Why the Sales Training Process Never Truly Ends

At some point in our careers, we all fall victim to the cheesy, outdated training video. Or maybe it’s one day or week that’s so jam-packed with paperwork and professional precautions that you can’t remember what you were there for in the first place.

Perhaps your superior just threw you into the workforce and said, “Go for it!” However it happened, the real question is, how much of your training do you remember?

TheValueShift created an infographic that compiles research from CEB, Aberdeen Group, and The American Society of Training and Development, among others. The research demonstrates that on average, people forget 70% of what they learned from training within 24 hours. And even though US companies spend about 20 million on training initiatives every year, 90% lose their impact after 120 days. What can we learn from these discouraging statistics?

Research shows that training is a career-long process, especially in sales. Continuous training can result in net sales increase by as much as 50% per rep. Mark Magnacca, president of Allego, adds that organizations using continuous learning techniques “are already seeing dividends in terms of sales rep readiness, increases in positive customer conversations, and higher quota attainment.”

So it’s clear that sales team need continuous training, and that continuous training produces results. What methods are being used in the pursuit of more consistent, on-the-job training techniques?

Core Phases of Learning

Mark Magnacca recommends a model based off of three core phases of learning: curriculum learning, reinforcement learning, and just-in-time learning. Curriculum learning includes events such as courses and testing, or anything that allows the salesperson to gain that solid, wide knowledge base to do their job well.

And Magnacca reminds us that curriculum learning isn’t just for new recruits or rolling out new products. Ensure that your reps have access to curriculum learning like e-learning courses, conferences, and seminars that will refresh the core skills and values needed to sell well.

Reinforcement learning is just what it sounds like–reinforcing curriculum so that content goes from short-term memory to long-term memory. Tools for reinforcement learning include those that provide the information in small bursts, like flashcards or quizzes. Reinforcement learning is something that can be done quickly or on-the-go, and can very easily be accomplished through new resources like mobile apps.

Just-in-time learning is learning that “comes into play when reps are most motivated to learn,” such as right before a big sale or taking on a project that requires refreshing their knowledge. This is why it’s important to have easily available and searchable content that reps can utilize to brush up.

Gamification

Gamification is a learning technique that has recently become a great training resource for businesses. While it’s a method that has been used with children for ages, it is now coming into popularity with adults as technology and educational resources become more widely available. Just like it’s more fun to do math or typing when it involves blasting asteroids headed towards earth, it’s easier to retain critical sales knowledge and stay motivated to learn more when there are games, scores, and rewards involved.

ValueShift’s infographic calls this “the mobile learning imperative, because 80% of corporate learning professionals believe that mobile learning would increase employee engagement, and 100% said they would complete more training if it were delivered in mobile formats. With today’s technology, there are endless ways to learn on-the-go and have a little fun in the process.

According to Brian Trautschold, COO at Ambition, “there’s a whole lot more to gamification than just making sales more fun (and less of a grind). When we see customers leveraging gamification strategically, it’s an incredibly effective culture play — ramping up energy, engagement, and visibility on your sales floor — while also driving long-term behavior change. The key is to align your sales competitions and contests with the goals and KPIs you’ve set for your team. And most importantly: always run them in conjunction with a structured coaching program.”

On The Job Tools

DialSource provides some great on the job tools to aid in the continuous training process. The Live Dashboard display makes it easy to keep track of the progress of various reps, while Live-Call Monitoring and Whisper Mode make just-in-time learning a regular possibility.

Live-Call Monitoring allows managers to tap into agent’s conversations as they are happening. This provides insight into the on the job performance of individual reps, while also allowing managers to ensure that call quality and compliance is consistent. There’s even Auto-Call recording that can record rep’s calls and automatically converts them to MP4 files, which makes performance reviews a breeze and is convenient if your schedule doesn’t allow for monitoring calls live.

Whisper Mode takes this capability to a new level by allowing managers to not only listen in on a call live but also to coach the rep throughout that call. This provides ample opportunity for that just-in-time learning and valuable mentoring experience.

Have You Trained Today?

Don’t put it off any longer. Even if you’ve been in sales for several years, you can benefit from continuous training, and your quotas will benefit too. Utilize the resources available to you, and don’t forget to have fun!