How to Get More from Your Customer and Partner Training

When it comes to scaling your business, customer and partner training should be at the forefront of your mind. Your company can have the greatest product or service around but it won’t matter if the learning curve is so steep that adoption is difficult.

Once upon a time, writing an absurdly large manual, coupled with a week-long, on-site seminar was the way customer and partner training was conducted. It doesn’t take a lot of imagination to easily understand why this method is ineffective, difficult to scale and prohibitively expensive. 

Providing adequate training for your partners and customers is the first line of defense against lost business and it has been shown time and time again to reduce churn. Today’s next-gen enterprises are taking new approaches to increase knowledge retention and cut down on the time it takes for customers and partners to become familiar with their product. Webinars, consulting sessions, and seminars are all popular choices but more and more companies are turning to Learning Management Systems (LMS). 

At first glance, these platforms may seem to have all the bells and whistles your organization needs but, in truth, an LMS may not always be the best fit for information that needs to be shared with an external audience. 

A Bit About Learning Management Systems (LMS)


LMS have a long history of being used for higher education and was built with students in mind, rather than customers. Most systems are designed to be used internally to deliver training modules to the users and while they do provide tracking and quizzing capabilities, it can make things for your customers difficult for a number of reasons. 

Your Customers Are Not Your Students

LMS was instrumental in bringing the offline college experience online and allowed instructors to digitize courses, course catalogs, and other instructor-led materials. But “time is money” and with ever-shortening attention spans, businesses no longer have the wherewithal to handle long, complicated training sessions before the product becomes useful to them. 

In an increasingly online world, people have turned to platforms like YouTube when they need to learn a new skill or want help with a certain product feature. Instead of wasting time to search for the appropriate training module, people can simply search for what they need, click to watch the content, and get on with their day. 

Long Implementation Times

Implementing an LMS at your organization comes with a significant investment in cost, time and potential disruption to your organization. Assuming you already have the resources available, an LMS can take 6-12 months to implement. You’ll have to account for:

  • Planning 
  • Project management
  • Configuration
  • Reporting
  • Systems integration

If you don’t already have content, curriculum structures, evaluations, assessments, and competencies available, you’ll need to spend extra time putting all that information together. Designing a course alone can take up to six weeks or longer, adding additional stress and down-time in your organization. 

Not only will you need to assign specific team members to take on extra work, but those people may end up wearing many different hats, which can lead to burnout and wear down engagement. It’s very likely that you may need to hire additional help, adding extra cost to the tab. 

Poor User Experience

Even if you do get through the implementation process with your LMS, there’s a high probability that your hurdles won’t end there. According to a study by Brandon Hall Group, only 33% of LMS users say they’re satisfied with their current system, and “poor user experience” is cited as the biggest reason why.

The problem is so widespread, it’s been estimated by Capterra that “as many as 80% of LMS implementations fail because leadership doesn’t make UX their top priority when evaluating systems.”

A few ways LMS usually comes up short in the user-experience area include:

  • Nightmare navigation
  • Lack of personalization
  • Inaccurate labeling and tagging
  • Annoying pop-ups
  • 15+ clicks before you can start learning
  • Video not supported natively
  • Complicated SCORM training requires multiple toolchains

Of all these UX issues, there is one, in particular, that should be singled out if you’re considering LMS for partner and customer training; There have been many reports of these platforms being difficult to update with new content, which means you’d be training customers and partners on outdated features and information. Ouch!

Subpar Mobile Experience

There’s no doubt that mobile devices touch every single part of our daily life. The average person spends 2 hours and 51 minutes per day on their mobile device. Since mobile has surpassed desktop as the primary way to access the internet and 89% of that time is spent on apps, it’s critical that your content be optimized for smartphones. If it’s not, your end-user experience will suffer and create additional barriers to adoption. 

Not only do many LMS lack dedicated mobile apps and browser compatibility, but there are plenty of vendors still using fixed and fluid mobile layouts instead of responsive ones which allow information to be wrapped and scaled based on a user’s screen size (Hot tip: if you’re reading this on your mobile device, you’re seeing an example of a responsive layout). 
What customers and partners need in an on-the-go, globally-connected world is the ability to access knowledge from their phone at a time that’s convenient for them. Mobile-optimized training allows content to be reached quickly and increases overall user satisfaction. 

Security Issues

Many traditional LMS systems require users to access training from a computer in the company’s office, and only on the company’s local network making this solution a logistical nightmare for anyone outside of your organization. Some content is exclusive to your partners, some is for the public. As such, it’s important that you can send information to certain individuals or groups using an access control feature–one many LMS don’t have.

Even if these systems allowed you to share information with your partners and customers, the chances that the information would be properly secured is pretty low.  High-profile data breaches and confidentiality leaks have become the new norm and many LMS lack even the most basic of security protocols. 

An example of this can be seen in the rise of videos in training: Many LMS vendors have antiquated support and are still using programs like Flash Player, which has major security flaws and can leave sensitive information more exposed to would-be attackers looking to exploit vulnerabilities. Definitely something you don’t want to risk at your organization.

Weak Analytics

In order to understand the impact your customer and partner training is having, robust analytics and reporting are essential. Most LMS are extremely limited in their ability to provide the insights leaders need: these systems might provide stats on quiz scores and number of users who completed a module, they don’t give you data that would help you understand:

  • What content is being accessed
  • When content is being accessed 
  • How often the content is accessed
  • Who is viewing it and for how long
  • Where additional training may be needed

Best Practices for Successful Partner and Customer Training


When you offer your partners and customers education, you’re empowering them to get the most out of your product. At the end of the day, Learning Management Systems are not designed for this use. You will be much happier if you find a solution that is focused on securely delivering training to external populations. 

When considering a customer and training program, there are a few steps and best practices you should follow:

Consider Your Strategy

Think clearly about the goals of your training program and who it’s meant to serve. You’ll want to begin by collecting information from different departments: Tap into your sales, marketing and customer service teams, as they’ll likely have some intel on common customer pain points and topics they’re interested in.

Establish KPIs

It’s all well and good to have a strategy for your training program, but you’ll also need to have a clear picture of what success looks like from an analytical perspective. Measurable goals will help you accurately evaluate your training program and keep the team on track.

Create Easily Consumed Content

Like many other functions in the business enterprise (we’re looking at you, marketing), content is king. But it’s not enough to just build the content, it also needs to be compelling and engaging. Be sure to:

  • Keep It Short: From course length to sentence structures, keep as much as you can brief and concise. 30 minutes should be the maximum amount of time it takes to get through a training section. If you’re able to, 3-5 minute “micro-learning” modules can be a great knowledge builder for customers who are constantly on-the-go or who are strapped for time. If you have a more complex topic to cover, consider breaking it down over several sessions.
     
  • Add a Human Element: Whether they’re accessing training from behind a computer or via their mobile device, your customers are still human. Write content like you would express it in a formal classroom session. Keep your sessions engaging by saying no to buzzwords and telling relevant stories or anecdotes.

  • Embrace Non-Traditional Content Types: According to Forrester Research, people are 75% more likely to watch a video than to read documents, emails, or web articles. And no wonder since the human brain processes video 60,000 times faster than it does text. Not only is this format more engaging for the end user, but retention levels rise to an impressive 65%.

“Non-traditional content” doesn’t need to stop at video, though. Many companies are also successfully using podcasts to engage their workforce, customers and partners. And since listening is more of a passive action than watching a video or reading, it’s much easier to do while multitasking or on-the-go

Choose Your Solution

The solution you choose can make or break the success of your customer and partner training. As mentioned, LMS isn’t a great solution for an external-facing program so you should look for something that allows you to:

  • Store content on an intuitive, interactive platform, rather than folder-based file storage
  • Decide whether content should be shared with one person or multiple people and set appropriate access controls
  • Share content securely, even if it’s outside of your organization
  • Support multiple types of text, video, slide, and podcasting modules in one place
  • Integrate the system seamlessly with your existing tech stack
  • Take advantage of robust security features like SSO and encryption in transit/at rest
  • Use advanced search capabilities
  • Access an extensive analytics suite 

CircleHD provides an all-in-one secure system that can centralize your internal resources, external customer training, and gated partner content on a singular platform. Not only does CircleHD grant you complete control over every piece of your training program, it also integrates with systems your company is likely already using such as Hubspot, Marketo, Google Analytics, and Salesforce. 

Help Everyone Get With the Program

Putting together an effective customer training program is easier when you get support from other parts of your organization. You’ve already brought other teams on board to provide intel in step one, so be sure to tap into those resources for further information.

Be sure to link your training to customers and partners when they are onboarding and add links in any and success emails. Your sales and support teams can also help you identify any problem areas, which you can use to develop new content. 

Measure Success

As with any organizational initiative, strategy should never be static. You should always be evolving to meet the needs of your audience and adjust your program to provide more value. A robust analytics suite will give you insight into what modules are most popular, what users may be struggling with and what features you may want to develop more content around. 

Using a strategic approach to training can keep your partners and customers on the same page and driving results is simple. By shrugging off LMS you open your enterprise up to creating a modern customer and partner enablement program that will help you improve your product, increase satisfaction, and grow your bottom line. 

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Do you want to learn how CircleHD can power up your enterprise with more effective partner and customer training? We’d love to hear from you


Hack Your Way to Better Sales Enablement with Podcasting

If you regularly listen to podcasts–you’re not alone. In the US alone, 62 million people report consuming podcast content every single week. The statistics surrounding podcasting’s meteoric rise are pretty astounding: listeners are downloading upwards of 1 billion episodes of content every month and in 2017, podcasting surpassed Twitter and LinkedIn in popularity–and companies are taking notice. 

In a time where workers are demanding more accessible leadership and transparent communication, employers are leveraging company podcasts to effectively reach their internal and remote workforce. It’s not just SMB’s getting in on the action, either: Major players like Trader Joe’s, GE, American Airlines, Goldman Sachs, Samsung, and even Walmart, have already implemented podcasting into their integrated communications plan. 

But this medium isn’t just effective for your internal comms, podcasting for sales enablement can also have a powerful effect on your team’s productivity and bottom line. 

Why Podcasting?

Between articles, videos, social media feeds, and endless blog posts, it’s pretty clear we’re living in a time of information overload. And that’s just in one’s personal life. Your team also likely has to contend with online chatter from email, office messengers like Slack, and other tools unique to your organization. Podcasting for sales is the perfect way to cut through some of that noise since listening is a passive action and requires less attention than reading or watching multimedia files. A recent survey showed that, of current podcast listeners, 64% listened in the car, 43% at the gym and 49% consumed content while walking. 

It’s pretty much a given that sales reps are strapped for time and are more remote than regular desk employees. This often means missing out on key meetings and information that would help them do their job more effectively. After all, the most successful sales teams are:

  • Aligned
  • Consistent
  • Informed and prepared about the competition
  • Up-to-date on the company’s most current products and services
  • Staying ahead of the curve when it comes to industry news and trends

Regardless of if your sales team is already checking those boxes, there is always room for improvement and growth. 

Ways to Use Podcasting for Sales Teams


Train and onboard new reps more effectively

The average sales rep turnover rate currently clocks in at 34% (yikes). Even more staggering: research suggests 1 in 10 companies experience rates exceeding 55% with an average “ramp up” time of 5.3 months until new reps are ready to strike out on their own. With all those people constantly coming and going, you (or someone on your team) is spending an inordinate amount of time training and onboarding, which not only takes a toll on productivity but also your bottom line.

62% of companies consider themselves ineffective at onboarding new sales hires. Why do companies struggle so much with onboarding? It’s usually a combination of the following: 

  • The existing onboarding process is slow and cumbersome
  • Training is done “on the fly” without much structure
  • There are no benchmarks in place to assess the readiness of a rep to “leave the nest”
  • There’s no formal measurement of onboarding efforts or results from those efforts
  • Companies set unrealistic hiring or quota expectations

There are tons of benefits to pre-recording training and onboarding materials and companies that use technology for sales training and onboarding are, on average, 57% more effective.

  • It’s an easy way to cut down on time spent repeating the same sessions Information
  • Training modules are easy to go back to for a knowledge refresh 
  • Modules are able to be accessed 24/7, on-the-go, from anywhere

Share winning stories

Sales reps are usually busy pursuing their own leads and managing their own opportunities. When someone on the sales team closes a deal, we may hear about the customer’s name, and the size of the sale, but we don’t learn the most important thing: how did we win this customer’s business? 

A podcast is an easy way to share a success story.  You don’t have to write a long email or be a good writer.  You just need to be able to speak which, consequently, salespeople are typically pretty good at.

Even a short, three-minute chat detailing how a particular opportunity was won can be massively helpful to the team. They’ll likely want to know:

  • How did the sale begin?
  • What were the customer’s key needs?
  • What features were most important to them?
  • Were they considering competitors? If so, which ones.
  • How was the pricing discussion handled? (I.e.– were discounts required, etc)

Making this kind of podcast is as easy as clicking the Record button in your podcasting platform and talking into your computer.  When you’ve finished recording, you can share the podcast as a link by email.  

Unsurprisingly, 64% of podcast listeners tune in while driving, 43% at the gym and 49% consumed content while walking. Whether commuting by train, plane, or car to appointments a podcast platform that offers a mobile app will allow everyone to listen whenever they want through their mobile phones.

Motivational talks

Leaders have long used pep talks to inspire teams.  One of the most famous motivational speeches came from Knute Rockne, the football coach at Notre Dame in the 1920s.

At halftime during a 1928 game against Army, with the score tied, Coach Rockne gave an emotional, heartfelt talk about a former Notre Dame player, George Gipp, who died in 1920 at just 25 years of age. Rockne implored the team to “win just one for the Gipper.”  The team responded with two touchdowns in the second half and won the game 12-6.

Of course, you don’t have to be the football coach of an NCAA Division I school to give a great pep talk.  Sales managers can draw on their own stories of challenges and successes to give their teams a boost or they can upload to a podcast platform any number of motivational talks that are publicly available.

Here are a few we like to get your podcast library started:

Of course, leadership is responsible for team morale and being an inspiration to your sales team is fundamental to boosting productivity. If you want to create your own quick, easy motivational content, try uploading these types of “snackable” content pieces to your podcast platform:

  • Daily intentions 
  • Virtual high-fives to team members performing especially well or who closed a particular deal 
  • Quote of the day and what it means to you 
  • A brief overview of industry trends or news pieces affecting the day and how your team can use them to their advantage

Elevate recognition strategies

Recognition is an integral part of most sales programs. In fact, researchers have found that public displays of appreciation can often be more motivating than salary. After all, you want to ensure your best salespeople are being acknowledged for their contributions and successes. Podcasting can be a wonderful tool for giving kudos to your best performers and encouraging them to share what tactics worked best to close the deal. 

Gamification has also been a hugely successful tactic commonly used to boost reps motivation, which ends up have some pretty great benefits for your bottom line. It’s a great way to tap into the competitive spirit of your reps and encourage them to play-to-win. Try following up podcast content with some quizzes for knowledge retention and incentivize listening with prizes for the best scores (Hot tip: CircleHD’s podcasting solution has a leaderboard you can make public, which can show which team members are coming out on top). 

Get everyone on the same page

Did you know?: A recent study of 1,100 employees found that remote employees often feel shunned and left out. Since sales reps are often in the field, meeting with clients and prospects to build relationships, they may miss out on the day-to-day meetings and interactions taking place at your company. Podcasts can build a bridge and make them feel like a more integral part of the team. By allowing your field reps to access content at a time that is convenient for them, you create a feeling of inclusion at the company, allowing them to refer to key information even if they’re not in the office. 

Build stronger executive-employee relations

We live in a time where employees expect more from their leaders. Podcasting provides a unique opportunity for companies to address one of the biggest challenges in the workplace: employee engagement. For C-suite executives, managers and HR leaders who are often viewed as uncaring, podcasting provides an opportunity to humanize the communication pipeline. This can lead to better company culture and workplace relationships and provide an easy way to deliver company news.

Research shows organizations with a thriving workplace culture tend to grow significantly faster than peers and there are many content ideas your leaders can activate to create an engaging listening experience for the audience:

  • Q&A Sessions 
  • Interviews with key stakeholders 
  • Fireside chats between leaders and team members 
  • Sharing company news and successes 
  • Spotlights on specific products or offerings 
  • Episodes about industry trends or with other industry leaders 
  • “Making the company” talks about the origins of the company


Key Things to Consider 

It’s clear that podcasting isn’t going away anytime soon—so it’s time for companies to explore this as a new way to scale overall business growth. As with any new enterprise solution, leaders should consider a few things when it comes time to implement a podcast for your sales team:

Security

It’s likely sensitive information and trade secrets will be mentioned in podcasts. You’ll want to make sure whatever platform you use has enterprise-level encryption and security protocols so nothing gets leaked.

Ease of Use

Getting started with podcasting doesn’t have to require sophisticated setups, complicated equipment, or a sharp learning curve. Platforms like CircleHD allow teams to record natively from their desktop or mobile, so you can spend more time focusing elsewhere.

How You Will Measure Success

As with any other communication initiative, you’ll want a concrete way to measure success. This checklist will give you some insights into what metrics should be a priority when determining the success of your podcasting efforts.

Putting together an internal podcast for your sales team that is engaging and boosts productivity is easier than it sounds and has a multitude of benefits. CircleHD provides a feature-rich podcasting platform, ready for next-generation enterprises that need mobility and security for employee engagement and learning. No matter how you rate your team’s communication, there’s always room for improvement. Internal podcasting can help organizations with initiatives like company messaging, culture building, learning and development, training, onboarding, and more. Since listening is more of a passive action, it can be less of a burden for your workforce than reading or watching videos. Not sure where to begin? Download our checklist.


7 Tips for Starting a Successful Corporate Podcast

As online chatter becomes louder due to technological advancements, it’s becoming more difficult to engage with your employees. If you’re looking for an innovative way to cut through the noise, you may want to consider implementing a corporate podcast as your organization. This medium is great for showcasing company news and culture, which humanizes corporate communications, making team interactions more engaging and friendly. Since listening is more of a passive action, it can be less of a burden for your workforce than reading or watching videos.

The stats are in: 70% of Americans are already aware of what podcasts are. It doesn’t mean they are all listening, rather, they’re aware of the medium. What’s more interesting is that 39% of small and medium-sized business owners are podcast listeners, with 72% reporting that their employees also listen to podcasts. 

If your company is thinking about implementing a corporate podcast, it can be difficult to know where to start or how to get everyone on board. In order to build a successful podcast that gains a community of supporters at your enterprise, follow these steps:

Plan 

The old adage is true: “The more you prepare, the less you bleed in battle.” Click To Tweet

When it comes to implementing anything at your organization, the strategy is key. This is the most important step when it comes to launching any corporate podcast. Start by getting your team together to define a purpose, an audience, and a goal. Then revise it at least three times to make sure you get buy-in from all members involved in the process. Don’t be discouraged if there are a lot of ideas that come out. A shortlist should be sufficient to help you narrow the focus of your content.

The next step in the planning process will be the find a podcast hosting service. A simple Google search can help you find some options, but it’s important to choose one that caters to enterprise users. Since you’ll likely need security for your internal communications, you may need to evaluate several to meet your budget and needs. 

During the evaluation process, you should ask yourself:

  • How many podcasts and episodes you plan to have 
  • When you plan to launch
  • Where employees will be listening: Are they all in your HQ or will they be listening on mobile devices in various locales, i.e. airplanes, on the road, etc.? 
  • How secure your content needs to be: Most enterprises have security needs and compliance requirements to protect the privacy of sensitive information
  • Who the podcast will need to be accessible to. Some may be targeted to a specific department audience while others might be suitable for everyone

Prepare Your Content

It takes time to create good content so when you go live, we recommend having at least five episodes in your backlog. 

Stuck on topics? Your internal staff can be a great source of inspiration. Start at the top and reach out to your CEO or department heads to find out if there is anything they’d like to communicate or if there are any industry trends they think teams should be aware of. Podcasting humanizes the leadership team and is a great way to bridge the communication gap between management and employees. 

Another great source to tap for content is your company’s all-hands meetings. You may have a distributed team, remote workers, and even sales teams out in the field. This can make it tricky for everyone to dial into calls due to other priorities or conflicting time zones. By recording the information and uploading it to your company podcast, workers are able to access the information at any time, from anywhere. 

Here are a few other content ideas to get you started (Hot tip: make something exclusive to each episode in order to keep people tuning in):

  • Training videos with good-quality audio
  • Corporate webinars
  • Brown bags
  • Team demos
  • Weekly department calls
  • Product launches
  • Announcements

Be sure to also consider internal and external resources for your podcast. There may be some thought leaders and subject-matter experts who’d be willing to be featured. Bonus if some of these guests come from within your own organization.

How long should an episode be?

It depends on your situation. Keeping episodes under 30 minutes is a good idea when starting out. Always leave room for improvement and experimentation, since strategy should never be set in stone. As the community shows more interest, you can use analytics to determine if your audience prefers longer or shorter run times. Content may also dictate how long an installment might be. 

Announce

It’s essential in this process to let employees know about your podcast and where to find it. Be clear about whether they will have to subscribe to an RSS feed or download an app that lets them listen to content on-the-go. If your company has an internal forum like Slack or Microsoft Teams, this is a great place to post about new and upcoming content. 

Give It Some Time

The success of a podcast is dependent on many factors, time being the most crucial one. Most enterprises will not have a shortage of topics and listeners, but you’ll need time and patience for adoption to happen. The key is to keep the content consistent and fresh.

Fuel the Engagement With Rewards

Regardless of the podcasting efforts, rewarding engaged team members is always a good idea. Your employees may already be experiencing “tools overload”, so tuning in to another platform may feel overwhelming for them. Encourage listening and engagement by using follow up quizzes for knowledge retention and incentivize listening with prizes for the best scores. Remember, rewards are not a substitute for quality content, but can assist in getting your company on board. 

Measuring Success

You can’t improve what you can’t measure. You should have a system in place to monitor how your employees are engaging with corporate podcast content. Ensure they’re able to access it in a user-friendly manner, regardless of where they are. They should also have a channel to voice feedback or suggestions.

When it comes to determining what success for your podcast looks like, download count isn’t the only metric to judge by. Here are a few other KPI’s to consider: Click To Tweet
  • Number of episodes listened per week
  • Number of episodes listened per employee
  • Top episodes for a given timeframe
  • The average percent of engagement per episode rolled up by a given timeframe

Make It a Team Effort

Rome wasn’t built in a day and, likewise, it’s very difficult to run a podcast by yourself. Your team will be the first evangelizers of your corporate podcast content and your greatest influencers when it comes to company-wide adoption. Don’t hesitate to collaborate and seek out ideas from them. Anyone in the company should want to be a part of it and leadership should encourage participation.

Bonus: Don’t Forget About Accessibility

When it comes to great content, you want to be sure it’s accessible to as many people in your organization as possible, that includes those with disabilities. Be sure your recordings are broadcast safe so the peak signal levels don’t exceed the nominal level by more than +10 dB. 

Additionally, while the audio is a great medium, it’s not always able to be heard by everyone. So it’s important to have an option that doesn’t solely rely on hearing. Consider transcribing the talks into text or making a video with closed captioning. An enterprise podcast hosting service like CircleHD allows you to host both video and podcast content and can automatically transcribe spoken words into text with closed captioning. This allows you to spend more time creating great content while the platform takes care of the rest.

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Want to learn more about podcasting? We’d love to hear from you and tell you more about how CircleHD can assist with implementing your own corporate podcasting strategy. Contact us today. 


Sales Enablement Tools Can Help You Train Your Team Faster

Sales enablement solutions are changing the sales operation landscape. Legacy, old-school learning systems are not user-friendly, and consumer-grade solutions don’t offer important security and access controls needed by enterprises. To create and maintain a well-trained sales team, companies need to explore ways to improve their onboarding, training, and information-sharing capabilities.

Today, a best-practice sales enablement platform should provide you with the ability to upload and intelligently organize video content, and to record training videos in a few clicks.

An enablement solution should make it easy for all team members to share content with each other, and with external partners. By design, these tools should be open, collaborative, and secure.

What is Sales Enablement?

Sales enablement is the implementation of technology to make the onboarding and training of sales teams more efficient and productive. Using a modern platform will allow sales teams to sell with far more skill, and maintains all relevant sales collateral in an organized, shareable portal.

Discover the Benefits of Sales Enablement

From small businesses to Fortune 500 enterprises, sales enablement solutions help streamline the on-boarding process and speed up new-hire training. These solutions empower companies to communicate their processes and procedures and share company updates faster.

1. 24/7 Training Availability

Because sales professionals are in constant motion, it can be difficult to get the entire team together for training, updates, and reporting. By contrast, creating videos and uploading them to a central location allows team members to view training content when they can give the material their full attention.

2. Faster, Higher Quality Onboarding Of New Hires

A sales enablement platform gives you the most effective solution for efficient, high-quality training. Training new team members, one at a time, in an ad hoc manner is not efficient. Asking salespeople to read one-dimensional training documents is a low-quality learning experience when compared with videos and slide presentations that combine graphics with audio explanations.

3. Keep Company Information Current

Whether there’s a change in business operations, changes to CRM software, product updates, and pricing changes, employees should be given an overview and some training.

The most efficient way to communicate these changes is to create instructional videos that can be uploaded and shared with the entire team; that remains available 24/7, and that can be accessed through any device.

Sales Enablement Manager

The Sales Enablement Manager plays a critical role by providing dedicated support to the team’s success. This person typically has prior experience with highly-technical and complex sales in the enterprise space. They optimize the sales process, create amazing sales playbooks, manage certifications, and drive revenue campaigns. This person should be adept at working with prospects as they are with working with customers.

WHAT’S THE Difference between A Sales Enablement Manager and Sales Ops Manager?

At smaller organizations, these roles may be interchangeable. But when a company is in “growth mode”, the Sales Ops Manager carries out many of the administrative and operational tasks required to run a sales organization. By contrast, a Sales Enablement Manager may be focused on accelerating the sales team’s productivity and efficiency, implementing processes and guidelines for aligned teams.

How Can Enablement Affect Your Business?

Sales enablement is the easiest way to train your sales team and keep them up to date. Creating videos for your team to watch and reference again as needed will provide them with the best opportunity to succeed in their roles. 

Learn more about video enablement and how adding it to your sales enablement playbook will significantly improve sales team efficiency.


How Can Managers Increase Employee Retention?

When it comes to employee retention, nothing is more important than a good manager. In fact, it’s often noted that workers don’t change companies, they change managers. This trend is applicable across almost all industries, too.

Take, for example, Google, which is already a pretty unconventional company. But it seems that was intentional, as founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin laid out in their founder’s letter.

Truly world changes come from visionary leaders like Larry and Sergey.

Managers reflect your company’s culture and are often the first line of defense when it comes to determining a team’s success. That’s why it’s so imperative that you focus on developing the leadership skills of your managerial team.

So what skills make a manager effective? At Google, it seems they tend to focus on the “3 C’s”:

Coaching

This one was obvious. Managers who can coach produce the most effective and successful teams.

Communication

Whether verbal or non-verbal modes, this skill is key to ensure teams are aligned and able to move forward.

Collaboration

There’s been much ado about collaboration over the last few years: and it’s no wonder. When managers bring teams and workers together, they are able to increase output and problem-solving while also increasing employee happiness. That means your best team performers will stick around longer, boosting your employee retention rates. Read more about measuring business impact due to employee collaboration.

Read more at Inc.com


Common Enterprise Video Learning and Adoption Myths

It’s no secret that many people turn to video learning when trying to acquire a new skill. In fact, on Youtube alone, 1 million learning-related videos are uploaded and accessed 500 million times every day.

Enterprises often explore the possibility of implementing this format for their own corporate training but persistent myths surrounding video learning make some offices apprehensive about the technology. Many of these arguments were formulated before the development of advanced equipment and the video online support that we have now. Let’s bust these one-by-one.

“Video is Too Expensive”

Back in the days when shooting a video required big, heavy, very costly equipment that only video experts know how to use, this was true. Now, there are endless options for video recording and playback options, thanks to advances in modern technology. Smartphones have become powerful enough to create edit, and broadcast high-quality video content.

“My Team Won’t Be As Engaged If We Use Video Learning”

It’s a common misconception that video learning promoted individualism over group learning, something that has been addressed by online platforms by offering video conferencing and interactive webinars. Now, learners don’t have to miss out on opportunities to learn from colleagues, while also collaborating and building social connections with each other. By platforms like CircleHD take this one step further by enabling further engagement through quizzes and other knowledge checks in video content.

“Video Won’t Allow Me to Control the Pace of Learning”

The idea that learning with videos is fast-paced may have come from the fact that visuals are processed 60,000 times faster compared to plain text. Content paired up with images is also easier to remember because information goes straight to the long-term memory. Video courses allow employees to access the content at their own time and go through lessons at their own pace. They can pause the video and even playback a section as many times as they need to fully understand the lesson.

“Video Takes Up Too Much Bandwidth”

Many enterprises are concerned whether their internal networks will be able to handle the bandwidth requirement of video courses. There are concerns about the videos causing networks to slow down and get saturated. Truth is, it will take a thousand simultaneous views to cause problems to a network segment. Uploading video content to the internet requires compression which makes it easily accessible even by the lower bit rate wireless connections.

At CircleHD, we understand how video learning can help you achieve your employee learning and development goals. We help set up your system so that video content is easily uploaded, shared and streamed by anyone within your organization. Videos are searchable and accessible even on mobile devices. Book a demo with us and we will show you how video learning can transform your employee training for good.


Using Video Role-Playing for More Effective Sales Training

This bit of military wisdom not only applies to actual war, but to business as well. In any endeavor, proper preparation and training are the keys to success. And in the cutthroat battlefield that is sales and marketing, the more prepared and trained your sales and marketing representatives are, the more money they make. And of all the myriad methods of training available today, nothing is perhaps more under-utilized or maligned than role-playing.

“The more you sweat in training, the less you bleed in combat.”

Sales training utilizing role-playing techniques – when done the right way – is one of the most effective methods of preparing your staff for any situation and any customer. Properly conducted role-playing sessions can sharpen your staff’s skills and significantly increase your sales volume. In particular, video role-playing combines the effectivity of actual role-play with the reliability, knowledge-retention appeal and reusability that is inherent in pre-recorded video learning material.

Introduction and the “Swiss Army Knife” Video

Most potential sales situations will involve customers who have at least a mild interest in availing of your products and services but need that last push of persuasion to see the value in your offerings and convince them to finally open up their wallet. In most such cases, a well-scripted “swiss army knife” role-play video that depicts the “usual customer” that will enable your staff to practice the knowledge they have learned in your onboarding resources is a good way to kick off learning using video role-playing.

Situational Videos and “Leveling Up”

Aside from the “general role-playing training”, you can also utilize video solutions for specific situations, using your staff’s innate skills, characteristics and quirks to emulate such customers or situations. Perhaps, one or two of your team members excel at being bitchy or irate? How about another team member who’s a stickler for the smallest of details? Another one may be the lawyer-type who loves using his or her opponent’s arguments against them. Still, another one may be an expert on “non-commitment”. All of these situations can be captured and stored on video for repeated training sessions. And once all these initial scenarios become “easy mode” for all your staff, you can tell them to construct more difficult scenarios to role-play and learn from. This way, everybody improves and your staff actually develops the sense of anticipating the most difficult scenarios possible in every encounter. Subsequently, everyone will be prepared to deal with even the most nightmarish of situations, quite possibly turning a losing encounter into a buzzer-beating sales victory!

Critique Role-Playing Videos

Evaluating a live sales training role-playing session right after it finishes is a good way to learn. But people are bound to miss some of the details that can sometimes make-or-break the sales pitch. One of the major advantages of video-recorded role-playing training is that they can be repeatedly evaluated by you and your staff down to the smallest of details to pick out which areas to improve. This is similar to how pro sports teams go through film sessions of past games (and even of opponents’ games) to get every possible advantage in future match-ups.

Importantly, the goal of the critique should not be punishment, shaming or calling out “bad” performances. Rather, it must be seen as a way to improve your performance by trying to improve the – as sports coaches love to call them – “little things that matter”. After all, business is a professional sport in its own right, and to become a champion you need to be the best.

Centralize, Organize and Share the Wealth

A centralized platform, like CircleHD, enables content creators, corporate executives and managers to make all their video solutions readily available and accessible in an organized manner, within a secure digital environment. This means that all of your sales training role-playing videos can be just one click away anytime and from almost anywhere.

Schedule a demo with us now and unlock your sales team’s potential with the power of video platforms.


3 Key Factors to Consider When Computing Your Intranet Cost

It is not easy to determine the exact cost of setting up an intranet system for your business. It is not as simple as comparing the cost of your system to that of your close competitor. Each business is unique. So are their intranet systems. Here are a few important factors that you need to explore when determining the cost of your intranet project.

What do you need from your intranet system?

Before starting an intranet project, you should be clear on what you’re trying to achieve. What needs and issues are you trying to resolve? How can your intranet provide the solutions to these concerns? A system purely for internal communications is less expensive than something that integrates all functions across all departments. Each situation is unique that is why it is extremely important to determine your intranet requirements. Ask everyone who will be using the system about their needs and suggestions. This process will also help you avoid spending for a feature that you’ll end up not using. 

How far are you willing to customize?

There are a lot of options when trying to set up an intranet solution for your company’s specific needs. Will your hosting be on premise or cloud-based? Are you using your own resources to build your own system or are you purchasing out-of-the-box solutions? Unique requirements often require highly-specialized solutions that would cost you more. Decide whether you really need these customizations or you can find other applications that provide better solutions.

Anticipate unexpected complications that will add to your cost

Regardless of how great your hired consultants are at their jobs; unexpected things can happen. Certain processes may take longer than expected. Realizations that certain features are missing or incompatible with your current system may surface along the way. Your employees may have a harder time adapting to the new system than you anticipated. All these issues can significantly add to your costs.

Conclusion

Setting up your company’s intranet system will eat up not only your funds but also your time and effort. Considering these factors can help you save money where you can and get the most value out of your investment.


The Power of Employee Video and Self-Broadcasting for Enterprises

At CircleHD, we believe opportunities made available by employee video can transform knowledge into company wealth. While many are moving the needle with self-broadcast in video, it often does not go past the top 10% of performers. In order to break through that barrier, a newer, faster experience is needed to replace legacy roadblocks to adoption.

There are some best practices organizations are implementing to operationalize video into learning, while encouraging peer-to-peer and knowledge sharing to encourage team skills growth. Here’s just a few:

  • Cambridge Engineering & CircleHD: I believe the epicenter for employee generated video is in Chesterfield, Missouri. Marc Braun is a primary lead in a consortium of 500 companies, hacking culture with video.

    As President of Cambridge Engineering, Marc doubled revenue and tripled operating profit in an industry with a CAGR of just 6.62%. Marc’s employees are told, “if you see a problem or waste, you have the job autonomy to fix it.” Just shoot a 1-min before / after video, and it’s played next morning at the all-hands meeting.

    “I have learned video takes courage to make. There is mastery in self-broadcast. And when video is given a purpose, the gift is people that outgrow the company.”

    This video interview was released to LinkedIn, where it got 7,600 views, and 69 likes.
  • Dell: Video lets employees bypass the organizational chart and connect with colleagues in other silos in the pursuit of better customer experiences. Dell uses Sonic Foundry’s Mediasite to connect its salespeople with subject-matter experts.

    “There are a lot of salespeople at Dell, but there are only a few ph.D.s in big data or machine learning,” said Lawrence Grafton, Solutions Product Manager at Dell. “Those ph.D.s can post an explainer video so that sales can better understand the topic. 
  • Moffitt Cancer Center uses an enterprise video platform to deliver content externally. The Moffitt Cancer Center uses its enterprise platform from vBrick to deliver video externally to patients.

    “We use it internally but also use a guest portal for external use,” said John Maass. He added that a doctor could curate or record videos to help patients understand their specific prognosis, “rather than go out to WebMD and get scared.” 
  • Video for Sales Training: ‘In fact, peer-to-peer instruction is one of the main pillars of modern learning programs and the majority of reps prefer peer knowledge sharing over corporate or manager-generated content. 

    Our survey of sales reps and their managers found the majority (65 percent) of sales representatives agree that sales pitch advice from peers is more effective than training from the corporation and that top-performing sales organizations are 76 percent more likely to utilize peer-generated video content for training than other firms. 
  • CISCO Shorty Awards: While more social in nature, the results from Cisco in 2016 for employee-generated video and content are outstanding. Get tips from this Shorty awards entry
  • Video in HR: “Employees want that guidance in an easy-to-access format to help them translate a complex topic in a way that will lead them to the right decision. Advanced HR teams have picked up on this, making video their medium of choice and incorporating into their open enrollment communications strategy.” 

CircleHD is the first cloud-native enterprise video platform for employees and teams of any size. For more information about how we can help your organization implement video learning, schedule a demo.


Creating an Inclusive Culture in Large Organizations

Creating an inclusive work culture when you have a large organization can be tough, but it’s an even greater challenge when you have several offices across the globe. The norms and traditions are different in each country your company has an office in, which Can make it tough to build that inclusive culture across your entire worldwide organization. But creating an inclusive work culture is important for the success of the enterprise since it allows employees to feel more comfortable and engaged with your company. Although it’ll be challenging, you can still create that needed inclusive culture with these useful tips:

Look For The Gaps

To be more inclusive all across the board, it’s important that your company find the caps in your company’s workforce so that you can see what sort of trends there are for an inclusive culture and equal representation for all sites. Maybe you need more women in leadership or minorities in your company’s workforce? Finding these gaps will provide you with the answers needed to create that inclusive culture. Because the company is so large and spread across the glob, it’s crucial to look for things that might be under the radar and that you’re not aware of.

Give Your Leaders Inclusion Training

Your workforce most likely is comprised of employees from different backgrounds so it’s important that your company fosters an inclusive culture. Training your leaders how to respect and include other cultures will make employee feel as if they are part of true team that treats them fairly. Give leaders the right tools so that they can go out there and represent for your company as they promote inclusivity to all employees under them.

Make Diversity Important For The Whole Company

Diversity and inclusivity shouldn’t just be a task you place on your company’s HR team, but something that everyone needs to foster. Make your company a place where all employees at every level and at every site can do their best work. An inclusive workplace is the responsibility of everyone in the company – from executives to leadership and new hire.