The Pros and Cons of Using Microlearning to Deliver Sales Training

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Introduction

As a sales enablement leader what has been your biggest worry?

  • Product failing in the market
  • Lack of product adoption
  • Your own sales team not understanding the product or service
  • Demoralized sales team
  • Sales team failing to meet targets

What if we told you that microlearning could help you with some of these problems? Sounds a bit too far-fetched? Do read this blog post fully and then decide if microlearning can really help you and your team face the key challenge of increasing sales productivity. This blog post will offer a quick introduction to microlearning, the benefits of using microlearning for sales training, the pros and cons of using microlearning to deploy your sales training, and two examples of how Origin used microlearning for a client.

The Pros and Cons of Using Microlearning to Deliver Sales Training

What is Microlearning?

Microlearning can be defined as a brief learning nugget designed to meet a specific learning objective. It could be an animated video, a video of a subject-matter expert speaking, an audio-file, or a simple and informative PowerPoint presentation. The primary objective of a microlearning program is to educate the learner about a specific task and help the learner meet a specific objective.

In their popular book, “Microlearning: Short and Sweet” –   the authors Karl M. Kapp and Robyn A. Defelice make some interesting points about microlearning. Both Karl and Robyn are industry-experts and highly respected in the world of modern eLearning and performance training. Some of the points that are highlighted in the book are summarized below for your reference:

  • Microlearning is for a short period of time and there is no specific time-limit to determine to the length of a microlearning module. One of our earlier blog posts looks at this topic in detail and attempts to determine the ideal duration for a microlearning program
  • Microlearning units must be part of a bigger program and learning strategy to help deliver effective learning.
  • Microlearning can be used for performance improvement or to help learners recollect past learning.
  • A well-defined microlearning program should be engaging and interactive to help boost learner engagement and increase the retention of learning.
  • Microlearning is not always the best learning solution for all learning requirements. L&D teams must use microlearning only when required.

If you are interested in reading the book, you can purchase it from here.

Challenges Faced by L&D Teams to Train Sales Teams

The sales team of any organization plays a key role in the development of the organization and the revenues that are generated. An organization can have a brilliant product portfolio or offer software as a service but if its sales team is not able to bring in new customers and clients; all the efforts of the other teams in the organization will go waste. Hence, it is important that the sales team is properly trained and equipped to sell the products and services offered by the organization.

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Some of the key challenges in training sales personnel are listed below.

Lack of time – Sales is primarily a role that involves a lot of traveling and it is very difficult to get the entire sales team in one place and at one time to train them all together.

Accessibility – As stated in the previous point, sales is not always a desk job and it is important to create learning content that can be easily accessed even when the sales person is traveling for a meeting or waiting for an appointment.

Attention span – This is a challenge that L&D teams are facing for a diverse audience-set and is not just restricted to sales teams. The ideal sales training program should be informative, engaging, and help the sales personnel improve their performance.

Measuring effectiveness of training – L&D teams try their best to create programs that help bring about a positive improvement in the performance of employees taking up learning programs. Measuring the effectiveness of such programs is a key challenge that they face. One of the benefits of designing programs for sales teams is the ability to directly co-relate the effectiveness of the program with an increase in sales values/numbers.

The Benefits of Using Microlearning for Sales Training

Based on the challenges listed in the previous section, here are some reasons why we think microlearning can work wonders for your sales training programs.

Easily accessible – Microlearning is usually designed with a mobile-first philosophy. This enables sales personnel to easily access it on their smartphone or tablet device and learn. Use brief videos by sales-leaders to motivate your learners.

Short and sweet – Ranging anywhere from five to 10 minutes this is the perfect antidote to beat the attention span problem and the lack of time for learning cited by sales personnel.

Focused objectives – The entire program can be designed in the form of multiple microlearning capsules or learning nuggets that focus on a specific learning objective. Some of the recommended learning objectives for sales personnel could cover topics like:

  • Making a sales pitch.
  • Best practices for cold-calling potential clients.
  • Presenting a product or service demo.
  • Negotiation skills.
  • Closing a deal successfully

Cost-effective – Designing a microlearning program is cost-effective and easier when compared to designing a full-fledged eLearning course that runs into several hours of training. Thus it saves time for the development team designing the eLearning course and the sales team which gets trained faster by the microlearning program. A win-win situation for everyone involved.

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Social learning – Microlearning is also an effective way to make learning social and allow your sales personnel to challenge each other to complete learning tasks. This form of collaborative learning makes learning fun and interesting.

Gamification for learner engagement – It is easier to introduce gamified interactive learning components in a microlearning program. This ensures that the learner is motivated to complete the microlearning program and also increases the retention of learning.

The Cons of Using Microlearning for Sales Training

In the previous section, we looked at the benefits of using microlearning for sales training. In this section, we will examine some of the cons or disadvantages of using microlearning for sales training.

Dilution of core concepts – Sales is a fascinating subject that has a lot of layers to it. It is no wonder that “Sales and Marketing” is one of the most popular specializations in MBA programs and is highly respected. By attempting to fit the core elements of sales and marketing within a brief microlearning program; there is always the fear of diluting the subject and making some sacrifices in the content to fit it within the preferred duration of 10 minutes. 

Connectivity issues – Though internet connectivity has improved to a great deal; there might still be complaints by staff that they are not able to access the microlearning program properly on their devices. One way to solve this problem is to provide all your sales personnel with a compatible device and a portable internet router that lets them access learning without any issues. If you are looking for an effective mobile-first learning experience platform to deliver your learning; you might want to explore our award-winning LXP – Origin Fractal.

Gamification overshadows learning – Sometimes eLearning developers go overboard with their ideas and a microlearning program may have elements of gamification that are not needed at all. In essence, gamification overshadows the core learning concept. This is a major pitfall and should be avoided at all costs. Remember gamification is a way to improve learner engagement. It should not be used to distract the learner from the core learning objective.

Measuring effectiveness – As stated earlier, this is the primary challenge that L&D teams face. A learner may be enthusiastic and complete all the tasks assigned in the course; but unless the learner uses that learning in his/her daily work; one will never be able to measure the effectiveness of the sales training program properly. Hence, it is important to constantly monitor the performance of your sales team and take remedial measures when needed.

Microlearning Example Number One for Sales Training

Origin was contracted by a leading HR management consulting firm to design a variety of programs as part of the HR training curriculum for one of their clients. One of the programs created as part of the HR training curriculum was a microlearning-based training program. The learning solution was designed in such a way that the learners would click on a series of tiles and learn more about the organization’s culture, safety at work, analyzing incidents at the workplace, and how to handle a safety concern at work. The solution combined interactivity with videos of experts speaking on “just culture” and simulated scenarios where learners were tasked to recommend the ideal solution. Given below is a screenshot from the program that displays the tiled-interface.

The Pros and Cons of Using Microlearning to Deliver Sales Training

This program was appreciated by both the management consulting firm and the end-client for whom the entire curriculum was deployed. The client reported significant improvement in the time taken for completion of training of employees and their interest in completing the tasks which were a part of the program.

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Microlearning Example Number Two for Sales Training

Origin was contracted by a leading IT firm to completely overhaul their existing sales training program and come up with an innovative new training solution that could be deployed quickly. After analyzing the requirements, Origin designed a program that combined aspects of microlearning and gamification to create an engaging sales training program. The following video shows a brief section of the actual course.

The client was extremely happy with the final learning solution and deployed it across their offices. Once the program was deployed it showed a marked improvement in the quality of the leads generated by the sales team.

If you would be interested to learn more about either of the two microlearning examples cited above, please write to us at info@originlearning.com with the title “Microlearning Demo” in the subject line. On receipt of your email; one of our colleagues will get in touch with you.

Conclusion

The Workplace Learning Report 2020 has some interesting insights.

  • Increasing learner engagement is the top priority for L&D teams in the US.
  • 24% of L&D professionals do not currently measure learning engagement.
  • 51% of L&D professionals are keen to launch upskilling programs

From these stats, it is clear that more L&D teams are embracing learning programs to upskill employees. As a sales enablement leader, microlearning could work as an excellent solution to train your sales personnel. It could work as stand-alone learning capsules or complement your existing full-fledged sales training programs Are you now convinced that well-designed microlearning can actually work wonders for your sales training program? Get in touch with us here and let us work together to build a powerful, engaging, and effective sales training program for your organization.


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