There’s a common quote that says, “Doing business without advertising is like winking at a girl in the dark. You know what you are doing, but nobody else does”. Wise words that apply just the same to sales.
Because the better an organization’s sales team performs, the more people will know what the organization does. This awareness means more business, more growth, and lasting customer relationships. Yet, 80% of all sales lie with just 8% of sales representatives.
Well, maybe they’re the gifted few. Or perhaps they have the “right personality” for sales. The most likely reason, though, is that this 8% is skilled and knowledgeable about the products and services that they sell, and the customers that they must appeal to.
Enter, sales enablement.
What is sales enablement?
Sales enablement is about providing sales staff with the content, tools, knowledge, and skills that they need to be effective in their roles. This includes up-to-date product information, best practices in selling, tools for building loyal customer relationships, and skills like communication, time management, and persuasion.
But these tools and skills change frequently.
New products and services, new customer demands, and even new sales representatives mean that there are always more learning gaps to fill, and more ways to enable your sales team.
Of course, the obvious solution presents itself as sales team training. But this too has its challenges.
Training often requires a day (or sometimes days) away from the job to attend workshops and conferences. Every time a product changes, or a new sales representative arrives, this must happen again, and again and again. And time away from selling results in, well, fewer sales.
Fortunately, the rise in remote and hybrid work models has taken the use of digital tools to a whole new level. And sales teams can benefit greatly from this digital transformation. Training becomes more convenient as it can happen anytime, anywhere. And organizations have more chances to achieve better results overall. All you need is the right tools to boost your sales enablement strategy.
So, here’s how you can use an LMS (and its features) to train your sales team so that they all perform like the top 8% of the team:
Leverage technology for learning on-the-go
Today, everyone is busy. The hours in a day seem ever constricting, as the list of tasks to perform grows longer. This is especially true when applied to the typical day of a sales representative.
Limited time is split between multiple priorities like cold calling, client meetings, customer research, relationship care, and of course, training. So, for training to become a useful tool in your sales enablement strategy, rather than a disruption to productivity, it must be convenient.
Using an LMS with mobile compatibility—or even better, native LMS mobile apps for iOS and Android, means that sales staff can learn on the go. Learners can access a content library, best practices, and examples via mobile and web, making learning possible at any time, from anywhere. This could be while waiting for a client to arrive at a meeting or during a train ride to work in the mornings.
Accessing training content and boosting sales enablement can get even easier with the right integrations, for instance Salesforce, the widely-used customer relationship management (CRM) tool.
Leveraging a library of ready-made courses, including training on sales skills, will enhance your sales enablement strategy. This way, your salespeople get access to bite-sized video courses they can watch at their own time, even on the go.
Create a consistent brand message
Many times, the sales team is the face of the organization. They represent the personality and purpose of the brand, and how customers perceive the business. This makes it critical for every sales representative to have a consistent understanding of the business, know the products and services it sells inside out, and understand how to interact with customers on its behalf.
The trouble is that sales staff are often spread across different divisions, branches, and sometimes even cities and countries. So it becomes difficult to deliver consistent training. This is just another reason why the right tools can make a true difference to your sales enablement strategy. Online training combined with the appropriate digital tools assist learners to access the same up-to-date content from anywhere in the world.
But, content isn’t always enough. Sometimes, live interaction (even in remote teams) is important.
That’s why learners of sales enablement training should also able to access their instructors in a virtual classroom. Web-based instructor-led training (ILT) sessions allow learners to access live demonstrations and directed discussions with instructors, and sales team members from other locations, from their very own desk, couch, or car. And through online discussion boards peer-to-peer conversations are encouraged and learners can share information, knowledge, and pitfalls, but also keep in touch with each other.
Make sales team training competitive
It’s no secret that sales are a competitive game. In fact, a competitive drive is what draws many sales staff to the job. So, one of the best ways to get learners engaged in sales skills training is through gamification.
From leaderboards, points, and badges, to levels and rewards, eLearning can be competitive and fun for the whole sales team. This motivates staff to learn more and to learn faster so that they can perform better in assessments and complete courses quickly. Every achievement opens up a new challenge, with a new incentive.
And when eLearning courses are relevant and well-designed, this performance translates into a more skilled and knowledgeable sales team, and more sales for the organization.
Provide ongoing product knowledge training
For any business to remain relevant, its products must evolve and sometimes even be replaced so that they continue to meet customer demands. This means new features, benefits, and applications that customers must be made aware of.
For this reason, ongoing product knowledge training and sales enablement are integral parts of any sales role. Sales staff must be consistently up-to-date about the products they are selling, even when it comes to a minor update. But sifting through 20-page product manuals and catalogs can be time-consuming and wasteful.
Through an engaging sales training strategy, you can help your salespeople learn all they need to know easily, and on the spot. This way, you will be able to save precious time and also improve your team’s product knowledge.
What’s good about online training is that you can update the content as often as needed. And assign your employees new courses regularly. Andrew Greene, senior product analyst at ISUZU noticed that after transitioning to online training,
“[…] sales have increased and employees are more confident selling vehicles because they know the products better. [Salespeople] feel now more in touch with the brand because they’re receiving this training on a regular basis.”
Focusing on essential skills
What’s the best way to sell?
This is an impossible question to answer, right? Because it depends on the type of customer, the type of product being sold, and the most recently popularized sales skills. For example, today many believe that cold calling is a thing of the past and that social selling is the way of the future.
So, how do you ensure that your sales team is always skilled in the most current selling tools and practices? After all, many think that sales skills training requires practical learning not easily achieved online. But this isn’t always true.
LMS features enhance your sales enablement strategy and training. For example, you can ask employees to import and review live customer calls and demos so that they can learn by example.
Then, learners get to practice their new skills themselves, and get feedback on their sales performance through tests and recorded videos. That’s right. Learners can even record a sales pitch in video or audio format, and then upload it for assessment by an instructor.
But it gets better.
By using qualitative and quantitative assessments, and detailed learner reports, skills gaps can be easily identified. Then, courses can be assigned based on knowledge and performance gaps, meaning that learners get the tailored feedback, coaching, and skills development they need to become more effective.
Evaluate sales training
While implementing your sales enablement strategy, it’s not enough to just have your team take a couple of courses. You need mechanisms in place to gain insights into the training’s effectiveness. Determining how successful your sales training is by using the appropriate metrics can result in adjusting training according to your teams’ needs, saving training time (especially when it comes to new sales hires), and having more sales overall.
A great place to start is by asking for post-training feedback. Learners will get the chance to share their opinion about the sales training they attended and provide you with useful information about what’s working, and what’s not. At the same time, it’s essential that you conduct employee training evaluation through assessments and quizzes. This valuable data collected through reports allows you to pinpoint pain areas, areas of improvement, engagement, completion rates, and more.
Leverage automations as training reminders
Salespeople are usually very busy as we’ve mentioned before. And they’re running against the clock daily. Their goal is to sell as much as possible. And more often than not, they fail to remember any other tasks at bay—i.e., training. Or continuously postpone it for later.
Imagine having to constantly create custom-made emails or send DMs to your sales team to complete their training. It would take sales or HR managers forever to do so. Save time and effort by using automations to remind learners to start, continue, or complete their training courses. In just a few clicks through your LMS, you can send automated emails to your teams, and you’ll witness high completion rates.
Use scenarios in learning
When working with people, there is often not much room for mistakes. A wrong expression, a faulty explanation, or poor product presentation might seriously affect your sales goals and your business’ image. But you can’t just expect your salespeople (especially new hires) to know exactly how to treat any potential customer.
What your sales enablement strategy needs is the opportunity for learners to learn in a safe environment. They need the chance to try out any sales approaches they might have up their sleeve, make mistakes, practice, and get instant feedback without the risk of failure. Scenario-based learning can do wonders, as your sales teams will get to enhance their problem solving and critical thinking skills through a variety of interactive scenarios.
Your salespeople will develop new skills, get more confidence in approaching sales, retain knowledge, and benefit from engaging experiences.
Using an LMS for sales enablement
Sure, sales team training has its challenges. But a reliable LMS, armed with the features discussed above, can prove to be an invaluable tool for ongoing sales enablement.
From product training for sales to sales skills training, an LMS that provides accessibility, convenience, and engaging learning will assist in training your sales team toward success.
Originally published on: 23 Jan 2018 | Tags: Sales Training