Let’s look at some home truths about sales training:
- More than 80% of the knowledge shared in all sales training is lost after 90 days. The reason is lack of information retention.
- On an average, the best sales training will enhance the performance of an individual by 20%.
Does this ring a bell? Do you feel your current sales training methods are not bringing in the desired results? This is because routine training methods are not geared to meet the challenges sales people face today. They have their drawbacks. To avoid this, customized e-learning solutions are the answer. This blog will explore this aspect of sales training.
Organizations face unique challenges when training sales people:
Too much knowledge: Sales personnel have to absorb knowledge of different products, their unique features, and in addition, remember the details of competitor’s products.
Hard-pressed for time: The typical sales person is hard-pressed for time because he is constantly on the move to meet clients. He is under pressure to meet targets and deadlines.
Modern customers: Present day customers are better informed about products, thanks to the Internet. They are armed with questions for the sales person and look at him/her for value addition. Sales people are expected to understand the customer’s requirements and suggest appropriate solutions.
Learning challenges: Sales people are action-oriented and find it tedious to sit through long training sessions. They are not inclined towards classroom training and hate to fill forms or write reports.
The present day sales person: The new-generation sales person is young, energetic and tech-savvy. They are comfortable with gadgets, social media savvy and inclined to learn when given bite-sized information rather than read product manuals and literature..
Why current training methods fail?
The current training methods used for sales training fall short of meeting the above challenges:
Instructor led training or ILT: It offers real time instruction and feedback. But it has limitations:
- Geographically dispersed sales people need to come to one place
- Lost revenues when sales people are off the field for training
- Cramming too much information in a single workshop
- Lack of reinforcement
- Success depends on the trainer
On-the-job training: It imparts relevant skills, based on real life situations and is cost-effective. Drawbacks include its success depending on the trainer and not being able to provide consistent learning.
Mentoring: It provides the benefits of first-hand knowledge transfer, individual attention, and immediate feedback. However its success depends on the mentor.
E-learning solutions: Online training is self-paced and consistent. It can be delivered to a geographically dispersed sales force anytime and learning outcomes can be managed and tracked. However, this method of training suffers from a high-dropout rate and learners need to be motivated because it is self-driven learning.
The above methods are not effective enough to meet the needs of the present day sales person who is looking for:
- Learning that can be applied immediately_ Just in time learning
- Information at hand to verify the specific features of a product-, Microlearning
- Flexibility to learn anytime and anywhere as per his convenience- Anytime learning, information on demand, Mobile learning
- Real time access to peers so that they can exchange notes and seek solutions
Current needs in sales training can be met only with customized e-learning solutions.
Mobile learning helps the sales person access information whenever he wants.
Product training for sales people is provided through short modules that explain the features of a product which they can refer before making a sales call. They can be accessed anytime and anywhere.
Simulation-based learning is used to provide product information to the sales person and helps him understand how a product works. This can train a dispersed sales force about products and new launches at a single point of time without the need of having them at one place which traditional training entails.
Dialogue-based simulations help develop conversation skills in a low risk environment. They aid sales people in developing the required soft skills when interacting with customers. They were used in an e-learning course to train the huge sales force of a precision instruments manufacturing company. The course was customized as a conversational e-learning to simulate classroom training in a digital environment.
The objective of the course was to train sales people on asking customers the right questions to provide the right answers.
Microlearning: Content is delivered in small chunks which would be around 3 to 5 minutes in duration. It provides just-in-time support for learners. It is available in multiple devices from tablets to Smartphones to desktops and laptops.
Sales people can access individual modules whenever they need, either to solve a problem, clarify a doubt, or add to a presentation. Information delivered in small chunks through a mobile device is ideal for the tech-savvy sales person with a short attention span.
With launch windows getting shorter, it can be the ideal solution to update sales people on new products through small modules that can be developed rapidly. Micro learning also helps busy salespeople make the best use of their time.
Customized training solutions best meet the learning needs of the current day sales person and can be more effective than traditional training methods. They can provide bite-sized training and give information on demand.
Do you know of other sales training challenges customized courses can solve? Please share them with us.