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August 11, 2015

The sales manager ride-along – only better, cheaper, faster

User-generated video offers breakthrough in sales coaching productivity

The ride-along is one of a sales manager’s main tools for monitoring a sales person’s skill at presenting to customers. And while ride-alongs offer an unmatched view of the employee in action, they also have shortcomings.

They can be costly if travel is required, and eat up a tremendous amount of the manager’s time. Also, the sales rep may have arranged appointments only with “friendlies,” thus giving the manager a narrow view of the rep’s skill set – and in the most advantageous of circumstances at that.

Setting the bar high – and achieving it


Allego customer Bullhorn came up with an ingenious and highly-effective alternative to the ride-along that leveraged user video to assure mastery of skills among all its reps.

When rolling out new positioning for its cloud-based CRM and staffing solution, Bullhorn faced a unique challenge: its more than 100 reps were located around the globe. It was important that any Bullhorn rep, anywhere in the world should be fully competent to deliver the company’s message consistently and professionally, to any customer. Yet auditing their sales reps’ skill at mastering and articulating the new messaging in front of actual customers was simply not practical – neither cost-effective nor timely enough.

Instead, Bullhorn COO Justin Teague and his team used Allego to create a series of short videos that articulated each of the three prongs of their new messaging. Bullhorn reps were tasked with viewing the first of the videos, and then recording their own presentation of its content using Allego. Managers reviewed the videos, and used Allego’s patent-pending in-line feedback functionality to grade each rep’s performance on seven criteria, which ranged from command of the material to presentation style and alignment with corporate strategy.

Each sales rep used the feedback to record and submit an improved performance of the pitch. When the rep was deemed to have achieved mastery of the first phase of the messaging, they were certified. The process was repeated with each of the remaining two prongs of the messaging.

Achieving plan – plus additional benefits


The final results were exactly what Bullhorn had hoped for. Their entire sales team had been trained effectively and efficiently on the new marketing messages, without incurring major travel expenses. And because the participants – both the reps and their managers – could work with the video sales coaching as their own schedules allowed, the time to achieve full competence was compressed to just a few weeks.

Unlike training methods used in the past, which had resulted in 30-40% effectiveness at delivering the message, in this case the reps modeled and exhibited mastery of best practices based directly on the company’s research and strategy. Professional presentation coaches had also been used during the video review process to improve each presenter’s skills and persuasiveness.

Achieving consistency of messaging gave Bullhorn an unexpected advantage: it reduced their uncertainty, giving them the basis to better evaluate their results and make strategic adjustments to the messaging. For more details on Bullhorn’s experience, see our case study.


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