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Sales Learning: What Do Salespeople Want?

Sales training and enablement teams allocate 90% of sales learning resources to formal training programs that involve flying in geographically distributed reps for marathon PowerPoint presentations. Reps try to cram on product knowledge and sales skills while occasionally staring at the clock thinking about all the business they could be closing if they were out in the field.  Studies show that this approach of banking on formal learning is ineffective because salespeople forget up to 80% of sales training within a month. Not to mention that flying in the entire sales force for in-person training blows out much of the travel and entertainment (T&E) budget.

Yet, sales organizations persistently repeat this pattern. Salespeople crave for a new way to learn built on their own technology consumption habits. They want to consume key sales learning content as easily as they binge-watch Netflix, and collaborate with peers as quickly as they share updates on social media. They want just-in-time access to top seller insights for their next conversations with prospects.

In the following interview with NECN, Yuchun Lee, Allego co-founder and CEO, explores the disconnect between what salespeople want and what traditional sales training programs serve. He talks about the way Allego works to bridge this disconnect and prepare sales organizations for tomorrow’s challenges.

 

Video Transcript:

NECN Voice Over:

We’re betting you’ve heard about this CEO before. He was part of that famous MIT blackjack team featured in the movie 21. So, prepare for an interesting conversation with a man with all kinds of acumen and experience, now on CEO Corner.

Brian Burnell:

Welcome to CEO Corner, I’m Brian Burnell. About eight years ago, Yuchun Lee sold his first start-up, Unica to IBM, for a half a billion dollars. That means a lot of different things when it comes to business, including a lot of choices about what to do next.

Brian Burnell:

So, how did he come to build Allego, a company focused on workforce training?

Brian Burnell:

Joining me is Yuchun Lee. He’s the co-founder and CEO of Allego.

Brian Burnell:

Welcome and thank you for joining us.

Yuchun Lee:

Thank you, Brian.

Brian Burnell:

What does Allego do? Talk about training and how you’ve changed it.

Yuchun Lee:

Sure. We help sales organizations to better onboard their new hires. Better prepare them for product launches, and frankly improve their everyday selling and effectiveness and we do that by fundamentally change the way they train and prepare the sales team.

Brian Burnell:

When you say fundamentally change, how were they training and how have you changed it?

Yuchun Lee:

So, it’s a well-known secret in the sales world that sales training is not very effective because teams that fly in from all over the place and they’re put in a room to go through a week-long set of training. They’re usually pumped with thousands of power point and somehow miraculously, we expect them to remember everything.

Yuchun Lee:

Well, studies have shown that after a few weeks, they forget 80% of it. So we believe there’s a better way and the better way should match how the brain works, in terms of how people actually remember the content that they need to be successful.

Brian Burnell:

And you’re probably dealing with a lot of millennials in the workforce now; tailored to those people to that age group?

Yuchun Lee:

Especially to those individuals and I think in people’s private life, their lives have been transformed by technology already. They’re watching YouTube, they’re using Facebook and Instagram to connect and collect and interact and collaborate with peers. In the workplace, it has by and large lagged behind and what we’re doing at Allego is bring forth a set of technology to help an organization to present the information in bite-size, at the right point in time, to which is important for the rep to be successful, the sales rep to be successful and allow the collaboration to happen organically in organizations.

Brian Burnell:

I picture the analysis that must have gone into this when you talk about bite size and delivered at the right time when that salesperson needs it.

Brian Burnell:

How did that process all work? How did you come to that conclusion that this is how we have to tailor this?

Yuchun Lee:

If you stand back from how people really learn, think of us going to school. We call that formal learning and think about after you join a company and you gain through years of experience how to do your job well. We’ll call that informal learning. It turns out most people spend 90% or 90% of their knowledge come from informal learning but yet in most organizations, people look at the heart of the training program. It’s all about training the formal learning. That’s 90% of the energy. So that disconnect is where we’re trying to correct with our product.

Brian Burnell:

But how do you shrink that informal learning, which you said, it’s experience; it takes time. How do you shrink that down into training?

Yuchun Lee:

Well, the key here is to distill down knowledge that professionals need into bite size and we prefer video as a great form because people absorb more information through video and be able to present that set of information and make available at the right point in time.

Yuchun Lee:

An example would be YouTube. So think about if you need to learn something, you don’t go take a class, weeks or years, or months ago. You look up online, find a video that will give you the answer on whether it’s peeling a banana or cutting a pineapple or changing or tire or fixing a washing machine. You watch a video and then you learn from it.

Yuchun Lee:

The same paradigm we’re using that for sales training as well.

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