Spaced Repetition is the Key to Sales Training Reinforcement
When sales training efforts fail to deliver desired performance improvements, the likely culprit is lack of follow-up after initial training. Without sales training reinforcement, reps start forgetting what they learned almost immediately — within a month, over 80% of it! But with complex relationships to manage, deals to close and quotas to hit, sales professionals can’t sit and study all day. How do we ensure sales reps internalize critical knowledge without draining their time and patience?
Spaced repetition overcomes the so-called “forgetting curve” because it moves new knowledge into long-term memory by flagging it as being worthy of remembering. The brain constantly gets hit with new information — way too much to keep — so it looks for signals about what’s important and what’s not. One way the brain figures out which information is most important is to register how often it’s presented. So if your brain encounters the same piece of information a bunch of times, it says “Huh, maybe I ought to pay attention to this.” What’s actually happening is that every time you review a given fact or concept, you’re strengthening the information pathways (synapses) in your brain for future recall. The information starts to move from the brain’s prefrontal cortex to the hippocampus, where capacity for long term memory is higher, so fewer and fewer reinforcement sessions are needed as time goes by.
Simply put, people easily forget facts and concepts they only touch upon once or twice, yet just as easily remember those they encounter frequently. Healthy minds depend on this “forgetfulness”; we wouldn’t want to waste space in long-term memory encoding information we’re never going to use.
Salespeople can overcome the forgetting curve and internalize key concepts by repeatedly revisiting material in short bursts spread over time. And they can get away with fewer and fewer reviews as time goes by if the sessions are spaced out intelligently. While brand new material might require daily review at first, subsequent reinforcement sessions can happen less and less over time without impacting retention. Studies show a 30 to 55 percent improvement in knowledge recall when using spaced repetition over a single, point-in-time learning event. And the impact lasts, holding as long as two years.
Spaced repetition’s popularity among sales organizations has grown because modern sales learning tools like Allego make it easy. Allego Flash Drills automates the technique by sending push notifications to reps’ mobile devices in adaptive intervals to challenge them with flashcards covering key training facts for a couple minutes a day. As a rep demonstrates mastery of material by submitting correct answers, intelligent algorithms shuffle the deck so they see that material less often. The software can gradually decrease the number of review sessions the rep goes through without losing effectiveness on long-term retention — so reps never waste time reviewing material they’ve already mastered.
Spaced repetition gives busy salespeople a way to master the knowledge they need to win more deals. Having internalized key facts and talk tracks, they can persuasively respond to questions or challenges without the confidence-sapping “ums” and “ahs” that come with struggling to recall the right words. For more on spaced repetition for sales training reinforcement that strengthens customer conversations and boosts quota attainment, click here.