A recent study conducted by ATD Research, evaluating the state of sales around the world, highlighted scheduling conflicts and time restraints as one of the top barriers to effective sales training. The study quoted similar findings from a 2014 Brainshark survey, which cited distractions in the classroom and a lack of post-training reinforcement as challenges that organizations investing in sales training should address.
By 2020, nearly half of the U.S. workforce will be made up of digital native millennials, who switch their attention across media types an average of 27 times per hour. While millennials in the workplace are often cited as being majorly impacted by tech behaviors, the reality is that we all now interact with devices we didn’t have ten years ago. We all belong to the digital tribe — we are all busier, more distracted, and harder to pin down.
Role of Technology in Sales Training
Traditionally, sales organizations have focused their training budget on high-value learning interactions for core sellers, such as role playing, coaching, and problem solving. But in this new, integrated world, the key is to accommodate all learning styles and deliver a consistent and effective experience that fits seamlessly into a workday.
Technology plays a significant role in making this real by creating highly personalized learning experiences. For instance, mobile, on-the-go content puts users in control of when and where they engage with lessons; gamification maintains engagement and creates accountability; and video-based scenarios create relatable moments that can be tried out in the classroom.
Practical Solutions for Exceptional Training Outcomes
At the end of the day, effective learning means practical learning. More often than not, a blended approach is the best solution for sales organizations because it combines the best of online and in-class learning. At Richardson, we believe that blended learning is about focus. We’ve developed a truly blended learning platform that adapts to users.
Accelerate uses online videos, games, and activities to teach learners essential models and concepts before they step into the classroom. Learners can do this at their own pace, on their own time, and on their own devices. Online learning opens the door for highly personalized instruction and higher-order learning activities in the classroom. This is a learner-centered approach, where class time is used to explore and practice behaviors in greater depth, creating more meaningful learning outcomes.
Sales Training Technology Improves Measurement
When it comes to training, technology is often viewed as a driver of engagement, but one of its most powerful contributions to development is its ability to benchmark, measure, and adapt to a learner’s progress. For example, we designed Accelerate to empower managers and coaches with learner-level analytics that tell an objective story and promote learning interventions where and when they are needed. Baseline assessments benchmark starting points and prepare sellers for learning. After each lesson, learners are reassessed to show exactly how far they have come and where they may need to put in more time.
Given the ubiquity of accessible technology, learner-focused platforms that deliver “anytime, anywhere” content are poised to become the norm to help sales organizations take on the biggest challenges facing their training programs. Early adopters of platforms like Accelerate will have an edge when it comes to driving consistency across their organizations, even as sales environments continue to shift in complexity.