At the end of the day, the majority of companies are hugely reliant on sales to achieve success. If you don’t generate sufficient turnover and profit, chances are your organisation will fail or founder. Therefore, it is in an executive or manager’s best interests to find ways of improving sales team performance, particularly in the knowledge-intensive arena of technical sales training. Product knowledge training has long been held as one of the secret weapons of successful sales organisations.
From changing the company culture and hiring more talented staff to providing incentives and introducing performance-based bonuses, there are a number of different techniques and tactics to boost bottom-line conversions. However, several of these approaches are short-term fixes and won’t lead to prolonged prosperity. That being the case, a more sustainable and sure-fire strategy is required.
This is where the boons and benefits of training become apparent. By teaching your sales teams new skills, expertise and knowledge, they will feel more comfortable at work, be better equipped to carry out their role and inevitably deliver better results. Training can change workforce behaviour, enable personal growth and transform a company’s fortunes, which is beneficial for both individuals and enterprises.
However, training presents a few problems too. First and foremost, some managers are reluctant to invest in certain teaching methods, even though the potential advantages are vast. This is because traditional training courses and programmes don’t always motivate or inspire. Employees are often swamped with information on how to be a better salesperson in an environment that isn’t conducive to learning. What’s more, simply telling members of staff what they need to know won’t increase retention rates.
Even so, there are a few ways in which you can improve your sales team performance without having to follow or adhere to traditional methods of training.
Although the individual members of your team will share some of the same qualities and quirks, which is what makes them such great sellers, they are bound to have one particular thing in common. Today, nearly every salesperson owns a smartphone or tablet to communicate with friends or colleagues, access personal or work-related information and help them carry out daily tasks and responsibilities. Therefore, it makes complete sense to make training available on these mobile devices as well.
According to research by Towards Maturity, 70 per cent of learning and development staff were either using or planning to introduce mobile learning by 2014. 62 per cent said this was to deliver learning content to support formal learning, 54 said it would help communication and collaboration, while 43 per cent wanted to support the application of learning back at work. Thus, there are numerous opportunities and options available when it comes to introducing mobile sales training.
Multi-device and mobile training is a fundamental part of our solution at Wranx. Our case studies have that found many workers prefer to take part in training outside of their normal working hours, such as on the daily commute or while relaxing at home. With this in mind, we made sure that employees can begin their learning experience in the morning on a smartphone, pick it up again on the office PC and then complete the training at home on a tablet. When it comes to sales team training, you have the power to update learning content remotely and introduce new subjects or concepts when you feel it would be appropriate.
The sales floor can be quite an intense, fast-paced and heated place at the best of times. It is easy for tensions between individuals and the whole team to spiral out of control if sales aren’t captured or closed. However, what if there was a way to provide your employees with a bit of light relief while maintaining the competitive element of sales and introducing new concepts to learn? Well, there is and it’s called gamification.
Gamification is the theory of applying game mechanics and techniques to everyday situations. It taps into the wants and needs of a human’s impulses of status and achievement to engage and motivate. Essentially, individuals develop their skills by earning points and badges while playing games and following storylines. It might sound more fun than informative, but gamification takes influence from behavioural science, motivational theory, human psychology and video game design to effectively teach information and change an employee’s way of thinking.
Wranx has developed a science driven gamification model that interests, incentivises and engages your employees. With 300 different achievements to win, which can be compared with colleagues, your sales team will retain their competitive instincts while learning about new concepts and topics. We also encourage employees by letting them know what is required to obtain more prestigious awards and rank their performance on a workforce leaderboard.
One of the biggest mistakes a company can make is assuming that training finishes when the course or programme is complete. By doing this, the only way of knowing whether training or tuition actually worked is to wait until members of staff get back into the working environment and encounter the problems they were taught about. From a sales point of view, you can see whether individuals are generating more money after their learning experience, but this doesn’t provide detailed insights into their newly acquired skill set and knowledge base.
For this reason, measurement should also be a pivotal part of your approach towards improving sales team performance. In the past, training was assessed through examinations or appraisals at the end of course. However, employees struggle to remember information in this scenario, which isn’t a fair evaluation of their learning. But there is another way…
Wranx has developed a version of accelerated learning known as spaced repetition. We ask employees various questions on a regular basis to find out whether they understand certain concepts or notions. That way, we know for sure whether they can move onto a new topic or need further teaching. On top of that, our deep-dive reporting facility provides insights into cohort knowledge retention rates, progress over time and employee rankings.
So, if you’re struggling to improve sales team performance or want to find another way of incentivising and motivating employees, consider implementing mobile training and gamification, but don’t forget about measurement.