While the existence of programmatic sales positions is only relatively new, their evolution has been swift. This once-specialty role is being absorbed into the greater sales team, as AdExchanger points out, with responsibilities for programmatic selling becoming part of traditional sales positions. As you lead your team through this evolution, here are some things to keep in mind to encourage knowledge sharing from your programmatic professional to your broader staff.
As the positions of your programmatic sales team are absorbed, the folks in those positions will likely find it very easy to feel as though they’re training their way out of a job: There’s nothing more demotivating, after all, than training your replacements! In order to get the best knowledge transfer from your programmatic sales professional to your broader staff, provide the new salesperson with job security and a transition plan into a new role.
Work together to develop a new set of responsibilities that he or she can be excited about, and then make a smooth transition of knowledge to the rest of the team a prerequisite. Keep in mind you didn’t hire your salespeople for their abilities to do the more tedious parts of the sales process that can now simply be automated. Programmatic presents an opportunity to free them up to concentrate on the higher-value parts of their work, meaning this change can be considered a win-win for both the individuals and the organization.
Roll Out New Information Slowly
When it comes to training, many organizations may seem to consider a half or full-day knowledge dump—where all the information is transitioned to the team in one swoop—the most effective option. But such an approach is likely to result in content overload, leaving your team unable to retain the key points. Instead, have your programmatic sales professional work up a plan to distribute the knowledge in bite-size chunks over the course of several weeks. This may seem to take longer initially, but the long-term retention of information it encourages will actually save time.
Incentivize Practice and Allow for Failure
When team members are learning new skills, there will inevitably be fumbles along the way as they apply the new information. Following the previous step and rolling out the new responsibilities over time will allow you to build in practice rounds for your team, and allow them to integrate their new responsibilities into their day-to-day workflows while the risk is still low. People in sales positions tend to love competition, and the more you can make this a game among them and incentivize the application of the new knowledge, the faster they’ll learn it.
Positioning is Everything
When a change like this occurs, it can be easy for the team to perceive it negatively—for example, your programmatic sales professional is losing his or her job while your broader sales team is forced to take on more work. So how you position the change is everything. You can portray it in an exciting way: It’s a chance for positions to evolve and your team to make more money. Remind them constantly of the positive outcomes of this evolution in order to keep their heads in the game and their eyes on the prize.