In my last blog, I have discussed the four typical challenges that make sales training difficult.
Assimilation of extensive knowledge in too little time due to intense competition covering countries and sales people now has to deal with the new age customers. Finally, the nature of work of a salesperson today is not amenable to the conventional modes of teaching and particularly the new-age sales person, who uses different kinds of tools and gadgets and spends his time differently when compared to the earlier generation of sales persons.
Hence, training has to be tailored keeping in mind the next generation sales person who wants to learn, when the knowledge learnt can be applied immediately. Here are some solutions to the challenges.
- Just-in-time learning
Sales people may not get an opportunity to apply the skills and knowledge that they learn during the ILT program immediately after they complete a course. Rather, they may need or use the information, may be after a couple of months; but by then the knowledge could be lost or forgotten.
In such a situation, if you give a vast amount of information to a salesperson which cannot be immediately used, it would be of no use to him. What he needs is, just a snack learning that can be accessed anywhere and anytime when he most needs it. He should be able to recollect information that has been mentioned during the training program.
- Product info on a click
Sales people need product information to sell effectively. Therefore, information has to be provided to them in a manner that will help them. For example, when they have to explain key features of a particular product to the customer, they should be able to just brush up their knowledge on the product and meet up with the customer
For this, product information should be available in small modules, with ideas about how to present it to the customer and suggestions about key value additions that the product offers. They should be able to quickly access this information either on their laptop, tablet PC or smartphone while on way to meet a particular customer.
- Peer-to-peer interaction
There is a lot of peer-to-peer learning that happens during annual sales conferences. What if there is such a facility on a regular ongoing basis? A platform that can facilitate gathering to share knowledge, ideas and latest updates, beyond the parameters of formal organizations can greatly help in enhancing performance.
Discussions or chats that can take place within the employees of organizations across different geographical locations help in a lot of information exchange and learning.
- Any time learning
Sales people need to be up to date with what is happening in their industry because they need to face a new age customer who also has access to information through the Internet.
It would be useful if there is a system by which such information can be delivered to the sales personnel as updates or alerts every morning instead of them having to access it; this could surely give them a competitive edge. These updates may include industry updates, details on the current trends, news about competitors and any other useful tips.
- Job aids and resources
Sales training can be more effective if it is combined with electronic performance support systems that provide checklists, templates and guides such as sales closure guides that help in their job.
To summarize, as the sales person of the modern age is faced with intense competition, he needs information and resources on the go to face competition. He should have a flexible option where he can learn any time as per his convenience , have access to job aids and resources in a user-friendly format and a system that supports peer-to-peer learning in the form of online chat rooms and discussions. Do share your thoughts with us if you wish to add to the list of solutions.