Modern Sales Learning Transforms Coworkers into Coaches
Sometimes the term “change management” seems like an oxymoron.
Last winter proved itself such a time for the Senior Director of Sales Enablement at one Chicago-based software company. Not only was the firm expanding its sales force by nearly 50 percent, it was rolling out a new sales methodology and overhauling its messaging – all without the benefit of a formal training program.
Had the company not adopted a new video-based learning platform, it would have been hard for the small training staff to cope with the changes, much less manage them.
Coworkers as Sales Coaches
One key benefit of modern learning tools lies in their ability to quickly transform an organization’s top sellers and subject matter experts (SMEs) into part-time trainers and coaches.
This type of peer-to-peer instruction was among the first uses to which the Sales Enablement director put the new sales learning and coaching platform. As part of their classroom sessions, reps could “Watch recordings of their peers and submit questions while watching. Then, the person who made the video would respond, or I would respond,” she said.
“There were a lot of different ways we were using the system to support the sessions we were designing. We were excited about using it … to accomplish three main tasks:”
1.) Reinforcement. The company needed new reps to practice – and practice and practice – their sales pitches and demos. “It’s been amazing to see how much our new hires have been practicing to build ‘muscle memory’ and get comfortable with the information.”
2.) Exposure to best practices. Once the company recorded a critical mass of sales calls, these were used to help train new hires. This gave them more exposure to the types of meetings and presentations they’d be called upon to conduct. “Watching best practice videos from their peers — some of the highest performers on our sales force — has been a great training tool.”
“It was also great to not have to play that calendar game of ‘who has a call when’ and ‘what can I sit in on?’ We had just a few managers supporting a large number of reps, so we loved this from the perspective of efficiency. It was a really helpful way for managers to see how people were doing and provide quality sales coaching and feedback.”
3.) Coaching. One of the company’s top sales managers set aside time on Sundays to watch new reps’ practice recordings and offer insightful feedback. “This helped us build some nice efficiencies where we desperately needed them.”
Most important, the video-based sales coaching and peer-to-peer learning helped many new salespeople speed the time it took for them to close their first deal.
“To hear those sample messages and pitches has been really helpful, and the proof is in their accelerated ramp-up time. A new hire from our January boot camp closed his first deal two months later, which was a record for us. It was really exciting to see them getting up to speed so quickly.”