Sales enablement training is the strategic combination and use of resources and actions. In other words, it’s the arsenal for your organization’s sales team, dressed as content, technology, and sales tools to most effectively close deals. Like marketing your brand, sales enablement is crucial to the life of your organization.
It’s easy to confuse sales enablement with product training. Product training can make for a better sales team; sales enablement makes for a better sales team. Déjà vu, right? While the two can work in tandem, each uses distinct strategies to drive productivity and effectiveness. Product training identifies your company’s products and services to better serve your client. This is critical for a more knowledgeable and efficient sales team.
Though they are different, sales enablement training and product training work best when paired. Together, sales enablement training and product training enable the sales team to navigate difficult questions and concerns with reassurance, helping to build trust, comfort, and enthusiasm in the customers.
The Switch to Virtual in Sales Enablement
Many organizations are currently experiencing a shift from working at the office to working from home, and while unique, it’s worked. People everywhere are relying on online meeting tools such as Zoom, GoToMeeting, Google Hangouts and Microsoft Teams for calls, one-on-ones, and virtual instructor-led training. In many ways, your organization is better for the shift to online meetings and training. But, changing our sales strategies to virtual-first engagements may be more of a challenge. So, here are a few strategies to move sales enablement and product training to virtual.
What is asynchronous learning? With recent trends toward digital learning experiences in the corporate training space, it’s often thought of as a method of personalized eLearning. Specifically, it’s digital learning experience with various types of self-guided modules. The learner has full control of the training he or she must complete. Moreover, all materials (e.g., virtual libraries, video content, or lectures) are already provided to the learner. As such, asynchronous learning methods are crucial for learners that require flexibility.
Synchronous learning, on the other hand, often occurs in real-time with all of the learners present. This may limit flexibility and personalization for the learner. However, the ability to discuss challenges with cohorts can increase comprehension, as well as add a social learning element. Beyond that, learners can get a lot of experience from observation and modeling. In sales, intraverbals are best practiced and replicated in an environment with other salespeople. This is also great for cultivating a spirit of community and motivation within your team.
Each form of learning has its merits. But what’s best for your sales team?
Asynchronous v Synchronous
The pros and cons vary, and seldom is the answer absolute. So, consider the following when determining what kind of learning method to use:
- Are there scheduling challenges? Asynchronous training may have the least impact upon your learners’ work. It allows learner to work toward a deadline at a comfortable pace, with space to deliberate on both pitch and questions.
- What training assets would be most effective? Some training tactics lend better to synchronous learning. For example, the method of Loci, which gives mnemonic practice to didactic lectures for long-term retention, is best led by an instructor.
- Do your learners have access to training technology? Not all employees will have the technology or the services requirements to access your training.
Virtual Mentoring in Sales Enablement
It’s no secret that instructor-led training (ILT) is a key component in most sales enablement training strategies. But in order to augment your team in virtual-first business environment, you’ll want to take an “all-in” approach focusing on virtual instructor-led training (VILT). VILT takes all the benefits of a traditional ILT and puts it in a digital learning format. Some common examples podcasts, virtual cohorts, and videoconferencing. More importantly, it combines resources, actions, and strategies to produce effective, efficient sales operations.
The Big Takeaways for Sales Enablement
One of the bigger takeaways from these strategies is the importance of creating multifaceted training experiences. A comprehensive training strategy develops retention in the learner by engaging them with diverse assets like short training videos, animated descriptions, clear and succinct presentations and activities, Q&A. Establishing a solid training foundation is important, more important still, notwithstanding current circumstances, is the ability to adapt.