Why Consistency Matters: Connecting Content, Training and Coaching Services
Oct 10 2019
Last week, I discussed the role of tailored content in driving customer engagement. We covered all of the steps required to tailor your content along the customer’s path and different buyer roles to ensure it’s relevant, valuable and differentiating. Today let’s look at the two missing pieces in driving reinforcement and adoption – proper training and coaching – and why consistency matters a lot when it comes to connecting the dots.
Even if you provide the best content ever, it doesn’t necessarily mean that your sales force knows how to effectively utilize and apply it. (Click to tweet)
Whatever you provide in terms of content requires training to ensure your salespeople understand the bigger picture, why it matters and, most important, how to effectively utilize your new assets. You may say, “We have it all: selling skills, sales methodology and process as well as product training. Why that?”
Look at it this way: Your sellers don’t care about your latest piece of content. It’s as simple as that. They don’t care unless they experience how it can make them more successful. That’s where you must focus. That’s the bit of seller engagement that’s required before your sales enablement services have a chance to be effective.
Still not convinced? Put yourself in their shoes: Your sellers are very busy, very pressured and are presented with new things to use every single day. If they don’t see immediate value and are not sure how to use them effectively, guess what? Exactly… they continue doing what they’ve always done. For you leading sales enablement, it means “implementation done, adoption failed.” This typical scenario puts your enablement investments at risk because you won’t be able to achieve your desired outcomes in terms of sales productivity and performance.
Consistency matters: Only consistent and connected content and training services drive seller engagement and, therefore, customer engagement. (Click to tweet)
This is especially true in the example we used in last week’s blog: integrating new value messages in your content services – whether it’s for a new market, new buyer roles or whatever the case may be. It’s about changing sales conversations, which means your sellers will feel uncomfortable at the beginning. Totally normal. The usual consequence, then, is to avoid these new conversations altogether because they don’t feel confident applying the messages.
What are you doing with upcoming conversations that are uncomfortable for you? Exactly… you’re probably avoiding them. It’s no different in sales. Understanding this is crucial because it ensures you will always make sure that whatever you implement in the wide content arena, you will provide related training and coaching services to drive reinforcement and adoption.
Practice alone doesn’t make perfect. Only perfect practice does. And consistent sales coaching. (Click to tweet)
Make it simple by working with pilot sales teams and their managers first. Involve these sales managers from the very beginning so they know what’s coming next and understand their role in ensuring a successful implementation and improved results. And don’t forget to learn from these sales teams and their managers’ street wisdom.
- First, create a video that walks people through the new content, explaining the whys and hows and wheres to find what. Explain the implementation steps, and outline everyone’s role in making it a success for all involved. Depending on your culture, it might be smart to let the sales managers make that call.
- Second, practice new value messages in conversations through role play to simulate buyer interactions. To make it less painful, ask your sellers to role play with each other in groups of two. Then discuss what they learned. Then practice across sales teams. These events don’t need to be onsite. If you have remote sales teams, video training functions in enablement learning systems help a lot.
- Third, learn from these first pilot experiences. If you need to adjust your approach or how you present it, do it now.
- Fourth, if you don’t already have one, create a coaching service for your sales managers that helps them with specific questions to coach their sellers along those lines, given this specific initiative. Let’s assume for now that your sales managers are already developed when it comes to sales coaching skills and that you have a formal coaching process in place. If not, check out the blogs here and here. Stay with your pilot teams until you all feel comfortable rolling things out. Make sure you document the improved sales results. If you don’t get to better results, something is wrong and must be redesigned based on your learnings.
- Fifth, keep your stakeholders up to date, share the results in the next advisory board meeting, and focus on a decision for the rollout.
- Sixth, for the rollout, work with your pilot teams to find one or two sellers who are comfortable to create a short video that explains how they used the new assets, messaging and how it helped them improve their conversion rates, win rates, deal sizes, etc. Such videos are most engaging for other sellers and are a lot more credible than you creating them. And they’re easy to produce, as they only need their smartphones. Ideally, sales managers also should create videos for their peers regarding the coaching aspect and results.
Effective sales enablement leaders know that consistency matters – that it’s always about consistency, connectedness and coaching to engage sellers so that they can effectively engage buyers to achieve the desired sales results.
If you haven’t already, take a look at our book Sales Enablement – A Master Framework to Engage, Equip and Empower a World-Class Sales Force. It contains lots of valuable information, frameworks and approaches to make you a better sales enablement leader.
Questions for you:
- Do you ensure that your content, training and coaching services are connected, consistent and effective?
- If the responsibility is spread across departments, how do you set up a productive collaboration model?
- How do you ensure proper adoption of new content services?
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