According to ASTD, companies spend $15 billion per year on sales training, an enormous number when you consider that people do not find sales training very effective. If organizations are spending this kind of money on largely ineffective training, there is a lot of value in figuring out ways to improve sales enablement efforts and provide them at a lower cost.
A recent article in the Journal of Personal Selling and Sales Management suggests that sales training needs to be individualized, voluntary, and offered in various modes. The use of technology, including e-learning, should be a big part making that happen. Using Mindflash to create e-learning courses can help you improve your sales enablement efforts by providing training that is more self-directed, delivered at a lower cost, and sustainable in the sense that there are available resources that help sales professionals remember what they learned in training courses.
Sales people know what they need to know when preparing for sales calls, and these needs do not always align with the timing and content of classroom training. Accordingly, sales professionals need a means for accessing the information they need, when they need it.
There will always be a need for formal sales training when it comes to on-boarding new hires, new product training, and for selling and sales process skills. However, in a formal classroom training model, sales people must rely on the training schedule, which may not line up with the schedule for important prospect meetings.
By taking some of the content from classroom training sessions and creating short, easily accessible e-learning courses, the sales team can access them anytime, especially right before an important call with a new prospect on a new product. E-Learning enables companies to create extensive libraries of courses that allow their salesforce to be more self-directed.
Delivering Training at Lower Cost
E-Learning provides the sales organization with a method for distributing high-quality content at a lower cost. By using e-learning, content is not limited to what is delivered in a formal training class through presentation slides and binders. In fact, e-learning can be used to replace, duplicate, or augment content from formal training classes. And when there is a change to the content (which is frequent), e-learning can be more easily updated and distributed ensuring the salesforce has what it needs to remain current.
Resources to Sustain Learning
Talented training professionals think a lot about how the concepts learned in training will transfer to job performance. In formal training, there is little reinforcement after training to ensure that transfer, which begs the question, “How do we really know people remember what they learned in that training class?”
E-Learning courses can be used to follow up, reinforce and sustain what was learned in a classroom training session. This is especially important with complex concepts that are not used frequently. These complex and infrequent topics are the very concepts we forget most often and need help remembering. When sales people have access to e-learning courses and other electronic resources after a training class, they can easily look up what they need to remember before a critical sales call.
The large amounts of money invested in sales training should cause business leaders to focus on how to ensure that investment is most effective. E-Learning is one way to offer training opportunities that allow sales people to be more self-directed, support training delivery at a lower cost, and provide a means of sustaining what is learned in classroom training.
What stories do you have of sales enablement success using e-learning? Share your stories in the comments below.
Bill Cushard, author, blogger, and learning experience (LX) designer, is a human performance technologist (HPT) with extensive, in-the-trenches experience building learning organizations in start-up and hyper-growth organizations like E*TRADE, the Knowland Group, and Allonhill. You can follow him on Twitter or on Google+.