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Ad Sales Ops Folks: Don’t Fall Into The Sales Training Rollout Trap!

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  • By Garrett Houghton
  • 10.26.2018

How many of you have experienced this scenario? You recently introduced a new suite of ad products for your sales team to sell. These new products are top of mind for management. The sales department is buzzing with talk about them too.

And then comes the big day. You officially roll out the new products and train the sales team. Rah-rah – everyone is excited!

But for some reason, a few months after the roll out, the revenue numbers on the new products are falling flat. The sales team just does not seem to be making any traction.

Why is this happening? What’s wrong? You provided them terrific Go-To-Market materials, you prepared this training over the course of months with engaging knowledge experts across the company, you even added financial incentives for these new products. But the needle has not moved.

If this sounds familiar, you’ve likely fallen into the sales training rollout trap. This happens when you conflate sales training with enablement. And forget something that is equally as vital to a successful rollout — a continuous learning strategy.

A coordinated training rollout is important, and when done right, extremely effective. But, a rollout without a continuous learning strategy is like giving a lecture and study guide to a class of students five minutes before they take the test. Given this scenario, you know there will be very few “good” students that ace the test. Yet this happens in ads sales teams constantly.

So how do you avoid the sales training rollout trap? Think beyond simple knowledge transfer, materials and classroom education and develop a continuous learning strategy that meets the sales team in their workflow. Some examples of this could be the following:

1- In your CRM, add product tool tips that provide definitions and guidance on new products as your sales team creates deals in their pipeline. Now, every deal they create becomes a micro learning session on “The What, Why and How” of your new product strategy.

2- In your OMS, create product packages that incorporate new products in a strategic bundle with anchor products to simplify the product packaging strategy. Media planners now have one less thing to ask your ad product team when building media plans.

3- Automate alerts via Slack, email or wherever communication happens in your team that announces when a salesperson sells a new point product. This not only celebrates their victory but creates visibility and a resource for other sales people to learn how to repeat on that success.

4- Create an automated, centralized repository of successful new product pitches. I’m not talking about off the shelf Go-To-Market materials, but customized pitch decks that have won customers and brought in new revenue. Bonus points if you store this in your CRM, tie it back to real revenue and make it easily searchable.

5- Consider creating a blended learning strategy that includes bite-sized video tutorials on your new products. The sales team can pull these up on the fly for a refresher right before they walk into a meeting. Don’t focus solely on the “what” of the product but also the “process/method/technique” of selling the product as well.

This is by no means an exhaustive list. There are many more ways to develop a continuous sales learning strategy. But, by simply planning a continuous learning strategy that extends beyond your initial rollout, you will be able to ensure that your sales team has the resources they need, where they need them, to go out and do what they do best — sell.

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