Whether or not you are part of a large distributed sales force, manage a retail chain store, sell online or offline products and services, your main goal likely is to reach your monthly, quarterly, and yearly targets, or in other words – sell as much as you can. The more sales experience and product knowledge you gain, the better you know the ropes, and hence - the quicker and easier is for you to close a deal, even a tough one. Spending time on product portfolio training or on acquiring new sales skills means less time on the sales floor which is something sales folks can’t afford.
So, there you are, in a Catch 22 situation – you need to keep yourself and team up-to-date with new product releases and features to sell more, yet you can’t afford to spend time on training because you need to sell more…You are well aware an eLearning solution will help you and your team stay on top of all new product releases and processes alike. If your manager is not acquainted with learning management tools however, it might be tricky to sell him on the idea!
The goal of this blog post is to help you create compelling arguments and offer indisputable evidence to convince your sales/store manager investing in eLearning is a brilliant idea. There are lots of misconceptions that you’ll need to overcome and explanations that you’ll need to give. When done right, online training can be cheaper, yield better results, is much easier to implement and, most importantly, is way more effective than the traditional forms of sales team training.
To make sure you get off on the right foot in your effort to move salesforce product and skills training online, here are a few things that you should do to convince your manager investing in eLearning is an excellent idea:
Before approaching your manager, do your due diligence:
Assess the results from the existing training programs in the company
Take time to evaluate the current training and learning practices that have been adopted in your organization to keep the large, dispersed sales force or retail network up to date with new product launches and company updates alike. Estimate the amount of time sales team cumulatively spends in the classroom instead of focusing on what they should be doing: selling. Factor in the cost of expensive flights, instructors, facilities etc. and then see how implementing an eLearning solution fares against it.
How’s the competition training their sales force?
Needless to say, sales managers are competition obsessed! A good, subtle way to guide your manager in the right direction is to present him with data on how competitors leverage eLearning to maintain top sales talent, improve lead to closed deal ratio and eventually boost the bottom line. If you are able to dig up some stats, make sure to bring them up.
Be sure to identify, list and answer as best you can the questions that keep your sales director awake at night:
- How to attract and keep the best sales reps
Managers worry about employee turnover in every department, but a high attrition rate is especially costly in sales. Not only is this leaving you understaffed, the cost of finding and onboarding new sales team members gradually shrinks your margins and eats your sales turnover.
- How to bridge the knowledge/skills gap and keep the salesforce up-to-date with product developments
It hardly comes as a surprise that sales teams find it increasingly difficult to stay on top of ever-growing product portfolios, constantly shifting competitor landscape, and the geo and cultural specifics of the local markets. Needless to say, customers and prospects are also getting savvier and more knowledgeable about the options they have. The average sales rep needs to wear many hats, keep continuously learning, and take up new roles and responsibilities.
- How to minimize the time the team spends in the classroom
Sales team members who only have access to classroom ILT training are never presented with the opportunity to learn at their own pace. Instead of providing sales team members with the ability to get up-to-date by filling in gaps in their always busy agendas, ILT training steals away the most productive part of the day to be spent in the classroom and away from the sales floor.
- How to keep a finger on the sales team pulse: be able to quickly assess their skill set and identify gaps
A major concern of sales managers is the lack of transparency that traditional classroom training presents – they don’t have the option to quickly evaluate what value their team has derived from an all day long training class yet they can clearly see that the latter has already negatively impacted the monthly targets.
Align your arguments: present your solutions to the questions that disturb sales and store managers:
- Try, approve and implement a solution in no time, and start reaping quantifiable benefits:
These days, eLearning solution vendors offer easy and quick ways to get started with their products. Online training can be delivered quickly and adjusted to each trainee’s own pace. Learners are able to acquire new product information, learn a new skill or validate the knowledge they already have almost instantly. For example, if there’s an upcoming product release, you can leverage your eLearning solution to quickly put together a webinar that can bring the entire dispersed sales force up-to-date with the new company developments.
A good example of a solution that can be quickly evaluated and deployed in a real-world environment is Melon Learning. With Melon Learning you can try the platform, implement it and start reaping results in less than a month.
- Reduced training costs
More often than not, travel and per diem expenses make up to ~60% of training budgets, especially when trainees are geographically dispersed. What’s more, there will no longer be a need to print training materials, pay instructors and rent a facility. Yes, there’s an initial investment associated with adopting an LMS, however, the ongoing costs of an online training platform are way lower when compared to the traditional forms of sales training.
- Sales reps can learn at their own pace
They no longer need to dedicate the most productive part of their day to mundane classroom training. Instead, they can decide when and how to take a given course, or quickly and easily access any type of content that they might need to reference to convince a prospect and close a deal.
- Reduced sales team attrition rates
If you manage to arm your sales reps with the necessary knowledge, tools, and content to help them successfully close deals faster, they’ll remain loyal to you and your organization. After all, sales comp plans are based on sales reps performance: the more deals they close, the better they get compensated. What’s more, by giving them access to 24/7 online training and self-paced learning courses, they’ll feel motivated to achieve more and further their professional goals.
TIP: Invite the LMS vendor you’ve selected to pitch eLearning to your manager!
Ready to give Melon Learning a try? It offers by far the quickest path from implementation to success on the market. Sign up for the interactive demo.