Busting Myth # 3: You need a big team of trainers to deliver training content to many trainees at the same time
Many sales companies nowadays have geographically dispersed teams especially where field reps are involved. This might include not only a few different office locations and time zones, but can go hand in hand with reps being on the move or working from home some of the time. This leads many sales managers and other stakeholders to believe that delivering consistent training and maintaining the skills and knowledge of such teams is very costly and only possible with a large team of trainers. Even though we don’t underestimate the challenge, here we’ll discuss how eLearning can help significantly and that you can deliver such content without necessarily hiring many instructors for face-to-face teaching. So let’s tackle each challenge that training a large sales team poses and show how eLearning can be the solution in many of these cases.
#1 Addressing different needs
When you have a geographically dispersed sales team in many locations, it’s logical that your employees will have different needs depending on where they are. This will be determined by your industry, company size and culture, etc. and it’s certainly a major challenge for most sales trainers. Whatever the reason, online training can help you deliver content simultaneously to many groups of people and customize it depending on their location or other factors specific to your company. Modern Learning Management Systems (LMS) offer the ability to tailor your audiences by geography, department, level of seniority or experience and many other criteria, in an easy to administer way so you can deliver the right content to the right target learners. So rather than organize costly and time-consuming F2F training across different locations, you can smoothly deliver the content as soon as it’s ready to all of your learners at the same time.
#2 Quick onboarding
In today’s fast paced business environment where people are moving between jobs more frequently, especially in sales, companies can’t afford new employees to be learning on the job. Thus eLearning is the perfect vehicle to deliver well structured and consistent onboarding training that saves money and increases productivity. And compared to F2F training, it makes much more sense to have new employees trained online, as it can be done immediately as and when they join.
#3 Build and refresh product knowledge
Building product knowledge for any sales organization, regardless of the size and complexity of the product or service portfolio, is an ongoing process. Refreshment is just as important as initial training, so there is the need to be able to keep your reps up-to-date with product changes and upgrades so they can feel confident and deal with questions and queries from clients. Traditional training methods, while great for initial training, are in most cases a very expensive alternative when it comes to refreshers. An LMS will give you the option to keep content updated and notify your learners whenever any significant changes have been uploaded so they can login at their convenience and refresh their knowledge.
#4 Learn from the best
Organizing an Instructor Led Training (ILT) for geographically spread teams is often complex and likely to be very costly. Co-ordinating the schedules of your subject matter experts and trainers in order to get them to the right place at the right time, is not an easy fit. Online training can help you overcome these difficulties as you can include all your experts in the course through video tutorials, webinars or live streams in order to make their knowledge and expertise accessible to everyone in your company. This way you also achieve a very consistent delivery which might not be possible over many classroom sessions. In addition, learners sometimes feel a bit intimidated in the presence of experts. Online learning offers a degree of anonymity which allows the student to relax and take everything in his or her own stride.
#5 Give control to learners
Many learners feel that a classroom training session not only interferes with their schedule, but takes control away from them. With eLearning you can introduce self-paced courses and offer personalized multi-track learning plans so your employees can be given more freedom to manage their own time. When learners have more control, the rate of learning also increases as they get through smaller chunks of content and can use all the possibilities technology offers for interaction, social collaboration, gamification and other elements which introduce good variety to avoid boredom.
#6 Accurate assessment
F2F training can offer many opportunities for continuous assessment but as with the delivery of the course itself, it might be inconsistent and incomplete especially when large groups across many locations are involved. Knowledge gaps can be identified and addressed quickly on individual, team or organizational level. This can be done through tailored learning plans, the updating of content and other methods.
We hope that this post has helped you see that a big team of trainers is not the only solution to addressing the learning needs of geographically dispersed sales teams. Technology offers many opportunities to train our employees in a cost-effective and efficient way so whether you already have an LMS or are thinking about implementing one, do not underestimate its capabilities when it comes to employee onboarding, product training, compliance or soft skills training. Let us know with a comment if you have valuable insights to share about these type of challenges.
You may be interested to read about Myth #1: There is no way to measure the impact on the bottom line from sales force training activities and Myth # 2: Maintaining a top-notch sales force requires significant time off-the-sales-floor trainings in our previous blog posts busting the top sales force myths about online training