Episode 222: Aurore Pautet on Aligning Training Programs With the Needs of Reps

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Shawnna Sumaoang: Hi, and welcome to the Sales Enablement PRO podcast. I am Shawnna Sumaoang. Sales enablement is a constantly evolving space and we’re here to help professionals stay up to date on the latest trends and best practices so that they can be more effective in their jobs.

Today I’m excited to have Aurore Pautet from Malt join us. Aurore, I’d love for you to introduce yourself, your role, and your organization to our audience.

Aurore Pautet: Thank you, Shawnna. I am Aurore, the sales enablement manager for Malt, a French marketplace specializing in freelancing. I have been in sales for six years, starting with the Expedia group and then moving to Malt. Now, I am in charge of the onboarding, training, animation, and knowledge of 150 sales teams in 5 countries.

SS: Impressive. Now you mentioned that your experience is really around sales training and coaching programs. I’d love for you to walk us through your design process for creating a new program.

AP: Sure. The design process is really different according to your goal, your audience, the topic, and the importance. Through my diverse experiences, I tested different formats, such as coaching sessions with live use case partners, roleplay with the manager, online training made by our own sales teams, shadowing, elevator pitch, etcetera. The choice of the design is really linked to the topic and the volume of information to assimilate. The last innovative formal training that we did was, for example, to train our sales teams on our competitors. The goal was not to describe all the strengths and weaknesses of our competitors by listing them because it was too difficult to assimilate and memorize. That’s why we organize competitors’ debates. This works as an example of functional training and at the same time, we had a well developed flow with the level of acting, of course. That’s why the design is really according to the topic and the volume of knowledge that the sales have to assimilate.

SS: I do love that approach. Now in your opinion, what are some of the key components of effective training and coaching programs, and what are the core elements that practitioners should include?

AP: First of all, you need to understand the objectives of the training. Usually, when you create training it is because you identified a lack of knowledge and a real need for your sales. Then, with that clear content, you can identify not only why, but also how it can be useful for sales. What I also like to do is a short test of comprehension, just to make sure that everything has been well assimilated. Without any hesitation, I think that the Q&A part is the part that you can’t exclude from any training. It is important to remember that what is clear for you is not always clear for your audience. That’s why the Q&A allows you to clarify all the doubts or misunderstandings. If you don’t do the Q&A, I can bet you that you will need to set up a second run to clarify the training. Those are the clear components of good training.

SS: I absolutely agree. What are some of your best practices for aligning your training programs with the real-world needs of reps and how are you able to fully understand the needs of your team for that?

AP: I have three pieces of advice. What helps me in my day-to-day is my past experience as a salesperson. This is a real added value to my job now because I’m able to identify some gray areas and how to address some topics to this population. Sometimes when you are disconnected from the sales teams you can have a lack of actionability in your training. Actionable content is key, this is my first piece of advice. The second one is leaning on the previous one. You need to be close to the sales team by always being with them. By being open to their questions and participating in meetings, you can identify what their needs are.

To start, try to always be available to the sales team and make sure that they know you are available. Of course, sometimes it can be a heavy workload, but in the end, it is worth it. By being solicited by the sales team, you can identify the lack of knowledge and you can fix it rapidly and spread the knowledge to the rest of the team. It also creates trust where the salesperson can come to you for help rather than being afraid when they do not know something. These are my three pieces of advice.

SS: I love those three points. I think that those are spot on. Now, to the needs of your team and thinking and putting yourself in your rep’s shoes, how do you drive adoption and engagement by reps in a new training or coaching program?

AP: I think for us the secret sauce is really to employ some salespeople in the organization of your training. First, for example, I identify with the managers where there is a lack of knowledge and where additional training could be useful. Once done, I identify the best person who is skilled on this topic, and with their help, I will build the training. This person will contribute to the content and above all deploy and present the training to the rest of the team. There are a couple of reasons why we do this. Mainly, it is to create more commitment as the other salespeople on the team are curious to go to the training of one of their colleagues. Also, we can ensure the training will be actionable and directly linked to the business issues as a salesperson has been comforted with this topic previously. Our secret sauce is really to employ a salesperson to deliver the training to the others.

SS: I think that’s a really fantastic approach to driving adoption and engagement. For reps who may need extra support to sharpen their skills, how can enablement help support their continued learning beyond the completion of a training or coaching program?

AP: I think this is a magical thing in enablement. From a well-defined global strategy, you can free up some time to hold specific 1 on 1 coaching and follow-up. For example, we have set up a sales onboarding process and spread it over six weeks. With some online tests each week on our learning management system, we can make sure that the new sales reps master the key topics. For example, if we identify that one of the salespeople didn’t correctly master the CRM or finance process, it is no problem because I can take that person into a one-on-one meeting and offer them specific training to fix it. At the same time, we can have a strategic plan for the rep to self-coach, with of course the help of the manager. If we set up correctly, we can split the time to have more focus and one on one coaching with the sales reps who need it.

SS: I love that approach to helping them with that additional coaching. Now, the last question for you, in a rapidly changing industry, can you share some best practices for keeping your coaching and training programs up to date and relevant to your reps needs to be?

AP: To be honest, that’s really the hardest part since processes can change quickly and often. My advice would be to be close to your peers of enablement from other companies within your industry to get some insights. Be close to all the different teams within your company so you can always be aware and up to date on all the planned changes. I think this is key, you just need to be really curious about other new training ideas. Curiosity allows us to be up to date.

SS: That’s fantastic. Thank you so much for joining us today. I really appreciate it.

AP: Thank you.

SS: To our audience, thanks for listening. For more insights, tips, and expertise from sales enablement leaders, visit salesenablement.pro. If there is something you’d like to share or a topic you’d like to learn more about, please let us know we’d love to hear from you.

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