We’ve all heard it before: ‘content is king’. Put in the context of sales enablement it’s really short hand for: if your content sucks your sales enablement program is never going to deliver the expected results. It’s a fair point. On the other hand, if you’re giving away the elixir of life to over 70s on Snapchat your results are still going to fall short of expectations. So, we can probably agree that while content still is king, the medium is definitely a motivator. With that in mind, here are my top tips to make sure your making it as easy as possible for your sales team to reach their full potential.
Make it mobile
According to the Cross Platform Future in Focus report, the average American adult spends 2 hours, 51 minutes on their smartphone every day, with a similar figure being reported in the UK. If those adults are in sales you can probably double that figure. Knowing that a large percentage of your audience is mobile-first your sales enablement content should be too. Optimize specific content for mobile, make it easy to view, easy to engage with, and package it into easily digestible chunks that sales execs can review in the car park or at the boarding gate. Remember not all content will be mobile friendly, especially if it requires an investment of time and concentration. A blended approach is key.
Make it just in time
A mobile strategy for your sales improvement content not only increases your chances of take-up amongst your sales team but you also add another string to your bow. ‘Just in time’ training and coaching can be viewed on mobile devices ahead of a tricky meeting, or when the sales exec feels they need an immediate refresh on key products, messaging, or to navigate a particular situation. What better way to get your team to perform to their best, than giving them access to key coaching tips just when they need it most? Used as part of a broader sales force enablement program to reinforce learnings in real-life contextual situations it can provide a powerful tool to help coaching stick.
If there is a universal truth about sales people it’s that they’re competitive. They also like to have fun. Quoting Aberdeen Group, our friends at Accent claim that companies who use gamification have 5.6% higher year-over-year growth than companies who don’t. One of Strategy to Revenue’s most successful coaching programs included a gamification element where 6,000 global sales staff were pitted against each other in teams. The game-like curriculum relied on sales managers and their team members working together to achieve their goals with regional and global league tables updated daily to encourage participation. Engagement was high, feedback was good and revenues climbed nearly 10% following the program roll out.
Embrace the disruptors
There’s no denying that face-to-face engagement remains one of the best mediums for delivering information but it has to be done correctly. Save the face-to-face budget for important events like kick-starting new employee coaching and engagement. Consider virtual classrooms for short events, embrace video apps for sharing best practice and conferencing tools for regular 1-to-1 check in and coaching calls. Encouraging managers to spend as little as 30 mins a week coaching colleagues can help cement the learning set in motion during face-to-face sessions. Beyond standard conferencing tools like Skype or Zoom, look at platforms that facilitate video coaching interactions where a team of sales execs can receive regular coaching tasks and deliver their responses to their manager via recorded video. This approach has the benefit of encouraging task repetition, one of the surest ways to help behavioral change stick, and gives the manager the opportunity to provide the personalized coaching feedback that is so beneficial to improvement, to each person in their team. Choosing an app that is user-friendly, intuitive and provides an easy way for the sales rep and their equally time pressed manager to record, pause, review and feedback on content via a mobile is essential.
eLearning is now considered one of the more traditional learning tools, but it still has a powerful place in sales enablement for covering the essentials of sales training. Like all platforms it has evolved, although it seems not all sales training companies got the message. Look for a solution that offers self-paced, self-directed modules that can be delivered off-the-shelf or customized to address the specific needs of your business. Flash cards, quality multimedia and chat bots should all be part of an engaging 21st century eLearning experience. Test-out capabilities should enable the user to self-identify gaps in their knowledge and refresh or learn key skills in their own time. This provides a pragmatic approach to setting a global base standard from which more comprehensive coaching programs can be delivered and provides a useful first stop tool for team members that are under-performing in key areas.
So, in brief, make it learner centric, make it easy, make it engaging, and make it customizable. But most of all make sure that you still make the content king. With easy access to tailored content that suits both their way of working, and their areas for improvement your sales team will be at peak performance in no time.
Mark Savinson is COO at Strategy to Revenue the award-winning sales enablement consultancy