How Empower Retirement Connects Content and Community
What’s the best way to promote consistent sales messaging and enhance teamwork among 6,000-plus employees spread across 20 business units and two continents?
For Jamie Cabral, Senior Training Specialist at Empower Retirement, the answer was simple: adopt an agile sales readiness platform.
Facing Three Communications Challenges
With $668 billion assets under administration, Empower Retirement is the second-largest retirement services provider in the United States. It’s singularly focused on retirement, with expertise across all plan types, company sizes and market segments, serving nearly 40,000 plans and 9.4 million participants.
Cabral faced three main challenges:
- How to deliver more consistent messaging to prospects and clients after a 2014 merger of three organizations.
- How to train teams on new-product introductions and share insights from subject matter experts.
- How to shorten ramp times for new hires.
Empower engaged Allego for a small sales readiness pilot to test the platform’s solutions to these challenges. The project soon morphed into an enterprise-wide information-sharing and team-building program when Cabral and Empower’s management recognized Allego’s value not only as a training tool, but also as a platform for collaboration.
Ramping Quickly from Pilot to Implementation
As the pilot group began honing and rolling out consistent sales messages, it found that other teams were eager to learn. “Non-sales teams, the service teams, [were] listening to these messages–people working with the same clients,” said Cabral. “They also wanted to hear from the subject matter experts, but didn’t have access to the Allego videos. So very quickly, we found the need to go enterprise-wide with Allego.”
Cabral and her team developed an administrative structure that enabled them to grow the pilot quickly into a company-wide initiative. Although the program was centrally (and tightly) managed, its design encouraged a steady flow of relevant video content from employees of every business unit.
Cabral’s strategy was to roll adoption out in phases. “The phases [gave] us time to train one group of folks, and while they were becoming familiar with Allego, we could start working with another group to get them thinking about how they wanted to use it,” said Cabral. “Some groups had a thousand users, others had just 70. It was important to roll out the platform in phases to avoid getting overwhelmed.”
In addition, the training team identified an executive sponsor to encourage adoption. “We weren’t going to get people recording videos if the executives weren’t doing it, too.”
Planning a ‘Revolutionary’ Sales Meeting
One of the first user groups to deploy Allego was the company’s core sales team, which helped “revolutionize” the national sales meeting.
Instead of simply presenting at the meeting, subject matter experts produced, in advance, nine video courses featuring key content to run through with the sales team live. In addition to the videos, the team included quizzes and other resources in the coursework. Every associate scheduled to attend the sales meeting was then required to complete all nine courses in order to gain entry.
“By the time everyone arrived at the meeting, they were thinking in terms of, ‘How am I going to start using this product? How am I going to handle some common objections?’ So now, with those subject matter experts in that room, the meeting is less about delivering the product information. It’s all about objection handling. It’s all about frequently asked questions. It’s more of a dialogue and less of a presentation. This revolutionized the national sales meeting.”
Using Video to Share Information at Empower
And that was just the start of the content cascade unleashed by the user groups. Other information-sharing innovations at Empower include:
- Sales Pitch Contests. At the conclusion of one contest that Cabral and her team ran, the senior vice president of marketing was so impressed with the entries—especially the winning video produced by a rep in Alaska—that he made a video announcing the winner and flew to Alaska to personally offer his congratulations.
- Video Library. The winning entry and finalists from the contest joined a growing video library of best practices available to the company’s 6,300 employees worldwide.
- Weekly Market Updates. The President of the Great Western Investment division now records a weekly market update to help the company’s client-facing associates. “We also get real-time, just-in-time updates from subject matter specialists who record quick videos to tell everyone what’s happening with federal interest rates, etc.”
- An Empower Associates Channel. Here, the content ranges from “fun stuff” such as announcements of celebrations, to content about new training materials, products, and systems updates. The Empower Channel is supplemented by a Subject Matter Experts Channel, which employees can access to locate information relevant to their jobs and customers.
“I empower my admins and project leads to think, ‘What’s next? Do I need just this new video or do I need to put a quiz out there? Do I now need to have somebody put a best practice video together? Or, am I going to do a screen share to demonstrate how a system is going to change with this new product or feature?’”
Building Community with Allego
One unanticipated benefit that Empower has enjoyed since introducing Allego is the ability of the platform to promote teamwork and unite the company’s employees into a tightly knit community.
“I don’t think Allego gives themselves enough credit for bringing people together,” said Cabral. “For example, we knew some people would miss a recent potluck dinner, so we decided to video it. We said to those who couldn’t make it, ‘Check out all the great food, and thank you for your hard work. We really appreciate it.’ This made everyone feel more connected and involved.
“We also have new hires make a short video of themselves: ‘Hi, I’m new here. Let me give you a little bit of information about me and my background.’
“We need this kind of connection. Our main offices are in Greenwood Village, Colorado, but we have offices in Overland Park, Kansas City, Andover, Massachusetts, Milwaukee and Bangalore, India. We also have people working from home offices across the country. Allego makes them feel more involved and more connected. It brings people together.”
To learn more about how Allego’s sales readiness platform can help you improve learning, content and collaboration, download a copy of our eBook: How Agile Approaches to Sales Readiness Boost Performance.