Sales Enablement PRO Awards 2021: How Visa Delivers Innovative Virtual Sales Learning Programs

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Congratulations to Sales Enablement PRO Award winner Minette Chan from Visa University. Learn more about the Virtual Enablement award winning initiative below.

What was the challenge you were facing?

Minette Chan: Hi everyone. My name is Minette Chan. I represent Visa University. I run the product college there, so that entails working on the learning strategies, the execution, and running the team that works on our sales product training initiatives, as well as the strategy around the product organization within Visa. We actually had a number of her programs already in-house. So a number of bootcamps onboarding, we have a knowledge base, a lot of really good stuff. There’s live in-person classes or long form video recordings or reading materials. But you’ll notice these are pretty time consuming. And we all know that our account executives, they’re very busy people.

They have full plates, everyone’s busy. And we’ve noticed that as time goes on, like finding time to attend a day long session or a week long bootcamp is it’s just becoming more and more challenging. Especially with COVID-19, it’s really hard. No one would know we want to stay in front of their computers doing long training consumption anymore, even with existing materials. So we have a lot of really good stuff, like a lot of good training content available, but the thing is nowadays sometimes they just need that piece of content in their moment of need and finding it was the challenge. So what we realized is that we need something that’s on demand and that’s mobile friendly and can also be personalized for that specific age.

What was the process of developing this initiative?

MC: This is why we embarked on this initiative. I’m going to say it really started with the business need and working with executives. Looking at what we need to do from the business standpoint, and what’s important because there’s so many priorities out there, but we really need to move up to the top of what’s important. It became really clear what we’re looking into is that our best AEs, they sell solutions. They understand what our client’s needs are at a deep level, and they’re familiar enough about our products and services that they can put it together into solutions that meet the client’s needs. So with that big picture, we then moved forward and looked at what are the needs? We interviewed stakeholders, we interviewed target audiences. We looked at existing content and assets and resources that we have, and then we analyzed our data. We analyzed survey results. We looked at CRM data and from there came up with potential solutions.

Now we did not just look at the potential solution. What we did was actually take those potential solutions back to our stakeholders and also to the target learners and did focus groups with them. And from there landed on the most well-received concept. That is a gamified learning platform that’s on demand. It’s bite size, it’s modularized. It’s mobile friendly. It’s customizable. That’s it. Let’s go from there. So then what our team did was to take that feedback and then we built out the platform using agile methodology. And that just means there’s very frequent user feedback. So we’re there with them along the way.

How was the rollout and adoption of the new initiative?

MC: We also rolled out a pilot months before we did the general launch and it was a very mini program, but what the pilot did was it gave us an opportunity to test it out in the market, get some user feedback and because, actually, it went quite well. We were able to get some testimonials and those testimonials helped us with the launch. We ran the pilot a couple of months before launch to gather user feedback and collect testimonials, which was super helpful. But the real rollout started way before the actual launch a month prior to it, we actually started a meeting, a roadshow within our organization, various regions, different sales leaders, visit different sales teams to just start drumming up things, excitement and the interest from our sales leaders and stakeholders. And because of that, we actually talked with our president and we got his commitment that he will be the one announcing the launch. So instead of our team announcing it, it’s the president of the company announcing the launch and that gave the program the buzz, the executive sponsorship that we need to get the interest of the learners.

Once it was announced, people were clicking on the link, checking it out because they heard it from the president. And if we look at it, one of the gamification principles that we use to drive motivation was to earn points while you’re playing the game in reality, while you’re learning. As our AEs were completing certain activities, say either watching a video, they’re answering your knowledge check or they’re completing a scenario, they would then earn points. And so as part of the rollout, we actually launched a contest like the high score competition. It lasted a month. So every week we would release who the high scores are for that week which helped drive up interest. But they’re not winning something big. It’s mostly bragging rights, but it’s kind of fun because there’s a competitive element in there. So that is big.

And of course, a lot of communications were right there on the homepage when it launched and before the president sent out that email, but we did not stop there. We asked different sales leaders, our VPs, our sales directors, to then follow up on top of that email to their specific teams, asking them among all the different available resources there, which one’s priority for their teams. We got time slots in various sales team meetings to demo the program. We even embedded this new initiative in existing programs. So our boot camps, our onboarding programs now include this learning game as well. But in general, I would say within four months, this learning program has quickly reached 50% of our annual target number of users. So within four months we reached more than 1000 internal users who voluntarily spent more than two hours on average, on this learning tool to learn about their clients, learn about our business solutions.

What are some of the business results and impact as a result of your efforts?

MC: What we found is that we did an NPS survey. We got NPS scores of 73, right. That’s actually not the key point, whether they like it or not. It’s a great thing because people tend to do something more if they like it. But what’s important is whether it made a difference. So we asked the learners themselves, how helpful was this tool? 97% of those who responded to the survey said they still have more increase in how they understand the products. And 93% of the managers said they have absurd behavior change where they actually see our AEs responding more. I would say confidently when dealing with client scenarios that are featured in the game, but more importantly is that we did an analysis of our sales opportunities and we found that the AEs who are more than 1 million points in the game identified four more types of sales opportunities, quarter over quarter, compared to the overall the population. That’s how we know that the learning has been effective.

I just want to say, like in general, this is actually a team effort. This is definitely not a Minette show. I’m super grateful to my team for being with me through this journey. It’s been a long process and there’s been a lot of ups and downs. But I will say there are a couple of things that really helped us along the way. Number one is staying very close to the business stakeholders, understanding the needs because we could have quickly gone off the wrong direction had we not stayed very clear on what the goals are from the business perspective. Not from the learning side, from the business side. That’s one. And then the second one is really staying close to our learners themselves, using the agile methodology, doing a lot of those focus groups and feedback. That was key to making this product successful when it launched.

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