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Insights

Traditional Training Is Dead—Moment-of-Impact Is a Must-Have

Tuesday, October 2, 2018
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Traditional sales training just doesn't cut it anymore. Getting reps to perform with complete sales readiness requires more than an occasional assessment or mass-communication course. Forced learning is a thing of the past, and it’s time to embrace the future.

But what could that be?

The future is found in moment-of-impact training. Hands-on, ongoing training methodology gives reps access to training materials when they really need it. This is especially crucial when onboarding Millennials, who prefer to learn through a variety of educational styles in addition to traditional, classroom-like trainings.

The changing culture of education means that traditional sales training can no longer stand alone—it must be bundled with the guidance, coaching, and content required for reps to successfully land the right message with buyers.

Guidance

One big advantage to situational, moment-of-impact training is the ability to give each individual rep specific attention. Traditional classroom training only benefits the people who learn best in classroom settings. With so many varying learning styles, who knows what kind of potential is going untapped in your sales team because of the lack of effective training? Your best sales rep may be left undiscovered simply because they require more one-on-one training!

To combat this problem, companies need to provide their reps with situational guidance. This guidance can take shape in a number of different ways. With a good sales enablement program, business leaders can see how far along buyers are in their journey. If a prospect seems to be stuck somewhere for a while, offer guidance to the seller and see if there’s something they need to help move their buyer along. When companies offer guidance to each of their sellers, it can increase revenue by improving sales team performance overall.

Not only does this type of training help reps learn, it also immediately helps them put their new knowledge into practice. When a rep sees how the information impacts their sales effectiveness, it’s more likely to stick with them, and they will use it again when similar situations come up.

When companies implement a standard practice of guidance, they can also more easily analyze sales readiness. A more hands-on approach to training from the people in leadership gives them a closer look at the action and a chance to see how well the training, content, and strategies they have in place are actually working.

Coaching

A good coach goes a long way. Many people can look back with fond memories to a time when they were pushed, challenged, and directed by a more experienced mentor and leader in their life. This kind of coaching is needed for your sales reps as well.

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The most helpful coaches seek to know and listen to their reps. They don’t just bark out orders and expect big results. They work alongside their people, offering advice and suggesting changes that will help the rep succeed. This often requires one-on-one meetings or conversations rather than large motivational seminars and pep talks. While those may help every once in a while, individual sellers need individual attention.

Coaches should also ask their reps questions to find out what they need and then offer resources that will help them learn and grow as sellers. Coaching takes patience and an understanding that the best salespeople are not made overnight. Some reps will need a little extra attention, while others will learn very quickly. But no matter what, every rep will need coaching throughout their career, and it’s critical that companies provide them with the best coaches possible.

Content

Content is at the core of moment-of-impact training. With all the rapid innovations surrounding every product, reps may have a hard time staying current with the latest developments in the market or simply just the changes for the product they're trying to sell! The key to successfully overcoming this is ensuring that your training is aligned, delivered, and consistent with your content.

Since content is key, your reps must have to have access to it. Unfortunately, this can be more complicated than it seems. Maybe you’ve had something like this happen:

Someone from sales sends an email to marketing asking where a piece of content is, and marketing assures the rep that they have already sent it over. The rep digs around and finds it in some obscure file that he rarely opens, and all is well except for the few hours that were wasted searching for something that should be easy to find.

Sales enablement helps makes sure this problem never occurs. By bringing together sales and marketing teams, sales enablement makes it easier to retain all your content rather than having it get lost in the sea of material that comes and goes between departments. Because of the detailed analytics sales enablement offers, marketing and sales can better measure overall sales effectiveness. Product marketers can use these metrics to measure what content is working and what doesn’t, allowing them to adjust their content strategies if needed.

On the sales side, reps can receive updates on their own sales effectiveness, giving them the ability to see the metrics behind what content their buyer is actually responding to. Since sales enablement gives sellers insight into where a buyer is in their journey, they can better address the needs for each potential customer. These insights can help to greatly improve sales team performance across the department.

Traditional training isn’t useless, but it shouldn’t be your only source of training for your reps. Supplying your reps with guidance, coaching, and great content in the moments they actually need it will help them see the value of the information, and immediately allow them to put it to work.

Times are changing, and the need to revamp sales training is real. It may not happen in a day, but implementing various moment-of-impact training methodologies can help with improving sales team performance, recruiting workers, and increasing knowledge across the entire company.

Want to learn more? Check us out November 6-7 at the ATD SELL Conference.

About the Author

Shawnna Sumaoang is the director of marketing for Highspot, the industry's most advanced sales enablement platform, helping organizations close the loop across marketing, sales, and the customer.

1 Comment
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I have been calling it "training at the point of work" for a long time. This aligns closely to our intent and I appreciate your points. Your focus on the changing times is critical to our success.
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