MasterCard Transformed Their Sales Training, and You Can Too
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“It isn’t so much about learning as it is about implementing and adapting over time” This is the sales training philosophy of Mastercard’s Brian Gontarski. He gave a talk at Dreamforce titled, “Our CRM Learning Journey: Strategies For End-User Enablement.” During his session, he tackled a topic that presents a huge challenge for many enterprise organizations: CRM training. At Mastercard, Gontarski supports sales training by providing the tools and resources they need to excel. As he puts it, “enablement is an ongoing, and often thankless effort.” Yet, by changing the habits of the organization through implementation and adoption of the right technology — he was finally able to move the needle. Here he shares his journey as part of the Global Talent Development and Sales Excellence Team, and how he worked to drive continuous, tech-empowered learning.
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Consumption Learning (and why it matters)Gontarski’s job is to identify eLearning technology that drives sales efficiency. Meanwhile, he also pioneers better ways of conceptualizing software training. It is worth mentioning that Mastercard has a diverse employee population. Employees differ in age, background, culture and geographical divide. This means the solutions and concepts Gontarski implements must be able to translate and scale across the globe. He describes the two different approaches he used to tackle sales training: completion learning and consumption learning. This framework is important in understanding MasterCard’s training initiatives.
- Completion learning refers to the traditional form of learning. The learner receives a training module takes a test, and “completes” that step. It banks on the idea that once a student has passed, they are articulate in a certain body of knowledge.
- Consumption learning is the modern, fluid counterpart. It is on-demand and dictated by the learners’ wants and needs. A user who shows interest in a specific skill might turn to a YouTube video or informative blog post.
Mastercard’s Learning JourneyMastercard’s Salesforce training has evolved significantly alongside digital innovations. Gontarski recounts the different methods they employed over the years — what worked, what didn’t and why.
Salesforce BootcampDuring the dark ages of digital transformation, training took place in a classroom. Trainees were given a packed itinerary spanning from 8am to 5pm. Being face-to-face with students had two major benefits: a sense of corporate responsibility and the ability to adapt. Meaning, employees had to show up and the instructor could modify his or her lesson according to the classroom needs. Gontarski notes this method was logistically taxing and lacked scalability. For an organization like Mastercard, with offices in over 200 countries, it was simply not sustainable.
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Virtual ClassroomWebinars were Mastercard’s next step on the training ladder. They required little logistical planning and employees could watch them live from all over the world. This however, brought about new and interesting challenges. As a result, Webinars were under-prioritized. An employee could sign up for the course and not be required to show up. Without metrics for engagement it was impossible to gauge the usefulness of the program. These factors made it difficult to determine what employees were actually learning. Another problem was the pressure it put on employees to apply material from theoretical lessons to the Salesforce application independently.
Learning PathwaysA shift in thinking brought about a new sales training paradigm for Mastercard. Instead of spoon feeding Salesforce training, “we evolved to talking about ideas and concepts and fields that are really complex,” but the training as a whole is self-paced. To start, they created learning pathways on a platform called Degreed. This ‘build your own Salesforce adventure’ allowed employees to pick and choose between modules and learn at their own speed. Pathways brought Mastercard one step closer to consumption learning, but not all the way there. This method required extensive maintenance. Each time Salesforce was updated, the training materials had to be reconfigured. Another issue Mastercard experienced with this method was lack of live guidance. As a result, employees who ran into problems were flocking to the helpdesk with tickets.
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Consumption Model“Our most recent development is to put the learning right in Salesforce.com and here is where we cracked consumption.” Mastercard adopted WalkMe to improve training stickiness. WalkMe differs from previous training methods in that it delivers assistance in context, and is available on demand. The user does not have to leave Salesforce’s website. Gontarski notes that, “WalkMe is like having a coach standing right behind you giving step-by-step instructions.” WalkMe is used by Mastercard to drive sales productivity in a variety of different ways:
- To trigger actual workflows: Start off a chain of action that will get the user where they need to be.
- To Provide guidance: Support that is always there on-demand.
- To ensure data quality: The system can sense when there is data missing and will prompt the user to improve the record.
- To test pilot technology: Instead of building a whole training program around new tech, WalkMe offers a quick, effective way to make the most out of pilots.