Evaluating Sales Training Programs
The success of your company can largely depend on your choice in sales training. Consider this — ATD collected information from over 2500 firms and found companies that offer comprehensive training enjoy a 24% higher profit margin than those who spend less on training.
With so many training options available, how do you weed through it all? It can feel overwhelming, so treat this post as your roadmap to helping your sales team deliver. But before you zero in on new training, consider the following when evaluating sales training programs.
Ease of Access
Accessibility is key. The more accessible a sales training program is, the more involved your team will be.
Accomplish this through a modern approach in delivery. Whether it be from their phone or tablet, if a sales rep can access training on the go, they’re more likely to complete it. A study by CLO Magazine reported 70% of employees surveyed felt more motivated to learn when they could access the training on their mobile devices, while 72% reported increased engagement with mobile learning.
As an added bonus, try putting the sales training in the same tool your employees use to sell to their customers, so they have anytime, anywhere access on a platform they are comfortable with. At Unboxed, we put that into practice through Hub 360. It allows our sales reps to save time by having everything they need right in one place, without switching back and forth between tools or apps.
Along with accessibility, look for whether the training program delivers the information in bite-size courses, otherwise known as “micro-learning.”
The content needs to be crisp and concise to avoid information overload, which can result in a decrease in retention. We’ve found our best results when training courses are kept to 15 minutes or less.
Reps can also use these shorter courses as quick refresher training before they walk into a pitch. Hello, just-in-time training reinforcement.
If the training can be accessed on the go AND employees can get the specific content they need when they need it, it’s a win-win.
Time to Launch
When evaluating sales training programs, there are two primary types: off-the-shelf and custom-built.
Many foundational sales techniques such as overcoming objections and negotiation can be taught and reinforced through off-the-shelf sales training programs. Because of this, off-the-shelf programs can get you results fast and keep costs down.
However, if you’re willing to invest in custom sales training, you’ll get the advantage of training that’s contextual and on-brand, while tackling learning objectives relevant to your team. That relevance is amplified when the training ties the objectives to real-life scenarios. If that’s not convincing enough, a custom program typically has a shelf life three times longer than off-the-shelf sales training.
Sustainment & Reinforcement
One-and-done sales training kickoffs are a thing of the past. Sales training should be viewed as an ongoing process, with an emphasis on what will happen after. As investments in sales training continue to exceed $2 billion annually, the importance of retaining that investment cannot be overstated.
Consider gamification when evaluating sales training programs. According to Scientific American Magazine, 80% of learners say they would be more productive learning through a game.
Technology is also a major factor in sustained behavior change. Mobile gamification solutions help combat memory loss and increase retention as much as 24% within five days of the learner taking the course.
Your peers are your natural motivators. Depending on your relationship, you compete, learn, and thrive off one another. The ability to share knowledge with peers is critical when evaluating sales training programs.
The 70-20-10 model corresponds to a proportional breakdown of how people learn effectively, with 70% of their knowledge coming from job-related experiences, 20% from interactions with others, and 10% from formal educational events.
So, when choosing a program for your team, check for that 20% option, whether that be through a social learning platform, or the chance to practice their skills with one another in a game format.
Practice & Coaching
On a similar note, how effective will the training be if sales reps don’t have a safe place to practice what they’re learning? Manager and peer feedback is an integral part of any training, as it reinforces the learning for both the peer doing the action and the peer giving feedback.
In sales, being comfortable with delivery is half the battle. As part of your sustainment training, try scheduling one-on-one sessions with your manager where you can practice mock sales calls, or ask them about a time when they learned a valuable lesson during a pitch. It’s up to you to take advantage of their experience, and that’s something you want your sales training program to encourage.
Expertise & Results
You’ve checked for accessibility. You appreciate the convenience of splitting the content into short bursts. You’re excited by the gamification and social engagement opportunities. And you see the value in ongoing sustainment and reinforcement. But do the training providers you’re exploring have experience, expertise, and proven results in your industry?
Perhaps the most important factor to consider when evaluating sales training programs is looking for success stories and testimonials from companies similar to yours, specifically those who showed an increase in training completion rates, learner engagement, and of course bottom line ROI.
Stop Evaluating Sales Training Programs…
…and meet Unboxed.
At Unboxed, we check all of those boxes. Your products, services, and sales process are unique. Your sales training should be, too. That’s why our customized sales training programs deliver short bursts of engaging content that reps can access on demand.
So, when you’re evaluating sales training programs, consider what Unboxed can bring to your team — a conversational tone, modern design, and innovative technology. Sales training your team will actually love and want to complete. And of course, results that drive straight to the bottom line.
We’d love to connect with you and learn more about your business to see how our sales training programs can help. Leave a comment below or reach out to say hello.
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