Microlearning: Marketing's Route to Revenue
by Jen Borgstrom, on Sep, 10, 2020
Much of marketing’s success hinges on the sales team’s success. Yes, it’s true. If marketing’s true value is contribution to revenue, the biggest bang is going to come from enabling your sales team to use your content and expertise to engage, build relationships with, and convert buyers into customers.
You can provide all the content you’d like to sales reps but getting them to use it successfully is not a given. Your sales reps need to be trained how to use content to achieve the outcomes they need to move deals forward. The same goes for promotions, bringing new products to market, and differentiating your company using consistent on-brand messaging.
The point is that the sales enablement resources provided must help reps consistently have valuable conversations with buyers. This requires continuous learning as your products evolve and buyer expectations change given shifting market conditions. There’s no better example than the environment we’re all living through today.
Where once, sales reps may have gained knowledge in overhearing the conversations their peers had with buyers and hallway conversations, with the shift to remote work and remote selling, that tribal knowledge transfer is challenged. Your company’s culture is different. The camaraderie is dispersed. This may be subtle, but it has an impact on how sellers learn, retain, and use knowledge they need to sell effectively.
Sales Training is Not Once and Done
You’re familiar with your company’s annual sales kickoff event. It’s a bit of a big “rah, rah” event with concentrated efforts on training reps in the latest methodology, your new products and this year’s go-to-market strategy. Several days of intensive training ensue and then reps are returned to their territories with the expectation that they’ll sell more faster.
Unfortunately, 84% of training content is forgotten within 30 days. What’s known is that ongoing training is imperative for reinforcement and activation of the principles presented in a big training event. Ongoing training helps reps make the transition from exposure to information and using that information in the field effectively. The fact that only 32% of companies say their sales training is effective is a strong indication that a new approach is needed.
This is where Microlearning comes in.
Microlearning Helps Marketers Make an Impact
While you may say that it’s out of scope for you to train sales reps, that’s only partly true. Skills development and sales methodology and process are clearly the realm of sales ops, but training doesn’t end there.
Think about where marketing excels:
- You know your buyers, their needs, and what experiences you’ve created that they engage in
- You know your products and why your buyers will care about the outcomes they enable
- You know the market landscape and your competitors and how your products are positioned
- You create the messaging that engages buyers and builds brand awareness
- You create the content that gets your company found and engaged with
You also know that all of this continuously changes and evolves. What you knew was effective last month or last year may not carry the same impact this year. This has never more true than today.
Let’s talk about how marketers can use what you excel at to create microlearning to enable your sales teams.
A Use Case to Drive Effective Use of Content
First, think about how many times a sales rep has come to you looking for content to use for a specific buying conversation or outreach email. Yet, that content exists. When you tell them, you likely get a blank stare. The equivalent of, “Oh, that’s what that content is for…”
Imagine instead, that when a buyer searches for content or a topic, product, buying stage, or persona in Media Manager, the content is surfaced along with a 2-minute video about how to use that content effectively.
You can cover a lot in two minutes. You can share the premise of the content, why the buyer will care, and the takeaways that the buyer will care about. You can add a couple of examples of conversational prompts to give reps the boost they need to take action – whether verbally or with email outreach.
Follow the video with a quiz to make sure the seller understood the important points. The analytics will show you the effectiveness of the just-in-time learning video, but the seller will also gain confidence that they know how to have a better conversation with the buyer.
A Use Case to Drive Relevant Conversations
A new buyer is now in charge of buying your products. The market has shifted and now the role your sales reps are interacting with is not the same role they’re used to. Their conversations aren’t as valuable as they used to be because this new buyer has a different perspective.
Create a slide deck with audio to reinforce the training given to introduce a new persona. Contrast the persona’s perspective against the persona your sales rep is used to engaging. Clarify the top three differences in what’s relevant to them. Provide a quick example of how they would present a popular product (or content asset) to this role to highlight how they should modify the dialogue. Remember to be brief and to the point. Three slides, tops, and three to five minutes long.
This scenario can also apply to a new competitor entering your market or a competitor that launches a new competitive product.
Microlearning is a Critical Reinforcement Tool for Sales Enablement
The point is that training reps once a year wont’ cut it. What is learned in a two-day intensive sales kick-off is inspiring but hard to put into play when reps get back to work. It sounds great! But hearing and doing are two different scenarios. It’s also important to note that some of the expertise marketers are uniquely qualified to provide to sales won’t be covered in traditional sales training.
Microlearning is meant to be on-demand learning that’s available just in the moment of need. It’s crisp and clean and clearly provides actionable tips about how to use or do something. Focus each Microlearning course on one thing (how to use a content asset, what a buyer persona cares about, the specifics of a promotion, an industry change, etc.).
As your reps have success with putting the learning into action and seeing better buyer engagement and having more conversations that move deals forward, they’ll be looking to you for more. Best of all, you’ll be able to prove the contribution of marketing and content to revenue.