2 Ways Time-Starved Organizations Can Kick Virtual Sales Training Into High Gear
In today’s hyper-competitive business environment, every rep must continuously acquire new knowledge and skills to sharpen their selling abilities. At the same time, few can afford to interrupt their busy schedules to attend sales training classes or read stacks of books, manuals and articles.
On top of this, travel restrictions during the pandemic have made training even more difficult—both for trainers and for learners. Sales meetings were cancelled and entire workforces began working from home. Sales teams scrambled to move in-person sessions to virtual sales meetings online so that new hires and experienced reps could get the information they needed in a timely manner.
Today, reps need to stay productive while mastering new skills associated with virtual selling. Because some buyers are only comfortable purchasing in a face-to-face scenario, the sellers who will win in a virtual world are those who can replicate that type of environment online.
Successful reps will learn how to overcome the challenges of maintaining prospect and client relationships remotely, without relying solely on live video conference meetings—which can be fatiguing for prospects and difficult for reps to schedule.
That means sales trainers and enablement managers must find ways to deliver training that’s flexible enough for today’s demanding environment and embedded in reps’ daily work. Word to the wise: Although there’s some overlap between learning in the flow of work and traditional “on-the-job training,” the two are not synonymous.
While on-the-job training often includes formal learning—onboarding sessions and sales meetings—learning in the flow of work is informal learning that happens at the moment of need and can be immediately applied to work-related activities.
2 Ways to Kick Your Training Content Into High Gear
As a sales readiness professional, providing learning in the flow of work allows you to be more flexible in terms of content creation. But it can also present more of a challenge, since reps and managers must be able to easily and quickly access content, no matter where they are or what time it is. Here are two ways to kick your content creation into high gear.
1. Recruit In-House Experts to Create Content
Live and pre-recorded video are becoming even more important to selling. To ensure a steady supply of timely learning content, many sales readiness professionals are turning to in-house subject matter experts (SMEs)—top salespeople, product managers and marketers—to produce videos highlighting best practices, new product messaging, win stories and news updates.
In addition to providing reps with valuable information and advice, recruiting these SMEs can reduce the cost of content creation by eliminating the need to hire outside talent (and free up your staff for other projects).
At many organizations, peer-to-peer training helps the sales force become more knowledgeable and more confident. Through top-seller videos, reps see and hear “what good looks like,” enabling them to emulate winning pitches and messaging. Moreover, research consistently shows that salespeople are more attuned to—and engaged by—peer-to-peer training.
Mobile video (video that’s accessible from mobile devices) also helps managers free up precious time. Because they don’t have to be physically present to coach their reps and provide personalized feedback, managers can increase the quantity and quality of their mentoring. And reps can practice pitches and objection handling whenever and wherever they have the time.
2. Integrate Content Into Workflows
To fully support learning in the flow of work, sales readiness pros must focus not only on the content, but on incorporating that content into reps’ daily workflow. One of the best ways to do this is to integrate all content into your CRM software. Because many salespeople spend so much time using programs such as Salesforce, it’s imperative to plug training content into these tools to make topics easily discoverable.
For example, let’s say a rep gets hung up on a customer objection while trying to close a deal. If you’ve integrated one or more “tips and tricks” videos on the topic into your CRM system, all the rep has to do is search for “overcoming objections” to get help at their moment of need.
From there, they might search for a competitor’s name, which will return an SME video that provides a detailed comparison of your product versus the competitor’s. They could then search for best practice videos produced by fellow salespeople who were up against that same competitor.
Your rep can accomplish all this without ever having to leave the CRM program. Although learning in the flow of work often relies on advanced digital technologies and tools, creating and accessing learning content should be simple and intuitive. Most importantly, it should be seamlessly integrated into the daily workflow of the sales force, allowing reps to find and access the knowledge they need at the moment they need it.
Time for a Modern Approach
When time is tight and every moment counts, don’t let a legacy approach to sales training hold you back. Mobile, video and peer-to-peer networking tools can bring people together, help you create and share content quickly and easily, and help your team succeed.
To see how the right strategy and technology can help you manage a high-performing virtual team, download your copy of 4 Ways to Manage a High-Performing Team … Virtually.