Selling is not only an art but also a science. Let’s examine if selling can be effectively taught in a class room. Well, traditionally selling was taught on the job. A new sales executive followed a senior sales person on a few calls and then went on to be on his own. In his book “Life Insurance Company Sales Training Programs” H P Gravengaard says that scientific selling methods were perhaps first started by subscription book companies and that they are the pioneers in terms of organizing training for their sales staff. Subsequently, modern organizations started giving importance to the training of sales personnel reinforcing specific skills that are important for their domain.
Selling is best learnt through experiential learning which involves ‘learning by doing’. In learning on the job, a senior sales person is assigned to juniors to provide guidance or feedback. Training is effective in a classroom environment, when sales situations are simulated and learners get to enact the role of a sales person and that of a buyer while the instructor provides the feedback about the best method to be adopted in a given situation. Training is not likely to be effective if the participants are given a lecture through PowerPoint slides for 2-3 days. Role plays, situation analysis and case studies have to be part of the program. However, it is not always possible to incorporate all of the above in an ILT program.
This is where online training and resources prove to be handy. Animations, video enactments or simulations are components of an online training program that can be effectively used in sales training. Consider the following situation. A sales person is about to make a sales pitch. He has forgotten his reference material which gives key data about his product and his competitor’s product. Would it not be handy if he had access to a resource where he could simply download the same to his iPad or smartphone? In another situation, imagine a sales person who is disillusioned with himself and needs a mentor to pep him up and instill confidence or provide guidance. Would it not be ideal to have an online mentor available, say through the company intranet, who provides guidelines?. Imagine how much more it would add value to the sales person, if he is provided with bite-sized modules giving sales tips or selling ideas to sales personnel.
I think technology can play an important role in providing training to sales personnel. It can be innovatively and creatively used for the benefit of sales staff who are typically action-oriented and detest being confined to a typical classroom type setting.
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As we know, every organization follows a set of rules and regulations. Employees need to be trained on those rules and regulations to have a basic knowledge of their standards toward the organization and customers. And, they have a clear understanding of what they can do and what they cannot. So, organizations may not be at risk when their employees know about their legal duties.
E-learning is a cost-effective and an easy way to train employees, when compared to the traditional methods of teaching. So, most of the organizationsare using eLearning to fulfill their training needs. The healthcare industry makes extensive use of the online training medium.
Training managers put a lot of effort while rolling out an eLearning project, as it involves many complex tasks.
As an eLearning professional, I often work with many training managers and admire their managerial skills. It involves a lot of work like training needs analysis, collecting content, dealing with Subject-matter Experts (SMEs) and developing the course for the stakeholders and learners.
Every organization needs to use their resources well to meet business goals and enhance productivity. As we know, the pharmaceutical sector is highly regulated and non-compliance to applicable laws and regulatory norms could be costly. So, you have to train your employees about rules, regulations, standards and recommended guidelines to avoid mistakes.
In my last blog, we have seen how E-learning, webinars and Mobile apps can be used to impart product training. In this blog, we will look at some more methods.
E-learning is the continuous process of learning through electronic media. Instructional design is a systematic process of learning, and this learning facilitates achievement of the intended goals. Many think that instructional design is all about using technology, but this is not the case.
“A major challenge we face today, therefore, is to create a desire in people to learn; and to foster and facilitate this desire throughout their lives.”
- Bryn Holmes(Author, eLearning Concepts and Practice, 2006)
One of the most important factors for organizations to succeed in today’s competitive landscape is the speedy launch of new products. The time-to-market of new products is critical to survive and succeed. Furthermore, the life cycles of most products are getting shorter due to rapid advances in technology.
On the other hand, if your sales employees are not rightly trained on your products, they will not deliver the right message to your potential prospects making it a competitor’s gain.
We all have a child in ourselves, energetic, fun loving and having zeal to explore and win games. In this state, we learn the best because our emotional state is very positive and retention of learning will be at the peak.
How do we bring out the kid in ourselves, while learning a new skill or acquiring knowledge?
Introducing new processes and software applications can be quite a daunting task. Employees are not receptive to change and teaching all the details and minute steps can be time consuming. Conducting classroom sessions might not be a very beneficial solution. Learners will need to set aside time from their busy schedules, and often, this might not be feasible. The limited number of facilitators will also slow down the learning process. Facilitators will also need to travel extensively to teach learners spread all across the globe. All these arrangements take up considerable efforts, time and financial resources.