5 Ways Online Sales Training Saves Time Reduces Costs
According to an HBR article, U.S. companies spend over $70 billion annually on sales training, and an average of $1,459 per salesperson — almost 20 percent more than they spend on training workers in all other functions. Yet, when it comes to equipping sales teams with the relevant skills and knowledge, the ROI of sales training is disappointing. Studies indicate that participants in traditional instructor based training forget more than 80 percent of the information they were taught within 90 days.
As discouraging as those numbers are, they shouldn’t come as a surprise when you consider how sales training is conducted. Sales onboarding is usually nothing more than a haphazard shadow training session or an instructor-led training session in which reps are expected to absorb large amounts of information in a short amount of time.
For staffing firms, the other unique challenge they face is overcoming the belief that by asking an internal employee to lead sales training or asking a top performer to make him or herself available for a new sales rep to shadow, has little to no cost to the organization. If you look at your sales attrition rate and time to first placement and quota attainment for your sales new hires you will likely see a different story, one that is much more costly and inefficient.
To reduce costs, save time and increase retention and effectiveness, IT staffing companies should offer online sales training. Online sales training also provides sales reps with easier and timelier access to information including videos which improves comprehension and retention. as you will see, organizations that rely on exclusively on traditional, instructor led sales training are missing out on these benefits and more.
Below are five ways online sales training saves time reduces costs.
Reduce Travel Cost & Improved Productivity
The primary reasons why companies move their sales training online is to reduce the costs associated with live, instructor led training. Online learning dramatically cuts costs, especially when it replaces conventional, legacy training practices including onsite workshops, paid off-site training, all of which require travel, reservations and accommodation expenses not to mention opportunity cost.
Besides cutting training costs, and saving time, online sales training improves revenue growth. For example, 42 percent of companies mentioned in a report by Ambient Insight claimed online sales training increased revenue.
With studies indicating that retention spans continue to recede, traditional instructor led sales training make skill retention, comprehension and application more difficult. For those reasons, the best approach to ensure your sales reps engage and remain engaged with your training content and internalize it is to keep your training segments short and consistent. That is where adopting microlearning best practices comes into play.
Microlearning refers to a learning strategy that delivers learning content to learners in short, bite-sized, and easily digestible learning nuggets. Rather than trying to cover multiple topics in a single training session, microlearning focuses on meeting one specific learning objective by breaking down a large topic into smaller bite-sized modules and allowing the learner to take them in sequence. Online sales training including a cloud based sales enablement platform is the delivery mechanism for salespeople to consume microlearning. This is a far more engaging experience for the learner and it is proven to improve retention and comprehension. Besides, you're not going to fly your sales team into corporate for a short, instructor led microlearning session.
Wikipedia defines gamification as “the use of game thinking and game mechanics in non-game contexts to engage users in solving problems”. Learning gamification encompasses the idea of incorporating game mechanics into your training curriculum. More and more companies continue to adopt gamification into their workforce to help them solve problems and teach and share new ideas and concepts. Incorporating gaming mechanics into the learners training experience creates engagement and makes it a positive experience. This drives retention. Research from Aberdeen Group revealed that 31 percent more first-year sales reps achieved quota when supported with game mechanics.
Successful learning is a combination of three elements:
- 70% from real-life and on-the-job experiences
- 20% from feedback and observing and working with peers and role models
- 10% from formal training
Take a look at this diagram provided by elearningindustry.com.
Gamification saves time and reduces training costs because it enhances and accelerates learning. It accomplishes this in the following ways:
- Gamification promotes fun, friendly competition
- Gamification rewards learners with achievement
- Gamification provides an engaging learner experience
- Gamification motivates learner action which influences change in behavior
Online Sales Training Enables Quick, Easy Feedback Loop
A feedback loop is a system created within your training course which allows your learners to give you (sales leaders, training professionals) input on whether or not your training content is resonating with them. Your feedback loop lets you know if your training is working and gives you the information FAST so that you can make changes quicker and easier.
You want your sales training to make an impact on the performance of your salespeople, but you should also want to make an impact that is deep and meaningful for your learners to drive retention. Without a feedback loop built into your sales training program, there’s no way to know if your sales training content is truly making a difference and being absorbed by your learners. With online sales training including a learning management system or LMS, it is quick and easy to get feedback from learners.
Sales managers can simply log in and quickly track how engaged their employee is with the training content and see how well they’re comprehending the material by reviewing quiz scores and answers. With online training you can quickly and easily deploy course surveys and other elements to capture feedback in real time. This enables sales leaders and training professionals to be agile with their sales training.
Having a feedback loop saves time and reduces cost because you can iterate much quicker which drives retention and also accelerates knowledge transfer.
Make Sales Training Available via Mobile Apps
Since your sales team lives on their mobile device, we suggest you make your sales training content available to them through a mobile based platform. The familiarity of mobile will keep them engaged in the sales training process.
With mobile sales training including a mobile app you can:
- Make sales training content available for your learners to consume anywhere including in the field and home
- Empower learners to consume training material off hours
- Quickly and easily deploy new training material including videos to your entire sales team concurrently
What steps are you taking to adopt online sales training to save time and reduce costs?
About Dan Fisher
Dan Fisher is founder and owner of Menemsha Group, a provider of sales enablement solutions dedicated to helping IT staffing firms improve win rates, shorten their sales cycle, and increase revenue per sales rep. Since launching Menemsha Group in 2008, Dan has consulted with over 200 IT staffing firms and has invested over 5000 hours coaching IT staffing sales reps. He’s authored is his own proprietary sales methodology and has previously spoken at Staffing World, TechServe Alliance and Bullhorn Live 2012. Prior to launching Menemsha Group, Dan spent 16 years in the IT industry running local, regional and national sales teams. Dan worked for Kelly Services, Oracle Corporation and Alliance Consulting. Dan currently resides in Boston, Ma.