Today, most sales organizations are still enabling salespeople with classroom onboarding, certifications, and assessments. These methods are outdated and don’t reflect the dynamic, responsive way modern sellers engage with buyers. And they’re hurting your bottom line.
Salespeople are hungry for an immersive, interactive learning experience – one that delivers the right content and guidance at the right time through the channels where they live.
And reps have every reason to have this appetite. Technology has transformed the way we sell – so it’s time technology changed the way we approach sales training, too.
Most Organizations Get Sales Training Wrong
Sales training is typically treated like a box that needs to be ticked: Certify reps and they have been “trained.” But the one-directional, static learning formats dominating our industry don’t support the breadth of scenarios reps encounter in the field.
Quizzes, certifications, and classroom sessions can’t cover every unique selling situation, nor can they prove long-term knowledge retention.
A global survey by McKinsey & Company found that effective training:
- provides content that meets the learner’s needs,
- happens on a continuous basis, and
- adopts modern delivery channels and techniques, such as digital content libraries and gamification.
If these elements sound familiar, it’s because they mirror the methods used by leading consumer education platforms. Gamification has led to Duolingo’s success, while self-guided, just-in-time video courses and microcontent from Khan Academy, Coursera, Udacity, and Codeacademy have yielded numerous success stories. A close look at how these platforms drive comprehension and retention reveals a pattern: Interactive methods that meet learners where they are, with content in context, yield optimal results.
Effective Sales Training is Dynamic
Sellers are people, too – and the way they want to learn is no different.
But there is an additional layer to consider: Contemporary selling is more dynamic than ever, and sellers need ongoing training that helps them navigate their ever-changing sales environments. Effective training requires elements that mimic the different ways sellers and buyers interact. Harvard Business Review explains, “Most of the problems we encounter during our everyday working lives are ill defined rather than well structured, so they do not have an objectively correct solution, requiring adaptive rather than technical learning.”
Training must, therefore, extend beyond the textbook – teaching reps to apply techniques and methodologies to real-world scenarios.
For instance, my team stages workshops where we critique buyer calls and then role-play, which reinforces knowledge by allowing reps to act out what they’ve learned. But training can’t stop there. Because no single workshop, session, or quiz can cover everything reps need to know, self-guided learning becomes essential. This is where technology plays a critical part.
Great Training Requires Great Technology
The right approach paired with the right technology is the key to unlocking sales training success.
Advanced platforms have the ability to provide insight and guidance next to content, enabling the self-guided experience reps need to be flexible. On top of that, solutions that have invested in AI and machine learning can learn alongside reps – continuously curating and recommending content that allows sellers to stay relevant to their buyers.
Consider the following example: A rep is engaging a prospect in the healthcare industry. To prepare for her upcoming call, she must understand the way healthcare sales operates and what her contact’s pain points are – and the certification she completed six months ago is inapplicable. She turns to her sales enablement platform to find relevant content paired with expert sales methodology, giving her the just-in-time training she needs to have an effective conversation.
Sales Training for Today’s Sales Reps
Immersive learning experiences unburden reps of monotonous and static approaches and empower them with actionable knowledge. The result? Businesses that invest in continuous training see an increase in quota attainment as well as increased retainment and higher win rates.
Salespeople can’t sell effectively unless they learn effectively. It’s time we set them up for success with the perfect combination of sales training and technology.