In this article, we’ll explore sales training techniques to help elevate the skills and confidence of your sales team. After all, it’s never enough to simply hire the slickest talkers to continue thriving in the sales industry. If you want to stay on top, you need to make sure that your salesforce remains up to date on the latest trends and sales methods, so they can keep crushing their targets for years to come. Read on to learn more.
1. Invest in e-learning
Sales representatives are busy people. With their regular customer visits and nonstop sales calls, it’s hard enough to gather them all together in one room for an hour, let alone take them away from their desk for a week-long workshop. Since skipping training is, of course, never an option, why not make it easily available to them using only their laptop or tablets? This is where e-learning comes in.
E-learning, also known as electronic learning or online learning, is the process of delivering your training materials electronically using digital resources. With this sales training technique, they can decide when and where they want to take their training, and most importantly, move and learn at their own pace. There’s no burden of taking things slowly or quickly—they can spend as much time learning a certain topic, procedure, or strategy as they like, and also skip the parts that they already know.
Several e-learning platforms can help you jumpstart your online training initiative. EdApp, for example, offers a free authoring tool that can transform your modules and PDFs into visually appealing, highly interactive e-learning courses. You don’t need any coding experience to get started. Just select from their ready-made templates, copy and paste your content, and hit publish. This platform is also jam-packed with a lot of automated training functions that can automate a range of repetitive tasks, like assigning employees to the right training or scheduling the deployment of your e-learning materials.
2. Shift to microlearning
Reading a stack of modules or watching static PowerPoint presentations aren’t only uninspiring, but also ineffective. This is because salespeople, just like everyone else, can’t process a lot of information in just one sitting. According to the Forgetting Curve theory by Ebbinghaus, nearly 50% of the information from a lengthy training is simply forgotten within the first hour, while 70% of those data points are lost within 24 hours of completion. With all these things considered, keeping your training short can’t be overstated.
Microlearning is a revolutionized method of learning that breaks down information into bite-sized chunks. The idea is to present only a specific topic or lesson at a time, so they are much easier to digest and comprehend. For this learning process, your sales team will only need at least 5-40 minutes to refill their knowledge banks, as opposed to the traditional method that usually takes hours, days, or sometimes even weeks to complete. Preventing cognitive overload, this sales training technique results in higher retention and recall.
EdApp’s e-learning authoring tool, apart from its ease of use, is also a great place to put together a microlearning course. Upon signing up to this platform, you’ll have access to their 80+ intuitively designed microlearning templates that are suited to a diverse set of learning methodologies. For instance, you may opt for their content templates to introduce new content to your salesforce, or their concept templates to reinforce key messages.
What’s more, EdApp also offers a wide array of microlearning courses that you can deploy right away to your sales team. Take, for example, their microlearning course on The Language of Sales, which consists of three short courses discussing strategies on convincing their buyers and handling tough sales scenarios. They also offer this course about Improving your Sales Forecast, which can help you and your team identify the right tools and technology to enhance your organizational sales forecasts. Feel free to visit its e-learning content library to browse more sales training programs that you can roll out to your team.
3. Incorporate video lectures and demonstrations
If you need to show your sales team how your product and services work, or the strategies they need to adapt to level up their sales performance, then incorporating videos in your training is a sure way to go. Through videos, learners will be able to visualize the concepts better and learn how they can put them into practice. Moreover, pre-recorded videos can be rewatched and visited anytime your employees need a refresher or recall of concepts.
Keep in mind, however, that sales professionals mostly expect reliable, high-quality video content. You can’t just grab any sales-related video from Youtube and send them to your employees. You’ll need to go above and beyond to find videos that are most relevant and useful for their role, and you’ll need to choose only from credible sources.
If you’re making video lectures from scratch, they shouldn’t take more than 10 minutes to complete, similar to how microlearning courses are usually constructed. Always get straight to the point and avoid including introduction sequences or unnecessary information. You can also combine them with other learning strategies to increase engagement and retention from your learners. For instance, add subtitles or supporting notes to deliver the key points.
4. Explore VR training method
Organizing Virtual Reality (VR) training, although expensive, brings invaluable benefits that no other training method can offer. For context, VR training is an immersive learning strategy that involves an artificial landscape, recreating and simulating real-life scenarios. It allows learners to engage in practical hands-on activities, so they are better prepared before they join the real world.
You can use a VR format to help your salesforce build better familiarity with your business products or service. You can also initiate a VR role play where they can exercise their sales pitch or practice interacting with difficult and dissatisfied clients. Yet the best part? This training technique is ultimately risk-free. You can put your trainees in the most difficult circumstances possible, and allow them to make all of their mistakes without worrying about losing your investment or damaging your brand reputation.
Unsure where to start? You can seek help from various platforms that offer an easy way to put together VR training, even without any technical expertise. Like ELearning Brothers, where you can simply upload any 360º video or equirectangular photograph and add hotspots and animation. Just hit publish, and your VR training is complete. V360E is another training software that can help you with your VR training. Simply add a 360 panoramic photo or video, an audio track, and additional informative text on your part, tweak your presentation a little, and it’s all good to go.
5. Apply spaced repetition
The idea behind the spaced repetition technique is to split lessons into key parts and send them to learners at increasing intervals. Rather than bombarding their brain with a large amount of information all at once, learning concepts, such as product updates and sales call techniques, will be reinforced through repetition. This training method is also tied to Ebbinghaus’ Forgetting Curve theory, which emphasizes that the drastic drop in remembering can be curtailed if a certain topic is frequently retaken or revisited.
Apart from course authoring, EdApp can also help you apply the spaced repetition strategy to your sales training program. Their Brain Boost spaced repetition tool uses the highly-regarded Supermemo SM-2 interval algorithm, which can automatically create interactive quizzes based on your previous sales course content. Any learners who have yet to complete their courses will receive their assessment at a predetermined interval, at least until the information is locked into their long-term memory.
6. Gamify your sales course content
Another sales training technique to consider is gamification, or the process of turning your educational content into something more fun, exciting, and instantly motivating. Not to be misdirected, it’s not meant to distract your sales team from playing video or mobile games. Gamification is more about infusing various gaming elements into your course content, so learning won’t feel like classroom learning. Sales reps already have a lot on their plates, and the last thing they need from you is another work task on top of their regular sales calls and customer support. Once you’ve gamified your content, training will feel like they’re only playing smartphone games.
EdApp’s gamification tools can lend you a hand in integrating game elements into your sales training. They already have a range of existing gamified templates, so basically, all you need to bring is your sales knowledge, questions, and answers. Feel free to combine them with leaderboards, point scores, and real prizing to foster healthy competition among your sales team and improve the likelihood of knowledge retention.
7. Offer sales mentoring opportunities
Mentoring is an excellent training method to groom new hires or support non-performing sales employees. Unlike traditional, instructor-led learning, this sales training technique is less directive and more of supporting and encouraging learners to maximize their potential. In a formal environment, mentors and mentees often have predetermined goals and requirements set by their employers or training managers, like a sales deal or sales quota. Meanwhile, informal mentoring suggests that the responsibility falls with mentees. They can follow their mentors, but they are in charge of their own learning and setting their own objectives.
For your sales mentoring program, you can appoint your sales managers and supervisors as mentors. Or if you want to foster a more comfortable mentorship, seniors and high-performing team members can also play the mentor role. They can share their knowledge and experience in the sales world with their mentees, and closely supervise them until they can function well on their own.
8. Allow peer-to-peer learning
According to constructivist training theory, learning is a collaborative process. Employees, including your sales team, are considerably more willing to learn when they are interacting with their colleagues in a meaningful and relevant way. This is primarily because learning with peers feels more comfortable and convenient than working with managers or supervisors. Since they are communicating with someone in the same position, it makes the information transfer more relatable and less intimidating.
Peer-to-peer learning can also help your sales team to expand their perspectives and understand certain ideas outside their own. By learning and working side by side with their peers, they’ll learn how to communicate, deal with, and build relationships with people from different backgrounds, generations, and cultures, which is very much integral for their role.
Organizing team-building training is perhaps the most common way to encourage peer-to-peer learning within teams. Although just a quick heads up that it may not be the best option, especially with sales teams, which are often jam-packed with tasks and schedules. You may also invite them to a weekly meeting where they can share their previous sales pitch or sales call experience with the rest of the team.
If you want to implement this sales training technique without the need for a face-to-face training session, you can make use of EdApp’s Discussions feature. Enabling this forum-style feature in your courses gives learners the freedom to comment and express their points, and also start and join a conversation. Whenever needed, they can also lead the discussion and share their knowledge.
9. Translate your training to reach global salesforce
Most businesses today are now turning global and expanding their presence around the world to generate more revenue. But for this strategy to work, it usually requires a local sales team that can better represent your brand to your target market. And just like any other employees, they, too, need training support to improve their skills and update their knowledge.
If your salespeople aren’t exactly native English speakers, then it sort of goes without saying that you should translate your training materials into their native languages to maximize their learning potential. By allowing them to learn and absorb new knowledge using the language they are most comfortable with, they will be able to easily retain the new knowledge and information and apply them to their sales function.
There’s no need to overspend for a human translator or work extra hours on manual translation work. With EdApp’s AI Translation tool, you can translate your sales training materials into over 100 languages within just a few minutes. Worry not as it performs way far better than most translation software. This is because it harnesses Google’s powerful Machine Learning Cloud Translation Engine, which means your local sales team will receive the most accurate translation, every single time. It also saves you time surveying your teams on their preferred languages, as the AI translation feature uses your learner’s default mobile device settings to select your learners’ preferred language.
10. Ensure mobile accessibility
Last but not least on this list of sales training techniques, you should also consider bringing your training to mobile. It’s common for sales reps to have their smartphones glued to their hands. It’s no surprise, given that they’re constantly communicating with clients and accessing some information on social media. With this in mind, why not make your training also accessible through their mobile devices?
With mobile learning, your sales reps have the freedom to take the learning on the go. They can check the sales trends and techniques while taking a quick coffee break, or check product updates while waiting for the bus. This, in turn, significantly increases course completion and engagement rates among your sales team, most especially since they are in full control of their learning.
EdApp’s microlearning approach uses smartphone technology to simplify learning and make the training more accessible and convenient for its users. All EdApp-authored e-learning courses are designed to be mobile responsive, which means they will automatically resize to match the size of any mobile screen.
Additionally, EdApp’s mobile app functions almost in the same way as other mobile apps. Like the popular social media apps Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, it can also send push notifications to inform your sales team of new lessons, deadlines, and prizes. And as we’ve established above, this platform doesn’t require any knowledge of coding, scripting, or any other complex concepts. Course authoring and delivery can be done in just a few clicks—no need to overspend your time and money to deliver high-class training activities for your sales team.
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