It’s interesting that as you grow and evolve in business, you see in hindsight mistakes in the way you communicated the value proposition of your product or service. And I confess that I made a giant mistake in the way I boasted about our certification process. Let me first explain the process, then the mistake I made.

To become certified in Social Selling Mastery (now Digital Sales Mastery) every sales pro needs to create an opportunity. They then need to document that opportunity in a PowerPoint template, and serve up a 5-to-7-minute story recorded on video that they will present to their leadership as a credible opportunity. The benefit of this approach is you’re hyper-scaling pipeline creation because you’re forcing adoption through action – that’s fantastic!

However, my mistake was when I was asked by senior sales and marketing leaders about the certification process, I would often boast that because it’s so outcome driven, very few customers around the world would have 100% certification. And that’s true – some sellers quit, some just can’t execute, and ultimately that leads to most companies having only 70-80% of their sellers become certified.

In the past, I used this as a boating metric to tell people “this isn’t a walk in the park, this is real prospecting.” But while I agree that the accountability measures are still fantastic, it was the wrong way to look at the problem. Since our ultimate goal is forced pipeline creation through accountability to action, we’ve started to reframe the problem, and have started calling it Mission 100%. Those willing to learn and apply those skills in market will create more sales pipeline than their previous selves, their peers, and eventually their competition.

One of our customers, CA Technologies (see the screenshot below), proved that sellers who became certified created 38% more revenue and 55% more pipeline than their peers that didn’t become certified.

It behooves us as partners to do whatever we can to work with the smallest sellers in the organization, the sellers that are struggling, those that are weak. Those are often C and D players, but if we can get them to create sales pipeline, look at the impact that has – as naturally as the B+ and A players, they will get there.

Learning is the ultimate leading indicator of success. One of the things we’re really focusing on is to ensure that learning is translated properly to the learner in the way they want to learn – whether asynchronous (meaning learning on their own with e- learning or with virtual coaching), or if they want synchronous learning in a virtual classroom, with people all together in a workshop – we need to give them the tools and concepts that will be effective for them.

I write this blog because as you grow a business, you evolve and reframe your thinking – not just here at Sales For Life, but you as leaders need to take responsibility to either make sure everyone on your team gets and applies concepts, or you have to cut them off your team. Don’t let them dangle because you need a warm body in a territory – you need people who can apply new skills immediately after deployment.

Jamie Shanks

Author: Jamie Shanks

Jamie Shanks is a world-leading Social Selling expert and author of the book, "Social Selling Mastery - Scaling Up Your Sales And Marketing Machine For The Digital Buyer". A true pioneer in the space of digital sales transformation, Jamie Shanks has trained over 10,000's of sales professionals and leaders all around the world.

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