5 tips to create a smarter sales team with e-learning

Any good salesperson will possess the ability to give you a smooth pitch about their product or service, answer any questions in a professional way, and then seal the deal before you have even noticed.

However, any great salesperson won’t necessarily do much talking. Instead, they will listen to what you require rather than just assuming and always have your best interests at heart.

But managing to turn good salespeople into great ones will often come down to training, where you not only improve and enhance their natural adeptness, but also introduce new concepts and ideas.

Having said that, furnishing your workforce with additional skills and extra knowledge isn’t always straightforward, especially if your sales staff haven’t mastered the skill of listening yet. If this is the case, then you may need to adopt a different approach, such as e-learning.

Why use e-learning for sales training?

In order to improve confidence, impress customers and increase conversions, sales staff will need to know everything about the product or service on offer. With this knowledge, they can identify the problems a prospect is encountering and explain how the benefits of your product or service can overcome them.

But finding the time to introduce training is an obstacle nearly every company faces and something that presents additional challenges for sales managers. Staff don’t always have time to attend a training course and probably don’t want to either.

However, e-learning enables any sales team to brush up on their knowledge or recognise the importance of listening at a time and in a place that suits them. With online e-learning courses available on a wide range of devices, this can even take place on the daily commute or during quiet sales floor periods.

It doesn’t cost that much to implement either and you also benefit from the ability to monitor the learning progress of employees through data reporting tools. But to make the most of any e-learning course, here are 5 tips that should also result in a smarter sales team:

Use micro-learning

In spite of the advantages that e-learning can bring, there is a danger of overwhelming your staff. In fact, a report by Sales Performance International warns that sales training can be too much of a good thing, as approximately 50 per cent of learning content from multi-day sales training is forgotten within five weeks.

Therefore, you should look at using micro-learning instead, which breaks training down into more manageable bite-sized chunks. In addition to being easier to understand, smaller sales training modules can also lead to more impressive retention levels too.

Take TED talks for example, which feature thought leaders and industry professionals teaching us about a wide variety of different subjects through 15-minute videos.

Introduce an element of competition

There is a good chance that your sales staff are already engaged in some healthy rivalry with each other to achieve the most number of commissions in a month. However, you may also want to introduce an element of competition to training as well.

If members of staff are motivated to outperform fellow colleagues when training, they will be more likely to learn with greater efficiency. As long as a framework is in place to ensure employees can’t skim over subjects and modules, there is no reason why this can’t benefit their learning experience.

At Wranx, competition is an integral part of our gamification solution. We show employees what position they are currently occupying on a leaderboard made up of colleagues, which encourages them to take on additional tasks.

Reward employee achievements

While achieving first place in a competition can provide a certain level of satisfaction, sales staff will want actual rewards as well. Thankfully, it is possible to establish an achievement-based training program through e-learning.

Members of staff will want to hear they are doing a good job while carrying out their daily responsibilities, but also during training. So, use specific examples of their success instead of generalising, as this could adversely affect morale.

In its Path to Excellence initiative, Best Buy awarded the sales force with badges when they utilised concepts previously taught in training. The levels of recognition also correlated with how much each store was selling too.

Provide detailed feedback

In the workplace, supervisors can be on hand to provide analysis and feedback on how a sales call went to help improve that particular employee’s future performance. Therefore, it makes complete sense to adopt a similar procedure with training.

But through e-learning, sales managers and supervisors are given access to a whole host of learning metrics that are far easier to understand and explain than simply gauging opinion from a telephone call.

A similar approach was utilised by Walgreens for its “Well Experience” training exercise. This simulated a pharmacy environment and provided employees with insight into new store layouts as well as “go live” performance coaching. As a result of knowing what they did right and wrong, employee confidence levels rose from 42 per cent to 90 per cent.

Share success stories

Seeing as employee attitude affects 40 to 80 per cent of customer satisfaction according to the National Business Research Institute, members of your sales staff must always adopt the right frame of mind in the workplace.

Unfortunately, this isn’t always possible if certain employees are experiencing a dry patch in sales. So, you must share success stories of when training helped a particular individual boost their sales statistics in order to generate greater interest in learning.

Whenever an employee closes a deal at Yesware, they have their very own “closing song” played across the office, which the rest of the team must get up to and dance in celebration. Putting the spotlight on individual accomplishments that have come about through training will pay huge dividends to your organisation’s overall prosperity.

So, when the time comes to boost your sales team’s skills and expertise, consider adopting an e-learning training solution, which uses microlearning, introduces an element of competition, rewards employee achievements, provides detailed feedback, and shares success stories.

Written by: Persia Shahkarami

Published: 9 Nov, 2015