Skills and Challenger Selling to a large field sales organization. I am always up for a challenge, but this was going to be difficult. Sales enablement was relatively new to this team and so was my role. I had been exposed to PSS and Challenger in the past, so I had the foundational knowledge to help build out these programs but not at the same time.

PSS is about owning the conversation, asking the right questions, resolving customer concerns, and closing the call. It boils down to these steps: Open > Discover > Satisfy > Close: how you plan and approach a call with your customer.


Challenger Selling is about offering insight to your customer, revealing a problem they may not be aware of, and using your solution to solve said problem. Challenger uses a message choreography that leads your customer to the solution.


This was an apple and oranges situation in my opinion; the methodologies are very different. Couple that with trying to relay this knowledge to a diverse sales team that ranged from strong clinical and business acumen to a sales rep who has never sold before. Bottom line: I was certainly facing a challenging situation.

To learn how I dealt with these challenges, as well as more insights on the differences between the PSS and Challenger Selling methodologies and how to impart them to your sales teams, join me at ATD Sell October 12–13, 2021, in Las Vegas.

About the Author

Jason Gwilliam is manager of US sales training at Abbott Structural Heart. He is a sales enablement expert, thought leader, and consultant, helping companies build out world class sales enablement and customer engagement programs.

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