One of the major challenges for sales trainers is to continuously keep their salesforce up to date with relevant product knowledge and skills while maintaining their motivation & confidence. This is of utmost importance since it directly affects the revenue, profit and growth of the organization. So how can we intervene and aid in the achievement of these goals in 2020?
You may think of conducting more traditional sales training programs as the solution.
However, sales training programs hardly lead to long-term retention and results as there is no continuous reinforcement post the program. The hectic nature of a sales representative’s job along with decreasing engagement levels come in the way. For this reason, virtual or self-paced sales training delivered on mobile via microlearning can bring about convenience, easy access and regular reinforcement of the learnings captured.
Psychology, big data and gamification can further enhance learning experience, increase retention, improve application of learning as well as correlate learning analytics with business results.
Let’s delve deeper into each of the disciplines and then integrate them all towards the end to see how they can help with sales training, especially when it comes to mobile-first learning content.
Using gamification to reinforce sales training concepts
Gamification is the use of game elements or game design techniques in non-game scenarios or contexts. It can be used to enhance learning using various elements of immediate feedback, levels of accomplishment, progress bars, interactions, et al.
Sales representatives have a very demanding role and hence, they often struggle to engage with the provided sales training programs. Gamification introduces a fun factor which enhances sales reps’ focus and motivation to keep going further and achieving the set goals or objectives.
When it comes to Sales training can be made fun by incorporating a storyline where the sales representatives find themselves immersed in a virtual scenario which imitates real world dynamics and enables them to practice selling skills without the risk of losing actual customers. In order to ensure that a universal sales language is used throughout the company, we can give greater weightage to creating and grading game-based quizzes. Sales representatives thrive on achieving targets and hence, rewarding them with gaming elements such as badges, virtual currency, points or certifications on completion of the sales training can act as an incentive for completing the desired actions and promote a sense of achievement.
Using psychology to reinforce selling behaviours through sales training
Each learner has a different learning style and motivation. We need to be cognizant of these factors while designing content for skill development or knowledge enhancement. Psychology principles help us to understand the role of a learner in the creation of a learning module. Psychology can predict the time when the sales training should be sent to maximize engagement. Analysing common psychological behaviours also help in demonstrating real-life scenarios encountered by sales representatives so that the learning experience feels more meaningful and learners can be nudged into using their learnings in real-life.
Without a proper understanding of the buyer personas, sales representatives’ will not be able to engage in meaningful interactions with the customers. It is imperative that they understand different personalities and the optimum way to deal with them in order to close leads effectively. By breaking down the sales training content into microlearning experiences, we reduce the cognitive load and perceived investment of time for the sales reps. Furthermore, the point of application becomes clearer for the salesforce as sales training becomes sharper, nuanced & specific to their challenge.
Using data analytics to enhance sales training effectiveness
Extracting relevant data from the organization’s Learning Management System (LMS), HRIS, CRM platform, collaboration tools and other tools can assist in gaining insights on sales performance and skill/knowledge gaps. These insights can then be used for improving the learning initiatives & personalizing the experience further.
By analysing the learning data, we can identify the topics that the sales representatives found easy or difficult to comprehend and use them to constantly improve and update the sales training. Data can also be used to make the learning journey of sales representatives adaptive based on their learning curve and performance on the job. For sales leaders, these data points can help in forecasting important business decisions about team restructuring, upskilling et al.
Using a multi-disciplinary approach for sales training can enable us to foster engagement among the sales representatives and make them leverage their learnings for work.
Integrating these three disciplines can create a sales training program which is based on sales performance data, gamification techniques and behavioural psychology to build a habit of learning. These three disciplines can also address various motivational needs of the sales representatives and better incorporate the understanding of buyer personas into role plays to reinforce sales conversation skills. By improving engagement & building a habit for learning, sales leaders can leverage the data collected from the sales training initiative to improve performance further and set the stage for adaptive & personalized learning down the line