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?
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 that not all criteria carry an equal weight, and that the “X Factor” that makes for an outstanding training program is the facilitator.
Most companies don’t go through the process of hiring a sales training partner very often. When they do, they’re often looking to be educated about the selection process – or, in a worst-case scenario, influenced toward an ineffective solution by an unscrupulous vendor.
When companies experience sales challenges, they often view sales training as the solution. While training can impact sales performance, there are many challenges that go well beyond training. These include not hiring the right salespeople, an out-of-date or overpriced offering, or ineffective sales leadership. In most cases, however, the specific challenges companies want to address are intrinsic to the sales team and involve behavior change.
With in-person, instructor-led training off the table for over a year, companies had to innovate and leverage technology to deliver sales training to their remote sales teams. Initially, the onset of the COVID pandemic sidelined most training initiatives. However, companies quickly realized that sales training was an even higher priority since it was suddenly more difficult to connect with customers, and sales reps were limited to remote selling.
The expansion of online, collaborative learning is one of the most exciting evolutions to come out of the challenges of delivering sales training over the past year. As the participant feedback suggests below, online, collaborative learning did a great job engaging participants, increasing group collaboration, and reinforcing skills over time – all of which is leading to greater success for learners and better outcomes for companies.