What motivates sales professionals to learn, especially if it is self-learning and self-directed? I met a sales leader from a very large organization and had an interesting conversation about how to motivate salespeople to learn. Here are excerpts from it.
What is the greatest motivator for them? Is it enhancing their skills for career growth or solving a problem at hand?
Salespeople always want to WIN! Whatever they do, they do it to win, even learning. If it helps them solve a current sales problem, they are ready to learn! If learning helps them understand a current customer need, or explain the product’s benefits and features, or to make a presentation, or to negotiate, follow up, or close a deal, they are all game.
A solution to a current challenge or an immediate problem is what interests salespeople. Also, just-in-time training, at the point of sale, is what hooks them. They are interested in solving the current problem at hand, so that they win the deal. Any future benefit or reward such as career enhancement will not be a great motivator for them.
Explore how a global leader in precision instruments improves the negotiation skills of its salesforce.
If you want to motivate your salespeople to learn, here are some tips:
- Always start with a pre-test: Creating a pre-test will make them aware of what they don’t know and what they know. The awareness that not knowing something may lose the customer will motivate them to master the subject/topic in which they did not score well.
- Create microlearning modules: Salespeople don’t like to go through a lengthy course in one sitting. They prefer microlearning modules to help them quickly gain knowledge on the subject. at the point of need.
- Use storytelling: Train salespeople with storytelling and scenario-based learning. As they are closer to reality and not abstract, salespeople love them and therefore these training programs are effective and fun.
- Leverage games as quizzes: Use game-based quizzes and video formats to transfer knowledge.
- Try VR: Using Virtual Reality (VR) and immersive learning to train sales teams may be costly but organizations have started investing in them along with traditional eLearning.
- Provide job-aids: Have just-in-time videos and job-aids made available to salespeople to help them at the point of need.
- Use analytics to motivate: Use learning analytics to show the linkage with job performance. Your LMS can give you great analytics which can be converted into graphically rich reports using Power BI. Salespeople love to see progress and how it is linked to their performance.
One last note – as I said earlier, sales personnel always want to WIN. So, don’t forget to celebrate their learning success with certificates which they can share in their social network. Make them look like heroes!
I would appreciate if you can share your experiences of training your sales force.