Category Archives: online sales training
With time short and budgets tight, it’s becoming a rare occasion when sales teams actually come together, meeting face to face. The result is often a lack of interaction among team members.
At Richardson, we understand the barriers keeping teams apart, but we also know relationships add value in forming strong sales teams. We believe the answer to bridging this gap lies in technology. Over the past year, we’ve been prototyping and refining a new approach to blended learning that incorporates strong social elements to bring the benefits of social interaction in learning to geographically dispersed teams. This new approach to training works within the realities of today’s sales environment. It is one that doesn’t take sellers out of the field for too long. One flexible enough to work as a standalone online solution or combined with minimal classroom time. One that forges connections between sellers.
Social Learning Tools
Leaderboards allow sellers to see their own progress and compare it against the progress of their teammates. Elements like games, quizzes, answering questions, unlocking achievement badges all promote social interactions. Friendly gameplay appeals to sellers’ natural competitive instincts while reinforcing learning and skill development.
With discussion threads, sellers can talk with others on their team and even have private conversations with managers. They can share comments and questions, and reply to those others have posted. They can discuss best » Continue Reading.
A one-size-fits-all approach to sales training is guaranteed to fail. That’s especially true with sales forces that span multiple generations and learning styles. What it takes to engage all kinds of learners is an approach to training that is flexible, personalized, bite-sized, and active.
At Richardson, we believe a blended-learning approach is needed to meet learners where they already are. Learning methodology should be constructed of independent blocks of content that build on one another. Each topic should deliver layers of content so learners can proceed at their own pace and dive deeper into topics of interest.
To promote active learning of skills and behaviors takes a systematic approach to learning and practice. At Richardson, we have identified four components to simplify the process:
1) See It. In this initial stage, learners are introduced to fundamental concepts, including why they are important, the behavioral science behind them, and best practices. Lessons should establish a common language for discussing the topic and expressing what it means within the learner’s organization. Scenario-based videos can be used to demonstrate both effective and ineffective behaviors, with learners challenged to identify the differences.
2) Try It. The next step is for learners to make decisions based on what they’ve learned. Again, videos can be used, with learners selecting from several possible responses to scenarios. Feedback allows learners to see whether or not they truly understand the lesson while learning even more about the topic.
Sales organizations face steep hurdles in today’s increasingly competitive market, where mobile technologies and ultra-informed buyers have forever changed the selling environment. Sales professionals — from new hires to veteran sellers — need the knowledge and skills to navigate in a digital world while still making personal connections with clients.
At Richardson, we know that learning to compete in new ways requires a new approach to training. While foundational sales skills are as relevant today as they ever were, the technology to engage, motivate, deliver, and reinforce learning has leapfrogged ahead. Combining technology with elements of gameplay is called gamification, and it is proving an effective way to keep learners engaged in content.
More rigorous than the name suggests, gamification applies game-design elements and principles in learning situations to create fun and engaging experiences. Games bring out natural tendencies to achieve, compete, and gain status or recognition. The serious business of making learning enjoyable leads to lessons that are sticky, meaning they are more easily and better retained. Online contests and leaderboards add friendly, competitive pressures within sales teams, which intensify engagement.
Multitasking. Mobile meetings. Doing more with less. Slimmer windows of opportunity. Today’s sales environment is faster, more demanding, and infinitely more challenging than ever before. Sellers need 21st-century skills, but time is too precious a commodity to spend much of it in training classrooms. When sales organizations do invest in their people, they demand results and ways to measure progress.
At Richardson, we constructed our new blended-learning, cloud-based platform, Accelerate™, with numerous measurement benchmarks. These both track and motivate each learner’s performance while giving leaders desired insights into individual and team progress.
Sales organizations have long used the Richardson SkillGauge™ diagnostic tool to assess and validate skills. Now, we are taking a similar approach in Accelerate in the form of Baseline Check, which occurs at the launch of the training program, and a Final Check several months after the program’s conclusion.
The Baseline Check is an assessment that benchmarks each seller’s starting point and prepares them to learn. The Final Check validates learning progress and shows exactly how far each learner has come.
Between these two points in time, as learners work through activities and exercises, Accelerate delivers formative quizzes that check progress and redirect effort. Through confidence scoring on each activity, learners self-identify where they feel strong and where things are a bit shaky. They can then go back and review concepts needing more attention.
The ability of Accelerate technology » Continue Reading.
A major challenge facing many of today’s organizations is the need to find a training program that is both effective and efficient because taking sellers out of the field for days at a time is no longer an option for many companies in a fast-paced, ultra-competitive business environment.
Time-out-of-field is not the only cost associated with traditional approaches to training. Many teams are geographically dispersed, and hospitality and travel costs for a multi-day training event can mount quickly. Technology can help reduce the costs associated with training, enhance the learning experience, reduce time-out-of-market, and improve knowledge retention.
Video learning is a modern solution to sales training challenges. Not only does it enhance learning outcomes and help make the learner’s journey more engaging, but it also solves the practical problem of providing consistent training across geographically dispersed teams. That’s why it is not surprising to find that it is being utilized more and more frequently in both in-class and online learning environments. Here are a few reasons why video-based instruction is so powerful:
Over the past decade, we have seen a growing gap between the developmental needs of sales organizations and the learning solutions available in the market. The pace of work has never been faster, selling organizations have never been more diverse and distributed, and the expectation for revenue growth has never been higher — and yet, learning solutions have not kept pace. Actionable sales training technology is a solution to bridging that gap.
Sales Training Technology Keeps Sellers Selling
Skill development has always been a critical aspect of sales organizations, but in today’s complex sales environments, revenue pressures are relentless and don’t go away while sellers sit through training. In a recent interview with ATD Research, Charlotte McKenzie, Executive Director of the Urban Agile Learner Institute, underscored the power of technology to address specific concerns for salespeople. For example, because money walks out the door when salespeople are not in the field, mobile learning programs can minimize time-out-of-market by reducing the time they spend in the classroom. Sellers learn key concepts and selling models before class, giving them more time to focus on clients.
“Courses designed using microlearning strategies can produce an effective learning experience during what salespeople call their ‘dead time. For example, while traveling to customer sites, during lunch breaks, commuting to and from work, waiting in the lobby for customer appointments, and so on. These features of mobile learning allow salespeople to access their learning modules when it » Continue Reading.
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 » Continue Reading.