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A New Approach to Ongoing Sales Training. With Conner Burt [Episode 554]

Conner Burt, COO at Lessonly, joins me on this episode.


Conner says the single biggest challenge facing SaaS sales reps today is that buyers are inundated with requests to review software, which leads to a wide variety of tools within organizations. Sellers fight for priority for their category.

Conner says sales training for larger organizations is broken, in part from all the departments with different needs demanding attention from sales. The challenge is to combine the needs into a way to help a sales rep be more productive.

Organizations tend to overestimate their onboarding and training effectiveness. Training gets put on a back burner behind many other sales management functions.

Sales rep productivity is stagnant. The annual expenditure on sales in the U.S. is $92 billion. Conner talks about Hubspot and The Sales Acceleration Formula. The idea was to make individual reps better, not to hire more reps.

The disincentive to invest in sales training is the suspicion they are training reps for the next company. Sales development reps have a job tenure of 12 to 18 months. If they were trained, they might stay. Develop talent in-house.

Hire with the intent of building a bench, to promote. Turnover may go down when the reps feel like they have a path, and you’re investing in them for the future.

Conner discusses the history and mission of Lessonly. Conner describes what sparked its development. Lessonly focuses on helping teams drive better performance through learning topics that matter most to customer-facing sellers.

Trainers have access to the authoring component, and reps have access to the lessons in an easy to use form, either through Salesforce, or a stand-alone app, and through a Chrome extension.

Conner gives an example of a company using Lessonly. They invest in the content, pulling it from executives, sales enablement, and top reps. They organize it, make it relevant, and the reps engage. Managers give ongoing assignments.

The primary model gives a lesson, a practice scenario to record, and then later, correlates the specific training with future performance. The first goal is to decrease ramp time.

Conner suggests his clients note how long it takes a rep to get to 80% of a fully productive revenue quota or number of closed opportunities. For an SDR, it is number of demos.

The key to moving the needle on quota is getting an organization to prioritize seller development. From there, get insights from the better reps and managers, and SDRs, and synthesize them into a training program.