At Empower Retirement, Allego Helps Unify Messaging and People
What’s the best way to promote consistent sales messaging and enhance teamwork among 6,000-plus employees spread across 20 business units and two continents?
For Jamie Cabral, Senior Training Specialist at Empower Retirement, the answer was simple: adopt an agile sales readiness platform.
3 Main Challenges
Cabral, who leads the sales training team at America’s second-largest retirement services provider, initially brought in Allego to tackle three main challenges: First, “We had three organizations that came together [in a 2014 merger] that were all telling different stories. So we needed to deliver more consistent messages to our prospects and clients,” Cabral said. Second, with new products comes the need for new-product training, and “our people wanted to get this straight from subject matter experts.” Finally, the company wanted to shorten ramp times for new hires. However, what started as a small sales readiness pilot soon morphed into an enterprise-wide information-sharing and team-building program when Cabral and Empower’s management recognized Allego’s value as not only as a training tool, but also as a platform for collaboration in the flow of work.
A Fast Implementation
As the pilot group began honing more uniform sales messages, “you have those non-sales teams, the service teams, listening to these messages—people working with the same clients. They also wanted to hear from the subject matter experts, but didn’t have access to the Allego videos. So very quickly, we found the need to go enterprise-wide with Allego,” Cabral said.
Through trial and error, Cabral and her team developed an administrative structure that enabled them to quickly grow the pilot into a company-wide initiative. Although the program was centrally (and tightly) administered, its design encouraged a voluminous flow of relevant video content from the employees of every business unit.
“We looked at numbers, threw a map together, and said, ‘All right, let’s roll this out in phases. The phases will give us time to train one group of folks, and while they’re becoming familiar with Allego, we can start working with another group to get them thinking about how they want to use Allego.’ Some groups had a thousand users; others had just 70. It was important to roll out the platform in phases to avoid getting completely overwhelmed,” Cabral said.
Cabral assigned an administrator from her team to every group of users. “The administrators are the point people for their groups. They’re the ones that need to know how Allego functions. They are the ones who stay updated about Allego features and functions. They’re the ones who handle inquiries from their teams and make sure they’re organizing the field-generated content correctly.”
In addition, the training team identified a project lead for each group, as well as an executive sponsor. “We weren’t going to get people recording videos if the executives weren’t doing it, too. The project lead was somebody close to the executive, so if we needed them to push the executive a little, they’re the pusher. If we needed them to help us procure field content, or identify what type of use cases are going to help their associates, they’re the ones who do that.”
A ‘Revolutionary’ Sales Meeting
One of the first user groups to deploy Allego was the company’s core sales team, which helped “revolutionize” the national sales meeting.
Instead of simply presenting at the meeting, subject matter experts produced, in advance, nine video courses featuring key content to run through with the sales team live. In addition to the videos, the team included quizzes and other resources in the coursework. Every associate scheduled to attend the sales meeting was then required to complete all nine courses in order to gain entry.
“By the time everyone arrived at the meeting, they were thinking in terms of, ‘How am I going to start using this product? How am I going to handle some common objections?’ So now, with those subject matter experts in that room, the meeting is less about delivering the product information. It’s all about objection handling. It’s all about frequently asked questions. It’s more of a dialogue and less of a presentation. This revolutionized the national sales meeting.”
I don’t think Allego gives themselves enough credit for bringing people together
Pitch Contests and Empower Retirement Video Channels
And that was just the start of the content cascade unleashed by the user groups. Other information-sharing innovations at Empower include:
- Sales Pitch Contests. At the conclusion of one contest that Cabral and her team ran, the senior vice president of marketing was so impressed with the entries— especially the winning video produced by a rep in Alaska—that he made a video announcing the winner and flew to Alaska to personally offer his congratulations.
- Video Library. The winning entry and finalists from the contest joined a growing video library of best practices available to the company’s 6,300 employees worldwide
- Weekly Market Updates. The President of the Great Western Investment division now records a weekly market update to help the company’s client-facing associates. “We also get real-time, just-in-time updates from subject matter specialists who record quick videos to tell everyone what’s happening with federal interest rates, etc.”
- An Empower Associates Channel. Here, the content ranges from “fun stuff” such as announcements of celebrations, to content about new training materials, products, and systems updates. The Empower Channel is supplemented by a Subject Matter Experts Channel, which employees can access to locate information relevant to their jobs and customers.
“I empower my admins and project leads to think, ‘What’s next? Do I need just this new video or do I need to put a quiz out there? Do I now need to have somebody put a best practice video together? Or, am I going to do a screen share to demonstrate how a system is going to change with this new product or feature?’”
Allego Brings People Together
I don’t think Allego gives themselves enough credit for bringing people together,” Cabral said. “For example, we knew some people would miss a recent potluck dinner, so we decided to video it. We said to those who couldn’t make it, ‘Check out all the great food, and thank you for your hard work. We really appreciate it.’ This made everyone feel more connected and involved.
“We also have new hires make a short video of themselves: ‘Hi, I’m new here. Let me give you a little bit of information about me and my background.’
“We need this kind of connection. Our main offices are in Greenwood Village, Colorado, but we have offices in Overland Park, Kansas City, Andover (Massachusetts), Milwaukee and Bangalore, India. We also have people working from home offices across the country. Allego makes them feel more involved and more connected. It brings people together.”
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