If you want to have a sales team that performs to the best of its abilities and constantly delivers over and beyond its targets, it often comes down to training. You should be able to enhance and enrich their natural skillfulness and also introduce new knowledge and concepts. This is not always an easy task so here we’ll give you 10 useful tips on how to build successful trainings and deliver them through eLearning so you can build listening skills, improve knowledge on existing products and launch new ones, engage and motivate your team while at the same time set more accurate goals and track performance.
#1 Know your basics
Technology allows us to change the ways in which we acquire knowledge and еLearning has been part of the way sales organizations have managed to reduce costs and increase the effectiveness of training. However, this hasn’t changed the basic concepts behind learning, so make sure you have a strong foundation when you build trainings. David Kolb’s experiential learning theory is a must as it touches on the Experiential Learning Cycle. According to Kolb, effective learning happens when the person goes through 4 stages:
- Concrete experience = doing
- Reflective observation = reflecting on the experience
- Abstract conceptualisation = learning from the experience
- Active experimentation = apply learning in practice
Learning is effective only when the person goes through all 4 stages.
#2 Salesforce online training is an ongoing process
Online training for your sales force never really stops as there are always changes and transformations and in addition a refresher is invariably great from time to time. Make sure you offer a variety of formats such as tutorials, videos, walkthroughs, webinars, etc. to make the content convenient and easily accessible. This will also help your team to integrate it in their schedule so it becomes an essential part of it, rather than something they have to make time for. Which brings us to our next point below - micro-learning - the ultimate way to make training engaging and convenient.
#3 Use micro-learning
Information overload is a big concern for today’s world and it applies to every part of our lives including work. We are inundated with so much data, facts, statistics and knowledge that tiredness and boredom occur easily. That’s why, taking ‘baby steps’ is often the best way to build up the confidence of your sales reps and keep them motivated rather than overwhelmed and disinterested. Micro-learning is not only easier to understand, but it also aids knowledge retention. Employees also get a sense of achievement as they go through smaller training courses, which is an additional boost to their confidence and motivation.
#4 Make it easy to update
One of the greatest advantages of eLearning is that offers the chance to keep your sales people’s knowledge and skills current with timely updates. Therefore it is essential that you use formats that are easy to produce, adapt across platforms and modify when needed. Make sure that all your content is also easy to access via mobile devices as they are the go to option for most millenials when it comes to learning.
#5 Teach by doing
“I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand.” (Confucius)
This also links to Kolb’s experiential learning cycle and reinforces the idea that the most effective learning is by doing. Simulations for example are an excellent way for new employees to get a hands-on experience and for your existing people to hone in on their techniques and improve their skills. Technology allows you to create any kind of situation whether it’s for a retail type environment or a field sales job, you have the ability to set realistic challenges for your employees to use.
#6 User generated content (UGC)
We can’t deny the fact that we live in an age in which people are generating and publishing content online as a matter of routine. With the proliferation of social media, blog platforms and all sorts of consumer review sites our mindsets are changing and we are becoming more straightforward about sharing information and experiences when we make any kind of decision. This is also valid when it comes to learning and the corporate world should not shy away from it. User generated content in the context of eLearning is content generated by the employees and used for performance improvement by the training experts. Even though some argue that the quality of the content might suffer, if there are appropriate checks in place, UGC can enhance the learning experience and increase motivation for employees. It will also make it more user friendly (as it is done by the employees for their peers), easier to digest, relevant, real, and ultimately it will boost morale.
#7 Let them learn through failure
Learning through our own mistakes is one of the best ways to actually learn to think. When you create content, don’t offer ready solutions to your sales people straight away, let them make mistakes and develop their own understanding of the subject matter. In the same way, you should also introduce examples of failed approaches or make comparisons between the right and wrong approach in different situations. The case studies you use (see below) can give you ample ground for applying this tip.
#8 Integrate case studies
Case studies are a great tool to present key facts about the subject matter and make the point of the training real to your learners. You can tell as many stories as you like, give examples and stress the benefits of what you are teaching, but with a case study you can really show your salesforce how their actions can be monetized. You have to choose your case studies carefully so they are relevant to your audience and industry in order to provoke the right response.
#9 Make it competitive
Sales people are usually engaged in some sort of competition and peer pressure is a strong motivator not only to achieve your targets but can also be used in training. As long as this is done in a healthy and organized way you can count on gamification to increase motivation and encourage them to share their experiences as they go along.
#10 Feedback and change
All modern Learning Management Systems offer great options for assessment and reporting. Feedback is an important tool for keeping your employees engaged. However it is also great that you can use the results of online training and compare them with sales performance so you can find areas for improvement and implement changes to your team as well as to the trainings themselves. This allows you to be constantly developing in a positive direction and use the full spectrum of tools that your online training platform offers you.
This list is just a brief highlight of all the areas in which we can look at in order to create not just good, but truly great online training content. If you have other tips to add to it please don’t hesitate to leave a comment below.