A Medical Device Maker Turns Budget Cuts into Better Sales Training Using Sales Readiness Technology
We don’t normally think of budget cuts and belt-tightening as good things. Less may be more in fields like architecture and design, but in sales training, less money translates into fewer services and smaller (overworked) staffs.
But when the sales training team at one medical device maker was facing budget cuts, they decided to respond differently. Instead of scaling back, they moved forward.
By adopting Allego, they were able to dramatically improve the company’s sales enablement program with fewer resources—to achieve the fabled goal of “doing more with less.”
“We used to be able to fly in our sales reps and have meetings three times a year,” said a sales training director for the company, which specializes in blood glucose monitoring. “Because of the budget cuts, we were forced to spend more wisely, to do more things and give more responsibility to local managers and higher-performing sales reps to mentor each other.”
Making the situation even more challenging was the fact that some reps worked in the field while others worked in telesales; some were part-timers, and some were less knowledgeable about the diabetes marketplace than others.
“You know how hard it is to reach and teach full-time representatives, but imagine a rep who’s working 20 hours a week. You get them on a call or a Webex for an hour, and that’s an hour away from customers. Not only did they have a huge learning curve, but they also had a lot of limitations. It was really tough to deliver the kind of training we needed to close the learning gap.”
On top of this, the company had recently been sold by its parent, which produced a fair amount of anxiety within the sales force.
Traditional Learning Would No Longer Suffice
Given all these challenges, the company’s leadership decided that traditional learning would no longer suffice. So they turned to Allego for a number of reasons.
First, they wanted a learning system that allowed reps to learn in “small chunks” that were easier to process.
Second, they wanted reps to be able to practice their role-playing in private so they could self-critique before deciding when to share the exercises with a manager.
Third, they wanted to enlist top salespeople and other subject matter experts to create new learning content. And finally, they needed a system that allowed training staff to monitor everyone’s (managers’ and reps’) adherence to the programs.
‘What Are We Supposed to Do with It?’
Before rolling out Allego companywide, the sales training team tested the app with the marketing department, encouraging them to shoot “YouTube-style” training videos. As a result, “we learned that these mini-bursts of learning were perfect for us.” Quickly creating and sharing one 5-minute video—on a topic never before covered—helped demonstrate exactly “what Allego was and what it could do.”
From there, the team helped managers learn how to use Allego—and after one manager asked “What are we supposed to do with it?” they also focused on why and how best they should use the platform.
“The first thing we told them is, ‘You need to be a user of Allego yourself. Reps take cues from their leaders. If you value Allego, your representatives will value Allego, so do the exercises.’
“We also spent a lot of time talking about giving reps the right kind of feedback. Any rep that records themselves on video is putting themselves in a place of vulnerability. So we asked the managers to give meaningful feedback, and to really gear towards the positive, so that each user’s initial experience was a positive one.”
Managers became acclimated to the coaching platform so that when reps submitted videos they were able to provide those reps with substantive feedback and truly change behaviors. Managers found that using the tool to provide coaching remotely drove a marked increase in the number of one-to-one coaching sessions they could conduct with each rep. In short order, managers became more confident in their understanding of competency levels throughout their team, and were able to target their ongoing coaching efforts more accurately.
In Part 2 of this article, the sales training team reinvents the new-hire onboarding program.