Athletic shoe brand New Balance has been using Experticity's training platform since 2008, said Jonathan Hogan, the company's sales planning/training coordinator. Three times a year, New Balance creates a seven-module training session that can be completed in about 20 minutes.
New Balance has seen its sales increase 7 to 10 percent when the associates working at retailers who carry its brands, such as Dick's Sporting Goods, complete the training, Hogan said.
Although the brand doesn't require the training, it encourages the sales staff to participate by offering a 40 percent discount on its products and by making the modules into competitions, such as rewarding the associate who completes the quizzes in the fastest time.
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It becomes a win-win for both the brand and the retailer.
"We want [the associates] to become brand ambassadors," Hogan said. "They buy that shoe, they then run in it, they walk in it—they can relate to a consumer when they come in."
To date, nearly 145,000 associates have completed New Balance's training, Hogan said.
Despite incentives, Stockham said, the biggest challenges in tapping into a salesperson's full potential are finding people who are passionate about their brand and job—which many times is a temporary gig—and changing the retailers' long-entrenched culture of treating people as a dollar figure.
"The fundamental flaw is retailers think of personnel as a cost center," he said. "That's what makes this hard."