Blended learning approaches are certainly not new, but given the challenges over the past 18 months, we are seeing many opportunities to apply these approaches in creative new ways. The pandemic heightened interest in hybrid models (a combination of virtual instructor led, digital, collaborative learning, etc.) that already existed – and provided a testing ground for their effectiveness. With the on-demand and collaborative sales training models we’re now using at SRG, we’re seeing outcomes, participant interaction and satisfaction scores improve for our sales and sales management training programs. But do these benefits hold true for every type of employee training? Specifically, can we effectively onboard new sales reps in a hybrid world – especially when we need them to hit the ground running in an even more challenging selling environment?
There are many stereotypes of what makes a great sales rep. Outgoing, smooth talker, able to present their solution pitch flawlessly to the client. Confident – sometimes, too confident. You know the profile, right? But there’s a key attribute that’s not always associated with high-performing salespeople, and it might surprise you.
The success of a sales training initiative is based on multiple considerations as noted in my prior blog posts: How to Choose the Best Sales Training Company 4 Key Factors to Create a Sales Training Program That Delivers Results In reflecting on these posts, I quickly realized that not all criteria carry equal weight and that the “X-Factor” that makes for an outstanding training program is the facilitator.
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella often speaks of how his career – and his company – have been shaped by empathy. He views it as a quality to be consciously cultivated, practiced, and applied – “not just as something nice to have, but as the core to the innovation agenda in the company.” He believes empathy can be a differentiator when working with clients. Empathy is the ability to imagine yourself in someone else’s position and understand their situation. It’s the capacity to feel what another person is experiencing from within their frame of reference. It’s not always easy to do.
How do you prepare for a meeting with a CXO or other important executive? A friend of mine who is a senior investment banker at a major Wall Street firm once told me, “I prepare for each meeting like it’s the Super Bowl.” My friend then explained the massive amount of time he and his research team put into preparing for each important meeting. No wonder he routinely meets with CEOs, CFOs, Boards of Directors, and major investors. On the other hand, most salespeople meet with key executives infrequently. They may even treat such a meeting as another demo or discovery call. That’s a mistake.