Sales enablement is one of the latest employee development buzzwords — and for good reason. Organizations are scrambling to find adequate training that supports sales as processes, economics and buying behavior change. In order to create an effective learning experience, however, you have to understand what exactly it means to enable your salespeople. More than teaching product knowledge, sales enablement training encompasses learning experiences around sales technology, processes, assets and techniques used for customer engagements.
With so much to cover, creating sales enablement training is not an easy task. However, best practices in eLearning design still apply: Consider a hybrid or blended learning strategy for your sales enablement training.
Hybrid Learning Versus Blended Learning
In layman’s terms, blended learning consists of both online and offline learning. Hybrid learning is more or less the same thing, but it emphasizes finding the right ratio of eLearning to instructor-led training (ILT) time for each individual student’s needs. The terms hybrid learning and blended learning are often used interchangeably, and the definitions depend on how much the people defining them reduce classroom time. The best hybrid learning allows students the chance to interact with training content through custom eLearning activities before, during and after face-to-face class time.
Meaningful eLearning Experiences for Sales Enablement Training
Social media or similar internal social learning platforms can be an effective way to emulate an instructor-led classroom setting, because they enable learners to bring together diverse thoughts and opinions. When the subject matter entails conversational techniques, this type of knowledge-sharing can be vital for employee performance. Find ways to encourage conversations among learners on your social platforms to promote communication, collaboration and engagement.
Social media and other virtual means of learning provide employees the ability to learn and work at the same time. Virtual learning provides more flexibility for remote salespeople or employees who travel frequently. Being able to pull up information on a laptop or phone at their convenience enables these learners to review the latest products, pitches and sales techniques quickly, anywhere they have an internet connection.
Another way to achieve the most out of your sales enablement eLearning is through the use of video conferencing platforms, most of which offer poll functions and breakout rooms for smaller group activities. When it comes to sales enablement training, these platforms maintain the best interpersonal features of the traditional instructor-led activities that teach sales techniques. Moreover, depending on the length of your content, breakout rooms can help you condense macro-content into micro virtual instructor-led training (VILT) modules.
Hybrid Learning Best Practices
The key to making hybrid learning work is repetition, which helps learners keep information fresh and top-of-mind. When using hybrid or blended learning in sales enablement, it is important to create a learning ecosystem that includes regularly scheduled activities like instructor-led experiences, observation time, role-playing and on-the-job performance support. This consistency will help you bring employees up to speed and make them feel more comfortable in their sales roles.
Offering dynamic learning experiences is crucial to keeping employees engaged in a hybrid learning setting. For instance, some employees prefer visual content, so having how-to videos available is helpful. But others may prefer listening or reading, so podcasts or supporting articles may also prove useful.
Finally, when creating sales enablement training and implementing hybrid learning techniques, keep in mind the unique nature of both your business and your sales team. If their work primarily happens at desks, which is common in business-to-business (B2B) sales organizations, then your learners probably have the space to use resources such as podcasts, videos or VILT sessions to enhance their sales enablement training experience. However, if your sales model is more in line with business-to-consumer (B2C) retail, then designing your sales enablement training for mobile learning may be a better way to go. Mobile learning has the advantage of accessibility, enabling employees to train without leaving the sales floor.
Particularly as countless organizations navigate sudden changes in the economy in the wake of COVID-19, it’s important to equip salespeople with the knowledge and tools they need to succeed. And, with a more complex learning ecosystem, having a good design strategy will become more important. Luckily, whether you’re using a blended learning approach or a hybrid learning approach, there are several tactics you can use to improve employee performance.