There is a lot of hype about using technology to predictively do this and predictively do that. It is tempting to believe that all you need is the right technology to prompt your sales reps on what to do and what to say, and as a result your revenue will skyrocket! There is no doubt that predictive tools and sales prompts for salespeople will result in better sales conversations with prospects. But how do you really use these tools effectively in conjunction with your established training program so your reps learn and grow and aren’t solely dependent on technology to tell them what to do?
Tools that suggest the right information at the right time during the sales process can provide awesome spot-on nudges, but they cannot replace real learning or training in reaching long-term production goals. Salespeople will always need to be genuine and listen to what their customers need. Effective training can teach salespeople how to lead the conversation and take control of a situation.
Tech tools were not designed as a Band-Aid solution for your sellers to simply click along with a script or prompt. The purpose of sales enablement applications is to add to what the sales rep already knows and quickly find the right content or resource that helps move the sales process along smoothly. The top-performing salespeople will still be the ones that are truly engaging with customers and continuously learning new ways to connect with them. But a little help with tedious content updates and looking for the best version of content will be appreciated.
The best training programs involve interactive learning. Technology and sales applications are a perfect fit for this. Here are some best practices to incorporate sales applications into an overall learning environment.
7 Steps for Ongoing Learning Using Sales Enablement Platforms
- Start with an orientation and basic information. Introduce initial product information that the salesperson needs right away, focus on basic sales techniques to create great customer relationships, and then work on effective closing skills.
- Create short modules. Have brief, three- to five-minute learning modules accessible with solid information that can immediately help salespeople when they really need it.
- Make information easy to find. It is best if the information and training can be part of the daily work flow and reached in just two or three clicks. Add learning modules and prompts to the customer relationship manager platform if you can.
- Combine content, training, and coaching. Using all three is so much more effective when delivered with context before and during a sales conversation.
- Include interactive activities to help retention. Thinking through examples and participating in providing answers cement the information in memory. Recall games and exercises are fun, entertaining, and work.
- Track which modules salespeople are using and their activities. With progress reports, managers can offer specific coaching where there are gaps. This individualizes the training.
- Monitor and track for continuous improvement. Match the usage of content with closed sales. This isn’t just a popularity contest for content. Really discover which content is the most effective.
As with all training programs, the ultimate goal of sales applications and incorporating tech tools is to empower salespeople to reach their highest potential for making sales. Again, these tools do not substitute learning; rather, they are designed to help true retention and direct attention on what salespeople still need, not continually repeat what they already know.