Sales experts say almost half, i.e. 47.5 percent of sales trainees take more than 10 months to make a contribution toward sales goals. So, sales training is inevitable for new sales hires. The frequent release of new products, updating the existing products or services with new features and on boarding of new sales representatives keep sales training managers always on their toes.
Keeping this in mind, seasoned sales managers are moving towards the quickest, cost-effective and result oriented way of training – e-learning. By moving 90 per cent of its training online, the world’s largest research-based pharmaceutical company Pfizer saved its product sales training costs by $3 million without compromising on learning.
Now that we understand the importance of online training for sales, let’s check the seven best practices to develop that training effectively.
1. Offer micro learning modules
Keep the online sales training modules simple and short, so that learning is well received by the sales personnel. Introducing one concept at a time will avoid confusion. Splitting the learning content into 10 minute micro learning modules can help the sales force stay focused on the course.
Offering microlearning courses will ease the cognitive load on learners. Simplifying the training modules will help them retain the learning for a long time. This will also help sales executives recapitulate. For example, sales executives can have a quick glance of the product features on their mobile before meeting potential clients.
2. Make it engaging
Self-paced online sales training should be engaging, as the instructor won’t be available all the time. Developing the training modules with sufficient interactive elements will grab the sales team’s attention.
Using graphics, images, click on tabs and hotspots (interactive shapes can be used in place of buttons) will make online sales training programs engaging. These techniques will prompt users for active participation, help them learn fast, explore and internalize the sales concepts very well.
3. Add Animations, Audio & Videos
Including animations, videos and step-by-step presentation in online sales training helps work force learn the steps involved in assembling the products, safety precautions and general servicing options in an effective manner. Presentations and animations help the sales force explain the complicated processes, step by step.
Podcasts are effective to deliver sales pitch ideas, share success stories and deliver inspirational talks. Actually, audios & videos have better acceptance in learners’ mind and are effective knowledge transfer mediums.
University of Maryland’s research shows that learners in the e-learning environment that provided interactive video achieved significantly better learning performance and a higher level of learner satisfaction than those in other settings.
Videos can be very effective, if great on-screen talent and direction expertise are at your disposal. But animations can be more cost-effective, especially for courses that need to be updated frequently. In both cases, a well-written script is the key to engage learners.
4. Include assessments
Adding assessments and evaluation components to online sales training courses will help gauge the understanding of sales people. Formative and summative assessments at the end of the training course will allow the sales team recall the learning and reinforce it. Preparing a quiz, filling the blanks, preparing close ended questions with Answers of Yes/No, and matching exercises – all these help the sales force recapitulate the takeaways.
5. Take scenarios
Designing online sales training based on real life situations will help the sales team personalize their learning. For example, by taking a conversation between an out-bound telesales sales executive and a prospective client, training managers can prepare an online sales training module for trainees. Through this, sales personnel can learn how to start a conversation, how to introduce their products, to what extent they can talk and where to close the deal. By taking sales executive success stories as case studies, trainers can develop online sales training modules. This kind of approach clicks, as they are real life situations.
6. Focus on customer
Rapid changes are occurring in the sales environment in the recent past. Now-a-days, consumers are gathering the product information online, before they actually buy. But how far sales personnel are being equipped in this direction to cater to the needs of customers is the question. Customization of online sales training as per customer requirements is also the need of the hour.
7. Responsive design
In a retail kind of setup, the sales team needs to be at their desks to interact with customers, most of the time to boost sales. Classroom training won’t give best results for this environment. That is why most companies are providing tablets, gadgets, and Smartphones to explain product features to their customers.
Responsive online sales training courses can be accessed on desktops, iPads, tablets and Smartphones seamlessly. This responsive design delivers on-job training to sales employees without interrupting their regular work. M-learning, nano-learning and app-based learning are the results of this design.
A carefully designed online sales training program improves the efficiency of sales teams. The imprinted learning reflects in their work. In turn, organizations achieve their business goals.
Hope you liked this post. How do you develop sales training in your organization? We would love to hear your experiences.