February 25th, 2013

How Gamification of Sales Training Boosts Rep Engagement and Increases Ability to Recall

Sales Training

How Gamification of Sales Training Boosts Rep Engagement and Increases Ability to Recall - (Part 3 of 3) 

- Today’s BLOG is written by Richardson’s partner, Duncan Lennox, CEO of Qstream

In my previous two posts, I presented the problem of sales reps falling victim to The Forgetting Curve and the solution of using a tool such as Richardson’s QuickCheckTM as a means to help sales reps commit what they’ve learned in training to their long-term memory. Let’s take a closer look at how it works and some of the benefits of using the QuickCheckTM after training your reps.

  1. Knowledge and skills transfer. To review, the QuickCheckTM applies both the Spacing and Testing Effects to surmount the issue of knowledge retention. These tenets are based on repeating information overly regularly spaced intervals, and doing so in question form along with poignant explanations regarding the correct answers. This process vastly improves knowledge transfer and retention, and can also help develop and transfer skills. Just as asking relevant questions over time ingrains facts and information, the same technique can be applied by having users perform specific tasks and processes that stem from their training in small doses with some frequency. The basic repetition and practice not only builds knowledge, but muscle memory, too.
  2. Engagement through competition. Most people would agree that sales people are fairly competitive, right? The system leverages sales reps’ competitive mindset to make the most of the situation. When using QuickCheckTM, reps earn points by answering questions, which are awarded based on a set of rules. With those points we create leaderboards, which typically include the top-ten participants within a peer group, usually by region or territory. So the sales reps compete against their peers and people they likely know, which they take very seriously! (Way more than we thought they would, but that’s great.) This competition engages the reps, gets them using the tool, and in doing so committing what you’ve trained them on to their long-term memory and applying it in their daily jobs.
  3. Optimized for any device. The system recognizes what kind of device you are using and is optimized for it. This makes the experience more personalized for everyone, whether they are using Android, iPhone, or Blackberry devices as well as on desktops, laptops, or tablets. Whatever the device, you get the same immediate feedback that shows how you and your peers performed. It’s instantaneous, including the explanation that reinforces the reasoning behind the correct answers.
  4. Managing the question sets. Who decides which questions are posed to the users? The system itself decides the questions that somebody should see on a particular day. It adapts to how users are responding to their questions and driving them towards mastery of the content. Once reps master a particular set of questions, they move on to the next topic.What happens when reps stumble through a set of questions and have difficulty? These questions cycle back until reps have worked their way through them and demonstrated mastery of the topic. This usually entails answering the tough questions correctly twice in a row, which may sound complicated to program, but no intervention from managers or trainers is necessary. The system will decide which questions to pose each day based on users’ progression (or lack of) through each module.
  5. Staying within the time limit. One of the success factors driving the system is that reps can literally be done in three minutes. If it took longer or didn’t work, then the process would break down and the experience would suffer. That’s why device customization is crucial in order to stay within a short window of time during each session.The most frequent concern we hear from VPs of Sales and senior sales leaders is, “Yes, this all sounds great; I know we need to increase knowledge retention, but I do not want my sales people bothered. I want them out selling – that’s what we do.” All reps need to know is that when the notification comes in, spend three minutes, answer your two questions; get on with the rest of your day.If you’re busy when the notification arrives, be sure to do it when you’re able, but it’s best to make it a routine part of your day. Some people have told me that they answer their questions while waiting in line at Starbucks, which makes it a more productive experience!
  6. Engagement is key. We use the gamification piece, the scoring, and the leader board competition to engage people and to get them to participate. We have found the leader boards to be incredibly effective to pull people in, particularly the notion of competing at a regional level against your peers. We’re also working on team leader boards, which might be preferred in environments in which managers don’t want head-to-head competition among their people or they don’t want to embarrass those not on the leader board. In those cases, we can aggregate people together into teams, which then compete against each other.
  7. Reporting for managers. The first report is on engagement status to let managers know how your reps are doing. Are they on track? Are they falling behind? Are they off track? Are they engaging?The second report tracks performance. The system measures baseline performance, which is a proxy for the level of knowledge that users are expected to bring into the course. It also measures mastery of the course material, which increases as users progress through the course.

Sales Training in and of itself is only part of the process to successfully provide your sales reps with new knowledge, skills, and behaviors to incorporate into their daily jobs. In order for it to take root, a tool such as the QuickCheckTM reinforces the training in a manner that is game-like, easy, and fun for the reps, but that is entirely science-based and data-driven on the backend. Without it, you’re relying on your reps’ fading memories of classroom presentations and exercises to be recalled and applied with clients.

 Learn more about Richardson’s award winning sales training sustainment tool, Richardson QuickCheck™

Sales Training Reinforcement Tool

About The Author: Dario Priolo

As Chief Strategy Officer, Dario Priolo is responsible for driving Richardson’s market, product, and corporate strategy and planning — sharing critical insights with clients to help them win in today’s changing market place. Dario gathers intelligence and market and customer knowledge to: drive Richardson’s innovation; ensure that Richardson offers the best and most relevant solutions for clients that exceed client satisfaction; and raise awareness of Richardson’s extensive capabilities with sales and business leaders.

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