Any form of change is challenging for organizations to manage, but sales teams are particularly sensitive to change. They don’t want anything to take them out of the field or negatively affect their results even for one day. This can make introducing new sales readiness tools particularly difficult.
Mendix, a platform-as-a-service company that helps organizations make web and mobile applications, knew this was an issue but their onboarding and ongoing sales training program needed to change. They were growing rapidly, hiring 15 new sales hires a quarter in a team to a base team of only 68. At the same time, the company was tasked with improving their time to sale, the number of opportunities they generated and their win rate. They wanted to reduce the time and expense of face-to-face training so they chose to implement MindTickle, a sales readiness platform.
To ensure the new tool didn’t distract their salespeople and actually helped them to sell better sooner, they implemented a four-step approach to address the change.
1. Top-performers engaged with the tool first
MindTickle was only rolled out to top-performing reps and engaged managers first. These people had all been identified as high performers across a range of metrics. They were called Mendix’s Champions and held up as role models in the organization.
The Champions completed missions on MindTickle – they practiced their selling skills on the platform and were measured on how they learned and what they had learned. The results were very positive, and they were shown to the entire sales team at their next sales kickoff. By showing top performers visibly embracing change and improving their performance as well, other reps were eager to get onboard.
It was at this kickoff that the leaders of Mendix outlined what they expected of their sales organization in the coming year and explained how MindTickle would help them achieve that. The sales readiness platform was positioned as critical to the company’s success.
2. Roll it out to the rest of the sales force
With the value of the platform clear and the sales’ objectives linked to MindTickle, the tool was rolled out to the rest of their sales force. To help in this process Mendix’s Champions were given the responsibility of supporting members of the sales team on their missions. The champions would look at the video role plays in their missions, give them feedback and grade them. These grades were put on a leaderboard to create some healthy competition amongst the team.
This approach worked well, particularly with the younger reps who were keen to learn and improve their selling skills. Seasoned reps were reluctant to try the new tool.
3. Get CEO endorsement and incentive
As they rolled out the tool, the CEO publicly endorsed the platform. This was targeted specifically at bringing the reluctant reps onboard. At the same time, the CEO also introduced a new compensation model where reps could earn a quarterly bonus if they scored well on their missions in MindTickle. This additional sweetener started to encourage more reps to use the platform.
4. Leaders publicly acknowledge those who have changed
The final step was for the leaders of the sales organization to start publicly acknowledging the people who had embraced the change. This began with the first salespeople to complete their missions being recognized and their scores shared. This process of communication continued every week, where the highest performers in each region were held up as role models. This helped inspire all the other sales reps to adopt and use the platform.
Within a month of rolling out MindTickle people from each level of the sales organization were using the platform. Two months later 87% of their reps had done a mission on MindTickle, with seven missions per seller on average. To check on how salespeople were really feeling, Mendix also collected feedback and found that even some of their strongest skeptics were seeing real value in the process. They were learning how to improve their own roles and improve how they communicate.
To keep the momentum going, the company started releasing reports every quarter to the sales organization. These reports disclosed who used the platform most and showed how it was improving sales performance. Some of the successes include:
New business development reps were consistently meeting quota after just three months – this had previously taken six months.
Their prospecting success rates doubled
Top performers had reduced the amount of time it took them to qualify and progress opportunities from 30 days to just seven days
The entire sales team was performing at 105% of its targets
MindTickle is now an integral part of the culture of the sales organization at Mendix. It’s part of their day-to-day work, incentives, and reporting.