Before any of us were thinking about Covid-19 (Coronavirus), our workforces have been shifting from corporate offices to their homes. The Enablement of the remote workforce should not be something new for many of us, but the scale of remote work may be permanently changed as a result of the virus sweeping the globe.
For a moment, let’s review the state of remote work, pre-Covid-19.
- According to data from FlexJobs:
- Over the last five years, remote work growth is at 44%.
- 3.4% of the total U.S. workforce is remote workers, up from 2.9% in 2015
- According to a study by AND Company (a Fiverr Business), 55% of respondents were fully remote, and 43% were partially remote.
Yes, there is a lot of fear and uncertainty around Covid-19.
Yes, it is impacting all aspects of our businesses and leading to conferences being canceled, self-quarantines, and every news cycle filled with new information.
However, this is not the time for business leaders to panic. It is a time for reasoned and rational thinking. Let’s step back and discuss the next steps.
Already providing Enablement to Your Remote Workforce?
If your team was already supporting remote staff, you should be in relatively good shape to continue doing so. I would urge you to consider these steps to streamline your Sales Enablement efforts right now.
- Survey your Sales Managers and Remote Sellers. Ask them?
- Do they have the training and content they currently need?
- How could you better assist them in their roles?
- Review your processes. Do they require staff to be in the office for any reason?
- For example, can they only update the CRM from your office network?
- Do you have the necessary support to provide remote sales coaching?
- Ask your Enablement teams what concerns they have.
- If they need to work remotely, do they have the tools they need?
- Do they have leadership support to work remotely?
You may have noticed, nothing above really has anything to do with Covid-19, nor should it. Yes, the disease is going to impact businesses globally. Sales may be slower to make. It may be more challenging to generate leads. However, how you support your teams should not change dramatically.
Not yet providing Enablement to Your Remote Workforce?
First off, take a deep breath. As discussed above, the workforce was already spreading out; you needed to have a plan in place for this eventually.
The only change?
Eventually is now here.
Let me provide you with a list of Do Nots and a list of Dos to help guide you through this effort.
It would be best if you moved quickly, but you also need to be responsible and thoughtful. Here is my advice to you.
- Keep executing.
- You have a plan, continue following it.
- Meanwhile, be strategic.
- Yes, Covid-19 may result in your workforce being remote for the first time, or at least for longer times than you have previously had to support. Consider this challenge from the lens of someone looking to support a team that is entirely remote all the time. How would you do that?
- Consider your current business priorities.
- Which monthly, quarterly or yearly goals are now most at risk?
- Review the other business goals you have set, the lower risk items. What aspects of a remote workforce will most jeopardize your ability to meet those goals?
- Collaborate across the business. Enablement is not the only part of the business impacted.
- What action plans are other parts of the business putting in place?
- Are there challenges in the business that you can support that are a higher priority than your other efforts?
- Update your plans.
- Now that you have a full understanding of your situation adjust your plans as appropriate.
- Don't panic about the Enablement of the remote workforce. Many businesses are already doing this; you are not building a time machine.
- Don't put everything on hold until you better understand the impact of Covid-19 on your business. Keep working; keep delivering value.
- Don't hesitate to reach out to ask questions about how you should move forward. I’m not a sales guy, I am an Enablement professional, and we can talk about your current situation.
A note on tools. It will be tempting to go out and buy a bunch of tools designed to support remote work. Yes, here at Bigtincan, our products and solutions were built for the mobile workforce from the ground up, and we would love to have your business.
However, continue to make buying decisions based upon your needs, your current challenges, and other buying criteria you would always have in place. This crisis will pass, and you want to ensure you have the right tools for your needs in the long term, not a collection of half-baked, incompatible solutions you bought during a crisis.
We must continue to be responsible business leaders and guide our teams, our businesses, and ourselves through these challenging times.
P.S. To further assist, here are a few critical links to trusted sources who are publishing information about Covid-19.