Allego Customer Spotlight: CooperVision Delivers Virtual Training
Welcome to the Allego Customer Spotlight, where we share insights from conversations with customers who rely on Allego to help transform their sales learning and enablement.
This month we spoke with Shelly King, Manager of Sales Force Development, at CooperVision, a leading global manufacturer of soft contact lenses, about her role and how her team responded to the challenges of a virtual environment.
Allego: Tell us about your experience in life sciences?
Shelly: “I’m a certified learning and development professional with fifteen years of regional and national sales experience within the life science industry. I focus on bringing programs and projects to life with the goal of best enabling a diverse sales organization to be both effective and efficient while providing maximum value to our customers.
“I began my career on the frontlines of healthcare as a phlebotomist and, later, pharmacy technician. After getting my degree in Biomedical Science, I moved into life science sales at Johnson & Johnson and Dell. Prior to joining CooperVision, I had a dual sales and coaching role as a regional field manager at Alcon Laboratories. I love combining my experience as a healthcare provider with the selling and training aspects of a medical device company.”
Allego: What is training like at CooperVision?
Shelly: “CooperVision has a robust training approach that supports our sales professionals along their entire journey, which involves a dispersed field sales team as well as office-based sales individuals. We look at training in three categories: new hire onboarding, just-in-time training available through our Allego training library, and assigned training for our top business-critical priorities.
“Within those three categories we also always consider the best learning experience and have adopted a well-designed blended learning approach for each initiative. This approach supports the development of our sales team so they can live the CooperVision purpose to ‘help improve the way people see each day.’
“The Sales Force Development team is a group of five people, and collectively we support just over 200 sales representatives and sales managers across the Americas, as well as supporting our commercial departments that impact the sales organization and working with our global peers as well.”
Allego: How did the pandemic impact you and your team?
Shelly: “COVID-19 created a unique situation where we had to think differently and think quickly about how to adapt and how to allow our people to sell every day with this new environment, these new restrictions. I feel very fortunate that we were able to have our sellers continue doing their jobs, as for many of us in the life science industry, our work was considered essential. And that was such a wonderful blessing for us all.
“But I’m also just genuinely proud of the work that we were able to do here at CooperVision and the ability for all people involved in the organization to say, ‘Hey, let’s think quickly and let’s make adjustments. Let’s figure out ways that we can be effective and efficient and allow ourselves time to do that.’
“COVID-19 may have been the impetus for us to make all these changes, but it put us in a place now where we’re going to incorporate virtual selling as a way to sell in the future. We have decided to make this our new standard at CooperVision, and we know from experience that it can be effective.”
Allego: How did you tackle sales enablement in a virtual environment?
Shelly: “When we took on this new view of what selling looks like, we decided that we weren’t comfortable with the notion that the quality of what we do and how our people interact might be diminished just because we had to move to a virtual environment.
“So we worked quickly, but very thoroughly, to evaluate all the ways in which we could adjust. We segmented our program into three categories: training, selling, and meetings. We felt that all three of these would need to be adjusted and would come together to best enable our sales team to go out and do their job in this new virtual environment.
“We’re using Allego as our primary platform to deliver our regular sales training. We decided that we needed to consider creating more robust training in the platform to help offset those opportunities we were going to miss because of not being able to get together in person.
“We needed to give our sales reps access to training on how to sell in a virtual environment and provide them with product training and leadership communications to stay competitive and to stay valuable to customers, as well as creating the pathway for them to efficiently and effectively communicate with customers.
“Our plan was about pulling all of these things together to enable the team to sell this way versus just expecting that they could make the switch to selling in a virtual environment.”
Allego: What are some of the unique challenges facing life sciences sales teams during the pandemic?
Shelly: “During this time where it was harder for patients to get into the doctor’s office, our reps couldn’t get into the offices either. Frankly, doctors had a lot more going on that they had to deal with, and we needed to be respectful of that. But we needed to still provide for them. And so we created a pathway for our sales reps to efficiently communicate with their customers.
“One of the first things we did was to consider how their daily account calls might need to look different. So we actually started leveraging Allego’s public sharing feature, which would allow our reps to quickly create a video of themselves addressing a significant number of customers.
“They created videos that said something as simple as, “Hi! I’m here. I know I can’t come to your office right now, and you have so many other, more important things going on. But I’m here to help you. Please know I’ll be communicating with you through this format.” This allowed reps to make contact quickly and say that we were going to be there supporting the doctors.
“Then we could follow up with a conversation over the phone or through the computer or any additional email exchanges. It was a really fantastic way to allow these selling activities to continue.”
Allego: What’s your advice for others about moving to a virtual environment?
Shelly: “To be very honest, when we first started, I think we underestimated the amount of information that our reps would need and this was compounded by the fact that this was all being done virtually.
“When we first looked at it and said, ‘Here’s what they need to know, and we can just roll this out,’ we underestimated the fact that they needed to get much more detailed information in a very regular cadence over a longer period of time.
“Don’t underestimate the amount of information you might need to share because virtual learning is different and virtual selling is different. Make sure you have the right platforms in place to support these activities. Also, be willing to have the conversations with your internal stakeholders about what business processes might need to change to support this style of selling.
“And finally, once you enable your sales team to function in this new way, give them the autonomy to use their learnings and then customize them to what works best for them and their customers.”
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