Brainshark Enhances Its Sales Coaching Product

To help boost sales reps' productivity, Brainshark last week enhanced its coaching solution with collaboration features and also introduced an integration with Microsoft Outlook and improved reporting capabilities.

Released in February, Brainshark for Coaching aims to ease on-boarding and training processes primarily through the use of video. Managers can leverage the system to record and share presentations, as well as issue challenges designed to help their reps prepare for meetings. For instance, a coach might ask a rep to demonstrate her elevator pitch or how she would overcome specific objections during a sales call. Reps can record their responses and send them to their managers from within the platform. Since the system is equipped with a scoring system, managers can then evaluate a rep's performance to help them improve.

Now available within the solution are challenge attachments, leaderboards, and peer collaboration tools. Managers can attach documents available in most popular formats to serve as guides for reps as they work to complete their challenges. While completing one of their challenges, reps can access these materials from their personal coaching dashboards, so they have better information to work with.

According to Rachel Goldberg, Brainshark's senior director of product marketing and program management, the new peer collaboration tools are the ones customers are getting most excited about. Reps can view one another's responses to the various challenges and see how they stack up, and users can choose between a competition and collaboration setting. "It's very flexible," Goldberg says. "Basically, the client can determine if it's a friendly competition kind of scenario, where somebody gets number one, or if it's a just-watch-this-and-learn scenario, where they're shown the good examples." In the first scenario, the best-performing responses appear at the top alongside their corresponding scores; in the second, scores and rankings are hidden.

The solution also allows salespeople to provide instant feedback on their peers’ performances, with a recorded comment history that managers can later access to better understand which of their team members are making an effort to help their coworkers. Another side benefit: The feedback function "frees up the manager's time, [so that] they don't have to be the sole coach helping the reps improve their selling skills," Goldberg says.

According to Goldberg, Brainshark spent much of last week discussing the product, now in limited release, with several companies in financial services and other industries. To a great extent, "what people appreciate about this is that it's a part of a total system," Goldberg says. "People use Brainshark to train their sales reps—both in formal and informal ways—and also to provide content to engage with their customers. They see this as the bridge to help go from [figuring out what areas they need to train on] to actually showing what they know, and proving their skills as they're engaging with customers."

Brainshark has also announced an integration with Microsoft Outlook; users can now search for content they'd like to send to prospects without leaving Outlook, and embed Brainshark videos within their emails so they can be accessed directly within a prospect's inbox. After the emails are sent, salespeople can also see information regarding a prospect's engagement levels, as it indicates when the email was opened and how long it was viewed.

In addition, Brainshark has introduced new reporting and dashboard tools to give users insights into how their content is impacting deals. Goldberg says that the updated look of the dashboard will give users a better understanding of trends and activities among various roles within a sales organization, as well as the activity within each rep's accounts.

The enhanced Brainshark will be available to customers in June.

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