Despite the negative stereotype, ‘sales’ is the most important part of a business. Sweeping statement? Sure, but think about it. What makes sure that products get sold? And yes, marketing is sales.
What brings in the big clients and contracts? Sales. What gets the business funded in the first place? Sales. What, my dearest doubter, got the original business idea off the ground in the first place?
The negative association with sales comes from bad sales; the salesperson not delivering on what they originally promised. And in modern times, a business can’t afford to get away with it. This is why training your sales team properly is so crucial to ‘making it rain’.
You’ll have excuses. Many Sales Managers do:
And last, but not least…
These are no longer valid reasons though. Technology has allowed for solutions to each of the above – specifically, one beautifully modern solution. Here are seven reasons why e‑learning is great for salespeople.
It’s true. We live in a dynamic world. In order for products to keep up – like people – they need to adapt. Adaption is good for relevance but can be expensive; producing new training material every time a feature or product is introduced can quickly add up, negating any uplift in revenue caused by good product knowledge.
The digital nature of e‑learning, however, ensures that content can be updated easily, quickly, inexpensively and universally. While a set-up cost is unavoidable, it’s once off. From there, new products and methods can be added and old ones updated at much lower costs.
Yup, products are continuously changing. But so are training methodologies.
If you think about it, technology is a tool for reducing the gap between imagination and reality. This lowers the barrier to creativity, especially in an educational context. Augmented Reality and Gamification are but a few ways to make training more engaging.
When people are engaged, they give their attention. And attention is a critical ingredient for retaining knowledge.
Look at it like this: if your sales presentations are boring, your client is not going to participate or remember anything you say. Same with training. See?
But, does training work?
Being a good sales manager (or director; aspiring or otherwise), you would know that case studies are a great way to convert that stubborn prospect to a loyal client. Prospects respond to proof.
With e‑learning, measuring behavioural change is possible. Now, not only can you see where training is working, but also where it isn’t. Feedback isn’t just important in the sales game, it’s imperative. Training is no different.
You’re right, you can’t teach motivation. Motivation is a very personal thing. But it’s also closely related to confidence. Generally speaking, the higher the confidence of a salesperson, the more motivation they exhibit. Just look at the top performers in your last quarter, chances are ‘sheepish’ won’t be the first adjective that springs to mind.
It’s helpful to realise that confidence is not necessarily an innate characteristic. Rather, it can be very closely related to product knowledge and skills development. There’s logic here: the salesperson who knows the most about their products is more likely to choose the right solution for their prospects, which increases the likelihood of closing. The salesperson that closes the most is probably going to be the most confident.
Three guesses which salesperson will be the most motivated?
Personalisation in training is something that many sales managers overlook. Not all of your salespeople are the same. Each is going to be stronger in different areas of the training content and incentivised by different drivers.
E‑learning can be personalised to each salesperson’s strengths and weaknesses. Not only will this reduce wasted training, you’ll land up with clear data about the varying strengths of each salesperson. Some would say that is more valuable than anything else – the more you know about your team, the better you can motivate them.
Although the adage acronym ABC (always be closing) has lost popularity in the wake of solution-based selling (with reason), time spent training your salespeople is time not spent with clients.
Sure, there is a compounded benefit, revenue should go up more over time, offsetting the costs of training – both in budget and opportunity – but if you can achieve training objectives in less time, all the better.
Once again, e‑learning is the perfect answer here. Its digital nature means that salespeople can access it from anywhere and can complete it in smaller doses, reducing the amount of time and resources needed for training. Microlearning is one such methodology in e‑learning. Training material is broken up into key learning points and delivered in small increments over time. Ideal for salespeople.
Let’s face it, salespeople have the time just not in lump sums.
Here is the kicker. It pays for itself. Like all sales training worth its salt, it should drive more (and bigger) deals. This is probably a value proposition I don’t have to repeat. But with e‑learning, the overall costs are lower, meaning your ROI is going to be easier to justify and higher in general.
It’s that simple. More training means more deals.
Basically, e‑learning is to training what cell phones were to communication. It changes the game, completely. The beauty is this: you don’t have to take my word for it. It’s measurable. See for yourself.
Do I see storm clouds?
Author: Kyle Hauptfleisch