How Keen Footwear Used Sales Enablement Tech to Drive Engagement and Brand Loyalty

When Keen went on the search for a sales enablement platform before the pandemic of 2020, their prevailing need was for digitalization. At the time, this major footwear brand–family-owned and based in Portland, Oregon; founded in California  and now distributed globally–still trained associates on their products in the “old-fashioned” physical way. They were using in-person, in-store clinics at a time when the retail industry was shifting toward a more targeted, flexible, digital approach, which risked their falling out of step with competitors. 

They initially resisted this transformation, says Alexandra Kim, Keen’s Retail Marketing Specialist for EMEA, in large part because so much of Keen’s brand power came from personal connections with associates. So, they needed a sales enablement platform that would help them train in a personalized, engaging manner that would go some way toward harnessing the connection of physical L&D, with the convenience, engagement, and efficiency factors of digital technology baked in.

“When looking at the trend of digitalization, we realized it would be a mistake to skip it for our business since it provides great options for having more frequent contact with retailers,” Alexandra says. In Rallyware’s Keen business case study, we uncover the ways in which seller enablement technology has helped Keen deliver the consumer experience it needs to succeed today – while retaining and engaging associates en masse

What follows are a few insightful highlights from the full case study. If you’d like to read the full PDF and share it with colleagues, it’s available here

Leveraging a Sales Enablement Platform to Transform the Shopping Experience

Today’s brands are at risk of stagnating if they do not update their consumer experience for a new era. Post-pandemic customers are still spending, but they’re also more intentional about the ways they spend, particularly where high-quality brands like Keen are concerned. They want to know what they’re buying – technical specifics, environmental effects, the overall brand identity

Thus, it becomes incumbent on brands to turn associates into advocates of, and experts on, their products. Without doing this, brands risk being drowned out in the highly competitive retail space, where innovative products pop up weekly. This was one of the key challenges Keen was met with. However, selecting the right sales enablement platform helped them triumph.

“We don’t have brand stores in the UK or Germany,” Alexandra Kim commented. “So we really needed to provide one tool that would provide us overall control and a chance to bring a unified message, by which we can speak to retail staff. These people have contact with the consumer that we don’t have. The training we do with them makes sure that the product is picked up from the shelf when they’re talking to that consumer. So it’s very important to be in direct contact with these people with physical training not always possible.” 

In other words, having the right sales enablement tools helped Keen to enable associates to sell even at a distance – even when they do not have direct access to those associates in the manner of employees. Instead, they have a dispersed sales force that they must turn into brand loyalists by other means. Using sales enablement tech to deliver targeted brand content to retail associates on their phones helped bring their products to top-of-mind for associates the world over. 

Yet, how do they make sure that the materials they send to associates via their sales enablement platform get engaged with?

Delivering Content via a Sales Enablement Platform to Drive Revenue Growth

The retail industry’s growth after the pandemic has been lopsided, with a lot of digital-only players struggling and consumers returning to brick-and-mortar retail in a halting fashion. We’ve previously covered this in our interview with Francesca Ricci of COS.

To produce growth, Keen needs to create a flexible, omnichannel experience that connects the digital and physical stores. Consumers are toggling between digital and physical and the brands that connect both of these experiences will triumph. Their sales enablement platform for associates, for them, is essential in uniting that experience.

“Consumers love the physical engagement with the brand, having direct contact with store staff, but they also love the convenience of online shopping,” said Alexandra Kim. “So you have to engage the consumer in both the digital and physical worlds. Myagi by Rallyware helps us deliver on the physical front.”  

Keen’s corporate engagement and enablement experts regularly refresh the associate’s digital platform with new content. From lessons to quizzes, this content has proven highly successful, with Rallyware’s internal data showing that Keen has an overall 9.5/10 score on their content quality. And any time that associates want to re-learn any technical specifications about, say, how Keen’s products are manufactured, or whether they are sustainable, they can simply open up their sales enablement platform and view the right content on their downtime. 

Why is this important? Integrating the digital and physical worlds matters for associates just as it does for consumers. As Alexandra comments, Keen is trying to become a “love brand,” one with a strong brand identity; it’s important that associates understand that identity and be able to communicate it to consumers, that they become passionate Keen fans themselves. 

How does Keen ensure that associates actually consume their high-quality content? Incentives help. “If we want to educate associates on a new pair of shoes,” Alexandra said. “We’ll send a lesson, they’ll have a few weeks to complete it, and once they do they’ll get entered into a raffle. Then they can win the shoes they’ve been educated on. It’s really productive.”

Clearly, this works. 65% of the associates from Keen’s retail dealer network engage their content, demonstrating the scalability of their sales enablement platform.

Diving Deeper into How This Successful Brand Enables Associates for Sell-Through

That’s just scratching the surface – there’s also the question of how Keen makes all this happen, how they use technology to enable their sales force for success. How, in other words, they reach that 65%, which as any brand will tell you, is an impressive number.

These are crucial questions at an uncertain time. To learn more, take a look at the full case study. 

To discover how Rallyware enables sellers to drive performance and reinforce positive brand identity at scale, click here to request your personalized demo with one of our product experts.