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Context Is Everything: Sales Training That Moves the Needle


Tue Apr 18 2017

Context Is Everything: Sales Training That Moves the Needle-54d5dffd9d1db44f999105360b7424b8e06544274e92524d1a2b31ae90775af3

How many times have you received an email or phone call from someone who just jumps right into whatever they want or need, without setting up the context? They assume you’re in their minds, fully up-to-speed on the situation, and ready to take action. 

This happens to me all the time, and it’s frustrating. The fact is, a better approach that leads to more favorable results is to take a moment to explain the context of the situation first. Then, the recipient of “the ask” can make a quicker, more informed decision on whether or not they can oblige. 


It’s an easy step that pays off. Yet, this simple act of preparation often goes undone. 

The same applies to sales training. Out of context, the rep can only use so much of a training module in their day-to-day life. But when put in-context, alongside the right content for the call they’re just about to go on, all of a sudden the training becomes infinitely more effective. Preparation becomes actionable. 

Training is one of those make-it-or-break-it elements of a quality sales enablement program. Unfortunately, not all training is created equal: 

  • Most product information presented is very detail oriented.

  • Most training presentations are boring.

  • The information presented isn’t personal until sales reps have to put it in practice.

  • Most new information is forgotten within days if not reinforced. 

    Enter In-Context Training

    We define in-context training as delivering content in context to the selling situation, and we’ve seen that it’s very effective with our clients. 

    Selling situations are dependent on the go-to-market segment and sales process at each organization, but typical parameters include: sales stage, size of company, industry, product line, geography, and other items tracked by the CRM system. Much like explaining a situation before asking for help, aligning training to the immediate selling situation makes it more relevant. 

    We all know the challenges of getting sales to take training. If it’s not considered mission critical to their sales calls, it often doesn’t get done. But the fact is, when done right and in-context, your sales team will want to take the training because it will help them sell more, faster. 

    When it comes to training, it’s important to make the content bite-sized, relevant, and available with other sales tools they use for each product or service. We’ve found that short training videos (five minutes or less), short battle-cards, key-facts documents, and condensed playbooks work really well. 

    Using Sales Enablement to Deliver In-Context Training

    It’s easy to wax poetic on the benefits of in-context training, but how do you actually implement it?

    The fastest and easiest way is to deploy a modern sales enablement solution with in-context training capabilities. Features to look for include: 

  • delivering training content in-context to the selling situation

  • delivering training content alongside—or within the same system—as sales content, including the CRM solution or the sales enablement platform itself

  • recommending training content based on relevance to a seller’s opportunities

  • providing full analytics on content usage and performance in relation to sales efforts.

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