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manufacturing digital sales transformation
January 26, 2023

Traditional Sales Learning Is Failing Manufacturing Teams. Here’s What to Do About It

manufacturing digital sales transformation


Do you remember what it was like when you were in school listening to your teacher talk for an hour about a topic? And how your mind would drift—and maybe you had to keep pinching yourself to stay awake?

Now try to recall anything you might have learned from that lecture. Nothing, right?

Well, you aren’t alone. Because (Surprise! Surprise!) that type of learning is the least effective format, research by National Training Laboratory found.

Traditional formal learning has serious flaws:

  • Training is done via long, infrequent, one-off sessions.
  • Reps can’t attend sessions at their convenience and instead have to cut into selling time for training.
  • Reps practice on actual customers in the field, instead of refining first.
  • Training doesn’t include reinforcement.
  • Reps lack an easily accessible, centralized content repository.

If you’re using formal training with your sales reps, they’re going to have the same problems you had retaining what you learned. And with the complexity and volume of information salespeople have to learn today, you can’t take a chance on this.

How will your sellers beat other manufacturing and industrial reps if they struggle to remember product features, objection handling, competitive analysis, buyer personas, messaging, etc.

This puts your sales reps at a competitive disadvantage. You need a modern, flexible sales learning program and the digital tools to support it.

Digital Sales Transformation for Manufacturers

Today’s manufacturing sales reps have different needs than even a short time ago. Because B2B buyers are on the go—using smartphones, tablets, and laptops to research and evaluate vendors—reps must be just as agile.

That means sellers need up-to-the-minute, continual learning in the flow of work about your customers, your market, and your industry that a traditional approach simply can’t provide.

Sellers must also be able to tap into the wisdom of their peers and top performers who have mastered product knowledge, customer relationships, and objection handling, along with industry-specific skills.

Modern, digital tools allow manufacturers to deliver the continuous micro-learning that sales reps need to succeed.

Digital transformation for sales—once considered optional—is now necessary. Manufacturers must embrace a digital mindset, and this includes updating their learning and development programs and implementing a modern sales learning platform.

digital-sales-for-manufacturersDon’t Get Left Behind

Download Digital Sales Transformation for Manufacturers to learn how to gain an edge in a hyper-competitive industry.

6 Essential Components of Modern Sales Learning

1. Just-in-Time Learning

With just-in-time learning, agile content is delivered in the flow of how sellers work. Most content management systems focus on storing just-in-time reference content such as slides, brochures, FAQs, and videos needed to educate prospects. A modern sales learning platform, however, supplements that traditional content with agile content curated by peers and subject matter experts, which increase seller engagement and adoption. This allows sales reps to access information when the need arises.

2. Peer-to-Peer Collaboration

Sellers like to learn from other sellers—to hear their success stories, winning pitches, and how they overcame buyer objections. With peer-to-peer collaboration, reps can share insights and expertise from the field. Further, organizations that can enable collaboration will see a bigger impact on revenue.

3. Coaching and Feedback

A modern sales learning platform enables reps to practice their skills and receive feedback on the go. For example, a rep can record their meeting with a buyer and upload it to the platform. Then their sales manager can run the recording through AI-powered Conversation Intelligence software to analyze the conversation and identify areas where they need coaching.

4. Micro-learning

With formal learning, sales reps receive a lot of information during a short period of time. Though well intended, it’s too much for them to remember. Research shows that retention goes down as the volume of information goes up. Plus, without reinforcement, people forget 80% of what they learned. With micro learning, reps receive high-impact, shorter content types.

5. Field Reinforcement

Sellers want to sell. They don’t want to have to sit through long training sessions. But they still need to keep their skills sharp and be up to date on new product features and messaging. With a modern learning platform, you can deliver training and reinforcement activities when and where it’s convenient.

6. Location Independence

Today’s sellers are on the go, working from anywhere they have an internet connection and using various devices. They need a mobile-first tool that allows them to access information in their moment of need, and from any location.

Agile Learning + Modern Sales Learning Platform = Sales Success

Manufacturing sales organizations must deliver learning everywhere, all the time. With the help of a modern sales learning platform, you can provide that. You’ll be able to deliver:

  • Agile content creation
  • Easy access and use from the field
  • Self-directed learning
  • Experiential learning on the fly

By delivering organizational knowledge, learning, coaching, and content to the field, your sales reps will gain—and keep—a competitive advantage in a buyer’s world.

Learn More

Download Digital Sales Transformation for Manufacturers: How to Gain an Edge in a Hyper-Competitive Industry to learn how you can add the digital capabilities today’s sales teams need to thrive.

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