Investments in sales learning and development are on the rise, and for good reason. A well-trained sales team is the most powerful weapon for driving corporate growth and increasing revenue, which is why more and more companies are doubling down on sales readiness programs and why 63% of firms are increasing sales L&D investment over the next three years.
But just because sales training is attracting more L&D budget doesn’t mean it’s becoming more effective. In fact, a recent Sales Management Association report revealed an astonishing 64% of firms say sales training is not as effective as it could be.
To make a truly meaningful impact on sales knowledge retention well beyond initial training or sales onboarding, sales training and enablement leaders must be open to finding learning models that fit with the salesperson’s psyche; short attention spans, time-pressured, overwhelmed by process and admin. All they want is the maximum time in front of customers to sell. Yet, they are hungry for the latest sales knowledge to help them find the right solutions that support the needs of the customer which will help them hit their goals.
Our research proves this can be done effectively by keeping three Cs top of mind when designing a sales training program:
- Continuous delivery
Let’s take a closer look at the first C — collaboration — which focuses on sales managers and salespeople working together, and cross-departmentally, during the sales training design process.
Firms that develop training objectives through manager and salesperson collaboration outperform other firms in sales training effectiveness by 9% and sales objective achievement by 16%. Despite the proof that collaboration is beneficial and efficient, the Sales Management Association found that only 35% of sales objectives training is led by a joint effort between sales management and salespeople.
The lack of collaboration in developing sales training programs creates a disconnect between sales management and sales teams in what they deem is needed to be sales-ready. If there is no collaboration, there will always be a gap in developing training topics for the sales skills that salespeople know they need, and the skills that sales management think they need. This inefficiency in sales learning and development design can waste time and delay time to revenue if a salesperson is not getting the skills they need to win. This needs to change. Here’s why:
Collaboration Drives Sales Revenue
Managers who design training programs in lockstep with their salespeople fully understand what they need, how they respond to training modes, and what they find effective. Working together on the process from the get-go creates a foundation to set cross-functional goals that focus on closing sales knowledge and skill gaps that inevitably accelerates time to revenue.
Collaboration Builds Trust and Accountability
Collaborating on the sales learning topics that will be incorporated into a sales knowledge reinforcement program engages top sales performers, stakeholders and senior management on a common cause. Creating cross-functional goals that everybody can get on board with creates two-way accountability. Furthermore, it builds trust by allowing sales rep voices to be heard throughout the process, which continues to drive collaboration to keep focusing on where sales development is actually needed.
How Microlearning Fosters Collaboration
Collaboration can be a subjective exercise. Microlearning makes sales training program design an objective exercise. Microlearning analytics can be used as a tool in the sales program design phase to inform the content and topics that will be reinforced in the final program.
Additionally, microlearning data proves a powerful set of learning analytics when paired with performance data from a CRM or sales performance system, which helps sales management model the sales knowledge and skillsets of top performers while simultaneously identifying gaps of middle or lower performers. By determining proficiency gaps at a granular level, setting training and development goals becomes more of a science than a guess.
For example, many customers run a Qstream lightning round before, during and/or after one-off sales events such as a sales kick-off, sales onboarding or a mid-year sales meeting. This exercise exposes gaps in sales knowledge that subjective discussion otherwise wouldn’t. By providing more data-driven insights on existing knowledge gaps and overlaying this with sales performance data, sales management and reps can be sure that post-event sustainment programs are adjusted to focus on the training topics that are most challenging to have the greatest impact on sales performance. This will help sales trainers double down on those topics and know what to reinforce, whether it is product knowledge, a new sales process, discovery skills, or where the most help is needed.
Collaboration the Qstream Way
Qstream’s flexible scenario-based microlearning solution reinforces sales knowledge and provides a transparent set of real-time feedback and proficiency data such as heatmaps and leaderboards to identify skill gaps and additional learning opportunities.
This data allows sales managers to collaboratively develop goals with their sales teams and enables stakeholders to positively influence their course of study based on current and expected knowledge attainment.
And, by incorporating an internal sales micro-certification program — like Qcert — management can set sales knowledge thresholds that each individual needs to ensure sales-readiness. The combination of the two is sure to set the foundation for long-term sales success.
To learn more about the three common traits of high performing sales programs, download our 3 Cs eBook.