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September 25, 2019

Subject Matter Experts, Get Agile!

As a subject matter expert (SME), you have knowledge that the sales force needs to access, but the challenge is sharing information with the sales force that’s both timely and relevant.  When things change–market conditions, competitive pressures, regulatory changes, etc.–a long treatise will go unread, and a professionally produced document or video will take too long to make.  Agile content–typically short, to-the-point videos (think YouTube, not Hollywood)–will often get the information out the most quickly and engage your audience most effectively. But how do you create and share agile video content the right way?  Here are three tips:

1. Drive Engagement and Collaboration

First, engage your sales reps with short videos–typically no more than two or three minutes–that include at least one thought-provoking comment, either in the video itself or within the text or audio comments inline with the video. For example, talk about typical customer objections and pose an open-ended question (“How would you handle this?”).  When your sales viewers respond, all current thread participants will be notified. You can even use “@mentions” to get more participants involved as the conversation continues. Soon a large group will be communicating and collaborating–not just with you, but with each other as well!

Before long, you have a social-media-style thread – a rich, rolling commentary in which people engage with you and each other, sharing insights that will solve a problem.

A note of caution here:  To incorporate an effective agile content strategy, the video must be easily accessible on both mobile and desktop devices, play without requiring a heavy resource load, enable easy participation (both audio and text comments, for example), and finally, be accessible offline.  All of these capabilities remove barriers that reps might otherwise have to accessing and collaborating on the content.

2. Make it easy to access

SME content is only as good as the ability for your sales audience view it, so you need a platform that helps prioritize your content for the audiences that could use it. Your content should be highlighted in a “recommendation feed” for sales reps that count on your expertise or others who are generally interested in the subject matter.

In addition, content should be easily organized in ‘channels’–like Netflix, for example–so navigating through content in general is intuitive and fast.

Finally, it should be easy for users with incidental needs to perform simple queries and get the results they need.

In short, the system should “push” content to the right viewers, and also enable them to “pull” it using easy-to-construct criteria.

3. Measure its impact

How do you measure the impact of your SME content? There are multiple ways, some more quantifiable than others.

For example, you can simply poll your sales force. Ask them, “Is the content I created working for you? How often do you use it? Can you attribute any wins to this content? What is the dollar value?”

Or you can monitor the engagement stats available through a well-built sales learning and readiness platform. Although informal, in-the-field learning–typically the domain of agile content–can be more engaging than formal classroom learning, the work is done whenever and wherever reps choose to do it; there’s no one physically looking over reps’ shoulders to see what content they’re viewing, but an effective sales training platform will show who is or is not engaging with your SME content. If you can identify a correlation between sales success and engagement with your content, you can identify not only how effective your content is overall, but also compare who looks at or ignores your content and then monitor their effectiveness. Allego customers consistently tell us that their most successful reps are the ones who watch the most agile video content.

What’s the conclusion? You have knowledge and your reps need it quickly. Make it easy for them to avail themselves of your knowledge by making it easy to view, highly accessible, and measurable.

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