Executive Interview: with Wayne St. Amand, CMO of Allego
In this series, we ask Sales Tech Executives to talk about Selling as a Buying Experience.
NANCY: WHAT ARE THE TOP WAYS COMPANIES CAN TRANSFORM SALES TO IMPROVE THEIR PROSPECTS’ BUYING EXPERIENCE IN THE NEXT 12-24 MONTHS?
WAYNE: Now that we all live on our phones, a buyer’s experience has emerged as a make-or-break touchpoint in B2C. We, as consumers, simply won’t spend time with—or buy from—companies that don’t offer a pleasant experience on mobile or in-store. This same mindset is now emerging for B2B. Buyers expect to have the same great experiences in their professional lives that they do in their personal lives. Sales reps also expect that they’ll be able to use technology to sell the same way they use it for shopping, banking, traveling, and everything else.
Companies must be aware of this expectation and transform their sales process to reflect it. This means stepping up in four key areas. The first is that companies must offer more consistent messaging that’s aligned across teams and stages of the buying cycle. Prospects need to hear the same positioning no matter who they’re talking to or how they’re interacting with the company.
The second area is better training on product updates and new releases so that sellers always have the most up-to-date information and know how to match product features with buyer needs. And the third area is better real-time knowledge sharing. Just as Google makes it so easy to search for the answer to any question, reps need information “on-demand.” They also need to be able to tap into the field-tested intel of other reps in order to make quick adjustments to their pitches, as well as learn to replicate the behavior of top reps (or “A-players”).
The last (and related) area of improvement is developing training and coaching that fits better into reps’ schedules, and isn’t limited to a one- or two-day live session that is often quickly forgotten. All four of these factors will ensure more consistent, articulate, and useful conversations and a better buying experience for prospects.
NANCY: HOW SHOULD COMPANIES DECIDE WHICH BUYING EXPERIENCE IMPROVEMENT INITIATIVES TO START WITH – ASSUMING THEY CAN’T DO ALL AT ONCE?
WAYNE: It’s important to identify what will be most impactful. Focus on the initiatives you can be confident your reps will adopt quickly. Change, in general, is hard. You need to understand how to build training and information sharing into their existing flow of work so things don’t grind to a halt while reps figure out how to implement new processes or systems. Tools are your friend here. Figure out how to use technology to assist you—especially if you have a team that’s spread out around the country or the globe.
Another key factor is to make sure your improvement initiatives are built around content your reps trust and want to engage with. Bear in mind that your reps are more likely to adopt new techniques if they come from people in the sales “arena”—people who have walked the talk and can back it up.
Don’t just launch and move on. You’ll want to reinforce these new initiatives and give reps feedback along the way. Without this, you won’t be able to spur true behavior change and your efforts could be wasted. This is a big reason why many sales leaders have found Allego to be so valuable—it’s a constant presence in your reps’ lives. Since it’s regularly updated with the latest information from both in-house trainers and sellers the field, your team is much more likely to retain and use that information in their own flow of work.
NANCY: WHAT ARE YOUR TIPS FOR ENSURING THAT TECHNOLOGIES CONTRIBUTE TO THE BUYING EXPERIENCE IN MEANINGFUL WAYS?
WAYNE: I’m a huge fan of tools and have built many tech stacks over the years. The trick is to use the right set, and there are a few key criteria you need to keep in mind. First of all, make sure that the tech is built for sales teams and their unique needs and assorted learning styles. Don’t try to implement something that’s “close enough” when you can get something that’s exactly right for sales.
Additionally, you want to ensure that whatever you choose is easy-to-navigate. It can’t interfere with reps’ flow of work too much. When your team sees that the capabilities make their jobs better and easier, they’ll use and value it.
The tech should allow for true collaboration among the entire team, not just for top-down communication. Ideally, use a platform that gives reps access to the most current content and useful insights. In this vein, it should give managers and reps the real-time ability to make adjustments as feedback comes back from the field. These factors will ensure reps are having the most consistent and helpful conversations with their prospective buyers.
NANCY: HOW DOES YOUR SOLUTION HELP SELLERS IMPROVE THE BUYING EXPERIENCE?
WAYNE: Allego’s sales learning and readiness platform ensures that sales teams have the skills and knowledge to make the most of every selling situation. It elevates sales team performance by combining training, practice, coaching, and knowledge sharing into one app, streamlined for the rapid pace of sales.
Our customers love that this is a resource built just for sellers—so they’re not trying to learn from a platform designed for other uses. It allows reps to share information with their peers in real-time, or asynchronously, to elevate everyone’s game, and assist with replication of A-player behavior.
Built for two-way communication, the platform makes it easy for managers to coach their reps and for reps to share feedback with the team to help everyone build the best messaging for the market. It offers a modern blend of formal and informal learning that’s designed to help learning take root and grow, helping your team to produce the best sales results possible for your organization.
NANCY: WHAT ARE SOME GOOD RESOURCES IF SOMEONE WANTED TO LEARN WHAT QUESTIONS TO ASK, WHAT OTHERS ARE DOING, OR OTHER FACTORS RELATED TO THE SUBJECT.
WAYNE: There are many great resources online. I recommend getting a copy of our “How to Evaluate Modern Learning Platforms.” With this guided checklist, you’ll learn how to effectively evaluate platforms to make sure your sales team is learning within an agile environment that produces higher performance.
Another great resource is Your Ultimate ROI: How to Master Growth with Sales Readiness Success. This ebook describes the areas to focus on to accelerate revenue growth, eliminate unnecessary costs, reduce risks, and quantify the ROI of your sales learning and enablement efforts. How Agile Approaches to Sales Readiness Boost Performance shows how an agile approach to learning, content, and collaboration can help ensure that reps are not only well trained, but have the right content and insights at their fingertips to help them handle any sales scenario thrown their way.
You can also see how these platforms have helped companies such as Finastra, the third largest Fintech company in the world, and Tableau, the Seattle-based developer of business intelligence software that was recently acquired by Salesforce.
We’re proud to announce that Allego has been nominated for a 2020 People’s Choice Stevie Award for Favorite Customer Service. Go to http://peopleschoice.stevieawards.com and enter Short Code J727X. This Short Code is unique to our nomination so you don’t have to scroll through the categories to find us. You can vote as many times as you’d like between now and February 14, 2020. Thanks for voting!
Wayne St. Amand is the CMO of Allego . Wayne is responsible for driving business expansion through the company’s global corporate and product marketing efforts. Before Allego, he was CMO & SVP with Nielsen’s Marketing Effectiveness business unit.
Allego is a modern sales learning and readiness platform that ensures sales teams have the skills and the latest knowledge to make the most of every selling situation. Allego uses mobile, video, and peer collaboration to reinvent learning for the dynamic needs of sales teams. Its speed and consumer app design match the pace of even the most hard-charging salespeople.