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Don’t Let Sales Enablement Be a ‘Field of Dreams’

I’ll admit that my appreciation for the game of baseball is not all that great. Still, when I’m asked to list my ten favorite movies of all time and all genres, the fantasy-drama “Field of Dreams” always makes the cut.

By: Gal Rimon, Founder & CEO, Centrical

I’ll admit that my appreciation for the game of baseball is not all that great. Still, when I’m asked to list my ten favorite movies of all time and all genres, the fantasy-drama “Field of Dreams” always makes the cut. 

The film tells the tale of an Iowa corn farmer who hears voices while walking through his field at night. He decides to plow under a part of his cornfield, overlooking the financial implications, and build a baseball diamond. Those voices told him to do that because if he built it “they will come,” specifically the disgraced Chicago Black Sox team who intentionally lost the World Series.

The farmers blind faith reminds me of what happens to many companies who create fabulous sales enablement platforms; digital marvels that can help sales people find, connect with and convince prospects to buy their products or services.

If you build the most magnificent sales enablement platform with the latest digital content management mechanisms, and integrations with other systems, like CRM or pricing, it all doesn’t matter if your salesforce doesn’t use it; or worse, if they don’t know how to use it.

An iconic Silicon Valley company, one of those formed in a garage and now does business globally with every sort and size of business, selling via massive channel networks made up of very accomplished partners who employ very capable salespeople, had its own “Field of Dreams.”

It put an amazing training capability online, intended to help its partners’ salespeople learn about products, solutions and services. The intent was obvious. The better these folks understood what they were selling – and how best to do that – the more success they’d have.

Maybe Shoeless Joe Jackson showed up in Iowa but that wasn’t the case for this learning portal. All the training assets imaginable were assembled and the channel salespeople did not come.

Another company, this one engaged in selling mobile phones, accessories and services at retail had a group of millennials making up its salesforce. This organization’s attempts to improve sales performance faltered not because of the training material, per se. Instead, the mechanism was old school, and not in a good way. Manual reporting, infrequent discussions with managers about well-in-the-past performance, and, of consequence, an utter lack of interest by the sales team to get into the program and learn anything from it.

In order for sales enablement to work – really work – you must enable the salesperson. And that means in engaging them in ways, with methods that they can relate to, learn from, respond to and see that it’s doing something for them. Integrate those capabilities with your existing sales enablement platform and you’ll see engagement levels rise, behaviors change the way you want them to, and the KPIs achieved that need to be. Oh yes, sales will get better too.

Unlike the story of Ray Kinsella, and his “Field of Dreams,” finding and harnessing those capabilities is not a matter of fantasy.

If you’re wondering what to look for in the way of a platform that can integrate with your existing sales enablement platform and other systems, like CRM, think back to your elementary school days, to the teacher who had an uncanny knack to make learning fun, so much so you couldn’t get enough. The secret: learning was made into something fun, thought-provoking and confidence-building. It wasn’t drudgery. It was a game.

Look for a flexible platform that brings together the three critical components, employee performance management, engagement, and learning with at least two scoops of fun by way of purposeful gamification.

Companies like Microsoft, Novartis, Synchrony, and Unilever, among others, found the way to get their employees to come out of the cornfield, in a manner of speaking. It’s the Centrical platform. It works because it puts the employee at the center – of the learning experience and of your business.

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