Readers of this blog collectively will have sat through tens, if not hundreds of thousands of hours of product training in their sales and marketing careers.
Product management, marketing, sales enablement and training teams and are doing their best with their resources at hand to impart new product capabilities and unique solution value to the sales team tasked with selling the product/service.
The problem is that most traditional product training takes much longer than it should to get salespeople confident in selling the products and executing against sales plans in selling new products into new and existing accounts.
In my recent discussions with sales VP's, a common issue is effectively cross-selling new products into existing accounts.
In CSO Insights 2010 Sales Performance Optimization survey of 2800 Chief Sales Officers, 56% of respondents state that their ability to farm additional revenue from existing customers needed improvement. Only 6% of those surveyed exceeded expectations.
Why is introducing new products and cross selling them into existing accounts such a problem, and what can be done to reduce the ramp time in getting sell through? Ditto in getting recently acquired companies products sold through the existing sales team.
In a recent post Training 3200 to sell differently using a whiteboard, I described a recent training symposium, where a major technology company trained their global sales and support teams in just a few hours on a number of new products and on more effectively positioning their core value-add.
In certification workshops with the sales team several months later we have observed a high degree of proficiency in both using the whiteboard to tell the story and the quality of their engagement. Salespeople own now own the value creation message and can deliver it over any medium.
What is very different about the WhiteboardSelling Enablement approach vs. traditional product training is that during a typical four hour WhiteboardSelling Symposium, each salesperson will either see or give the whiteboard presentation up to 8 times.
In a traditional product training session, a salesperson will receive a PowerPoint product presentation from product management once - and probably a demonstration if it's deomnstrable, maybe an information packet or links to online resources. They may work though a case study or even a role play to understand the use case.
The approach WhiteboardSelling uses for enablement has a couple of very significant advantages over traditional product training.
1. Repetition is the mother of skill (it's a cliche, but it is true). When you see and give the presentation up to eight times in a short space of time, you will retain a lot more of the material.
2. Whiteboard storytelling captures the buyer's condition and when woven into a visual story, the cognitive style creates powerful retention in both presenter and audience.
3. Certification ensures that everyone on the team attains a required standard for confidently presenting the story and proficiently engaging through role-play with an executive audience. This is important when selling in a heavily regulated environments as it ensures consistency in delivery.
Cromenco System 3 image used in PowerPoint spoof slide C/- http://oldcomputers.net/