Sales training is a long-term commitment.
You can’t spend a week training new employees — filling their heads with an excessive amount of information — and then expect them to be ready to hit the ground running and remember every minute detail you shared with them.
Alternatively, you can’t expect veteran sales reps to be brushing up on the latest methodologies while they’re focusing on doing their job. It’s the responsibility of your firm to commit to ongoing training of your sales team.
There is one inevitable hurdle that trips most firms’ sales training initiatives: lack of resources. Your focus is your business and your product or service, and that should clearly remain your priority. But, that doesn’t mean you should halt all sales training efforts. In fact, creating educational and valuable sales training collateral is as easy as recording video with your smartphone.
KEY TAKEAWAY: Don’t let a lack of resources stop you from creating sales training collateral!
Crowdsourcing Training Content
The easiest way to create sales training content is through crowdsourcing. Enabling and encouraging your sales team members to share best practices, success stories, tips and tricks with one another is one of the most effective sources of training collateral at your disposal. Distribution is not a concern either. Sales reps can easily upload the content they create and share it instantly with the team.
You can begin to crowdsource a multitude of content types from your top sales team members. Identify the individuals on your sales team whom you wish you could ‘clone.’ In other words, these team members consistently exceed goals and are eager to share their knowledge to improve the team as a whole. After you have identified and confirmed participation of these top contributors, you’ll need to set your strategy for:
- Content Creation
- Quality Control
- Sharing Enablement
Each of the three aspects of your crowdsourced training content process are further explained below.
1. Crowdsourced Content Creation
With a solid sales enablement system, you can create useful, engaging sales team-facing content in a cost-effective way that delivers the right information at the right time to the right rep. After you’ve identified top crowdsource content contributors, communicate and educate them on the fundamentals of quality training content.
Training content should…
… tell a story. People love stories because they are easy to connect with and quickly understand. Create some content that tells stories about your company and your products, but spend most of your time creating content that addresses your sales reps’ stories. Think of it as selling a solution to your reps’ problems.
… be simple, yet engaging. It’s rare for someone to read an entire blog post. In fact, 55% of people spend less than 15 seconds on an online page. With a team of Millennial sales reps who are more comfortable watching a video on YouTube, this rings true for internal-facing content as well. Don’t make your content super text heavy; break it up with headlines, bullet points, infographics, images and videos. People quickly skim content before reading (or sometimes instead of fully reading) so break it up so they get the main points of the content.
After your contributors understand the basics of content creation, give them various options to communicate their stories, insights, best practices and tips through video content. Video is the ultimate crowdsourced content type. On-demand video is available when needed, removes any scheduling conflicts and lets sales team member’s brush up on information on their own time. What’s even better is that everyone has the ability to create this content already: his or her smartphone! Simply record with your phone’s video camera and upload it to the rest of the team.
Regarding the content of the video itself, there exists a plethora of options to inspire your content contributors:
Best Practices. Your top sales people might not realize it at first, but aspects of their approach make the key difference between success and failure. After the contributor has identified those unique qualities, have them explain their process and tactics in a quick video.
Scripts. Practice scripts are a widely used content type to aid new sales reps on phone calls. Reps should continually practice and brush up on their knowledge and skills since they’re going to make or break the deals. Instead of reading off a piece of paper, let your scripts come to life by using your smartphone to record mock script readings with top contributors who can also give additional insight.
Buyer Persona Documents. To communicate the right message at the right time, sales reps need to fully understand your company’s different buyer personas. They need detailed documents listing each buyer’s pain points, challenges, motivations, etc. It was mentioned previously how people prefer to consume visual content and avoid reading a lengthy document at all costs. Instead of distributing pages of buyer persona materials to sales reps, use video to give context and ease of content consumption.
Product Content. Your sales team should be your go-to product experts. And the old way that was achieved was memorization of hoards of product information. Akin to buyer persona documents, use video to aid in explanation of complex points and product specifications. It’s also a good idea to provide content comparing your product to your competitors. By doing this, your sales reps are given an incredible knowledge resource to pull from when speaking with potential customers.
If your team needs more content catalysts, download our quick guide to sales and buying cycle content eBook.
2. Quality Control Process
Clearly, you’ve selected content contributors based on exceeding in their performance. So baring any unforeseen circumstances, these contributors will most likely not produce content with glaring quality issues. However, it’s good to set guidelines to communicate a quality standard with crowdsourced sales training collateral.
In terms of reviewing content, there are several approaches. Two examples are:
Peer Content Review. Ensure that each crowdsourced video is reviewed by the other top contributors for consistency, relevancy and quality.
Management Team Member Review. With this approach, instead of the other contributors reviewing the content, a member of the management, director or executive team reviews any content being distributed to the sales team as a whole.
As previously mentioned, quality control is not typically an issue when it comes to crowdsourcing content from your top performing sales team members. But to ensure consistency, establishing guidelines and a review process is the suggested approach.
3. Content Sharing Process
Distributing crowdsourced content to your entire sales team via a channel from which they’ll actually consume content can be challenging without the right tools. In America, the mobile screen is viewed more than the TV screen these days. Your sales team is no different. They are always on the move and glued to their phones. If you want them to consume the content you distribute, it needs to be optimized across all devices.
If you’re already using Salesforce as your CRM, Lurniture allows you to deliver the right crowdsourced training collateral at the right time – right within the platform you already use.
Long-Term Commitment, Meet Long-Term Dividends
Not only is your team knowledgeable, they also have all the resources at their fingertips to further their knowledge.
Coaching and Mentoring
Essentially, sales enablement gives you the ability to identify the qualities in your top sales performers and duplicate those qualities across the entirety of your sales force. Furthermore, those that master the qualities can aid other sales team members in their efforts. Whether that’s in a formal mentoring program or a more relaxed coaching plan, sales enablement gives you the opportunity to coach and mentor your entire sales team.
Sales enablement content means you’re not only effectively building your assets, but your firm is becoming a beacon of sales enablement “done right” in your industry. Is there a better recruiting tool than that?
Your sales team is…
…developing selling skills faster.
…increasing deal sizes and close rates.
Your business is…
…amassing a sales force of top performers.
…tracking the ROI of training efforts.
When you commit to sales training through content, you’re not only enriching the experience of your sales force, but you’re simultaneously fostering an environment where long-term customer relationships are formed.