No one saw this coming. That was a common refrain among training teams everywhere as they scrambled to transition to a remote environment in the midst of the global COVID-19 pandemic.
One organization that wasn’t in panic mode? Finastra, the world’s third-largest fintech company. Born of a merger between D+H and Misys in 2017, Finastra had to quickly develop a unified structure for sales training.
“Overnight, we went from 450 on our sales team to 750,” said Anna Hiett, Finastra’s global head of sales training, during a presentation at November’s virtual Sales Innovation Expo.
Moreover, Hiett added, the 750 users were located worldwide. To drive user adoption, the sales-training solution would have to overcome the challenges of multiple time zones as well as travel restrictions. Finastra turned to Allego and its interactive learning and enablement technology.
“It took us just six weeks to build,” Hiett exclaimed. “So it was really scalable and in a really fast timeframe. And I honestly didn’t think it was going to be possible.”
She summarized the technology in three words: “Scalable, social, repeatable.” Let’s take a closer look at each.
1. Make Training Scalable By Streamlining Administration
Those 750 sales reps were, of course, just a small part of a much larger enterprise. Finastra comprises about 10,000 employees at 60 offices. And, through the company’s extensive partner network, Finastra has a presence in 130 countries.
“According to Wikipedia, that’s one more country than McDonald’s,” noted Hiett, who added: “We are proud to count 90 of the world’s largest 100 banks amongst our client base.”
For Finastra, the legacy training approach — a classic “bootcamp” involving two weeks of face-to-face instruction — was no longer practical. The company needed a virtual application with high levels of automation.
They found one. “We managed to automate, I would say, two-thirds of that journey,” Hiett said. “Obviously, we’re [continuing to evolve] in the current situation. All of our bootcamps are virtual. We’re still using Allego for all of the initial onboarding, and we truly believe that within the first week of joining the organization, you can be up to speed with everything that you need to know.”
In addition to the cost savings — $170,000 in the first year alone — automation has streamlined implementation on the administration side as well. “The key thing here for us in being able to ramp up this quickly and be scalable was the automated testing and tracking,” Hiett said. “This took a huge admin burden off our hands … to be able to do that advanced scheduling.”
2. Make Training Sociable by Meeting Users Where They Are
Integrating popular social platforms into the training regimen was another vital component of what Hiett called “this paradigm shift.” She added: “It really is important for L&D teams such as my own to really meet learners where they are. And typically that isn’t going to a classroom or sitting on a three-hour Zoom meeting with a presenter and a bunch of slides.”
In other words, effective sales-training methodologies should evolve in a way that mirrors broader changes in people’s personal lives. “We want to engage our users how they like to be engaged,” Hiett said. “So whether they’re on Snapchat or the new LinkedIn Stories or Instagram, they’re used to consuming those really short videos. … We’ve really reduced down all of the content that we do and made it very short, sharp and snappy. Anything over about 10 minutes is too long a video.”
But there’s more to “going social” than developing shorter presentations. It also means sharing success stories across the sales network, collaborating to fine-tune sales pitches via a peer-to-peer approach and what Hiett called “gamification … leaderboards and scorecards and such.”
Each week, as part of Finastra’s automated testing and tracking, participants are presented with a challenge that measures their grasp of key messages. “I daresay salespeople are very competitive, and this goes down really, really well with them,” Hiett said. “And the benefit, of course, is in drilling in this way, that message is really sinking in.”
3. Make Training Repeatable to Ensure Consistency
For a global company, there’s more to developing a unified remote sales-training strategy than overcoming physical distance. There’s also the challenge of crafting simple baseline messages that translate across different cultures. “It’s really important, whether you’re a bank or a financial institution in Ohio or in Beijing, that when you engage with Finastra, you get the same message in the same way,” Hiett said.
To accomplish that, the company needed a training approach focused on “making sure that everybody got onboarded with that same base-level information to reduce the ramp time and get them productive as soon as possible,” Hiett said.
Allego’s repeatable approach dovetails with Finastra’s FusionFabric.cloud, an open platform for banking that offers “innovation through collaboration.” The goal is to help those across the fintech industry fine-tune instructions on how to pitch clients within three minutes.
Hiett summarized the benefits of such repeatability in the form of a rhetorical question: “How cool would it be if your sales team could all tell the same story?”
1, 2, 3 — Go
It’s time for global companies in every field to open their eyes and see the pandemic for what it is — or, more accurately, what it isn’t. This isn’t a temporary disruption that will eventually pass and allow everyone to get “back to normal.”
Rather, the pandemic has exposed the antiquated nature of many entrenched processes, including sales training. Leaders at enlightened institutions have recognized this and adapted accordingly — a huge step in the right direction. Said Hiett, “I can’t over-articulate how important it is to have leadership buy-in from top down.”
To see how Finastra adopted Allego’s interactive learning and enablement technology for its global sales team, watch Anna Hiett’s presentation at Sales Innovation Expo: Scalable, Sociable, Repeatable: How Finastra Modernized its Learning Program.
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