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Sales Training Needs to Lead the Self-Disruption Curve

Netflix has been in the news recently as the once darling of streaming is now struggling to maintain its current subscriber base while also growing new subscribers.

In a recent NPR piece, “Netflix Loses Nearly 1 Million Subscribers. That’s the Good News,” author Andrew Deggans writes of the “disruptor becoming the institution.” When a disruptor reaches that stage, it has become ubiquitous or has reached a growth plateau where it ultimately becomes a target for its own disruption. Innovation is at the heart of this conversation, where the key is to self-disrupt and create change while things are good, instead of chasing change once you have been disrupted.

What can sales strategy and sales training leaders learn? There are several strategies Netflix can employ that can help sales strategy and sales training leaders stay “self-disrupted” and continue to be innovative.

Sales Strategy 1: Maintain and expand your current customer base, with less emphasis on net-new customers.

In recent McKinsey research, of the organizations they surveyed, 70% of revenues were expected to come from existing customers, while 30% of revenues were expected to come from new customers.

  • How Sales Training Can Use this Strategy to Self-Disrupt: In today’s disruptive markets, customers are less likely to take on unnecessary risk and more likely to stay with the status quo. Where sales training can adapt this strategy is to emphasize skill development associated with client retention and expansion, such as account management, cross-selling, and emphasizing value-based selling.

Sales Strategy 2: “What’s old is new and what’s new is old.”

A separate NPR radio piece described one of Netflix’s strategies as “what’s old is new, and what’s new is old.” Netflix upended what most Gen Xers and Boomers have known television to be, by introducing a novel way to view programs. Entire seasons of shows are often available at once, binge watching is the norm, as is running those programs without commercial interruption. Now revisiting “what’s old is new,” they’re considering spacing out seasons and episodes, plus introducing ads through tier-based offerings.

  • How Sales Training Can Use this Strategy to Self-Disrupt: It’s easy for sales training programs to become stale over time and especially with today’s modern approaches to consultative selling and relationship building. Sales training teams can take a top-down view by strategically reviewing the content and value of existing programs. From a tactical standpoint, keeping it fresh by reviewing techniques such as spaced learning, on-demand learning, and balancing low-touch technology with high-touch in-person experiences.

Sales Strategy 3: Offer a menu of options.

This refers to Netflix considering tiered offerings with ads, beyond what is available today. Perhaps the current three-offer model of Good – Better – Best expands to even more choices. The balance is to ensure that there aren’t too many choices as to confuse or turn off the buyer.

  • How Sales Training Can Use this Strategy to Self-Disrupt: There is a such a thing as too much content, too many program offerings, and too many skills at once. There is no shortage of content available to anyone, at any time. Where sales training can shine is to curate and simplify skill development programs. Make the choices simple and based on skill need wherever possible, to improve the overall experience. In my Strategic Selling Academy, we use the menu option strategy by first focusing on a core set of skills that are tailored based on assessment data. From there, sales professionals can self-select additional content and skill development through a digital platform. This combination of a set menu and then a self-select menu helps professionals to tailor their own learning paths.

Sales Strategy 4: Plugging revenue and profit leaks.

In the case of Netflix, their revenue and profit leaks are in the form of password sharing. One user signs up, and shares their account information with another. If every Netflix user shares their account information with another, and that person doesn’t create their own account, that is a major revenue and profit leak.  To completely stem this behavior isn’t realistic, so instead the strategy becomes working this assumption it into your model and offering a product that allows for a certain amount of account sharing.

  • How Sales Training Can Use this Strategy to Self-Disrupt: Much of sales training focuses on tactical skills. The skill of plugging revenue and profit leaks is much more strategic; it requires business acumen on the part of the sales professional. Where sales training can make a meaningful impact is teaching business acumen, where sales professionals analyze their client base, identify revenue and profit leaks, and create a sales plan to address them.

Do Your Sales Training Solutions Keep You Ahead of Disruption?

Amy Franko is the leader in sales training solutions, helping you to design best-in-class sales training programs that accelerate growth. To significantly improve the outcomes of sales training or other elements of your sales strategy, let’s schedule a conversation. Don’t let your competition get an advantage. Contact us to schedule a conversation with Amy.

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