Sales Productivity Investments Start with Training^* Content [Report]

February 25, 2015 | Brendan Cournoyer
Sales Productivity Investments Start with Training^* Content [Report]

Everyone wants to increase sales productivity – but how exactly are organizations going about it this year? That’s one of the questions the MHI Research Institute looked to answer in a recent study around sales performance and productivity.

Sales Productivity Investments

In a recent post, MHI research director and guru on all-things sales enablement Tamara Schenk shared some pretty interesting insights from the study. Asking participants, “Where have you or do you plan to invest to improve sales productivity?” the top two responses were:

  • Improving product knowledge, market and competitive intelligence (82%)

  • Improving process, skills or competency training (81%)

Other areas such as sales operations and technology also made the list, but these top results only shine more light on the fact that sales enablement is on the minds of a LOT of people right now.

It makes sense that the top two responses are geared heavily around training and preparation; after all, both are a core component of any sales enablement definition. But as Tamara rightly points out, effective sales training today is closely linked to a well-planned content strategy:

“Two one-way roads in parallel don’t lead to more productivity. These services have to be connected to create value instead of noise. Connecting the dots is important to make sure that content and messaging for the salespeople are customer-focused and consistent at any time, without redundancies and gaps. Providing content alone is not enabling the [sales force]. Enablement has to make sure that people learn how to use different content resources effectively.”

I couldn’t agree more, particularly with the point in bold. With sales enablement, content strategies fail when companies don’t do a good enough job delivering that content in an impactful way. It’s not just a matter of “random acts of sales support” any longer. Even strategic content strategies can fall flat without the right pieces in place – delivery, message alignment, awareness, format, and of course, context.

For example, here are a few more points from Tamara that I think really hit the nail on the head:

“For sales training, it is essential that the supporting content is available, on-demand.”

Most organizations today opt for a blended training approach that combines live, face-to-face sessions with on-demand learning options. This is great for reinforcing key topics and saving time during onboarding, but it also enables reps to stay prepared and up-to-date long after their initial training with the company has ended. It also makes it easy for them to review the resources they need conveniently on their own time (after all, this is about increasing productivity).

“Short video clips are the first step to making a big difference in terms of value and adoption.”

Again, it’s about saving time. Video content makes it easier to present and consume more information in a shorter period of time, and the retention rate is typically much higher. (I don’t like using the word “consume” for content, but hey, I suppose it’s better than “digest.”) Of course, Brainshark makes it easy to create video-based training resources quickly for this very use case.

“Providing supporting content in small chunks when needed (depending on the stages of the opportunities salespeople work on) creates add-on value.”

This is all sorts of on-point. Segmenting your training into smaller, easily consumable (I did it again!) pieces? Check. Delivering it in a way that adds value to a rep’s workflow? Check. Providing training content IN CONTEXT with different stages of the sales cycle. That’s a BIG CHECK (and one of the missing pieces of a lot of continuous training, coaching and content strategies).

For more on the ways organizations are looking to invest in sales productivity, check out the full post from Tamara, as well as Part 2 and Part 3 here. It’s really great stuff.

For details on how Brainshark helps companies increase sales productivity, learn about what we do here.

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