Video Challenges for Sales Teams: Uncover the Possibilities

Video Challenges for Sales Teams

When an organization rolls out a new product, it can take a while for the sales team to get on board. Even if they’re excited about the product itself, learning another set of features, benefits, and messaging can feel like just another thing they don’t have time for.

So, what can you do to increase speed to competency and drive excitement for a new product?

Recently, Unboxed partnered with a pharmaceutical organization rolling out a new product at a nation-wide launch. They’d been working hard for months to build marketing collateral and training to support the sales team, and they were looking to do something special to increase excitement and sustain learning beyond the launch event. They needed a creative way to prove that the sales team could execute what they’d learned in the intensive in-person and online training.

Together, we landed on what we called a “Show What You Know” video challenge. The goal was to engage the sales team’s naturally competitive drive by giving them a chance to show what they knew in a public setting—and get rewarded for it.

Here’s how it would work:

1. Learners would record a video of themselves demonstrating the training techniques they learned during training.

2. Learners would upload their best pitch to the training portal (LMS).

3. Training leaders would review each video, selecting the best pitches to share live on the portal, and sharing feedback with those that need improvement.

4. Learners would earn coins and accolades from peers and leaders.

Prior to rolling out “Show What You Know”, we created a dedicated space for the challenge inside the learning portal and even released a hype video to explain the video challenge.

Upon implementation, we saw high rates of engagement from the start, but the results were what was most surprising. The training team found that no one, not even the top performers on the sales team, was able to execute on all of the required messaging they’d learned in training. These results uncovered gaps in the training and gave leaders an opportunity to directly address those gaps, provide more practice sessions, and continue moving the team toward excellence.

As a bonus, we spliced together highlights from the best-uploaded videos to emphasize key skill areas. We bookended the videos with a skills overview, giving learners several examples of what good looks like so they could continue to practice. The challenge was a great success.

We gathered a few key takeaways from “Show What You Know”  that you may be able to apply to your own program:

• Learners may know less than they think they do. Going into the challenge, most learners reported being confident with the new product info they had learned in training. The video challenge revealed what we know to be true: that knowledge acquisition is entirely different than practical application.

• Learners love learning from their peers. After the challenge, releasing the spliced videos allowed learners to see several examples of how they could implement key skills and build a more natural approach to their sales pitch. Because these examples were from their peers, they felt authentic, relevant, and timely.

• Sustainment is key. Be strategic about when to roll out a post-training challenge. Gather your initial results, and continue to refine as you go in order to have the most impact.

Have questions about your own sustainment plan?

Need a sustainment strategy that will allow your team to identify learning gaps? Contact Unboxed today for a strategy that works for your learners.

The 3 Most Impactful Sales Enablement Trends for 2019

The sales enablement sector experienced unprecedented growth in 2018. More organizations than ever before leveraged technology to provide sales reps the content, data, and tools they need to engage buyers at every stage of the sales cycle.

As a testament to that growth, most sales organizations now have dedicated sales enablement teams, or have plans in the works to create one soon. Clearly, sales organizations have come to appreciate the value that sales enablement solutions can offer, particularly in decreasing the length of the sales cycle and increasing pipeline opportunities.

But as fast as the industry is changing, there’s still room to refine and create new solutions that solve common problems and help sales reps reach their full potential.

So, what will the top sales enablement trends be for 2019? Here’s our take.

1. Emphasis on learning and coaching

Based on a comprehensive survey done by Quark software, Sales Learning and Coaching Platforms is one of “the top two investment priorities [of sales organizations] over the next 12 months.” This may come as a surprise to others, but it wasn’t a surprise to us here at Unboxed.

In our 10+ years working with sales organizations, we’ve seen across the board that training is the most overlooked part of sales enablement. What good is having the right content and tools if you’re presentation misses the mark or you haven’t learned to effectively communicate with your prospect and ask for the sale?

As one of our top sales enablement trends in 2019, we demand and expect deeper integration of learning and coaching tools into existing sales enablement platforms. Inadequate or ineffective training leads to increased turnover, slower ramp time, and fewer sales, and your organization can’t afford to ignore the data any longer. Gryphon Sales Intelligence describes it this way:

“According to a recent survey, 84% of all sales training is lost after 90 days. This is majorly due to the lack of information retention among sales personnel. This highlights the need for refresher training from time to time along with effective sales training.”

 

2019 sales enablement trends - learning and coaching

If your organization doesn’t have a strategy for ongoing sustainment and continuous learning, you’re falling behind the curve. Look for a solution that integrates with your other sales enablement tools, ideally a one-stop shop with seamless access to training that gets pushed out over time and can be completed on-the-go.
And don’t stop there. For sales teams to reach their full potential, your solution must also give sales leaders and managers the ability to easily and consistently coach their teams to success.

2. Seamless access to important content—finally!

Sales reps lose up to 26 hours a month just searching for, editing, and managing content. Although sales content and asset management platforms have made it easier to organize marketing content and collateral, sales reps still struggle.

Most sale reps says they store content in 3-6 different locations, sometimes even up to 10. Many of those locations aren’t accessible to the marketing team for quality control and easily become outdated, and so the story goes.

 

2019 sales enablement trends - content management

Since this problem is still so prevalent, sales enablement software must reimagine the solution in 2019. Adding yet another location to stash the content won’t cut it, but creating a hub that helps you seamlessly organize and integrate content from a variety of sources will. Expect to see solutions that bring together content from disjointed platforms into one centralized location.

Let’s give reps back those 312 hours in 2019.

3. New ways to leverage artificial intelligence

Artificial intelligence has the potential to make a huge impact on sales teams, which is why it’s on our list of sales enablement trends to watch in 2019. Early adopter sales organizations are already reaping the benefits:

  • Sales reps save significant time through automated prospecting assistance.
  • Analyzing and prioritizing leads is easier than ever before.
  • AI-powered customer service guides buyers to the right solution more quickly.

The time savings are inarguable, but the rise of AI has other effects as well. AI increases the value of human skills that can’t be replicated by a machine. Skills like influence, empathy, and ability to gain trust.

 

2019 sales enablement trends - artificial intelligence

But what if you could use AI to help reps hone those critical human skills? In 2019, we’re introducing AI-powered roleplay that analyzes facial expressions to provide insight into the real emotional responses of an audience. We’re incredibly excited about the potential of this tool and thrilled with the early results we’ve seen from test cases. Sign up here to be included in our big announcement in Q1.

What sales enablement trends will you watch in 2019?

How will your sales enablement strategies evolve in the coming year? We’d love to hear your thoughts!

Leave us a comment below or contact us to see how can support your sales enablement goals.

Social Learning Tools: Debunking the Myths

Social media might be a modern invention, but social learning certainly isn’t.

For almost 100 years now, educational theorists have recognized social learning’s power to extend and reinforce traditional learning methods.

Put simply, social learning is the modern day water cooler – or the modern breakroom where employees share on-the-job knowledge and creative solutions.

As our employees are increasingly spread across multiple cities or are working remotely, social learning is becoming even more important to company culture. According to the 6th Annual Learning in the Workplace study, 93% of employees ranked “on-the-job experience” as essential to how they learn, followed closely by social learning at 90%.

And, in a smaller study on top-requested LMS features by employees, 24% self-reported a desire for discussion boards on their LMS, while 23% also wanted the option to upload and share content with their peers. That’s roughly 50% of learners asking us for social learning tools to extend their formal learning!

So, if social learning is so desirable, why are some companies reluctant to adopt social learning tools into their organizational culture?

social learning tools - debunking the myths

The Biggest Barrier to Social Learning

Remarkably, the Masie Learning Consortium has discovered the number one barrier to social adoption is organizational culture. If you’ve been around the corporate training world for while, this probably doesn’t surprise you. It can be difficult to sell the value of social learning up the ladder.

And let’s be honest: most LMS’s social learning functions have been subpar for a long time, hampered by bad user interfaces that make good, helpful content hard to find. But that’s not the case anymore. Modern LMS platforms with social learning tools, like Spoke, make it incredibly easy for both moderators and learners.

So, in the spirit of dispelling myths, here are four common misconceptions and fears we hear from training professionals about social learning – and why there’s no need to be afraid anymore.

Social Learning Drives Formal Learning

Misconception:

“Our eLearning and ILT courses are really effective, so we don’t need social learning.”

Reality:

Informal learning tools extend and reinforce formal learning experiences.

Remember the old Cone of Experience model? It states that people remember 10% of what they hear, 20% of what they see, and so on. If your training still relies on the Cone of Experience, then it’s definitely time to explore a new model.

The truth is, we know that “chunking” information into bite-sized courses increases retention rate and that this mode of formal micro-learning has to be reinforced with informal learning practices, like social learning.

In Chip and Dan Heath’s Made To Stick, they refer to this as “talking shop,” or sharing personal workplace experiences. In marketing or training terms, we call this storytelling. People love to share experiences, and when we encourage those conversations, they result in greater learning.

Here’s how Jeff Cobb explains it in Leading the Learning Revolution:

“As much as 80% of our learning happens in an informal manner, and a great deal of it is based on our interactions with other people. Why does it matter? It is very often in the context of this 80% that we make decisions about more formal learning opportunities. If you are not there, not engaged, not providing value, then the chances that a prospect will come to see you or your organization as the source to go to for more formal, paid learning experiences diminishes dramatically.”

In other words, our informal learning experiences drive our desire to seek out further formal learning content in our organizations. When we don’t provide social learning tools, our learners seek out ways to connect elsewhere.

If it’s my money, I’d rather provide social learning tools to my teams, watch them flourish, and then analyze the discussion to learn how I can provide better training experiences.

Moderating Social Learning Tools

Misconception:

“I don’t have time to moderate discussion boards and police wrong answers or bad behavior.”

Reality:

It’s easy to designate moderators and enable safe content filters.

Good leaders all have one skill in common: they know how to delegate.

Moderating each and every social interaction in your LMS shouldn’t be your sole responsibility (even if you are a one-person army). And, with a social learning LMS like Spoke, features like moderators and profanity filters means it doesn’t have to be.

As a training strategist, I always recommend identifying influential subject-matter experts (SMEs) and designating them as your social community moderators. Here’s how you can do it.

First, like your favorite social media platforms, Spoke calculates how engaging posts are to your audience, and how many people have found the post content helpful. This makes identifying your company’s top influencers easy, and you can always see who’s at the top of the list (check out the screenshot below).

social learning tools - top influencers leaderboard

Next, identify the right top influencers and key SMEs for each training topic and give them moderator permission in the LMS. Spoke allows you to designate moderator permissions without giving people full-admin access, so you never have to worry about too many cooks in the proverbial kitchen.

And finally, if you’re worried about profanity or illicit content, both you and your moderators can enable the safe content filter to give that extra peace of mind.

Moderators can also deprioritize discussions they don’t want to trend, or if needed, they can turn off commenting functions for individual posts. On Spoke, we also ask every user to agree to community guidelines when they first join the platform, which reduces the risk of unwanted behaviors.

Finding The Right Answer is Easy

Misconception:

“It’s impossible to find good answers to topics, because they’re buried in old discussion threads.”

Reality:

Global search and linking news stories to courses and discussion topics make content super easy to find.

If you’ve spent time comparing LMS platforms, you know many of them boast social learning tool suites, but it’s little more than a text-heavy, hard-to-navigate message board. A truly modern social learning LMS extends and reinforces training by building “deep hooks” into formal content and elevating the learning experience.

To develop these deep hooks, you need a platform that allows you to create what we call horizontal link structures between content.

For example, in Spoke, it’s easy for a manager to post a news update announcing new sales packages and include a link to relevant course content or discussion threads. This moves learners seamlessly between news, course, and discussion content, eliminating the old problem of “siloed content.”

To make discussion posts easy to navigate, Spoke’s interface replicates well-known social media user experiences by building threaded conversations to keep everything all in one place. Users can also upload their own image and video content to a post for things like practicing a sales pitch or showing how you properly executed your planogram.

And, the cherry on top? We added a sorting function so you can search discussions by trending topics, and a search function so you can look up a topic like “retention” and see the most relevant discussions across the company.

Social Learning Tools with global search

And finally, for all the techies in the room, Spoke uses an advanced algorithm that calculates engagement, recognizes top influencers, and looks at up-votes to display the content that is most relevant to your learners.

If you want to see all these tools in action, check out our short, two-minute introduction to Spoke Community.

Social Learning Tools vs. Enterprise Social Networks

Misconception:

“We already have Slack, so we don’t need social learning features in our LMS.”

Reality:

Using enterprise social networks (ESN) for learning creates confusion about where to find the right answers.

If you’re already using an ESN like Slack or HipChat, then you know it’s a great workaround for quick, internal email. But there’s a two-fold problem with relying on ESNs to solve your training department’s social learning problem.

First, humans are not naturally great at organization or communication. Shocking, I know!

According to the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), simple miscommunications cost small business around $42,000 a year, and up to $62 million a year for enterprise companies. ESNs were supposed to solve the problem of getting too many internal emails, but they simply added another communication channel into our work stream that actually makes finding answers even harder to do.

Now, instead of using ESNs as a silver bullet to solve our communication woes, companies are facing the single source of truth problem. Increased communication channels mean increased confusion.

Is that Excel file pinned to my Slack channel, or did I email it to our group chain?

Did Maryanne post that troubleshooting solve in the LMS or in our technician’s group channel? 

To solve this, drive users to a single source of truth for answers to their questions – and what better place to send users looking for answers than to your LMS?

When you migrate informal learning to your LMS, you increase your week-over-week login rate, which means you drive new workplace behaviors for your learners. And as we all know, creating behavioral change is the road to true personal growth.

Time To Get Social!

Let me end with a short story.

In 2010, employees at a major, global retailer asked the management team if they could start a local Facebook group to share sales tips, connect with co-workers, and coordinate shift swaps. The official response was that social media groups were against corporate policy. So what happened? The employees started their own Facebook groups and the management was never invited.

The moral of the story is, when your employees are asking for social learning tools, figure out the best solution and give them what they’re asking for, or, run the risk of them developing an informal system of learning on their own.

Get started creating a robust culture of social learning today, because informal learning is a critical component in delivering true behavioral change in the workplace.

Take a look at Spoke or schedule a demo, and come see what a truly modern social learning platform can do for your organizational culture!

Blended Learning: The Way It Should Be

Cooking

There’s a difference between cooking and baking. Cooking is more of an imprecise art, tailored to taste. Baking is much more of a science: the ingredient amounts, oven temp, and blender speed matter.

In the training world, designing a blended learning experience is like baking a perfectly golden homemade crust. There’s a science to it. Blended learning is more than superficially mixing together a few more eLearnings. It’s being intentional about the way you combine content in various formats so that your employees can easily consume, retain, and apply your training.

For a perfectly blended learning experience, you need to:

  • Let the subject matter inform your modality.
  • Embrace learners’ constraints.
  • Choose a learning platform that supports blended learning.

Let the subject matter inform your modality

As companies grow, classroom training can get expensive and time consuming. It’s tempting to convert a two-hour instructor-led training into a recording of your slides with voiceover and call that an eLearning. But, it’s not really a 1:1 relationship. Instead of converting the whole thing into an eLearning, you’ve got to take a step back and ask yourself, “What do my learners need to know, or be able to do, at the end of this course? Why?” Then, ask yourself, “What modality is best suited to deliver this content and help them accomplish that goal?”

A simulation video is a great way to model behaviors consistently. A huddle, or interactive group activity, works well for roleplaying and practicing what you’ve learned. Always keep your learner in mind. That’ll make it easy to ensure form and function are in harmony.

Embrace learners’ constraints

Humans don’t learn like robots. We need time to absorb and process new information. To help your learners out, you’ve got to:

  • Set a realistic time limit
  • Break up content in small chunks
  • Engage different senses and learning styles.

Here’s what embracing learner constraints looks like. Say you’ve got an eLearning to teach a new behavior. The runtime should be 15-20 minutes max, where learners stop every few minutes to answer questions in an interactive quiz. If you try to pack in more, your learners’ attention spans will short out, and they’ll have a hard time retaining it all. You’ll empower people to apply what they’re learning, when they don’t feel burdened with information overload.

Choose a learning platform that supports blended learning

Your learning platform can kill your blended training experience. Imagine advertising you have an awesome new eLearning, then making people hunt for it in a cumbersome, disorganized Sharepoint site. Not to mention Sharepoint has no way for learners to interact with their content or each other; they can only watch the course in a vacuum.

Sounds terrible, right? Now reimagine this scenario with a social learning management system in place. It organizes content according to learning journey and gives learners a way to talk about what they’re learning, ask questions, and share ideas in online forums. A social learning management system enhances blended learning, instead of detracting from it.

Your blended learning doesn’t have to fall short. Align content and modality, respect your learners’ natural limits, and use the right learning platform, and you’ll create training that empowers your team to learn more and, ultimately, do their job better.

How do you create blended learning that empowers people? Share your best practices in the comments.