SalesTech Star

SalesTechStar Interview with Melanie Fellay, CEO and Co-founder at Spekit

Melanie Fellay, CEO and Co-founder at Spekit dives into the story and inspiration behind Spekit while discussing the importance of having a strong sales training system; catch the complete conversation:

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Hi Melanie, we’d love to hear about your journey through the years and the story behind Spekit?

During my time working with startups, I got a taste of what it was like to wear a lot of different hats and problem solve constantly. About 6 or 7 years ago, the company I was working for invested in Salesforce. It was pretty new to everyone, and I ended up being selected to help manage the process. My job was to ensure that all of our employees understood the platform and processes and knew how to use it to their advantage. The challenge, I found, was finding an effective way to communicate the changes I was making in a way that employees could easily retain.

I wished there was a solution that combined a learning platform’s ability to consolidate content, integrated that content into our systems (so as our system changed we could pull in new processes), and offered the contextual nature of a digital adoption platform so that employees could learn in their flow of work. Basically, I wished there was a tool that could educate my employees on how to navigate their applications while reinforcing all of the knowledge (playbooks, policies, procedures, etc.) in those same applications, so they had all the information they need to be successful right where they’re working. That’s when I realized there was a need for a centralized platform, where everything our employees needed to know (from business processes to best practices) was consolidated and easily accessible right when and where they needed it. Spekit came from this idea, as a way of connecting knowledge to your underlying processes and surfacing that knowledge directly within an employee’s workflow.

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Have you been seeing centralized training platforms change the game for sales trainers and sales teams of late? And in general, for businesses on the whole?

Definitely, for both sales teams and for businesses as a whole – with a lot of people onboarding remotely, employees have to learn new tools from home, which can be incredibly difficult and tedious. Without having knowledge consolidated, employees are trying to recall information from training webinars, google documents, PDFs or emails. 

By centralizing knowledge within a single platform, employees always have a single reference point for any answers they may need. This not only helps to ramp new employees faster, but supports the roll out of new changes as they come along. 

Beyond the centralization of content, accessibility is king. Our latest survey revealed that 71% of employees spend at least an hour a day looking for answers to questions. At Spekit, we believe that learning should happen within the flow of work to drive the retention of information. It’s not enough to have information consolidated, it must be instantly accessible to ensure your employees remain productive. This is a vastly different approach than the traditional LMS systems have taken. It’s contextual, personalized and aligns with the way employees want to consume information.  

Tell us about your recent funding and what new upcoming innovations are being planned for the platform that users can look forward to?

We recently closed a $12.2M Series A funding round. When the world shifted to remote, we saw an increased interest for a way to train, enable and empower teams, from anywhere. The demand that we’re getting from the market indicated a strong need for us to scale our team and operations. There’s a lot of opportunity to take this platform that we built and make it smarter, more personalized, data-driven and, ultimately, deliver more value to our customers. We’re planning to invest in enterprise-grade features and infrastructure security. Additional funds will be used to ramp up the company’s hiring efforts by adding 50 new employees. This will nearly double our headcount.

Take us through some core sales and tech founder / business growth learnings your time as a tech founder at Spekit is teaching or has taught you? A few key lessons given the challenges surrounding Covid-19?

In 2020, I learned some invaluable lessons on how to scale both our product and team. The key lessons for me were: 

  • Disruption: Though daunting, a global economic crisis can be an opportunity for companies, too. So it’s been important for us to read the market, see the trends and understand how to adjust our own messaging or content or product features so that we can capitalize on a world that’s rapidly changing.
  • The true definition of agility: As a first-time founder, I never imagined being faced with the challenges that shook the world in 2020 and continue to shift our landscape. Before 2020, agility for us was quickly seizing new opportunities or turning around new product features in record time. During 2020, it wasn’t about taking on the new opportunities thrown at us but instead, identifying new ones that would help our customers adapt to these challenging times. 
  • The balance between productivity and mental/physical well-being: There’s an old quote that I like: “You’ve got to slow down to move fast.” There’s this current epidemic of “busy-ness” in America, it’s almost a social currency to discuss at the start of every conversation. But I’m a big believer in the idea that productivity falls off a cliff after a certain time of the day– we’re humans, not machines, and I think it’s so much wiser to focus on “working smart” not just “working more.” Let’s be strategic, thoughtful, deliberate.
  • The benefits of hiring remote talent: One of the biggest boons of 2020 and today (which still hasn’t received full recognition or been capitalized upon) is the opportunity of remote work. Companies are realizing that they can keep their employees fully engaged and even *increase* productivity by hiring remote talent, assuming they have the right tools and adoption techniques to train and harness that talent. We’ve been able to significantly expand our talent tool by looking beyond our headquarters and focusing on hiring the best talent, wherever they may be located. 

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We’d love to hear about the various ways in which Spekit has helped sales reps in leading tech sales teams upskill/train to perform better?

Spekit helps sales reps tackle two of the biggest barriers to growth and upskilling in today’s SaaS-driven, remote work environment. We help drive the adoption of constantly evolving technology and provide sales teams with the knowledge they need to be productive and successful in their roles. By combining the power of a digital adoption platform, an LMS and an enablement solution, Spekit solves these challenges by embedding real-time, contextual training, processes and guidance directly within the applications that employees use every day. By giving access to answers at employees’ fingertips, Spekit helps tech sales teams upskill and train more efficiently, allowing them to perform their role better than before. This enables its customers to drastically reduce the time it takes to onboard, roll out changes and scale their teams. 

A few thoughts on what you feel today’s sales leaders need to do to motivate, train and uplift their teams to optimize business and sales performance?

Between the quantum leap of SaaS adoption, accelerated rate of change and the shift to remote work, the world looks drastically different today than it did a decade ago. Yet, when I look at the way employees are being trained and enabled in their roles, there’s been little to no progress over that same timeline. We’re investing heavily in innovative tools like Outreach.io, Chorus and Salesforce to help drive the productivity of our teams, but using ineffective solutions like PowerPoint and PDFs to train on these tools. 

  • The future of sales training and enablement is contextualized, personalized and instantly accessible. It allows employees to learn within the flow of work, giving them the answers they need to be successful, the moment they need them. 
  • There are tools like Spekit that help to support these efforts, but there are also strategies you can employ today, regardless of what technology you’re using.

Reinforce new information/resources regularly: 70% of the information you deliver in a training session is forgotten within just 24 hours. The key to retention is frequent reinforcement. Communicate changes and introduce new resources through multiple channels and identify champions within the organization to help drive change. 

Break down training into small, digestible bites: Microlearning has taken off as a method of delivering training in smaller bites to improve the retention of information. For example, instead of sending a one-hour recording after a training session, cut down the video into snippets of the top 4 takeaways that your team can easily and quickly reference at any time. 

Make it incredibly easy to access knowledge and resources: In our personal lives, a question comes up and a simple Google or YouTube search instantly gives us answers. However, in our professional lives, a McKinsey report found employees spend, “1.8 hours every day – 9.3 hours per week, on average – searching and gathering information.” Compound that by the fact that today, instead of being able to turn to a coworker for a quick answer, employees are waiting for responses on email, Slack, etc. The result is a staggering amount of time and energy wasted. Sales leaders must make accessing answers in our professional lives, as easy as it is in our personal lives to drive the productivity of their teams.

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Spekit is a leading SaaS in-app digital adoption and enablement platform that helps employees learn their tools and navigate process changes by accessing answers and enablement resources in real-time, everywhere they work. Built by sales ops professionals for growing & remote teams, Spekit blends the sophistication of a modern digital adoption platform with the simplicity of a contextual knowledge base for a lightweight yet powerful solution to continuous employee training.

 Melanie Fellay is the CEO and Cofounder at Spekit 

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