Do more with less: Part 2 – Implement Microlearning

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Written by
David Levy

In Part-1 of our Sales Enablement Series – Do More With Less – we covered the importance of unifying your playbook across sales and customer success. In this next post, we'll be discussing microlearning.

Have a b2b sales team that is required to learn a complex product (or several products), have frequent product enhancements, a wide partner ecosystem, and/or operate in a dynamic and highly competitive market?

It’s hard enough for sales and customer success to stay on top of managing their deals and sales process, let alone staying on top of every nuance in their product and market ecosystem by which they operate.

If you’ve tried creating content to enable your revenue team, then you’ve probably had the feeling sometimes you’re throwing stuff out into the ether and hoping for the best. 

All of the questions you’re seeing in Slack from sales and customer success were answered in that recent sales collateral you created.

So what gives?

As we’ll discuss below, microlearning can help your content stick, and revenue teams will be wise to adopt for several reasons, as we’ll discuss:

Consumption Patterns are Changing

Consumption patterns are changing, worldwide. With the birth of the internet, the way people looked for information has changed. As online resources evolve, users expect to find answers faster. The competition for attention is high. 

Think about the last time you looked something up you needed to get done. For example, I recently needed to replace a filter in my fridge. I went on YouTube and found a 1-minute video to get help in-the-moment.

So how competitive for attention span are we talking?

For millennials, the average attention span is about 12 seconds. But for Gen Z, it’s a mere 8 seconds! The unfortunate paradigm is these are typically your greenest reps, that need the most product, market, and skills knowledge. 

How does this play out on b2b sales teams?

Reps are asked questions by prospects on sales calls, and if they don’t know the answer, they are sending Slack messages, Googling, searching their CMS or internal wiki, and trying just about everything to find the answer. This then becomes a distraction from the conversation, missing relevant information, which negatively impacts the call outcome. Additionally, this provides extra follow-up for the rep as something that could have been addressed on the call now turns into a follow-up.

For sales enablement & marketers, this presents the challenge of distilling the succinct nuggets sales and customer success need to know, to enable reps when they are speaking with customers.

We Are Better Learners In Short Increments

While there is the challenge of attention spans and distilling content, this is also a forcing function to align your learning approach to the preferred method of consumption. 

According to Salesforce, 72% of sellers prefer to learn in small moments throughout the day rather than via formal training.

To implement this in your own business, do the following:

  • Break down sales content into bite-size chunks of information
  • Limit the duration of a video or training to short 3-7 minute intervals, which best corresponds to humans’ working memory ability and attention spans.

Support The Rep As If They Are On The Meeting

Microlearning entails eliminating superfluous information and the finer details – reps are too distracted. 

Alongside your long-form content, establish a new type of content to help keep focus. 

Try pretending as if the rep is live on a call with the customer: what are the 3 silver bullets they need to know about a competitor? 

Example battlecard using microlearning. Short, bite-sized information sales can use at the ready

This is a new type of content that should be managed alongside your long-form content.

AI Tools Get More Done (With Less)

Incorporate AI tools to help you jumpstart your sales enablement strategy and get more done with less. 

Companies like OpenAI have released DALL·E, where we got a lot of Aircover’s imagery from. They recently released ChatGPT that can create content for you based on a prompt. Jasper is another leader in this space. 

Give these tools a prompt based on what you're trying to articulate and see what kind of witty/smart content you can produce for your sellers to keep them engaged. 

AI tools from Jasper & OpenAI can help you jumpstart your enablement strategy

We at Aircover use AI in many different ways:

  • Natural language processing (NLP) to identify what is being spoken about in a customer meeting and surface relevant enablement from your sales playbook
  • Machine learning (ML) to: auto summarize your content into consumable, bite-sized chunks, as well as summarize your meeting notes

We’ve carefully designed our software with sales & customer success in mind, to help provide real-time support during calls without your reps needing to multi-task and waste time finding the information they need to close the deal. Most of the use cases we see include:

  • Discovery: persona driven discovery questions
  • Battlecards: intel that help reps to position against your competitors
  • Customer wins: relevant customers to help with reference selling

New Sales process: MEDDPICC, SPICED, SPIN rollouts

Leverage Subject Matter Experts For Optimal Content

We talk to companies on both ends of the spectrum (almost no content and too much content). We’ve been talking about Microlearning, but this applies really to all forms of content.

What’s optimal?

I was listening to a podcast and a company that everyone has heard of (>1000 employees in the data backup solution space) hired a new enablement leader. 

He was going through the data and wondering what the top performers were doing differently than everyone else, and marketing didn’t know the answer. It turned out they didn’t talk to them about what content they are using and how they are approaching their sales process. So he interviewed them all, scrapped the current program, revamped onboarding to include their approach to the sale vs. what was previously provided by the marketing team.

Don’t get me wrong, marketing teams do great work, also this isn’t just marketing; but oftentimes various functions can create materials for sales, but pull them in much too late in the process. Then sales loses trust in the materials and starts using their own content instead, which drives an inconsistent sales process, customer journey, and drives harder forecasting since not everyone is operating off the same playbook.

In microlearning, you need to narrow in on the most relevant content. That means talking to the experts. And your salespeople are the company experts that work with customers every day. 

Interview them, and establish what they’re doing differently. These are excellent resources for training material. How do your top performers handle discovery calls, competitors, and objections? 

Integrate their valuable insights into your sales rep onboarding program, as well as your microlearning enablement content.

Closing Thoughts

Microlearning is more of a need to have, rather than a nice to have. With sales and customer success as the end consumer of the enablement content, the information needs to be digestible in a way that can be leveraged live on a customer call.

This type of snackable information aligns with modern consumption patterns and is the preferred style of learning. If all of your content is long form, then not to worry – AI tools like Aircover can auto-summarize it for you, jumpstarting your enablement efforts and helping you do more with less.

To find the most impactful content, interview your top performers, and incorporate that tribal knowledge into your enablement programs.

In part 3, we’ll be talking about enablement teams using data to close the feedback loop between sales and enablement.