In part one of this series, "Why Spaced Learning is Important in Sales Training", we learned what spaced learning is and why it is critical for learning officers to apply this technique.
Now it is time to see which companies are using this skill to improve sales training. As the title of this article implies, the results are impressive. Let's dig in.
A Quick Review of Spaced Learning
The spaced learning approach takes information from the traditional one-day training blitz conferences and spaces it out into smaller sessions over longer periods of time. As Director of Learning at LEO, Imogen Casebourne succinctly explains:
If you are designing a learning program with spacing in mind, you will present learners with a concept or learning objective, allow a period of time to pass (days, weeks, or months) and then present the same concept again. This might involve a few repetitions, or many, depending on how complex the content is.Spaced learning is effective because it balances the amount of time spent learning with the amount of time spent between learning. In his research "Spacing Learning Over Time", Dr. Will Thalheimer outlines the benefits of spaced learning and repetition in detail.
Spaced learning and repetition is not a new teaching method, but one that has been around for many years.
Spaced Learning Leads To Revenue Increase
Anyone with a formal education is familiar with spaced learning. You many not have realized it, but teachers have been using this technique since the dawn of the teaching profession.
Spaced learning and repetition is a proven teaching method that some CLOs are bringing to corporate training.
In a 2010 research, a German bank trained 64 salespeople on complex sales skills using spaced learning. The salespeople were divided in two groups. One group was trained using the traditional one-day training event and the other group using spaced learning.
Both groups were given the same amount of information.
The group that was trained using spaced learning were more likely to apply what they learned and showed on-the-job behavior changes.
In writing about this research, Stephen J. Meyer gives an explanation for such amazing results:
- This study concluded that the spaced learning worked in part because it gave salespeople the opportunity to practice what they’d learned before moving on to the next topic.
- These practice opportunities not only improved the learners’ skills, but also had a big impact on motivation.
- When learners had a chance to try out their skills early in the learning process, they could see that the content they were learning was effective and relevant to their jobs.
- As a result, these learners came to the the next training session in a more positive and accepting frame of mind, which made them more receptive to the next training topic.
- The learn-a-little, try-a-little structure created a positive feedback loop. The more people used what they learned, the more they wanted to learn.
The goal of corporate trainers is to see behavior changes in their sales reps. The goal of sales reps is to see increase sales. Both outcomes are possible using spaced learning in training.
Pep Boys Saves Money Using Spaced Learning
In another application of spaced learning, Pep Boys conducted a Retail Safety and Loss Prevention training. Pep Boys reported a voluntary participation rate of 95%, a 45% reduction in costly claim counts, and increased safety awareness in their stores and service centers.
This reduction in loss came at the same time Pep Boys experienced an increase in the number of stores and employees.
In addition to the desired results of their training, the company saw a positive shift in culture within the entire corporation. Employees made safety a top priority.
Using spaced learning yielded a far greater ROI than expected.
Why did Pep Boys experience such great results?
In his article in Learning Solutions Magazine, Karl Kapp explains that
learners retain access to memorized information over long periods because the spacing prompts deeper processing of the learned material.
It makes sense. Learning in small bites just works. Yet, we teach in large epic sizes. Why?
AS IF THAT WASN’T ENOUGH INFORMATION
To add to the success stories, the support team at Exact Target saw an increase in their first-call problem resolution by 45% and their new client contracts doubled in size. It is safe to assume that sales reps would be happy to have their customer base (and potentially income) double in size.
There are many successful companies who currently use spaced learning and repetition in their training. Sales reps need and deserve the same opportunity to retain and apply the training their company is paying for.
Even though doing the weekend-warrior style training is easier, cheaper, and occasionally a good fit, it should not be the primary method used to train sales reps.
Spaced learning has a proven track record of success.
If the goal of learning departments is to improve the sales reps (product knowledge, closing the sale, etc.), then the traditional way of training does not work.
With knowledge transfer and retention (http://www.bottomlineperformance.com/see-results-learning-remembering-survey/) being the highest obstacle faced when training, it is not merely a good idea, but imperative, that CLOs change the way they train their sales reps.
Using spaced learning and repetition is the key to unlock the learning potential of sales reps. The results are impressive and more corporations are getting on board.
How can your training department join the winning team?
Be sure to read "How to Apply Spaced Learning in Your Company" to begin the journey.