The collaboration is marked with continuous acquisition, with this latest one poised to create stronger competition to Cisco and Microsoft.

LogMeIn's previous lineup of products—including LogMeIn Rescue, BoldChat, LastPass and join me—will now include GoToMeeting, GoToWebinar, GoToTraining and OpenVoice. The combined business will have more than $1 billion in revenue, almost 3,000 employees and more than 2 million customers worldwide.

“We believe that together we can better serve the needs of our customers, while expanding our reach and accelerating product innovation to bring you more choice, greater possibilities and better business outcomes," LogMeIn President and CEO Bill Wagner.

Learn more -- http://www.globenewswire.com/news-release/2016/07/26/859040/0/en/LogMeIn-Announces-Merger-with-Citrix-s-GoTo-Family-of-Products-to-Create-Billion-Dollar-Industry-Leader.html

 

Published in Deals

 

The Virtual Reality War has begun. Alphabet’s launch of Pixel Smartphone and new VR headset has joined the battle with Facebook, Microsoft and Samsung. With the heavy adoption of the technology comes the realization that VR IS in the future for enterprise learning.

VR is currently estimated to be a $1 billion industry according to Deloitte Global, but will explode to $35 Billion by 2025 according to BI Intelligence.  Video games and entertainment are the largest VR market segments accounting for$18.9 billion of the $35 billion market in 2025. Enterprise VR applications will generate 54% of VR market with Healthcare and Engineering leading the enterprise market.

 

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Published in Latest News

--Recognizes Contributions to Federal Distance Learning

Elearning! Media Group, publishers of Elearning! and Government Elearning! magazines, announced today the Federal Government Distance Learning Association selected Elearning! Media Group for the Pillar Award for contributions to the Federal Government Distance Learning Industry.  The 2016 FGDLA Awards honor excellence in federal government distance learning to 16 organizations and professionals.

We are honored to earn the Pillar Award from FGDLA and congratulation the Association for delivering important industry practices and information to more than 350 federal agencies,” says Catherine Upton, Group Publisher, Elearning! Media Group.The organizations selected for the FGDLA Awards are an inspiring group and it is with deep respect that we accept this award.”

FGDLA is has named the following Federal Government employees and organizations as 2016 FGDLA Award recipients for demonstrating excellence in distance learning:

Individual Awards:

Hall of Fame: In recognition of an individual who has made significant contributions in promoting and developing distance learning in the Federal Government. 

Honoree: Dr. Kenneth P. Pisel, Joint Forces Staff College, National Defense University


Pioneer: In recognition of an individual demonstrating initiative and leadership in the development and implementation of distance learning in the Federal Government.

Five Honorees: Dale Carpenter, Distance Learning Group, National Park Service

Andrea Simonelli, Information Technology Department, Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division

Naval Air Systems Command

Dr. Damon Regan, Advanced Distributed Learning Initiative

JoAnne Green, iCollege, National Defense University

Paul Thurkettle, NATO E-Learning, Allied Command Transformation

Organizational Awards:

Five-Star: In recognition of an organization demonstrating excellence in providing enterprise-wide distance learning solutions for the Federal Government.

Three Honorees: Acquisition Career Management Group Acquisition Policy and Oversight Federal Aviation Administration Digital Learning Network, National Aeronautics and Space Administration

Information Technology Department, Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division Naval Air Systems Command


Innovation: In recognition of an organization demonstrating leadership in the development of emerging distance learning technologies providing enterprise-wide solutions for the Federal Government.

Three Honorees: Distance Learning Group National Park Service (NPS), Advanced Distribute Learning Initiative Office of the Undersecretary of Defense (Personnel & Readiness), NATO E-Learning Allied Command Transformation

 

Eagle: In recognition of an individual that has served the Federal Government distance learning community by providing exceptional leadership, vision, and advocacy.

Honoree: College of Distance Education and Training Marine Corps University

 

Pillar: In recognition for outstanding service or significant contribution to the Association by an organization not affiliated with the Federal Government

Honoree: Elearning! Media Group, Publishers of Elearning! and Government Elearning! Magazines

 

This is FGDLA 20th year for proudly recognizing individuals and organizations who have made major contributions to enhancing distance learning within the Federal Government,” says Alex Autry, President, Federal Government Distance Learning Association. Not only have these recipients’ improved the knowledge and skill levels of our number one resources- people-  but have ensured our Nation is second to none.”

 

FGDLA Award Luncheon

The 20th Annual FGDLA Awards Luncheon will be hosted on December 8th at 11:50 AM in Room 151A at the Washington D.C. Convention Center. The Award Luncheon is a ticketed invitation only event conducted during FGDLA’s Government Learning Technology Symposium (GLTS).  GLTS is a free two-day conference for government personnel. Uniquely focused on the needs of Federal Government distance learning professionals, GLTS provides a venue for professionals to make connections, discuss the latest developments, and identify new regulations and trends that affect our industry. If you are involved in learning, talent development, mission execution, HR services, project management, team training and leadership, you should attend GLTS.

The GLTS is held at the Washington D.C. Convention Center, Dec. 7-8, 2016. For the complete GLTS program, visit  http://glts.fgdlaevents.us/ 
Published in Latest News

 

Award Program Recognizes Top 100 Global Learning Organizations

Elearning! Media Group, publishers of Elearning! Magazine and Government Elearning! Magazine announced the 2017 Learning! 100 Award Call for Applications is now open. The annual award program honors public and private sector organizations for innovation, collaboration and learning culture that drives performance. Applications can be submitted at: http://b2bmediaco.com/learn100/2017/award/form_100.php

The Learning! 100 award winners are an elite team of high performers. From small to large enterprises, this award honors those that push the limits of learning and development, to over achieve by exceeding performance expectations,” says Catherine Upton¸ Group Publisher, Elearning! Media Group. “Learning is at the core of their success. And, every one continues to inspire us with their innovation, passion and performance.”

Previous Learning! 100 honorees include Amazon Web Services, AT&T, American Heart Association, Salesforce, NASCAR, Defense Acquisition University, and Scripps Health to name a few. 

Are You a Learning! 100?

In its 7th year, the Learning! 100 Award call for nominations is now open. Elearning! Media Group, host of the Learning! 100 Award invites all organizations, small and large, private or public sector to apply. The process is easy via an online ballot. There is no entry fee for public sector submissions. Corporate enterprises invest only $250 to apply, which includes an award and tickets to the awards event, if selected as a Learning! 100 winner.

Learning! 100 applications are evaluated on three sets of criteria: (1) Learning Culture Index developed by The Darden School, (2) Collaborative Strategies’ Collaboration TCEP Index and (3) Overall Organizational Performance. The Learning! 100 awards committee reviews all applications which are scored and ranked.  The 2017 Learning! 100 applications must be submitted by February 1st, 2017 for consideration at: http://b2bmediaco.com/learn100/2017/award/form_100.php

Important Dates

Learning! 100 Call for Applications    October 2016- Feb 1st, 2017

Learning! 100 Winner Notifications   March 1st, 2017

Learning! 100 Awards Issue Deadline July 1st, 2017

Learning! 100 Awards Reception       August 2017

Learning! 100 Winner Articles,          Aug 2017-June 2018

    Web Seminars & Sessions

Previous Winners

The Learning! 100 winners have much to share with the learning community including:

I’m truly honored that ASAE University was recognized for its online programs,” said ASAE Vice President of Online Learning Tammy Blosil. “We always strive to create courses that will advance members’ knowledge as well as provide tools and resources they can share and utilize in their organizations.”

"Our customers' success is everything to us. Seeing Amazon Web Services, Ingersoll Rand and Publicis.Sapient get recognized for their dedication, hard work and accomplishment - and knowing that our solutions are contributing to their success - is an immensely rewarding experience," says Walter Rogers, CEO of CCI and BCI.

“Being ranked in the top 20 is an honor for our organization, and demonstrates that although we are a rather small, privately held organization, we can play with the likes of Salesforce, Facebook, Amazon, and Cisco,” stated Anne Yarmark, EVP of HR & Administration.

Elearning! Media Group (EMG) announced their annual Learning! 100 awards, ranking the top 100 learning and development programs in the private and public sectors,” reported Tom Cunningham, Vice President, Global Sales On-boarding, Skillsoft. “Along with the dozens of Skillsoft customers that made the list, we are very excited to be named the #17 corporate enterprise honoree for the success of our Sales Onboarding Program!”

 

Learning is at the very core of ISTE’s mission to empower learners to flourish in a connected world by cultivating a passionate professional learning community,” said ISTE CEO Brian Lewis, who accepted the award on the organization’s behalf. “On behalf of ISTE’s board of directors, staff and the more than 100,000 education stakeholders we serve worldwide, it’s an honor to accept this recognition of the culture of learning that is ISTE.” 

To learn more about the Learning! 100 Award and prior honorees, visit: http://www.2elearning.com/awards/learning-100-awards

 

Published in Latest News

When I originally wrote the Freemium blog that was posted on our site, the thought crossed my mind about what the LinkedIn acquisition by Microsoft could mean for our industry. It was the sheer volume of data — on each of us — that could be mined, which makes you ponder the possibilities. 

Deep down, I’ve always believed that the strategy behind LinkedIn’s original purchase of Lynda.com was that together, they could have achieved a what may be considered an unfair advantage as a training provider. After all, They would know so much about each of our careers and experience. It was all there — possible education gaps, career direction, current career level, etc. But it didn’t happen. And now, Reid Hoffman, LinkedIn Co-Founder & Executive Chairman, exclaimed at the Sun Valley CEO Summit that AI and machine learning will affect more than just the manufacturing sector, it will affect those in professional spheres.

Microsoft makes its own move, bringing with them a deep knowledge of machine learning, AI, Big Data, and data mining, and all of a sudden, here sits a partner that can take advantage of that enormous asset. The potential to take each of our profiles, analyze them, and then recommend what training we might want to take, what networks we could take advantage of, and even more is all sitting there. 

And it all started with the Freemium model which created tremendous value because of what we all willingly contributed to it for free. It’s like Wikipedia’s value. And what’s in it for us to have shared all of this information? As long as all of us can use the crowd-sourced data for free, find interesting groups to belong to, discover like-minded individuals, and possibly get our credentials in front of someone who might think we were a good match for a position opening, it has great value to each of us. 

It’s when people want to dive deeper, like in the case of recruiters and sales reps looking for prospects, that this model can easily be monetized. People will pay for extending their search and email solicitations, or even to view data in certain ways. Imagine the value of running a sales conference in a metropolitan area and then being able to see all of the sales people in that area. Or maybe it’s a specific training event for instructional designers.

The next step along my marketing and sales journey is to advertise to the target audience. The marketing capability is a huge potential that not even LinkedIn has taken advantage of fully. To me, it would have been of great value to see an “Events In Your Area” newsletter that gets customized for each of us.

So will this mining and interpreting of data happen? I suspect not right away. But here’s what lingers in my mind. Microsoft owns Dynamics — a competitor to Salesforce.com. Imagine what could be extracted from LinkedIn about prospects. Microsoft also owns Yammer — a competitor to Facebook and other social networks, but a network that competes at a more professional level. And then there’s our world where Microsoft is trying to play a stronger and stronger role. It includes Microsoft Classroom for the K-12 arena, and then LMS365 Cloud, Learning Management for Office 365 for the rest of the market. 

However, in all of these cases, Microsoft isn’t the market leader.  Does that point to systemic weaknesses in their organizational fabric and management? Is there not sufficient autonomy to let people execute? Are their moves over-scrutinized by regulators?

We’ll probably never know from the outside looking in, but I’m also thinking that they won’t be as nimble when it comes to achieving this outcome. That’s especially true because they have to first assimilate all of these new cultures into their own.  But consider the potential. It’s all there, waiting for Microsoft to execute the plan.

— Joe DiDonato is Elearning! Magazine’s Editor-at-Large. He has served as CLO for Oracle and Countrywide, as well as CEO of many learning technology firms.

Published in Deals

Recharge your training by thinking like a marketer.

If a sales team keeps a company propelling forward by hitting numbers and marketing spurs ripples by creatively capturing mindshare, what are trainers? Trainers help keep business afloat from the bottom up, imparting the data and strategies high-performing personnel need to successfully do their jobs.

That’s all well and good — after all, no company, whether enterprise organization or SMB, wants a stagnant workforce. Wasn’t it Einstein who said, “Once you stop learning, you start dying?” I stopped studying quotes years ago, so I digress.

Sarcasm aside, the fact of the matter is that while training is necessary, it can also be sluggish and a big budget suck if it’s not approached appropriately. What can help? Train like a marketer — specifically, a forward-thinking, design-savvy, customer-empowering, data-analyzing, digital marketer. Here’s why.

THE MARKETING GRASS — IS IT REALLY GREENER?

Trainers often look at the marketing team in envy, with their big budgets, fancy graphics, and lavish events. Marketers in this digital age are sort of like hipsters — you don’t really understand everything they do, but you know it’s probably trendy and cool. This, understandably, can be a little off-putting to trainers stuck in a downward spiral of endless budget cuts, PowerPoints and 18 options of Word Art.

Although marketers may appear to have more options than trainers when it comes to design (and the truth is that anyone can design, by the way), the real point of contention here is that many trainers don’t seem to need marketers. In fact, they have the tendency to exhibit a bit of indifference when it comes to the tactics marketers use — after all, isn’t most training mandatory? The marketing frills, then, don’t do trainers any good. People will show up anyway — donuts or no donuts, Word Art or cinematography. Not true.

The corporate landscape is changing. Now, trainers have to approach customers and partners — not always the other way around — to not only help them improve product knowledge, but even boost product usage or revenue. In addition, some trainers today are being asked to improve attendance rates. That’s where marketing skills come into play. Let’s break down some of the major lessons trainers can take from their marketing brothers and sisters down the hall.

MARKETING TIPS FOR TRAINERS

Here are a few lessons trainers can take from the marketer’s playbook:

>> Leverage, leverage, leverage. Marketers leverage spokespeople all the time, so why can’t trainers? Executive sponsors are recognizable, relatable, and authoritative. You’re probably not going to get an executive sponsor to deliver the training, but he or she could at minimum ask people to participate via email, intranet, instant message or Slack. Even better — have the spokesperson film a short video invitation to hype up the training. It shouldn’t be difficult to get the sponsor on board with this idea. It won’t take much time and, as a stakeholder in the success of the business, it should be a nobrainer.

>> Make email automation your friend. This might not be suitable for all training programs, but it certainly is for the ones that have to reach an outside audience like partners or customers. Trainers can send emails via an email marketing automation platform for speed, but there’s another bonus — analytics. Track those efforts to better understand which approach is working and which, if any, you need to reevaluate.

>> Get social. Social is a powerful tool, and its benefits aren’t isolated to one department. Like marketers, trainers should consider leveraging (see, there it is again) social media organic and even social advertisements. Facebook has excellent options because it is user-friendly, affordable, and allows for hyper-targeting.

>> Empower and inform, don’t dictate and preach. Both marketers and trainers seek to tell their respective audience something — that’s a given. The difference often lies in the approach. Successful marketers tend to view campaigns from a very human, audience-driven perspective. As a result, winning campaigns aren’t dry regurgitations of features and benefits — they’re engaging, memorable snippets of a bigger picture of a brand. Trainings can be, too.

>> Go small or go home. Yeah, you read that right. Marketers don’t tell their consumer base everything about a product in one piece of content. Rather, they focus on digestible chunks presented in a memorable way. Rinse, repeat. Trainers can take a hint here. In order to get the big picture, sometimes baby steps are required. Breaking trainings down into segments can be an effective way to reach a larger percentage of the audience more effectively.

>> Make it pretty. As marketers know, design and delivery are uber-important, and trainers can get in on the action, too. So, maybe all trainers don’t have access to the hottest design software—but I bet many of them have a smartphone or a device that can record video. Start there. Incorporating video into trainings is an easy and fun way to break up the monotony of text blocks and slide transitions.

THE CASE FOR COLLABORATION

When I worked at Cisco once upon a time, I worked with Faith Legendre, a wonderful learning and development expert at Cisco. She was always trying to get the marketing experts and training expects together when it came time to design, implement, and promote new training initiatives. She is the one that taught me that marketers and trainers can learn so much from each other.

Legendre said, “Just like an effective well designed commercial that a brilliant marketer would do (hint, hint partner with marketers) break up your training into digestible nibblets, take the complex and break it down, make it super simple, sequential and fun. Then embed it right where the learner needs it on that page of the system, application, or even a Word doc.”

I agreed with her then and I agree with her now — the case for collaboration here is a strong one. Trainers and marketers have a lot to learn from each other. Trainers, for instance, take so much time and effort to create content that can easily be consumed. They’re also great at making sure that knowledge is transferred. Marketers are great at identifying a message that will reach an audience in a memorable way — seems like a match made in heaven, if you ask me.

If your trainers regularly had the help of marketers, how do you think knowledge retention and session attendance would improve in your company? Isn’t it at least worth a try? Can you relate to any of the suggestions above and find one or two that would be a cinch to implement? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

– Eric Vidal, Editor & Chief Content Officer, The Marketing Scope. @EricVMarketing

Published in Insights

 

More than 150,000 people convened at Dreamforce ‘16 and hundreds of solutions from AI, gamification to sales enablement tools were on display. These are a few cool solutions our editor’s picked as best of Dreamforce:

Simple Productivity Tools

Anyone who uses Salesforce (SF) knows it can be a powerful tool if used correctly. A few solutions make the CRM as simple as a click to post a call, opportunity or note. LiiD is one app that automatically logs a sales call or activity into SF. When a call is completed, you click and it saves it to the contact record, as long as the client phone number is in the contact database. The speech-to-text feature lets you save meetings or add notes easily. Use the personal sales assistant to remind you of important tasks. The app is available on Android and iOS. Learn more at: liid.com

ZynBit, another productivity tool for SF, that let’s sales reps post actions from the MS Outlook email account. The SF client activity is a popup side bar, so information can be entered in a click, without leaving the email account. ZynBit identifies or captures contacts information from your email automatically. Add-ons like ZynSync and ZynIQ can deliver prescriptive and automated insights alongside your email conversations. Starting at $10/ user, it is worth a test. Learn more at: zybit.com

Gamified Learning Platform

We had a chance to meet with founder and CEO Gal Rimon to talk about GamEffective. Rimon was founder of a BI company which he sold in 2012. Then, he launched GamEffective. Initially, a gamification application, Rimon realized that gamification can’t work in isolation. So, armed with his BI background Rimon built a learning environment built on business process rather than completion or competition.

GamEffective’s number one goal is to improve performance management. But rather than use esoteric Key Performance Indicators, Rimon suggests creating campaigns effective by employee and roll to: Build awareness; Provide product info – Teach them; Do things with product, talk about it, use it; and, measure performance to help create a habit performing.

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  The Millennials are changing the face of work. “We need to train them first, show you care about them, claims Rimon. “They focus on work and caring… [and] thrive on constant feedback that is personal to them. GamEffective can make each employee a hero of their own game. And, it moves the overall company performance needle”, concludes Rimon.

Test drive it at: GamEffective.com

Infer’s Analytics Solution

Infer showcased their Host Analytics solution at Dreamforce. With their solution, sales, marketing and even training organizations can create digital analytics dashboards that pulls all data into one location.  You don’t have to wait for the next system upgrade, or IT to build it. Infer has the solution that can be branded and formatted however you choose.

Host Analytics is a cloud-based application that knows ow to make data actionable. Their team will construct a “math of the business” approach, to help you determine which metrics to hit using reverse waterfall calculations.  Infer will first implement a predictive scoring model to identify the ideal customer, sales rep or employee. Using your HRIS, CRM or Marketing data, Infer will provide predictive metrics that help guide decision marketing, track performance, spot trends and prevent potential problems.

With this actionable data, you can easily shift efforts to those making the most impact. From sales deployment, marketing spends, or skills development. Learn more at: infer.com

 

Smarter Salesforce with Bluewolf

Bluewolf was in full force at Dreamforce. Recently acquired by IBM, this digital agency has morphed into a full service salesforce deployment partner.  Eric Berridge, CEO and co-founder, revealed how to use Cognitive to uncover invisible data to better serve your customers. (See his book titled Customer Obsessed on Amazon.) These fingerprints are found in Go for Sales Cloud.

SF users can leverage the intelligence available only to larger organization’s with Bluewolf Go for Sales Cloud. The solution helps companies of all sizes to launch SF in weeks with the Bluewolf approach. They focus on providing visibility and access needed to find customers, close deals, grow accounts and service customers faster.  The platform includes Sales Cloud, Analytics, Data Migration, Project Management and Training. Starting price is $69,000 for SMB deployment. Learn more at: bluewolf.com

 

Published in Latest News

 

Einstein was introduced at Dreamforce this week. Einstein reveals the customer’s DNA within the salesforce platform. By knitting together the digital fingerprints of each consumer, Einstein provides actionable analytics in a smart app. This AI solution offers predictive analytics, machine and deep learning and understands natural language all born from $1 billion of recent acquisitions.  Marc Benioff’s goal is to take a complex solution like AI and make it easy to use within Salesforce.

Einstein is AI built into the core of the Salesforce Platform where it powers the CRM. IT delivers advanced AI capabilities to sales, service and marketing- and enables anyone to use clicks or code to build AI powered apps that get smarter with every interaction. Now, everyone in every role and industry can use AI to be their best. Einstein literally captures data, feeds it to the engine to learn, guide and recommend based upon trackable customer needs and wants.

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Salesforce users can leverage Einstein to serve customers better by Anticipating sales opportunities with Sales Cloud Einstein; Proactively resolve cases with Service Cloud Einstein; Creating predictive journeys with Marketing Cloud Einstein; and, Embed intelligence in every app with APP Cloud Einstein.

“Hundreds of thousands of businesses and millions of people will benefit from the best machine learning to make smarter decisions and function more effectively,” shares Shubha Nabar, Lead Data Scientist, Salesforce.

Schneider Electric, a company that supports a majority of commercial buildings across the globe, uses Einstein for Field Service. Einstein receives information on the status of electrical panels within buildings, identifies power interruptions and sends info to the field for immediate response with the status available immediately to the technician. In this example, the technician was equipped with Virtual Reality headset to view the dashboards and repair methodology while evaluating the power panel.

Why do we need Einstein?

“B2B and B2C customers are automatically generating information just by having a smartphone and interacting with the sensors it carries,” replies Shawn Belling, Vice President, CloudCraze. “This creates huge amounts of data that any commerce or AI engine can write integrations and algorithms to connect o and consume. The challenge is making sense of all of this data, and using it to generate value. Einstein could make this easier for everyone.”

 “AI [Einstein] can analyze CRM data to equip businesses with the tools to personalize messages to multiple decisions markers in real time. This add overall value to customers by enhancing efficiency, and driving revenue through better business processes and available insights,” continues Belling.

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What does the future hold for AI?

Scott Horn, CMO at (24)7, an AI-powered customer engagement solution provider suggests, “Einstein is a sign of the true potential of AI- as a supplement to the human intuition. By turning cold calling into warm-calling, this is an opportunity for AU to prove itself as a truly productive counterpart to the human mind. And, the applications for this technology go well beyond sales. AI is bringing automation to customer service, which will bring major benefits to consumers. For the first time, businesses can now understand and act on consumer intent, meaning that consumers will no longer have to repeat information or be bombarded with irrelevant information. This technology will be commonplace in the next five years.”

How do you get Einstein?

First, you need to use Salesforce, and activate Lightning, Thunderbolt and then Einstein. You literally build upon this AI cloud leveraging the Salesforce Cloud. To discover your path to AI, visit trailblazers.salesforce.com.

 

Published in Latest News

Sales Enablement Superstars Reveal Their Secrets

What would you do when you’re faced with training your sales team on 722 significant new releases in a year like Amazon Web Services? What do you do to motivate sales executives to forecast accurately? What would you do if you had nearly 500 global subsidiaries to sales manage like Ingersoll Rand?

The sales enablement gurus from Amazon Web Services, Publicis.Sapient and Ingersoll Rand reveal their secrets to these questions. And, it all starts with changing the sales and learning culture.

AMAZON WEB SERVICES INNOVATES AT THE SPEED OF LIGHT

As the fastest-growing Enterprise IT Company in history — having grown to $10 billion in 10 years and still growing at an annual rate of 64 percent year-over-year — Amazon Web Services continues to accelerate the pace of its innovation. After starting with one storage service, today Amazon Web Services offers more than 70 services including compute, storage, databases, analytics, mobile and enterprise applications. The organization announced 722 significant new features and services in 2015, which is 40 percent more than what was introduced in 2014. And, just recently, Salesforce named Amazon Web Services its “preferred public cloud infrastructure provider,” and announced that its investing $400 million on Amazon Web Services during the next four years. Amazon Web Services’ growth has happened organically, and it’s placed an emphasis on innovating — rather than dictating — a company culture that contributes to its customerobsessed nature.

Known for its “Amazonian” style of doing things, Amazon Web Services has a rigorous dedication to its culture, best exemplified in its 14 Leadership Principles. One can easily see how it would require an immersive learning culture to deliver on its standards by just looking at a few of these principles: >> Customer obsession

>> Ownership

>> Invent and simplify

>> Hire and develop the best talent

>> Insist on the highest standards

>> Learn and be curious

While these are the traits expected and even demanded from its leaders, Amazon Web Services holds all of its employees to such exacting standards. So, when the company needed a way to standardize its primary leadership principle, customer obsession, it took a thorough approach to learning that was both broad and deep.

CUSTOMER OBSESSION

Amazon’s primary leadership principle of customer obsession is the major driving force in the company. “One of the things that Jeff Bezos has set out to be as a company is the most customer-obsessed company on the earth,” says Mike Clayville, Vice President of Global Sales. “That’s his goal. It’s written on our walls. It’s embedded in our leadership principles and it’s lived every day at every level of the organization.”

“What it means here at Amazon Web Services, and in particular in our organization that deals directly with customers, is that it translates to our team being problem solvers with the customer,” Clayville continues. “When we are working with a customer to help them understand how he or she can gain business abilities through using the cloud or how he or she can reduce cost if that’s his or her goal in using the cloud, what we enable them to do is leverage that technology in the best way possible and we do that by sitting at the table with them. On the same side of the table, understanding the issues that are in front of them and helping them solve the problem.”

As the company quickly grew, leaders knew they needed a way to unify by implementing a common methodology and language to further extend the customer-obsessed mindset across its global sales force. Through collaborating with CloudCoaching International, and through deep discovery and design, a global program called Outcome Based Account Management was developed and deployed for sellers across Amazon Web Services. This program provides language, process, behavior and methodology that even further increases customer intimacy and focus on both business and personal customer outcomes.

OUTCOME BASED ACCOUNT MANAGEMENT

It was critical that the learning solution match the Amazon Web Services culture. So, a customized version of the Customer Outcome Selling course was developed to line up with the methodology and language of Amazon. This Amazonian selling approach is called Outcome-Based Account Management (OBAM).

OBAM is the process, tools, competencies, and dialogue architecture for initiating and solidifying Amazon Web Services’ customer-obsessed relationships, fixated on the journey of transforming the sellercustomer engagement into a lifelong strategic relationship.

“We’re not trying to sell you parts and pieces or technology. What we’re trying to help you do is get the business outcomes,” says Clayville when defining OBAM. “Our job is to sit down and help. We really talk about it as the four E’s: explore, engage, empathize and enable. Those four E’s are ingrained in the behaviors of our teams that are really supporting this notion of problem solving, identifying business outcomes, creating a path for those business outcomes to be achieved and then helping the customer achieve those business outcomes.”

THE RESULTS

The development of this program has spanned three years and is currently on its third release. The immersive program thrives on a blend of pre-call, pre-work, a live one-day collaborative training day session, three post-workshop coaching calls, and an on-demand OBAM playbook.

The program has been delivered globally to around 1,000 people in all geographies, including Europe, the Asia-Pacific region, and North and South America. In every location, the program is being met with great success, achieving a global average score of 4.2 or higher out of five from participants.

Amazon Web Services’ deep commitment to a culture of continuous learning and skill development enables innovation and customer obsession.

PUBLICIS.SAPIENT MERGES CULTURES

Sapient is a marketing and digital services agency that helps marketers transform their business to go digital, and the culture of Sapient goes back to its roots. Culture is always at the forefront at Sapient.

“The most important thing in your business is not what you’re going to sell but what you value,” says Bill Kanarick, Chief Marketing Officer of global services company Sapient, who helped steered the company since it startup days. Culture was so integral that when the company reached 49 employees, Sapient dedicated two of them to keeping its culture intact.

As Sapient continued to grow and expand, its dedication to culture has never wavered. And, learning is clearly a deeply held value at the core of many of its founding principles.

Sapient believes in the need to cultivate openness to create the conditions for curiosity and change. As such, the company is committed to exchanging information, feedback and ideas which engages employees, piquing their curiosity. Sapient understands that learning is continuous, no matter an individual’s role in the organization. Sapient embraces a culture so:

>>Individuals let go of what is no longer working.

>>Individuals welcome healthy conflict in the service of more robust thinking and better outcomes.

>>Individuals leave behind hierarchy for hierarchy’s sake and enable a meritocracy of ideas that gives each person a valued and respected voice based on the quality of his or her thinking.

>>Individuals understand the critical role of failure to teach and can recover quickly and come out better for it.

THE CHALLENGE: INCREASE VISIBILITY

In order to deliver at the speed and agility of the digital marketplace Publicis. Sapient required a world-class business platform, and selected Salesforce. It also selected Salesforce to help promote better collaboration and visibility into the pipeline.

Because Sapient’s culture is highly creative and opt-in, it doesn’t mandate training on its new CRM. Knowing that its team would benefit from Salesforce, the organization decided that it needed a solution to drive adoption, quick onboarding, and a clear path to competency for all Salesforce users. To get the team’s buy-in, it needed to create a highly engaging experience that would pull the users in. It also needed the training to be in a highly scalable format that clearly shows each employee what’s in it for each of them individually.

THE SOLUTION: SALESFORCE ON-BOARDING

Enter the new Salesforce On-Boarding and Adoption Program developed in partnership with CloudCoaching International. This program addresses the challenges of global diversity and opt-in culture by creating an engaging, informative and creatively executed end user Salesforce on-boarding and adoption strategy.

To sustain learning and encourage selfpaced, incremental growth, the program focused on three main areas: strategy, implementation and fine tuning. The design of this effective strategy included a comprehensive blend of executive coaching, leadership coaching, virtual workshops, open office hours, video communications, self-paced e-learning, and corporate communications and change management.

This unique blend appeals to all learning types and, because it’s delivered over time, it maximizes retention and effectiveness. Additionally, the e-learning series is delivered via an interface by an engaging video host that takes end users through an informative and enjoyable learning journey that introduces the new company sales philosophy and methodology, step-by-step Salesforce process demonstrations, knowledge checks and even a little singing.

So far the deployment has impacted more than 1,200 users across North America, the Asia-Pacific region and Europe. Based on the success of the initial program, Publicis.Sapient, which is composed of Sapient as well as digital agencies Razorfish and DigitasLBi, will continue to use and evolve this approach to drive end-user adoption and consumption with its Salesforce platform.

THE RESULTS

Sapient has seen measurable results since it began the implementation. It has a 50-percent increase in early-stage entry, improving the accuracy of its forecasting and pipeline. It also has 75 percent engagement in Salesforce, showing that the team is opting in and making use of the company’s major investment.

“As an extremely creative, opt-in culture, we needed a highly engaging solution to captivate the imagination and clearly show our end users the benefits of using the system,” says Seth Bartlett, Global Chief Operating Officer at SapientNitro. 

INGERSOLL RAND INSPIRES PROGRESS

Ingersoll Rand is a $12 billion global diversified industrial firm that provides a wide range of innovative products, including complete air compressor systems, air conditioning systems, tools, ARO pumps, material handling systems and more. It continues to lead the way in the market through an impressive portfolio of market-leading brands, which include Club Car, Thermo King and Trane.

Ingersoll Rand strives to lead the way in solutions that make everyday living healthier, more energy efficient, more comfortable and more productive. To constantly inspire progress, innovate positive solutions, and unleash the potential in employees, along with the customers, Ingersoll Rand relies on a culture of learning.

Ingersoll Rand is focused on driving learning and growth across its corporate culture. In 2003, it established Ingersoll Rand University to support the development of leaders and staff through strategic competencies and a single pervasive culture.

THE CHALLENGE: 484 GLOBAL SUBSIDIARIES AND ONE STANDARD

While Ingersoll Rand made learning a predominant feature of its culture, like so many other companies, it needed help establishing a consistent methodology and process for its sales management teams. Because of an inconsistent sales management process and pipeline tools varying between business units, Ingersoll Rand’s sales management team was struggling to set standard practices. Sales representatives focused on driving sales excellence but found themselves impeded by a fragmented sales management culture.

“On the surface, those of us who are not in this latest generation of the workforce tend to think about selling and sales in much the same way it has traditionally been seen for many generations,” says Melissa Nelson Tate, Enterprise Director of Sales Excellence. “If we take a step back and look at how buying behavior has changed, we see a different playing field. Buyers have all the information they need at their fingertips. Think about how you buy for yourself today either personally or in your position. Technology has added an incredible dimension to buying and that dimension compounds the work of the seller, for developing sales people and accelerating their learning curve has become more important than ever.”

She explains that sales leaders have to be ready to put on their coaching caps to harness the potential and to realize the performance available to their team. “It’s a much, much different space to operate in today than it has been for the last several decades,” she says.

STANDARDIZING THE SALES PROCESS

Ingersoll Rand selected the Pathways to Growth Sales Management System (PTG), which is a series of nine sales management disciplines, authored by Tony Robbins and Walter Rogers. Ingersoll Rand’s Sales Excellence Division, Ingersoll Rand University and Baker Communications collaborated to customize PTG to meet Ingersoll Rand’s specific requirements. The collaboration resulted in a single global sales management standard: IRSMX. This standard serves as the template for each business unit to customize in order to meet its business unit requirements, without altering the integrity of the overall system. In fact, the company took its commitment to the program so seriously and believes so heavily in its effectiveness that it mandated IRSMX be used across the entire company.

As the system was being implemented globally, BCI suggested that Ingersoll Rand consider using Salesforce as the system of record to enable IRSMX. With support from BCI, Ingersoll Rand selected the CRM leader to standardize the ISRMX process and reporting in order to support the global initiative. IRSMX is now further accelerated with the use of Salesforce as it rolls out globally.

The implementation spanned multiple geographical, cultural, and business unit environments, requiring customized content and coaching to address the worldwide business unit and diversity. All together, this project will impact more than 7,000 sellers and managers across North America, Europe, the Middle East, Africa, India and Asia.

“Such a complex implementation goal requires the design of the learning strategy be creative and impactful for all of our diverse learners,” says Tara Cargle Ashcraft, Strategic Capability Learning Manager installing Sales Excellence. “Our blended approach is both traditional and innovative; it includes assessment, e-learning, face to face classroom learning, experimental field work, and a 12-week virtual coaching cycle to support adoption, reinforce learning, and practice application of content. Our sales teams are supported throughout the launch of the sales management system. It’s not a one and done. The commitment of our leaders to coach through the change is the secret sauce.”

Due to the scale of the project and Ingersoll Rand’s desire to accelerate adoption of IRSMX across various business units, global delivery was accomplished through a joint effort between BCI Master Coaches and BCI-certified Ingersoll Rand business unit Coaches, with both groups leading IRSMX workshops and IRSMX coaching cycles. Ingersoll Rand continues to leverage BCI Master Coaches for IRSMX delivery and on-demand support, including coaching, content changes, and specialized delivery needs. 

THE RESULTS

Ingersoll Rand’s desire to make IRSMX a part of all its business units’ operations has led to faster-than-expected adoption of the methodology and substantial business results, while ensuring a high level of pipeline health, forecast accuracy, and regular one-on-one coaching sessions between sales managers and sales representatives. It also found that the switch to Salesforce has been an incalculable benefit as the company uses it to track, communicate and report on the health of the business.

Through the determination and desire shown by Ingersoll Rand’s Sales Excellence division to make the IRSMX method a part of its core sales management culture, it will succeed in reaching the end goal of rolling out IRSMX to every sales manager.

“Through the areas of strong sales leadership that we have in Ingersoll Rand, we have consistently seen improvement in engagement scores where teams have a focus on strong and improved sales leadership and coaching practices,” says Nelson Tate. Sales professionals describe their time with management and as a team as important to each member’s success.

An unexpected result is that sales leaders have a better work life balance. “[Sales leaders] have seen that they can more proactively, strategically, effectively lead their teams to greater performance by actually putting in less direct hours in a day. Of course, all of this improves retention and we know how costly it is to have poor performers. Those are some of the softer results we’re seeing,” Nelson Tate says.

“On the quantitative side, we definitely are seeing cleaner pipelines, better forecast accuracy, improved win rates,” she says. “We’re getting bigger pipelines, better deals at the table and winning more of those deals, which, of course, drive revenue improvement and then translate to market share gains.”

BY KEREN STANLEY AND CLAIRE JOHNSON

Published in Top Stories

The Silo Organizational Structure: An office where no one communicates, everyone hordes their knowledge and best practices, and where no one works together to enhance the client experience. While some organizations are structured purposefully as silos to enhance competition rather than collaboration, in many organizations, a silo culture can develop unintentionally and gradually, until it becomes an environment where individual teams think and act unilaterally, working against one another, inhibiting a company’s ability to achieve its goals. This lack of collaboration in the silo structure impedes productivity, erodes employee satisfaction, and ultimately causes clients to question whether a company champions a united front.

Eliminating a culture of silos is not an easy undertaking. However, with the right tools, support from the top down, and a strong strategy, silos can be dismantled and a culture of collaboration and learning can take hold. When you break down silos, you enable individual teams to function independently, while working together as one cohesive team.

OVERCOMING SILOS As a global provider of supply-chain services with a footprint of more than 400 stocking locations operating in 90 countries, we at Choice Logistics are expected to meet clients’ time-sensitive service level agreements. It’s essential that we collaborate internally and with vendors and clients to ensure alignment of goals and expectations. We must manage and move parts all over the world and must communicate and collaborate effectively to achieve the required results. We’re relentless in our efforts to help clients achieve success, since they rely on us to act as a partner, part of their team, when servicing their client base. Working cohesively is essential to our success; collaboration is key.

Indeed, two of our core values are collaboration and educating one another. We believe our success is dependent upon the collective knowledge and growth of our employees. We strive to build an environment where employees can reach their highest potential, and work with them to identify and support individual and collective growth. Last year, we recognized that not all departments were working from a common set of goals, nor were they fully informed about the business, clients, and operations. Silos were beginning to take hold and, without a unified focus, our organization was unable to provide the best client experience. While functional departments are necessary to centralize team efforts, we needed a strategy and the right technology to help break down these silos and improve collaboration and learning across the organization.

THE STRATEGY

In 2015, we made a concerted effort to eliminate silos, using a people, process, and technology approach. There were many goals with this program, but the overarching one was to break down silos by restructuring the organization to improve client focus and employee engagement; by evaluating current processes to eliminate inefficiencies and redundancies; and by utilizing Salesforce to support these efforts and to improve visibility and collaboration across the organization.

Strategy 1: People

Organizational Restructuring: We reorganized our teams as a more clientcentric model. Although we continued to be function-focused, by making crossfunctional information more readily available, teams became better equipped to share and collaborate on the best solution for the client. With Salesforce, teams also have more centralized information at their fingertips. The end result has been a better client experience. Constant and Consistent Communication: To support employees during this change, and as an extension to the company’s open door policy, executives hosted dedicated open office hours. These forums provided a safe, individualized environment for employees to share their concerns and provide the executive team the opportunity to remove any obstacles that may be impeding employees’ abilities to perform. We also hosted a variety of focus groups, organized by function, to open up the lines of communication and help employees understand the change, and feel part of the process.

We hosted quarterly town hall meetings to keep employees updated on the state of the company. We used common marketing strategies to gain buy-in, reinforce our message, and keep employees informed. We continue to use this forum as an additional opportunity to reiterate strategies, progress, and future goals.

Strategy 2: Training

Employees, through structured training and organic learning, continue to break down silos by using Chatter, Chatter Groups, and other functional processes within the Salesforce platform. Additionally, we refocused our monthly People, Process, Technology training series to facilitate knowledge sharing around core departmental goals and functions, and how they are aligned in support of the company’s overall goals.

Strategy 3: Process

We chose Salesforce as the tool to support our processes. Though we already had a few licenses for our sales team, we expanded the number of licenses to include all operational and client-facing team members. We began by introducing employees to the account information, so they could gain a deeper knowledge of clients and their business.We then expanded by moving the internal task management system, a custom-built SharePoint tool, into Salesforce to improve user adoption.

The rollout, and continued development of the company’s Salesforce platform, comes with constant communication and training, helping employees understand how to maximize the tool, and constant reinforcement of the importance of collaboration. As employees become more aware of the capabilities within Salesforce and the processes it has already built into the platform, they are providing new ideas to expand its use.

By integrating processes into a unified platform, we were able to reinforce teamwork and support the behavioral change needed to move from a culture of silos to a culture of collaboration and learning. Employees have become more invested in Salesforce, and are embracing this transformation.

Strategy 4: Technology

Choice Logistics began the process of eliminating silos with Salesforce. Though traditionally thought of as a CRM, Choice Logistics envisioned a platform where all departments could operate together on a daily basis, despite their particular focus in the overall process. We continue to customize objects and move operational processes into Salesforce to support our goals. Two examples of growth within the platform are value-added meetings and internal meetings. Value-added meetings are records of meetings with clients or vendors where value is brought to the relationship; issues and opportunities are identified and next steps are planned and actioned. Internal Meetings are where we record functional or cross-functional meetings. Both of these meeting types are distributed to key stakeholders, and are also visible across the organization. This helps to further eliminate silos and pave the way for collaboration. The more employees know about what is happening with our clients, the more they are able to improve the client experience.

RESULTS

The results of our Salesforce implementation are far reaching. Breaking down silos in a service organization not only improves internal operations, communication, and collaboration, it also improves working relationships with clients and vendors, and their overall satisfaction. It has also positively affected employee engagement and employee satisfaction overall. A few key highlights are:

>> Enhanced collaboration

>> A 33-percent improvement to our Net Promoter Score

>> Improved employee satisfaction

>> More timely and complete client deliverables

>> Better access to information

>> Enhanced learning environment

As we continue to build on this collaborative learning culture, more employees are identifying operational processes to integrate into Salesforce. Visibility into what the organization, departments, and individuals are doing is improving collaboration and learning. We’re now in the process of migrating our current learning management system into Salesforce, utilizing Redwing and Appinium, to further centralize our efforts and enhance our ability to provide just-in-time learning to our teams, improve their overall learning experience, and gather real-time data to help make informed decisions and track progress.

“Since we are in the service business, our success is largely dependent upon the strength of our people, and the Salesforce platform has introduced a new world of communication, training, and cross functional collaboration to our workforce,” says Anne Yarmark, EVP Human Resources & Administration, Choice Logistics. “All relevant client data is shared and captured instantly so there is internal visibility on all client initiatives across all functions. Since its inception, Salesforce has given us a customizable tool to enhance the overall client and employee experience because it has helped us to execute at a higher level. The platform has increased our productivity through efficient and effective process management, instantaneous information sharing, and core communication governance. Ultimately, the Salesforce platform has given us innovative and exciting paths to training and for preparing our workforce to be successful.”

Using Salesforce has helped us create a more collaborative approach and boost its already robust learning culture. In this more team-centric environment, employees are sharing not only information, but knowledge and experiences — key components in the company’s core values of collaboration and educating one another. With the right strategy, continued communication, and Salesforce as a tool, employees are now better enabled to function independently within their teams while coming together as a cohesive unit to support corporate goals and provide the best possible client experience.

— Kate Kearney is Director of Organizational Development & Training at Choice Logistics, Inc. Choice Logistics is a six-time Learning! 100 organization.

Published in Top Stories
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