According to ASTD, American companies spend about $20 billion a year on sales training. Enterprises do not accurately assess the ROI of sales training investment, but count “butts in seats and smiley sheets”. For this reason, companies usually cut down sales-training budgets during an economic decline.
Training global sales people is challenging, but to remain competitive, companies need to continually train sales people on feature/ benefits of the product, selling skills and techniques.
Training sales force is becoming challenging for several reasons. We will look some best practices or solutions, to overcome these challenges.
Global Dispersal of Sales Force
Sales people do not cluster at a regional office, but are spread across retail outlets, distribution centers, different countries etc…Some of them work in groups in the same office, while others work individually in separate offices, or at home. Trainers travelling around to train such dispersed sales force has resulted in huge costs to the company.
Best Practice/ Solution: Delivery methods have shifted from traditional training to online modes of training such as eLearning, which cuts travel expenses and increases the speed of training.
Proliferation of Products
The next challenge is the wide array of products that sales people handle. They need to learn not only about the products, but also about target markets and competitor products. Annual or biannual training, is not sufficient to reinforce the key aspects required for selling.
Best Practice/ Solution: Providing bite-sized eLearning module helps them in assimilating key features/ benefits, information about target markets and competition, so that they can sell the benefits to the customers.
The Time Constraint
The other major issue the sales people face for not attending the training sessions is the time factor. Sales people travel a lot and may need information just-in-time. Unless the training is easily accessible, the time it takes to train sales people turns into lost sales opportunities.
Best Practice/ Solution: Course content in eLearning is delivered in multiple formats, so that sales people can access the courses at flexible times, and they can be updated on new products to keep up a competitive selling edge.
Online sales training has made a dent in all of these challenges, by meeting training goals at lower costs and with greater measurable results.