Sales enablement is a fast-growing space. Look up sales enablement software, and you’ll find hundreds of proposed solutions. Most of them are rep-focused and provide information like lead data, sales presentations, and marketing collateral. These features can definitely help sales reps be more efficient, but if your sales enablement software doesn’t support interactive product demos, you’re missing out.
In this article, we explain how you can deliver a better customer experience, onboard faster, and close more sales when your sales enablement software includes interactive product demos.
First things first: if you think sales enablement is just for geofencing and tracking sales calls, expand your definition of sales enablement. Think of sales enablement as a smart mix of technology and training. When you include interactive demos throughout your sales enablement tool, reps have everything they need in one place. They can quickly learn about your products and services, and then sell them the right way—faster.
What are interactive product demos?
In this context, interactive product demos are highly visual pieces of sales presentation content that explain the features and benefits of a product or service. They help the viewer understand how something you sell works—and how it stacks up against the competition—in a compelling way.
I’ve seen two demo formats work really well: short videos and interactive, highly visual learning modules. Videos support storytelling and demonstrate benefits. Interactive learning modules simulate how product features work and explain how they benefit the customer.
Short videos support storytelling and demonstrate benefits.
Interactive learning modules simulate product features and explain the benefits.
What can interactive product demos help my sales reps do?
Deliver a better customer experience
In my experience, the most effective interactive product demos can explain a product or service in 10 seconds or less. 65% of your customers are visual learners, so when you show how something works (rather than tell), you seriously upgrade your customer experience.
Your customers are also busy, and they don’t have time for clunky PowerPoints and outdated brochures. They want to learn new information quickly so they can make a buying decision.
Forrester shares that interactive product demos change the medium of video from a “lean-back to a lean-forward interactive experience,” empowering and informing customers as they move further down the sales funnel.
Here’s what Hubspot says:
“When customers feel like they’re in control, they will often take risks, such as trying new services or taking a chance on a new product.”
If you want to share your value propositions with your customers in an exciting, visual way, see if your sales enablement software can support interactive product demos. You’ll help your customers understand how you can solve their challenges and why they should buy from you.
Onboard reps faster
You want your new sales reps to be more productive, faster. In fact, we’ve found they’re actively looking for short, to-the-point ways to explain your products and services. Reps want to deliver accurate information and hold their customer’s attention.
Interactive product demos allow sales reps to gain expertise with very little time commitment. In the same way product demos help your customers learn, they help your reps learn, too. There’s an assurance in knowing their sales enablement software has helpful product information, right there when they need it. I’ve seen reps who have access to interactive product demos achieve quota as soon as Month 2 or Month 3.
When sales enablement tools include interactive product demos, reps have more confidence during their customer conversations. They also have access to consistent, helpful content for each customer, regardless of their location and level of experience.
Close more sales
Time is a sales rep’s most precious resource. Selling Power says the average rep spends just 10 percent of their time selling. When your sales enablement software doubles as a sleek interactive product demo, reps gain time to devote to their core objective: selling. No more late nights formatting PowerPoint slides.
On top of that, interactive product demos make it easier for customers to make a buying decision. Customers are more engaged and can understand key benefits more quickly. You heard it from Forrester and HubSpot—this leads to a better close rate.
See it in action
Want to see examples of sales enablement software that doubles as an interactive product demo?
Check out Advisor or contact us to talk more.
Your organization has a sales training program, and it’s working, right? Your sales reps are learning to position your products and services and close enough deals to at least keep the lights on for another month.
And maybe, you schedule training two or three times per year, probably in conjunction with a regional sales meeting when everyone is together to compare notes.
While your sales training program might not be brand new, you’re patching holes with updated content to keep it as fresh as you can.
So it’s good, right? Or at least adequate?
Well, maybe. If your organization has a good sales training program and you’re stuck in chronic mediocrity, imagine the results of a great sales training program that empowers your sales team to knock it out of the park with every customer interaction.
How can you tell whether your sales training program is good or great? Let’s take a quiz.
1. What is your sales methodology?
At the heart of every good sales training program is a good sales methodology. And there are plenty to choose from: Challenger, SPIN, SNAP, Customer Centric, Sandler Selling, and Conceptual … the list goes on.
It’s good to have a sales methodology because it helps your organization identify certain key needs. It probably provides insight into how your organization qualifies buyers, positions products, and helps reps overcome objections.
But, while it’s good to adopt a sales methodology, they all have one thing in common: lots of other organizations ―including your direct competitors―are using the exact same methodology.
To differentiate your organization in a crowded marketplace, you have to customize, personalize, and make your sales methodology your own so you can woo customers with a uniquely compelling customer experience – resulting in more deals closed.
A great sales training program is built off a sales methodology that’s contextual and customized for your specific products and services. One that enables reps to ideally position the solutions you offer, helps develop the knowledge, skills, and behaviors that empower your reps to shine more brightly than competitors, and matches your culture.
We’re often asked, “Hey Unboxed, what’s your sales methodology?”
Well, we have frameworks to create custom sales methodologies for our clients, but whether we create one or start with your existing one, the answer is simple: our methodology is to take your methodology and contextualize it to transform your training from hu-hum to BAM!
2. What does your sales training program teach your reps?
Reps require knowledge and skills to sell successfully. They need specific, detailed information to explain how your products solve a customer’s issues and add value. Reps must also know how to qualify customers, build relationships, upsell, gain referrals and repeat sales. If your training achieves all of that, then you have a good program.
In addition to teaching knowledge and skills, a great sales training program also focuses on developing consistent behaviors that reps must master to position your products and services at the top of the market, making them irresistible to customers.
So, how do you take a knowledge- and skills-based training program to the next level?
At Unboxed, we start by partnering with our clients to identify the behaviors that drive success, then build training around those behaviors. PowerPoints won’t do here. Reps need to experience what these behaviors look like in action. We use simulations, choose-your-own adventure, and adaptive learning models so reps make a choice and then get to see the impact of their decisions, even if they’re incorrect.
By changing behaviors, you change overall results. Great sales training materials improve selling behaviors for your entire bench, driving increased sales and higher customer satisfaction.
3. What does your sales training program offer sales leaders?
Great sales managers aren’t born―they’re trained. They’re the pillars reps look to for guidance on closing critical deals. And, contrary to popular belief, when a top rep is promoted to sales manager, savvy management skills don’t magically materialize.
A coaching model supports the knowledge, skills, and behaviors your sales management and leadership team require to guide reps to the next level. They’ll learn to build their bench, set goals, develop strategy, understand drivers and drainers, evaluate ROI―and coach their team in developing these skills. Teaching managers how to foster increased sales productivity and efficiency improves the overall vitality of your sales organization.
4. How do you deliver your sales training program?
Modality of learning is key to making knowledge stick. In years past, that meant in-person training and stacks of binders. Today’s reps are more visually oriented, so videos and interactive technologies are a smarter way to engage them to maximize retention.
If you currently mix up the delivery of your training using PowerPoints, self-paced workbooks, and the occasional video, you have a good training delivery system.
But why not make it great?
Reps are busy. Lengthy training sessions lower their overall selling time. And don’t forget about the forgetting curve. But by using modern, on-demand modalities, reps can train anywhere, anytime. Delivering training in short, bite-sized chunks also makes it more digestible and easier to retain. (It’s called microlearning, and it’s great for sales training.)
Modern sales reps respond to modern training methods. They increase engagement and knowledge retention. So, while it’s good to have 25-minute videos and training every six months, it’s great to use more modern sales training techniques including eLearning (simulations, interactive learning guides, and high-fidelity training videos), social learning, and gamification that keep reps engaged.
Are you good, great, or in the middle?
If you answered “yes” to most of these questions, your organization likely has a good sales training program.
But what if parts of your program are good while other aspects are already great? In that case does your entire sales program need a complete overhaul, or does it just need a facelift to make it more modern and engaging?
Here’s the thing: transforming from good to great has tangible benefits for your sales team and sales leaders, but the overarching reason to revamp your sales training is to provide your customers with an extraordinary experience.
This begs one last question:
5. Does your sales training elevate the customer experience?
In our modern, crowded sales landscape, companies compete on the playing field of customer experience.
And while it’s good to deliver training that benefits your reps, it’s great if that training also elevates the customer experience.
When customers experience the wow-factor of customized, contextual product positioning from sales reps whose consistent behaviors focus on solving their individual challenges, it tips the balance in your organization’s favor.
By transforming your sales training program from good to great, you increase rep engagement, enhance management and leadership skills, and amp-up your customer experience to previously unimagined heights. Who wouldn’t choose great?
Here’s the complete infographic.
Want to Move from Good to Great?
At Unboxed, we specialize in creating custom sales training programs that help organizations transform from good to great, from mediocre to phenomenal, from off the shelf or “boxed” to, well … Unboxed.
Ready to kick it up a notch? Reach out. We’d love to talk sales training with you.
Tablets debuted in 2010, with Steve Jobs dubbing the original iPad “a magical and revolutionary device.” Many organizations quickly embraced the idea of using tablets for sales teams to benefit from the productivity-boosting aspects of these handy devices.
Within six months of launch, 65% of Fortune 100 companies deployed or piloted the original iPad. By 2012, Apple CEO Tim Cook said that 94% of the Fortune 500 and 75% of the Global 500 were either testing or deploying iPads for sales.
In an April 2015 Smart Selling Tools report, 45% of organizations polled were using tablets for their sales teams. Of the remaining 55%, 5% had interest but no budget, 33% responded “not in use,” and 12% were in process of evaluating or implementing an iPad or other tablet.
Here’s a breakdown of how those teams are using tablets for sales:
So, Why Tablets for Sales?
If your neighborhood bar and grill uses tablets so patrons can rock trivia night and place orders with a swipe, as an industry innovator, shouldn’t your sales reps have them?
Aberdeen asks the definitive question: is it wise to arm 21st century sales reps with pre-millennial tools?
Well, no. It’s not.
There are two major benefits to equipping your sales team with tablets:
- Boosting sales productivity
- Improving the customer experience
Let’s dive a little deeper.
Boosting Sales Productivity
It’s a fact: tablets increase sales rep productivity. How? By allowing them to make the most of the time they do have, getting new reps up to speed faster, and shortening the sales cycle.
When you save reps time spent on administrative tasks and searching for the right product info, they can devote more time to what they do best: selling. With a comprehensive mobile office at reps’ fingertips, 15 minutes of downtime between appointments becomes productive time for completing administrative tasks or even – gasp! – mobile training from the field. Yes, all of that is possible.
When you equip reps with tablets full of product info, presentation software, sales training, and the like, your new hires will have everything they need at their fingertips to learn quickly, gain confidence, and become productive sooner.
And of course, the ever-growing list of sales-specific apps for tablets ‒ CRMs, lead management, guided selling, proposals, digital signatures, etc. ‒ shortens the sales cycle, helping reps close streamlined deals in record time.
Improving the Customer Experience
In 2011, the “Year of the Tablet,” tablets revolutionized the purchasing experience. Weren’t you wowed during your first Apple Store purchase when the sales clerk swiped your credit card from his iPad? Remember that impressed-to-the-core feeling? Yeah, that feeling. Your company can leverage that to wow customers and clients.
Both sales reps and customers are drawn to the cool factor of using tablets for sales, setting the stage for exactly what you want in a sales conversation: reps and customers standing shoulder to shoulder, oohing and aahing at the stuff you sell.
Reps walking into a sales call with a tablet under their arms gain instant credibility. They’re on the cutting edge. Professional. In the know. Customers know they’ll gain access to scads of data at the swipe of a finger.
Aberdeen sums it up:
Customers expect a seamless experience. … They will not tolerate or respect a counterpart who is not enabled with the most up-to-date tools of their trade for fear that the offerings of the company behind that rep are not future-focused.
Bottom line: your customers expect your sales team to use tablets. That’s powerful.
Worse: not having them makes you suspect.
Great Tablets Demand Great Content
But don’t be fooled. The latest tablet is nothing without compelling content. When arming your reps with tablets, you also want to provide them with innovative apps and exceptional content to ensure that your marketing and sales messaging is consistent across the organization.
Think back to the launch of the iPod. Without iTunes and a library of rich content, the iPod was simply a block of plastic and metal with a fun click wheel. It was the marriage of great technology and great content that helped Apple revolutionize the way we consume music.
That’s the core of what we do at Unboxed. We pair great technology – like Unboxed Advisor, our sales enablement platform, and Spoke, our social learning platform – with rich content to keep sales teams and customers engaged.
Testimonials & Results
How about some real-world results?
Here’s what Anthem says about using tablets equipped with Unboxed Advisor to engage businesses purchasing health coverage.
Unlike PowerPoint, Advisor allows our sales team to be very nimble in their conversation with potential clients. It boils down our complicated product portfolio to something that is easily digestible without sacrificing messaging and the breadth of our product offering.
Likewise, Comcast used tablets with Unboxed Advisor to engage retail customers purchasing their home television, internet, phone, and home security packages. The ROI? A 60% increase in YOY sales, and a 40% increase in rep productivity. Read the case study to see for yourself.
Blazing the Trail
So, where can you turn when your organization is ready to start using tablets for sales? That’s where we come in. We’re fluent in all things tablet, and have been since we pioneered the use of tablets in retail stores back in 2008.
That’s right, in 2008 – before the iPad’s groundbreaking debut – we worked closely with Microsoft to develop a user-friendly interface that delivered product information, inventory data, and promotions to tablet-toting store associates. The results were compelling:
- Sales rep confidence, credibility, and versatility soared.
- Customers enjoyed a more consistent experience.
- New hires got up-to-speed faster.
In the 9 years since, we’ve used tablets to deliver smart, beautiful tools that equip and embolden sales forces. Customers oooh and aah; our clients reap the benefits.
So, what do you want your sales team to do with their tablets? Sell products? Complete training? Enhance your brand? Chances are we can help. Drop us a line, or give us a call.
What factor influences customers’ purchase decisions the most?
C. Customer experience
While price and product are good guesses, customer experience (CX) is quickly becoming the biggest influence on whether customers buy from you or a competitor. Gartner reports 89% of businesses plan to compete on the basis of CX. And by 2020, “customer experience is expected to overtake both price and product when it comes to differentiating a brand.”
But even though they see CX as critical to their success, sales reps are failing to deliver the experience their customers and prospects want.
This is where guided selling tools can help.
The (Broken) Circle of Trust
What’s the experience missing? Trust. In a survey of enterprises with more than $1B in revenue, Accenture found only 12% of sales executives believe their prospects and customers perceive them as trusted partners.
Without trust, sales don’t happen. Think about a time when you felt a sales rep was only out to meet their quota. Did you buy from them? You likely went with someone else whom you trusted had your best interests at heart. Someone who listened to your needs, educated you on your options, and helped you make the best decision for you, not their bottom line.
You’re not alone. According to the IDC, 50% of buyers say sales reps need to better understand the buyer’s need and objectives. And, ultimately, 1/3 of lost deals could’ve been won if the sales rep had been better informed and acted more client-oriented.
Guided Selling Tools & CX
So what is guided selling, and how can a guided selling tool help improve the customer experience? Guided selling helps sales teams gain customers’ and prospects’ trust and provide the genuine, personalized experience they’re looking for.
At their core, guided selling tools put humans, not quotas, first. Here are four ways that happens.
1. Understanding Customers’ Needs
Guided selling tools help reps understand the customer. The tool asks needs-based questions to engage customers and make the discovery process contextual and customer-centric. Sales reps can gather and record valuable insights about the customer’s lifestyle or background, their values and preferences, and their existing knowledge of a product or service category.
2. Educating Customers
A guided selling tool is more than a set of filters to drill down through features. For someone with expert-level knowledge, this kind of filtering system can work. But, more often than not, filters can be confusing and leave people frustrated. They don’t explain what something is or demonstrate its value.
Guided selling tools often weave in short educational modules, such as video demos or interactive tutorials, to help customers quickly and easily understand the differences between complex products and services.
3. Making Personalized Recommendations
The #1 thing sales reps can do to improve the buying experience? Put aside the generic pitch. Which is precisely what guided selling tools do. The tool not only records customer inputs, it analyzes what products and services best meet the customers’ needs and recommends the best solution based on what the customer shared.
Plus, there’s radical transparency about the value the solution provides. The recommendation is more than a what. It’s the why. Recommendation screens summarize what the customer said and show how different features relate to customer needs.
4. Giving Customers Control
All of these things culminate in a powerful feeling: control. Guided selling tools, in effect, put customers in the drivers’ seat. Their input is what drives how product or service options are narrowed down. They can explore and compare different solutions and immediately see the value a solution provides them.
Humans Buy from Humans
At the end of the day, you’re not in the sales business. You’re in the business of helping humans. Using a guided selling tool is your opportunity to show that you and your team are authentic, trustworthy humans to work with, which will only help your customer experience, and in effect your bottom line.
Meet Unboxed Advisor
Want to see guided selling in action? Check out Unboxed Advisor. Advisor has helped enterprise sales teams not only improve the customer experience, but also increase YOY sales by up to 60% and sales rep productivity by up to 40%.
Global internet technology company AppNexus was in need of a training overhaul that would help their clients get the most out of the powerful services they offer. In Unboxed Technology, they found a partner who could develop training solutions that would scale and adapt, even as their business changed or grew over time.
AppNexus is one of the world’s largest independent platforms for the buying and selling of internet-based advertising. With over 1,000 employees working in offices located in North America, Latin America, Europe, Asia and Australia, their customizable software solutions facilitate billions of ad sales every day.
As AppNexus expanded, so did the need to onboard new clients to their software platform in a scalable way. Their existing training was overly complex, time consuming and limited by their Services Team’s availability to provide in-person, one-on-one assistance.
In order to better onboard their customers, AppNexus needed a change. Their goal: an e-learning program that could be accessed from anywhere in the world, educate their clients on how to use their platform effectively and remain evergreen as AppNexus continued to grow. It also had to be easy to update, to account for any future changes to the e-commerce landscape.
We had a sense of the kind of e-learning that we wanted but needed an engaging, scalable solution.
“We had a sense of the kind of e-learning that we wanted but needed an engaging, scalable solution,” says Crossman Wilkins, AppNexus’ Lead Instructional Designer. After first attempting to resource the project internally, AppNexus quickly realized they required a partner if they wanted to build a comprehensive program within their desired timeframe. Ultimately, they chose Unboxed to design a solution that would fit.
Unboxed began the discovery process by attending in-person workshops at AppNexus’ corporate headquarters in New York. While there, they gained a better understanding of AppNexus’ business practices and the software console itself, which allowed them to recommend custom training solutions tailored to AppNexus’ unique needs and culture.
Unboxed also met with subject matter experts to identify common struggles with the platform. In doing so, they gained valuable insights into the areas in which AppNexus’ clients needed the most help, what kind of solution would be the most effective, and how best to share the training content. At the end of the process, Unboxed recommended a microlearning approach that would thoroughly and quickly educate AppNexus’ clients.
Unboxed allowed us to make an entire curriculum all at once, and at a better quality than I could make on my own.
Even at this early stage of their partnership with Unboxed, AppNexus was confident they had made the right choice. Through close collaboration, Unboxed and AppNexus were able to rapidly align on a strategy and move into development. “Unboxed allowed us to make an entire curriculum all at once,” Wilkins says, “and at a better quality than I could make on my own.”
The resulting training modules consisted of two-to-three minute, single-topic e-learnings that provided comprehensive training on the AppNexus console, while allowing AppNexus’ partners to customize their learning experience to their needs. This just-in-time approach gave each individual learner access to the exact information they need at any point in time. To keep the content easy to understand, the microlearning modules featured a shared iconography to help convey abstract concepts, while footage of the console itself provided step-by-step interface training. By taking the time to establish these conventions during the design process, Unboxed could rapidly create additional modules as AppNexus needed them.
This new training allowed AppNexus’ customers to familiarize themselves with their platform and understand its basic functionality. “Unboxed’s content is engaging and effective,” says Laurie Schnidman, Senior Director of Product Support & Customer Education for AppNexus’ Advertiser Technology Group. “We knew it would be a great fit for us.”
Unboxed’s content is engaging and effective. We knew it would be a great fit for us.
“It’s not a chore to watch the training we develop,” Wilkins added. “It’s engaging and drives to the core concepts we are teaching to.” And since the e-learning modules were designed with two-dimensional, customizable animation, they will be easy to update, a crucial feature in an industry where change is constant.
Since launching the first e-learning modules in June 2015, AppNexus has seen overwhelmingly positive feedback from customers, thanks to its ability to teach them the platform quickly from anywhere in the world. Customers use it. Customers love it.
“User growth has been impressive,” says Schnidman. “It’s been up and to the right since we launched.” Completion rates are at 70%, for training the company considers optional. Clients have singled out the program’s easy-to-understand content and high quality production value as high points. The head of performance at one AppNexus client said that for new members of his team, the e-learning is “a well-structured ‘pick up and go’ curriculum that allows first time users to get immersed in the AppNexus world with easy-to-understand e-learning videos and article content.”
85% said they found the content informative, and almost 80% said they were either likely or very likely to recommend the content to another learner.
… [our Services Team is] spending less time on basic training and more time on high-impact, strategic and technical consulting.
But some of the biggest advocates? AppNexus’ own Services Team. According to Schnidman, they are recommending it to customers on a regular basis, thanks to its ability to onboard customers faster than ever. “Anecdotally, they’re spending less time on basic training,” she says, “and more time on high-impact, strategic and technical consulting.”
Going forward, Unboxed will continue to develop new e-learning modules to expand the training curriculum and help learners get the most out of their partnership with AppNexus. “Unboxed has been a great partner in this project,” Wilkins said, “and the quality of the content continues to exceed our expectations.”