Sales training in fast-moving business environments is most effective when supported by innovative learning technologies.
Effective sales training gives every customer-facing person the necessary knowledge, materials, skills, processes and behaviours they need to close deals and generate revenue for their organization.
Sales training is critically important to improve:
- Communication: each and every salesperson must be able to speak the same language when representing their company.
- Product knowledge: gives sales teams the information about the products they’re selling. Doing so allows your salespeople to fully understand the company’s products (new and existing), and develop the pitches they need to address the needs and issues of their clients to provide customized solutions – an essential tool for closing the deal.
- Competition: salespeople need to know who they’re up against. If your sales teams aren’t up to speed with competitors’ products (and their advantages/disadvantages), they can’t illustrate the ways your product more effectively meets customer needs.
- Reporting: provides salespeople with the insights they need to keep track of their pipeline, pending and achieved targets.
Oh, How Things Have Changed…
One-on-one or classroom training is indeed the oldest method of sales training. Sales teams gather in a boardroom with a subject-matter expert who shares their experiences. There’s also the well-known annual kick-off meeting, in which a company might spend millions of dollars to train their employees (especially if it has people stationed around the world) and outline revenue goals for the year ahead. Problem is, formal training is no longer effective on its own, due mainly to its inability to encourage knowledge retention. In fact, up to 90% of formal sales training has no lasting impact after 120 days because the training is often one-off, and not reiterated regularly.
So, What’s The New Norm?
Given the pace at which technology evolves, alongside those needs of businesses, many seek out sales training methods with e-learning technologies designed to empower their sales people with the tools and learning strategies they need to achieve their business goals.
Learning management systems (LMS) have evolved to the point that companies are able to reach sales teams, no matter where they are in the world, in physical and digital environments in which all team members can contribute and discuss the insights shared with them. Businesses that leverage e-learning are taking advantage of robust platform features, such as gamification, social learning and bite-sized video content to serve learning materials anytime, anywhere to make sales training more effective.
Using those technologies the right way, alongside the right content, is an incredibly effective way to enable customized learning experiences to different audiences, depending on their needs, to boost the sales performance of any organization.
How Does Blended Learning Benefit Sales Training?
Taking a blended learning approach to sales training is a benefit born from the evolution of learning technology, which has enabled a modernized approach to training that boosts and empowers learners to contribute to important conversations, establish themselves as subject-matter experts to support their teammates and lower overall training costs.
Here’s a few ways to used blended learning in your sales training:
- Establish collaborative environments within your learning platform.
- Use short, bite-sized easily-digestible learning content in a variety of formats that’s linked directly to necessary skills (sales, etc.)
- Provide strong links between necessary skills and the objectives that need to be met
- Make sure there’s a management process that includes individual or group meetings to discuss learning competencies within the group
- Identify “champions,” and encourage them to participate as subject-matter experts within your learning platform to help other learners along their learning path
- Establish the metrics necessary to measure participation rates, learner feedback, course feedback and how it relates to sales performance
5 Ways Learning Technology Improves Your Sales Training
It’s flexible: With the right tools, learning technology gives sales staff a way to access the latest content and modules they need to succeed – and do it at their own pace (in their free time). While it’s important the organization establishes deadlines for completion, giving sales staff the option to complete their training at their own pace is an effective way to improve knowledge retention (because they’re not just rushing through it), thus boosting productivity. As well, employees don’t have to travel to training sessions or miss work.
It’s interactive: Unlike traditional, in-class formal training, e-learning isn’t boring. It gives organizations a way to improve and assess knowledge retention with quizzes, and employee participation in online forums and communities, providing an easy way to establish not only the effectiveness of their learning strategy and the content that lives within in, but also how their sales people are interacting with that content and whether or not it’s giving them the knowledge they need to succeed. Because e-learning also facilitates learning in the flow of work, it creates scenarios that improve decision-making organically. Give your sales people situations in which they need to use trial and error, input from their colleagues and new tactics to solve complicated issues.
It makes it easy to access information: By delivering information to sales people faster, you’re equipping them with the knowledge they need to make decisions easily, within the flow of work. If they have the latest information on your products at their fingertips, they can provide answers to client questions quickly and easily to satisfy their needs and help them close the sale.
It’s easier to manage the quality and consistency of your learning content: The consistency and quality of your learning content is much easier to apply when it’s done so online. Housing sales training content in a dedicated environment ensures your sales people have a consistent message to share, across the organization, improving the sales team’s sales readiness. Because sales knowledge can be outdated quickly, due mainly to different promotions, discounts or other arrangements, high-quality, accurate content and messaging that lives within your learning platform can be more effectively deployed across the entire company, making it easier for your salespeople to align and speak the same language.
It makes learning portable: Give your sales people a shot at learning anytime, anywhere, on whatever device they choose. Reality is, today’s learners value the portability and freedom technology has enabled. It also puts the onus on them to complete their training, as they never have an excuse to miss out on a training session when all necessary resources are available whenever they need them.
Empower With E-learning
Making sure your salespeople are equipped with the knowledge, materials, skills, processes and behaviors essential to revenue generation depends on delivering the sales training they need to do their jobs effectively. And while sales training takes many forms, today’s leading organizations lean on innovative e-learning to give their sales people the tools they need to close deals.