By Caleb Johnson, Director of Strategic Accounts, Expertus
So Many Opportunities, So Little Time
For sales professionals, today’s dynamic business environment can be exhilarating. New tools and social channels are opening doors to an endless stream of prospects.
But this abundance of information and interaction also has its dark side. Sales productivity plummets when reps disrupt their workflow to sift through a glut of unfiltered data — or when they must navigate between apps to complete a simple task.
That’s especially true with learning. Even in modern enterprise environments, reps often can’t keep pace with the latest sales procedures and product information. And they struggle to connect with relevant informal guidance and formal training when it’s needed most. This makes learning engagement almost as frustrating as trying to find a needle in a haystack.
Five Smart Ways to Energize Sales Training
Companies can’t afford to leave sales enablement to chance. The future of your business depends on your ability to develop and sustain an informed, competent, responsive sales team. And the best way to do that is by sharing learning and knowledge resources in a more intelligent way.
Not surprisingly, employees are eager to see improvement. In fact, recent research by the Corporate Executive Board (CEB) indicates that 57% of workers expect more “just in time” learning. Here are five ways your sales organization can make that vision a reality with leading-edge LMS capabilities:
1) Personalize with Prescriptive Learning
Imagine how much more effective it would be to provide learning content dynamically, based on each rep’s unique circumstances and professional attributes. We call this prescriptive learning.
For example, if someone is responsible for selling product A and B in territory X, the LMS prescribes training and knowledge resources related to those products in that location — filtered by the rep’s specific role and level of experience. It’s also possible to deliver content based on learning style and schedule, so the experience is more personally engaging. Because a prescriptive approach makes it easy to connect with meaningful activities and resources, learning becomes a natural part of daily work life.
2) Deliver at the Point of Least Resistance
Legacy e-learning systems taught everyone a brutal truth — the more effort it takes to find content, the less likely busy people will use it. But now, cloud computing and LMS innovation make it possible to combine training modules, performance support and knowledge sharing in a highly accessible, “one-stop” environment that addresses your team’s learning needs, business behaviors and device preferences.
This means that learning can happen “at the point of least resistance.” For example, many reps rely on a cloud-based app like Salesforce.com as their “universal client,” so they can work productively on a desktop, laptop, tablet or smartphone. An LMS should fit seamlessly into this context, so learning activities become part of daily workflow.
With apps like ExpertusONE LMS for Salesforce, data from sales automation and other ERP systems is dynamically exchanged with the LMS in the cloud, eliminating three legacy system roadblocks:
- No need to log-in to a separate LMS
- No more navigating through an unfamiliar “learning” environment
- No data transfer delays between various systems and your LMS.
Without these barriers to learning, your reps can focus on what matters most — staying equipped to achieve their sales goals.
3) Leverage Insights From Your Experts
How do salespeople prefer to “learn the ropes”? Naturally, they want to spend time with your top performers — listening to the stories and advice that only your most successful reps can share. These valuable insights help new hires come up-to-speed more quickly and avoid costly, time-consuming errors.
New LMS technology makes it possible to capture and catalog valuable knowledge from your best people, preserving it for future access on-demand. Video clips, Q&A docs, case briefs, bite-sized how-to modules, and more can easily be found, shared and discussed, using built-in search and social tools. This means field reps have instant access to reliable advice, whenever they need ideas, guidance or validation.
4) Approach Learning as a Serious Game
Organizations are rapidly adopting game methodologies to boost learning engagement. Sales training, in particular, is an ideal candidate for gamification because:
- Sales is a naturally competitive environment
- Sales reps are notoriously difficult to engage in training
- Sales professionals generally love recognition
When game elements such as leaderboards and badges are integrated into learning programs, they can be highly effective in rewarding and motivating participants. An LMS that supports creative gamification is a smart investment in your team’s future performance. In fact, some sales organizations have already demonstrated tangible value from game-based learning methods.
5) Drive Progress With Dynamic Reporting
Today’s sales managers are just as busy as their teams. They don’t have time to waste. The faster they can identify weaknesses and assign appropriate learning remedies, the better. Even more importantly, managers need quick, simple ways to monitor individual and team progress. This is why a cloud LMS that builds-in robust reporting can be a tremendous asset. For example:
- Managers can easily configure reports to align with sales methodology, product differentiators, desired capabilities or other factors — and then assign appropriate learning activities.
- Automated alerts tell reps when learning activities are assigned, and offer immediate access to content.
- As soon as reps complete learning assignments, managers are notified for further action.
Training Technology: Your Sales Advantage?
The better prepared your sales reps are, the more revenues they’ll generate for your company. And next-gen LMS platforms are empowering sales teams more efficiently and effectively than ever. Progressive sales organizations are already leading the way, by proving the value of advanced training technology. So, what is your sales team waiting for?
Note from Caleb: Would you like to discuss how your organization can boost sales performance with advanced LMS capabilities? We’re happy to help. Contact us anytime to discuss your needs, see our on-demand demo now, or request a request a personalized demo.
Image Credit: Duncan Hull via Flickr