Companies spend a lot of money on sales kickoff meetings. They often drop $1,000-$2,000 a sales rep on the event alone. Add in travel and entertainment and that cost increases by at least $1,500-$2,000 per rep.

It’s no surprise then that companies seek a return on this investment. They want their SKOs to rally the troops around a new product, new pricing, new packaging, or a new sales process that’s going to make 2020 a massive success.

The problem is while SKOs are great for building excitement and initial momentum, they’re not so good at teaching and reinforcing new, long-lasting behaviors.

Imagine going to college for two days and expecting to learn everything you need to know for your degree. Then add bright lights, emotional speakers, a whirlwind of new information, and an array of food and drink. It’s a miracle you get out with the knowledge you need to immediately start executing on a big, new initiative.

Now consider the abysmal statistics for retaining what you were able to pick up. A whopping 85%-90% of training just floats away after only 120 days, sometimes sooner. Where does it go? Who knows.

So, you’re about to announce a major initiative at your SKO, and you 100% need your sales team to execute on it when it’s over. How do you make that happen?

You reinforce it.

Reinforcement ensures your sales team takes the things they learned at SKO and executes on them even after the event becomes a distant memory. Here’s how you can use Troops to create sales reinforcement that helps your team adopt the very behaviors they need to make your 2020 sales initiative a success.

Reinforce Your Sales Kickoff by Guiding Sales Behavior

Let’s say your company’s big initiative for 2020 is rolling out the MEDDPICC sales methodology. For this sales initiative to be a success, you need your SKO to energize your team around MEDDPICC. But, you also know that without reinforcement, you can expect your team to lose 87% of their training after the first 30 days, according to Neil Rackham.

Reinforcement helps your sales team carry over SKO training into their work by guiding them in real time on when they need to change or adopt a new behavior. For example, say a sales rep tries to move a deal into a new stage without meeting the necessary MEDDPICC criteria. Your reinforcement system would send that rep an alert prompting them to fill in the missing information.

In order to create a reinforcement system for your sales team, you need to:

1. Identify the behaviors you need your team to adopt

Start by identifying the new behaviors you need your sales team to adopt in order for your initiative to be a success. For example, if you’re rolling out the MEDDPICC methodology, you need to change the way your sales team thinks about, updates, and uses sales process.

2. Find opportunities for reinforcement

Then, think about what opportunities exist in your sales team’s workflow to remind your reps to make the right decisions at the right times.

In adopting MEDDPICC, for example, you want to identify the moments in your workflows when your sales reps need to remember MEDDPICC the most. One key moment would be immediately after a sales call, when the sales rep should update the CRM with the information they learned.

3. Involve sales managers and executive leadership

Your reinforcement process should also make it easy for sales managers to verify that sales reps are following the new process. For example, you can create a Slack notification that alerts a sales manager when a sales rep tries to move a deal to the next stage in the sales pipeline. By using an alert like this to inform managers at critical moments, you give them more opportunities to fix missteps and coach sales reps in real time.

The same goes for executive leadership. Your reinforcement should give execs more visibility into whether sales managers are coaching new behaviors effectively.

At Troops, for example, sales managers provide real-time feedback to sales reps in Slack. Because that feedback is out in the open and prompted by an alert, executives can see what coaching is happening and when. That information empowers them with the knowledge they need to improve an individual’s performance or tackle a team-wide issue.

4. Build your reinforcement system

Once you know which behaviors you want to reinforce and when, you can build your reinforcement system. This is where a tool like Troops becomes invaluable. With Troops, you can create automated alerts that prompt your sales reps in those critical moments, encouraging them to behave in the way you’d prefer (and reinforce those SKO learnings in the process).

How Troops Uses Contextual Alerts to Guide Sales Behavior

One of the biggest challenges in rolling out your MEDDPICC methodology is getting your sales reps to improve the quality of information they capture from sales conversations. Not only do they need to change the way they approach sales calls, but they also need to cogently distill what they learn into Salesforce and use that information to determine whether a deal is in the appropriate stage.

The problem is that’s a lot to change, and your sales reps would much rather spend their time anywhere but in the CRM. That’s where Troops comes in.

That’s why Troops uses automated, real-time Slack alerts to help you reinforce a complicated new initiative like MEDDPICC.

Instead of forcing sales reps into Salesforce, Troops alerts sales reps in Slack and allows them to update the CRM directly from Slack. What’s more, they prompt reps at those key moments when sales reps need to be thinking about MEDDPICC.

For example: You can create a Troops alert that tells sales reps about missing MEDDPICC information before they head into prospect calls or when they try to move a deal to a new stage. You can also prompt reps to record MEDDPICC information right after sales calls when they’re most likely to have something to update, and the information is fresh in their minds.

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Troops alerts notify sales reps that there’s missing MEDDPICC information when they try to move a deal to a new stage. This alert prompts the sales rep to update MEDDPICC data directly from Slack.

Why stop there? You can also craft Troops alerts that notify sales managers when their reps update MEDDPICC information. This helps managers make sure reps keep the information as detailed and quantifiable as possible while being proactive in addressing missteps.

What Makes Guiding Behavior with Troops Effective?

Guiding behavior isn’t just about prompting your sales reps when you want them to do something they normally wouldn’t. Effective reinforcement:

  • Uses your sales team’s existing tools to lower the training burden and make it easy for reps to change their behavior as needed
  • Fits intuitively within the existing sales process, prompting sales reps only when it makes sense to do so and when reps will get the most value from it
  • Is actionable and repeatable, so reps get into the habit of completing those new behaviors over time

Troops sales alerts take these qualities a step further by helping companies build reinforcement systems that are contextual, collaborative, and conversational.

Contextual

Troops alerts are highly contextual, surfacing the right information at the right time. This gives your sales team the information they need when they need it to make the right decisions.

Collaborative

Troops alerts happen in Slack, where everyone is already communicating and working. This makes it easy to send information and collaborate on a deal across teams. Cross-company alerts help when deals need more than a sales rep’s finesse.

Conversational

Instead of overloading sales reps and managers with data, Troops alerts pull the data you need and convey it in a way that makes sense. Instead of data, sales gets highly relevant, meaningful information that’s communicated in a way that’s easy to understand, collaborate, and act on.

4 Important Guiding Behavior Alerts You Can Use with Your Own Sales Team

There are a million different ways you can guide sales behaviors at your company. At Troops, we group the behaviors we most often guide into four categories: commit, coach, comply, and connect. These alerts work across the entire sales process, each reinforcing a set of sales behaviors that are critical for most sales teams.

Commit

Working in Salesforce can be tedious. It takes time to find the right account and field every time you need to update a close date or stage (especially if you’re behind and need to update several at once).

Commit alerts help sales teams quickly and easily manage:

  • Close dates
  • Amounts
  • Next steps
  • Opportunity stages
  • Forecast categories

By implementing commit alerts, you’re not only reminding sales reps to update crucial information as soon as they learn it, but you’re also giving them the opportunity to do it right there in Slack.

Commit alerts improve the quality and accuracy of the information in your CRM, and as a result, the accuracy of your sales forecasting. In fact, we’ve seen companies improve their sales forecasting by as much as 20% in only two months—all thanks to commit alerts.

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Commit alerts make it easy for sales reps to update key deal information, like close dates, from Slack. This alert gives reps the ability to quickly manage several accounts with overdue close dates.

Coach

Coach alerts give sales managers better visibility into how well sales reps are performing.

They notify managers when they need to:

  • Review a sales rep’s MEDDIC updates
  • Validate a deal’s stage move
  • Review success criteria when a deal moves to the Proof of Concept stage
  • Review negotiation documentation

These alerts help managers identify and correct missteps early, ensuring reps follow best practices and reinforcing the quality of the sales process information.
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Coach alerts give sales managers better visibility into whether their reps are following best practices and protocols. By seeing how sales reps handle information in real time, they can quickly follow up when there’s a problem.

Comply

Comply alerts tell you when there’s something wrong in your sales process. For example, you can create Troops alerts that:

  • Notify you when your deal’s close date is in the past
  • Tell you that your deal has been sitting in X stage for X days
  • Prompt you to enter much-needed information before moving a deal into a new stage

Compliance alerts help sales teams stay proactive. These alerts immediately notify the sales team whenever a deal is in danger of falling through due to inattention.

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Comply alerts give sales teams the information they need to be proactive in saving deals from disaster. This alert warns the sales rep that a deal is stuck in a stage and at risk of falling through the cracks.

Connect

Connect alerts notify people across or outside of your sales team about information they need to know.
For example, you can create Troops alerts that:

  • Automatically give a BDR credit for a new opportunity when a sales rep moves a deal to the next stage after a discovery call
  • Involve a sales engineer in gathering technical information for implementation as a deal closes

Connect alerts automatically distribute information that needs to flow from sales into other teams. By simplifying and speeding up this process, connect alerts ensure that everyone gets the information they need, the buyer’s journey is solid, and nobody’s dropping the ball.

You Need Both a Sales Kickoff and Reinforcement to Create Lasting Change

It’s easy to believe that an SKO, with all its thrills, is all you need to create meaningful change within your company. However, SKO and reinforcement go hand-in-hand. You can’t expect to succeed without both.

Your SKO jump-starts your new sales initiative, getting everyone excited and trained on what they need to execute going forward. Reinforcement takes over from there, ensuring that everyone actually adopts the behaviors they learned about at SKO.

Individual behaviors, compounded over dozens of sales reps and repeated hundred and thousands of times, make a huge difference in your sales initiative’s performance. By using contextual, real-time reinforcement to remind your sales reps to take the right action at the right time, you can push the needle on sales behaviors, making your sales initiative last long after SKO.

 

Join Our Webinar on January 29, 2020

Register for our webinar at 11 AM on January 29, 2020 to learn ways to ensure your reps are using and retaining what they learned at your SKO.

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Roque Versace

Written by Roque Versace