5 Modern Learning Principles To Drive Higher Sales Performance
This is the first of a two-part blog series recapping Allego’s recent sales webinar: 5 Modern Learning Principles To Drive Higher Sales Performance, featuring Mike Kunkle. Mike is Founder and Sales Transformation Architect of Transforming Sales Results, LLC.
Organizations thrive by continually embracing new systems and technologies to boost performance.
Even players in the shipping industry of the early 19th century learned this lesson as companies that first adopted newly available steamship technology could traverse shipping lanes at four times the speed—while competitors who continued investing in ships with next-gen masts and sails floundered (no pun intended).
More of the Same Doesn’t Drive Sales Performance
In 2018’s crowded business environment, sales trainers are under intense pressure because reps need to absorb more information, faster. Too many organizations take an approach that emphasizes more of the same: more “Death by PowerPoint” in sporadic classroom training sessions and more eLearning.
Yet bored and overwhelmed salespeople still don’t perform any better, and under-resourced training and enablement departments still struggle to demonstrate business impact.
Why isn’t the training department every organization’s number one priority? Because higher performance wasn’t possible with the systems and technology on which we built the foundation of our organizational learning.
Jack Welch, who as CEO boosted GE’s value by 4,000%, famously said, “An organization’s ability to learn, and translate that learning into action rapidly, is the ultimate competitive advantage.”
Modern learning gives organizations the ultimate competitive advantage by helping salespeople access, master and utilize knowledge so they sell smarter and win more deals.
5 Principles of Modern Learning
Content is easy to create, access, and absorb.
How do we make good content that’s easy and fast to create so reps can continuously access information while it’s fresh?
Modern learning tools make it easy for field reps, managers, and subject matter experts to continuously capture insights on video and share them across teams. Salespeople access these videos at the moment of need to see top performers or other experts demonstrating key product talk tracks, walking through the right traps and responses for the current competitor, or sharing hard-won objection handling tactics they’ve found to be winners in similar situations.
The software then surfaces the best of these videos on an ongoing basis so trainers and enablement professionals can cherry-pick, quickly adding quizzes, interactive prompts and audio overlays—right from their iPads. This becomes a supplementary source of rich, continually fresh learning content that the organization loves and training departments can use in any course or curriculum.
Delivering content that’s easy to access and absorb involves breaking it into smaller categories that are accessible to learners only when they need it. Training someone to perform a complex task is easier if you break the task into smaller, easier-to-understand sub-tasks, and then ensure that your learner masters each of these serially. This method ensures that learners gain a strong foundational knowledge that is used as leverage to help them master the entire task. This is how people learn complex things or skills – by breaking down information into easy-to-understand chunks that are sequenced and layered.
One example of an organization putting this into practice is the global investment firm Nuveen, who uses modern learning to keep their sales team up-to-date with the right talking points and positioning strategies amid rapidly changing market conditions. Whether it’s Brexit, new tariffs, large market fluctuations, everyone from their chief economist to product specialists and portfolio managers can use easy-to-create video that describes how to manage anxious financial advisors and their clients.
Wholesalers (the industry term for asset management salespeople) reply or comment inline, engaging in topical dialogs based on video content.
The sales training team later picks the best of these videos and quickly adds interactive elements—quiz questions or interactive prompts for example—to use in training courses.
Modern learning should be “just-for-me”
Modern learning delivers personalized knowledge that’s relevant to each learner, ensuring that individual needs are addressed while avoiding monotonous courseware for people who have already demonstrated proficiency. Modern learning approaches incorporate an understanding of each learner’s strengths and weaknesses, and use software to deliver the content that meets the greatest areas of need.
Rather than a one-size-fits-all approach to learning, a modern learning approach focuses on leading indicators like sales competency levels and subject mastery. Lagging indicators that reflect performance results often provide no insight into why reps succeed or fail, giving few options for remediation. Instead, a “just for me” approach delivers early intervention with personalized learning paths, adaptive reinforcement, and learning recommendations based on concrete inputs such as current deals, demonstrated competency gaps, where they are in their onboarding process, and more.
Modern learning tools also let you increase one-to-one learning interactions. Imagine sending out a video coaching challenge to the whole field, with responses dynamically routed to the right managers in your organization to provide coaching, feedback and scoring based on engagement and current workload?
Modern learning enables salespeople and managers to communicate in a personal and direct way–even if they’re separated by geographies and time zones.
In Part 2 of this article, we’ll look at Bite-Sized and Continuous Learning, Reinforcement, and Ongoing Informal Learning.