Benefits of Online Sales Training

Benefits of online sales training are becoming more apparent as organizations and salespeople look for a more modern approach to up-skilling

Republished from  Benefits of Online Sales Training – The Digital Sales Institute

These include automating the sales training process, minimizing time away from job, controlling disruption and in reducing sales training costs. In a rapidly changing sales world, the investment in sales training is vital to improving the sales team’s knowledge, productivity and overall sales skills. The ROI of all sales training is about measuring increased sales in the longer term plus ensuring a happier more motivation team of salespeople which reduces employee.

While classroom-based sales training still has its place, the cost, logistics involved and impact on productivity has many companies challenging its relevancy. In no small part to technology advancement, video solutions, streaming capabilities and course ware development the benefits of online sales training are compelling.

Tapping into a world of web-based sales training experts and online sales training material means rolling out an online based sales training program has never been easier. With the help of an online sales training provider, a cost-effective sales training program will be up and running in no time.

One of the major benefits of online sales training is that the sales programs are focused on topics the learner has selected. Removed from dominating opinions and time pressure allows the learner to concentrate fully on course content being offered via the online sales training program. Another one of the benefits of online sales training for a salesperson is that there are no distractions or deviating off topic. In fact, many leading sales transformation experts believe that online sales training provides a more purer learning environment.

Ask any salesperson or manager and they will tell you that selling is a lot more complicated in today’s attention poor yet busy world. Now there is on average 5 stakeholders involved in most buying decisions and that goes for less complicated or inbound sales as well. The reality is most salespeople are or need to sell to five people which makes their role even harder.

One can understand why switched on companies mandate sales training so their salespeople will improve their ability to sell more effectively to a whole host of stakeholders. They are alert to the fact that continual sales training is required to sharpen sales skills, keep abreast of the latest thinking, develop better buyer engagement skills and close more deals. However, continual sales training does not have to eat into their productive sales time or become cost prohibitive. Which is why online sales training has become vital. The very nature of this self-paced learning means the salesperson can undertake any sales training at a time, pace and place that suits them.

Benefits of Online Sales Training

Useful and ease of use.

Every sales training program has to be useful, but is it?  Useful sales training is defined as the degree to which a salesperson believes that attending a particular course will enhance their job performance. In essence, useful sales training can be seen as providing content that is beneficial to the sales team’s daily activity load. If any course content doesn’t appear relevant to the sales teams, it stands to reason they will not meaningfully engage with it. But keeping in-house sales training materials fresh, Up to date, relevant and useful can be expensive or laborious. This is why salespeople constantly rate online sales training higher than in-house, they find it more useful as its fresher.  Plus, from a business point of view, its more cost effective. Double win.

When we discuss “ease of use” it is more about the presentation format of the sales training rather than the content itself. Any tool deployed to improve sales skills should be easy for learners to interact with while enhancing their learning experience. Because online sales training is available 24/7, self-paced and digital in nature it is relatively low on effort to access meaning salespeople are more willing to use it. For a company, this lower the barriers to getting salespeople to take ownership of their own skills improvement.

Realizing the Benefits of Online Sales Training

Your salespeople may be your competitive advantage when it comes to explaining to a buyer the unique advantages of your product. Increased and crowded competition will demand strong sales strategies that deliver results. So, the importance of continued sales training to lock in the sales team’s ability to play their part in any growth strategy can’t be ignored. The benefits of online sales training can help your salespeople sell better to both existing and new customers, empower them to take ownership for their upskilling, to meet and beat quotas plus help the business outperform the competition.

Overall Sales effectiveness Improves

One of the many benefits of online sales training is that salespeople become better engaged with modern sales tactics, knowledge and tools to improve their close rates. Overall sales KPI’s also improve as they can better prospect, develop and maximize any sales leads provided to them.

Retention of Salespeople Goes Up

Numerous research articles now show that salespeople value sales training and when access to ongoing sales training programs are in place, they are less likely to leave an organization. This boosts retention of both salespeople and valuable knowledge which in turn lowers turnover.

Sales Productivity Increases

Knowing what to do and when to do it has always been vital in sales. More benefits of online sales training are that access to constantly updated content means salespeople become better skilled and more creative at problem-solving to buyers’ challenges. Any salesperson who has achieved a higher level of sales mastery will find it easier to match their product and their customer needs in a mutually beneficial way. They will also be better able to sort where they need to prioritize their sales activity.

Salespeople Take Ownership

One of the top benefits of online sales training is that salespeople assume ownership for their own skill improvement. Combined with mandated sales training, online sales training compliments and reinforces their learning path to becoming a more accomplished salesperson.

Cultivates a Winning Sales Environment

As online sales training can be accessed by anyone and everyone wishing to improve their knowledge of the sales process, e.g., customer support, pre-sales, marketing etc., this will have the effect of a more sales-focused environment and a deeper understanding of customers. Which can lead to more connected teams and a shared drive to grow revenue.

Time Convenient

Revenue and productivity goals can mean it is hard for salespeople to set aside the time for sales skills improvement. They value it, want it and need it but they may not have the hours to spend sitting in a room listening to presentations. Plus, the impact of sales training can be diluted as salespeople are conscious of time away from desk. The benefits of online sales training “training at your convenience” goes a long way to solving this dilemma.

Online Sales Training is the Future

Modern sales organizations realize that the same old approach to sales training programs just are not delivering the results for the cost involved. Yes, the traditional instructor-led sales training programs deliver great content, but does it lead to lasting results? The main reason for this is sales training needs to be a continuous learning journey where salespeople can refresh and update themselves as needed.  The benefits of online sales training programs are that it is easy for any salesperson to spend 15 to 30 minutes learning new sales skills themselves.

The Power of Minds Accessible 24/7

With the latest from the minds of leading sales trainers on proven sales techniques, salespeople get 24/7 access to libraries of time saving sales training content and videos that focus on all aspects of the sales process – one lesson at a time.

The benefits of online sales training are becoming increasing compelling to companies and individual salespeople who want to learn more about the profession of sales but due to time, costs or resources find that the traditional methods of sales training have limits.  It may not be the total solution for everyone, but it is one worth considering.

Online Sales Training Platform 

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The use of an online sales training platform in combination with in-house sales training programs is a powerful method for salespeople to learn new selling skills.

Republished from Source: Online Sales Training Platform – The Digital Sales Institute

Due to advances in video, technology and bandwidth, giving access to salespeople to improve their sales skills with online sales training is not the big decision it once was. Typically, an online sales training platform will have a number of sales training programs that covers a multitude of topics from sales prospecting, cold calling, business development, digital selling, presentation skills etc, so a sales training program could be implemented relatively quickly.

Let us look at some of the reasons why sales training is moving away from live classroom or on-site classes. Apart from the fact that online sales training courses eliminates the need for salespeople to gather in one place, the modern, young, social media engaged salesperson prefers video and bite sized chunks of training.

Benefits Of Sales Training

The purpose of continuous sales training is so the business can educate their sales staff on how to improve their ability to sell more effectively. The output of any sales team training program should result in salespeople sharpening their sales skills, developing communication skills for better customer engagement and improve the rate at which deals get closed.

To reduce costs and speed up the delivery of sales training, a business does not have to invest in developing their own custom sales training program. While the online sales training platform can help the sales team to reach their full selling potential with courses on all the core sales skills training, the business can focus on rolling out product and company specific training.

The end result of combining internal and external sales training is a sales teams armed with the knowledge to understand the products value proposition and the sales skills to communicate this to customers so they motivated to buy.

Online Sales Training Platform Can Improve:

Communication: Every salesperson must be able to communicate the companies “why us” when talking to a client or prospect.

Conversations: Salespeople can open up sales conversations with the use of great discovery questions and business acumen

Commitments: The salesperson understands how to gain commitments from the customer or prospect to progress the relationship or sale.

Active Listening: The ability of a salesperson to know when to talk and when to listen. Active listening skills to really uncover challenges, problems and solutions.

Research and Preparation: Customers and prospects are now more selective on whom they talk to, salespeople need to be able to answer “why are you contacting me”. This obstacle is overcome by research and preparation using social media, news, insights and data. Salespeople need to be able to convey why the client should listen to them using information and market intelligence.

The Role Of Sales Enablement In Sales Training

When we talk about sales training, we are referring to the specific process of education on selling skills, while sales enablement usually encompasses the entire training journey from beginning to end. The sales enablement plan would include such areas as salesperson on boarding, ongoing product, company and sales training. It would also include a framework or sales playbook to get the salespeople from the point of a first contact, steps in pre-sales prospect engagement and sales process communication guides. Better sales begin with sales training. But bigger, better and more consistent sales only happen as part of a continuous sales training strategy.

The Importance Of Continuous Sales Training To A Company

The shift in the buyer’s journey, the influence of social media and increased competition requires sales strategies that work. So, the importance of ongoing sales training as a driver of growth can’t be ignored. Access to sales materials, videos and content within a sales training program is a proven way support salespeople, enable them to exceed quotas, and outperform the competition.

Sales effectiveness improves

One of the key benefits of sales training is that salespeople become equipped with the necessary tools and skills to increase the win rate they achieve relative to the amount of leads generated.

Sales staff turnover decreases

Where an investment has been made to properly train salespeople, they are less likely to leave the business. This improves knowledge retention, grows the experience bank, lowers turnover which also lowers all associated recruitment or on boarding costs.

Sales productivity increases

Another valuable benefit of continuous sales training is that all the salespeople will become better equipped and more adept at winning over customers. Any sales team that has achieved a good level of mastery of the sales process can align the product and the customer needs in a mutually beneficial way.

Cultivates a winning sales mindset

Sales training helps to create a winning mindset, it teaches salespeople to be comfortable with the uncomfortable (such as cold calling), how to overcome rejection and how to build a winning sales habit loop, leading to a more sales-focused mindset to bring in more revenue.

How do Online Platforms Benefit Sales Training?

An online sales training platform is a benefit due to the evolution of video, bandwidth and learning technology. The use of an online sales training platform can enable a modernized approach to training that matches the expectations of today’s sales force. A platform that boosts and empowers salespeople to learn new skills, establish themselves as subject-matter expert and to lower the overall cost of sales training.

Here’s A Few Tips On How To Use An Online Sales Training Platform:

  • Use short, bite-sized easy to digest learning content in a variety of formats that’s related directly to identified sales skills (prospecting, etc.)
  • Combine on the job training linked to the online training courses being completed
  • Set clear timescales and objectives that need to be met
  • Ensure there is a management feedback process to discuss learning
  • Select some “champions,” as subject-matter experts to help other salespeople with their training
  • Outline expected course completion and the metrics to measure participation
  • Measure sales performance after completion of a full sales training program (not modules)
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Online sales training courses

Ways Online Sales Training Platform Improves Sales Skills

Flexible learning times: An online sales training platform provides the tools for salespeople to access the latest content and modules on the selling skills they need to succeed plus do it at their own pace (in their own time). While it’s important that the company establishes deadlines for completion, giving the salesperson the option to complete their training at their own pace is an effective way to improve sales knowledge retention (because they’re taking ownership for their own self-education), thus boosting productivity. Importantly, the salespeople do not have to travel to training sessions or miss selling time.

Consistently repeatable: Unlike traditional, in-class formal training, e-learning sales training courses can be repeated with the same consistent content to improve knowledge capture. It gives the salesperson a way to improve and assess knowledge retention with quizzes, and via questions in online forums. This provides an easy way to establish not only the effectiveness of their learning and the content that is being delivered, but also how the salespeople are interacting with that content and whether or not it’s giving them the knowledge they need to succeed. Also due to consistent flow of content and modules, it can be easy for a salesperson to get input from their colleagues on the course topics and the suggested tactics to improve their sales skills.

Always on easy access to training content: As the online sales training programs are available 24/7, salespeople learn faster, they have the comfort of accessing the training content after a sales call or in preparation to contact a customer. It can quickly reassure and reinforce the selling tactics without over exposing themselves to outside help. The entire sales force can have access to all the sales training course material at their fingertips, they can review tactics, insights and answers to most sales situations easily to help them close the sale.

Online training is easier to roll-out and cost effective: While every company has to invest in sales training, they also need to get the balance right between supporting all the salespeople without over investing in salespeople who are new or under performing. Using online sales training courses prior to selecting salespeople for the more expensive in-house training can improve results and weed out the ones who show little motivation to improve. Because most online training can be updated quickly to the latest methods, the sales force will have access to highly relevant, accurate content and messaging that can be effectively deployed across the entire sales organization.

It makes learning sales skills portable: Salespeople do not need to be tied to a desk, room or device. They can self-educate on selling skills at anytime, anywhere, on whatever device they choose. The millennial salesperson values the portability and freedom technology has allowed them to acquire new skills. As previously stated, this training delivery method puts the onus on them to continuously learn and upgrade their sales skills with no excuses on having to miss out on a training session. All the necessary resources and content are available to them whenever they need them.

In house sales training is not dead. Similar to everything related to selling and growing the customer base, sales training has to evolve for the modern sales environment. The use of an online sales training platform in combination with the traditional sales training delivery methods is a winning formula.

Why Social Selling Training Pays

Whether you like it or not, when buyers are so influenced by social media, social selling training should be part of any sales development plan.

Progressive companies now ensure that social selling is now an integral part of their sales process, tapping into the sales intelligence that the social networks provide to both buyer and seller. Never since John H Patterson created his sales training methodology for NCR, have sales people needed to adjust their sales skills, due to the fact that the more traditional forms of selling such as cold calling have diminishing results. Training to release the power of social selling can have to engage buyers is now a core activity, not a gap filler.

social-selling

Selling and buying has changed. The profile of a typical business buyer along with their needs, values and how they purchase goods and services has altered completely from 10, even 5 years ago. A business should use social selling as a genuine touch point to share insights, research, information and content before engaging in any sales conversations. Social selling is a learned skill (how long does it take to master other sales tactics – months, even years?), it is not a fall back method for sales people to spam sales messages on Twitter, Facebook, on LinkedIn groups. Nor is it a means to plaster vanilla flavored sales messages across groups and connections.  The tactic of connecting and building a network of connections just to send sales messages is NOT social selling.

The biggest tip I can convey is that for social selling to work you need to build value over time with your social network by sharing relevant, quality content that people find useful and helpful. So, in time when a sales person reaches out with a personalized social touch point to a prospect to engage in a sales discussion, the chances of progressing a relationship will be greatly enhanced.

Part of the training should be about learning the social selling habit loop, a daily routine to connect with your social network community with news, articles, research, videos and snippets of information. They also need to learn, Givers Gain, starting with ways to connect your network together (as this provides value) and offering to help others connect. A good example of this is that a sales person sees a message posted on LinkedIn that says, “Where could I find some inspiration for a key note speech I have to deliver?”  Instead of posting of reply such as, I would be interested in this myself or have you tried PowerPoint? (True reply!).  Now, the sales person finds someone in their social network that is a presentation expert and offers to put the person in touch with them. Nothing in it for the sales person, other than to build their credibility as someone who is a conduit, a connector who brings value by taking the time to listen and connect their social network. To quote “Covey”, these are  a lodgements that pay off in the longer term.

social-selling-information

Never forget that selling at its most basic is simply the act of communicating and gaining commitments. Now, more than ever, to be successful in sales, we need to understand that (a) selling is all about building relationships and (b) providing value. With a well-planned out social selling program, a business will gradually drive more sales then cold calling or cold email will ever achieve.

Always remember that all selling is inherently social, so social selling is really nothing new, but rather a new communication channel. So, look at social selling as an additive process, a sales tactic to help you sell more effectively that will evolve over time.

A process worth following is to separate ‘social selling’ into two main areas:

(1) Direct Social Selling and (2) Indirect Social Selling.

The direct side of social selling is utilising the various social media networks like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, and Instagram to look for conversations where one would share content/articles. A pathway to connect with people a business wants to target or nurture a relationship with. Taking the example of a CIO who tweets about their focus on reducing IT costs in the coming year. The sales person in return now shares some articles or research on reducing IT. As the interaction builds (assuming the sales persons product or service can help with reducing IT costs), they can at an appropriate time, reach out with their first social touch point – by sending a highly personalized connection request. After a series of planned touch points, the sales person can now reach out to explain the value they might be able to bring to the buyer’s goals. Please note: this is a shortened version of the process but the point is to look for information about what prospects or companies are doing or saying so person or business can be highly relevant to them when they reach out via the social channels.

The indirect side of social selling has to do with a sales person building their own personal brand so over time their social audience (connections and weak ties) eventually value their insights, comes to view them as a valuable industry expert, not just another weak sales person. However, it’s important to note that this does take time and does not provide some instant results that some sales leaders think should happen these days. The reality is social selling is all about adding value to a target market, share not sell, help not hinder, be useful not useless.

We write these articles on sales to try to add some value by not just talking about the theory of selling or business but actually giving you some useful tips on sales, marketing and business (hopefully). On our social channels, we share suggestions on what to do and how to do it. We also regularly post or re-tweet articles from other sources not just about sales but about business topics that we think are important to sales people and business leaders.

We practise what we preach, on a daily basis we review discussions in our groups in LinkedIn or Facebook, we strive to provide honest answers to questions people ask without promoting our business or telling them how wonderful we are.

To finish up, please take the time to think through the goals, expectations and vision for any social selling program you plan to put in place. Apart from training, spend time looking for articles, news and research you can use to connect with people without interrupting them while at the same time position yourself as a thought leader by sharing quality information that is relevant. This will help you or any sales person in the digitally influenced buying/selling process, regardless of what you sell.

Learn Social Selling Online

Learn social selling online. If you are stuck for time or prefer to learn at your own pace, then The Digital Sales Institute will help train you to become an expert in social selling.  No doubting that a digital element touches some part of the sales process and sales is constantly trying to keep up with this changing buyer interaction.  We all need more prospects to engage with, and research shows we can spend up to 40% of our time trying to find them. The old reliable – cold calling has limited or even zero success. Inbound leads will only get so far in delivering a steady stream of prospects. The result is a large portion of time searching on the social networks to find leads to fill your pipeline. It could be that you are frustrated with the results of your social activity or maybe your efforts are not getting results you had expected or you are paying too much for a sales lead using Google Adwords etc.

In the digitally connected era, The buyers journey has changed. Even B2B BUYERS have adopted consumer-like behaviour. They now conduct their own product research online, they self discover, seek out information via the social channels, and often make purchasing decisions without any or limited sales persons involvement. Those customers who engage with sales people are already 57 percent of the way through the buying process before their first contact. The reality is that the influence of social media on buyers has fundamentally changed the way sales people engage with customers. The way we sell has changed dramatically and will continue to change as digital natives become the major buying force.

 

The use of social media to generate sales is no longer the exclusive domain of marketers. It’s not about pushing out generic sales messages. It’s about engaging in social conversations. It’s about looking for signals and triggers, connecting and engaging with people.
With over 2.4 billion social media users covering business and consumer, you need to be where the fish are swimming. Did you know that 75% of B2B buyers now use social media to research vendors. While a Harvard study showed that 90% of decision makers say that they never respond to cold calling.

Social selling could be the closest you can get to being a fly on the office wall of your prospects. Learn to find out Where they hang out digitally. What language do they use. How socially active are your prospects. What external content do they share or engage with. There is a glittering treasure trove of social data ready to be used if you know how to tap into it. Let the Digital Sales Institute show you the skills to successfully social sell. Now is the time to transform your sales skills for the digital age.

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Social selling is now the fastest growing sales tactic in the sales process, used successfully by thousands of sales people globally. Our course clients for “Social Selling Training” are seeing increased sales performance, and increased buyer engagement.  Working at your own pace, The Digital Sales Institute will guide you to becoming a social selling expert with deep insights into the key aspects of social and digital selling. From social profiles and social purpose, to buyer engagement, through to digital sales expertise, you will acquire the skills to become a social selling expert.