Sales Training can comprise product knowledge, sales procedures & reports and selling skills.
We have been developing sales training courses for automobile major in Europe, with market presence in Europe and Asia. During the development, we realized that this client company is using a blended approach by addressing certain aspects of training via online delivery and certain others in the classroom.
For example, the procedures and reports that need to be followed and filled in respectively are quite amenable to be put online. So the company went ahead and asked us to develop a 60-minute online course to teach their sales people various procedures to be followed which included the sales planning process. The course presented adequate opportunities for the learners to test their understanding.
Products in this case were automobile spare parts; there was nothing much to be learnt about them as they fell in some kind of consumable category. Had the product been an automobile itself, product training could have been attempted through eLearning, with ample use of 3-D animations and voice over.
Coming to the controversial component – selling skills. Can it be done effectively via an online course? As a former sales person and also a training professional, I classify learning how to sell under experiential learning – learning by doing. Usually, selling skills training is either done on-the-job (OJT) along with a senior sales person for providing guidance and feedback or in a classroom where typical sales situations are simulated for the learners to enact the role of a sales person while another learner takes on the role of a buyer. Feedback is generally given in the form of a video shoot of the process.
Given this kind of training, I think eLearning or online mode of delivery is not very suitable for selling skills training.
What do you think? Thank you for reading my blog and I welcome your comments and sharing of experiences.
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