Since cavemen could communicate with grunts (and draw crude, stick-figure pitches on the walls of caves), people have been bartering and selling. In other words, sales have been around as long as mankind. And it has evolved alongside us. This is essential to consider when crafting modern sales training programs. As millennials dominate more of the workforce, training must adapt to their needs, and their learning styles.
Stuffy, traditional classroom settings have gone the way of the dinosaur. You need training programs that help your people to do more than discover fire or invent the wheel. Training should enable them to wield both so your organization can flourish in the modern age.
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Key Strategies for Improving Your Sales Training Programs
When crafting an effective training program, there are three key elements you have to take into consideration: efficiency, drive, and engagement. Read on to learn how to incorporate all three to improve your training.
Adaptive Learning and Sales Training Programs
Adaptive learning is, arguably, one of the most important components of sales training because it optimizes efficiency. Adaptive training is a technology and data-driven approach that meets the individual where they are and customizes learning to maximize their results.
Also called microlearning, this high-impact training provides greater efficacy and personalization by reporting each individual’s progress, results, and needs in granular detail. By adjusting to each learner, no one has to sit through content they already know.
With this coaching, you identify and address individual problem areas and knowledge gaps. But what are the results? Incorporating this learning into sales training programs maximizes productivity among sales teams, which means increased revenue through sales.
Key benefits of adaptive learning include personalization and real-time adjustments to shifting needs and demands, faster training so sales teams can spend more time selling, and access to blended learning anywhere because sales reps need to learn on the go.
“Adaptive learning should be non-negotiable. Sales and business aren’t static things. They are constantly evolving. And training should follow suit so your teams survive and thrive, even in an economic ice age. For companies, this element offers organization-wide benefits like the ability to leverage user data, the elimination of inefficient training, and lower support requests.” – Stacey McKibbin, Consilio CEO
The Mental Game: Addressing Employee Mentality and Drive
One of the hardest things to do can sometimes get your people to feel motivated and driven to participate and engage in sales training programs. Stacey offered some more insights.
“One of the hardest things to do sometimes is get your people motivated and driven to not only participate, but to really engage in sales training. We are asked all the time about our ability to engage more tenured sales folks in this process because they are seen as ‘beyond training.’ They already know what to do, so how can training help them? But that’s the problem. No one is ever ‘done’ with training. Imagine if Tom Brady just stopped showing up to practice. His team and coaches would have had something to say about that. And he’s arguably the best quarterback of all time. It doesn’t matter your tenure; it’s your commitment to being the best at the fundamentals that matters! Ask Mozart or any top performer in any field. It takes lots and lots of practice. It’s a lifetime commitment.” – Stacey Mckibbin, Consilio CEO
Luckily, there are several ways to address drive to ensure employee mentality is primed for success. Some common tactics to employ include:
- Incorporating relevant knowledge checks and assessments
- Using custom, branded training materials (learning portals, books, welcome packages, learning journals, etc.)
- Including hands-on learning through extended reality
- Providing simulations and stimulating practice scenarios
- Using polling, breakout rooms, and Q&As
- Using employee surveys to better measure satisfaction, culture, and engagement
- Sustained action after training ends
- Fostering open communication
- Including measurable, meaningful metrics
- Ensuring your training is flexible
- Ensuring your leadership has bought in and is leading the change
- Incentivizing engagement and participation with rewards
Still, priming someone for training is typically better done by tailoring it for their personality style, which understanding DiSC personality types is great for. DiSC stands for dominant, influence, stability, and conscientiousness.
So, for high ‘D’s, you want to appeal to their sense of winning and competition. They are the epitome of “in it to win it!” For high ‘i’s, you want to appeal to their desire to be recognized. Invite them to share best practices with the group, enroll them in the role of “cheerleader” for the training itself, and use their enthusiasm and ability to win others over to get the rest of the team excited about the training.
For high ‘S’s, on the other hand, leverage their teamwork and camaraderie skills. Get them to buddy up with a training nay-sayer 1:1 to have a heart to heart, or have them assist with the project management aspect of getting the training scheduled and ready to go. They want to make sure everyone is included.
And for high ‘C’s? They want to be right (and fear being wrong), so prep them ahead of time for what to expect. Seek out their input on best practices, as well as what they see as potential roadblocks to implementing the skills post-training.
It is also essential to adhere to the “⅓ : ⅔ principle” in your sales training, meaning that a third of your training should be presented by a coach and two-thirds should actively engage learners through think-write-share, role-playing, or reflection exercises.
Lastly, one of the most innovative strategies is including gamification in sales training. Which, conveniently, is the perfect segue for the final element of successful sales training.
Gamification in Sales Training
When assessing employee mentality and drive, it is nearly impossible to disentangle it from engagement.
In many ways, they are two sides of the same coin. Incorporating gamification in sales training programs is an excellent way to boost engagement and maximize results. When training is fun and exciting, employees are more engaged.
Waterboarding your sales team with endless PowerPoint slides, text-based screens, and static infographics is not only a crime against sales humanity, but it is the quickest way to disengage your people. Gamification leverages innovative methods like:
- Personalized challenges
- Game-based eLearning with different levels to overcome
- Scores, badges, and rewards to foster healthy competition and enjoyment
- Virtual reality (VR)
- Augmented reality (AR)
- Artificial Intelligence (A.I.)
By enhancing the user experience, this approach maximizes engagement, knowledge transfer, and results. Before we know it, nearly 75% of the global workforce will be composed of millennials. So you have to adapt and accommodate them.
“Sales is not a spectator sport. Your team needs to actively engage and participate to continuously improve their craft and refine their fundamentals. Gamification in sales training enables your people to do just that and have fun while they do it, which is incidentally also great for culture.” – Stacey
Premier Sales Training Programs in California
What separated the cavemen from other species as the world changed was their ingenuity and ability to adapt and take advantage of their resources. When crafting sales training programs, you must follow suit. We have come a long way from living in caves, but we will never stop evolving and adapting. Neither will your sales training tactics. This evolution and adaptability are how your team can master your sales environment.
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