When sales enablement, marketing or sales leadership decide to roll out a skills and competency-based training program, they often overlook a critical first step. They will typically reverse-engineer time periods where sellers are best suited for learning, such as the summer months, down times between quarters, or in preparation for Q4. They execute training programs in August, September, and October to prepare for the heavy sell season of November and December.
However, what is often neglected is how to get the leaders – sales, marketing, sales enablement, and operation leaders, and the sales community all together to understand their roles and responsibilities are, the expected outcomes of programs, and how well they coach to drive accountability programs.
Communication is critical to success – that’s why these companies focus on town halls, business reviews, and annual sales kickoffs. It doesn’t naturally trickle down from a couple of emails, or because you have a Slack channel. You need to realize that everyone is at a different stage in their knowledge base of how and why they should do this, and what are next steps? So you need to develop a strategy of how you are going to communicate this training program to everyone.
Here are a couple of screenshots below that are examples of what best-in-class customers have done to make sure that communication plan is effective.
Organizations like those above recognize that most great communicative companies have a central nervous system – a central repository for all things learning in their business. That doesn’t have to be an internal management system. It could be an internal microsite where people come together as a hive for communication. Companies like Microsoft have created a hub that had videos, coaching guides, point systems, and leader boards for success.
One of our customers in Germany is doing interviews with leaders to communicate the importance of this around the world. Others have had messages from the Chief Procurement Officer (CPO).
It’s critical that you think through and reverse-engineer the pitfalls, challenges and objections you’ll get in launching this program – and you want to devise a communication plan that tackles these objections and questions, and ultimately debunks myths.
Use this as an opportunity to deflate people’s negativity about the program in advance, by sharing facts and empirical evidence that this can work.