Improving sales reps performance from their day one
of the workforce highly engaged
of training successfully completed
to the full onboarding training completion
pawTree increases engagement of its sales reps with Rallyware
In the direct selling industry, building and maintaining an engaged volunteer sales force is a challenge – even for a company as uniquely appealing as pawTree. pawTree is a completely new model in the direct selling industry, engaging legions of “petPros” – passionate pet owners who sign up to sell the pawTree products they love. pawTree’s success depends on its petPros getting them the training they need to succeed. Recognizing that traditional training methods are quickly becoming outdated in today’s digital age, pawTree implemented a customized training program developed by Rallyware to make training effective, fun and rewarding. After just one year, pawTree increased engagement of its petPros by more than three times the standard for the direct selling industry.
As one of just a handful of pet food providers in the direct selling industry and the only one with a customized approach to pet nutrition, pawTree is a truly different kind of startup. Having a unique business model gives pawTree an enviable position in the market. But it also presented some unique challenges for the fledgling company.
All direct sales companies rely on a volunteer workforce to sell their products – people who can work as much or as little as they want on any given day. Tami VanHoy, director of field development for pawTree, said direct selling is an active, social industry – people who are drawn to direct selling are all about people.
“To ask them to sit down and read something is like asking them to go to the dentist,” she said. pawTree CEO Roger Morgan said, “A software solution allows people to start training immediately, even before a kit arrives in the mail. It also allows people to start and stop at their own pace and take their training with them on their phone wherever their busy life takes them.”
“Rallyware allows people to start training immediately. It also allows people to start and stop at their own pace and take their training with them on their phone wherever their busy life takes them.”
One of the biggest challenges pawTree faced was getting its petPros to complete the necessary training to reach their sales goals. Most of pawTree’s petPros, including team leaders, also had little or no experience in the direct selling industry. VanHoy explained, “We were not only introducing a brand new concept to the direct selling market, most of the people we were attracting with our product line had never done direct sales before.” Leaders were recruiting new petPros for their teams at the same time they were trying to learn the ropes themselves.
Training in the direct selling industry often means handing new sales reps a thick manual to read and learn. Incorporating key elements of pawTree’s training manual, Rallyware developed a customized solution with 51 tasks – each of which can be completed in just 5-10 minutes online. “Rallyware takes that big manual and breaks it into little tiny bite-sized pieces. So, I can jump on my smartphone, or my tablet or computer, or I can sit in front of the TV and finish a five-minute training.”
“Rallyware is fun. You don’t even have to call it training. I would tell any direct sales company, the easier and more intuitive you can make it, the more successful you’ll be.”
According to VanHoy, 20% engagement in any one segment is a very good industry standard in the direct selling business. She said, “With a volunteer sales force, you expect some of them to be part-timers or even some-timers.” Early 2016 results for pawTree’s Fast Start program show more than 70% of its sales force is engaging at some level.
To get these results, Rallyware also introduced the best practices from gamification and behavioral science into pawTree’s training program by assigning points to each of the tasks. As petPros complete more training, they accrue points toward a higher level of recognition. VanHoy said breaking up the training material motivates her petPros to do more. “Before they know it,” she said, “they’ve completed 30 minutes of training. And, if you’d asked them to sit down and read a workbook for 30 minutes – it wouldn’t have happened.”
Although petPros complete their training at their own pace, VanHoy said the Claim Your Reward feature that Rallyware built into the program was instrumental in getting new recruits engaged quickly. This is a feature that incentivizes engagement with a monetary reward for petPros who complete their training within 30 days. VanHoy said it’s not just the money that keeps new petPros coming back to learn more. “Rallyware is fun,” she said, “You don’t even have to call it training. I would tell any direct sales company, the easier and more intuitive you can make it, the more successful you’ll be.”