Archive for December, 2011

The Impact of Live Virtual Sales Training

For all of the challenges that physical, event-based sales training can pose for learners and training decision-makers alike, live virtual training offers a compelling, cost-effective and results-oriented solution to those challenges. Here we outline the case for why organizations should consider moving to live virtual training from the perspectives of both the individual sales person and the training organization.

Better for the Sales Person

Today’s Working Style

Virtual training is closely aligned with the way sales people work and learn today. Unlike physical classroom training, which is based on a relatively rigid learning model, live virtual training:

  • Offers a highly adaptive, effective and continuous learning model that focuses on application, reflection, and reinforcement of new knowledge and sales skills over time
  • Allows sales people to train from the field with minimal disruption to productivity
  • Can include a variety of complementary online tools for disseminating training content and materials in formats that meet a diverse range of learning styles
  • Allows participants to “get their hands dirty” by immediately applying what they learn to the job

Learner Engagement

Just because it’s virtual doesn’t mean learner engagement has to suffer, especially among sales people who already have dozens of factors (and iGadgets) competing for their attention in the classroom. When it comes to engaging learners who are unmotivated, think they already know everything they need to know or can’t clearly see how training will benefit them, live virtual delivery is the critical interface that elevates training from being merely informational to being truly transformational. This is especially true where training on a sales methodology is involved.

Best-in-class live virtual sales training programs will employ a number of strategies from broadcast media to engage, motivate and inspire learners. Much more than a webinar, live virtual delivery includes:

  • A rich virtual learning environment with high production values
  • A highly trained virtual delivery team that includes multiple “on-air” presenters engaging in dialogue rather than monologue
  • Facilitated collaboration among the learning group, including formal breakouts
  • Multimedia content, including dynamic video and graphics to efficiently illustrate key concepts
  • Razor-sharp scripting techniques that allow for improvisation and interaction—combined with careful time management
  • A variety of tools built-in to the learning platform that facilitate a multi-directional flow of information across the learning community
  • Mechanisms for monitoring individual participation and ensuring learner accountability

Efficiency

A 3g Selling sales training program compresses about two full days of training material from the physical classroom into about seven hours of training material in the virtual classroom, spread out over multiple modules. And we do this not by sacrificing the meaningful content, but rather by eliminating the noise and focusing only on the meaningful content. Content compression is a pedagogical necessity—because maintaining interest for more than 90 minutes in a virtual learning environment is extremely challenging, if not impossible—but it actually works to the benefit of the program because learners get:

  • Greater focus on fewer approaches and tools with the biggest impact on selling success
  • Shorter modules spread out over a period of time, which translates into less disruption of day to-day selling activities and a chance to apply what they learn between modules
  • Training content that’s drip-fed in small chunks rather than sprayed out of a fire hose

Application

 How many times have we seen training programs, both in the physical classroom and over the

web, fail to change behavior and produce results? Often, program participants say they’re happy just to walk away from training with 1 or 2 nuggets of wisdom. We believe they—and you—deserve more out of your training investment. An effective virtual learning program will:

  • Focus on the practical application of new approaches and tools within the framework of a proven sales methodology
  • Seamlessly integrate all components of the learning environment including learning, application, peer collaboration and performance coaching
  • Contain applied work assignments that put learning into action
  • Provide a forum for sales people to share the results of their work assignments within their learning community and receive feedback from peers and the instructor

Convenience

It probably goes without saying, but the benefits of keeping sales people in the field during training are enormous and bear repeating. With virtual training, learners are able to:

  • Connect training to their jobs and remain engaged with key sales opportunities
  • Better integrate training into their day-to-day sales activities
  • Reduce travel-related hassles and improve quality of work life
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