Sales training is the key to success for companies across the globe, and for good reason – your sales teams are on the front lines every day, competing for business against your rivals.
Not only is winning the best feeling, but you have to win consistently to make sure your company maintains its competitive edge and established trust. In short, your sales team has to always be learning to “always be closing”.
Making sure your sales team is coming to the table prepared and knowledgeable isn’t just a nice to have anymore. It impacts your organization’s overall sales performance. So, how do you do this, you ask?
Training your sales team using a top-notch Learning Management System (LMS) provides the opportunity to increase their product knowledge, share that knowledge with each other, maintain healthy levels of competition, and allow admins to conduct regular performance assessments. There are no two ways about it: it’s dreamy when it’s done right.
*Your sales reps with an LMS they actually enjoy using ^
- Why online sales training is so important
- Online training strategies
- How to track your online sales training strategies
- Final thoughts
Why online sales training is so important
Sales training is your bread and butter for hitting attainment and revenue goals for the quarter (can you say bon-appetit?).
Traditionally, sales training has taken the form of annual kick-off meetings, followed by occasional formal in-classroom training sessions. This is all well and good, but this is a new age, and modern learners need a learning experience that feels as organic and easy as searching Google.
While the sales skills gained through traditional training provides your sales teams with product need-to-know, often the retention they need to be successful generally doesn’t hit the mark. 😔
Maintaining competitive advantages and keeping a pulse on your competition requires an ongoing approach to sales enablement that continually reinforces what they’ve learned. Providing sales organizations with not just an average LMS, but a true sales enablement platform with regular training opportunities is the key. This means access to subject-matter experts, learning paths, and internal leaderboards to keep your sales folks agile and make sure they keep a leg up on the competition internally and externally. Keeping your sales reps up to speed and at their best is what drives your bottom line – and in the end, who doesn’t love to see closed/won marked on a deal in Salesforce? 😉
Online sales training provides information that is critical to your sales team’s success. On top of that though, it provides information when and where they need it, and allows them to access training remotely. This is great because the very best sales reps are usually always on the go, so online learning unleashes their ability to access training courses, video coaching, and learning programs in real-time, wherever they are. It literally meets them where they’re at, period.
A sales rep’s training hardly ends at onboarding – in fact, it just begins there – so you need a sales training program that will continue to develop them as successful sales professionals.
A more traditional LMS, while just okay for onboarding programs, isn’t usually capable of hosting sophisticated types of corporate training experiences, let alone allow the training platform to be accessed on mobile devices. This limits what your sales reps can do (and honestly, the words “limits” and “sales reps” don’t belong in the same sentence!).
Imagine they’re on a plane or running to that super important, last-minute onsite demonstration for a big potential deal and need to access e-learning for a quick brush-up before they take the stage. When the pressure’s on, our sales reps need a user experience that gives them the best possible chance of succeeding.
Consider these four benefits of online sales training provided by eLearning Industry:
- Online sales training can increase confidence and job satisfaction while also improving knowledge and skills retention.
- Online learning can help your sales teams stay up-to-date on products and procedures on an ongoing basis.
- Enabled by a robust learning platform, such as Docebo, sales training can include opportunities to identify (and address) different strengths and weaknesses to further improve performance.
- Identifying areas for improvement can establish opportunities to create the learning content necessary to close any gaps while identifying various strengths gives L&D admins and managers knowledge that can be shared across the wider sales team.
Finally, if your not quite *sold* on helping your sales reps close deals with online training just yet (which, obviously you are if you’re still reading this right now 😉), you might say the biggest reason of all to revamp training this way is that your sales team is expecting an online training solution for their enablement.
The modern learner is used to having information available at their fingertips at all times (you know it’s true, your phone is probably within arms reach of you right now, if you’re not reading this on it). By providing the information and e-learning courses your teams need online, you’re giving your sales team what they need in the format they’ve come to expect.
You’ll quickly see that your sales employees feel more confident throughout your sales cycles and knowledgeable of your sales process when your sales enablement strategy comes naturally.
Online training strategies
Here’s where we spit some truth: your sales teams are looking for training opportunities (duh), but that doesn’t mean they’re going to be engaged with the content (don’t worry, keep reading).
When you’re putting together sales enablement tools, remember that online sales training still needs to be approached strategically (think of yourself as James Bond here, on a mission).
For sales people to successfully retain information, you have to first consider their needs, their wants, and of course how and what information you want them to learn. If you plan with these in mind, your sales managers will scarcely be called in as back-up on deals where reps need extra support (that they could have just got on the front end if they’d had access to more web-based training and resources).
Offer your teams varying training options
Chances are, your team is full of a variety of different learners, all with their own unique learning styles. In order to ensure sale’s readiness to start closing, you’ve got to spice things up. Not everyone loves top-down formal training, which is basically the food equivalent of unspiced breaded chicken (it’s still good sometimes, but there’s a world of options out there).
Learning content needs differentiation to ensure that it works for everyone. Some learners need to be served visual content, such as online presentations, videos, and virtual instructor-led courses. Other learners might be more auditory learning, so they’ll need to be given material that provides the information, but can also be presented with the opportunity to ask questions and hear the answers.
An online learning platform gives auditory learners the ability to record themselves, review material, and listen to it together with different subject-matter experts or direct managers (no, we’re not joking). Here are some great LMS features that drive business results and keep things interesting:
It’s important to capture knowledge from your top performers, and often these are the people with the most limited time to share what they know. Allowing your subject matter experts (SME’s) to quickly answer questions and provide feedback to sales reps who are more junior is a great way to build community and replicate success from the best there is. Learning from peers also does wonders for knowledge retention. Double whammy!
Some people learn by watching others and some people learn by explaining. You can hit two birds with one stone with user-generated content (USG). This allows people to contribute their own best practices and sales tactics so that they’re able to reinforce what they know by teaching others, and the learners reinforce what they’ve been taught by watching their peers. Make sure the versions of SCORM packages in the offering are compatible with USG. You can’t say SCORM without score! 😝
Micro-learning is the sushi of learning: bite-sized, digestible, amazing, and at your fingertips! For your sales reps, especially, you want them to be able to pick up learning in a way that is fast, travel friendly, and reliable. Bite-sized learning is a great way to keep your sales-reps in the know even when they’re on-the-go with short learning materials for reference and knowledge reinforcement.
Game mechanics and game elements are a great way to keep your salespeople competitive, agile, and connected with your learning management system. Game design in an LMS means hosting competitions, leaderboards, and awarding badges and rewards for certain types of engagement.
How to track your online sales training strategies
Measuring the effectiveness of sales training is super important. In order to prove that a sales training strategy is working, there are steps that an L&D pro can take early on in order to measure, quantify, and report on the success of the training initiative (fist bump).
Setting sales-based benchmarks from the outset can help to identify the success and revenue boosts that can be attributed to your learning platform strategy. Start by tracking the success of prospect calls performed by your sales team, the win rates of your sales teams, their ability to hit quotas, and the dollars sold per client. You can then take a monthly, quarterly, and annual assessment to see the lift and attribute that lift to the sales training through qualitative analysis and conversations with your sales team and managers. After all, numbers sure don’t lie!
According to Louis Efron, there are five additional measurements that are needed to effectively gauge the ROI your teams are receiving from your sales training.
- Pre-training assessments
- Post-training assessments
- Training content application
- Training content retention
- Sales revenue correlation
Using these five measurements can help L&D professionals to appropriately attribute boosted revenue to sales training.
Establishing benchmarks from the outset can help to set ROI expectations of what success looks like in the context of your sales training initiative.
Your sales team members are critical to boosting your organization’s revenue, and ensuring that they’re equipped with the best tools and access to subject-matter experts can help to make learning a competitive edge for your organization. Do your sales teams a favor and help them hit their targets and measure the success of your L&D strategies with next-generation learning technology.