English rugby club Saracens clearly want to break the mould. They appear to deliberately seek out innovation.
There’s a couple of things about this that interests the salesman in me.
Overall, how is any salesforce trying to introduce innovation throughout its operations? Not that many are by the way, in my experience. Most these days have some kind of sales reporting creeking along, be it pc or web based. Many may be adapting their sales structure, ever closer towards client needs. And a fair few realise that each year they’ll need to ‘freshen things up’ a tad.
But is anything down that path really true innovation?
In more detail, after giving the squad iPads (lucky squad) here’s the direct quote on their findings.
Typically, if we’re playing on a Sunday we have a team talk on a Friday morning at 10.30.
The players listen to the coaches, watch clips of the opposition and talk about our approach.
Then everyone goes out and trains.
That used to be it.
Now the whole team-talk is put on the iPad, complete with diagrams and video clips, so the player can study it again, even if he’s lying in bed on a Sunday morning.
The amount of footage watched by our players last month compared with the previous month increased by something ridiculous like 2,500%.
Amazing. Just swap the sales team meeting in for this scenario and you lick your lips at how sales will surely soar.
Or will they?
I spent a glorious and fun-filled decade providing just this sort of capability to solution selling b2b salesteams. What was one major finding?
Only half the reps get into this stuff.
Which is incredible.
You could argue that a salesperson is not like a professional sportsman. Neither the dedication nor the rewards apply, so naturally their engagement would be less, right?
You could further argue that salespeople, unlike young athletes, have a life. Family and the like are quite demanding, you know.
And yes, you could argue too that with all the associated hangers-on and support staff (just picture the vast number of ‘coaches’ crouched over their laptop in the stands at any given televised rugby match) anyone that plays sport for a living has more to think about from a greater number of people than the typical rep, what with their sole manager and the odd product-cum-marketing bod, yes?
Well. All utter nonsense.
Let’s look at the figures. Up 2,500%? That means a 25-fold increase. If one hour of video was watched in the olden days, then in the new rainbow times, that’d be like now 25hrs had got viewed. On the face of it, that’s well worth the admission price. After all, with a game-day squad of 22, could that suggest that, for instance, before only one person bothered with the vids, and now all of them can?
I’m not so sure. I found that only half of reps engage with the repository of wonders now at their disposal. And half again of those only look at everything once. What also happens is that they rarely go back and look at something for a second time.
So in Saffracens’ case, I bet there’s a hidden story within the user logs.
Here’s one key steer. When I migrated out of my knowledge management business, after a fair few years, I distinctly recall that the road to engagement lay in part in confirming and growing that which got collected.
If people are mandated to fill-in boxes on their crm, they can be so too when it comes to best-practice capture. Simply build the mechanism for people to interact properly. Like or dislike, add a similar reference name, mention where they’d used that pitch, specifically add to the knowledgebase each month.
Never just think ‘give them video and they will come’. How often does anybody watch a YouTube clip? Very few will do so more than once. How many people watch instructional content and monitor how they fare along the path to adopting the new behaviour? Virtually none. And changing that is how you crack the sales knowledge management conundrum.