One of the major challenges for organizations nowadays is to 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 traditional training as the solution.
However, 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 that reason, 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 play a major role in affecting a number of aspects ranging from enhancing learning experience, increasing retention & applying learning as well as correlating 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.
Gamification For Reinforcing Learning
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 training. 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, we can make learning 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 quizzes. Sales representatives thrive on achieving targets and hence, rewarding them with badges, virtual currency, points or certifications on course completion can act as an incentive for completing the desired actions and promote a sense of achievement.
Using Psychology To Design The Way We Learn
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 training should be sent to the sales representatives 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 learning 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 content becomes sharper, nuanced & specific to their challenge.
How Can Big Data Be Used To Improve Learning 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 learning initiatives & personalizing the experience further.
By analysing 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 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 to create a sales training program 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, applies gamification techniques and uses behavioural psychology to build habit. 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