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May 28, 2019

Modern Learning Methods Help Sales Leaders Control the Controllables

Sales leaders have little or no control over what their competitors are doing, or when their reps will gain access to key decision-makers (if they’re even able to do so in the first place). However, they can control how their sales team pitches their products and responds to customer concerns.

In industries such as healthcare, medical devices, and pharmaceuticals, your team’s execution of the “how” has become increasingly critical.

A decade ago, salespeople could walk through a physician’s door and get a face-to-face meeting. Today, access is very limited. Even if you do get a meeting, there’s a good chance that the decision will be made by a value analysis committee rather than an individual doctor, so the skills required for success are more complex.

Bring Your ‘AGame to Every Sales Call

With fewer opportunities to make the sale—and more minds to persuade—your team needs to bring its “A Game” to every sales call.

Fortunately, developing a confident, well-prepared and highly skilled team is something within your control, provided these three modern learning methods are in place:

1. Asynchronous coaching

There’s nothing particularly modern about having managers coach new hires and prep veteran salespeople on new products and upgrades. What’s modern are the digital tools that enable managers to increase the amount of time they can devote to coaching.

Without modern sales learning and readiness tools, many managers don’t have time to coach every rep who needs to burnish his or her skills. Once equipped with such tools, managers can work with their salespeople remotely, offering advice and feedback in response to their practice videos or quiz results. No longer do they need a three-day ride-along to turn reps into modern selling machines.

2. Peer-to-Peer training

How can you replicate the performances of your top players? One proven method is to have the “A player” reps record their best practices, tips, and subject matter expertise for you to share with the rest of the team.

Instant access to the sales messaging that your best salespeople actually use to close deals—as well as how it looks and sounds—will inspire the other reps to rehearse their presentations and objection handling. When combined with reinforcement drills and assessments to ensure that reps are watching the videos and rehearsing their presentations, these peer-to-peer collaborations are far more effective in helping salespeople up their game.

3. Just-in-time learning

When you need to learn how to change a tire or fix a leaky faucet, do you venture out to the nearest library for a how-to book? No. Do you pull up a YouTube video, watch it at your own pace, and save yourself the time and expense of hiring someone to do it for you? Yes. Agile sales organizations are applying this same logic to deliver key information to their sales teams at the exact moment they need it.

Rather than holding classes, or issuing emails and new sales training materials, they distribute bite-sized how-to videos and news updates to ensure reps can access mission-critical information just before a customer interaction.

Given the current pace of change, it’s no longer enough to send an email and hope everyone reads it, or hold a class and hope everyone remembers most of the information. Building a better sales force requires that you exercise more control over the controllables. And in most cases, the one thing you can control is how well your reps are prepped for the next customer conversation.

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