There are many ways to differentiate a company. You can focus on your product or pricing, but sales training is also an effective way of gaining a competitive advantage. Proper sales training can help sellers add more opportunities to the funnel, close more deals, and help sales teams retain more customers.
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While virtually every aspect of B2B sales has been modernized, many companies still rely on outdated sales training techniques. Technology has enabled sellers to have more access to information, connect with more prospects, and sell from virtually anywhere in the world. Sales training has also changed, and there are innovative methods that can help any team improve their sellers’ learning and development.
Product features can be copied, and pricing structures can be matched by other companies. However, the way your team sells is something that can be unique to your organization. In this blog, we will share innovative sales training techniques that can help your team. Here are the main takeaways:
1) The labor force is changing along with the technology that is available to salespeople. It’s vital to incorporate innovative sales training techniques into your company’s training and onboarding process to get the most out of your salesforce and your tech stack.
2) Teams can build on-demand, online training to maximize ROI on training investments.
3) New sales training methods can drive learning engagement from sellers and help overall employee retention.
We know much more about adult learning now than we did a few decades ago. For example, teaching new information in bite-size form is much more effective than long training sessions. The people that are in sales roles have changed as well. A younger generation that is much more comfortable with e-learning now makes up the majority of the workforce.
When most people think of sales training, however, they still picture a conference room where the sales team is pulled away from their selling activities for a few days or a week. In-person training still has tremendous benefits but needs to be supplemented with more innovative methods. Therefore, for the science of learning, as sales technology and the people in sales roles change, it is also important to innovate how sales training is conducted.
The innovations in sales training and coaching can help make sales managers and sellers more efficient. It can also save sales teams money and time while producing better results.
Previously, companies had to rely on multi-day training engagements to onboard new salespeople or help existing sellers refine their techniques. Sales leaders and sellers lament the time it takes to complete such initiatives. But, there are other acceptable models for sales training. One of the biggest innovations in this field is adopting on-demand learning.
There are many terrific learning management systems (LMS) on the market. Certain training providers will have their own platform, and most will even be able to integrate all their content with a company’s existing LMS. This innovation allows businesses to build a curated learning library over time. Additionally, it enables sellers to learn on their own time and at their own pace.
On top of controlling their learning schedule, sellers can also focus on the content that will be most beneficial to them. Everyone has different strengths and weaknesses; some might be adept at prospecting but need help planning sales calls. The opposite might be true for other sellers on the same team.
This innovation addresses some of the biggest drawbacks of the traditional sales training model. Sellers no longer have to be pulled away from the field to complete training. It can be part of their daily schedule without interrupting sales activities. Even when companies bring people together for in-person training, they can get more out of it by having sellers do some of the learning on the on-demand platform ahead of time. This allows sales enablement and training professionals to use the in-person time for more engaging activities like role-plays or application sessions.
As mentioned above, it has been proven that adults learn more effectively when the learning is presented in bite-size quantities. This is because it is incredibly hard for adults to change their habits. The process of changing these habits, therefore, has to be meticulous. Individuals need to learn a little bit at a time, and then they need time to practice this new skill to turn it into muscle memory. Someone can watch a YouTube video on how to swing a golf club, but if they don’t have time to practice it, they will not improve.
Micro-learning allows sellers to digest new information or skills. Then they can take time to practice before moving on to the next step. This is a vastly superior learning method compared to sitting through a lecture that covers a wide swath of details. These extended learning sessions might give someone a theoretical understanding of what they must do, but they will not effectively build new habits.
This innovative way to approach learning has a much higher ROI than traditional sales training. ROI on training initiatives can only be achieved if sellers start doing things differently than before. Incorporating a micro-learning strategy into a company’s onboarding or continuous learning process is ultimately a more sustainable model.
An innovative way to make sales training more engaging and fun is gamification. Taking your company’s training online to an on-demand platform is the first step, but adding gamification to the learning experience can help drive learner engagement.
Gamification is a widely used word. It can get very complex, but at its simplest level and in this context, it involves earning points for each module a seller completes. Salespeople tend to be a highly competitive bunch. When companies add an element of competition to the learning process, it makes things more fun for everyone involved and also goes a long way in knowledge retention.
It is worth noting that just because learning modules are available on-demand doesn’t mean sellers will always be eager to access them. However, if a company gives out prizes or perks for people mastering specific skills, it can increase a seller’s motivation to learn. Technology makes it easy to track people’s progress through assessments and monitor the time spent on a learning platform. Anything that drives more engagement during the learning process will give a company a better ROI on its training investment.
One of the biggest mistakes sales teams make during training initiatives is the lack of reinforcement after the training is over. People rarely change habits after their initial exposure to new knowledge and skills. Instead, they have to practice those skills while learning and also after the learning phase of the training engagement is over.
Reinforcement of training can now be done much more effectively thanks to the new learning tools that exist on the market. Similar to how training can be done on-demand, reinforcement can also be taken online. Moreover, companies can also track how well their sellers follow up on the learning. Assessments make it easier for sales enablement teams to identify where a seller needs further training or reinforcement.
The ability to implement a continuous system of reinforcement will help sales teams retain knowledge and improve sales performance in the long term.
Sales training that is innovative and modernized can help sellers learn more effectively. It can keep sellers more engaged in their roles and, as a result, achieve more success. This leads to better ROI from training but also helps with employee retention. If a seller is succeeding at a company and can see the investment their organization is making in improving their skill set, they are more likely to stay in their role. As the entire sales landscape changes, ensure your training process keeps up with new and innovative techniques.
Funnel Clarity provides scientifically proven sales training content. We ensure that our clients have access to the most innovative sales training and coaching techniques. Our programs are available on-demand and customizable to a company’s needs. To learn more about how Funnel Clarity can improve your training process, request a meeting with us today.
Tom Snyder is the founder of Funnel Clarity; a training and consulting company focused on humanizing sales. Snyder’s passion is helping companies achieve measurable sales performance improvement. Previously, Snyder spent 10 years with the sales training firm Huthwaite Inc, culminating in the role of CEO. He later founded Business Performance Partners, a sales and strategy consulting firm that evolved into Funnel Clarity. Snyder is a sought after international speaker and was named one of the Most Influential Sales Leaders. He has authored two McGraw Hill best sellers, “Escaping the Price Driven Sale” (2007) and “Selling in a New Market Space” (2010).