Sales enablement and training professionals have long suffered from the frustrating reality that reps will forget newly learned information within a matter of days or weeks. This is not because sales people are inept; in fact, it’s quite the opposite. A totally natural human phenomena known as the forgetting curve means that it’s vital for sales leaders to find a proven and lasting methodology to improve sales knowledge and skills.
One way to combat the forgetting curve with sales teams is through microlearning, which uses two concepts — the spacing and testing effects — proven to help sales reps regularly commit new information to memory through constant reinforcement, assessment, feedback, explanation, and coaching. This type of continuous learning comprises the basis of Qstream’s microlearning strategy, which is scientifically proven to increase knowledge retention in the workplace better than standard one-off assessments.
Our data shows that 31% of sales reps within regulated industries could not correctly answer critical, industry-specific questions on the first attempt. Figures were significantly higher in unregulated industries, with 46% of respondents answering incorrectly on first attempt.
But after presenting questions to sales reps a second time following a short interval of a few days, their performance improved substantially; only 18% of reps in regulated industries answered incorrectly on their second try, and 28% in unregulated industries.
Here are five quick tips to consider when developing an effective sales training program that’s highly engaging, can link directly to sales performance results, and has lasting impact.
1. Define your sales training objectives collaboratively
Work with all stakeholders (sales management, sales operations, product, and marketing) to prioritize the sales knowledge and skills reps need to be successful, and collaboratively set sales training goals upfront. Ensuring that your program’s content and success metrics are aligned to your sales goals is also crucial when measuring and reporting your results.
2. Communicate with all key stakeholders in advance
Your sales reinforcement program will have a number of key audiences who will sponsor, participate, or action program outcomes, including sales leadership, sales managers, and reps. Advance communication of the program, expectations, and “what’s in it for me” messaging ensures that your stakeholders understand the actions required and can offer direct support to drive engagement.
3. Take the time to prepare effective sales training content
Your training content should be written as succinctly and clearly as possible while simultaneously relating to the rep’s day-to-day job responsibilities to ensure they see the value of participating. Multiple-choice and true/false scenario-based questions and video responses are usually best; complex, open-response formats should be avoided.
Plan to keep the overall number of questions relatively low (we recommend 12-15 questions) and program timeframes short (six to eight weeks). When reps are bombarded with too many training resources, they tend to screen them out and view the program as corporate noise without real value. Remember: The goal is reinforcement, so focus on the most critical concepts for the best results.
4. Leverage rich media to keep your sales training content fun and engaging
The most effective microlearning platforms support multiple image types, as well as audio and video. This is also a great opportunity to repurpose content used in other training applications, such as PowerPoint slides, graphs, or charts to help reinforce key messages and concepts.
Bonus tip: When launching your sales training program, position the program as a “challenge” and avoid any language that makes sales reps feel like they are being tested. Reinforcement is all about continuous improvement, and your reps should feel they are being developed and supported, not tested.
5. Make mobile access a priority
Time-starved sales reps need learning and development on the go. A mobile-first microlearning training platform makes it easy and convenient for reps to participate in the program and is proven to drive adoption rates upwards of 90%.
The Impact of Effective Sales Training
There’s no such thing as the perfect training technology solution, and one size does not fit all. But adopting technology that fits into the daily flow of work to reinforce complex sales content effectively and that surfaces individual knowledge gaps is a necessity. Knowledge reinforcement through best-practice microlearning has been proven time and again to be an efficient form of training, especially when it comes to improving hard and soft skills that have the most impact on closing deals and increasing revenue.
If you’re interested in strengthening your sales training program, contact us today to learn more about how Qstream’s best-practice microlearning solution that increases employee engagement, improves knowledge retention, changes behaviors, and drives a learning culture forward. For additional ideas, download our eBook, 10 Tips for Developing an Effective Sales Training Program.