Taking their sales training online may be a scary prospect for some who are used to a traditional training experience. However, getting to train your sales force can be one of the most rewarding experiences for your organization as it will push sales up. We will begin the article with some facts for you to help you join the dots by the end of this read.
- Training expenditure in the US in 2016 ran up to a tune of $70.65 billion. There has also been an increase in training expenditure on average per learner from $814 in 2016 as compared to $702 in 2015.
- 67% of organizations now offer mobile learning in some form. The mobile learning market is predicted to be a $37.6 billion market by 2020.
- According to data from the Ambient Insight on the Worldwide Mobile Learning Market, in 2016, 98% of organizations planned to implement video as part of their digital learning strategy.
- A Deloitte research on the modern learner states that an average employee only has 24 minutes in a week to devote to professional development.
Sales teams world-over face time crunch and are always rushed. They really are the lifeline of the company but are busy with emailing, filling out forms, doing data entry and scheduling. If we were to think that an average employee has only 24 minutes in the week to devote to professional development, then a salesperson might not even have ten minutes for this.
A Hubspot report found out that 46% of the sales force never intended to get into this line of work. 23% of the respondents never really go for networking events, or sponsored sales training, webinars or read sales books or blogs! But the value of sales training is immense. It has a direct impact on employee turnover, higher sales numbers, revenue plan attainment and meeting customer needs.
Organizations Using Online Training for Sales Employees
Best-in-class organizations have pushed the boundaries of online sales training. They rely on not only traditional training methods but also online training to reach out to their super busy sales professionals.
A great example of an organization taking field sales training online is Max SkillFirst. It is a professional skilling solutions provider in the sales and service domain. Max SkillFirst wanted to effectively train field agents of Max Insurance and Max Bupa in delivering sales, products, soft skills and compliance training. However, the challenge they faced was that these employees were out of office and on the field the whole day – leaving them very little time for training. With the help of the employee training management system, they were able to attain their training objectives favorably and beyond their expectations. Learn more about the best practices for teaching/training in organizations.
The online sales training method has undeniable advantages which can boost the morale of your salesperson. Online sales training programs can be personalized to meet specific training needs of the individual. These can be self-paced (of no specific duration) or scheduled (occurring at a certain time) and engaging content can deliver continuous learning.
At a time when sales employees are battling distractions and trying to multi-task at the same time, an online training program will help send information intermittently so that they are able to assimilate and act upon it as a sales skills training assessment. This method of selective information dissemination is called micro-learning. The sales online training tool can facilitate this for the sales team without adding the additional burden of “completing an online training course”.
There are many types of online learning methods which can enhance the effectiveness of the sales training and development programs. National Training Academy, Bethel, Maine has scripted a Learning Pyramid. It explains the average student retention rates (of information) via different media. For example, students were able to retain only 5% of information through a lecture, 20% through audiovisual, 50% through discussion and 90% when teaching other or applying it immediately. In online training, there are many combinations of online learning methods – virtual classes, audio or video conferencing, instructor-led classes with web-based studies etc. Each organization can choose the combination that best suits its sales forces’ needs.
Additionally, an upcoming trend is learning online through a mobile application. Mobile applications can be an organization’s best friend when it comes to customizing a corporate sales training program. Data suggests that, out of the workforce,
- 90% now own a smartphone and/or tablet and 84% are downloading apps. 74% use a mobile to access resources they need to do their job.
- 57% like to be able to access learning on the go.
- 42% respond to alerts as soon as they come in.
- 37% are accessing work-related resources while traveling and only 18% are now learning at their work desks.
For your sales force to succeed at their jobs, you need to keep these seven steps in mind while planning the corporate sales training and development program for your team.
1) Map your training goals
What is the objective that you want to achieve through your training? These objectives help you orient your content along with making the right efforts. Document your objectives clearly, pointwise and share with your L&D team for their inputs!
2) Decide your budget
Most organizations have a training and development budget allocated to them. But how much should really be utilized by the sales team, and what can be procured (in terms of an LMS or technology tools) for the employees’ use are two questions that you should have an answer to. This will greatly impact user experience and response. If the budget is not used correctly, all your efforts might prove futile. With a judicious allotment of your training budget, you can get the right resources to create engaging content. For instance, a well-designed assessment with the right look, feel and usability is needed without a second thought to make your training a success.
3) Find out who needs the training and why?
Are there any specific individuals in the sales team that will benefit from a personalized training? Why do these individuals require to be given a different test? Any exceptions must be clearly highlighted and discussed. A great training doesn’t necessarily mean that it will only be a group training or a face-to-face one. An online training system gives the L&D team flexibility to customize tests according to the person taking the training.
4) Choose the method of learning that you will implement online
Among the combinations outlined above, what combination (virtual classes, only audio or video, instructor-led classes, self-paced courses or scheduled courses) will your online training course have to make the greatest impact on the learning and training of the sales team.
5) Decide the mode of dissemination and time required for training
One reason for sharing Deloitte’s report on the modern worker was to aid you to make the decision at what time will the test be floated. Is your salesperson relatively free to spend 10 minutes before the store opens or while on his way back from work? A training module which is broken into bits will help the employee learn faster without feeling burdened. A standardized test with engaging content is required for a seamless experience by the user.
6) Test it
Simply do a testing before you float the test to the entire team. There may be some great inputs from your sales force to make the test more effective.
7) Float it
Now, all you would have to do is to share it with your target group. Use the analytics feature of the LMS tool to support you with data to fine-tune/improve the tests further. Auto-generated certificates act as instant gratifications and your team will receive a prompt pat on the back – highly increasing the chance for them to attempt such an online training in the future.
Your sales training can be a success when you choose to take it online. With this article, we hope to have allayed your fears or have pushed you to trust your gut to make this decision backed with data.