How an Ongoing Investment in and Commitment to Sales Training is at the Heart of any Successful Sales Transformation Effort
In this series, we ask Sales Tech Executives to describe how their solution can transform sales in a significant way.
NANCY: WHAT ARE THE TOP AREAS OF FOCUS IN THE NEXT 12-24 MONTHS FOR ORGANIZATIONS THAT WANT TO TRANSFORM THEIR SALES ORGANIZATIONS?
GARY: An ongoing investment in and commitment to sales training is at the heart of any successful sales transformation effort. Most businesses make a significant time and financial investment at the start of the year to bring together the sales team for annual planning and training. However, the momentum coming out of that sales kickoff is often lost in just weeks. The same can be said for sales onboarding. According to a science-backed phenomenon known as the Forgetting Curve, up to 79 percent of learned knowledge is forgotten within the course of 30 days.
This makes it challenging for reps to learn and retain the critical information they need to effectively sell products and services to customers, especially for markets like technology, financial services, and life sciences that require reps to have a deep understanding of product details and industry regulations.
Sales transformation requires a strategic and continuous approach to successfully and continually improve sales performance. Programs need to be adaptive and personalized, without disrupting selling time. This is where microlearning provides a strategic advantage to organizations to drive what I call the “three Ps” of sales success: performance, productivity and proficiency.
NANCY: HOW SHOULD COMPANIES DECIDE WHICH APPROACHES TO SALES TRANSFORMATION ARE RIGHT FOR THEM?
GARY: Performance analytics are the most common benchmarks tracked by sales leadership today, and includes metrics such as pipeline multiple, opportunity conversion rates, win rates, and percentage of reps hitting quota. These are the numbers that answer the question, “Are we getting the right results to achieve our goals?”
With productivity, sales leaders can track the number of prospecting dials executed, emails sent each day, or the number of first meetings booked, each of which can help discern, “Are my reps focused on the right, most impactful activities?”
While these metrics are important, they’re largely lagging indicators – “rear view” behaviors that once measured, cannot be changed.
To transform sales, focus should be placed on leading indicators: analytics that serve as predictors of future performance, and can be influenced or redirected to drive a positive end result.
An increased focus on sales proficiency can help any sales leader seeking to transform their organization understand if their reps have the critical knowledge and skills, and can they translate that knowledge into the right field-based behaviors to consistently meet customer needs and convert the sale.
Proficiency is the missing link that addresses where sales training and development resources must be focused to address the gaps, for each unique rep, to drive real transformational results.
NANCY: WHAT ARE YOUR TIPS FOR ENSURING THAT TECHNOLOGIES CONTRIBUTE TO SALES TRANSFORMATION IN A MEASURABLE AND IMPACTFUL WAY?
GARY: Here are four tips to help drive lasting and measurable sales transformation through the power of technology-based microlearning:
- Focus on Proficiency: Sales proficiency focuses on what sales reps know, or don’t know, and whether they can apply that knowledge in their daily interactions with customers and prospects. However, without insight into the sales proficiency of each rep, managers can’t coach on the areas that will have the greatest or most immediate impact on revenue. Best practice sales microlearning drives continuous improvement and gives managers the insights they need to develop more effective training and coaching paths to support each rep’s unique needs throughout the year. Listen to this webcast recording of Nancy Nardin and Mike D’Angelo on how Sales Proficiency is the true competitive differentiator that wins business.
- Reinforce knowledge and skills on an ongoing basis: In today’s sales environment, training can’t be considered a “once and done” activity. Sales enablement leaders need to shift their focus to reinforcing knowledge and skills over time through best practice microlearning. This scientifically proven approach increases knowledge retention by up to 170 percent and gives visibility at the individual level to know what has been mastered and where there are gaps to coach against.
- Make it in the Moment: Sales enablement leaders benefit from mobile training tools that engage reps in-the-moment, on-the-go, via their mobile device in minutes a day. Because sales reps live on their mobile device or laptop, sales training becomes a continuous “always-on” process within the daily flow of work without interrupting valuable selling time.
- Make it Measurable: Microlearning helps guide managers to pinpoint knowledge or skill gaps with quantitative, precise, real-time data. By overlaying sales proficiency data (strengths and weaknesses) with sales performance metrics (win rates, pipeline growth, and average deal size) each quarter, sales leaders have data-driven leading indicators to craft a personalized, and more efficient, approach to sales development at scale. According to CSO Insights, a dynamic approach like this yields up to 66% higher win rates.
NANCY: HOW IS YOUR SOLUTION TRANSFORMING YOUR CUSTOMERS’ SALES ORGANIZATIONS?
GARY: Qstream’s microlearning solution is used by hundreds of customers to support sales enablement, develop proficiency, help managers support their team with precision coaching, and provide business and learning leaders with a way to measure training investments and hone future training and development needs.
Qstream drives knowledge proficiency in the flow of work, and arms managers with the insights they need to help individual reps improve specific knowledge gaps. All this equates to superior return on investment in the form of increased sales revenues.
For instance, one Qstream customer reported impressive engagement levels that led to equally impressive gains in product proficiency, enabling their reps to have more compelling conversations with their sophisticated buyers. Another customer spotlighted Qstream’s sales fluency heat maps and manager dashboards, which instantly identified knowledge gaps where individuals required further support and coaching prior to a new product launch.
Image 1: Sales Fluency Heatmap by Region and Topic: Initial Level at start of Qstream
Image 2: Sales Fluency Heatmap by Region and Topic: Final Level at start of Qstream