What Sales Trainers Can Learn from Starbucks Coffee

In this series, I’m helping sales trainers better understand why their team isn’t leveraging the sales enablement content that has been built just for them. My first post explained that it might be out of date. The second answer? Your content might be hard to find.

Decision-making can be a complex process, even with something as simple as choosing where to go for coffee. We’ve all had that experience: we’re in a new place, so we start scrolling through Yelp reviews and mapping each route. It can quickly spiral out of control. 

But when we need a snap decision, our brains use strategies to cut corners on the decision-making process. Psychologists call these strategies “heuristics,” and for any given situation, there’s lots of them. But across the board, what’s the most common? Easy-to-access information. It’s the reason why, out of all of those coffee shops, you’re more likely to choose Starbucks. Starbucks is familiar, it’s top of mind, and we know exactly what we’ll get. 

Much like choosing Starbucks, your reps are also likely to choose the sales content that they’re most familiar with, which is not always the right content. It could be out-of-date, irrelevant, or simply incorrect, but a fast-paced sales team doesn’t always have time to decide what’s best and where to find it. It’s your job to make sure that your content is easy-to-access and top of mind, so that reps don’t have to think twice. 

Below, we’ve put together some tips to help you create the Starbucks coffee of sales content: 

1. Make it mobile-optimized.

This one takes little explanation: getting the right information to your reps means meeting them on the devices that they’re already using. Today, Americans spend more time on their phones than on their personal computers. That’s especially true for on-the-go sales reps who rely on smartphones and tablets to move fast.

But it’s one thing to allow reps mobile access, and another altogether to create mobile-optimized content. Make sure that your content reflows for each mobile device, just like any website they’d use—no pinching and zooming required.

2. Create search-friendly content.

The only thing more frustrating than a bite-sized PDF on mobile is the inability to wade through all of that text to find what you need. Your reps are accustomed to quick returns on Google, and your content needs to keep up. Odds are, they won’t spend time scrolling through pages of text just so they can use your content.

Pair your content with a sophisticated search experience, presenting results quickly and in context. They’ll find the right content faster, without giving in to Google.

3. Organize your content.

Even with sophisticated search, there’s still ways to organize your content so that it’s easier to navigate. Start with the essentials, putting the main points, key takeaways, and most useful aids first. Then, create thoughtful headlines, bold text where needed, and don’t forget to create a systematic color hierarchy across your content.

Color Hierarchy

Make sure that you present your content in logical, intuitive ways so that users can understand—at a quick glance—how it’s organized.

4. Mix up text-heavy content with interactivity.

Sometimes, making the right information more readily available means changing its form altogether. Studies show that 90% of information transmitted to the brain is visual, and visuals are processed 60,000X faster in the brain than text.

Rather than providing lengthy instructions, for example, consider including a short demo video instead. Or, reconfigure content that contains multipart graphics into a slideshow. Think about ways that visual reminders and interactivity can make your content more engaging.

The bottom line:

Getting the right information in front of your reps is a challenge, and with the world’s data expected to grow by 50X in the next decade, it will only become more so. But these tips are a good place to start, and will help you create content that is easy to find, easy to read, and stays top of mind when they’re in the midst of a major deal.

[Free eBook] Take Your Sales Training Mobile

Learn how to help reps close deals faster.