This is the first in a three-part series on using content to power sales enablement.
Nothing can happen from a sales standpoint until reps are prepared for what’s ahead. While there are different forms of preparation when it comes to sales enablement, content is often a constant factor.
New Hire Training
Training is perhaps the most common term used to describe sales enablement. Unfortunately, effective sales training is still a struggle for far too many organizations. Part of the problem is a lack of understanding of how new hires learn. For example, The SAVO Group reports that 35% of the knowledge acquired during training is lost within the first month, and that number rises to 90% after six months on the job.
Companies can benefit from placing more emphasis on sales training as a continuous strategy rather than a “one-and-done” objective. Learning content that is A) more impactful and B) easy to access on-demand can go a long way toward improving the knowledgebase of your sales force.
Today, companies can improve their sales training processes in a number of ways, including:
More effective training content. One way to boost learner retention is to create content that resonates better with audiences. Online video for eLearning has become an increasingly popular, as learners tend to retain information at a higher rate when they can both see and hear it.
More focus on interactivity. Audiences also learn better when they have a greater level of involvement in the training process. While the popularity of on-demand eLearning has reduced the amount of face-to-face interaction involved with many training scenarios, it doesn’t have to sacrifice interactivity in the process. On-demand content can still include interactive elements that keep learners engaged, such as periodic quizzes, open-form essay questions and real-time surveys.
An effort to train for style as well as substance. Obviously, new hire training should rely heavily on helping reps understand the products and services the company offers. But training should also further enable salespeople by looking beyond the products to improve overall sales techniques. Talent and experience levels will vary throughout your sales team, so continuous efforts to improve basic selling skills can help raise the games of all involved.
In addition to new hire training, preparation is also a critical component of successful sales meetings and presentations. Salespeople are notorious “just-in-time” learners, in that their hectic schedules cause them to often put off reviewing certain resources until they absolutely need to.
This can include the moments leading up to their next sales meeting, while riding in a cab, waiting for a flight in the airport – really, it can happen anytime, anywhere. As a result, sales enablement content needs to be:
mobile-friendly, so reps can review it no matter where they are, from any device, and
Product updates and company announcements can be shared easily enough from a web link via email, but it’s also helpful to have a central place for critical sales content to “live”, like a secure web portal. From there, reps will be able to save time by quickly accessing the content they need, such as:
Marketing-approved PowerPoint slides to ensure consistent messaging during sales presentations
Data sheets and product information
Customer testimonials to share with prospects as they move through the sales cycle
The more content sales reps have at their disposal, the more prepared they’ll be to effectively communicate with potential customers.
Content Creation and Delivery
With content being such a critical component for sales preparation, it’s important for companies to be able to create and share those resources in a timely manner. Without a well-planned sales enablement strategy in place, assets like these tend to be shared sporadically from multiple directions, causing organizations to once again fall victim to “random acts of sales support.”
In many ways, successful sales preparation hinges on the following:
Fast and simple content creation
Easy access of relevant content from a centralized location
Mobile-friendly resources for optimal flexibility
Together, these three component work to maximize informal or blended learning, simplify pre-meeting planning, and better prepare sales reps for the next phase of sales enablement.