1. Online Sales Training – Introduction
The pandemic and subsequent lock-down of 2020 drove what few players who weren’t online to get online or go out of business.
With face to face selling no longer allowed during lock-down, selling immediately got a lot tougher for many b2b sales people.
This is where online training courses come into their own and can give your salespeople a real edge over your competitors.
If you’re wondering whether online sales training is an inferior alternative to the offline version, read on to find out more about how it can boost your sales and your brand.
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2. An investment worth making
Any learning programmes you deliver should provide results and an ROI to the business and online sales training is no different.
Time spent traveling to traditional training is time your sales people are out of the field. Furthermore, the cost of travel and accommodation in some cases, can equal or exceed the cost of the actual training.
When you invest in online sales training, you can reduce the amount of time your team spend away from the workplace.
Online sales courses help you keep any disruption to a minimum, so your day-to-day operations aren’t compromised.
In an age where work-life balance is becoming more and more important, reducing days and nights away at traditional training events can be more appealing to much of the sales force.
3. Keep your team productive
Offline sales training remains relevant, but it can harm productivity. The logistics attached to arranging classroom-based learning can be very costly, not only in terms of your budget, but your time too.
Online training tends to be delivered in bite sized chunks making it easier for salespeople to consume.
In addition to the challenges of taking time out for traditional event based training, many salespeople report struggling after the training.
One or two days away from your desk usually only serves to create a backlog of work for salespeople to return to and deal with.
Technological advancements with products like Microsoft Teams and learning portals have made online sales training much more effective and easier to deliver and consume.
4. The growing power of online sales training
Video conferencing, enhanced streaming capabilities and the emergence of powerful and dependable new software have made online sales training much more effective than it was in the past.
It’s now possible to source training from experts around the world rather than just ones based in your locality.
Many sales training specialists are now supporting companies outside their traditional territories.
It’s also often easier to deliver useful online sales training content online.
This content can come in the form of a conventional training book, graphs, e-books, videos and more. In addition to training it’s also possible to support salespeople after the training via live chat and video conferencing call.
This is why so many brands are now embracing the digital way of doing things.
5. Sales Coaching Online
An often overlooked but important part of the learning and development process is sales coaching.
Training is the transfer of knowledge whereas coaching is the practical application of the knowledge in the field. Coaching takes what salespeople learn in the classroom and coaches them through how to implement the new learning and skills in the boardroom.
In addition to be able to provide important context and nuance a good sales coach will boost the sales persons morale and confidence.
Sales Coaching can also deliver real value when helping salespeople focus on the right behaviours. Learning new skills is worthless unless the skill is then used in the day to day behaviours of the salespeople.
6. A more flexible way to learn
Many of today’s b2b sales teams regard online sales training as more useful than classroom-based learning.
As salespeople can learn at their own pace at a time that suits them, they are more likely to feel engaged with the content.
In addition, they can even access the material in the comfort of their own homes in many cases. Some salespeople will inevitably learn quicker than others, so each salesperson can learn at their own pace rather than receiving training at the pace of the group which maybe too fast or too slow for them.
Most courses are simply accessed via a course link from your PC or mobile device which makes the learning process much easier for the user.
7. Finding specific online training options
Another key benefit of online b2b sales courses are that it’s now simpler to source the specific type of training you need.
If you require a sales course that’s specific to your industry or a problem that you’re facing, it’s easier than ever to locate people that can provide it.
Salespeople can receive their targeted sales skills training individually if they wish, or via a wider group in the sales team if Peer learning is part of the learning strategy.
Content is less likely to go off-topic when it is delivered online. They can also choose to learn at a time that suits them which helps keep the learning relevant to their needs.
8. Sales training and staff retention
Sales training helps your sales team feel more confident when talking about your products to new and existing customers.
This confidence is an essential part of sales performance and can empower them to meet their sales targets and help you stand out even in crowded marketplaces.
Research suggests that employees are more likely to remain with a company when they have been given access to valuable sales training.
Replacing staff can be costly and time-consuming, and it can take weeks or months for new team members to get up to speed with your company culture as well as your products and services.
This is why staff retention is such an important concept for so many businesses. Most employees appreciate working for companies who help them to continue building their sales skills and studies show they are more likely to stay if they feel they are still learning.
9. Course Structure
Many online courses following a drip learning methodology to increase learning retention.
Drip learning is the process by which training is delivered in small pieces over a longer period of time rather than event based training where all the content is crammed into 8 or 16 hours.
Studies show that event based learning can have retention rates as low as 5% unless the training is supported after the course.
Online sales training can be spread out over longer periods of time and allow the participants time to practice new skills and strategies by some form of activity in between sessions.
Online training courses can vary from 1 session per week over a month to 26 sessions per week over 12 months for more in depth training.
10. Session Structure
Traditionally, face to face sales training has been delivered via one or two day courses.
This format simply doesn’t work well with online learning as asking salespeople to sit at a desk for 8 hours a day is more likely to put them off learning. Online Sales Training is structured very differently around shorter sessions.
These sessions are typically no longer than 90 minutes long and delivered over a number of weeks.
Each session would normally contain some form of initial introduction and discussion on the topic, a piece of work based activity for the participants to complete and a review conversation to capture lessons learned at the end.
11. Course Topics
Most b2b sales training companies have adapted their course content for online delivery.
This means there is a wide range of sales courses to choose from such as: How to Sell to Big Companies, Consultative Selling Skills course, SaaS Sales Training, Telephone Sales Training course, Key Account Management, Sales Management Training course, Sales Navigator Training, Microsoft Teams Sales Training, Key Selling Skills, Social Media training.
Also available are bespoke online courses whereby course creators will either customise existing content to your needs or specialised training and courses that are designed from the ground up to meet your needs.
In short the World Wide Web provides a plethora of courses online that meet the training needs of any organisation.
As with traditional training, online courses would normally provide some form of certification of attendance on completion.
12. Frequently updated course content
Another key benefit of online sales training is that course content is normally updated whenever necessary.
This can be particularly important if your product or service is affected by regulations and legislation. Training is often a requirement in many industries in order to prove compliance.
What’s probably more important is the ability to work together with colleagues to ensure they are all aligned and fully up to date with the latest best practices and trends.
Training can also improve their understanding of your customers’ ever-changing expectations.
This makes your team more adept at meeting market expectations and matching your customers’ needs with your products and services.
13. Greater freedom to learn
Employees are also more likely to take ownership of their skill improvement when training has been delivered online.
This is largely due to being free from distractions. Many people find sitting in a classroom for several hours incredibly tiresome.
This approach can make it hard to absorb information. When employees can learn in their preferred environment, at their own pace at times that suit them, they can enjoy more control over the training process.
Some team members may be eager to return to their desks to continue their work when traditional classroom-based learning is taking place.
If they can learn in their own time, they can do so free from other concerns. This in turn often drives increases in productivity.
14. Continuous learning
Online training courses are not only available for new entrants looking to boost their sales skills.
There are many advanced online training courses for more experienced salespeople looking to up-skill or refresh their skills, improve their techniques or go on to more leadership oriented subject matter.
A sales training course specifically for groups can also make teams more connected, help strengthen their relationships, increase collaboration, boost sales performance and provide a focus that reinforces the companies sales strategy.
Furthermore, companies from all industries may be under lock-down conditions making online courses the only option available.
Online training is better suited for companies seeking continuous learning, whereas many offline sales courses may see trainers only visit your company once or twice, never to return.
15. A bite size approach to learning
Many sales professionals prefer the bite size approach to learning. With this approach, they can spend take in 30 minute segments of content at a time of their choosing.
These work best on self paced learning course as a pose to Instructor led training.
They can then log off before their attention starts to wander as is often the case with any online programme.
Nonetheless, online sales training shouldn’t replace offline learning completely.
Classroom-based training still offers certain benefits for your businesses, you should take advantage of both learning methods.
16. Technology, Analytics and performance measurement
Like any other industry technology has dramatically transformed the design, delivery and user experience of online learning.
In addition to bespoke learning software such as Kajabi, Thinkific and Learndash which can be easily implemented on any website their are now many custom Learning Management Systems (LMS) such as Coursera and Docebo.
Whilst most LMS systems are typically company wide their are now many sales specific solutions like Brainshark, Seismic and Mindtickle each built around the concept of Sales Enablement.
Many online sales training programmes tend to be based around the very latest learning research. The modern online learning system has analytics built in, so seller behaviours can be predicted and measured.
At every stage of the training, the systems collect and analyse the relevant data which gives employers a better insight into the efficiency of the training process.
Online learning experiences can consist of simulations, negotiations, discovery calls, business development calls, account management calls, games, visuals, videos and more.
As you would expect the best measurement of any training programme is bottom line results. This can be difficult to prove with generic training, however, this is much easier when designing bespoke courses that connect the desired outcomes to the right sales skills and behaviours.
The right online sales training provider can help your team become better, more focussed and persuasive sales professionals. If you’ve never considered using a digital sales training service before, now may be the time to act.
We’d love to show you how our own online learning works and how we can customise our programmes to your world. Arrange a call today and speak to one of our coaches.