The benefits of e-learning for sales training are well documented, with cost and time savings as a result of the reduced need for classroom-based training perhaps the most obvious. In addition, though, e-learning offers easier tracking of learner progress and training effectiveness, as well as the ability for employees to learn from wherever they are, be it travelling for meetings or halfway around the world at a different office.
Despite knowing these benefits, some businesses may still struggle to see how e-learning contributes to employee training and development or how its benefits may translate for specific uses. One common area for training – and one in which training needs to be ongoing – is sales. It’s also an area in which e-learning can be used very effectively.
When people say that e-learning can be more effective than other approaches, such as classroom-based learning, they mean that knowledge can be retained more quickly and retained for longer. This is, in part, down to learners typically showing a preference for e-learning over other approaches, but also because of the ways in which it allows individuals to learn.
Mobile learning on a smartphone, microlearning and spaced repetition drills via apps and online certainty-based learning quizzes, for example, have all been shown to improve learning effectiveness if applied well. For sales training, these techniques can be used to teach things like product and services knowledge or active listening and negotiation skills. Learner progress can also be tracked so as to inform what areas they need to focus on and how training can be improved.
Just-in-time training is that which is delivered in bite-size chunks where and when it is required, rather than in long, out-of-context blocks. It can help to improve knowledge retention compared to other approaches because individuals can see their learnings in action and apply them immediately.
This approach is well suited to a salesfloor, as negotiation or active listening techniques, for example, can be explained to a learner before then being put into practice straight away with the relevant knowledge fresh in the mind. This could be done via learning materials and test drills delivered via an e-learning platform on the learner’s computer.
The convenience offered by some forms of e-learning, such as being able to dip in and out of exercises on a computer or do drills via a mobile app while on the go, is part of what makes it appealing to learners. It’s also part of what can make it an effective learning approach.
Fundamentally, this is because individuals can choose to learn when they feel they need to, when they feel they will be most receptive to new information or, simply, when they have time. In a sales context, this could mean just before a period of calls, at times specifically set aside for learning and admin or when travelling to and from meetings, respectively.