Sales training traditionally has been instructor led and to some extent computer based. The instructor could be an external consultant or the internal manager. While one cannot undermine the strengths of this method, training salespeople who are spread across wider geographical regions is definitely challenging. However, it is physically impossible for one instructor to cover all the locations. Either training programs are scheduled on a rotation basis or operations are shut down for 2-3 days a year and all the sales personnel congregate under one roof for the annual sales training program. Such programs are generally hectic and it is difficult to measure their effectiveness. Other options are to train the trainers and these individual trainers could then train their respective teams. This results in inconsistency of delivery of information and it is difficult to measure the effectiveness of the training program. Is there a better option to deliver sales training in today’s fast paced technological environment?
We in recent times have witnessed a phenomenal proliferation of technological solutions in almost all domains. Sales training is no exception. While it is still in the nascent stage, technology has begun impacting the training process even here. Online training and virtual training are no longer fiction but reality and have become an accepted option for many companies.
The most important benefit of adopting technology in deploying sales training is that sales professionals need not compromise their on-field time to attend training programs. They can minimize their time away from their core functional area i.e. contacting prospects. It would be most suitable for action-oriented sales people who may not enjoy being confined to a traditional classroom setting.
Secondly, knowledge can be provided when they need it most. Imagine a situation where a sales person needs to know updated information about a new product that has been recently introduced. Or if the sales person missed the product training session that has been recently concluded and needs to stay on par with his peers in terms of product knowledge. Information that helps them make more sales is always welcomed by sales people. More so, if it is made available to them when they need it most. If such information is stored in a central repository that is accessible to all sales forces, it would prove handy for a sales person on the move.
This can be achieved through ‘learning communities’ that can be built into the company intranet. Hosting the courses online through a Learning Management Systems (LMS) enables learners to take up the courses at their convenience. Not only that, it also helps managers to assess the performance of the learners instantly. It also helps keep a record of all the courses that learners have taken so far and their performance vis-a-vis expectations. Some companies have experimented by giving their sales team iPods through which trainers can distribute podcast courses and job aids directly. This could well be the norm in future.
Technological influence in sales training will be an ongoing phenomenon as newer technologies keep getting used; so it is important for training managers to keep track of technological solutions so that they can be adopted effectively in deploying sales training.
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Personalization is one strategy that’s helping many top companies reach their learners easily, and e-learning is no exception. As instructional designers, it’s our task to make online learning courses that our learners can relate to. Every day, we try to find innovative ways to engage learners and make our courses more interesting to them. In this process, we need to understand the needs and tastes of the learners. It’s important to come out with an idea that can take our training programs a step closer to them.
In the previous post, we looked at the approaches to design e-learning courses on food safety; in this post, we will look at a few instructional and visual components that we used to engage learners. Let’s see what they are.
A Subject Matter Expert (SME) is an expert in an organization on a particular area or topic. To create good e-learning courses, inputs from SMEs are vital. To get the best out of your SME, you need to first understand him and know his role. The SME’s role is to help instructional designers (ID) understand the content. An SME is a knowledge hub looking for the best ways to transfer it, and we IDs are the people who lay the path for it. We generally face many challenges while dealing with SMEs such as variation in timelines (the major challenge), lots of changes in the content and few in the GUI, huge variations in visualization, etc., once the course gets developed. In order to overcome all these issues, and to get the best out of your SMEs, you need to follow a few steps. Let us see what they are.
Medical representatives face many problems while promoting their companies’ products to doctors. It’s a well-known fact that doctors are more knowledgeable about medicines than the pharmaceutical sales representatives. So, how can a representative gain as much knowledge as the doctor about the medicine? Well, e-learning is the best solution for this problem because it helps to impart highly effective training.
As instructional designers, we always aim to design courses that reach the target audience effectively. We would never want to hear our learners say that the course was boring. We put all our efforts to make the course interesting and engaging.
But, it is essential that these efforts are put in a right way. Engaging the learner doesn’t mean just including interactivities. It is much more than having a few clicks of interactivities.
In my last blog, 20 Must Know Acronyms of E-learning – Part 1, we have seen some acronyms that are used in the world of e-learning. In this blog, we will look at some more acronyms.
11. JIT (Just-in-Time): Just-in-time learning systems enable learners to access online learning resources at the point of need. Today, what will you do to find directions to a place or find out the movie that is playing in the theatre close to your home? You just go online for information. To employees, m-learning provides a similar facility to access information pertaining to their jobs at the click of a button.
Training enhances skills and abilities of employees to be aligned to changing business needs. It is well understood that assessments are vital components of e-learning courses. They are a medium to measure training outcomes. Assessments not only strengthen learning but also help evaluate the learner’s comprehension of a course.
It is well-known that assessments are a vital component of an e-learning course. Good assessments play an important role in enhancing the efficacy of the online course by helping evaluate the knowledge gained by the learner and reinforce the learning.
According to recent data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 48 million people (1 in 6 Americans) get sick, 128,000 are hospitalized and 3,000 die each year from foodborne diseases. In order to adhere to food safety regulations, one of our clients came up with a requirement for an e-learning course.
E-learning and m-learning are powerful learning methods; both are dynamic and effective ways to teach people. So then, what are the differences between and e-learning and m-learning methods?
E-learning involves a series of modules with in-depth subject-matter while m-learning involves smaller chunks of information which can be accessed anywhere, anytime. Modules are designed differently, depending on the kind of format used to learn. M-learning breaks the barriers of time and place and provides easy access to courses. E-learning also enables learners to access information anytime, anywhere through a laptop, and a stable environment is needed for the learner to take training.