Sales and learning readiness - a continuous perspective from Allego

Profile picture for user barb.mosher By Barb Mosher Zinck March 2, 2021
Summary:
Sales, Marketing and continuous learning - an Allego CRO perspective.

teaching

There are many sales enablement solutions available to choose from, and they all have unique selling points (and many of the same features). Allego, a learning and enablement platform, is one of these.

I recently talked with Chief Revenue Officer (CRO) George Donovan about the firm's focus on continuous learning and building a strong relationship between marketing and sales.Donovan has been Allego’s CRO since 2015 following a solid career in the sales field as well as nine years at Sandler Training, developer of sales and leadership training, which caught my eye when I was doing prep for our call:

I had a tech background before the sales training business, and then I had the live sales training business. Allego attracted me because it combined both. It started with sales training but in a technology form.

Allego started as a training solution for sales before expanding its offering to provide everything  salespeople need to support their work on a daily basis, he explains:

What does the salesperson need in their flow of work? What are they asking for? How do they collaborate with their peers, subject matter experts, management? We also, as corporate,  marketing, sales, learning, have the ability to push content out to them, training or collateral.

Pre-boarding new people

There’s a lot of functionality in the Allego platform. Some of the features that stand out to me include pre-boarding capabilties, marketing collaboration, virtual deal rooms, and the overall training approach.

When you start a new job, it can be daunting to come in and have to learn everything during the onboarding process. Allego provides pre-boarding capabilities that offer new salespeople content to review before they start their onboarding program. According to Donovan, this gives them a baseline of knowledge to help them adjust easier and use their onboarding time productively.

During onboarding, everything is recorded, from role plays through discussions to interactions with salespeople having access to those recordings later for reference. But it’s the “flash drills” that are interesting - essentially electronic flashcards sent to salespeople on their mobile devices to reinforce aspects of the training.

Supporting launches and rollouts of new sales processes

Most companies roll out new products or updates, change messaging, or create new pitch decks, as part of which they need to get all their people trained on these new things. With Allego, not only do salespeople get access to the material, but in an environment where they can collaborate with their peers on how to deliver it best. They can share ideas on what works and what doesn’t and they can record themselves practicing the new pitches to get feedback. It’s a continuous learning loop.

Giving context to content marketing

Two conflicting things make Marketing and Sales not get along. The first is Sales always asking where a piece of content is located; the other is Marketing wondering why Sales isn’t using that asset they put so much time and effort into developing.

Allego provides the storage component, a common feature of sales enablement platforms, but one that also provides Marketing with the ability to share a piece of content, provide context around that content and how to use it, and ask a subset of Sales for feedback. This collaboration ensures the content developed meets the needs of prospects that Sales are trying to reach before it’s rolled out to the entire sales team. There might be marketers (or indeed salespeople) that scoff at this idea - but I like it a lot.

Setting up virtual deal rooms

When you are in the middle of an opportunity and sharing lots of information, you can set up a virtual deal room to store that information and give the customer access. The deal room contains meeting recordings, demos, content assets, PowerPoint decks and more. Given that almost everything is done virtually today, the concept of a virtual deal room is critical to managing the relationship.

Coaching and collaboration

Younger salespeople crave feedback, Donovan believes. One way Allego enables that feedback is to have salespeople practice their pitches by recording them and getting feedback from their managers.

Then there is the game film, where real customer conversations are recorded so managers can see salespeople in action. Coaches provide feedback on these recordings to help salespeople improve. But equally important, Marketing can watch the recordings and hear the questions that are asked, enabling them to iterate on their content to meet the customers’ needs. Showpad provides something similar.

Training is not an event

For many companies, training is an event. It’s something you spend a day or two doing, then you go back to your job and (hopefully) apply all the things you learned. Donovan says that with Allego training is a daily activity, delivered to salespeople in bite-sized pieces regularly to help them improve on an ongoing basis:

It's a daily, weekly occurrence where you're learning new things. You're crowdsourcing information, you're hearing from your peers, you're watching win stories, lost stories, you're getting competitive information, updates through the platform. It's micro, it's bite-sized, but it's continuous and it's every day in the flow of work.

Sales is a team sport

Finally, Donovan contends:

Selling is definitely a team sport. Five or ten years ago, it was much more individualistic. Today, it's all about team selling, sharing, collaborating. If a sales team is not doing that, they're falling behind.

This is a very different perspective to what I’ve heard in the past, but it makes sense. It also rings true for some of the sales teams I’ve worked with - and it’s those teams who also build close relationships with Marketing.

My take

I’ve covered a lot of sales tech and talked to people in Sales who understand how their business has changed and how they need to change with it. It’s not only the shift to a more digital sales experience due to the pandemic that has caused the changes. It’s been happening for a while and the change will continue.

Marketing isn’t the only area where continuously adapting to customers is critical. Having the right sales technology helps a lot, but it’s the overall strategy and implementation of the sales strategy that is the most important.