Here’s a terrific case study from Swedish/US communication consultants and training firm Gronstedt Group on the role social media plays in helping the sales team at US educational publisher Prentice-Hall improve their sales performance.
The case study describes how the firm applies a new approach to e-learning:
[…] Sales training is no longer about watching, reading and listening, but about doing, simulating, socializing, sharing and collaborating. The maturation of a new wave of online applications and tools, such as blogs, podcasts, online gaming, and wireless and mobile technologies, is driving ever-greater levels of sales and service productivity.
Gronstedt’s report illustrates how scenario-based online simulations, podcasts and blogs are catalysts for connecting a disparate sales team to stimulate greater engagement between the team members that’s geared to helping lift their performance levels:
[…] The blog serves as a forum for free-flowing conversations. It’s an engine for sharing experiences from the front lines across the sales organization without inundating reps with e-mail. They can read the musings, rants, raves, insights and opinions of their peers and weigh in on conversations about pressing issues that will help them better do their jobs. Reps can also find the latest podcasts and download them from PlayDough [the new sales community blog].
The integration of the podcasts with the blog is a critical step in building and engaging an online community and helping transform the podcast into a two-way, listener-driven medium. Thanks to the blog, shows can be based on themes raised by sales reps, and they can answer specific questions and concerns in ways that are more meaningful and easier to manage than another e-mail salvo.
With variability between high- and low-performing sales and service reps still greater than 50% in most organizations, Gronstedt says, field communication and training is green pasture for improvements.
Prentice-Hall certainly sees the value from this new approach:
[…] “The feedback from the field has been phenomenal,” says [Eric Frank, Director of Marketing for the Business Publishing Division]. “This campaign has kicked off a new wave of communication across the organization, where newsletters and e-mail blasts are being replaced by this new approach to strategic and tactical communications.”