I work with sales and recruiting leaders across a variety of staffing verticals, geographies, and markets. While they all have their own unique challenges, I have come to learn that all sales and recruiting leaders share one common challenge; enabling their people to hit their quotas. In fact, most will tell you that their onboarding and training efforts fall well short of their expectations and fail to deliver the expected results. While disheartening to hear, this is actually not a surprise considering the study from CSO Insights research which found that only 27.5% of stakeholders feel their sales training initiatives meet or exceed their expectations.
Meeting the unique needs of sales and recruiter training, and the expectations of sales and recruiting leaders falls on the shoulders of enablement managers, and learning and development (L&D) professionals. It is our responsibility to ensure we structure our onboarding, training, coaching and overall enablement programs to properly prepare every recruiter and every seller to make quota. It is also our responsibility to build credibility with our sales and recruiting leaders and earn their confidence and trust. We accomplish this by designing and delivering enablement programs that deliver results.
Feeling this pressure, L&D leaders and training and enablement managers often turn to Learning Management Systems (LMS) to meet this challenge. But Learning Management Systems were never designed to meet the unique needs of recruiters and salespeople. Learning Management Systems lack the key tools and functionality that sellers and recruiters need to prepare themselves for the challenges of B2B selling and recruiting and delivering highly sought-after candidates. This leaves revenue leaders in a bind; too few producers making quota.
In this blog, I’m going to share with you why you can’t train your sales and recruiting team with an LMS
Why Learning Management Systems are not Enough for Sales, Recruiter Enablement
Many staffing and recruiting organizations use an LMS or an onboarding tool because they're inexpensive and are often already being utilized by other parts of the organization. Or they come as a free "add-on" as part of their HRMS or back-office software suite. And of course, they facilitate training for today's remote workforce.
But when leaders underestimate the impact of effective sales and recruiter enablement, they often turn to inexpensive Learning Management Systems as a quick-fix solution. Aware of the fact that customers seek an inexpensive solution, LMS providers market their product as a solution designed specifically for training sales (and recruiting) professionals, even though they lack the specific functionality to support this audience.
The problem with using an LMS to train sales and recruiting professionals is the fact that Learning Management Systems were never designed to drive behavioral change.
Effective sales and recruiter training, the kind that delivers quantifiable results, is all about changing behaviors. An LMS is a great solution for corporate training, such as informing your people of your company policies and procedures, compliance, and other key facts about your organization. But they rarely produce quantifiable results for recruiters and sellers because they were never designed to support a change in behavior. Learning Management Systems are designed to inform and impart information be behalf of the consumer.
If you are considering an LMS solution for enabling your sellers and recruiters, consider the following questions.
- Can sellers and recruiters practice applying what they learned on the LMS?
- Can the LMS provide verifiable evidence whether or not your recruiters and sellers can effectively apply what they’ve learned?
- Can you define specific competencies and assign each a weighted value and track, measure and benchmark your employees against those competencies?
- Does the LMS enable you to identify specific skill and knowledge gaps?
- Can the LMS support key learning methods for supporting sellers and recruiters such as spaced learning/spaced reinforcement or experiential learning?
- How does the LMS facilitate personalized coaching?
- Does the LMS allow you to track and measure skill, knowledge and behavior adoption?
I'm not trying to bash LMS's, but sales and recruiter training is NOT the place for them. They simply don’t account for the unique needs of recruiters and sellers. Simply imparting knowledge is not enough. Consuming content in an LMS is no different than watching a video on YouTube or reading a book; you gain new ideas and insights but you're not provided with a controlled environment to practice applying what you learned. You can’t track and measure learner competency and adoption. And there is no mechanism to reinforce what you read or watched to ensure you can recall it a later time, such as during a sales meeting or candidate interview.
Learning management systems are geared for annual training topics like new product updates, company updates, and communicating company values, policies and procedures.
The reality is, people, especially reps and recruiters, have exceptionally short attention spans. Traditional Learning Management Systems are not designed to meet the training needs of today's modern seller and recruiter. For example, an LMS was never designed to help learners overcome the forgetting curve. Lengthy modules don't work. One-time training courses don't work. Training with a start date and an end-date doesn’t work. Quizzes and assessments definitely help and you definitely want to incorporate them into your overall enablement program, but you still need more to change behavior.
Today's modern seller and recruiter needs interactive, bite-size learning modules where they can interact and practice applying the tools, skills and concepts in real-life scenarios and leaders need the ability to track and measure learner competency and adoption of what is being taught.
Sales and Recruiting is Not Your Typical Profession
Unlike other professions, recruiters and salespeople mut be continuously enabled in a sustainable and scalable way to remain relevant and valuable to the customers and candidates they serve. There’s a constant revolving door of new value messaging, customer success stories, go-to-market approaches, tools and tactics, competitors, and more that salespeople and recruiters must continuously learn and internalize. As such, platforms to address these needs must include capabilities like:
- Gamified, spaced reinforcements to ensure long-term retention and adoption
- Hands-on, experiential learning role-play exercises to certify skill application
- Bite-sized quick updates that can be consumed on the go via mobile
- Competency-based coaching (coaching skills, vs. tracking activities) and individualized learning based on demonstrated skill and knowledge gaps
You won’t find these capabilities in an LMS.
Enablement is Not Just Onboarding
When staffing and recruiting leaders discuss their training programs, it almost always focuses exclusively on new hire onboarding. Why?
Leaders are concerned about ramping up their new hires as quickly as possible. They want a return on their investment, and they want it as quick as possible. But leaders also recognize that ramping up new hires is a challenge and continues to get more and more difficult. The combination of changes in buyer behavior, market dynamics, competition and remote work is making new hire onboarding more and more difficult. According to CSO Insights, the average seller ramp time has increased to eleven months – up from six months five years ago – while new hire turnover is increasing.
Instead of packing in more training topics, content, lectures, webinars, and PowerPoint presentations to their already overly aggressive onboarding schedule (cramming everything inside just a few days or weeks to complete), staffing leaders need to recognize that onboarding is just one component of enablement, and therefore shouldn’t be the sole focus.
As I noted in my blog, Spaced Reinforcement, Key to Learner Retention, neuroscience research has shown that trying to retain a large amount of information in a short period of time goes against the normal functioning of our brain.
Organizations that limit the scope of their sales and recruiter training to new-hire onboarding fail to reap the results they’re seeking. Even a good new-hire onboarding program that lasts ninety days will fail to deliver the desired results if it fails to incorporate spaced reinforcement, personalized coaching, and continuous experiential learning exercises with skill certification.
What staffing and recruiting industry leaders need is holistic, sales and recruiter enablement strategy and an underlying enablement platform that supports continuous reinforcement, skill certification and coaching, and keeps sellers and recruiters engaged, whether they’ve been in the field for ten days or ten years.
Does your company have a sales and recruiter enablement strategy?
Does your company provide continuous and ongoing skill reinforcement and coaching?
A Holistic Approach to Sales and Recruiter Enablement: Train, Practice, Coach, Reinforce
The importance of continually enabling your reps and recruiters can’t be overstated. After all, an effective enablement approach is the way reps and recruiters build the muscles that enable them to engage in successful customer and candidate interactions and ultimately help the company make its number. Expecting an LMS to help you achieve your revenue goals is likely to lead to disappointment. Instead of taking a traditional training approach, your enablement programs needs to be:
- Individualized – Instead of a one-size-fits-all, your enablement programs need to be relevant and personalized at scale, focusing on the unique needs of your recruiters and reps and the skills that drive revenue
- Reinforcement – Instead of “one-and-done” onboarding, effective enablement must use advanced reinforcement and experiential learning exercises including skill certification to ensure training is remembered and applied in the field
- Measurable – Instead of feel-good metrics like "events attended" or "modules completed," program effectiveness must be measured against business results, and key skills mapped and measured on both an organizational and individual basis
Menemsha Group’s Holistic Approach to Sales, Recruiter Enablement
Our enablement platform was built on the belief that sales and recruiting professional’s needs are different from others (employees), and that organizations must have a sales-focused approach to compete more effectively.
In contrast to a traditional Learning Management System, we use scientifically proven reinforcement, and AI-enabled practice that accelerates time to productivity and ensures ongoing sales and recruiting effectiveness.
To learn more about sales enablement and how to develop an enablement strategy to support your sales and recruiting teams, download our eBook, The Staffing Leaders Guide to Sales Enablement.