Three of the best qualities of online sales training programs are that they are:
- Self-directed, offering your B2B sales team the ability to complete courseware on their own schedule
- Available anywhere the public internet is, providing the flexibility for your sales reps to go through the curriculum from home, office or while travelling
- Can provide a lot of detail in digestible amounts, and test users as they progress through the content
These positive qualities can easily be flipped into negative attributes if the training program isn’t up to the calibre of the needs of your B2B sales team. As a training manager or co-ordinator, your reps have objectives they need to meet, outside of their training goals including:
- Customers demanding face time, product information and the attention of your service resources
- Revenue quotas to attain
- Personal demands of family, health and life balance when work hours don’t provide many opportunities for learning
- Reporting requirements like CRM forecasting, expense reports, team meetings and e-mail correspondence from within and outside your company
When you line up your training goals against all these competing interests, you want to deliver training content which is engaging, measurable, relevant to your team’s job, and up to date. Here are four key tips on developing an online sales curriculum your company’s sales managers will thank you for, and your sales team will be able to get the results they need with minimal impact meeting their other professional goals.
Dynamic Content Beats Static Text and Images
If you are a field sales representative who is frequently travelling to customer locations, the idea of sitting down to a complex set of all-text courseware can be intimidating before you get past the first paragraph of learning. Like a great blog post, you can create some compelling prose which inspires for the short term, however for busy B2B sales reps, you are prone to lose the context of the curriculum if you drop lengthy eBooks of course materials into your company’s learning library.
As much as you, the reader, and I, the writer love the written word (hey, you’ve got this far, you must appreciate the written word) however when it comes to delivering the best sales training content, you want to leverage platforms which enable HTML5 content. Graphics, video, infographics and testing modules to ensure your students are getting full value for their time investment. HTML5 friendly learning platforms ensure the training content is available on multiple browsers, mobile devices and your give your reps chances to turn down time into quality eLearning time. If your training content has a good blend of
- And some text for good measure
Your content has a better chance of hitting a home run with the sales team.
A Learning Content Platform Which Allow for Content Curation, Modular Learning Delivery and Future-Proof
Since we’ve established dynamic content rules, and HTML5, device agnostic delivery is the best way to deliver it, it’s time to zero in on the content itself. You don’t have to write all of your content from scratch. Curate intelligence from
- Product management documentation
- Updated marketing materials from campaigns which are relevant
- Successful sales presentations and proposals, vetted by sales management
- Competitor web content, industry analyst reports
- Customer testimonial videos and/or success stories
Where ever possible, take existing, proven content and mix it in with new messaging to keep your curriculum fresh. Deliver the content in short modules which can be easily updated, to keep it fresh, relevant and impactful.
Provide Incentives for Learning with Gamification
Getting your team to not only skim through your online learning content, but to absorb and learn the content sometimes takes more than asking your eam to do so. Gamification and sales training are a perfect match. You have a team of goal oriented professionals, who are, by their nature, competitive and add some rewards for effective completion of a training course, you are going to get some great results.
You can either subscribe to online training programs which have built-in incentives for achievement, but if digital badges and a ranking system isn't motivation enough, you can always set up your own contest for your reps to strive to win!
Engaging Online Sales Training Your Reps will Buy In To
Remember all of those conversations you've had with your sales team about their favorite online courses they've taken?
Let's face it, many of the online training courses involve a lot of reading, product training with quizzes with questions which are needlessly ambiguous, or overly detail oriented. As a training manager, you want to balance the interests of providing challenging training content, with prioritizing the various competiting interests a sales rep has on their mind. Knowing finite details of the specifications of your products is not nearly as important as knowing where to find the data should your customer need it.
Fact is, by the time a client engages with a sales representative, they are usually as much as seventy percent of the way to a decision on buying anyway. The focus of online sales training should be geared towards sales methodology, customer value proposition and your company's differentiators, and finite technical details.
What sorts of online sales training programs have you tried? What have the results been? Tell us about it below in the comments section.