Category Archives: Sales Training

December 8th, 2016

3 Ways Video Learning Transforms Good Sellers into Great Sellers

video learning and training effectiveness

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:

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December 1st, 2016

Are Companies Setting Their Sellers Up for Success?

How to create an environment for seller success

Selling has never been an easy profession. Sellers have always been faced with rising quotas, pricing pressures, new competitors or competitive technologies, and other roadblocks. But now, there are added degrees of complexity, with buyers just a web search away from answers they used to get from sales professionals.

The selling environment, the tools of the trade, and the sales cycle itself have been forever transformed by technology, globalization, and always-on connectivity. Yet, the foundational sales skills remain as relevant as they ever have been: preparation, needs dialogue, consultative selling, and so on.

Research: Aligning Learning and Development Initiatives with Sales Goals

Sales training and sales effectiveness have been a cornerstone of many company initiatives to grow profitable business, increase revenues, and drive efficiencies. What is needed now is for Learning and Development (L&D) to align the competencies of its sellers with the skills to succeed in dynamic environments. This involves the mastery of customer engagement strategies that are able to adapt to where each customer is along the path to closing a sale so sellers can participate in shaping opportunities and positioning their offerings accordingly.

Are companies currently setting up their sales personnel for success? Are they targeting sales competencies that reflect the 21st-century business landscape? To find answers, Training Industry Inc. and Richardson conducted a study in the fourth quarter of 2016: “Aligning Sales Competencies in Learning and Development.”

Participants

The confidential » Continue Reading.

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November 17th, 2016

New Sales Training Research: Aligning Sales Competencies in Learning and Development

sales training research for reaching business goals

Is your company setting up its sales personnel for success? Is it targeting sales competencies that reflect the 21st century business landscape? Our sales training research reveals some answers that might surprise you.

In Q4 of 2016, Richardson and Training Industry, Inc. partnered to perform new sales training research, surveying 288 companies across more than 14 industries that ranged in size from less than 100 to over 50,000 employees to examine organizations’ approaches to identifying and developing sales competencies.

Download the full report here.

The goal of this sales research project is to provide sales organizations and L&D professionals with insight to help them develop sales training programs that better align with the goal of helping sales professionals master the competencies that are most important for business success.

Sales Training Research Results

The study found that there are significant gaps between the sales competencies reported to be most important for business success and the competencies that are effectively developed through training. Specifically, the research suggests a widespread gap in the effectiveness of training for the following competencies:

Targeting buyers Prospecting opportunities Knowing the market Understanding customer needs Effective presentation skills Expanding current accounts

Potential causes of this gap are a mismatch between training goals and business goals and lack of consistency in training across departments.

Additional Research Findings

This research also offers insight » Continue Reading.

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September 27th, 2016

Content Innovation: New Modalities for New Learners

New Sales Training Content for New Learners Perferences

I often talk about today’s multi-generational sales organizations and the challenges presented by millennial learners. I ask clients:

“What will it take to engage your learners?”

From London to New York to San Francisco, the answers are surprisingly similar, and whether I’m talking with sales leaders or corporate learning leaders, there is broad consensus about what is required:

To engage today’s learners, training has to be flexible, personalized, bite-sized, relevant, provide meaningful data, and be accessible on demand across a wide range of platforms and devices.

As I discussed in the first post in this series, The Future of Sales Training: Innovation for a Salesforce in Transition, there are more millennials in the U.S. workforce than any other generation. They have a very different relationship with information and technology than previous generations, and they want relevant content delivered to them in ways they recognize and can access easily and quickly.

New Learners Expect Higher Levels of Quality

The answer to accelerating learning across generations is to meet learner’s expectations when it comes to the types and quality of content in training programs. Younger learners have higher expectations about the quality of video content, course materials, and the online learning experience – the same stale training materials won’t cut it for the new generation.

Meeting the expectations of these new learners doesn’t mean throwing away all past » Continue Reading.

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September 22nd, 2016

The Future of Sales Training: Innovation for a Salesforce in Transition

The Future of Sales Training

Whenever I speak at conferences or with clients their training needs, I ask this question:

“What will it take to engage your learners?”

From London to New York to San Francisco, the answers are surprisingly similar, and whether I’m talking with sales leaders or corporate learning leaders, there is broad consensus about what is required:

To engage today’s learners, training has to be flexible, personalized, bite-sized, relevant, provide meaningful data, and be accessible on demand across a wide range of platforms and devices.

Significant innovation is necessary in corporate training in order to meet these expectations and address the changing needs of today’s sales organizations.

Not only are learners changing, but the business environment has changed significantly as well. Over the 37 years that Richardson has been helping organizations improve sales performances, the pace of business has grown faster, ultra-informed buyers come to the table having already researched their desired solutions, and productivity demands on sales professionals are considerably greater. Time has never been a more precious commodity, and sales professionals must spend it wisely, maximizing interactions with customers and minimizing days away from the field sitting in training classrooms. This makes it more important than ever to deploy the latest technology to efficiently train sales people and drive rapid, sustained, and measurable behavior change.

A Salesforce in Transition

A driving force behind the need for change is an emerging multi-generational salesforce increasingly comprised of members of the » Continue Reading.

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September 7th, 2016

Engaging Sales Leaders in The Process of Changing Behaviors

sales leaders

Back in the day, sales organizations would identify the need for training, schedule a learning event, conduct training, and then wonder why nothing changed. The trouble is many companies still do this. The problem then as now is lack of sustainment of learning. And the answer then as now is engaging the sales leader in the transformation process. Sales organizations continually fall short in this area. And if sales leaders are not engaged in the training and in changing behavior in the field, they can either sabotage the training or watch as the learning is quickly forgotten and old ways return.

Most often sales leaders were exemplary sellers who were promoted for their selling skills. If they’re not actively engaged in change—if they don’t see what their people are learning and understand the desired new behaviors and skills—they tend to default to how they did things way back when: “You know, this is not how I learned to do things. I’ve had a lot of success with the old way, and it got me where I am today, so we’re going back to the way that worked for me.”

When that happens, any attempt at transformation is thwarted. So what was the point of the training exercise?

Turning Sales Leaders into Sales Coaches

Sales leaders need to be a fundamental part of the process, and that involves teaching them how to become coaches. Sales coaching is » Continue Reading.

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September 1st, 2016

Training Millennials – Personalizing the Learning Library

training millennials

Today’s workplace is now composed of a majority of Millennials, along with Gen Xers, baby boomers, and traditionalists. Training millennials presents a challenge for sales organizations, and especially the Learning & Development group, because there are a mix of generations and learning styles to address.

To be most effective, training programs need to meet employees where they are in terms of learning styles and preferences. This means stepping back and rethinking ways to personalize and address how different employees learn.

Training Millennials Requires a Mix of Training Tools

It’s not that instructor-led training is wrong or going away, because it still has great value. The point is to personalize the learning journey on behalf of the individuals who are taking it, adapting to the cognitive style of learning that’s based on the generation. When training millennials, delivery of instructor-led training should be in smaller increments, complemented with more social collaboration. Videos should be added to the mix along with online modules that include an element of gaming to make learning more interesting.

For training across generations, include a menu of options to supplement instructor-led training, so participants can pick and choose what works best for them. The questions for Learning & Development to consider are these:

How does this group of employees learn best? How can we, as an organization, deliver the type of training that enables all of our diverse groups » Continue Reading.

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August 30th, 2016

The Millennial Generation in the Workplace – Adapting to the Millennial Learner

millennial generation in the workplace

In case you missed it, last year marked a significant turn in the workforce. That was when millennials—those born between the early 1980s and late 1990s—became the largest segment of employees in the nation. This boom in the millennial generation in the workplace has a significant impact on organizations, both from a management perspective and a training perspective. That’s because millennials, as a whole, have quite different ideas about the meaning and purpose of work, work-life balance, and the integration of technology than previous generations.

Training the Millennial Generation in the Workplace

Millennials approach learning and training in different ways, and that has implications not only for continuing development, but on-boarding as well. Many millennials entering the workforce tend to be well educated, but not always in business-relevant ways. When they first came out of school, the job market was slow, and so many went back to school. Now they may have one or more degrees, but they don’t necessarily know how to apply their knowledge in a business environment. Or, what they learned is school is not applicable to the field where they’re now pursuing a career.

How to Engage ‘New Learners’

The question facing sales organizations today is: “How do you train and engage these ‘new learners,’” as we call them. Millennials grew up hardwired to technology, conducting most of their social life online, and multitasking along the way. They prefer collaboration and team-oriented projects.

They learn best » Continue Reading.

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