simulator

The Secret to the Perfect Sales Simulation Program

Senior consultant

| 5 minutes

In our last post, we delved into what makes simulations such a powerful tool for managing necessary change in your sales org. and how to run them right. Today, we’re going to cover how to implement this knowledge and create truly impactful simulations. The biggest challenge rests in fitting the necessary training to the actual challenges we face when pitching sales, I.e. rolling out the training material while it’s still relevant, coordinating between, Sales, Marketing and Management to insert the company strategy in the training, an incorporating feedback from below.

Now, before you get yourself in a tizzy over the wealth of information and tasks at hand, know that you don’t have to go at it alone. In fact, you shouldn’t. After all, that’s what Sales Enablement (SE) units are for. Most leading organizations already have them in place and now it’s your turn to up your game.

But wait – there’s more.  Even the SE unit needs a systematic way to make sure they’re hitting their targets, and a platform to convey this with one voice to the sales reps themselves. If you want a flexible, unified and future-proof training programme, you’ll need a vehicle that can carry the disparate KPIs, and it must do so fast enough to keep up with the rapidly-changing sales environment.

Imagine the future of sales at your business

Take a moment to consider the following scenario. You’re the Sales Enablement director of a company that supplies software solutions for the ad industry. You’ve received informantion from your marketing director, that Strategy just decided on a major shift from your legacy product to a new Adtech insight product, based on Machine Learning. The change is going to be officially announced in two-months’ time, during next year’s SKO, and the to-do list is a mile long. Consider the chart below a partial list:

GRAFGUY

That’s a lot. 

Step 1 – Research

Luckily, last year you worked hard and set up the perfect simulation center. Now all you do is call up your Simulation building team and notify them of the change. You tell your marketing liaison that she’s going to work closely with Marketing about messaging for the new product, and learn all she can about the target market and competition. You send your simulation builders to interview the Product team to see how to translate new features into benefits, and you set up a meeting with Strategy to receive the benchmarks of what will become the new normal.

Step 2 – Build new simulations

The next step is building the simulations themselves; for that, you already have a template. Based on the information received from Product & Marketing, your team comes up with relevant pain points your existing customers deal with, and the pain points that potential clients need help with. These are quickly fashioned into cases. For example, one case will simulate dealing with a customer’s fear of changing from a trusted system, while another simulates dealing with blow back to UX interface changes. In yet another, the sales rep will need to inform the customer on more ways the new tool can help them reach their targets. On top of these, you add Strategy’s desired outcomes and KPIs as both the mission in the role-play and the benchmark for a successful conduct in each scenario.

SIMULATION

Step 3 – Plan for implementation

Next, you take an hour to create the whole implementation plan. It’s easy: you’ve already had a routine cycle of simulations with the full roster of your sales force, one that culminates every three months. All you need to do is  change the product’s name. You plan for two of the Heads of Sales to  run one simulation, during which they model the new required courses of action, before the team  breaks into groups to simulate. You already projected what the implementation rate could be based on the previous year’s results, measured by the simulation center, and use the SKO simulations (that are being recorded) to update the assessment if necessary. 

Step 4 – Prepare to assess & adjust

Your assessment tool is already prepared. Each simulation has its own scorecards, and you’ll use the data your team will gather to tweak your messaging, projections and training focus for the Sales people. You’re also going to pick the top 10% of performers in the simulations to be the instructors to the new sales people HR will be recruiting in March, thus making sure the onboarding process is already aligned with the new product.  Your work is nearly done, and guess what ! Only one day has passed since the beginning of this story.  You decide to take a short vacation in December. After all, you deserve it. 

Sales simulation center – your mobile training unit

potential of a truly integrated simulation center to streamline all Sales Enablement functions. All you need to do is make sure you build it with the right attributes. 

Let’s review them:

  1. Your simulation program must be the center of the operation. Connecting your Marketing insight, Strategy’s vision and Sales’s methods, while setting the tone for HR is a big responsibility. Only a body outside of the regular silos can incorporate all these disparate agendas into a unified plan and push against paradigms not based in data. 
  2. Simulation programs must have an agreed upon measurement system for Sales acumen. In order to have viable data to mine and use to improve the Sales proficiency for the organization, it needs to know exactly what is being measured in each batch of simulations, and what indicates success. 
  3. Simulation programs must leverage the organization’s elite performers.Skimming from the top” and turning your best-performing sales reps into trainers and instructors reduces the amount of energy needed to upskill the whole sales force, increase the effectiveness of each training and disseminates best practices across the entire population. 
  4. Simulation programs must regularly interact with every salesperson. You must assess everyone to know where the organization truly stands, and ensure no salesperson is “left behind” to operate as they please. Alignment is the key to success. 
SIMU1

Bottom line

A simulation program is the ticket to your sales reps’ impactful training, making it a sum greater than all of its parts.  We understand that closing the loop between training and reality is never fully possible, but chasing after reality becomes easier when you have the right vehicle taking the lead. The perfect simulation Program is the vehicle that carries your strategy, messaging and upscaling and channels them in a focused way. If you want flexibility and ease while maintaining a methodical approach, this is the solution for you, and at Vayomar, we’re always happy to oblige.

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Guy Shulberg

In my day-to-day life, I find that three abilities serve me best:

Curiosity – I ask lots of questions, everything interests me, and it enables me to have a fresh perspective on people’s problems.

Sincerity – most people are surprised by the extent to which I’m determined to help them.

Tolerance – I meet all kinds of people, on all organizational levels. I found it best to meet them where they are, and not where I think they’re supposed to be.

My training as a historian helps me ask the correct questions, my training from Vayomar helps frame every action I take as a service to somebody, and my background as an outsider reminds me of the importance of tolerance towards others.

“Latent structure is master of obvious structure.”
― Heraclitus, Fragments 

My recommendations:

The Anthropocene Review – a podcast about life in the Human Time.

A Canticle for Leibowitz,  by Walter Michael Miller Jr. A book about life between two nuclear wars.

Asterios Polyp  by David Mazzucchelli. A graphic novella on hubris, relationships, and happiness.