Kate Adams

Sales Education Strategist , Centro

Product Training for Sales

Accelerate: How did you get into sales enablement? 

Kate: In a very circuitous way! I came into Sales Enablement by way of Quality Assurance and Customer Success. My first job as a Sales Trainer was managing a 4-week onboarding program and then becoming responsible for developing continuous education at the same company. At Centro, I’m responsible for all Sales learning: Onboarding, Product Training, and Continuous Education.   

 

Accelerate: When designing your product knowledge training, what are some of your top tips to help teach sales professionals how to understand their customers’ needs? 

Kate: Product training is a big priority at Centro. We’re constantly thinking about the best ways to train sellers on our platform. Their confidence levels impact the whole company! When you’re building product training, I’d consider the following:  

Prioritize Information: There’s a delicate balance between providing sellers with only the product information they need to sell and the level of information they need to feel confident. When conducting your skill gap analysis or moving through your content creation process, ask three questions: 

  1. Would this information increase a seller’s confidence and ability to communicate value? 
  2. Would lack of this information damage a client conversation in any way? 
  3. Does this information help tell a better story about Centro as a whole? 

If yes, the information stays. If no, it goes. They can read more in the release notes. 

Basically, create your content and then cut it in half. And cut it in half again. 

Lean On Customer Success: Most Training teams partner with Product Marketing or Marketing functions but I’d also suggest partnering with Customer Success. At Centro, Customer Success owns the beta feedback loop and has often worked with customers who have betaed new features for us. They have real feedback from the field and can help contextualize the product or feature for Sales in a more real way. We get access to battle tested information this way. 

Make Product Training Immediately Actionable: At Centro, all of our Product training is virtual, an on-going series of e-learning modules. In addition to value statements, use cases, discovery questions, competitive intel, objections, marketing collateral, and a sample demo video, I always provide a sample prospecting email. So, in addition to having a list of discovery questions that lead to the value of the feature or product, there is an immediate call to action that aligns with their sales process. 

In summary: At Centro, we’re striving for Sales product fluency, not just product knowledge. Of course, we want the sellers to understand what the product or feature is on a tactical level but it’s much more important that they’re able to communicate value to the person in front of them. That’s where fluency comes in: can you seller communicate why this feature is valuable to a user? A customer? An executive? A specific industry? 

 

Accelerate: What are your personal tips for working together with sales and marketing to find the collateral needed for your trainings? 

Kate: Include Marketing in the training content creation process. It’s critical to create a working relationship that’s not reactionary (or super one-sided). At Centro, after working with Sales leadership and our Director of Product Marketing, there is a dedicated Product Marketer who is tasked with assisting me with Sales Product Training. We have a clear division of labor that aligns with each of our skill sets and a set process to develop Product Training. He’s my bridge to Marketing (like I’m a bridge to Sales) but he’s also the bridge to Product. He’s able to get buy-in and preview information from that side of the business in a way that I’m not.  

 

Accelerate: What opportunities do you implement to allow salespeople to practice during training? (i.e. role-plays, simulations, game mechanics) 

Kate: I work to keep our Product Training courses concise (less than 15 minutes), but I always ensure a seller has the opportunity to do a “follow-along” demo; we include a click path video in each training – a seller follows along in their demo environment to practice! In exciting news, our team recently invested in software that will allow us to create client simulations in the training module – I’m super excited about that! 

 

Accelerate: How do you ensure your product training is on-going and not a one-time event? 

Kate: It’s so easy to say “But it’s ALL important!” At Centro, our features are tiered. This helps not only Marketing, but Product and Training as well. Not all features and product updates are created equal! 

Each Tier has its own learning path (in addition to its own GTM play). Tiering features is a great way to prioritize actions across teams. 

At Centro, that looks like this (Training treats Tier 1 and Tier 2 features in the same way, even though Marketing and Product do not): 

Tier 1 Feature: Feature, function or integration where we are truly first to market; it has high sales impact 

Tier 2 Feature: Feature, function or integration that deeply impacts our product, but we are not first to market; it has high sales impact 

Sales Receives: 

  • An update in the bi-weekly Product Release Notes 
  • An announcement on All Sales Call 
  • A summary overview in the Seller Newsletter 
  • Formal Sales Training / e-learning module 
  • Demo Support 
  • Quiz/Knowledge Check 
  • Full Marketing Collateral (1-Sheeter, FAQ, Case studies, etc.) 

Tier 3 Feature: Feature, function, or integration that has low sales impact, is more tactical, or user based 

Sales Receives: 

  • An update in the bi-weekly Product Release Notes 
  • An announcement on All Sales Call 
  • A summary overview in the Seller Newsletter 

Tier 4 Feature: Feature, function, or integration that has no sales impact

Sales Receives: 

  • An update in the bi-weekly Product Release Notes 

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