You’re thinking about making an investment in sales training for your team – a group of 20 salespeople who travel extensively for work. You know that they need to sharpen their closing skills and improve the way they handle prospect/client objections. Although they participated in a professional selling skills training program last year, you’re skeptical about investing in their development, again because the learning didn’t stick.

The forgetting curve suggests that people forget 50 to 80 percent of what they learn after just one day. How can you optimize your return on investment? Here are some tips for making your sales training stick and choosing the right sales training modalities for your team.

Making Sales Training Stick Using Blended Learning

Imagine you are planning your annual conference, which will be held during year end, a busy time when you know your sales team will be under the gun to hit targets. Instead of waiting for the conference to introduce your focus for development, what if you sent out a series of five-minute podcasts to set the stage and introduce new concepts ahead of the main event?

By listening to the podcast, for example, in their car on the way to a client meeting, reps will become familiar with new skills, allowing you to maximize practice in the classroom. Follow up your event with reinforcement emails, videos and management support, and you can be assured the new behaviors will stick back on the job.

Blended learning is a smart training investment, because not only will you be able to appeal to various learning preferences, but you’ll also ensure multiple touch points. Hearing information more than once, in different contexts, impacts how much learners retain over time. Making slight changes during repeated practice will help your sales team learn new skills and behaviors more quickly, making implementation back on the job more likely.

3 Factors to Consider When Choosing Modalities

From traditional classroom training to mobile videos to online learning, choosing the right blend of training modalities depends on several factors, including:

  • Where your salespeople are geographically located (Are they all in one office or across the country?)
  • What their day looks like (Are they in office or on the road? How much time can they invest in training?)
  • How they will access the learning (In a group setting or individually? In a classroom, on their computer or on the road?)

Sales Training Modalities

Instructor-led Training

Bringing your sales team together in person will allow team members to learn from one another while being guided from a facilitator, ideally one with experience in your industry. Instructor-led training (ILT) is a great option if your team is already coming together for a conference, for example, and you would like to ensure the highest levels of engagement in the learning.

Virtual Instructor-led Training

Virtual instructor-led training (VILT) has many of the benefits of in-person training. VILT can enable virtual breakout rooms for collaboration and a facilitator to keep participation high and prompt discussion to ensure peer-to-peer learning. It is a great option if your team is dispersed across the country and you cannot bring them together for an in-person training event.

Video-based Learning

Research suggests that people tend to remember only 20 percent of what they read but 80 percent of what they see and do. Not only do videos help learners retain information, but they can also be interactive. Video-based learning can help maximize your training ROI and make the main learning event more impactful. Consider sharing videos before, during and/or after the main event to introduce and reinforce content.

Podcasts

Much like video, podcasts are on the rise, and for good reason. They are an effective training modality for learning on the go and are ideal for salespeople who travel a lot, as they can listen in their car or on a plane.

E-learning

You’ll get the most out of your e-learning investment if you can use the content more than once, like when a new salesperson joins your team. This training modality works well to introduce or reinforce learning, since it is self-paced.

One-on-one Coaching

One of the best ways to ensure application back on the job is through one-on-one coaching with a seasoned facilitator. By observing your salespeople in action, they can provide coaching and feedback in the moment.

What is your preferred training approach? What has worked in your organization? Let us know by tweeting @TrainingIndustr and @ddstraining.

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