After experiencing a four-year growth rate of 775.8% along with a consolidation of companies under the Health Diagnostics umbrella, the organization began to question whether it could maintain an aggressive growth pattern. During the consolidation process, the varying levels of sales talent presented Health Diagnostics with a major challenge. Individual sales representatives brought their own methodologies and strategies for approaching sales opportunities. It became painfully obvious to management that the new, larger sales team suffered from a lack of formalized training and the absence of a consistent, organization-wide sales methodology. They acted more like customer service representatives than proactive sales professionals.
It became apparent that change was needed to improve their hit rate and shorten the sales cycle. In short, the sales team’s fundamental approach with their customers was ineffective.
- They approached each physician encounter focused on “feature/benefit dumping” and not relationship building.
- They lacked an understanding of the questions to ask and how to be effective during their sales calls.
- They were not positioned as strategic partners in the eyes of the physicians.
- Regional sales performance was inconsistent; achieving quota was hit or miss.
When Health Diagnostic began to explore their options for a sales training provider, they sought a partner who could deliver a solution that was flexible enough to adapt to the different scenarios their salespeople encounter throughout the course of a day. While there are a number of competent sales training providers, The Brooks Group stood apart from the competition because of its emphasis on learning retention. The virtual training delivery model pioneered by The Brooks Group helps to achieve this difference. The virtual training format enables participants to learn productively and immediately apply new skills in their home sales environment—offering a more effective, efficient alternative to traveling for a multi-day workshop with no coaching or real-time reinforcement. The Health Diagnostics solution divided the six-step IMPACT process into smaller weekly segments which combined live, interactive training in Second Life® with tactical homework assignments, on-the-job practice and real-time coaching. Second Life is an online delivery platform that enables participants to see and experience training in a realistic, three-dimensional classroom environment. This blended learning format was critical to the program’s success and, when coupled with strong accountability from managers and peers, has resulted in new, productive habits across the sales team. There were some initial apprehensions from both the management and sales team when it came to using this new technology.
Some felt this was just going to be another two-dimensional webcast or series of staid conference calls. Others suffered from “technology-phobia” and questioned the ease of navigating inside the Second Life environment.
However, after implementation, they discovered the benefits far outweighed their fears. Using the virtual training system allows participants to rely on a variety of their senses, which enhances the learning experience. The online classroom setting itself – complete with tables, chairs, windows and whiteboards – allows participants to interact with their trainer and peers as if they were together in the same room. Not only does this sensory engagement improve learning and focus, the facilitator uses effective touch points across the duration of the training to ensure participants are prepared and attentive. These touch points come in the form of both class discussion and interaction, and weekly follow-up coaching. Health Diagnostics discovered the sales training benefits were greatly enhanced by the delivery of the course through the virtual training platform. For the shift in sales performance they wanted to achieve, a traditional two-day face-to-face, engagement would have delivered too much information too quickly leaving participants feeling as though they were trying to drink water from a fire hose. Virtual training provided an avenue for better learning and retention through a building-blocks approach.
The overall impact of this customized sales training program to Health Diagnostics is an increase in sales volume. The sales team has learned how to build long-term client partnerships and by implementing a common sales methodology across the organization, they have learned the benefits of listening and positioning themselves as sales professionals.
“I continued to probe harder [with this practice] and uncovered that scheduling was also a big determining factor. It was a quick conversation, but prior to the training I would have walked away just thinking authorizations were important. I can now present the scheduling benefit as well, because I asked questions and went deeper.”
“I walked into a new account, used the statement of intention [and], also used the three deep questions, and I got a commitment from the doctor.”
“The Prospecting Parthenon… to gain additional business is working out awesome… I have gotten in front of more customers at a quicker pace and developed more meaningful 2-way dialogues than ever before. IMPACT continues to be a great process for me.”