How does your organization assure that their sales reps are ready to take their pitch out into the world? A savvy sales professional can be a great asset; the opposite can be a formidable challenge. Anaplan sales enablement recently tackled this question head on during our midyear sales meeting. We chose this face-to-face opportunity to run a demo certification. Certifications aren’t new to Anaplan’s sales organization, but were we truly certifying? No. We were missing key components that really make an impact on sales. With a developing sales force and a new demo to learn, the time was right to take our game to the next level.
In order to make this demo a true certification, we had to:
- Take the task apart to best define and measure success. Our team worked closely with application model builders and pre-sales to understand every nuance of our product demo. Several iterations later, we chose four snappy titles: Presentation, Preparedness, Personalization, and Professional Authority, as well as defined measurable outcomes.
- Lead by example. Hey, if we were going to ask 30 sales people to put themselves on camera, we had better be prepared to do the same thing. So we did. Enablement clicked through every possibility and built a series of videos covering the tricks and trouble spots that sales people might encounter, so they could feel confident and look smooth.
- Know the whole story. We broke the two demos down into their base elements and created flow charts. A strong demo isn’t just a memorized script and steps; it’s a tool to tell a story. Think of it this way: If you mess up a few lines in a play and you know the story, you can ad-lib, but if you don’t know that Juliet isn’t really dead, then you’ve really lost the plot and you’re going to mess it up.
- Provide insider information. Certifications aren’t trick questions; they are a way to drive a specific behavior you want to see in your business. We were going to assess whether they could personalize the pitch and I offered tips pointing to another required course to help them connect their learning beyond just the demo. For each element that we assessed in our certification rubric, we provided tips and expectations beyond the scoring criteria.
Before and After
Demo certification was an eye-opener for us and for leadership. Reps performed both above and below expectations, and they weren’t always the ones you might have expected. A rep with many years of field experience shared that this was the first time she’d really had to study; others contacted enablement unsolicited to share their improvement plans. We tracked all of the pre-work through Anaplan Learning Center and were able to generate reports on pre-work consumption versus success. Here’s a snapshot of how we moved the bar on certification this round (but we’re already cooking up plans for an even better certification in February, so stay tuned for more):
Have you implemented a sales pitch or demo certification in your organization? We’d love to hear your tips and best practices in the comments.