It’s football season, so we’re going full football analogy today.
We hope that you’ve never had to experience the feeling of a random mishap on a random Sunday afternoon, and you’re watching your team march down the field when suddenly your star quarterback gets hit the wrong way, and he’s writhing in pain on the 30-yard-line.
If you’re a sports fan long enough, you’re going to see it happen, and football is where it often hurts the most.
Look past the televised, slow-motion replays of the injury toward the business of what’s just happened.
In football, often an entire season’s gameplan, investments made, training, even multi-year strategies, can be decimated by injury to one key player.
Rel8ed has an office in Buffalo, where people often like to reminisce about a football game played on January 3, 1993.
You may remember it – in a playoff game, the Bills were down 35-3 to the (then) Houston Oilers, early in the third quarter, and were able emerge victorious with a record-breaking comeback, 41-38, to move on in the playoffs.
Now, if you’re from Buffalo, you know minute-by-minute how it happened (except for those who embarrassingly left the stadium in the 3rd quarter).
But if you’re not from Buffalo, you might not realize that the entire comeback was orchestrated by Bills’ back-up quarterback Frank Reich.
Just the week before, the Bills and the Oilers had squared off, and not only had the Oilers triumphed 27-3, but the Bills’ Hall-of-Fame quarterback Jim Kelly had been knocked out of the game with a knee injury.
So, there was little hope that the Bills had a chance in the playoffs against the team that had crushed them the week before – especially without their star player, and especially down by 32 points with less than 30 minutes to play.
The rest is history, but Reich’s success in leading his team to overcome a seemingly insurmountable challenge is a great analogy for what we’re encouraging you to do, when it comes to training.
You see, in football a backup quarterback (and you know this, but we’re going to say it anyway) goes through essentially the same training that the starting quarterback does.
Because at some point they may find themselves tossed into a playoff game, with the team relying on them to lead.
Back-Up Quarterbacks and Your Company
What does this have to do with training your team?
Well, the good thing is that it’s going to be rare that someone on your corporate team is lying on your break room floor holding his or her knee from a torn ACL.
But… Key employees do go on vacation. They do go on maternity or paternity leave. They are out of town on business travel. And, yes, sadly, they do leave your company for new opportunities.
Many of the key tools your company invests in require specialized training – whether it’s software or processes or even customer or vendor relationships.
When Jim Kelly went down the turf, the Bills’ management didn’t say, oh crap, we’ve got to train someone else… No, they turned to the person who’d been training by Kelly’s side for several seasons.
So, instead of calamity, all of those gameplans, investments made, training, even multi-year strategies, were still intact because they’d created a succession plan – even if it was just to be used temporarily.
Answer this now: for the various tools that your company uses – everything from your CRM to your accounting software to your mailing systems… Do you train a back-up? Do you have a Frank Reich, who can step in and not only keep you afloat, but continuing to thrive and win?
rel8ed.to’s Diligence Leads portal is the kind of software for which training is critical – not only to get practical use out of it, but because we believe a well-trained user can change your company’s growth trajectory.
When we look at training and back-up, we look at two important purposes:
- The star quarterback lying on the turf holding his knee scenario… When your key, trained employee is no longer available, how will you continue to get return on the investment you’ve made in the thing that they, and they alone, were trained on?
- The two heads are better than one scenario… We know, from experience, that when you have multiple people trained on our Diligence Leads platform, your results will be multiplied.
Let’s talk about both:
What can happen if you don't train a backup
We did a little math for you…
We figured that an advanced user of Diligence Leads – meaning, someone who’s going to use our data platform to its potential – will have about 40 hours of training, broken up into 20 hours of training, and 20 hours of “exploration.”
Figuring a key employee in that position will be conservatively at $25/hour, that’s $1,000 of training time.
With two employees, or sales staff, we’ve determined from experience that that “training” time can be cut in half, because of the opportunity to learn together, bounce ideas off one another and collaborate.
So, in soft costs, training two employees on Diligence Leads should cost you $1,500.
If you train one person, and that person leaves your company, not only do you have a program you’ve invested in that no one is using, but in order to train the next person to use it, you’re looking at double the cost. Each time.
Of course, that’s our attempt to put numbers on the scenario, but the reality of the situation is that the first problem is the scariest… Having technology, equipment, a subscription or a relationship that you’ve put time, effort and investment into, sitting idle.
We’re talking about just one – our data engine.
How many investments do you have in your company where you don’t have a viable back-up at-the-ready?
What can happen when you DO train a backup
Now, let’s look at the positive side of training multiple people on the various technologies and subscriptions that you have.
We wholeheartedly believe that two heads are better than one.
And it’s not simply about function… About how to use a technology or a subscription from the standpoint of practicality.
No, we’re talking about how to make use of your investment.
Diligence Leads can change your company’s future by optimizing your lead generation process, helping your sales team be more effective and intentional with their time and effort.
Since sales is the only thing that’s going to change the trajectory of your company’s growth, it’s wise to put someone on it… Someone who’s waking up each morning saying, “How am I going to use this tool today to grow the company?”
How’s it going to look if you have two people trained on Diligence Leads? Three? A half-dozen? Your entire sales team?
That's why we often encourage companies to license the entire site of Diligence for their team, not just license a few users.
Well, there’s two reasons for it:
- We want you to use it – we believe it’s important to remove barriers for use of our data, so that you, as a team, can get the most out of it; and,
- WE WANT YOU TO USE IT! – every time someone on your team goes into Diligence and pulls a record, or does a search, or helps to make a connection – it makes our database stronger, and enables us to better serve not only you, but all of our users.
In our world, using a system like Diligence Leads is meant to be pro-active.
Which means, we’re not talking about “cross-training,” or not simply cross-training.
Yes, that can be helpful in making sure you have someone at all times who can jump in.
But, with Diligence Leads, we want you to have multiple people on your team avidly using the platform, because it will make your company stronger.
Data Usage and Leadership
This comes from the top, though.
You, as the leader, made the decision to move forward with Diligence Leads, so it’s your edict that’s going to get your team to use it.
We see this a LOT with CRMs.
Companies invest in a CRM software and expect that their team will use it the way that it was described in the training.
But then the excuses begin, and next thing you know an salesperson leaves with a head full of relationships and little record still in your system.
We often trace this to leadership.
No matter what investment you’re trying to support, if the mandate doesn’t come down from the top, it’s probably not going to happen.
Being a firm that lives in the servers, we’re so staunch on this, that we believe not utilizing software or technology that a company has purchased should be a disciplinable offense.
Sounds harsh, until the employee leaves and you’re stuck without their institutional knowledge.
Or, until a customer pushes back on something, and you don’t have a paper trail.
So, part of our “Train 2” mantra is making sure that your leadership is on-board, and that your expectations on Diligence Leads, or any tech you invest in, are clear.
We talk about our own platform, Diligence Leads, a lot throughout this blog, but hopefully we’re encouraging you to add a new layer of thought to all of your subscriptions.
“Train 2” is a great model to have, to ensure that you’re getting the most from your investments.
We’d suggest if it’s good enough for the NFL, it’s good enough for all of us.