Mark Bornstein is Director of Content Marketing at ON24.
Before I retired my briefcase and became a marketer, I spent 12 years in high tech sales. Those seemed like much simpler times. When I think back on those first few companies I worked for, I marvel at how quickly I was able to get up and running. Sales training was easy back then; sales teams mostly worked from the same office headquarters regardless of where the customers were. Sales calls involved either telephones or airplanes. I was able to work closely with senior sales people who mentored me carefully. Sales meetings and training sessions occurred regularly and new selling tools were quickly created and distributed to the team whenever we needed them. I had easy access to product managers, sales leaders, and peers. If I needed information or guidance, I never had to look farther than a few cubicles away.
Today everything is different. Large enterprise organizations
support sales teams that are scattered across the globe. Even mid-sized companies
often have a global footprint with many field reps positioned in faraway lands.
The onboarding and training of new sales reps typically consists of a week at
corporate headquarters and watching endless Powerpoint presentations from
various departments (in other words, being at the receiving end of the
proverbial firehose of information). There is little time for actual training or
introduction to the tools that the reps need to become successful. Once
returned to the field, the new sales rep typically relies on conference calls,
internal Web portals, or simply intuition to get started in the right
According to a recent Selling Power survey cited in this white paper, “Get More Value from Your Sales Training Efforts,” only 12 percent of sales executives felt that their sales reps were well prepared to have initial conversations with qualified leads and prospects. This is a frightening statistic. A statistic that is a direct result of sales training methodologies that no longer meet the needs of today’s global, mobile workforce.
The new math is this: to be truly effective, sales training needs to follow the sales rep. They need instant access to tools, resources, and even coaching, in real-time, from wherever they are. Fortunately, with the emergence of virtual training solutions, sales reps are now forced to exist on islands, disconnected from the kind of daily interaction and information they need to be successful.
Virtual sales training has finally enabled companies to bring their field reps back into the fold. Whether it’s for new hire onboarding or ongoing sales training, virtual training environments create an engaging and interactive learning experience that increases sales expertise and fosters a sense of community within sales organizations.
While going virtual may sound futuristic, it’s really quite simple. In a virtual sales training center, you can attend live or on-demand training webcasts, download content, and most importantly engage directly with sales leadership and peers through a variety of interactive tools. Virtual sales enablement solves a number of problems by: putting sales trainers back in the equation, enabling social sharing which raises skill levels, and fostering a sense of community and culture within your sales team, no matter how geographically dispersed they are.
It’s time for a change. Seventy-six percent of the sales leaders polled in the Selling Power survey report that they are still relying on live, in-person training methods. For companies supporting a global sales force, that means choosing between constantly taking your reps out of the field or simply leaving them alone to do the best that they can with limited training and resources. Not a good set of choices.
In a global marketplace, our customers are everywhere. And where the customer goes, so goes the sales rep. Too often, we leave these reps in isolation to fend for themselves. Virtual sales enablement is the key to getting them off the island and ready for success.
Interested in learning more? Check out how ON24’s sales enablement solutions can help your team succeed.