A lot is expected of our sales teams, the majority of business heads will tell you that as long as sales targets are being met with, other problems are likely to get resolved. Ensuring a continuous pipeline, regardless of your business, is the key to growing and thriving. But here’s a thought, what are we doing for our sales team in lieu of higher expectation and dependency to get the ball rolling? Are we nurturing them adequately to cultivate the optimum performance levels?
It can take a while to get an effective salesperson up to speed – especially if you have an ever-changing portfolio of products or services. We know, ‘Time Is Money’ so how can you communicate the relevant and correct information to the sales team efficiently and effectively? For me, the answer lies in Blended Learning.
Engagement Is Just the Beginning
Don’t just limit Blended Learning to engagement, it has roots that go deeper and branches that climb higher. Blended learning ensures the acquisition of knowledge, mastery, application; and long-term sustained behavior change in the field. It not only uses technology to engage learners but also to achieve the desired learning outcomes.
POWER UP TRAINING AND PRODUCT KNOWLEDGE WITH THE PERFECT BLEND
Keep It Shorter to Make it Better:
It’s crucial to get the right information for your frontline team, but what’s even more critical is to ensure that it should be timely communicated. Anything too lengthy might result in an opportunity slipping out. Learning in the sales field should be quick; therefore, learning interventions should be short and focused and the best way to go about this, is to adopt a microlearning approach. For example, if you have a new range of services and you need to ensure that your sales team comprehends it quickly, then you can deliver this content through PDFs or short animated video formats. This not only saves time but also ensures that learning sticks and your sales team is receiving up-to-date information.
Train to Influence:
Due to increasing product proliferation and knowledge of customers, sales personnel experience a tough time in influencing the buying decision of customers. Let’s take the example of product training, whose two vital aspects are – product knowledge and soft skills. The specifications and features of the product can be provided through online training using eBooks, online manuals, product videos, etc. However, when it comes to demonstrating behavior and attitude, an instructor-led approach is deemed more suitable. Observing specific body language and expressions of instructors during classroom training could make learners understand the nuances of soft skills. In addition, classroom interactivities contribute to making the training session interesting and intense.
We all are aware of the famous quote, ‘Practice Makes a Man Perfect’, and bearing this in mind, you must understand that all the money you invest in ILT sessions can only be fruitful when the learning is reinforced through meticulous revisions and practice. Product knowledge portals, interactive videos, online live sessions, quizzes, etc. can help the sales team stay abreast of what’s new. In addition, the sales team can help in the improvement plan by sharing their feedback on what’s working and what’s not.
Gamify to Amplify:
Sales specialists tend to be active learners, and a linear approach to convey concepts can bring in boredom quickly. That’s why scenario-based learning is viewed as a winning option to push the sales team into an active mode. They get to work through a real scenario and utilize their skills to influence customers. If you make mistakes, you either get penalized or you lose, and if you win, you move ahead and get rewarded. The rewarding system of a game reflects the real-life environment, which makes learning engaging and realistic.
Enable Access and Track Progress:
It is quite possible that your sales team may be dispersed or perhaps they are on-the-go. So, accessibility on a device that suits their preference is vital. You could always consider an offline app to let your team complete their training when they can’t get online. Now, the ILT mode has its fair share of perks, in sales training as it allows face-to-face interaction; but its limitations are not far behind. This is especially true in the case of fast-tracking and monitoring of learners’ progress. With a blended approach, businesses can effectively manage assessments and evaluations through a Learning Management System.
Convert ILT into VILT:
Instructor-led training (ILT) has certain advantages that support its existence even today and we are absolutely sure about it! However, considering the cost, time, and logistics involved in organizing ILT sessions for a huge or dispersed audience, the option of using virtual instructor-led training (VILT) seems more feasible. ILTs will have to be redesigned for the VILT sessions to generate the desired outcome and serve the purpose of blended learning.
There are tons of factors that drive sales performance, but blended learning takes the top spot when it comes to developing a talented customer-facing team. Perfect blended learning helps you keep in mind the nature of the specific challenges of sales and product training, such as addressing knowledge, processes, skills, different learning styles, and the need for behavior-based skills training. Given the several requirements needed to boost sales, I think you would also agree with me when I say that a simple brief will not help you close the deal, you need the ideal blend to make it successful!
For additional information or to schedule a consultation to discuss a tailored blended learning solution for your company reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Shashi Kant Sinha is the Vice President for Corporate Learning at MRCC, who brings more than 20 years of corporate senior-level management experience, with a strong track record in developing and growing businesses in evolving environments. He lends his expertise in setting up and leading high-performance delivery teams, managing large-scale global delivery operations, managing multiple key accounts, revenue, and COGS management.