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May 28, 2020

How Software AG Transformed Onboarding and Sales Strategy Roll Out

Woman watching a whiteboard video

Onboarding new hires quickly and rolling out sales and marketing strategies consistently are two challenges many sales organizations face, especially now that most B2B sales teams are virtual. For one of the premier software vendors in Europe, incorporating mobile video-based learning and readiness into sales enablement was the key to supporting remote teams and overcoming these barriers to success.

Founded in 1969, Software AG is an enterprise software company with over 10,000 customers in over 70 countries. The company is the second largest software vendor in Germany, and the seventh largest in Europe.

The company faced a number of sales enablement issues. Software AG continually brings new talent onto the sales team and must onboard hires scattered across Europe, North America and Asia efficiently. The company also drives growth via new messaging and sales and marketing strategies. This means every rep (newbie and veteran) needs continuous training, coaching and reinforcement.

Software AG’s challenges included:

  • Ramp new hires faster without disrupting existing processes
  • Equip subject matter experts with a quick and easy way to create learning content
  • Give salespeople a learning platform they voluntarily engage with
  • Understand which enablement programs and content are moving the needle
  • Increase knowledge and skill retention among the sales team

Graeme McKenzie, Global Sales Enablement Director at Software AG, sought a platform that could help the company handle these needs and achieve its goals.

The Challenge: Coach and Disseminate Critical Sales Knowledge

McKenzie’s team began to evaluate a number of solutions and put Allego through its paces in 2018, conducting trials (mostly in North America) to assess its utility. After testing out several vendors, it selected Allego’s learning and readiness platform as a robust solution to the company’s challenges.

“We looked at many of the available technologies—to the point of actually doing some trials with them—but Allego was the most comprehensive platform for video coaching and knowledge sharing,” said McKenzie. “We were really looking for a platform that was going to help us coach and get critical knowledge out to our salespeople quickly. There are lots of video-sharing platforms that can be used for a bit of coaching, and they provide elements of coaching, but it isn’t their core capability. Allego is specifically designed for video coaching, and it has functionality that isn’t available in any other tool.”

One of the key factors was the platform’s ability to work for remote teams. Though some employees had experimented with video tools such as Microsoft Streams and Vimeo, McKenzie noted that these platforms weren’t built with remote learning, coaching and readiness in mind.

“You’re posting videos, but you’re largely limited to internal distribution with no interactive component,” he said. “Plus with Allego it’s just much faster to get the video created, enhanced with some interactivity, and shared with whichever audience. With other video platforms, you have to set parameters, check boxes regarding accessibility, and go through several steps. But with Allego, it’s ‘one touch’ because the platform is doing all of that work for you on the back end.

McKenzie also commented on the strength of Allego’s analytics saying, “With other platforms we use, it’s impossible to track whether anybody is accessing the videos and who is accessing them. With Allego, you understand whether somebody opened it and how long they watched the video using the dashboards. You have good stats as to how content is being used. Other platforms are designed just to get the video content out there. Allego provides the interactive element.”

The Solution: Rolling Out New Messaging Before Kickoff

Prior to the company’s January 2020 kickoff meeting, McKenzie’s team deployed Allego as a prep tool to help participants absorb key content before the actual event, rather than trying to digest it all during the limited time allotted to role-playing exercises. The enablement team also introduced Allego’s Flash Drills—which uses AI to gamify and deliver personalized daily quizzes—as a way of reinforcing knowledge before the kickoff.

And there was a lot of new knowledge to digest. The company debuted new industry-specific messaging, as well as a new go-to-market approach. Since the kickoff, the enablement team has continued pushing out Flash Drills for the platform to quiz reps on an automated basis. Two or three questions per day are drip-fed to the sellers until they achieve mastery of each topic.

As an added benefit, the Flash Drills inject an element of gamification into the learning process, encouraging participation beyond posting videos and sharing them. McKenzie noted, “While responding to the Flash Drills to show that they actually understand the subject matter, the reps are also competing with their colleagues. The dashboards and the reporting within the platform show us (the enablement team) and the reps who is performing best. That promotes friendly competition and increased participation.”

Results: Impressive Engagement and Whiteboarding Success

Before the kickoff, the enablement team worried about engagement because the use of Allego wasn’t mandatory. The team was excited when it realized that around 60% of the reps had used the platform. “That is impressive. When something’s not mandatory in a sales culture, the reps often don’t do it,” said McKenzie. “That 60% level of pickup was strong, and it generated more interest among people who wanted to use Allego for other reasons.”

One group that adopted Allego voluntarily was the company’s industry teams, which serve as subject matter experts (SMEs) on the industries Software AG sells to. In recent years, the industry teams have moved from PowerPoint presentations to whiteboarding as a way of communicating more memorable messages to customers. Now, with the addition of Allego’s mobile-video capabilities, team members are seeking ways to further amplify their messages by combining whiteboard presentations with video.

Instead of relying on static PowerPoint decks, SMEs create videos to show how they would deliver a presentation to a particular kind of customer. “We’re on a journey in terms of using whiteboarding as a way of improving customer conversations. SMEs have begun using Allego not only to share their expertise, but to demonstrate to reps the best ways to engage customers,” said McKenzie.

Software AG also uses Allego to facilitate sales via a new opportunity management technology called Altify, which builds “insight maps” that help companies identify and organize their strategic goals, opportunities, and challenges. An industry team member recognized that some reps needed more guidance on how to build the Altify insight maps, so he quickly recorded the video and posted it on the platform the next day.

The video has been viewed extensively by the company’s reps as a learning tool and as a quick reminder for those who need reinforcement. It’s changed the way the reps think – from focusing on the product and the technology to focusing on customers’ strategic goals and how Software AG can help them at the business level.

Transforming Sales Enablement

In a short period of time, Software AG transformed sales enablement across the company, allowing it to onboard new hires efficiently and roll out new messaging consistently. “Allego is core to what we are trying to do, which is to transform our business and transform how we are going to market,” said McKenzie. “For us, the return on the investment is the added speed with which we can make that transformation, and the way we coach our sales teams through it. Learning and readiness with Allego is really helping us in that transformation.”

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