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how to improve sales readiness
July 14, 2022

How to Improve Sales Readiness with Agile Learning

how to improve sales readiness

This past winter, my daughter learned how to snowboard. So what? Big deal. Kids do that all the time.

What made this kid different, though, was how she learned: by watching YouTube videos, talking with friends who snowboard, observing others on the slopes, and then doing it (over and over again).

It turns out high-performing sales reps prefer to learn the same way. In-field observation of others, on-the-job informal learning, and peer collaboration are their top three sources of learning, according to research from SiriusDecisions.

But that isn’t what employers usually provide. In fact, it’s the opposite. Newly hired salespeople typically go through a formal learning and onboarding program that lasts from a few days to several weeks. After that, they are released to their territories and don’t receive any further systematic training until the next national sales meeting six to 12 months later.

Those types of formal learning programs are problematic for several reasons:

  • Sales reps receive too much information during a short period of time, hampering retention.
  • People forget what they’ve learned when they don’t use it right away or receive reinforcement learning.
  • Formal training is one-size-fits-all and does not account for individual competencies.
  • Time and distance barriers make salespeople feel like they’re on their own once their formal learning is done.

If you’ve ever experienced that type of training, you know how ineffective it is and how lost you feel when it’s time to implement what you have learned. And when you work remotely and don’t have someone next to you to answer questions and share ideas with, you can feel even more adrift.

6 Advantages of Agile Learning

Agile learning, on the other hand, provides the dynamic content and delivery mechanisms that reflect how people learn today—online and on the go. And it delivers vastly better results.

For example, recent McKinsey & Company research found high-performing sellers are 57% more likely to work at organizations that tailor their learning programs and 1.3 times more likely to outperform their peers in revenue growth. It also found experiential learning combined with ongoing coaching empowers sellers to be more effective.

A Deloitte report found organizations that implement learning in the flow of work regularly experience greater business outcomes because they are better able to adapt to changes in the environment.

Other advantages of agile learning programs:

  1. Content is continually produced and updated in bite-sized chunks, giving your salespeople consistently up-to-date information that is easy to consume.
  2. Agile learning includes a comprehensive approach to reinforce initial learning.
  3. Agile learning incorporates informal learning.
  4. Learning is personalized.
  5. Content is easy to create, access, and consume on desktop and mobile devices, wherever you are and whenever you need it.
  6. Agile learning enables collaboration between sales reps, managers, and subject matter experts (SMEs).

By ditching the long, boring compliance videos and other eLearning content and adopting an agile approach to learning, sales organizations can drive measurable behavior change and business impact.

Agile Training Gives Veritas a Competitive Advantage

Allego customer Veritas, which provides enterprise data management solutions, learned firsthand how agile training improves sales readiness. The company had been providing traditional videoconference training calls, but those calls didn’t deliver the level of training needed and they didn’t pertain to everyone, said Matt Miersen, sales enablement leader at the data protection company.

For example, all sellers would attend a live video training session on competitive intelligence, but some reps weren’t yet in the field. So, by the time they were out selling, they would have forgotten everything they learned.

To gain a competitive edge in its extremely crowded marketplace, Veritas adopted an agile learning approach. The first step was enabling the sales force to begin “learning in the flow of work” using Allego. This allows them to acquire new knowledge and skills, through virtual learning and coaching, whenever and wherever they have the time.

Training became more “just in time” rather than “just in case.” In addition, frontline managers can provide coaching and exercises for their teams on their own schedules.

Veritas applied the same agile learning method to its new-hire onboarding and training. When the pandemic hit, the company switched from an in-person, week-long onboarding event to an asynchronous virtual event. They used pre-recorded Allego videos to deliver many presentations, while reserving “live” sessions for role-playing exercises and coaching.

As a result of the changes, Miersen said, “Engagement with training content is going way up, and … our sellers are comprehending better. They’re internalizing the content better.”

Agile Approaches Boost Sales Readiness

When it comes to sales readiness, formal, rigid training will not work. Learning and training must be agile and distributed continually to ensure salespeople remain equipped in an ever-evolving world.

And by providing agile content, organizations give their salespeople an ongoing stream of product information, messaging, peer-created best practices, and personalized coaching. All of that enables just-in-time learning, which sellers crave—and which better enables reps to have meaningful conversations with buyers and win more deals.

Learn More

Download How Agile Approaches to Sales Readiness Boost Performance and learn how to combine agile training, coaching, and content to improve sales performance.

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