Okay, so get this, a company can increase their sales representatives' net sales by 50% through continuous training. But currently, only a little more than half of companies have a formal sales training program in place. This then begs the question: Why doesn't every business invest in continuous learning and development for their sales force? Probably because the companies' leadership just don't know the facts.
Those in leadership positions oftentimes don't understand that sales representatives depend on basic training, coaching and guidance so they can effectively sell. The sales force for any company, product or service needs to understand the competitive landscape. They need to know buyer personas. They need to be fully informed about the brand, the company, and the service or product. This information will allow them to say what they need to say, when they need to say it, leading to more sales and increased selling confidence. And the painful fact is, all of these factors change over time, so training never ends. The only way to feasibly keep up with this is through a quality Learning Management System.
1. Traditional Training Is Problematic
Unfortunately, many companies see training as an on-boarding process for new hires to go through. Once trained, a sales representative is prepared, right? Wrong. Very, very wrong. In fact, within 6 months of training, sales representatives will forget roughly 80% of the information that they learned--some even claim this loss of knowledge can occur within 1 month. This is a very depressing figure considering the fact that companies spend about 5 billion dollars every year on sales training.
The reason that so much information, and money, is lost is two-fold. First, once-off training is insufficient due to a constantly evolving market and updates in products and services. Second, the type of training that is being utilized is based on out-of-date practices. It is heavily reliant on classroom-type training, instead of including self-learning aspects, interaction with leadership, and increased real-world application. Now, there is nothing wrong with classroom-setting learning. There is absolutely a place for it. But when the training involves large volumes of information being spewed out within a short timeframe, there just isn't a high likelihood of absorption or success.
2. LMS Is Continuous
So how can companies better guarantee information absorption? Continuous learning through various teaching methods. The problem with this is that most companies can not afford a full-time trainer that is available whenever a sales representative needs a refresher course or an update. The solution is electronic learning options.
With electronic solutions, a sales force can get little bits of information each and every day. They can also get that information wherever they are, whether it be on a sales call, in the office or at home.
Another major bonus to using this type of training system is that sales representatives can quickly learn about a new sales skill and immediately go out and practice on a potential customer. The real-world applicability of on-going training and development is endless. And with 42% of sales representatives claiming that they don't have highly needed information for cold calling, there is little to argue about. Sales representatives need better information, more often.
Alongside classroom-style training, forms of development and learning, like video coaching, micro-learning, mobile training and social learning are the most effective ways of training a sales force. And the most exciting part of this type of training is that it is perfect for sales teams that are dispersed, both internationally and domestically. InTouchCheck is one agency that assists companies in putting together helpful mobile software.
3. The Sales Force Will Benefit
From an individual sales representative's standpoint, this continuous micro-learning through mobile devices is more learner-centric. The platform allows the individual to choose their preferred format, whether video, audio or another. This flexibility then enables each user to have better control over their learning trajectory. In other words, people learn best the way they learn best, so let them.
An arguably bigger benefit of continuous learning with software is the timeliness of it. A training video, game or audio snippet can be played on-demand. No more waiting for a training session, it's their when and where the sales representative needs it--on their computer, phone, tablet or laptop. Learning is accessible.
Another compelling benefit of "e-continuous learning" is the media-rich aspect of it. The U.S. Department of Education has stated that blended learning is the most effective. The media formats that micro and mobile learning offer combine pictures, music, text and more to ensure a better retention of information. To help get the 'media-rich aspect' of this software right, you can work with a company like DotCom Development.
4. The Employer Benefits
For businesses that employ a sales force, especially one that is dispersed, there are also some key benefits to utilizing a mobile and micro-learning training program.
First, it often tends to be more affordable because it is lower costs over a sustained period rather than paying a hefty sum of money for a trainer to come in and for your entire sales force to be off the road for the training.
Second, it takes less time to develop. A single day or week training session involves considerable planning and development. Micro-learning on the other hand, especially on mobile devices, can slowly be developed, deployed and augmented.
Third, the impact is higher and is measurable. Leadership can supervise the progress of each individual sales representative, as well as getting to see the big picture of the entire sales force.
5. The Customer Benefits
When a sales force has the right information, they can then provide customers with that information. This is what LMS technology allows for. All product and service information is available at the touch of a button. It's correct and it's timely. This, in turn, makes the customer happy. They don't have to wait and they don't have to get frustrated if they receive incorrect facts and figures. This translates into customer loyalty and customer referrals. And when you do get those new leads and referrals, relying on a service like Boomsourcing can be a great place to start.