Ask a Communicator: How Can Comms Help Sales Enablement

 In Comms Hacks

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“Ask a Communicator” is a new advice column from SocialChorus about internal communications. Got a question? Email us at marketing@socialchorus.com.

 

Dear SocialChorus: My sales team is rapidly growing and distributed across the entire nation. I’ve been having trouble keeping all salespeople up-to-date and informed. Can the SocialChorus platform help with this? 

A customer at FutureComms 2019 asked is this question.  And the short answer is: yes, a workforce communications platform can help keep salespeople informed—and it can also help them sell more effectively and earn more revenue, too. 

In this way, the SocialChorus platform can function as a sales enablement tool. Sales enablement involves effectively managing and tracking content, engagement analytics, and measuring the consumer journey. The foundation of sales enablement is to provide your sales team with what they need to successfully engage the buyer throughout the buying process. Many salespeople are out in the field; this can make it challenging for managers to reach the sales community and make sure that they have the right resources to do their jobs well. 

Salespeople are at a huge disadvantage when they cannot find the right product information or marketing content when they need it. A good sales enablement tool will have easily accessible information and a strong communication component. 

We introduced this customer to the team at Extreme Networks, which has rolled out SocialChorus as part of its sales enablement program and is using it to prove internal comms ROI. Extreme Networks wanted to ensure its sales team was equipped with relevant content to drive buyers through the sales process. The team was able to solve this with E360, a employee app hosted by SocialChorus. With three major acquisitions and now over 3,000 employees, it was critical for Extreme Networks employees to understand how they might be affected by upcoming changes. Extreme Networks and SocialChorus launched E360 to increase employee engagement, reach every worker, and streamline communication. The branded app quickly became integral to all sellers as the one-stop-shop to access everything the team needed to succeed in real-time.

Effective Communication Increases Engagement 

Extreme Networks VP Dan Dulac wanted to close the last mile communication gap with the sales community and increase employee engagement. According to a Gallup study, increases in employee engagement drive growth. Companies in the top quartile of engagement are 22% more productive, 20% higher sales, and 21% more profitability.

Effective communication is making sure that information is easily locatable, up-to-date, and contextual. In order for salespeople to have access to best practices, presentations, and training they need a tool that will readily give them access to the right information. 

If salespeople can find the resources they need using a simple app, they will spend less time looking for sales decks and more time focusing on following a sales process and winning deals.  Extreme Networks developed a content strategy to increase engagement. The team focused on making sure its content was: 

  • Easy to find 
  • Auctionable and useful 
  • Engaging and interesting to consume, view, and read 
  • Measurable 
  • Targeted and personalized 
  • Easy for employees to receive responses 
  • Credible and authentic 

As Dan is quick to point out, communication is bi-directional. It is not enough to send your messages out into the unknown. Employees should be interacting, commenting, and sharing their own experiences on your platform. Your strategy also needs to be scalable, which is easily accomplished with a branded app.

Video Drives Even Better Engagement 

With low email open rates, Extreme Networks knew it had to shake up its approach to content to increase engagement. Video is a highly effective form of communication. Studies have shown that viewers retain 95% of the message when they watch it in a video compared to 10% when reading it in text. Dan was able to leverage this statistic to engage his sellers since SocialChorus has video support.  

Ed Meyercord, Extreme Networks’ CEO, recorded a series of executive videos for E360 welcoming new employees to the organization. He recorded himself unscripted and unedited on his mobile phone and published it to the app. Employees loved the videos; they humanized the CEO and showed he cared for the company. The videos were also highly cost-effective as they didn’t involve a budget or a film crew. They had the added benefit of highly engaging the sales community. 

Company Mobile App

Extreme Networks launched E360 at its 2016 Sales Kickoff Conference. TOf the superstar salespeople that exceeded their 2018 fiscal year quotas, 59% were engaged on the platform, 35% were not engaged, and 6% were not registered. This hints at the incredible revenue benefits of effective communication. Engaging content keeps people coming back to the app for more resources and messages. Engaged salespeople are more likely to be highly productive and meet their targets. 

In-app Training Programs

Dan created an in-app training program, called Dojo. It features different colored “belt levels” that signal when a salesperson has advanced to the next stage of training. This is a unique way to leverage a branded app to help train an entire workforce. Dan initially faced some hesitancy when he asked his sales community to complete the training program. This was in part due to the fact that they believed that the program would take too long to complete. He discovered that he was only asking for 3% of their time per year to be devoted to learning on the app. Which amounted to an hour and 15 minutes per week. A branded app can be a holistic tool to provide your sales team with the knowledge and resources they need to succeed. 

Recap: Communication and Sales Enablement Are Connected

Sales enablement should focus on giving the tools, knowledge, processes to your sales community so they can be better salespeople. A workforce communication platform can help sales reps receive training videos, documents, or the latest sales deck on the device of their choice. A key component of your enablement strategy should focus on creating content that captures your audience. Effective communication can help increase employee engagement and in turn sales productivity. Here’s a recap of our top tips:

  • Create engaging content that  keeps sellers coming back
  • Leverage a branded app as a one-stop-shop for employees to get important  information
  • Make resources easy to locate and keep them up-to-date 
  • Use engagement to create more top sales performers 

Learn how effective internal communications improve employee engagement and increase revenues. Watch the full recording of the webinar with Dan Dulac of Extreme Networks.

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Connecting Communications to Business Outcomes: Key Takeaways from FutureComms 2019

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