It is impossible to apply knowledge that you can’t remember. That’s why Richardson works with clients to develop a robust sustainment element to their training programs. It’s all part of what I like to call the learning hug: wrapping services and support around training to make it stick. Part I of this series, Training Services Wrap Around and Support Learning, explains the concept. Part II, Preparing for Change, addresses ways to prepare both the organization and its learners for what is to come.
This post focuses on the post-training period and the tools, practices, and assets that need to be in place to reinforce learning and embed new behaviors into “the way we do things here.” We need to help people retain the knowledge they have gained, apply it in real life, and receive evidence-based feedback and coaching to continuously improve.
The first thing to acknowledge is that learning is a process, not an event. What neuroscience tells us is that it’s not the learning itself that embeds knowledge in the brain, it’s recalling that learning that does the trick. You actually have to make yourself go back, find it somewhere in your head, and bring it forward – and then the learning clicks.
Sustaining Learning on the Go
Mobile technology makes it possible to reinforce learning on the go with social learning and gamification programs. Bite-sized bits of learning are reinforced » Continue Reading.
Before you drop people into a learning environment, it’s important to prepare not just your learners but your organization for change. This is part of what I call the learning hug, wrapping services and support around training to make it stick. Part I of this series, Training Services Wrap Around and Support Learning, explains the concept.
Now, let’s talk about the run-up to training. Before teaching people new things, you need to consider ways to prepare the organization so that the learning fits and will be reinforced. In other words, what are you doing to prepare the ground for planting new seeds of knowledge?
Years ago, at the start of my career, I was a social worker involved with helping children who had mental and behavioral challenges. What was essential to our work was making sure there were services wrapped around each case so the entire family could live at home together safely.
When I think of our work at Richardson, helping sales professionals improve their selling skills and their performance, a similar wrapping concept applies. Specifically, training services need to be wrapped around the learning we provide to make sure our clients demonstrate the right behaviors within the sales environment. This wrapping of services is what I like to call the learning hug.
Think of it like this: The heart of what we offer clients is a blended learning solution that accelerates behavior change. There’s online learning of basic concepts, workshops for practice and application of skills, discussion boards to share experiences and ideas, and analytics to target areas of need. In addition to this core of our adaptive learning platform is a suite of services that encircles the learning experience.
While training is the most essential and visible element of our work, more effort is needed to make sure the learning translates into behavior change back on the job. If we don’t provide the necessary support, any training undertaken by sales professionals that isn’t immediately applied is quickly forgotten. For learning to be sustained, training participants have » Continue Reading.
Many sales leaders have told us they are expanding their inside sales channel strategy to take advantage of shifts in buyer behavior (see Don’t overlook competencies when expanding inside sales). In doing so, they also need to take advantage of their sales talent, both in hiring and in developing the skills of current employees.
The hiring process itself should provide ample opportunities for candidates to demonstrate how they would sell to customers. While this holds true for any sales position, it is even more important for inside sales, where sellers never meet customers face to face. There are three relatively simple ways to test a candidate’s skills in action: video, role play, and voicemail.
Skype and other video chat services allow sales leaders to see how candidates would interact with prospects and customers. Sellers can no longer shy away from video; it has become an accepted, and even expected, communication channel. Everyone in sales should get themselves comfortable with video chats. There are a few tactical issues with a video call versus a phone call – such as removing distracting backgrounds, paying attention to posture, and making eye contact – but video can be the next best thing to meeting in person. You can also use a Skype call to role play with a candidate. They should be able to handle the pressure and give you a sense of how articulate, composed, and compelling they are.
Cold » Continue Reading.
One thing we at Richardson are hearing from many of our customers in sales leadership roles is that they are, or are considering, expanding their inside sales channel strategy. They see the shift in buyer behavior, with more customers conducting research online before engaging salespeople. They also see that an increasing number of customers are willing to interact with sales organizations, and even willing to make buying decisions, over the telephone. As a result, they are moving beyond utilizing inside sales for just their small-size customers and simple sales and including mid-tier customers that might also be serviced well by inside selling teams.
There are certainly cost benefits with this strategy, as well as the potential to reach more customers more quickly. In making this shift and adding greater demands for productivity from inside sellers, sales leaders need to consider and train for specific competencies. They need to think about how they develop an inside sales organization differently than field sales.
Obviously, many of the same selling skills are used in telesales as in the field. All sellers need to build rapport, ask great questions, listen actively, share insights, and articulate value. They need to position their solutions persuasively and close the deal. But when selling over the phone rather than face to face, sellers face higher barriers to engaging prospects and building credibility.