Sales Tech Simplified: How to Measure and Improve Sales Proficiency at Scale

January 11, 2018 Nancy Nardin

In this series, we ask tech executives to describe the why and how of their solution. We call it Sales Tech Simplified.

This week I interview Steve Preston, CMO at Qstream.

Nancy: Why does the industry need your solution?

Steve: More and more companies are investing in sales enablement solutions, and as evidenced by your own SalesTech Landscape, there’s now a wide array of solutions and services for organizations to choose from. Our observation is that most of the currently available solutions are focused on one of 2 primary levers: performance (how do I track and predict the results that my team generates?), or productivity (how do I ensure that my reps are executing the right daily activities, in the most efficient way?).

Both of these metrics are important to be sure — you need to track what reps are doing and the results they’re getting — yet performance and productivity, when viewed alone, can be deceiving. In fact, at Qstream we think there’s a costly blind spot that most sales leaders today aren’t even aware of: understanding how well their reps are performing these activities, or in other words, how proficient are they at applying the knowledge, skills and behaviors required to win?

Qstream is giving sales leaders the tools, and the data they need to measure and improve proficiency at scale, while continually reinforcing critical knowledge and skills in a way reps love – in just minutes a day, via their mobile device. Sales leaders simply can’t accomplish this using traditional tools like Learning Management Systems that track course completion rates or assess a one-time test.

Increasing sales proficiency takes practice, and to make that happen, organizations need to call upon a new generation of mobile tools, like Qstream, that reps engage in-the-moment, on-the-go. And because sales development pros can use Qstream quickly and responsively as business or market conditions change, enablement becomes a continuous, “always-on” process that’s dynamic enough to support each rep, where they are, customized for their specific needs.

The other critical challenge we’re addressing is the growing mandate for sales enablement professionals to connect the impact of their investments to specific business outcomes. Qstream’s native CRM integration and the ability to export Qstream data into other in-use BI solutions, allows sales learning and enablement teams to link proficiency directly to performance and measure progress over time. Now sales leaders can finally know how training and enablement programs are affecting win rates, market share, and other key performance indicators. Until they can do this credibly, supported by data, sales enablement simply can’t demonstrate its ultimate value to the organization.

Nancy: Why should it be prioritized above other options?

Steve: Better reps get better results. They get better results not because of what they do, but how well they do it. So, in many ways, we see that this third “P,” – proficiency — is the most insightful metric of all. It’s absolutely foundational to sales success, because unless sales leaders and enablement professionals understand, at an individualized level, the unique capabilities of their reps – where they are strong and where they need help – it’s very difficult to apply training, development and coaching strategies that will help their team members improve, and ultimately drive higher business performance. As one of our favorite sales industry influencers likes to say, “If we only improve salesperson efficiency, we’re just helping our average salespeople to go out and make more average sales calls.”

Simply put, the secret to developing a high-performing sales team is an organization’s ability to motivate, measure, and drive proficiency improvement over time. That’s why the key to optimizing sales enablement investments—and maximizing results—means making proficiency a foundational metric of your program.

Nancy: Where does your solution fit in the Hierarchy of Revenue Needs™?

Steve: Qstream’s core platform functionality today really lies in the “developing, coaching and onboarding” layer, however the benefits of our solution can extend far higher in the pyramid, particularly when it comes to our strengths in skills development and reinforcement, and long-term behavior change. Done well, the proficiency improvements resulting from Qstream can support excellence in virtually every facet of customer engagement – from engaging with and qualifying prospects, to communicating value, to closing deals.

Nancy: How mature is a typical organization’s sales stack before adding your technology?

Steve: I think the better way to measure maturity is to assess how organizations want to apply Qstream. As organizations mature, they typically migrate from using Qstream solely to reinforce events such as product launches and sales kick-offs to integrating Qstream into their sales process for a more dynamic, just-in-time application – what we call “Continuous Sales Enablement.”

Nancy: In what ways is your solution complementary to others that might be in someone’s sales stack now or in the future?

Steve: As an enabling solution Qstream is highly flexible and works in tandem to support any number of sales and learning technologies, including LMS, CRM, and sales asset management (SAM). And because our platform can support virtually any sales development use case – from onboarding, to product launches, to compliance, to competitive threat management – and can support any sales process or methodology – from SPIN to Challenger and everything in between– we serve clients of all sizes and in all industries.

Nancy: What are some of the challenges your solution solves for Sales?

Steve: We really feel that everyone with a stake in sales success benefits from Qstream’s ability to measure proficiency and connect it to real business results. Sales Leaders, supported by sales operations, can now produce forecasts with greater confidence, and do a better job of spotting pipeline risk. Learning and development can engage reps continuously to reinforce critical knowledge, and get new visibility into the effectiveness of their training programs. Sales enablement teams can spot costly knowledge and skills gaps, unique to each rep, and focus their time and resources where it matters most. And product marketing gets a whole new channel for their content—one that can help them drive adoption, and develop fewer, but more effective, training assets.

Nancy: What are some good resources if someone wanted to learn what questions to ask, what others are doing, or purchase considerations?

Steve: Qstream’s Resource library is a great one-stop-shop of helpful tools, product information, and customer success stories.

A few specific items I would suggest are:

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