Olympic athletes and leading sales reps know the value of training. They invest in it heart and soul. Today we’ll share how Highspot is helping reps outperform the competition with training options mapped to the unique demands of your business.
In a recent survey of over 400 B2B sales reps, marketers, and sales enablement leaders, improving training was cited by over 60% as among the top five categories positively impacted by sales enablement. Sharing best practices was of nearly equal importance and just behind easy access to content and increased efficiency. This is inline with research from Aberdeen Group indicating that 54% of best-in-class sales leaders support standard sales training with additional sales education activities.
Customer conversations indicate the importance of sales training will only increase, and with it the need to dramatically improve how training gets done today.
For many reps, training has little appeal. Often considered a distraction, it is generally treated as a low priority. A chief reason is that legacy training systems have proven more frustrating than functional. This underwhelming track record has devalued many training strategies, leaving reps less prepared and competitive than they should be.
We are flipping sales training on its head by giving reps direct access to the content they need, when and where they need it. This is a tremendous advantage for sales leaders, who have long sought a better way to ensure reps have the training content required to win deals.
At Highspot, our sales enablement software delivers training options reps love. It makes sales content easy to act upon, positioning sales teams with training that’s in-context, easy to consume, and efficiently managed. For sales leaders, sales enablement pros, and the reps they support, it’s a win-win-win.
Here’s a snapshot of the primary training categories we consider especially relevant to sales and Highspot’s role as the catalyst for sales training content management:
Corporate training remains largely the domain of learning management system (LMS) software and, like other training categories, can be divided into two primary segments: 1.) onboarding, and 2.) ongoing.
Using an LMS, companies are able to share important historical and cultural information, policies, performance expectations, and other day-to-day essentials. This training (often classified as onboarding) is typically orchestrated by human resources and the majority is standardized at the company level.
Ongoing corporate training focuses on career-building skills such as how to present, manage, and lead teams, as well as standards of business conduct and other in-house procedures. It, too, is centrally organized, with testing, progress tracking, and performance analytics as key features.
LMS solutions fill an important niche for both onboarding and ongoing training. However, for optimizing the knowledge and effectiveness of your sales team, you’ll need a more up-to-date, flexible, and context-relevant alternative.
Training in Sales Excellence resides outside the sphere of corporate training and works best when unencumbered by LMS solutions. At Highspot, we think this category of sales training should be woven into the same content management system reps use to access every other piece of content vital to driving revenue. This is where the flexibility, ease of use, and analytics native to Highspot provide reps with key advantages.
From the fundamentals of selling to advanced strategies, technologies, and best practices, sales excellence content encompasses a wide range of topics crucial to reps. At an onboarding level, reps are instructed in how to target audiences, focus conversations, handle objections, conduct in-person meetings, follow-up, negotiate contracts, close deals, and other key tasks. The format of this content can vary from slide decks and documents to online presentations and more.
On an ongoing basis, reps are expected to remain attuned to new technologies, techniques, and tools influencing their markets. This content, also published in multiple formats, is of greatest use the nearer it is to where reps already allocate large portions of their day. (For example, a modern sales enablement platform.)
In summary, making sales excellence content available where reps can easily access it helps preserve selling time, streamline processes, and rapidly move teams up the learning curve. In our experience, the best place for this content is a platform like Highspot.
Product and Services Training centers on features, benefits, and results unique to what reps are selling. There are onboarding and ongoing stages of product and services training as well.
In this case the onboarding stage precedes launch, when reps are preparing to bring their product or service to market. Onboarding content is simultaneously strategic and tactical, with details ranging from positioning, messaging, and competitive differentiation to product or service specifications, benefits, goals, metrics, and the logistics of where creative assets and sales collateral can be found. It, too, must be well-organized and easily accessible if reps are to make the most of launch opportunities.
The ongoing stage consists of post-launch activities when sales training is updated for incremental product or service improvements or based upon changes in market conditions. This content, which often includes recent research, customer feedback, and performance results, is incredibly valuable to reps and is ideally maintained within arm’s reach.
With Highspot, the full suite of training content reps need for the entire buying cycle – from pre-launch to launch and beyond – can be available on the same platform, with update alerts included. Developing subject matter expertise, in addition to expanding discipline-specific knowledge, is all in a day’s work and a single login.
When considering the evolution of your sales training strategy, we recommend the following:
- In-context training. Just as sales reps need to be in front of customers, so too training content needs to be in front of reps. The best way to ensure this happens is for training content to be located where reps prefer to live. (Hint: it’s not in systems they access infrequently or under duress.)
- One platform for all your content, sales training included. Look for a platform where training content and the rest of your sales content are able to sit side-by-side. For example, sales content for a new widget should be near training content on the widget itself. Keeping product and services training content in close proximity to the rest of your sales content increases the likelihood such training will be consumed. It also provides convenient references for reps who might want to sharpen their knowledge or access training opportunistically.
- A platform with tangible benefits for publishers of training content, sales enablement leaders, and sales reps. Publishers (including sales leaders, HR, and others) want a straightforward process for uploading and updating training content; sales enablement leaders want a platform where they can organize, manage, share, and analyze the performance of sales content, training included; and reps want a platform that works for them, with no complicated or time-consuming gaps separating themselves from the content they need. Why not get everything in a single package?
Using Highspot, sales enablement leaders are able to effectively manage sales training content in multiple formats, classify it by category and purpose, make it available to target audiences, track engagement, and update it to suit recent market developments, strategies, and tactics. What’s more, Highspot allows reps to act on their training using the same platform they rely upon for the training itself. One platform for all your sales content has never been so compelling.
We realize sales training can be like stretching: an activity that’s too often overlooked despite its well-documented advantages. However, without a strategic approach to training and a platform for delivering it, the advantages reps seek and the selling time they need are wasted.
In the words of Henry Ford, “The only thing worse than training your employees and having them leave is not training them and having them stay.”
We agree. And we think the surest path to training success is via Highspot, the industry leader in sales enablement.
To learn more, reach out and request a demo. We’re always game to chat.