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ATD Blog

The Recent Evolution of Sales Enablement

Thursday, February 10, 2022

When 2020 started, the sales enablement landscape was a combination of in-person learning and content on sales enablement platforms that drove our programs and initiatives. We were used to creating instruction delivered in a classroom and not virtually, but we were thrust into a pandemic world where we had to pivot and deliver our programs purely online.

As teams scrambled to optimize content for the virtual world, we had to figure out what would maximize our current sales enablement platforms (like Brainshark, Seismic, or BigTinCan) because our classroom content was now being repurposed on these platforms to deliver sales training.

Move to a Hybrid Learning Environment

Tasked with launching a new selling methodology intended to be offered in the classroom, we slowed the rollout in hopes that the pandemic would end quickly. At the same time, our sales enablement platform vendor launched an online area that allowed our teams to access learning modules to help reinforce the virtual programs we were working on.

By the fall of 2020, we started to do small in-person sales enablement classes with fewer than 10 people and strict safety and testing measures in place. This proved to be valuable and reinforced the virtual learnings.


In 2021, we increased the number of in-person learning programs as vaccines and testing became more available. We continued to use the online platform for pre-learning and reinforcement of the in-person programs we were running. The combination of in-person and virtual learning helped strengthen and reinforce instruction.

It wasn’t easy, but we adapted. Here are six steps you can take to make the transition to virtual or hybrid learning less painful:


1. Optimize your tech stack.
2. Partner with marketing and commercial teams to help drive your programs.
3. Be flexible and ready to adjust as needed.
4. Pilot your programs with small groups before launching to larger teams.
5. Co-ordinate with your vendors.
6. Optimize your content for hybrid learning.

Be Ready to Deliver Learning As Needed

In 2020, we trained seven people in person. In 2021, we trained more than 240 people in person.

We start 2022 faced with a new variant of the virus and the possibility of moving to a virtual environment again. Regardless of the challenges, we are better positioned now than we were two years ago because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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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