Training Delivery Methods: Choosing the Right Modality for Your Content

Content is a huge focus in the training world, though it’s really only one part of the learning equation. The magic happens, though, when strong content is shared through the most effective training delivery methods, enabling the message to be absorbed, retained, and implemented by learners.

Whether your aim is to impart knowledge, sharpen skills, or adjust behaviors, there are a lot of different methods of training delivery to choose from. But there’s no silver bullet. In fact, data continues to prove a blended approach, incorporating more than one modality to deliver your content, increases retention by up to 60%.

So, how do you determine the most effective training delivery methods for your needs? Start by considering the options available and how they align with your goals, audience, and content.

Below is a list of our recommendations.

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    Choosing the Right Modality for Your Content

    Training Delivery Methods for Building Knowledge

    When we speak about training for knowledge, we’re referring to helping learners understand the what and the why of a concept. To tackle these topics, the training delivery methods we recommend hinge greatly on well-organized information and storytelling. These include:

    •  Podcasts
    Borrowing from the popular media format, Podcasts are an excellent way to educate team members, allowing them to absorb information at their own pace in a familiar style.

    •  Infographics
    Visual tools help to reinforce concepts, and the Infographic remains a popular delivery method as it clearly outlines vital data and information in a memorable and engaging way.

    •   Animations
    Another popular visual option, Animations are a great way to educate learners. By imparting critical information in an entertaining way, you can increase both retention and engagement.

    •   Group Discussions
    Part team-building, part training, Guided Group Discussions are a great way to build relationships among team members while educating them on key concepts.

    •   Interactive Training Tools (Pitch)
    These interactive modules from Unboxed’s Training Technology team organize key concepts in an interactive, data-based tool, making it effective for knowledge acquisition and knowledge sustainment (refresher training).

    Training Delivery Methods for Improving Knowledge & Skills

    Building on those, there are several modalities that bridge both knowledge and skills, helping learners to understand the how behind the what and the why. This category of modalities includes:

    •   Instructor-Led Trainings (in-person or virtual)
    Instructor Led Training (ILT) or Virtual Instructor Led Training (vILT) allows you to build upon learned knowledge by giving learners a chance to put knowledge and skills into practice through classroom activities.The bonus of vILT is it allows you to reach learners near and far with training that’s as equally engaging, interactive, and effective as in-person training — without the pricey travel costs.

    •   Interactive Learning Guides
    Self-paced and fully interactive, our Interactive Learning Guides (ILG) keep learners engaged at every step. With a modern, web-like interface, video, animation, gamification, and interactive exercises, ILGs create an engaging experience for learners, making them effective for both knowledge and skills training.

    •   Videos
    Taking cues from what many learners engage in on their own time, training videos are an incredibly popular choice to help learners improve their skills in addition to reinforcing their knowledge.


    Training Delivery Methods for Sharpening Skills & Behaviors

    Moving further into training for skills, the delivery methods below allow you to focus more deeply on the tactical responsibilities of your team. These modalities also lend themselves to training for behaviors, educating learners on the action taken, and include:

    •   Group Participation, Hands-On Activities, Role Plays, On-the-Floor Training, Mentor Shadowing
    Each of these training delivery methods differs in their approach but share the same goal: to allow team members to improve their skills in settings and situations where they actually use them.


    Training Delivery Methods for Shaping Behaviors

    Behavior-specific training goes one step further, allowing you to work with team members to help them make changes in their interactions, approaches, and performance with direct feedback. There are two modalities that are ideal for this type of training, these are:

    •   Huddles
    Combining the benefits of group participation, hands-on activities, and role play along with direct coaching, Huddles are an excellent training method to help shape and improve behaviors.

    •   Video Simulations
    Offering the same advantages of a Huddle, Video Simulations allow geographically dispersed teams the opportunity to observe team member behavior and coach them to be more effective in their approach.


    Need Help?

    We recognize there are a lot of options out there, but choosing a training method doesn’t need to be a chore. We can help you analyze and understand both your goals and content to select the best option for your needs. Reach out to schedule some time with our Training Content Strategists to learn more.

    Want to know more about choosing a training method? Download our free guide!

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    Infographic: Is Your Sales Training Program Good, or Great?

    Your organization has a sales training program, and it’s working, right? Your sales reps are learning to position your products and services and close enough deals to at least keep the lights on for another month.

    And maybe, you schedule training two or three times per year, probably in conjunction with a regional sales meeting when everyone is together to compare notes.

    While your sales training program might not be brand new, you’re patching holes with updated content to keep it as fresh as you can.

    So it’s good, right? Or at least adequate?

    Well, maybe. If your organization has a good sales training program and you’re stuck in chronic mediocrity, imagine the results of a great sales training program that empowers your sales team to knock it out of the park with every customer interaction.

    How can you tell whether your sales training program is good or great? Let’s take a quiz.

    Is your sales training program good or great?

    1. What is your sales methodology?

    At the heart of every good sales training program is a good sales methodology. And there are plenty to choose from: Challenger, SPIN, SNAP, Customer Centric, Sandler Selling, and Conceptual … the list goes on.

    It’s good to have a sales methodology because it helps your organization identify certain key needs. It probably provides insight into how your organization qualifies buyers, positions products, and helps reps overcome objections.

    But, while it’s good to adopt a sales methodology, they all have one thing in common: lots of other organizations ―including your direct competitors―are using the exact same methodology.

    To differentiate your organization in a crowded marketplace, you have to customize, personalize, and make your sales methodology your own so you can woo customers with a uniquely compelling customer experience – resulting in more deals closed.

    A great sales training program is built off a sales methodology that’s contextual and customized for your specific products and services. One that enables reps to ideally position the solutions you offer, helps develop the knowledge, skills, and behaviors that empower your reps to shine more brightly than competitors, and matches your culture.

    We’re often asked, “Hey Unboxed, what’s your sales methodology?”

    Well, we have frameworks to create custom sales methodologies for our clients, but whether we create one or start with your existing one, the answer is simple: our methodology is to take your methodology and contextualize it to transform your training from hu-hum to BAM!

    sales training program - sales methodology

    2. What does your sales training program teach your reps?

    Reps require knowledge and skills to sell successfully. They need specific, detailed information to explain how your products solve a customer’s issues and add value. Reps must also know how to qualify customers, build relationships, upsell, gain referrals and repeat sales. If your training achieves all of that, then you have a good program.

    In addition to teaching knowledge and skills, a great sales training program also focuses on developing consistent behaviors that reps must master to position your products and services at the top of the market, making them irresistible to customers.

    So, how do you take a knowledge- and skills-based training program to the next level?

    At Unboxed, we start by partnering with our clients to identify the behaviors that drive success, then build training around those behaviors. PowerPoints won’t do here. Reps need to experience what these behaviors look like in action. We use simulations, choose-your-own adventure, and adaptive learning models so reps make a choice and then get to see the impact of their decisions, even if they’re incorrect.

    By changing behaviors, you change overall results. Great sales training materials improve selling behaviors for your entire bench, driving increased sales and higher customer satisfaction.

    sales training program - training for reps

    3. What does your sales training program offer sales leaders?

    Great sales managers aren’t born―they’re trained. They’re the pillars reps look to for guidance on closing critical deals. And, contrary to popular belief, when a top rep is promoted to sales manager, savvy management skills don’t magically materialize.

    A coaching model supports the knowledge, skills, and behaviors your sales management and leadership team require to guide reps to the next level. They’ll learn to build their bench, set goals, develop strategy, understand drivers and drainers, evaluate ROI―and coach their team in developing these skills. Teaching managers how to foster increased sales productivity and efficiency improves the overall vitality of your sales organization.

    sales training program - training for leaders

    4. How do you deliver your sales training program?

    Modality of learning is key to making knowledge stick. In years past, that meant in-person training and stacks of binders. Today’s reps are more visually oriented, so videos and interactive technologies are a smarter way to engage them to maximize retention.

    If you currently mix up the delivery of your training using PowerPoints, self-paced workbooks, and the occasional video, you have a good training delivery system.

    But why not make it great?

    Reps are busy. Lengthy training sessions lower their overall selling time. And don’t forget about the forgetting curve. But by using modern, on-demand modalities, reps can train anywhere, anytime. Delivering training in short, bite-sized chunks also makes it more digestible and easier to retain. (It’s called microlearning, and it’s great for sales training.)

    Modern sales reps respond to modern training methods. They increase engagement and knowledge retention. So, while it’s good to have 25-minute videos and training every six months, it’s great to use more modern sales training techniques including eLearning (simulations, interactive learning guides, and high-fidelity training videos), social learning, and gamification that keep reps engaged.

    sales training program - training delivery

    Are you good, great, or in the middle?

    If you answered “yes” to most of these questions, your organization likely has a good sales training program.

    But what if parts of your program are good while other aspects are already great? In that case does your entire sales program need a complete overhaul, or does it just need a facelift to make it more modern and engaging?

    Here’s the thing: transforming from good to great has tangible benefits for your sales team and sales leaders, but the overarching reason to revamp your sales training is to provide your customers with an extraordinary experience.

    This begs one last question:

    5. Does your sales training elevate the customer experience?

    In our modern, crowded sales landscape, companies compete on the playing field of customer experience.

    And while it’s good to deliver training that benefits your reps, it’s great if that training also elevates the customer experience.

    When customers experience the wow-factor of customized, contextual product positioning from sales reps whose consistent behaviors focus on solving their individual challenges, it tips the balance in your organization’s favor.

    sales training program - results

    By transforming your sales training program from good to great, you increase rep engagement, enhance management and leadership skills, and amp-up your customer experience to previously unimagined heights. Who wouldn’t choose great?

    Here’s the complete infographic.

    sales training program - Infographic

    Want to Move from Good to Great?

    At Unboxed, we specialize in creating custom sales training programs that help organizations transform from good to great, from mediocre to phenomenal, from off the shelf or “boxed” to, well … Unboxed.

    Ready to kick it up a notch? Reach out. We’d love to talk sales training with you.

    The Periodic Table of Sales Training

    According to the ATD, companies spend $20 billion annually on sales training but report a low return on their investment. That’s not acceptable. There is a way to build a wildly successful, sustainable sales training program. In the periodic table of sales training, we summarize the major factors that influence whether or not you’ll get the most out of your training investment.

    We explore the following families of elements:

    • Strategy: Success starts with clearly defined goals and a plan of action to get there.
    • Topics: Reps and sales managers need to master certain skills and behaviors to succeed.
    • Modalities: A blended approach engages different learning styles and allows the organization to identify the best combination of formats for impact and scale.
    • Content: ATD shares 50% of sales teams don’t find their training engaging. Content must be to the point and relevant to team member’s daily work.
    • Learning Platform: Reps and managers are busy. They need a learning platform that makes it easy to access training content and resources.
    • Reinforcement: Use it or lose it. 87% of sales training is forgotten within 30 days. Ongoing practice and reinforcement is a must.
    • Measuring Results: What’s measured gets celebrated and improved.
    • Business Impact: Improvements in reps’ and managers’ performance correlates with improvements in sales activities, like close rates and average deal size.
    • Leadership: Involvement must go beyond approving the budget. Leaders need to champion the training.

    The Periodic Table of Sales Training by Unboxed Technology


     Bg Business Goals  What are the business’ strategy and goals?
    Tg Training Goals What will team members be able to do as a result of their training?
    Au Audience Who is the training for? New reps? Experienced reps? Managers? Mentors?
     Wo Workflow How can training be integrated into the workflow rather than taking reps out of the field?
    To Topics What knowledge, skills, and behaviors do people need to master to succeed?
     Md Modalities Are you using a blended approach to maximize engagement and retention?
     Cu Curriculum How will team members continue to sharpen skills and achieve results at the 101 level, 201 level, and beyond?
     Lo Locations Are team members dispersed across different locations? Will they need to access content virtually or on the road?
    De Devices What devices will team members use to access their training?
     It Technology What other IT requirements need to be accounted for?
     Re Results What does success look like? How will results be measured and shared?
    Cs Content Strategy What’s your ongoing strategy to roll out new content and drive continued engagement and professional development?
     Cd Content Development Will training be developed in-house, or will you partner with a vendor?
     Bu Budget What’s your budget?


    Or Orientation What foundational knowledge, skills, and behaviors do new hires need to be successful?
     Pr Product Positioning How will reps communicate benefits and features in a customer-friendly way? How will they demonstrate the value of your solutions over your competitors?
     Ps Prospecting & Planning How will reps effectively identify and nurture leads?
     Br Building Rapport How will reps build relationships and become trusted advisors?
    Ne Needs Analysis How will reps explore needs and recommend the best solution?
     As Ask for the Sale How will reps ask for and receive a commitment?
    Ob Overcoming Objections How will reps confidently and successfully address customer concerns?
    Su Summarize & Thank How will reps recap decisions and make clients feel excited?
     Fl Follow Up How will reps act as stewards of their accounts and proactively recommend next steps for clients?
    Ba Business Acumen Do reps understand how they (and the business) earn money and the impact of their behaviors on results?
    Sy Systems & Tools Can reps effectively use tools like your CRM and LMS?
    Cg Coaching Framework How will managers and mentors influence team member growth and development?
    Fe Effective Feedback Are managers and mentors equipped to give timely, objective, factual, and objective feedback?
    Go Goal Setting How will sales managers and reps work together to create and achieve goals?
     Ch Change Management How will the organization introduce and explain change, generate excitement, and gain buy-in?


    Il Instructor-Led Training Does classroom training break up lecture with group discussions and exercises?
     Vi Virtual Instructor-Led Training Do you leverage virtual training events to help minimize travel and out-of-office time?
     Lj Learning Journal For ILT and vILT, do participants have a simple way to take notes, reflect, and record key takeaways?
    Sm eLearning Simulations Can reps simulate common customer interactions and scenarios and see how their decisions impact outcomes?
     Ex Explainer Videos Are videos 5 minutes or shorter, and available on demand?
     Pb Playbooks Do managers have the information and tools they need to successfully lead a training session?
    Wb Workbooks Can reps go at their own pace and easily save and resume their progress?
    Gm Games Do you incorporate games to play to reps’ natural desire for competition and amp up engagement?
    Ja Job Aids Are resources easy to find and use on the job?


     Rv Relevant Does training clearly demonstrate the what’s in it for me?
     Ct Current Is content up to date?
    Cr Clear Is it easy to understand?
    Ce Concise Are phrases and sentences short?
    Cv Conversational Are everyday words and phrases used? Is jargon avoided (or used sparingly)?
    Cn Contextual Do scenarios, dialogue, and examples reflect realistic real-world situations?
    At Authentic Does it genuinely reflect your culture and brand?
    Hu Humor Does it weave in appropriate, smart humor?
    Bz Bite-Sized Is content presented in short segments or chunks?
    In Interactive Does it encourage audience participation?
    Vs Visuals Does it favor original and contextual visuals over cheesy stock images?
    Wi Whitespace Is the design clean and not busy?
    Mu Music Does it create the right mood and not a distraction?
    Vo Voiceover Is it the right pace and engaging without being over the top?
    Ac Actors Are actors authentic and relatable?
    Fc Facilitators Are facilitators animated? Do they interact with the audience?
    Qa Quality Assurance Has it been proofread? Does functionality work like it’s supposed to?

    learning platform

    Ez Easy to Use Is it intuitive for users and admins?
    Mo Mobile Does it work well on smartphones and tablets?
    Cb Cloud-Based Can team members access the platform anywhere?
    Ga Gamification Does it weave in gamification (like rewards, badging or leaderboards) to keep users engaged and motivated?
    Co Collaboration Can managers and reps work with each other using built-in tools like discussion forums or messaging?
    Ug User-Generated Content Can users upload and share content they’ve created, like a video?
    Se Search Is it easy to look for content and resources?
    Sr Secure What security measures are in place?
    Sb Scalable Will the platform be able to support you as your team grows?
    Ig Integrations Does the platform integrate with your CRM and other critical tools?
    Ss Single Sign-On Does it support Single Sign-On?
    Am Assessments Does the platform include quizzing/testing for confirmation of learning?
    Ce Certifications Can managers and reps earn and track certifications?
    Sh Scheduling Can learners sign up for courses?
    Sc SCORM Is the platform SCORM compliant?
    Tc Tin Can Is the platform Tin Can compliant?
    Rg Reporting What reports are available? Can custom reports be added?


    Ca Coaching Do sales managers actively coach reps and give them feedback?
    Pm Peer Mentoring Do reps have opportunities to learn best practices from peer mentors?
    Rp Role Play Do team members have protected time to practice skills and behaviors and get feedback?
    Jt Just-In-Time Content & Activities Do team members get pop quizzes, reminders, or other forms of JIT reinforcement or refresher training?

    measuring results

    Ts Tests Are quizzes/tests administered to evaluate comprehension and retention?
    Su Surveys Are participants empowered to share feedback about the usefulness, quality, and impact of their training?
    Sf Self-Evaluation Are reps encouraged to take ownership of their development by assessing their wins and opportunities?
    Mc Manager Checkpoints Do reps regularly check in with managers to share progress?
    Mb Manager Observations Do managers observe reps on the job to validate and assess application of knowledge, skills, and behaviors?

    business impact

    Be Behaviors Are high-performing behaviors becoming habits?
    Cx Customer Experience Do customers have a consistent experience with, and positive perception of, your brand?
    Po Prospects Do reps generate more qualified leads?
    Nc New Clients Do more leads convert to clients?
    Rn Retention In the client retention rate increasing?
    Gr Account Growth Are you doing more business in existing accounts?
    Qu Quota Attainment Do more reps reach their quotas?
    Ds Deal Size Is average deal size increasing?
    Sa Sales Cycle Is the sales cycle moving faster?
    Tr Total Revenue Is more revenue being generated monthly/quarterly/annually?


    By Buy-In Do leaders share the vision for your sales training?
    Ag Alignment Do leaders help drive alignment with and among subject-matter experts? Do they form partnerships with other teams/channels?
    Pn Participation Do they attend reviews and give thoughtful feedback in a timely manner?
    Cp Champions Are they excited? Do they proactively share updates and market the training throughout the organization?

    Questions about your sales training program? Feedback on our periodic table? We want to hear from you! Leave a comment or contact us to chat one on one.

    Download the Periodic Table of Sales Training

    Fill out the form to get an interactive PDF of the complete periodic table and explanation of the elements.


    Warning! You’re Losing Sales By Not Using Guided Selling (Infographic)

    Sales executives are in growth mode. And with guided selling, that growth is achievable.Sales cycles are 27% faster, more leads convert into customers, and more reps meet their quotas.

    This infographic explores how sales organizations can reap the benefits of guided selling tools.

    Guided selling infographic

    More GUided Selling Resources

    Want to learn more about guided selling and how it can benefit your sales team, your customers, and your bottom line? Here are a few additional resources.

    If you’re looking to add guided selling into your sales toolkit, check out Unboxed Advisor. Advisor is a sales enablement platform that uses guided selling to connect your reps to your customers, improve the customer experience, and increase sales.