Sales Team Training – The 5 Challenges of Training a Mobile Team

Sales team training is a long-term investment with a number of challenges that multi-national corporations, SMEs, start-ups, sales directors, managers, and decision makers must overcome. But as technology has become more prevalent in the workplace, organisations have figured out that mobile sales teams – that is, sales teams which are spread across various regions of the world – can benefit massively from online software and mobile applications, online software and mobile applications which are designed to turn employees into experts with quality training programmes that benefit existing development initiatives.

Although the number and quality of applications for training sales teams has grown, though, there are core challenges with training a mobile sales team to consider.

Let’s take a look at these core challenges to raise awareness and to better your understanding of the experiences training a mobile sales team will bring.

1. Cost

The true cost of training a mobile sales team is hard to determine; every organisation will differ, but all organisations will face the same challenges – flight/ other transport costs, accommodation costs, and loss of communication/ potential sales from a salesperson leaving their territory. The true cost of these can only truly be determined through experience and bringing a salesperson, salespersons, or an entire sales team from across one region to one location for training multiple times.

Of course, this challenge can be overcome simply and easily by providing training on mobile devices through a mobile app or web app. By giving employees the ability to learn from their smartphone or tablet, you will empower them with the ability to train at their own pace and when it is convenient for them and your organisation. This will cut costs dramatically and free up internal business resources.

2. Accessibility

Right now, there are over one hundred smartphones on the market, over fifty tablet computers, three main mobile operating systems, and over 30 versions of those operating systems. As such, it is not always possible to deliver training to employees through a mobile application, as not all applications have been developed for Android, iOS, and Windows Phone, or the latest versions of those OSs. This potential lack of accessibility can negatively affect training and inconvenience the user.

This challenge can be overcome by implementing a company policy for compatible devices, aided with funding/ partnerships with carriers, to limit the expense (if any) to employees. Another option is to develop a web application, which can be used from anywhere in the world with a web browser. One thing is for sure, the smartphone is not going away and mobile learning will become an essential component in the employee training playbook of any savvy learning and development professional.

3. Change

Organisational cultures change, products and services change, consumer behaviour changes… sales team training has to adapt to constant change to survive, and it is critical that the company they work for is able to communicate new product information, competitor information, promotions, and other things to them as soon as possible.

This is one of the biggest advantages to training a mobile sales team through a mobile or web application – training and resources can be instantly updated and changed, which makes mobile training more efficient and flexible. For example if a new product is introduced, a salesperson can simply take out their smartphone and complete the most recent and relevant training module.

4. Knowledge gaps

Organisations invest a lot of resources into analysis to determine knowledge gaps and training needs for employees, and mobile sales teams are particularly vulnerable to this behavioural trait. The knowledge gap was defined in 1994 by George Loewnstein using but one word, curiosity, a feeling which stems from a lack of understanding and the unknown, or in a sales teams case, a lack of training and education.

Mobile training applications are an ideal solution to filling knowledge gaps among salespersons, for they can include any level of information about customers, brand philosophy, basic sales techniques, product/ service information, promotions, plus much more. Wranx has been designed to plug knowledge gaps and areas of difficulty through Spaced Repetition, a scientifically-proven algorithm for optimising the order of questions  for advanced knowledge retention.

5. One-to-one coaching

Considered by some to be the best way to empower employees with the skills needed to sell, one-to-one coaching can be nigh on impossible to achieve with a mobile sales team, as the very nature of the mobile sales role demands employees to travel and not stay in the same place for extended periods, or stick to a region as the sole contact for customers which limits coaching potential significantly.

Thanks to technology, employees no longer have to come into head office for one-to-one coaching, though. Employees can experience one-to-one coaching on a desktop computer, tablet, or smartphone from anywhere in the world by using Wranx, our fully optimised and science-driven learning platform for sales teams which is designed to deliver advanced knowledge retention and accelerated learning for all levels of sales professionals.

Ultimately, one-to-one mobile coaching is going to educate and train employees in a consistent way, and sales teams are going to feel incentivised and supported during the sales process.

Written by: Persia Shahkarami

Persia is passionate about helping organizations improve employee engagement across their professional development initiatives.
Published: 10 Sep, 2014