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November 16, 2018

Personalized Sales Training : A Modern Learning Advantage

Once upon a time, “personalized training” meant printing the names of workshop participants on their handout folders. Today, this key component of modern learning means exactly what it says – sales training that is genuinely personalized, genuinely “just for me.”

What are the advantages of personalized sales training?

Training tailored to the individual offers two forms of value:

  1. It saves time (the sales reps’ time), which also builds trust. They know you won’t bore them with topics that are irrelevant to their jobs and immediate goals.
  2. You produce better sales outcomes by directing everyone to the content they need now.

However, there are two additional benefits of personalized training that deserve our attention: social learning experiences and easy-to-access “just-in-time” learning.

Create Social Learning Opportunities for Sales Reps

Poll any salesforce, and you’ll probably discover a pent-up desire for social learning opportunities. These include one-on-one coaching sessions with managers, direct interactions with other salespeople, and guidance and feedback from product managers, marketing staff and other subject matter experts. This is especially true in organizations with globally distributed sales forces, where “face time” with peers and supervisors is in short supply.

One of the most common things we’ve heard from new hires is, “I want more opportunities to interact with my direct manager. I want them to coach me on how I’m explaining our company’s products, how I’m building the story, how I’m building trust with my prospects.”

Easy-to-access just-in-time learning is about making relevant content available to each rep – no matter where they are. It’s about enabling them to conveniently “discover” the right information at just the right time in a form that’s quick and easy to consume.

Personalized Sales Training at Global Atlantic

As an example of how you can personalize your training, let’s look at Global Atlantic, which offers insurance products for individuals. Recently, the company made a big shift in its sales strategy. Whereas salespeople were previously “siloed,” with each specializing in one particular product (and being knowledgeable about just that one product), the firm decided that salespeople would have to be able to explain and sell all the product lines.

To do this, they enlisted Allego to enable the sales managers to provide continuous and direct coaching. (Previously, managers might meet with team members only once a year.)

With the Allego platform, the company’s managers now have the ability to create and distribute short coaching videos to team members, and then solicit questions and comments about those videos. The reps can respond to the coach’s video by inserting their own video or text feedback directly into the coach’s video. (Likewise, the coach can insert feedback into the practice videos made by the reps.)

Another way to capture feedback is with formal scorecards. These reports allow you to answer questions such as: “Are my people practicing enough? Are they putting in the effort and improving over time? Are the managers serving as good coaches and giving the reps actionable feedback?”

Global Atlantic adopted the scorecard approach, with excellent results. People loved the social interactions, and when managers looked at the data, they saw that the reps really were practicing and improving over time. And the learning occurred fast – much faster than it did when the annual sales kickoff was the only opportunity for reps to engage in face-to-face training.

How Personalized Training Refines Content Discovery for Reps

Beyond coaching, Allego makes it easy for each rep to create their own research library. By subscribing to selected channels, a rep can proactively search for content (or browse and discover content) in a format that looks like YouTube or Netflix. That design is deliberate.

We did it because it’s a great way to discover content. If you have thousands of pieces of content, and you need to ensure that people find only the newest, most relevant information, you let them personalize the channels to which they subscribe. Once that’s done, each channel serves up recommended content that’s far more likely to be useful in the field.

Now, your reps can quickly discover “just in time” content that’s needed (say) right before a prospect meeting or when a customer raises a particular objection.

With personalized learning, no salesperson will ever have to waste time relearning material they already know, or struggle to find the content they actually needs.

 

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