In this episode of the Sales Gravy Podcast, Jeb Blount is joined by Sarah Browner, the Global Sales Enablement Manager at Adobe. If you are a sales leader, sales enablement professional, or training facilitator, you will want to tune in for their conversation about keeping learners engaged and using feedback to improve enablement initiatives.
As for salespeople, you’ll find out why it’s critical to continue advancing your skills and investing in yourself throughout your sales career.
Sales enablement is a critical investment for companies looking to increase sales.
Sales skills, particularly soft skills, are perishable and need to be continuously developed.
Taking advantage of free training opportunities is crucial for personal and professional development.
Learning is never wasted, and even reviewing familiar concepts can provide new perspectives.
Leaders and trainers should give learners options and ask for feedback to keep them engaged.
Meeting learners where they are means providing information in a modality that works best for them.
Increase Skills to Increase Sales
As part of Sarah’s role, she is responsible for curating enablement for over 2000 individual contributing sales reps for Adobe, globally. She either finds or creates the information that their sales reps need to perform their jobs more effectively.
Adobe, like hundreds of other companies that we work with at Sales Gravy, invest in sales enablement and training for one simple reason— to increase sales, sellers need to continually increase their skillset.
Why Invest In Sales Enablement?
Sales training and enablement isn’t just for new hires. Salespeople must not only master the basics and fundamentals of selling, but in order to see continued success and growth, it is crucial that they advance their skills— long after the onboarding process has concluded.
One of the frustrations that sales enablement leaders face is hearing dissent from salespeople who think they know everything and don’t need to learn more.
This way of thinking is dangerous. Sales as a profession is changing constantly, especially with the never-ending advances in technology.
To make your number and stay ahead, you need to be adept with these new technologies and always be looking for opportunities to expand your knowledge when it comes to your product, your competition, and the selling tools at your disposal.
There Is No Unused Learning
You might be instructed or advised to join a team-wide training session or read a book as part of a team book club. And you might think, “There’s nothing new here.”
The truth is, this cynicism is holding you back. Almost everything we learn, everything that’s presented to us, someone has already thought of.
The important part of taking in information, even if it’s something you knew already, is the chance to reconfigure your thinking. In sales, we apply the fundamental basics of how we interact with people, from soft skills to how we develop our products, to different contexts and circumstances.
Products, services, and software change, and we must learn to navigate those changes out of necessity. In training, you might learn a concept or hear a practical piece of advice you’ve heard before, but you can get a new perspective on existing knowledge because it’s presented or applied in a different context.
Learning is never wasted.
Never Turn Down Free Training
Your company likely provides training opportunities, so it’s wise to take advantage of them.
Workshops, even virtual ones, are delivered in a live format and watching a recording won’t provide the same benefit. Attending training sessions live or in person allows you to learn from your coworkers, share ideas, and expand your way of thinking.
Investing in your education and training is important, because it makes a difference. At Sales Gravy University, we have 30,000 users, most of whom work for small companies that typically don’t have a significant training budget.
These users are paying their way to get educated because they believe in the value of training.
If you work for a larger company that pays for training, it’s already provided for you.
It’s free, so why not take it?
Even when you’re looking for a new job and a potential employer asks, “What have you done to advance your career?” answering “nothing” because you haven’t taken advantage of available training opportunities seems like a waste of time and effort for everyone, especially in sales.
If you’re not improving, you’re wasting your time and effort. Passing on the opportunity to take company-provided training is self-destructive. So why not make the effort to improve yourself and your own personal bottom line?
Sales Skills Are Perishable
Investing in yourself is crucial because sales skills, especially soft skills, can deteriorate over time. Selling involves doing discovery, interacting with people, asking questions, dealing with rejection, handling objections, sales strategy, and adapting to change, all of which are perishable skills.
Bad habits can develop, and even subtle changes can have an impact. Most sales training is designed to help you get back to the basics. If you work for a company like Adobe, where innovation and software changes happen frequently, knowing their products inside and out is essential.
To effectively engage with your customers, you must be able to ask meaningful questions, understand what matters to them, and demonstrate how your solution aligns with their desired outcomes. Without knowledge of the product, your learning and expertise will be useless.
Even if you have a deep understanding of the product, if you are unable to communicate its value to others, your knowledge will be wasted. It’s essential to know how to effectively communicate the information to others, as that is ultimately your job.
How To Help Salespeople Develop The Right Learning Mindset
It’s the responsibility of sales leaders, trainers, and enablement professionals to help salespeople build and maintain an open mindset towards continuing their learning.
One of the best ways to approach this, especially for individuals who are particularly hesitant or even resistant to attending or participating in training, is by giving them options. Not everyone is going to have a naturally instilled drive to take every opportunity to learn something new and expand their skills.
Truly meeting learners where they are means giving them the information in a modality that is most conducive to their preferred learning style, whether it’s through a podcast, a book, or in-person training.
At scale, this could mean implementing a system where learners can subscribe to a class of their choosing, enroll, and stack and blend training in different ways. No matter how they want to consume the training, there’s something for everyone.
Leaders And Facilitators— Ask For Feedback!
To keep learners engaged in the classroom, they need to receive the kind of training and facilitation that works best for them. The only way to know what is working for some people and not working for others, is by asking for feedback.
You or your organization may already do this in the form of surveys and assessments. These are a couple of examples of feedback in practice. However, this might prompt mostly negative reactions and comments that aren’t necessarily productive.
If people don’t tell you what’s working for them, you won’t know. Instead of fielding complaints about why your salespeople “hate” being in training, studying materials, or taking assigned courses, ask them what they want to see more of. Ask learners what they like, or what their preferences are.
Perhaps the content is rich, but too overwhelming and they would like shorter, video-based content because they learn better visually.
Or for some learners, a workshop session would be more helpful for a chance to role play or ask questions in real time.
Take this feedback with a grain of salt, but by opening the door to feedback, you will discover whether you’re meeting your audience’s learning preferences, and if not— how to get there.
The innovative Sales Gravy University sales training platform gives on the go individuals and entire teams easy, affordable access to the world’s top sales trainers in both live and on-demand courses. Now you can learn how to win in sales anywhere, anytime, and on any device.
About the author
Jeb Blount is one of the most sought-after and transformative speakers in the world…