January 17, 2018

Busting Top 3 Sales Force Online Training Myths, Part I

Sales Myths

Busting Myth #1: There is no way to measure the impact on the bottom line from sales force training activities

Sales Myth 1

Any sales training professional you ask will tell you straight away that one of the most common questions they get from their stakeholders is “What ROI can we expect from a sales training program?”. Regardless of whether the training is delivered face-to-face or online, proving that it has a positive impact on the bottom line is a constant demand on sales managers and trainers. Here we’ll show you what to look for when you want to prove that online training for your sales force has yielded positive results just as you would do with any other department in your company.  

Before you even start measuring the impact, you will need to define the success metrics that will be of highest importance for your particular case and organization. You might already have certain indicators in mind, however it’s also good to see what professionals across the sales industry are using. A recent research report by CSO Insights, The Business Case for Sales Training, contains input from over 2000 companies and demonstrates clearly how high quality sales training can significantly benefit any sales organization. 

#1 Increase sales 

The ultimate proof of the impact of online learning is a direct increase in sales. You can measure it easily when the training is related to a newly launched product, but you can also do it if you want to focus on the particular features of an existing product in order to motivate your sales force to focus on it. In addition, an LMS will allow you to reach out to the whole distribution chain, including the end-users, who can also benefit from better education and expertise about your products or services. This can have a direct measurable impact on demand leading to repeat purchases or more complex orders as a result of better understanding on the client side.  

#2 Boost product knowledge 

If you are a manufacturer of a product and want to train your own sales force or your distributors about new products or features of existing products, eLearning provides excellent opportunity to deliver a consistent, accurate and up-to-date message which will ultimately reach the end user too. This is of course strongly related to the previous point - the increase in sales - because the more knowledgeable and confident your sales force is, the more they’ll sell. 

#3 Develop practical sales skills 

Elearning can be a very useful tool to help develop the practical skills of your sales force such as consultative selling, cold calling, closing a customer, understanding the buyer, sales coaching training and many others. You can then directly measure the impact of the training based on the particular skill. For example, if you have identified the need to increase the closing rate of your telesales team, you can introduce an eLearning program to help improve these particular skills of your employees. Then you can link the course completion rates and assessment results to your team’s performance as a whole and drill down to each individual team member’s level.

#4 Communication & negotiation skills

Verbal communication skills and the ability to negotiate are essential in everyday life and are also a key requirement for any sales person. The world of sales is very competitive, therefore it’s important to avoid misunderstandings and to be able to clearly convey your ideas to your customers. Online training can offer many ways to help build these skills. Sales simulations for example can help them interact with virtual clients who represent the real target demographic through different customer personas. You can give them different tasks and scenarios so they can ask open questions, express their thoughts clearly and use (and understand) the right body language. 

#5 Quick and accurate assessment of sales reps

When we have a modern LMS, this allows each individual sales rep to get a quick and accurate personalized assessment. This should not be viewed as a way to control and keep employees under threat of being punished for poor results but the opposite - as an opportunity to address individual challenges and create learning programs that are tailored to each person’s needs and requirements. The results will be clear when the performance of the sales reps is repeatedly measured and aligned with the results produced by their their online learning reports. 

#6 Keep the knowledge momentum

Repeated learning as well as the ability to do microlearning can result in much better product understanding by the sales reps. Sometimes, in a face-to-face training situation, it’s very easy to lose the focus and not achieve the required results especially when very complex product features or subjects are being taught. Retention of knowledge is also a challenge, hence eLearning provides the opportunity to deliver the content in measurable micro chunks, so each employee can study at his or her own pace. In addition, they can also revise and repeat what they’ve learned based on their needs and test scores/performance.

#7 Maximize return-on-training time 

Learners train at their own convenience in terms of choosing the time and location according to their individual schedules. They can also determine the pace of learning to suit individual needs and styles (which is hard to achieve in a classroom).

We hope that his has given you a taste of what’s possible to measure when it comes to salesforce online training. We’ll continue in our mini series about the Top 3 Sales Force Myths so keep an eye on this space for our next post. In the meantime, if you have your own story to share about the impact of eLearning on Sales, please leave a comment below. 

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