Seven Benefits of Online Sales Training
As you're probably aware, more and more educational institutions and businesses are adopting online sales training. This is largely due to the increase in affordable and easy to use technology that makes online sales training so cost effective and quick and easy to deploy. However, if your IT staffing firm has been utilizing traditional training methods such as shadow training or instructor-led classroom training vs. online sales training, than it may be daunting to even consider adopting an online sales training model. Just thinking about where to begin can be intimidating. In this blog I’m going to share with you seven benefits of online sales training for IT staffing firms.
Learner Adoption is Faster, More Effective with Online Sales Training
By putting your sales training on an online platform such as a learning management system you can take advantage of video sales training. One of the benefits of video sales training is that video is proven to accelerate learning and improve learner retention over reading documents and instructor-led lecture. Forrester Research estimates one minute of online video equates to approximately 1.8 million written words. In addition, 90 percent of information transmitted to the brain is visual, and visuals are processed 60,000 times faster in the brain than text. This indicates video improves learning styles and increases the rate at which we retain information.
Online Sales Training Ensures Continuity, All Learners Trained EXACT SAME WAY
If you're truly committed to becoming a market leader and rapidly scaling your business than you will need a training solution that is guaranteed to train all existing employees and new hires the exact same way.
For most IT staffing firms, nobody internally truly "owns" training. As a result, managers, tenured employees and members of leadership share the delivery of training by rotating who will lead and serve as the instructor for each of the different training courses and/or new hire classes. While this is all done with good intentions, this training is typically informal in which each "rotating instructor" trains or instructs each class by drawing on his or her own personal experience. Let's assume you have five internal employees who collectively share the responsibility of training delivery. Imagine applying this approach with your next ten sales hires. Your ten new sales hires will hit the market selling five different ways because there is no continuity. To further complicate things, what happens when one of your "rotating instructors" is not available to deliver training or leaves the company? How do you ensure continuity?
Online sales training and the use of video ensures your learners receive the exact same training and learning experience. They allow you to standardize your sales training program. Standardization is key because it enables consistency and without consistency you can't iterate and improve. When your employees all receive the exact same training it makes it easier and quicker to identify and diagnose the skill deficiency and then provide the necessary coaching. But when a manager has a team of sales reps or recruiters who have all be trained slightly differently it becomes difficult and time consuming to make the corrections.
One of the biggest advantages of online sales training is cost-effectiveness. Online sales training is far more cost effective than traditional instructor-led classroom training. An online approach to sales training removes the burden of coordinating schedules, printing handbooks, travel and lodging costs, and speaker fees. Oh and let us not forget, opportunity costs. There is a cost to taking your sales reps and recruiters out of the field and off phones and enrolling them in a full day or multi-day training workshop.
Online Sales Training is Ideal for Millennials
Studies show that online training appeals to Millennials and Generation Z because of features like gamification including badges, leader boards and certifications. Online learning is also appealing because it is interactive where team members can collaborate online through chat and video features. This is referred to as social learning and there are numerous benefits to social learning. Finally, and as you probably already know, Millennials want feedback. They want to know where they stand (with their supervisor and relative to their peers). With online learning they can get just that. Online report cards like the one you see in the inset provide learners with quantifiable feedback as to how well they are engaged with and internalizing the training material.
Online Sales Training is Scalable
With online sales training you can train as many employees concurrently as you need regardless of location. One of the shortcomings of shadow training and instructor-led classroom training is neither training model scales. Online sales training enables employees to continuously absorb new knowledge and enhance their skills because training material can be accessed from anywhere, any time. You can't do that with instructor-led classroom training or shadow training.
Learn Whenever, Wherever & Adapt to Various Learning Styles
People are constantly connected to their devices so rolling out and getting your employees to adopt online sales training is easy. Adopting online training including mobile sales training gives your employees the freedom and flexibility to access their training material whenever and wherever they like. If I have learned anything from training thousands of sales professionals and recruiters, learning is a process and everyone learns differently and at different paces. Online learning allows learners to consume training at their own pace and to consume it as many times as necessary until they internalize it. They can pause it and repeat it whenever and as frequently as they like. With online sales training the training is delivered on the learners terms, not the instructors terms.
Data Driven Insights Improve Sales Performance, Training Effectiveness
Online sales gives you visibility into what training programs and classes work and help you identify the capabilities that drive results. With an online sales enablement platform you gain real-time visibility into your team's sales readiness. You can track, measure and improve team capabilities and gain insight into your sales training program regarding user engagement, content retention and adoption.
With training analytics and report cards you will know in real-time whether or not your new hire is progressing down the path to productivity or simply going through the motions and meandering into the abyss. Rather than waiting six months (or longer) before realizing your new hire is not going to make it, this insight will save you thousands of dollars by enabling you to make better management decisions.
Getting Started with Online Sales Training
To get started with online sales training, consider the following questions. Answering these questions will reveal key insights into your "online sales training readiness."
- How engaging is the delivery of your existing sales training content?
- Is your current sales training delivery model scalable?
- How quickly and easily can you iterate and improve your existing training program?
- How engaging are your sales training assets and materials?
- Are your training materials including the strategies, tactics and messaging still effective and relevant in today’s market place? Are they working?
- Has your growth strategy, target market or ideal buyer personas changed since you last updated your training materials?
- How difficult it is for your employees to access your sales assets including your sales training materials?
- Finally, have you updated your training content and course work to stay in tune and aligned with how your buyers buy and your candidates engage recruiters?
Your answers to these questions could be a tell tale sign that it is time to reboot your sales training program. But you will only know for sure by taking the time to review your existing sales training material including how it is delivered and consumed. You should also interview team members including new hires for their feedback.
Those are just a few of the benefits of online sales training? What benefits have you experienced from online sales training? What benefits are you hoping online sales training can deliver for you and your team? Lets start a conversation in the comments section below.
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.