Our blog last week was about learning experiences – the need for and its importance in modern L&D, while also exploring training strategies that can support enterprises in their quest to deploy effective learning experiences at the workplace. While we continue to take this topic forward, this blog specifically will address the learning needs of the sales team. Why specific to the sales team, you may ask. Sales training is unique, and the needs of the sales force are different from the rest. Their L&D is constantly evolving, the markets that they cater to are dynamic, customers’ requirements are changing and the team themselves are constantly on the move. The value proposition of sales training needs to constantly rise to meet these ever-changing demands and nuances. What are the learning experiences that the team can value and depend on? How can sales training be strategically positioned to meet diverse demands? And how can an effective L&D strategy work to the advantage of all stakeholders? This blog will go on to address such burning questions.
Sales Training and Learning Experiences
While sales training at organizations aims to improve seller skills and drive behavioral change to maximize sales success, comprehensive sales training also sets the tone for a good sales culture and a healthy environment. It fosters greater collaboration and knowledge sharing, embarking on healthy competition while problem-solving their way towards the common vision. High-performing sales teams are not built overnight. Each day, each week, and beyond must yield results that drive the team collectively. Empower your sales team with the tools and resources that help in achieving goals, and this begins with adequate and capable sales training. While most employees seek training that is practical and assists in the application rather than theoretical, the need is further amplified for the sales team. The need of the hour for the sales team is to be able to deliver value at every stage of the customer’s buying journey. And this is something that cannot be fully achieved only through traditional, classroom training. Sales training needs to be agile, dynamic, and targeted. The sales training must be supported in the flow of work, aka, creating learning moments or experiences that are just in time. The L&D strategy adopted by the organization must be adept to handle the diverse needs of the sales team. From eLearning and performance support solutions to knowledge sharing and simulated environments, sales training and strategy can be uniquely placed to provide learning experiences for sales and drive success.
Did you know there are over 13 million salespeople working in the United States alone? And did you know that 19.8% of an employee’s time – the equivalent of one day per week – is wasted in searching for information to do their job effectively?
- the sales team spends 33% of their time on research, and
- 50-60% of the marketing content created by enterprises remains unused
Where is the gap, and how can this be plugged?
Microlearning is strategically positioned to provide learning moments and training opportunities for your sales. Just-in-time solutions have the capabilities to address requirements at the moment of need. From the latest sales metrics, market trends, product specifications and information, troubleshooting and even preparing for the crucial pitch, micro-learning experiences hit the bullseye. Furthermore, with multiformat training modalities, design and delivery, learner engagement, and knowledge retention, microlearning ticks all the right boxes.
In the next section, let us now look at specific sales training and learning experiences that can be achieved through the microlearning strategy.
- Product Training
A sea of information that is ever-changing and ever evolving; it is not one session that can effectively train your sales but a series of training, refreshers, updates, repetition, and more that are needed. From design and technicalities to solutions and product capabilities, relay information directly from your engineers’ desk to your sales. Update them on the latest and equip them to be ever ready.
Product knowledge, demos, and more can be delivered in multiformat. Quick refresher videos, an infographic about product specs, augmented reality microlearning module for in-depth product capabilities adds to their confidence. Deliver eLearning on the go, leverage on accessibility and feasibility.
- Market Information
The sales team can aspire for greater productivity and efficiency when there is greater awareness. Awareness of the latest market trends, competitors and products, capabilities of own product vis-a-vis others, and the solutions to aspire for. Enhance the armor of the sales team by providing them crafty reports, news bulletins, and able analysis to qualify leads to yield a noteworthy pitch.
Sales members are also expected to be indispensable solution providers to customers. Preparing your team to handle common and unexpected bumps will go a long way towards customer satisfaction, retention, and loyalty too. Create hypothetical situations and ways to handle them for your sales and deliver in a variety of microlearning formats.
Emerging technologies today are cutting edge and can be critical in every training program. From the deployment of augmented and virtual reality solutions to creating simulated environments that encourage decision making, foster greater knowledge, and skill in your sales. Simulated environments can also be an effective tool for problem-solving. It offers a safe platform to practice learning and build confidence to face real-world challenges.
- Strategy and Analysis
For sales team members to be irreplaceable solution providers, they should be trained to be experts in their field. A keen eye for detail, able need analysis and formulation of the best-case scenario for the client make for a compelling pitch. Provide the sales team with platform and tools to factor in such variables and derive a solution that is best suited for all stakeholders. Did you know a gamified approach to learning can further fine-tune knowledge and skills? Gamification in corporate L&D works as an assessment tool too. With the experience and excitement it provides, it challenges employees to score and get competitive with colleagues. Constructing an effective sales pitch, the techniques for selling, personality development, and empathy-building are all soft skills that are evergreen. Short audio podcasts or crisp expert-speak sessions can motivate team members and leverage the many benefits of informal learning too.
- Sales manuals
Every selling organization will have its sales manuals, sales enablement strategy, and branching scenarios as a cornerstone to sales processes. Most often, this is rendered as part of onboarding and then taken the back seat, and often forgotten. Such manuals and enablement charter have been specifically curated to help the sales team. Break such critical learnings into single-objective learning modules and deploy them directly to the inbox of sales team members. Ensure the learners are constantly in touch with learning resources. Dependable learning assets are irreplaceable.
- Compliance Training
Regulations and policies are very much part of every sales enablement strategy but are overlooked by most. However, when the team is aware of the latest rules, policy changes, and legalities, and can provide comprehensive solutions, customers are at ease and assured of compliance. A last-minute glitch, fines, and lawsuits do not make for a pretty picture. A quick quiz or a training infographic that checks to understand latest policies will make a handy tool for your sales team. What is the company policy on returns, refunds, or contract extensions? The options are plenty.
In this next section, let us look at Microlearning in action.
Here is the first use case from an AI enterprise that deployed microlearning for its employees including sales and the extended enterprise. Real-time information to handle real-world challenges.
Additionally, the video below is a snapshot of the solution model.
How did a Fortune 500 enterprise reimagine compliance training to deliver code of conduct through microlearning? This case study is must-read.
Do you want to see more of our award-winning solutions? Are you looking to make a difference with your sales training? Reach us by writing to firstname.lastname@example.org, and ask for a demo.