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How to solve the three biggest problems with sales enablement

• 4 min read

Learning — specifically, the way people learn — is changing. Sales teams are more distracted and busier than ever, yet the organizations they work for have largely kept their training strategies the same, with the majority of training resources earmarked for formal learning and event-based training.

Why is that?

Many sales teams struggle with a similar set of challenges: They’re uninspired. They’re being fed boring, poorly-organized training content that may or may not be relevant to their day-to-day activity, with no post-training reinforcement.

The solution is actually pretty simple, at its core: Sales teams deserve the right tools to succeed. Below, take a look at a few of the most common related hurdles faced by sales teams today, and how to overcome them:

1. Dull, overly-complex learning content

Ask a sales manager what outcome they’re looking for from your company’s training initiatives and they’re likely to say “increased sales.”

But good professional development is like driver’s ed: you don’t immediately become a better driver just by taking the class, you’re simply given the tools you need to change certain behaviors that, if consistently applied, will lead to a safe trip down the highway.

And that’s a key challenge: getting sales professionals to change their on-the-job behaviors and habits is no easy feat, but with the right tools and stimulating, engaging learning content, it’s possible.

If you haven’t found a place for gamification in your training strategy, you’re missing out on a crucial opportunity. Feed the natural instincts of your sales staff by offering them the means for a little friendly competition. What better way to transform your organization than by embedding a sales and goal-driven culture?

2. Your team’s knowledge retention is too low.

Another ROI-inhibiting factor is the tendency to rely too much on event-based training without dedicating the right resources to post-event reinforcement.

We’ve all seen this kind of training strategy in action: Teams jet off to a sales conference in Las Vegas for two days, attend a few workshops, then return to the bullpen having forgotten half of what they learned.

According to the American Society of Training and Development, US companies spend about $20 billion a year on sales training. Yet, many sales organizations get low ROIs from their training initiatives. Participants spend the an intensive week hearing about buzzwords, industry trends and the action items they have to take to be successful, but that’s met with little retention.

This kind of training is always going to produce limited results unless the training is augmented with sustainable post-training reinforcement. This kind of behavioral change is a necessary process, not a one-time undertaking.

Research shows salespeople tend to forget most of what they’ve learned within a month, so they need time to apply their new knowledge and skills, and later, the means to reinforce what they learned. Ongoing application and practice makes a new skill a habit.

Once learning becomes part of the workplace culture, it’s easier to address learning at the point of need, which allows users to access information when and where they need it.

So in order to maximize the investment in sales training, companies should consider a fully integrated approach to reinforcement that consists of (1) facilitated reinforcement, (2) regular and frequent sales coaching, (3) on-demand reinforcement using eLearning and (4) tools and job aids.

3. Multiple, complex systems for basic functions.

One key way to provide learning at the point of need is to integrate the organization’s CRM with its LMS. Integrations with systems like Salesforce place nuggets of high-value information close to the core function performed by the individual.

This kind of learning is an effective method for presenting on-demand skills training for busy professionals. It’s important to reinforce formal training with sufficient post-training field exercises and on-going skills practice, such as sales coaching from frontline sales managers.

Sales teams are motivated to learn and seek out high quality training programs, but they don’t appreciate having their time wasted with drawn-out training sessions or jumping around between applications. By placing dynamic, self-paced digital content into the context of their workflow, a company can foster a more dynamic training environment.

The integration provides a true learn-as-you-work experience: The LMS and Salesforce combine their strengths to meet the needs of all levels of an organization.

The security company Rapid7 was struggling with the complexities of managing two unique sets of learning content — one for internal employees and one for customers — so they came up with the solution to deploy two independent Docebo platforms.

Instead of over-complicating the company’s training strategy, Rapid7 learned very quickly that the setup had many benefits, including a more streamlined way to train its employees on the system customers use to earn technical certifications on Rapid7 products. Employees became more familiar with the system because they use it on a regular basis, so this increased awareness has helped them deliver a higher level of service.