Over the past 10 years, Red Hat, a global provider of open source software solutions, has undergone dramatic changes, including global expansion and multiple strategic acquisitions. In fact, a third of the sales team is new to the company within the last year. With such rapid growth and a largely new sales force, our senior sales leadership recognized that our corporate identity was in danger of becoming diluted and that if all the reps in the company were asked to tell the Red Hat story, we would have many different responses. With a geographically dispersed and growing sales force, we faced a common challenge among sales organizations: How could we increase message consistency and sales effectiveness without exorbitant expense or excessive time spent out of the field?
Understanding these challenges, our sales enablement and development team was tasked with finding a way to increase communication effectiveness, streamline onboarding and new product roll-out, improve collaboration across departments, and develop consistency in the delivery of the Red Hat value proposition. Gathering feedback from an employee satisfaction survey, we learned that our reps were hungry for more individual coaching and professional development. In order to provide a more personalized training experience, we decided a mobile-first and video-enabled sales training platform was the best fit for us.
A Recipe for Sales Success with Mobile Video
At Red Hat, we pride ourselves on being a meritocratic organization with an open company culture and little emphasis on hierarchy. When we approached the implementation of a new sales training platform, we wanted to stay true to this culture by making the new platform an option, not an edict. We started by having leaders in the company record a personal example of how they tell the Red Hat story, which we then shared with the wider sales team, asking reps to record and share their pitch in response. Within the first month, we gathered around 700 video submissions, which were shared, watched and re-watched thousands of times. This strategy has not only brought our corporate sales culture together, but it has also improved message consistency.
With this program model, we’ve been using video to facilitate better collaboration between product marketing and sales specialist teams around new product releases. Typically, reps only receive three hours of face-to-face training with the product team – not nearly enough to master the complexities of a new product. To expand upon this training time, we use the platform to assign pre-work in the form of short, compelling videos that the sales team must watch prior to instructor-led training. This approach has dramatically improved the dynamic of in-person training sessions, allowing for the use of valuable training techniques, such as increased focus on role-play, knowledge application and retention, and sharing best practices.
We’re also using mobile video to help improve collaboration between the sales and marketing teams. For example, when product marketing managers put together new product assets, they now create and share short videos with materials they propose to the entire sales team for point-in-time feedback. This two-way collaboration facilitates a conversation around new product launches that helps the teams sculpt the perfect pitch – one that everyone can get behind.
Finally, not only have we found mobile and video training tools to be a game-changer for day-to-day sales training activities, but we have also used them to augment our annual sales kick-off. Presenters were asked to practice and record themselves delivering their session in the platform, and then reviewers from across the organization and all over the world had the opportunity to review and provide feedback to the speakers prior to their presentations. This approach has resulted in better, more sales-centric content and enabled presenters to practice and fine-tune their delivery prior to live sales kick-off events.
The Future of Competent, Consultative Sellers
As the saying goes, practice makes perfect – and we’ve certainly seen the benefits of ample sales practice here at Red Hat. Within the first 45 days of rolling out our mobile video training program, we had over 19,000 total video views, and within the first year, we exceeded 32,000 video views. Our sales teams now have better global alignment and a more consistent message, our coaching conversations are at a level of quality we’ve never seen before, and, overall, our value proposition is clearer and more compelling than ever.
Attend Chelsea and Christen’s session at TICE 2018 this June to hear more about how Allego and Red Hat are enabling more confident, competent sellers.